February 2006

How podcasting should really be

by Suw on February 22, 2006

Podcasting, by JR Hartley.

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Eurgh, the jetlag

by Suw on February 21, 2006

I've travelled quite a bit to the US over the last two years, usually for work-related reason – conferences, meetings and such – with a bit of holiday thrown in if I'm lucky. The last trip, to DC, was the other way round. It was definitely mostly holiday with just a few token meetings to make me feel like I was doing something more than just chilling out. Really, though, it was just chilling out.
So why is the jetlag so bad this time? I got to sleep around 1am last night, which is better than the 2am the night before, and 3am the night before that. Getting to sleep is proving to be highly difficult, even though I feel exhausted. And as for getting up again, that's hellish. It's taken me an hour from when my alarm went off at 8am to actually get myself into a sitting position and get the laptop open. That's just so not like me.
It's not like I have lurghi. All I feel is tired and out of sync, not sick. If I was sick, I could legitimately blame that, but I'm clearly not. I didn't feel this bad even when I'd been ping-ponging across the pond to San Francisco last summer.
I think it's because last year, I rarely had anything I had to get up for, so I never really had to get over jetlag quickly. It never mattered if I didn't wake up until 11am or didn't go to bed til 3am. Now, though, I have to be up, and be getting on with things because I have to be places, so I'm trying to force myself through the jetlag faster than my body can deal with it.
Can I just go back to bed and stay there please?

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Little videos

by Suw on February 19, 2006

I often forget that my digital camera also takes video, but for once, whilst at Washington Zoo, I remembered. You can't really catch the frolicking of otters in a still photograph, it just doesn't work. Equally, the skates were much more fun moving, as was the turtle.
So, here for your delectation are a few highly inexpertly shot movies of animals in a zoo.

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Just thought you'd like to know that the pictures I took during my trip to DC are now up on Flickr. Lots of the snow, and lots of the zoo, and several of the zoo in the snow.

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Getting on a plane

by Suw on February 16, 2006

T'Other is, as I type, on a plane to somewhere in the deepest, darkest South right now, as I wait at the house in Georgetown, DC, for a taxi to come take me to Dullest airport. There I shall board a plane, and sleep whilst physics defies gravity.
I land at 7am tomorrow morning, haul my sorry and tired ass back to Euston, and then the meetings start at about 11am. It's going to be a long day, whether or not I get any sleep on the plane.
It's been a fantastic trip. I have a gazillion pictures of snow, and the zoo which I need to upload to Flickr just as soon as I've got the Prague ones up. (I do so like to do things in order.)
I've been thinking a lot this week about how I work. Having a week off – well, almost a week off, as I did do a bit of work whilst I was here – has made me realise that I'm not hugely efficient in the way that I work right now. I need, for starters, to be less fleeting in my attention spans. This means I am going to start turning email off during the day, so that I can't be distracted by it. There are a few things I need to set up before I do that, but if you are one of the people who emails me, you can start to expect to get replies a lot more slowly than usual. If that's possible.
However, I will just say that the next person to tell me to read 'Getting Things Done' is going to get things slapped.
Meantime, I can't wait to get home, and start flat hunting. Having a permanent place to live is going to make a huge difference, and having T'Other there with me is going to make life so much more enjoyable. We had just the most sterling time this week, best Valentine's ever, frankly. Not that I believe in Hallmark holidays, but still…
Right… off to finish the last dregs of tidying up before I leave. See you all on the other side.

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Little people

by Suw on February 14, 2006

Wow. Amazing pictures. (Via Euan.)

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by Suw on February 10, 2006

Whoa, last few days have been manic, but I'm sitting at the moment in the kitchen of T'Other's office in DC, catching up on a few emails (oh my god… too many unread!), looking at the stack of boxes of things me and T'Other have to take home with us, and preparing to pop out and get a nice haircut at around 12-ish.
It's nice to be back in the States. Even nicer to be back here with T'Other. We've been to Brugge and Prague together, but this is T'Other's home territory. It's nice to be shown round a city by a local, instead of leafing through the guidebook trying to decide which particular tourist trap you're going to risk next.
Getting here was hell, though. I've travelled a lot the last year or so, but I've not seen queues like there were at Heathrow yesterday. We checked in online, being clever little blighters, and thus assumed that if we got to Heathrow two hours before, that would be plenty of time. Instead, there was a long wait for one family ahead of us in the queue to drop off our luggage, then the check-in lass told us that we 'might want to go through security straight away as there's often a queue at this time of day'.
What she meant was that the queue stretched right through the terminal. We would have been in real trouble had a Virgin Atlantic employee not come through and picked us out of the queue, fast tracking us through to the security counter and jumping a significant chunk of waiting. (Thank you Virgin!)
By the time we were through that first queue, we had just enough time to get some water for the flight, then it was straight to the gate, where T'Other got frisked again, and his hand luggage disembagulated. Then straight on to a bus, out to a remote stand, followed by a 45 min wait on the tarmac.
Sadly, the hassle didn't really stop there. We were seated next to the most annoying spoilt brat I've seen in ages, and his two children. And the entertainment system went down. Oh joy.
Actually, it was quite amusing watching the Linux system reboot, with the command line showing on each terminal and Tux at the top of the screen. If I'd had some of my geek friends there, they could've fixed it no problem, I'm sure.
So, long flight. Was great to land at Dullest.
We had probably the most entertaining cabbie ever. We drove past Langley, which is the CIA headquarters, and the cabbie was telling us how he once picked up a fare who wanted to go there. After the third checkpoint, at each of which he had to get out of his car, get frisked, and have his boot and engine checked for 'devices', he asked how many more there were. Seven, he was told.
So he dumped his passenger off there and then, and told him to hitchhike the rest of the way. Apparently they have “144,000 acres” of land there, and no one's mobile phone works when driving past…
He was also talking about how there are 470 cabbies in DC and that everyone in the back of their cabs thinks they aren't listening. 'Just think,' he said, 'about how much stuff we hear… if only we could put it all together…'
I stopped short of suggesting that the cabbies start a group blog.
Staying with friends in Georgetown in a lovely flat, and intending to do as little work-related stuff as possible this week. Christmas turned out to be a very unholiday-like holiday, so I need some time to unwind.

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by Suw on February 5, 2006

So here I am, cosy and warm in my temporary digs at my friend James' house. The move this morning went without a hitch, which was a relief. T'Other came over yesterday and helped me pack, primarily by sitting on a chair, doing stuff on his laptop and talking to me. I've never been able to express quite how much I need to have someone 'helping' in that manner – I'm not being facetious, I really do find it easier to pack if I have someone to talk to.
T'Other's gone home now, back to the chav hell hole that is East Acton, but it's nice to know that he's welcome here too. The few times he's stayed with me in the old place, I've felt a bit like I was sneaking someone back to my dorm room on a school trip. Plus it was hideously cold over night, so we'd wake up shivering and ended up sleeping really badly. It's no wonder I've felt at times a bit stressed and tired the last few months, considering how disturbed the cold makes my sleep. I'm looking forward to a comfortable, warm night tonight.
Just started looking for new places to live in London. We have decided that we'd rather pay a bit more, and get a place that's fairly central. We both work long days, and we both have pretty full-on stressful jobs, so the thought of an hour-long commute at the end of the day… well, it doesn't fill me with desire, shall we say. So I started looking on Gumtree and London Craigslist. Seems there are loads of flats that are in our budget, in decent places. There was one in Kensington that sounded absolutely perfect… Shame we can't actually move til March though. (Both of us have a lot of travel in Feb.)
In fact, I'm going to have to stop looking. It's just inducing feelings of chronic impatience.
Soon… soon…

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by Suw on February 2, 2006

Why don't computers do stenography? Sitting in the Houses of Parliament today, watching the stenographer effortlessly record every word, verbatim, whilst I hurriedly tried to take notes the hard way made me feel deeply inadequate. Why can't I do some sort of chording on a computer? Why can't it tell that if I hit the C and H keys together, that they should be 'CH', or that 'T' and 'H' is likely to be a 'TH' unless in a combination with a G in which case its likely to be a 'GHT'. It seems pretty damn simple to me. Sort of like T9. Certainly it might take some training to get used to, but my god, it'd make me a faster typist.
Then I could take really insanely and freakily accurate notes.

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