Archive for September, 2007

Those crazy Japanese

September 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Hot on the heels of, well, any number of other oddities coming out of the land of the rising sun, I bring you:

Glowing see-through cancerous frogs

What will they think of next?

Categories: Oddities

The 80s Rocked

September 24, 2007 Leave a comment

As did our 80s themed offsite. Last Thursday and Friday at a Manor house in Hertfordshire with my extended team/department. The first day was the typical business-related meeting/presentation (complete with bad 80s-related jokes) followed by an evening of Krypton Factor style activities in 80s costume. 3 of my teammates and I, all of whom were born in the 80s, decided that wearing baby clothes wouldn’t be as good as the following:


Heroes in the Half-Shell.

No expense spared, we were complete with hanging baskets for shells πŸ™‚ Further activities included Batak, which I’m sure I remember being advertised in the 80s, and that I really wanted:


(Yes, that is Freddie Mercury)

Friday was a team-building activity day, and we all agreed one of the best offsites we’ve been on. Along with the more traditional archery (which I was surprisingly good at), buggy driving, laser clay pigeon shooting we also experienced ferret racing, goose herding and some blindfold driving:


(Rachna’s the only one who could pull off the pink eyemask)

Best of all tho we got to fly some birds of prey: a number of Harris hawks and a Little Owl:


‘Little’ is the breed name as well as the fact that he was only about 6" tall (although that photo makes him look more like 6 foot…) So cool, but made so much noise! The handler guy also had an Eagle owl (big, about 2 1/2 foot high) who was quite old and had figured out that walking is easier than flying. He’d run along the ground and then fly up to your hand πŸ™‚ Ace.

Categories: Microsoft


September 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Found a new one today. Well, not new, just found out what one actually means. This stemmed from a conversation with Ina about an offsite event with my extended team I’ve got tomorrow and Friday. We’ve got an 80s-themed evening planned for tomorrow night and I’ll be dressing up as a TMNT. Should be fun. Anyway, in conversation about what weapons Raphael wields were discussed the word Tine (impressed that Wikipedia has a tag for articles about Tools). From that, my train of thought hit upon the word ‘Tyning’, which Ina (and, it would appear, Office’s spell checker) had not heard of. I think: "Sink me! At last, I can demonstrate my literary prowess by introducing Ina to a new word" and so at the next opportunity we wikipedia it. And lo:

Wootbeans. Toxic wootbeans. Not only is it actually a word, but it’s a local word from my home town! Awesome.

Categories: Words / Grammar


September 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Thanks Ina. Wonderful post which I wholly agree on. Creative advertising produces some amazing short films. My favourite, which still gets air time in Media Player is:

Wonderful. Produced by Wieden + Kennedy who also did the brilliant COG Advert:

All real, done in 1 camera shot after ~150 takes if memory serves. Great stuff.

Categories: Entertainment

SQL Spatial from Johannes Kebeck

September 9, 2007 Leave a comment

Wow. Johannes Kebeck has posted an amazing article on using SQL 2008’s spatial capabilities in conjunction with Virtual Earth to create some amazing applications. Check out the finished mashup here. I’ve been looking into doing this myself, but my SQL and Javascript skills aren’t quite up to scratch – reading his posts is teaching me just enough I think! Time to get VS fired up and give this a go…

Categories: SQL / BI

Is Apple The New Microsoft?

September 9, 2007 1 comment

Quite an interesting article to read here:,136949-c,companynews/article.html

I fully agree that Microsoft’s reputation as a monopolistic bully is rather unfair, and I really love Elgan’s points about the way the iPhone and iPod Touch have hailed as amazing innovations, but not really brought anything new to the market (apart from high prices and angry consumers). The iPhone is a cool gadget, undoubtedly, but the LG/Prada and HTC phones got there first and having played with them all I really think the iPhone leaves a lot to be desired…

Apple will never be charged with having a monopoly in the same way as Microsoft simply because of the size of its market share, which ranges from (on the desktop) 5% to 21% depending on who you believe. Competition is nothing but good for our industry, and Apple’s gains in the PC market mean Microsoft will have to continue innovating to keep up. However, the share that Apple’s iTunes holds makes it a target for monopolistic allegations; if you want an iPod, or want to use their download service, you’ve got to use the iTunes software.

My personal preference is to get DRM free music from and to play it in WMP (I suppose I should be plugging MSN music, but I’ve had too many license issues with their service to be able to recommend it. And don’t get me started on Zunes…). I can drag and drop emusic’s files onto my phone, or use WMP’s sync to device (which works excellently) and I don’t have to worry about licence certificates or any of that rubbish. Lovely.

Categories: Computer and Internet

SQL Upgrade Troubles

September 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Work related entry No. 1!

This week I have been mostly installing SQL and MOSS, and discovering just how cryptic MS error messages can be. I discovered that CTP4 of PerformancePoint Server requires Enterprise or Developer edition of SQL to install on top of. I had Standard Edition, which meant upgrading before installing PPS. Changing SQL edition means running setup.exe from a command line with "SKUUPGRADE=1" as a parameter (and it has to be in capitals…). However, if (like me) you’re creating a demo box and have SharePoint also installed, MOSS will have stolen the default website away from Reporting Services – the upgrade will only go through if you change the port number back to 80 for the default web site. Once I’d worked that out, the install process started…

And promptly stopped, with the lovely error message "There was an unexpected failure during the setup wizard". What sort of errors would be expected, one wonders? After having thought "Ugh, it’s bound to be because I’ve got MOSS installed" and spent most of the afternoon uninstalling, bit by bit, almost the whole demo image, what I eventually discovered in this kb was that installing from a mapped network drive makes SQL cry πŸ˜₯

On a more positive note, I’m starting my job as a TSP officially from October 1st πŸ˜€

Categories: SQL / BI