Friday, May 20, 2005

Grease Monkey

This is a neat add-in for google maps. Install grease monkey into firefox, and then this little add-in to make your mouse wheel control the zoom slide bar.

For real power addicts download Nasa's World Wind. Very, very cool! Even my wife agreed and she is not a techy fan!

Smoking - the solution

How socially unacceptable is this habit. Last night at the Moby gig (Brixton Academy) I got sick to death of people blowing smoke in my face.

I propose a compulsory attachment to cigarettes which forces all smoke back into the lungs of the smoker. Lets see how many people carry on with that.

Also non-smoking areas in restaurants. What's the point. You're still only 5 metres from smokers.

And, even worse - the smokers who won't smoke when they are eating, but light up as soon as they've finished even though I, the non smoker, am sat on the next table - and then are really annoyed when you point this out to them and ask them to put it out. What a selfish race of people they are.

If you want to smoke then by all means do - just don't expect me to breathe your smoke in. You choose to smoke it, so you should have it all, to yourself... My gift to you. I'm kind like that.

Twisting tale

So things have moved on a little bit.

  • The "spec-changing" job is now dead and buried and good riddance to it.
  • The 3 interviews job are now aware that I've turned down previous job and am not pushing for an answer any more (this is a very good move as I don't want to hurry them).
  • A 3rd job has surfaced, this time down in Docklands. I should have an interview on Monday with them.
The weekends looking up!


I feel like I've been kicked in the guts. I got offered one of the jobs that I interviewed for on Wednesday.

The spec was for a c# / developer, the interview was as-well. The offer was for the very same job... Until today that is when the manager decided to alter the job to a VB6 COM role. Is that legal? It shouldn't be! I'm still a bit shocked for the audacity of someone to do such a thing.
Needless to say the job has been immediately turned down so I'm pinning my (diminishing) hopes on the other job that I've had 3 interviews for.

Looks like Sicily could be spent in and out of internet cafes applying for jobs. Wonderful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Glazer effect


What is going on here. Now I'm not a Manchester United fan, but I can't help feel worried for the club given that Malcom Glazer has managed to borrow millions of pounds, and we're talking over 500 million, from various banks to buy 75% of the shares. That's instantly made one of the most profitable soccer clubs in the country (probably world) one of the biggest debters.

I know Manchester United are listed on the Stock Exchange which makes them perfectly reasonable targets for such actions, but this guy must have the most amazing business plan to be able to repay not only the interest on the loans, but the loans themselves.

I can understand someone like Roman Abramovich with his billions wanting a toy team - and at least he does show up on Saturday afternoons to cheer Chelski on, but Glazer's intentions trouble me. All I've read so far points to him as someone who will squeeze every penny however he can be it increasing ticket prices, pulling out of the collective TV rights deal, or trying to push United as a global brand. 5 years ago bus shelters in Kuala Lumpar were emblazoned with United's logo and they are already massive across Asia. The rest of the world (not including USA) are already fanatical about footy but have their own teams. And I can't see him pushing them in the US as they already have their own "world" sports.

Not a good week for UK football. Congratulations to the Baggies on staying up. The other 3, we'll see you at Turf Moor next year!!

30th birthday

Mine is fast approaching now (2nd July) and people are starting to ask me about what I'd like for it.

I always find it tricky to think up what I'd like. A few months ago I was after a Mac Mini but I've gone off that idea. I've read quite a few articles talking about the $$$ you need to bring them upto a 1/2 decent spec.

My wife put a great idea in my head the other week though - a Gibson Les Paul Standard edition. They aren't too expensive, they look beautiful and they sound very, very deep and mellow. I've got a big Fender Studio Pro 40 amp that I could chop in as-well to help finance it (I know it's my birthday but I'm not into mass expenditure!) My current electric guitar is a very old Fender Squire Strat copy. I bought it with my 1st student loan back in 1993 and it's showing every bit of that age (not in a way that good guitars age though).

BTW - colour would be either Gecko or Root Beer. I think.

Hmm, very very tempting!

Asp.Net Development Helper

This looks neat - my friend Richard Birkby has put together a Firefox version.

This morning I'd thought I'd try and help out by building the viewstate parser for Firefox. He beat me to it though. However it only works for Asp.Net 2.0.

My parser is a bit brute force compared to Rich's, but it might be useful for .Net 1.1 users to have a firefox sidebar showing the ViewState breakdown. Plus it'll be a nice introduction to writing XUL widgits.

Interviews, interviews everywhere

Could be a good week -

I've got two interviews lined up for Wednesday. One, and this takes some believing, is the one where I was rejected last week (the agent relayed that I might be bored at the job). Anyway, as I said before I've really liked who I've spoken to there so far.

And I've also one lined up just after that in the city again. This one is an interview directly with the manager and team lead - no techy screening interview here.

So maybe I'll be able to come back from Sicily straight into a job... And how is the weather currently looking in Sicily? Well better than here! Palermo is hovering around the mid to high 20's. That'll do nicely!

A bit of Bowie

I used to know a guy at college who was a mad David Bowie fan. He used to think he was gay when he was a kid because he liked Bowie so much!

I don't know much Bowie but Hunky Dory is permanently on my car radio. So I expanded my collection at Fopp Records on Shaftesbury Avenue last week with Ziggy Stardust. Five quid - what a bargain!

Also I was amazed to see pretty much all New Orders back catalogue for a fiver each. That is seriously dangerous for after beer shopping!

The Flaming Lips

I borrowed this from my brother last week - it's superb.

Favourite tracks:

Fight Test
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt.1

(what a great name for a track!)

Also borrowed the new Doves album. Again seriously worth listening to.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Still between jobs

So, another week goes by and I'm still looking for a job.

I got pretty close on Wednesday! At my 2nd interview I passed the techie test with flying colours, thought I got on with the 2 guys really well. Unfortunately they decided not to invite me back for the 3rd. But they recommended I go for a more senior position instead.

So I went for the other job interview on Friday but didn't feel a connection with the guy who interviewed me, as-well as messing up a couple of questions.

Just as the weekend looked to be going down I found out about another job interview I'll have next week agt another bank! So fingers crossed for that one.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Windows Server 2003

I've just installed this. I've no experience of using this and was intrigued by IIS6.
I like the idea of things like Process Recycling. Something amuses me about the thought of an application which eats up memory. The conversation in the team goes like:

PM: So, we're chewing up 100Mb of memory every 5 minutes. Seems like we've got problems with our app. Any suggestions?

Dev 1: Yeah - let's get deep down into the app and look for memory leaks.

Dev 2: Yeah - give us a few weeks and we can work out why it's not working.

PM: No - let's use process recycling. Every 5 minutes we can tear down the application and let it restart. That'll give us all the memory we've eaten back.

Heh heh! I like it!

Second interview

Cool - just got wind that I've got a 2nd interview. Great news. I had a technical screening phone call this morning where they asked a bunch of questions on C#, Asp.Net, Sql Server & XSLT.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Moby / New Order

Cool - just listening to the new Moby album and I've hit track 6, his cover of the mighty New Order's Temptation.

This really brings back memories to me of growing up in Northern England. My good friend's brother was a through and through Manc and kept introducing us to bands like New Order, A Certain Ratio, Happy Mondays, etc, etc.

I'm off to see Moby at Brixton Academy in a few weeks time so I think this is a good omen!

My first entry

So then, I've finally succomed and started a blog!

I'm an IT Contractor based in London who is currently between contracts so I thought I'd blog a bit on my experiences in finding a job.

I've managed to line up a phone interview for some C#.Net work tomorrow morning so fingers crossed it all goes well. I've found it quite interesting looking at the market about the amount of advertisements which seem to amount to nothing.

And, to make it worse the snooker's finished. There's only so many times a man can search for jobs in a day! It's DVD time so I'm starting off with The Bourne Identity this afternoon!

Other than that, all I have to ask is does anyone know how to un-install sql express and C# express. I've tried uninstalling / using a little app that I fell upon but to no avail. The install now fails every time! Bugger. I can't fdisk either - my wife kills me every time I spend 1/2 day putting my laptop back together!