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In The Middle Of It All…

Posted by | Posted in Technology, The 9-To-5 Droll | Posted on 29-12-2008

…and by “it all” I mean “the festivities, but I still have to go back to work”.

Still, you can’t win ’em all. I have had three three-day working weeks in a row, which is awesome because it means I’ve had more time off work than I have at work. I’ve noticed that there are certain things that I tend not to get done so much while I’m not at work – and I don’t mean the work stuff I should be doing at work. Posting on this blog, and also going down the gym, are the two things that I never seem to manage outside of working hours. That, and reading the BBC tech news site, deleting my spam emails, and keeping up with the goings-on on various forums.

Speaking of gym activities – I’m off to the gym after work today. I haven’t been to the gym since last monday (that’s a solid week for the mathmatically-challenged) due to it being closed for Christmas. In fact, this will only be the third time in two weeks that I’ve made it down there. Still, I knew it would happen over Christmas, so I haven’t been put off by the fact that everything I gained over the last 6 weeks I have now lost in the space of about four days. Time to start again methinks!

As far as Christmas went, it was actually quite good. I got to see some family and friends for a change, and I spent a great deal of the last four days rather less than sober. Still, it’s what Christmas is all about! That, and New Year’s Eve. Talking of the new year, it’s looking likely that I’ll be attending a small get-together/party after work on Wednesday, although I won’t be DJing for a couple of hours as I had previously hinted at. I have to say, it’s come as no surprise, as even though the people who are likely to go to this party aren’t the sort of people to appreciate my tunes, I just wouldn’t be able to ship my gear to said houseparty in time for the big day anyway. As ever, work would get in the way. Still, going to a party and not DJing is better than not doing anything at all. Or just sitting down a pub and hoping for the best, at least. Like I did last year. Last year’s NYE celebrations turned out quite well, though, despite being totally random.

Speaking of totally random – a mate of mine has decided to set up a website which (from what I can tell) aims to be a social network for the creative-inclined populus of the country. MiniBlahs is basically a place that allows creative people (most likely the creative student-like bunch that go off to fanny about at uni) to share ideas and collaborate on projects. You can create your own personal blogs, invite people to groups, and start forums about various creative topics. It’s pretty much the same thing that you can do on a lot of other social networks, but with the aim of bringing the creative people together in one place. Although he originally created it for his “peeps” at uni, it’s open to anyone to use.

In other tech-related shindigs, a first beta version of Windows 7, originally scheduled to be released in January, has been leaked onto the intarwebs. When I say it’ll be released in January 2009, I do, of course, mean the beta and not the full version. The full version (as far as I know) is still set to be released about a year later, in 2010. I’ve not tried it myself, despite the 6800 build being available since Microsoft gave out promo copies to anyone who attended it’s conference thingy, so I can’t really comment on how well it works. By all accounts, though, it’s much improved from Vista, with a lot of people praising Microsoft for actually listening to it’s customers. I have to say, I’ve never really had any issues with Vista at all. The programs I use on a daily basis all work fine on it (excpet my precious old-school PC games) and every bit of hardware I’ve installed or attached to my machine has had it’s drivers pre-installed, or at least located on the net and downloaded. Now that’s something that all other versions of Windows seemed to have trouble with.

Windows 7 looks a lot like Vista, but with a swanky new Start menu and programs bar, which should make all the little things a lot easier to do and manage. For the moment, though, I’m quite happy to stick with Vista. My latest machine is 18 months old now, and aside from recently sticking a new processor in and an extra gig of RAM about a year ago, it still runs like the clappers even though not a lot has been done to it. I don’t know if that’s a testament to my awesome PC-maintaining skills, or the awesomeness of Vista. Probably a little of both.

I’ve never considered myself a Microsoft-hater or a Microsoft-lover, but I have had the fortune to be able to program websites in both MS and non-MS technologies. That makes me lucky in a way, as I can see the advantages and drawbacks of each.

I’ve not really been keeping up with the news, what with me not being at work and all, but according to the BBC, the government is thinking about introducing age ratings on websites to keep kids out of harm’s way. Personally, I don’t really see it working. I mean, how many parents actually keep a constant watchful eye on what their kids do online? Not many, I’m guessing. And as a child, I remember thinking how awesome it was to get to watch a film that was rated 15 or 18, so I’m guessing that kids today still think the same thing should the opportunity arise.

I suppose the good thing about the idea is that schools will be able to use the ratings as a guide when deciding what sites to filter and what sites to allow the kids to view during lessons. The same could be said about the professional workplace, although it’s not so much the age limits that could be the problem there, but more the “time-wasting factor”.

Talking of time-wasting, I’ve noticed that my spam filter in Gmail is having to go into overdrive lately. You’d think that if no responses are ever received when sending out a spam email that the perpertraitors of said spam would delete you from their spam lists. I know that the more email addresses that are on a spam list, the more inviting it is to buy that list to use in your spamming escapades, but surely if you buy a list of email addresses to be used when spamming, you want to get your money’s worth. I know I would, so that means maintaining a list of email addresses that actually give you a reasonable return on investment, surely? Ah well, I’ll just leave them to it. I’m sure that if I ever wanted to buy fake Rolex’s and penis-enlargers from my local Canadian pharmacy, I’ll know where to look. Until then, though, they can keep their knock-off watches and Smartie-pill viagras to themselves.

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