Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Cinerama (336/365) Friday December 2, 2011

I was a sick as I can remember on Friday which was no fun at all. I’ve been fighting what I thought was a cold all week, but I woke up in the middle of the night shaking with a very upset stomach, and then spent most of the day feeling very rough in bed.

Anyway, I was determined to do something new, as there was no way I was going to stop my streak now. Inspiration came when I got up to check my email, and I saw something from The Wedding Present mailing list, one of my favorite bands from back when I was younger who I’ve got back into recently. Singer Dave Gedge has another band called Cinerama, who I realised I’d never listened to, so using the power of Spotify I checked out a few tracks. I’ll definitely listen some more when I’m feeling better, but very happy to have squeezed something new into a horrible day.

MilkSync (335/365) Thursday December 1, 2011

One of the most productive things I’ve done this year was get a pro subscription to Remember The Milk. I used to track my tasks solely in Outlook, but the flexibility of RTM makes it much better IMHO.

However, I still obviously use Outlook a lot, so I thought I’d check out MilkSync, a way of syncing the two systems up.

It seems to work fine, but one drawback is that all the “tasks” I’ve added into RTM are in Outlook, even those that aren’t really things to do but lists of ideas - which doesn’t really work so well. I’ll stick with it a while longer, but actually all it’s really proved is what I already knew - RTM > Outlook.

Situational Leadership (334/365) Wednesday November 30, 2011

I’ve been a manager on and off for several years, but yesterday was the first time I’d ever been on a management training course.

It was called “Situational Leadership II” (strangely there is no SL I) and despite having very low expectations it was actually really good. The course was well taught, the interactive elements were just at the right level and I actually learnt a lot. Definitely recommended for any MS people who haven’t been on it.

Eating in at M&S (333/365) Tuesday November 29, 2011

Headed up to Oxford Street after to work to buy a winter duvet (which is brilliant!) from M&S, and decided to pick up something to eat as well.

It’s always a pain getting the Victoria Line home when Arsenal are at home, but luckily there was an in-store eating area - a great idea and something I haven’t seen before in a shop like this.

Anyway I passed a pleasant enough half hour eating my food and reading my paper before heading home, and ticked off something new at the same time.

Macchiato (332/365) Monday November 28, 2011

Having a coffee at the Cardinal Cafe and I decided to try a macchiato, which I hadn’t had before.

To be honest, I’m not much of a coffee buff compared to some of my work colleagues (especially the Italian ones!) - and I didn’t really know what a macchiato was. I thought it was more along of a cappuccino, but as I now know it’s really just an espresso with a bit of milk in it.

I liked it, and I’ll definitely switch to it instead of my usual double espresso (or occasional latte) as I believe it sounds a little more sophisticated :-) I’ll still be having a nice cup of tea in the morning though.

jQuery Mobile (331/365) Sunday November 27, 2011

After playing about with some iPads at the Apple Store in Newcastle, I thought I’d investigate if it was possible to add swiping support to a web page to make some of the sites I manage better suited to a touch interface.

After a bit of Binging, I found out about jQuery Mobile which amongst other things does exactly what I was looking for.

Now I’m definitely no JavaScript expert, and I haven’t really played much with jQuery, but the mobile version was both new to me and looks quite useful.

Unfortunately my first attempts failed dismally as the code didn’t mesh well with another framework I was using, but I learnt a lot so it wasn’t a totally wasted hour or so.

Saturday Football in The Phoenix (330/365) Saturday November 26, 2011

I’d just got back from Newcastle on the train from early Xmas shopping, and it started raining again, so I thought I’d nip into The Phoenix pub in Hexham.

Now I’d not been in before, but even more interestingly it was taking advantage of the new clarification of the TV rules and was showing the Man Utd. v Newcastle game even though it was 3pm Saturday afternoon. This was also new for me, but could well become a habit.

It was a great game, with a classic back to the wall performance from Newcastle, with the draw making a pretty full pub very happy!

Silverlight Toolkit (329/365) Friday November 25, 2011

I’m still working on v3 of my Bedside Clock phone app, and in particular adding in a “Settings” page to manage the different options better.

Now the list of basic controls built into the phone is quite short, but yesterday I checked out the Silverlight Toolkit, a set of additional controls developed by Microsoft to make it easier to make good looking apps.

The controls are pretty good - in particular the “Toggle Switch” control was very useful in having a nice way to turn options on and off in my app.

Empanadas (328/365) Thursday November 24, 2011

After my mini-rant the day before about crap lunch opportunities in Victoria, yesterday was a rare treat as there was an outdoor Xmas Market just outside the office in Cardinal Place, where one of the stalls was serving Empanadas, a delicious new food I hadn’t even heard of before.

The stall said they were the Argentinian variety of Empanada, and as Wikipedia describes they are a sort of cross between a samosa and a pasty. I had 3 mozzarella, tomato and basil ones (they were quite small) and they were absolutely delicious.

If only the market was there every day :-(

Crussh Healthpot (327/365) Wednesday November 23, 2011

Almost a flashback to the heady days of earlier in the year where I had “interesting” lunches in Soho.

We decided to try once again to find something interesting to eat in Victoria, and ended up in Crussh on Strutton Street. I think I’ve been to the Soho branch in the past, but I definitely hadn’t tried the Watercress, Yuzu & Celeriac Healthpot before.

It was OK, and definitely better that the usual fare available around the office. Paul’s lamb stew thing looked better (except for the meat) so will definitely try there again as it was just about worth the 10 minute walk.