Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Watched True Grit lying down in the cinema (26/365) Wednesday January 26, 2011

I’m getting very behind on my blogging, so for those of you watching live, I’ll explain why in a couple of “days” time very soon.

Anyway, on Wednesday a few of us went to the Gold Class Cinema in Redmond Town Center to watch True Grit, the new Coen Brothers movie.

The great thing about this cinema is that’s a real premium experience including:

  • Individual reclining chairs
  • Waiter service directly to your seat (drinks, snacks etc.)

Despite the extra price ($27 == £17), is probably was worth it, as it was so much better than the usual cinema experience. The only slight drawback was that I was so tired through jetlag that I did find myself falling asleep a couple of times.

As for True Grit, is was pretty good. However I think I was expecting too much just because it was a Coen Brothers movie, so was slightly disappointed. Still recommended though.

Spotted a colleague in a Windows Phone ad (25/365) Tuesday January 25, 2011

Falling a bit behind on posting mainly due to jet lag, but don’t worry - I have been doing something new.

Yesterday I was watching an online video ad for Windows Phone 7, and about half way through (@1:05) I saw the name of Emily Ogura. Now I work with someone of that name in Bellevue who helps us out loads when we’re in town - was it really her? I couldn’t be sure.

When I got into the office I asked Emily if it was her in the video and she said it was, although she didn’t know she was actually in the ad and it had been made public. After she’d watched it, she was really pleased to see the results and that I’d let her know about it. Good deed done!

The video is actually really good, but I’ll let you judge that for yourself.

Lazy Boy Beer (24/365) Monday January 24, 2011

I had an insanely productive day today at work, which was very surprising given that I’m still pretty jet-lagged. However I can’t really divulge what I was doing due to trade secrets and risk of boring everyone rigid. However, what I did do was have a new beer I hadn’t tried before when we went out for dinner this evening.

It was pretty wet so we didn’t want to venture too far from the hotel, we went to Chantanee, a nice Thai restaurant about 2 blocks away. The menu said they had 8 local draft beers on, and when the waiter was telling me what they were and mentioned a “Lazy Boy” that sounded the one for me.

Looking at the brewery’s website I think I had an Amber Ale, which was pretty decent - a typical microbrewery beer found in Washington State. definitely worth another taste next time I see it on.

Used to easily share a document with friends (23/365) Sunday January 23, 2011

I had a spreadsheet I wanted to share with a few friends on a project we’re working on. Previously we’ve been posting it around by email, but we wanted something we could easily collaborate on.

I’ve been using Google Docs for a while now, which is OK especially for my own simple spreadsheets. However to try something new I decided to give a go.

If you haven’t heard of it, is a joint venture between Microsoft and Facebook which basically allows you to share Office documents with friends on Facebook. 

It was trivially easy to upload an existing file which looks like it’s been imported perfectly. I then added access to a select group of friends, and we’re done. To make it even easier I made a new private Facebook group to manage the access control, so any group member can view and edit the spreadsheet.

I’d definitely recommend this as a very simple way of online sharing, and unlike other Microsoft solutions doesn’t require everyone to have a Windows Live ID. It’s fascinating to see the partnership between Microsoft and Facebook working so well.

Switched Sides in the Sausage Sandwich Game (22/365) Saturday January 22, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, for me Saturday is sausage sandwich day. It’s not really a tradition, it’s just I like eating them so when I’m at home I have one.

My Saturday routine also usually involves listening to the Danny Baker Show on Radio Five Live whilst having a bath. Danny is currently undergoing cancer therapy, from which hopefully he’ll make a speedy recovery. His phone-in shows have been brilliant over the years, and the current show is no exception.

Regular listeners will know that one of the best features on the show is the “Sausage Sandwich Game” where amongst other things, celebrities get asked what colour sauce they’d have on their sausage sandwich (red, brown or none). Now I’ve been a committed brown man probably all my life, but in the spirit of the Something New adventure, I thought I’d break the habit of a lifetime and try some tomato ketchup on my sandwich.

Now having ketchup isn’t new for me - I’ll definitely have it on chips and with scrambled eggs when out the house - but to be honest it just wasn’t right on a sausage sandwich. It was a bit dull compared to the raw excitement that is brown sauce. It’ll be back to the good stuff next time.

Put up our fancy LED lamp (21/365) Friday January 21, 2011

  We’ve just bought a new lamp for our dining room, and it needed putting together. For my fellow geeky readers it’s a little bit interesting because it’s an LED lamp, rather than a bulb, and it outputs a slightly strange blue-white light that is quite relaxing and nice for reading.

I’ve attached a photo taken from my phone, but it doesn’t really capture the light colour very well. And yes, my next job is to put the picture up on the wall behind the chair :-)


Dinner at the Underground (20/365) Thursday January 20, 2011

On my way home yesterday, I made it to Kings Cross in plenty of time. Since Kings Cross has been done up - well the underground part - it’s a long walk up to mainline station from the tube, and I spotted a “Spanish Cafe” there.

Now this intrigued me, and I really fancied a tortilla bocadillo like I might get in Valencia Airport on my way home from Frank and Josie’s (apologies for aficionados if the actual term is not quite right - it’s potato omelette in a baguette)

Obviously expectations weren’t high as I’ve never had my dinner at an underground station before. However the food was probably even worse than expected, as all they had was the tortilla which was cold and hard, and no baguettes either. A shame really, but I suppose I have to admit Valencia Airport wins this time. Back to a sandwich from WHSmith next time I think :-(

Moved out of Pimlico (19/365) Wednesday January 19, 2011

After 6 months of living in delightful Pimlico, I’ve decided that “location, location, location” isn’t actually anything, and I’m moving to South Tottenham to live during the week with friends Mandy and Ben.

Pimlico itself was great, in a really central location and some nice bars and places to eat, but the flat I was staying in was completely overpriced. Once it started falling apart - door frame coming off, bathroom tap failing - and the landlord not fixing the problems despite promising to do so, it was definitely time to move on.

It’ll be different but hopefully good being in a shared house with nice people, and the commute isn’t actually that much longer. From flat to office on Victoria line from Seven Sisters to Oxford Circus only took about 40 minutes this morning which is only about 10 minutes longer.

I’m on my way home to Northumberland right now and am in the US for work for the next couple of weeks, so I’m not officially moving in yet until early February, but I’m definitely done with Pimlico for now.

Registered 2 new domains (18/365) Tuesday January 18, 2011

Every so often I have an idea for some software that I think might write which will make my fame and fortune - and occasionally after a few days contemplation I still think they’re not too stupid or haven’t been done before.

However the next step often seems to be finding a suitable domain name that hasn’t already been taken. It’s really hard nowadays to find a decent name that’s not either in use or owned by a domain squatter.

Anyway after some intense searching on GoDaddy I managed to find a couple of names which just about match my ideas and aren’t too lame, so I took the plunge and bought them last night. I’m hoping that actually splashing out (a little!) real cash may force me to actually turn them into something real.

Obviously I’m not going to tell you what my top secret ideas are just yet, that would be far too much information ;-)

Got my own app running on my Windows Phone (17/365) Monday January 17, 2011

My registration to be a Windows Phone 7 developer got accepted after just 6 days, which means I can now install my apps in progress on my phone.

This means tonight I can properly test out my “Bedside Clock” app, to see if it’s actually any good.

One thing I did find was that the values from the accelerometer are pretty sensitive. I have a feature which puts the time at full brightness for a few seconds if you move the handset - useful if you wake up and really need to see the time clearly - but until I rounded the values being returned from the accelerometer it was never “still” so never faded out.

I’ve got a few small tweaks before I upload it to the app store for others to try, but it’s great to be able to have my own software on my own phone.