Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Meh day and nightmare journey home, steak and American Horror Story

It was definitely one of those days today. Made my train by the skin of my teeth. The meh feeling definitely continued at work today. On the plus side it was still a fairly productive day and I managed to get lots done.

The journey home was a real nightmare. A slight delay turned into the train getting terminated at Wickford. There was a thirty minute wait for the next train which then got extended due to that one being delayed! The reason for all this chaos.... a guard didn't turn up! It could have taken a lot longer to get home so I guess I should be glad of that but it was still a pain in the butt!

Finally made it home to find a nice cup of tea waiting for me courtesy of Sam.  Things got much better after that as Sam prepared me a very very nice dinner. Steak and chips, YES! Dinner was accompanied by Merlin.

Next up tonight I embarked on a new TV series, American Horror Story. I've read mixed views about it but I tout it was pretty good. It started very well with lots of potential hooks and twists to keep you engaged as the series progresses.

Here's a trailer for American Horror Story to whet your appetite....

Monday, 28 November 2011

Bad day, moving plans progressing, Misfits and The Walking Dead

Well today got off to a bad start thanks to some signal problems at Lewisham which added an extra 30 minutes to my travel. I'll be honest and say that work wasn't that great either. Morale is pretty low all round which isn't good.

Back to SWF tonight and after dinner Sophie and I went round to see Charlotte (my landlady) to arrange for Sophie to take over the property when I move to London. So far so good and she will take over the property on 26th December and then I can start making the transition to London. Sam will stay with Sophie in the short term until Toni and I find a new property to move into in London.

Finished off the day catching up with Misfits and then the last two episodes of The Walking Dead. The second series had started to be a bit slow but it has suddenly got interesting again. Now I have to wait until next week, bugger!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Warhammer World

Today was nerd day. Yes I am a nerd. My name is KT and I play Warhammer. So there! After breakfast we scooted off to Warhammer World to meet Shaggy and engage in a little 40K kill points goodness. Sadly Toni opted out of playing as she was still under the weather so she sent her time chilling out and drinking coffee in Bugman's Bar.

Sam and Aaron kicked off proceedings with a Dark Eldar v Orks encounter with the Dark Eldar coming out victorious.

Shaggy and I then went head to head with Necrons v Eldar. Sadly the Eldar started well but soon started to flag with the Necrons delivering a sound butt kicking by the end of the game.

We then enjoyed a very filling, and great value for money, meal in Bugman's bar before saying our goodbyes and heading back on the road to return down south.

Having played a lot of Fantasy recently it was nice to play a 40K game again and we have all resolved to try and play one of the systems at least one a month from now on. We are also planning on returning to Warhammer World early next year.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Darkend Festival @ Old Angel Inn

Toni and I headed down to the Old Angel Inn tonight to go to the Darkend Festival. What we got for an outrageously low ticket price was four great bands and a great atmosphere. Sadly Toni was still a little under the weather so she wasn't as bouncy as usual but she still had a good time.

A great set of old and new songs with their unique style and Nel sporting a lovely dress that lit up. 

See all the DYONISIS pics here: 261111DyonisisDarkendFestival

It was great to finally get to see Lupine at last. Some old tracks saw the light of day and the new stuff is sounding amazing. Can't wait for the next album. Lemmy seemed to be having a great time up on stage and thumbs up to him for putting the event on. Trev Bamford (of Midnight Configuration) joined Lupine for the final number.

See all the LUPINE pics here: 261111LupineDarkendFestival

History was made tonight as Midnight Configuration played their last ever gig. It was a good one too so if you missed this, you missed out! A good set of classic Midnight Configuration songs was delivered with Mr Bamford looking like he was having a ball on his final outing with MC. Not Toni's cup of tea but I loved them! And yes, they did manage to throw No Limit in there!

See all the MIDNIGHT CONFIGURATION pics here: 261111MidnightConfigurationDarkendFestival

Another band that I was delighted to finally catch live as I have a habit of missing them wherever they play. Inkubus Sukkubus was really good with a great mix of old and new songs and some of their classics. Well worth waiting for and definitely one to watch again.

It was a cracking night and we really enjoyed ourslelves. Was nice to see DJ Wolfman and DJ Armand too.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Day off, packing and heading to Nottingham

Had a lovely day off today, it was much needed! Opted out of a long sleep in favour of spending time with Sophie, Scarlett and Kenzie.

I finally managed to get a load of CDs packed up ready for the big move with Scarlett assisting me, sort of! Unsurprisingly I ran out of boxes before I ran out of CDs to pack.

It was a good day and included reading stories, a trip to the shops as well as watching Bridesmaids.

Shower, food and packing was followed by waiting for Toni and Aaron to arrive. One caffeine shot later and we loaded up the car, stocked up on sweets and then hit the road and headed for the Holiday Inn in Nottingham town centre ready for a fun packed weekend.

Amazing what you find on Google!

I did a search on Google today. It was for an old energy drink made by Virgin that I used to really like that I haven't seen in shops for a LONG time. Now we all know how Google image searches work, especially with safe mode off, so can you imagine the results that came back when I typed in PURPLE STIMULATOR!!!! Don't try this at home kids!

Virgin Purple Stimulator (try saying that with a straight face) was actually a very nice energy drink and wasn't as sweet or chemical as some of the beasts we have today. If anyone has seen it in a shop somewhere please let me know!

Testing Posterous with Blogger


This is a test of Posterous to see how it fares with auto posting to my blogger account. I've been experiencing a problem with my iPad Blogger app which still hasn't been fixed yet so I'm looking for a work around while I am on the move.

The real question is whether or not it will cope with the autoposting of media or not.

So here goes, if this works some images will appear on my Blog. If not then the test has failed!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 - hardware, navigation & software

Let's start with the tech spec so you know exactly what the Nokia Lumia 800 is all about. Please hang in there as its a bit long *grin*

3.7” ClearBlack AMOLED display with WVGA 800x480 resolution
16 million colours
Standby UI Windows keys integrated with display
Capacitive touch screen with pinch zoom
2.5D curved glass seamlessly integrated to unibody
Keys and input methods
Home screen tiles
Ring tones
Changeable colour themes
Power Management
BV-5JW Battery (embedded) 1450 mAh
Talk time (maximum):
GSM up to 13 h
WCDMA up to 9.5 h
Standby time (maximum):
GSM up to 265 h
WCDMA up to 335 h
Video playback time up to 6.5 h
Music playback time (maximum) up to 55 h
Browsing (WLAN, maximum) up to 6.5 h
Browsing (3G HSDPA, maximum) up to 4.5 h
Operation times may vary depending on radio access technology used, operator network configuration and usage.
512 MB program memory
16 GB internal user memory
25 GB Skydrive
Operating Frequency
GSM/EGSM 850/900/1800/1900
WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 I/II/V
Data Network
WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n with 2.4 GHz
HSDPA CAT 10 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA CAT 6 5.76 Mbps
Requires data service. Data services may not be available in all networks. Data transmission speeds may be as high as HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, but may vary based upon network capabilities and other conditions. The establishment and continuation of a data connection depends on network availability, provider support and signal strength.
Accelerometer, proximity sensor, Magnetometer, ALS
WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n with 2.4GHz
USB 2.0 high-speed through micro USB connector
Bluetooth wireless technology 2.1
3.5 mm AHJ connector

The handset is gorgeous. It fits well in the hand and feels very solid and not flimsy like some of the new Android handsets. All the buttons are easy to reach and are very responsive. The screen is bright and clear and is also very responsive.

There are three things that will draw criticism on the Nokia Lumia 800:

1) the battery is sealed into the unit so there is no chance to replace it.

2) the USB port is hidden behind a cover (albeit with a nifty opening mechanism) but once it is opened it feels flimsy and I am sure that these will be snapping off once they start suffering the ardours of day to day battle use.  Aesthetically pleasing yes but not practical.

3) the camera is particularly substandard for a new £450 smartphone. For an 8 megapixel camera the quality was very poor and the results were no better than my current iPhone 3GS. At least it has a flash though.

Software wise we have Windows Phone 7.5 which is very simple to use. There are essentially two screens to use. Tiles on the home page which can be ordered as you see fit and then a list of apps and function on the second page. There is no default ability to group apps, or move them to different pages. This is fine as long as you don't have a lot of apps. Due to just having the two pages navigation is really easy. Button wise at the bottom of the screen you have a back button, Windows home and search

Nokia Drive is a satnav app that is part of the OS which is handy as well as Microsofts phone offering of Office. Local Scout is one of my favourite OS apps as it finds your location and then reports back on local places to eat & drink, places to go and also shops. Marketplace takes you to the Microsoftt app store and App Highlights gives a handy reference to highly rated and recommedned apps. Oddly there was duplication with some of the default apps. Why do we need Bing Maps as well as Nokia Maps? Similarly with Zune and Nokia Music?

The model that I received also had a number of apps pre-installed, British Airways, Ministry Of Sound Radio, eBay and Sky News to kick things off. Needless to say the Marketplace contains lots of free and paid for apps with the catalogue growing every day.

Although of no use to me I guess one of the really nice apps for users of the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live is the Games app. You can hook up your Xbox Live profile so that you can see your animated avatar and interact with Live and other users too not to mention the games that are also available. This would be a major bonus if I was looking for a new phone and had an Xbox 360.

Overall though it's a thumbs up for the hardware and software.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 - contacts, email and social media

Once you've added some accounts your contacts will be pulled in automatically. These are all aggregated in the People App. Duplicate entries can appear if the same people exist in different address books but these can be filtered out very simply by reducing the number of address books shown. Groups can be set up to keep logical contacts together, ie Work, Family etc.

Swipe left and you are given a live stream of updates from across all the social networks that you have configured. You can interact with the updates in this stream too. This is a very nice feature and saves having to install a third party app (which you can do of course). A swipe to the left and a list of all the contacts you have recently interacted with.

When you actually open up a contact, the usual detail is attached but if you have setup a social account like Facebook or Twitter then you also get options to interact via those services on a contact record, ie Post On A Wall.

Swipe left and all their latest social media activity will appear, based on what accounts you have set up for yourself. A further swipe to the left gives you the photos that your contact has shared across various social networks. The final left swipe shows any recent interaction you've had with your contact.

The contacts implementation is slick and intuitive and for me is the best thing about the Nokia Lumia 8 with Windows Phone.

When accounts are added Windows Phone also adds email Apps for those accounts and also starts downloading an initial set of emails. There is no default unified inbox and all email accounts are kept in separate tiles so you can't flip between accounts from one app. You can link inboxes manually which will create a unified inbox of sorts. Any linked accounts the have their app takes removed and a new Linked Inbox appears. Unlinking is fairly easy and reverse the process and reinstates tiles for unlinked accounts.

Default view is all in an inbox. Swipe left and you'll get Unread messages only. Swiping left again will give you Flagged messages with a further swipe revealing those that are Urgent. Sending emails is easy as is replying, forwarding and deleting.

I think the contact, email and social implementation is one of the best parts of Windows Phone with a fresh approach and simplicity. The fact that you don't actually have to install any social media apps is pretty cool although if you are a due hard user of Facebook or Twitter then I am sure the apps offer additional features and value add.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Last.FM listening post

Apologies if these charts don't appear properly. There is a problem with Last.FM that I am waiting for them to fix.

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 - music and video

First port of call today in my test drive of the Nokia Lumiere 800 phone is centred around music (and video).

Just like Apple's iPhone there is no ablity to simply plug into USB and drag and drop into a folder in Windows Explorer to manage music. Instead of iTunes we now get forced to install Microsoft's Zune software. At 100MB this wasn't a small download.

Zune is the only way to manage your phone from a machine especially if you want to import your own music. Setup was easy and once the necessary Windows Live information has been entered (or created) and various naming things set up we were sort of ready to go.

Once into Zune it was easy enough to import my music collection. Annoyingly it did take a couple of goes for my phone to show up in Zune. Getting songs onto the phone was a simple case of drag and drop onto a device icon and the import began immediately so there is no need to click a sync button. On the other hand if you change your mind you'll have to cancel the sync or delete from the phone.

Minor niggles aside, it was quick and easy to import music. The only downside is the fact that you have to use Zune at all. There is method to the madness however as, like iTunes, Zune will keep track of an backup your apps.

The Zune player is easy to use on both phone and PC. The quality of sound on the Nokia handset is very good. Just like the iTunes Genius system, the Zune player also has SmartDJ options. The controls are easy to use and tracks can be moved on or back using standard icons or swipe gestures. Pause, next and back icons appear on the lock screen to give easy access. Change the volume and once again the pause, next and back buttons appear.

You can access your music and videos, podcasts and radio via the Zune app. Needless to say you also get access to the Windows Live Marketplace to allow you to buy music should you so wish. Prices are comparable with iTunes and you can stream 30 second samples of songs before you buy. One downside of this is the integration with the player which means that you'll have to reload your current music to continue playing as it remembers your samples from the store which for me was quite irritating. It would have been better if the samples were just played in the store.

Also offered is the Zune Music Pass. A Spotify style affair that gives you unlimited music streaming to your phone, PC and Xbox 360. They offer a 14 day free trial and then it's £8.99 a month or £89.90 for a year after that.

Nokia have bundled up their own Nokia Music app too. This integrates with the Zune player and gives you access to your music content on the phone as well as a host of other features. There's Mix Radio (giving free access to genre related streamed playlists). Probably one of the best value adds on this phone however is the Gigs item. Click on this and the phone will pop off via GPS and report back with any gigs over the next couple of days in your immediate vacinity. Oddly the Nokia Music app has access to the Nokia MP3 Store, which requires a different account to the Windows Live Marketplace and doesn’t offer a sign up feature so I have no idea if that is any good or not as I don’t actually have a Nokia account. Not sure having two competing music stores on the same phone is a good idea myself and could get frightfully confusing if you forget what you bought where.

Overall though, the music experience is mighty fine with good quality playback. Videos are also good although the size of the screen does make it’s use a little limited.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 with Windows Phone - initial thoughts

After work today I went to Nokia House in Soho to go and pick my nice shiny new Nokia Lumia 800 with Windows Phone. After an hour of refreshments, setup and demonstrations I was let out into the wild to go and play with my new toy.

Although the phone will be available in black, cyan and magenta, the black model is the only one available at present.

I'll be reviewing this new phone over the next couple of weeks through my blog so expect lots of mini updates as I uncover new things. Will it break my love of all things Apple, is it a contender and what threat is it to Android phones? All this and more will be coming soon.

First impression is that it's a very slick device. If you have a Windows Live account, social networking is your thing and/or you are an Xbox 360 gamer then this phone will definitely appeal to you as these are two areas where it really comes alive. I'll be expanding on both of these areas once I've played with them more.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Lurgs, Hastings, Chinese food and films

Woke up this morning and the cold was in full effect, barbed wire throat and cough, streaming eyes and blocked nose, deep joy!

After a quick breakfast Toni and I decided to go to Hastings, I figured the fresh air might do me some good as it was a nice day.

It's nice to see that Hastings never changes (apart from the cliffs which are slowly collapsing) and I was delighted to see the cliff lift still working.

Toni all smiley and yummy

KT feeling like shit and feeling it too

Nice to see the fisherman's huts still intact

We started off walking through the old town and discovered and amazing bookshop. It was wall to wall, and floor to ceiling books. There was hardly room to move in there but it was an amazing treasure trove of goodies. We walked away with five books and it was just as well we weren't spending longer in there as that could have been fatal.

Refreshment came courtesy of Costa Coffee and a chance to chill before stocking up on cold busting drug remedies in Boots. We then popped into Waterstones as they were having a Steampunk day. It was very nice to see this genre getting a push rather than languishing in the shadows of the Sci-fi and Fantasy section. As we had already bought a load of books our wallets were spared another bashing LOL. Our final shopping trip was a therapeutic hosiery session in Marks & Spencer which Toni and I both love doing. It's such a joy to be able to share this with her *grin*

Once back at Pam's we relaxed and watched Seven Years In Tibet. Somehow I had managed to not see this over the years so it was good to finally see it. I thought it was an excellent film and if you haven't seen it, you should.

Chinese food was ordered and then we watched a programme on short actors which was followed by The Station Agent. This starred short actor Peter Dinklage, of Game Of Thrones fame. It was an interesting film, quite different but really good. It's nice to be taken by surprise by a film and this one is definitely one to watch if you get a chance.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 18 November 2011

Rough day, Three, El Bandito & Bexhill On Sea

It's been a bit of a rough old day. Last night I started coming down with mum's cold and sadly it was no better by the morning. Work was done on a healthy diet of fluids, throat lozengers and Heinz Cream Of Tomato Soup!

I managed to struggle through the day although I was somewhat sluggish and it was a great relief to reach the end of the day.

After work I popped in to a Three shop to pick up a Pay As You Go micro sim card. You'll find out why on Monday but it's all quite exciting,

I dragged myself back to Eltham and Toni and I packed up some stuff loaded up the car. Gemima went off with Nick for the weekend, Aaron went to Gail's and Toni and I went for dinner at El Bandito. Sadly we couldn't stay for long due to a massive booking that they had so suitably fed we then hit the road and headed out on the highway to visit Pam (Toni's nan) in Bexhill On Sea.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Happy Anniversary darling!

Happy Anniversary to my darling Toni!
It's been four years today, a wonderful exciting four years!

Here's to many more!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Good couple of days off

Had a good couple of days off. Was lovely having mum here even if it did feel a little crowded at times with babies running in all directions!

Had a chance to play some Uncharted 3 and also Portal 2. I finished reading Terry Pratchett's Snuff which is a damn good read, highly recommended. Even managed some bass practice in preparation for Orpheum recording. Still managed to not do a lot of the things that I want, and need, to but the time off was most welcome nonetheless.

Back to work tomorrow and no doubt the relaxed feeling I currently have will melt away quicker than a quick thing!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Monday, 14 November 2011

Late work, if I only had a clone, Gemima's birthday meal & an old friend

Had to work late tonight. This is a rare occurrence but due to a meeting overrunning I was behind on a tight deadline which left me making up time. Normally this would be no big deal but it was also a day when I needed to be getting on with things and leaving on time. Thankfully I made the deadline and the delivery was sent to the client and I even managed to make my evening meeting on time (just)

Today was one of those days where I wish I had a clone. Being in two places at one time and meeting everybody's expectations can be so damn difficult at times. Whatever decision I had made today would have left someone upset (as upsetting everyone was not an option!). Fingers crossed it's all OK by tomorrow!

So, decision having been made I met Toni, Aaron and Gemima at The Ladywell Tavern for Gemima's birthday meal. We had it there as Jade was working there tonight and had recommended the food. It was a good night (despite me feeling rotten about having to make a decision) and the food was indeed delicious.

A guy walked into the pub who looked like an old school friend. Toni wasn't sure if it was him or not so I looked him up on Facebook and the photo confirmed that it was him. I then took his mobile number from Facebook and sent him an anonymous text asking him where he was? We could see him at the bar looking a little puzzled. I then sent an additional text saying "Are you at the Ladywell Tavern". This clearly disturbed him slightly and he started looking around the pub to see if he recognised anyone. Toni and I were chuckling to each other and then he spotted us! Enter Andrew Mills, old school friend who neither of us have seen for 25 years! Turned out The Ladywell Tavern was his local. What a small world!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Weekend was most certainly NOT as planned!

Well after an excellent Friday the weekend slowly unravelled itself :o(

Saturday started OK with mum and Sophie taking the kids out and then Toni, Sam and I shipping out to the lightbulb cafe for a big breakfast. We then came back and chilled and watched some Vampire Diaries until mum and Sophie returned.

Toni and I went and dyed out hair ready for heading to London for the Nosferatu gig. Just before we were about to go Toni had a call that meant that we had to cancel plans for going to the gig as there was a chance Nick might have to go to hospital and Gemima would need picking up. Toni also had to sleep off a couple of glasses of wine first so we ended up driving back to Eltham at 2am just in case she got another call in the night (Jade and her friend Lucy were on standby pending us getting back to London)!

After getting back to Eltham and making sure that everything was OK we managed to get a little sleep. Toni then got an early morning call from Gail saying that she needed to go to hospital. We quickly got dressed and then rushed over to Gail's and waited for the ambulance to arrive.

The rest of the day was spent at King's Hospital with Gail. Fortunately it didn't seem to be anything too serious and although they decided to keep her in for observations overnight we at least managed to leave knowing that she was settled and stable. As we'd not had a chance to eat we then headed to the O2 to grab some food at Franky and Bennie's. We were treated to hordes of Rhianna fans while we were there (as she was gigging that night). They were certainly interesting to watch if nothing else.

Suitably stuffed we then headed back to Toni's. The plan had been to attend the Sisters Of Mercy gig at The Roundhouse but sadly Toni was completely knackered and just wasn't up for it and I was flagging fast too so the decision was made to skip that which was a real bummer :o(  I could have gone on my own but really didn't fancy it and despite last ditch efforts couldn't find anyone who wanted to come with me.

To pass the time while Toni slept I kept an eye on the Edinburgh Capitals v Belfast Giants score. That didn't really cheer me up much either with them losing 2 - 8!!!!

Ho hum, NOT a weekend that went well at all really (1 potential hospital case, 1 hospital case and 2 missed gigs) but I guess these things are sent to try us. Hopefully the universe might start smiling on us a little bit this week otherwise I think Toni's brain might just melt!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Wicca Moon, potential venue, steak, hospital and warm up Xmas dinner

Today was the first of many days off that I will be taking off between now and New Year. Toni and I started the day with a trip to Wicca Moon to investigate hand fasting services. As fortune would have it they offer this themselves so it looks like we will be sorted on that front.

Next stop was a potential venue for the wedding next year. The place we went to was really nice and the grounds are gorgeous. We shall be starting discussions with them to see if they can help us with our requirements. I hope they can as it's a really nice place. Whilst there we met Jesus The Duck, he walks on water...

Turns out Jesus was a fraud and he was walking on a submerged plank!

We discovered a wonderful steak house too where Toni and I indulged. I was most impressed with the salt and pepper:

As is customary with steak we were provided with sharp knives. These however were something special, it was more Crocodile Dundee than steak knife!
Call that a knife?

The next part of the day wasn't so much fun as we had to go to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Toni had to have a scan which was most unpleasant for her and we have to wait a week for the results :o(

With the nastiness out of the way and one school run and child pick up later and Toni and I were whizzing off to SWF. We had to make a quick wine run to Asda and this really tickled me, 'well hung and meaty'

When we got back home we were treated to a warm up Xmas dinner which was delightful! Turkey, bacon, sausage, stuffing and roast potatoes and veggies, YUMMY! Great idea mum!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad