I always forget to update this thing. Current news in a
Man from Three: "Blah blah blah"
Me: "Please give me my PAC code".
Man from Three: "Blah blah, why? blah blah".
Man from Three: "Mutter mutter, phone you got rubbish, blah
Man from Three: "Waffle waffle, here's a better deal than I
offered you when I didn't think you'd leave, waffle waffle".
Man from Three: "Blah blah, with a phone you don't even want,
...and so on
I did eventually get my PAC code although a 2 minute
conversation took 20 minutes.
P.S. I'm loving my HTC One SV despite what the reviews say. In
your face Mr Man from Three.
So it's that time of year again (the beginning) and this year
I've decided to make a few resolutions. One of which is to blog
more (hence this post!)
Make my family my priority
I can be a very driven man. I have a long list of things I want
to do with my life (a very long list) and sometimes in my drive to
achieve these things I forget to commit enough time and love to the
things that really matter in my life. This year, I'm going to try
and put J&J first - there'll still be time for everything else
- I just need to get my priorities right.
I'm going to be concentrating on Mach & Ed festivals again
next year but I also want to do more Music Festivals, Burlesque and
Cabaret gigs. I've already started with a database of Burlesque
promoters - next is the festivals for the Summer. Festivals are
good - because J&J can come (see above :))
Aiming for once a week - alternating between Diary, Pooters,
Comedy & Music.
Write more songs
I miss writing songs with Jem - so it scratches several itches
at once (fnarf).
Start on my book
I've been planning a novel for a few years now (and wanting to
write one for over a decade). I've got an idea I really like and
some notes, just need to start writing the damn thing. I imagine
it'll take me another 10 years to write but I want 2013 to be the
year I start.
Drink less coffee
Hahahaha - yeah right.
There are lots of other things I want to do, I want to sort out
my website, I have a business in the early stages (very early but
very promising), I want to sort the house out in Wales, I want to
win the Funniest Computer Ever competition (I came second in 2012).
So much to do! Not everything this year - but as much as I can
without neglecting my family.
Happy New Year everyone.
It's been far too long since I last updated this. One of my New
Year's resolutions will probably be to update it more often. So
what's been going on?
Well - I got a contract working for JCB for 6 months (now 12
months) so have been away from our beloved Wales for ages! Should
be back next year at some point - hopefully *after* we sort the
house out. I'm working on some really cool stuff, all APIs and
I bought an iPad. Please don't judge me.
I did a show at the Edinburgh Festival - it went well. Not
spectacularly well but well enough. I should be back next year.
I have a todo list as long as my arm:
There's more but 13 will do for now (lucky for me). It's hard
finding the time for other things between being a professional
geek, an unprofessional father and a unmitigated disaster of a
husband :) but if I work hard it'll all get done. The last year or
so has taught me that:
Time for bed, I'll try and get back to updating this with a bit
more frequency - hopefully if I have more to say!
Now I've had a bit of time to play with it - I thought I'd sit
down and write out how I'm getting on with Google+. I have to say,
so far, I really like it. They seem to have learnt a lot from their
previous mistakes and even at this early stage it feels much more
like a product than Wave did in the early days.
The thing I really like about it... The people who
are on here so far. I'm sure that'll change as it gets more and
more popular - but if you look at the list of people in the UK
on http://www.findpeopleonplus.com/ I'd
say 90% of them are in the geek business in one form or another.
It's like a playground for geeks (long may that last!)
I've not tried the Hangouts yet - but if they can up the number
of people watching a Live video that would enable some cool live
comedy broadcasts (something I'm very interested in at the moment).
I recon being able to share a live streaming video with 50 other
people would be enough for an online comedy-club type
So - quick round-up of my experiences so far...
It was very quiet to start with. In order to pick
things up a bit I went on the findpeopleonplus site and added a few
random people who looked like fun and spent a bit of time looking
at friends of friends and adding people I knew. I still need more
people in my circles but it's certainly helped make the G+
experience more fun. However - this did highlight another issue
(which I believe will be fixed in a new release). When one user in
your circles is very noisy or popular - they often drown out the
others, the solution is going to be the ability to disable certain
circles from being displayed in your stream - so I'd be able to
create a "Noisy Buggers" circle rather than having to mute noisy
posts I'm not interested in.
I don't find the Sparks that interesting or useful - perhaps
this will mature over time. At the moment I just don't get it.
Maybe it's because it's very USA-centric or maybe I'm just not its
target audience. If anyone thinks this is cool and I'm overlooking
something amazing - I wait to be taught :)
My Android App doesn't work. It won't let me log in. Keeps
telling me I can't until I have an invite. I clearly have an
invite. Being honest, Google+ will never replace Facebook &
Twitter as my network of choice unless I can use it on my phone. I
know other people aren't having this problem, but I am. So
The UI is lovely, intuitive and nice and clean. I really hope
they don't give too much control when the API comes out so that it
stays nice (rather than MySpace which went messy fairly quickly as
everyone tried to make their profiles "stand out").
Creating Circles is so much easier than Facebook's friend
It's easy to share posts on Twitter & Facebook with the
following Chrome extension:
It's early enough that if you join and do something cool - you
may be able to build up an audience. It feels like the start of
something special - people are going to make their mark using
Google+ and it'll be really interesting to watch that happen.
It's full of geeks!
The Things I'm Looking Forward To:
I'll do another update in a month or so I recon.
I finally got my invite to Google+ (which I am referring to as
Google++) Thanks Kim! I was in two minds about joining as I
was an early adopter of Google Wave which I liked (and look what
happened to that!)
So I joined. Because I'm a sucker for new tech. however the
problem I have at the moment (and the problem I know a lot of
people had with Google Wave) is that I can't find many people I
know on there... Possibly because I have no friends, or possibly
because I'm lazy and want it to tell me who I already know based on
existing contacts within Facebook, Twitter etc.
I'm guessing the reason why you can't search your Facebook,
Twitter or LinkedIn accounts is because they won't let Google do
so? Which is annoying as I'll have to start manually building up
contacts on there.
The other thing which is frustrating is that I can't see any way
to get a simple link to my profile (like
www.facebook.com/owenniblock) which would be nice for posting to
other places. However I will make one with my url shortner - so
there (when I work out what the actual public url for my profile
The big question is, what does Google++ give us that we can't
get from Facebook? Well it's probably better written and the UI is
certainly very nice. I'm guessing Google learnt a lot from the
initial usability and slowdown issues on the Wave and it all seems
pretty responsive so far. The video stuff looks exciting (not used
it yet) and so it's no suprise that Facebook have announced a Skype
I guess the other thing they're trying to show is
better/different is the privacy stuff. The concept of Circles is
smart and the UI is great (loving the drag and drop). Much better
than the Friend List concept in Facebook. I'm pretty sure this will
become a feature I love (much like the Labels concept in
That's my first reaction to it. Google++ seems cool, very well
written and slick however time will tell whether (a) It gets enough
users to rival Facebook and (b) They sit it out and commit enough
to it that people commit to them. If they give up on it like they
did to Google Wave I won't be back on the Google train in a
Will report back after I've been using it a while.
I would like to put forward a theory. The more time you deal
with a particular builder, the greater the probability is of
telling that builder to fuck off. I have recently experienced this
and to illustrate, I decided to draw a graph:
There are a number of noteable features of the graph:
(0) The starting probability is > 0. This represents the
latent desire we all share when dealing with a builder for the
first time. Do I trust this person? Should I just tell them to sod
off? Will they be reliable?
(1) This is the the point in the graph where the rate of change
of the probability of telling the builder to fuck off is at it's
greatest. You feel manic, constantly up and down, you're still
trying to maintain a polite and professional front but various
things the builder does is starting to annoy. You begin to
seriously doubt the decision to hire this workman in the first
(2) The probability approaches 1. You reach a zen-like calm and
at that point you tell the builder to fuck off. He seems suprised.
You no longer care if they finish the work. Maybe you can do it
yourself (you can't) or maybe you can get someone else in to finish
off (you won't). This is the point at which the job either gets
finished or it remains unfinished for months until you get a
different builder in to do some other work so you can entice him to
finish the original job at the same time.
The process repeats ad infinitum.
I feel like I should keep up the posts on here as it's been over
a month since I last added anything to the diary section. However I
also feel like I've started too strong and now whatever I write
will not be as interesting as being cut open or creating
However, what have I been doing lately? Working,
Dadding and Gigging really. I've taken on the role of Technical
Architect at Sequence for the
Contracts Finder government site. So been spending a lot of time
working on that. Jazzy has a cold and is back to teething (finally
got more teeth coming through!) so I've been trying to help Jem out
as much as I can and then I've been doing a few gigs here and
there. Got a Burlesque gig in Plymouth tomorrow (Grosvenor Casino
if you're interested).
Doing a thing for The Outhouse Movement soon and really pleased
that Jem's going to get up on stage and sing again. She's a great
singer and it'll be nice to see her getting back into it.
Last week was mostly spend on a Microsoft .Net 4 training
course. I've got to take the test now although I think I'm going to
wait a little while until my work-load eases a bit so I can at
least do some revision. It was nice to get some formal training
(I've never had training beyond my degree and Google-learning)
although we could have taught it to ourselves given the same amount
of time and a book.
In other news, I've decided that I'm going to do a computer show
next year (hopefully leading up to a show in Edinburgh). This has
mainly been spurred on by the computer list and going to
Mach Comedy Festival again. So I've started thinking about that and
what I'm going to do. Have loads of ideas, just have to try and
simplify them, write them and write the material. Hoping to get all
the coding done by the end of this year and then spend my spare
time (ha!) working on material from the start of next year.
And finally, got a few festivals booked again this year :D back
to Green Man and Farmer Phil's and festival I've not been to before
Hope you're all good. Drop me an email and keep in touch.
For some reason this got deleted! Must not have added it to my
local dev system. Readded thanks to Google Cache :)
I recently turned 30 (I shan't say
exactly when because then you'll know my date of birth and be able
to clone me or something). I had a lovely day. Coming up is a
"here's wot I did on my holidays" type diary entry...
Jem squirrelled all of my presents away in the car the night
before (because she's clever and normally I open all of my presents
when I first get up in the morning -- Ok, that's a lie, when I
first get up in the afternoon). This was my first birthday with a
child and so there was no late afternoon lie-in in the offing
unfortunately. Anyway, we had things to do! So I could get to open
First up was the long drive to the Midlands (only my second time
in the car since my op and the first was a little test drive). Went
OK. Herbert behaved himself and everyone was happy. I also wore
prescription sunglasses (that's important -- they are the first and
only pair of sunglasses I've ever owned which I can see with.
Amazing!) We stopped off in Balsall Common (boy racer city) so Jem
could have her hair cut and dyed. While we waited, Jazzy took me to
the park to have a play for my birthday. First we walked around a
bit, then we walked around some more and then came my birthday
suprise. A massive Jazzy-poo! After I had unwrapped my first
present of the day (and hastily re-wrapped it) we went back to see
if Jem's hair was dead yet (in the words of Jazzy:
"Deaddeaddeaddeaddead"). She was almost ready so we sat and waited
and Jazzy cried. Possibly because I hadn't said thankyou for my
Jem's new deaded hair looked lovely.
We went to Hoar Park near my parents. Not whore park as I prefer
to refer to it as. Everything was closing up when we got there but
I got a bottle of beer and we sat and had a drink, then took Jazzy
for a walk. She must have tired legs by now!
Eventually we were allowed to go to my parents -- by this point
I figured something suspicious was happening. This was confirmed by
the number of cars outside my parents house. Someone had broken in!
Or maybe it was a suprise party? Or my parents had forgotten and
were having a bbq (they weren't -- they were in Malta).
The party was lovely, lots of people there who I hadn't seen for
ages. A lovely polypin of Goat's Milk from the wonderful Church End
Brewery and lots of nommy party food. Jazzy spent much of the time
I didn't even get round to opening my cards and presents until
some time around midnight!
I also got an amazing and humbling number of messages on
Facebook and Twitter. It really made my day. So thank you all for
making it a really special day.
Clearly, what every geek wants for his birthday is his own
personal url shortner (a la bit.ly) with the work "geek" in it. So
I got myself that for my birthday and I'm enjoying it greatly (even
though my birthday isn't until Saturday - shh!) It's http://geek.tl
- because I'm worth it.
Using my usual technique of jumping in and doing something
before I've researched it properly I have used http://yourls.org/ (It's got a
short url, how could it be bad?) It didn't really take a geek to
set it up - although as I'm running a Windows server I had to do a
bit of fiddling about to get it up and running (you lucky lucky
Apache guys can ignore some of this).
Here's wot I did to make it werk:
Things I would like to do in future but will never
find the time:
It seems OK so far - the only thing I've noticed that is
decidedly different to bit.ly is that Twitter doesn't do the "look
ahead" so when you hover over the bit.ly url it tells you the full
url, whereas geek.tl doesn't - if anyone knows why that is, let me
Why do we shorten our urls? Because we are communicating in ever
smaller shorter sentences due to lack of time and interest leading
ultimately to the destruction of our language and returning us to
communication in mono-syllables.
If anyone wants their own url shortner (perhaps as a gift) I can
sort that out for you (I won't even charge you much). Just get in