Keep to the right, please

I’ve said this before, but I like wandering around cities on my own. You tend to notice a lot more about the places, like how people in Birmingham have no concept of keeping to the right on escalators (quite annoying when you’re trying to get somewhere!).

So I managed to take the shoes I bought last weekend back to Selfridges, after the sole started to come away from the bottom of the shoe after only two days of me wearing them. They gave me a brand new pair, so now they’re officially Nice People™ again 🙂

The train fare there and back cost me £2.70, and it the whole day wouldn’t have cost me any more than that, had I not been tempted by things in some of the other shops in that evil capitalist Bullring thingamy. I should go to Brum more, especially now I live within walking distance of a train station. As long as I don’t want to walk up any escalators, it’ll be fine 🙂

Passed out in the living room

So last night myself and Milly slept in their living room, myself on the sofa and her in the armchair. I was awoken at 7am when the kids’ TV programmes came on (the TV had been left on in the corner of the room) and decided that it would be a good idea to go home.

I’ve decided there are two types of multiple occupancy houses or flats. Firstly there’s the kind of ‘cool’ places where everyone knows each other, trusts each other and generally get on. It’s the kind of place I’ve been lucky to live in for the previous two years, and it’s the kind of place where you can fall asleep on the sofa all night and it’s fine because it feels like a safe environment.

Secondly there’s the kind of house where you don’t have all these criteria, and that’s more like the kind of place I’m living in now. It’s comforting that I know people who live in places that fit into the former category, who don’t mind me passing out in their living rooms :-).

Warwick Blogs and closed systems

Clearly mat hat party photos weren’t funny enough to warrant any comments – I shall have to put more hilarious photos up in future 🙂

More from a work perspective, elab (the part of IT Services responsible for Warwick Blogs, amongst other things) are going to stop the use of HTML in blog posts. This is clearly a bad thing because (a) lots of people know how to use HTML and the replacement Textile markup seems really unintuitive to me, (b) every other blog system I’ve come across allows you to post HTML in your posts, (c) it’s your blog and you should be able to do what you want with it!

Note that I’m posting this in my personal blog and not in my Warwick blog because this feels a lot more like my own personal space, whereas my small area of Warwick Blogs just doesn’t.

A lot of people are wary of the whole establishment at Warwick, given it’s enormous power in comparison to that of the student body, and it’s often blatant disregard for the needs of students and staff. I think Warwick Blogs is in danger of becoming seen as being a part of that, and as something that individuals have little or no control over. I say this because WB seems to be to becoming more and more of a non-standard blogging system that’s completely controlled (even down to the look and feel) by the University.

I’m also a bit worried that the system is becoming more and more of a closed system both in terms of it’s content (for instance when selecting the type of post you wish to create, the first option is now a “University only entry”, that presumably is only visable to members of the University) and in terms of it’s functionality. I’m concerned that the system is tightly controlled by a small group of people in elab, no matter how nice those of them who I’ve met do seem.

All of this is even more worrying considering that a number of departments are already asking their students to use their blog as part of their PDP assessment. What if you have to use Warwick Blogs? What if you’re not allowed to use your own personal blog to do this?

I like technologies that I have control over (open source being the best example of this), and I get worried when I see this being taken away. I’m getting worried now.

Settling in

I still haven’t put up the photos from the hat party, neither have I blogged about anything else in a while. I’m a very bad person.

This weekend has been spent shopping and socialising with lovely people, seeing family and getting a bit more settled in my house. This is how weekends should be.

So right now, I’m sat here in my room talking to people on Messenger while simultaneously blogging and listening to Heart FM on my newly set up stereo on top of the cheast of drawers. Chorizo the cow and Dave the cat are sat on the right-hand speaker. My clothes rail now stands on the right of the chest of drawers, with my funky red hat and fluffy fairy lights draped over it. The place is starting to feel like home.

The Party Bus

Another night out at Bows last night (my first for a couple of months), and another crazy taxi ride back to Leam afterwards. This time, we ended up in the back of a minibus, with the ABBA and The Beach Boys medleys playing on full volume on the stereo, all the way back to Leamington. I wouldn’t have minded, had the music in the taxi not been better than what they’d been playing in Bows all night by several orders of magnitude 🙂

It wasn’t quite as scary as the minibus that me and Stu got to campus the other week with the guy who laughed out loud every time he made a rather over-enthusiastic gear change, but it’s definitely up there.

Will: Now featuring The Internet

Finally, my little computer has been once again connected up to the Internet in the new place, and life is good. I had to spend an hour joining two halves of a patch cable onto the ends of a roll of cat6 cable and sticking it all together with Blu Tack, but it was worth it in the end 🙂

Now I need some food.

Ringing in the changes

Here’s the dream: Imagine buying a phone that you plug into a network port, much like you do with a normal telephone port today. The phone connects to your home network, which in turn connects to the Internet. You dial the number of another similar phone, and the phone connects to it, across the Internet. You can call anyone who has one of these phones for as long as you like, and you don’t pay for anything, except the normal cost of your Internet connection.

Now imagine you have a mobile phone which does this. A mobile phone that connects to the Internet, via some kind of wireless network and allows you to make phone calls to other Internet phones for just the cost of the Internet connection.

Imagine the cost savings you could make when you’re not being billed extortionate amounts of money per minute for the privilege of speaking to someone – when all you’re paying for is the cost of the Internet connection. Imagine how much difference it could make if money wasn’t an issue when you want to talk to someone on the phone.

Much like Skype, you might still be charged in the traditional way when calling regular phones, but the cost of calling other Internet phones would be negligible.

Now imagine how much difference this will make to the existing telephone companies like BT. They’ve invested a hell of a lot of money in their existing infrastructure, a lot of which is looking pretty obsolete now that you have clever new IP-based protocols that can piggy-back on top of the Internet on the cheap and skirt round their charging mechanisms. Imagine what the evil capitalist telecomms companies might try to do to stop this happening, and to keep the bucks rolling in.

This is why I love disruptive technologies like open source software and voice-over-IP, and even open source voice-over-IP – because they threaten to change things in a big way, whether the big evil corporate types like it or not.