Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cold Patootie Tango

I've had a music-fuelled time of late. I spent the weekend getting to and from Scarborough for the Rock in the Castle festival, of sorts. And yesterday I was in Glasgow for 3 Colours Red's last tour (though I've heard that one before - I've already seen 2 of Terrorvision's "last ever gigs").

Scarborough was quite a trial to get to. I drove Fiona and I to Glasgow on Friday, and picked up my sister, who drove us to Carlisle. I'd booked us into a guest house for only £17 each. I wasn't sure if the place would be habitable at that price, but it turned out to be in pretty good condition, except for the decor which was circa 1930, with the ceiling, curtains and walls all matching, and scary ornaments on the mantlepiece. But we got that room (which was huge) and a cooked breakfast for £17, so it was easily worth the money and the unusual decor.

On Saturday we travelled to a second hotel, this one just outside Scarborough, where the owner told us that The Wildhearts were staying at the same hotel. He got us excited for a bit, then we started having doubts. I'm still not sure he was telling the truth, but I can't figure out why he'd lie about it.

The concert/festival/day on a cliff itself was quite good, though the festival site was quite barren. In total there was the main stage (a mini stage compared to T in the Park) and the second stage opposite. When a band finished on one stage, another would start playing on the other. This was quite a good setup as you were sure to see everyone that played, but did mean that delays were costly, causing The Wildhearts to play for less time than they wanted to. Aside from the stage, there was a single beer tent (with a queue that never died, and was an hour long for a lot of the day), a couple of burger vans, and a bouncy castle. That was about it.

The 3 bands I'd gone to see (Plan A, Terrorvision and The Wildhearts) were all really good, and worth the stupid distance travelled, and the bitter cold we had to endure. I wasn't impressed enough with any other acts to consider buying their songs.

The defining moment of the day was when Ginger was on stage, alone with his banjo, and got the crowd to sing "Geordie In Wonderland" without any help from him. As Chris said afterwards, not even Robbie Williams can get a crowd to sing for him without helping out near the end.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

QuoteEngine Mark 2

I've done more work on the QuoteEngine. I've made it so that you can register a set of movies with the system, then a quote will be selected at random from that list. The idea is that people with personal websites could include a small piece of script (which I'll write next) that requests a quote and adds it to their site. I've also to look into making a stylesheet for the XML created so you can see the quote given. I'm quite happy with it anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Another addition to my website: the QuoteEngine. It's a simpler version to what I did as part of the Masters group project this year, and is in PHP instead of Java.

I'll hopefully add to this soon to allow people to register a set of films to select a quote from, so that a URL of the form QuoteEngine/user/me/ gives a quote in XML that can be planted in someone's website with ease. I'll also add the code required by Amazon to delay requests so that they only happen at most once per second (so please don't flood it before then!).

Friday, September 09, 2005

Masters Of Reality

Wednesday was the last day of my Masters course at Aberdeen. All that remains is the mark for my project, and graduation in November.

The hand-in time for the dissertation was 12pm, so the fun started soon after. Lunch at the Bobbin, crazy night-time bowling at the beach, dinner at TGI Fridays, nightcap at Slains. Not much to report on from that night, just a last chance to have fun with the guys from the course.

I've really enjoyed my year at Aberdeen. The social side of the course was brilliant, and I'll miss that lab and all that went on there.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Familiar Realm

Since I've pretty much finished my project (the hand in date for the dissertation is Wednesday, and I'm just waiting for my supervisor to finish his final proof-read) I decided to spend a bit of time on my website, just in case I need to give the address out in interviews.

So I updated the style, making it actually display reasonably well in Firefox. I also added my first assessment from the masters course - SilverStream. I thought setting up an account on MyJavaServer would be simple, but their architecture doesn't seem to meet any standards at all, so there was a lot of fickering about involved. I've not tested it fully yet, so there's bound to be a few links not pointing in the right direction.