And so that was Christmas

Well, nearly done with the Christmas season now. Not back to work until the 4th, so taking it nice and easy. Managed to watch the first series of the Sopranos in just a tad over 24 hours, so that was something approaching an achievement. Have also done some tidying, sorting and organising, which also counts. And some home coding.

New Year is planned to be a quiet one, with a touch of champagne to celebrate the transition into dry January. Gym and no drinking is the plan. The first time I typed that previous sentence, I typed Gin and no drinking. My subconscious seems to be less keen than I thought.

Christmas can now start

The turkey is in the fridge, the presents are under the tree, the heavily discounted champers and wine are in place. So I guess this must mean I’m prepared. All I have to do tomorrow is find cloves (and I’m going to be stunned if the food shops of the Cowley Road fail me), and meet my wife in the pub around 1ish.

It should be a nice chilled Christmas Day, just the two of us for nice pressies and lots of good food. We’ve already treated ourselves to our main present, a nice big HD telly, and I’ve already been making the most of this for Rock Band 2 playing, and World Championship darts viewing. I suspect the Boxing Day tradition of 4 Hills Ski-Jumping is going to look lovely on it too.

How Google Notebook can help with your Christmas shopping

As well as search, Google Reader, and Gmail, there is one other Google product I’ll use every day, and that is Google Notebook. It works so well for me for making todo lists, storing links and information, and sharing with other people. You need a Google account to use it, and once set up you’re able to create multiple notebooks for whatever you want. It is worth also installing the Google Notebook Firefox extension, as that then gives right-click access to store links instantly, and a popup mini-version of your notebooks in the bottom-right corner of the page you’re on.

How will this help with your Christmas shopping though? Well, let me explain:

1. Making your Christmas shopping list

As you search online for potential presents across several sites, simply add the page for each possible item to a notebook just for presents. Make notes and comments on those links, compare the prices and ideas, drag and drop them order of which are the best. If you have a lot of presents to buy, you might even want a notebook for each person. Add text notes in the same list as well, reminders or a list of what you have to find. I’m also doing a todo list in one of my notebooks which is my Christmas card list, reminding my wife and I of who we have to send cards to (more on that shortly).

2. What about my presents?

Wish lists have been around for many years now, Amazon being perhaps the best and most well-known example. How do you create a wish list for several online shops though? Well, as above, add all the items you’ve found to a notebook.

When your list is bulging with goodies, go to sharing options for that notebook. Say yes to making the notebook a public web page and save. You’ve now got a page that you can send to your friends and family to let them know what you would like for Christmas. In the top-right of your notebook it will now show as published, with a link to view that page. Do note however that this is a public page that anyone can see.

You can add, change or remove notes from within your notebook, and your public wish list will be automatically updated.

3. Organise Christmas together

If you go back to the sharing options, you can also invite other people to collaborate and use the same notebook. Do this if you don’t want to make your list public to anyone. In this case, anyone you invite can edit and add to the notebook in the same way you can. I’m using this option to plan Christmas with my wife. We’ve got our todo list, a list of presents we need to buy for our collective family and friends, and our Christmas card list. Obviously I’ve also got a separate private notebook for presents I might get her too.

So there you are, a few simple ways to use Google Notebook to help get ready for Christmas. It is a wonderful little tool for all sorts of planning tasks, and it is nice and easy to get even newcomers used to using it.

So I made it through day one of the working year

in one piece. Not one email about any problems caused by, or requiring my input over the christmas break. So either I am perfect, or I am surplus to requirements and to be made redundant. I’ll go for option one-ish.

Read Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino over the past couple of days. Not your standard footballer’s autobiography, more an opening of the soul of someone that thinks a bit more about things. In fact, he admits to clearly thinking far too much about his own game. Quite an eyeopener are the sections where he describes his own self-destructive inner voice, constantly talking himself down and tempting failure at every step during a match. It is a very sad book, but interestingly is written in a way as to demand no sympathy, he lays all his failings very much out in the open (he wasn’t the most loyal of partners, and describes in great detail as to how he did this, and the consequences of his actions). Definitely worth a read, even for a non-football fan. Shows a different world to that of Mr Beckham et al.

All I want for Christmas is it to be six months time

I bought an American gaming magazine yesterday. BIG BIG mistake. I now would like to own, but will have to wait a minimum of 3 months the following:

  • GBA E-card reader
  • Gamecube GBA adaptor
  • Animal Crossing
  • Phantasy Star Online parts 1 & 2
  • Gamecube Broadband Adaptor
  • All the Pokemon e-card set
  • All the Animal Crossing e-card set
  • Gamecube Keyboard
  • I think there is supposed to be a Phantasy Star Online e-card set as well
  • Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire for the GBA

Lets just say that it is possibly the most expensive magazine that I have ever bought.

And btw, this isn’t a Christmas beg list. None of this stuff is out for far too long, and I can’t be arsed with importing it and messing about with stuff like that. I am planning on funding the card habit by selling old cards on e-bay and then buying new ones with the funds. As I do have about 2000 cards, I think it is worth a go. I might even sell off some comics as well, the non-daredevil stuff. I think there may be a lot of people in the market for Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure #1 in reasonable condition.

I’m not that deluded, honest. I learnt my lessons in buying comics for profit after I got my hopes up for Little Shop of Horrors #1 back in the mid-80’s. I think I’ve sold my collection off a couple of times in my life, like completely, and never ever been able to persuade the shops to take it off my hands