Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Timeline (266/365) Friday September 23, 2011

Like half the rest of the world I’ve been playing about with the new features Facebook announced this week, and in particular yesterday I setup my timeline page.

From a technical point of view, the new Open Graph API is really impressive and opens up a whole world of integration not available before. If this takes off - and no reason to think it won’t - Facebook are going to hold absolutely masses of personal information on everyone, and have the most powerful platform ever for monetizing that knowledge. A little bit frightening from a business point of view, but as a user the new features are very compelling. 

The timeline feature is very nice, although very close to exactly what Memolane already offers, and offers a really compelling view of all your data Facebook now have.

Virtually Windows 8 (265/365) Thursday September 22, 2011

I thought I’d spend my long train journey home setting up Windows 8 on my laptop so I could have a play around with it.

A bit of searching found some instructions on installing in an Oracle VirtualBox, and with a bit of effort and a couple of false trails I managed to get it up and running. VirtualBox didn’t play very nicely with my mobile broadband so I was a bit limited on what I could do - since rectified now I’m back home.

First impressions are good, although not 100% sure about the Metro interface and a non-touch screen PC. I hope to play about with building some test Metro-style apps soon.

Wagner's Ring (264/365) Wednesday September 21, 2011

I was back at the flat, tired and out of inspiration, so I started flicking around the radio channels and happened upon Radio 3, which was playing Acts 2 and 3 of Die Walkure - which I now know (obviously via the power of t’Internet) is the 2nd part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and is definitely a new thing for me to listen to.

Now I know just about nothing about opera other than this is one of the most famous (and difficult?) operas, is very long, and somehow is related to the Nazis? It was actually an interesting change to listen to something like this, and a few parts were a little familiar - mainly the Ride of the Valkyries part you all will have definitely heard before.

However I don’t think I’ve been completely converted to opera just yet, as I did end up watching the Brighton v Liverpool Carling Cup tie with the sound down on Sky Go at the same time.

Purple Milk (263/365) Tuesday September 20, 2011

I was having a reasonably late cup of tea in the office, and when I opened the fridge the only milk left was a 4 pint bottle with a purple top. For the entertainment of my readers - and as I didn’t have any choice - I decided to risk it and add it to my cuppa, and to be honest it didn’t taste any difference.

Turns out it was homogenised milk, which was a new one for me. Wikipedia has a fun article on the process used which all sounds very unappealing, and further research doesn’t suggest that purple doesn’t always mean homogenised like green means semi-skimmed.

Fascinating eh?

Nandos Withdrawal Pot (262/365) Monday September 19, 2011

Haven’t been to Nando’s for ages, and unless it’s a diet “feast day” I won’t for a while. However when looking for something new for me tea I spotted an Innocent “Portuguese Red Pepper Piri Piri vegpot which was as close I was going to get in a healthy way.

It was actually quite nice, not desperately spicy but a definite kick to it and definitely very good for me. May try again in the future (with some chips lol)

Jamie Oliver Bean Wrap (261/365) Sunday September 18, 2011

Is this blog becoming obsessed with food? Almost certainly as my stupid but so far successful diet has taken over my every thought :-(

I was looking for something healthy but new to cook, and somehow I ended up on Jamie Oliver’s website for the first time. It’s all very professional but there are a few decent recipes, and I decided to make his cool Mexican bean wraps.

I made a few minor adjustments, like adding in refried beans and using much more chilli powder but despite looking rather dull (no pictures I’m afraid) they tasted pretty pukka as I beleive I am obliged to say.

Standing Ovation? (260/365) Saturday September 17, 2011

We went to the newly refurbished Theatre Royal in Newcastle for the first time on Saturday to see The Madness of King George starring David Haig, who you may recognize from such shows as The Thin Blue Line.

The play was quite good and Mr Haig was excellent, but what really really spoiled it for me was the audience. If you’ve seen the play (or presumably the film which I haven’t), it’s in typical wry Alan Bennett style, but every time - and I mean every time - there was the slightest reference to contemporary history, which is obviously the point of many of the scenes, the people behind me had to make a comment to make sure everyone knew they “got it”.

Inappropriate laughter at the serious bits, laughing loudest when King Lear was quoted to make sure everyone knew they caught the allusion - bloody hell even I know what that play is about and I’m no Shakespeare expert - they couldn’t have been more irritating. The craziest bit was the standing ovation several of them gave as though it was the greatest thing ever. Very strange.

Perhaps it was because it was a Saturday afternoon matinee, but their behaviour really spoilt the whole experience for me and took the shine right off what would have been an fun afternoon.

Weather Woes (259/365) Friday September 16, 2011

It was a wet day at home, but that’s nothing new. I’ve been trying to figure out how to add weather forecasts to my Bedside Clock app, and finally figured out how to do it. 

Basically I already use Yahoo! Placefinder to get the location of the phone from its GPS coordinates, and it turns out that call already returns a WOE ID - which stands for “Where On Earth”. I can then hook that ID up to another Yahoo! service for the weather, and then with a bit of work get the weather forecast on the phone.

Really glad I learnt how to do that, as it’s probably a more useful feature than knowing the phase of the moon :-)

Working Beans (258/365) Thursday September 15, 2011

After the previous day’s birthday celebrations, I really needed a decent breakfast. My diet says I should try to have a high protein start to the day, so for the first time I made n early trip down to the cafeteria in our newish office and had some scrambled eggs and baked beans (with a sneaky hash brown).

Like most of the food we get at work it was OK, nothing fantastic but at the low, low price of £1.50 it’s hard to complain too much.

If This Then That (257/365) Wednesday September 14, 2011

Wednesday was my birthday (thanks for all the cards, Facebook messages and beer in the pub), and I’d expected to have a reasonably late night so I decided to get something new in the bag early on.

What I did was check out the brilliant new website at which stands for “If This Then That”. It’s is a workflow engine for web sites and services, and Scott Hanselman has posted a much better review than I would. I’d recommend both reading his thoughts and trying the site out. It’s such a simple but useful idea I’ve no idea why no-one thought of it before.

I’ve setup an alert to email me whenever it’s going to rain in Hexham the next day, which is useful but has fired every day so far :-(