Living in the Now!

Learning to enjoy my life more!

A Big Change

Why Change?

So recently I was working on a web site as part of my college project and after a discussion with another student I realized I have never paid for my own professional web hosting or domain name. It has always been something I wanted to do but never had much need of in the past, I always worked with people who already had hosting and never needed to do anything with domain names. My friend Richard Arkless pointed out how much it would cost to host a site for a year using Go Daddy, so after looking up all the options I decided to take the plunge as the client for my current university project would need hosting with some options.

The Change

This means that I will be stopping updates to this blog and moving it all over to An Unrelenting Mind for the next year at least. Also I plan on morphing that web site into something a little different to this one, but for the time being it’s going to just be the new home for this blog.

My Experience with Go Daddy

My experience with Go Daddy UK wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped, the whole experience of purchasing was a comedy of errors without the comedy. I just want to point out that below were I talk about supporting charity, supporting a charity is a good thing regardless of what country that charity operates, but I live in the UK and I would rather support a charity that does work in the UK or globally. An example is that one of the three charities was supporting US solders, and while I believe supporting soldiers is good I would give my support to my own countries forces before I support another countries forces.

Here is some of the feedback I left Go Daddy UK:

“Well when you try to encourage me to donate to charity I would be more likely to donate to a charity that is a) world-wide or b) UK specific. Also when you say “Charity of your choice” don’t then limit my choices to three US-based charities.

Also had issues with promo code’s, I tried to use the “Linux295” code from the Linux action show. But after realising my mistake and seeing it actually increased my order amount because I didn’t realise I was getting the domain for free. I tried to remove this code but no matter what I did it seemed to be reapplied to my order. it wasn’t till I removed it and added another “go20off6″ did I get the value of the order back down to what I had been offered previously.

Also don’t then notify me that you have changed the amount after I have entered my payment details, I had to go back and look to see what was added. If your going to add tax do it at the start, I am now wondering if I’ve been billed twice and will not be looking forward to explaining this to the bank if I do get billed twice.

It’s almost as if whom ever runs payment processing for your site has no concept of usability and user friendliness. Can’t say I’m impressed, I expected more of such a large name company as yours.”

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31 and Facebookless

Since you’ve been gone

So its been a few weeks since I left Facebook and I can’t say I’ve missed it, only thing I did feel I missed was somthing incredibly minor in the end that I felt glad I wasn’t there to get sucked into it.

Facebook have got such a tight hold over theyer users that it just draws them in, as I type I am also watching last sundays This Week in Tech and Leo Laporte happens to just quickly open his Facebook and he gets drawn in, he exclaims that he wants to check it and post.

This hold over the user is not healthy, and to a certin level this applies to all social networks but I find that with Twitter I spend a significantly less time browsing and checking tweets than I ever did on Facebook, and this has acctually lead to me spending less time on Google plus.

But with Google Plus I find that I can’t scan it as quickly and that even though I spent quite a while building up circles its all stuff I’ve already seen on Twitter so I’m loosing interest in Google Plus, but I’m going to carry on using it for the time being to see how it progresses.

Lets see…

One of the things I’m looking forward to is seeing how many people will congratulate me on my birthday without having that reminder from Facebook. Personally I dont care who does or doesn’t remember me getting another year older, I always find birthdays slightly pointless but its a widely accepted tradition and gift giving is nice regardless of the reason.

But yes this is my 31st birthday, I’m planing on spending the day with my wife and my friend just chilling and having a good time, in a week or so I might have a little family get together and have some food etc.

So far

This year I’ve dropped out of college due to illness, lost my uncle, fallen out with some people. Also had some good things happen to me, me and my sister have put aside our differences and issues we had with eachother, I have made a very good friend whom has become quite a close friend in a very short space of time, Le Mans was a little disappointing when the delta wing got taken out but it was still a good race and provided many thrills. Monaco for the F1 was unusually boring and the European Grand Prix was unusually exciting, possibly the most exciting race all year but for all the wrong reasons.

Yet to come this year is my hopeful return to college and to achive some personal goals.

Recent Pi activities

So since I’ve gotten my Raspberry Pi I’ve been playing with different things, mostly just trying different distributions and following the tutorials on Raspberry Pi Tutorials You Tube channel, not gotten too far with them just yet.

small credit card sized £25 computer running linux on a 19" tft

small credit card sized £25 computer running Debian Linux.

Also I have been trying different wifi adapters with it, installing and getting them to work and thats not as easy as it might sound and I had a lot of help from Phill. At one point I thought I had broken one of my SD cards as when I had completed writing the image to the SD it would no longer be recognised and wouldn’t boot the pi, if I plugged it into anything it wouldn’t even be detected and forums and friends were saying that it was broken and I may as well bin it.

Until I thought I might try it in my camera and it was detected but said it had an error so I went to the format SD option and formatted it too it out and polugged it back inot the netbook and detected it instantly no problem, since then I’ve had to use this a few times to restore a SD to working order again.

I plan on doing more programming with my Pi, although I’m unsure if I should continue with Python or Java or switch to Visual Basic. I know it may sound a bizarre choice but when looked from the perspective of the coming collage studies I will be needing to study VB in collage, I already studied some Java and I only really know how to do really basic stuff in Python.

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Wow where to begin.

This week

I have been using my Raspberry Pi, having a lot of fun with it but I could do with a HDMI to DVI adapter but moneys a bit tight so it will have to wait. Also plan on making a case for it out of Lego, I can’t wait till it’s sorted out and they release the Drivers for the GPU. I did get a USB 3 4 port powered hub for it, slight waste as the Pi is only USB 2 but it’s a solid hub with no stupid styling or extra “features”.

Me pulling faces

Do you Like My Duck Face?

I’ve been to the hospital for a consultation to try and get to the bottom of the illness I experienced over Christmas, lots of tests to be carried out, blood and heart. But it seems to be leaving me and now I only have a episode two or three times a month, and it can usually be sat out and after about an hour I can go back to what I was doing. So soon one way or another I will be back to proper health.

Been watching a few films, see Prometheus and I quite liked it and so did Vicky, but not everyone in our party enjoyed it. And from what I’ve seen on-line there are more who dislike it than like it. Another film I watched was Indy Game: The Movie its basically a documentary following three independent game developers as they put them selves through trials and tribulations, it can also be purchased through Steam.

Coming up

Also starting to get my diet right, cutting out some of the rubbish and getting a few more greens and fruit. Vicky is training for a in-door triathlon at out local gym, I think I’m going to aim to do it next year but I will be there to support her and will try and train with her. Also de-stressing and putting last weeks drama behind me and looking forward to getting back to college soon.

Le Mans this weekend and I’m going to be enjoying some company through the 24 hours, Vicky has decided to watch it with me after she watched it with me last year and her brother Tim will be watching it for the first time. So for 24 hours the diet is going to take a back seat and we are going to enjoy a laid back party atmosphere. (can’t use too much energy or you wont make the 24 hours.)

A computer the size of a credit card called the Raspberry Pi

A computer the size of a credit card called the Raspberry Pi

Going to wire the place so that we wont miss any of the coverage with thanks to Radio Le Mans streaming live commentary on the internet. So Phones will be charged with links to the site for toilet visits and kitchen breaks, the TV will be following the Euro-sport coverage and live timing and twitter feeds on the desktop. So this means altering my sleeping pattern a bit but not a major issue as I’m a night time person anyway.

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Chill out

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past few days, had to deal with a few dramas. But now that’s delt with it’s business as usual. My Raspberry Pi arrived, got it all working and started programing in Python. Going to make a case for it out of Lego and waiting for a WiFi dongle to arrive before I find a place to put it and use it.

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Facebook deadline is drawing closer and now almost everything is cleared out. Although new pet peeve, send an important e-mail and receive no response. An acknowledgment would be the minimum I would expect.

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Bye bye Facebook, you’ve changed!

At first…

When I first joined Facebook back in October 2008 it was with a degree of reluctance, I didn’t really see what was so good about it and I was happy with MySpace. I met my wife Vicky on MySpace, I had been using it since I was in college and had a lot of friends and enjoyed it. But after speaking to a few people and looking at a few articles I decided I was going to take the plunge and give it a try. A picture of the Facebook time line at the point I joined.

After the first few months of finding out what everything did and how it worked, playing games and uploading pictures I started to settle into a rhythm of what I liked using and didn’t. Added friends and discovering groups. and I happily used it for years.

Dealing with Facebooks short comings

Over the years I’ve had various different issues crop up and most of which were easy to forgive. When a service like Facebook goes down or a part of it stops working, I can forgive it that. Its a free service and there has been no promise that this would never happen so I let it go, (unlike a lot of other users that feel entitled to have a problem free service and get outraged when it suffers the smallest problem.). showing one of facebooks bugs

But when the problems that arise are because of an ill considered feature then I tent to start questioning the company’s ability to create a quality service. The ability to block game posts was a huge plus for me as I hate the constant stream of game posts coming from other users. but when there are some that cannot be blocked then I get a little pissed off. It’s not even the same as a service like Raptr that just updates friends about game activity, its the constant begging of users to give stuff or collect stuff or even to join the game.

There are many other ill considered or implemented features that make using Facebook a pain, the lack of proper controls and the constant changing of where and how options work.

previously hidden posts.

This all adds up over time and eventually I began to feel as though I was using a half finished site and never knew if I was going to be able to use or control something the same from one day to the next. This is a particular pain as I ran several groups and fan pages, and was part of many more.


Facebook likes to filter information, I was annoyed constantly when the default view was what it considered top stories, when I like a chronologically ordered feed. How hard is it for them to make it so that when I select most recent on the sort option, the site remembers what I last selected and sticks to it?
(here is a hint, not that hard! I’ve written something similar my self in PHP.). But all this information filtering has also means that I am not seeing all posts from all my friends. I didn’t discover this till I started to use Tweet Deck on my phone, it would show me posts in chronological order (that’s why I love it!) and seems to ignore all of Facebook filtering (for good and bad, blocked game requests would now be visible but only in Tweet Deck.)

Users

There are many types of Facebook users, the Facebook gamer, the whiner, the preacher, the show off and more that I could mention but we aren’t creating a list here. And most normal users are guilty of indulging in all of these activities at any one time, my self included. But variety is the spice of life and that’s good but when the gullible start falling for scams (and there are a lot of gullible users on Facebook). My daily feed is just filled with pathtic attempts to find who’s been looking at another users profile, or attempts to get £175 in Tesco vouchers, or what ever scam has been rife among my friends list. Sometimes I can see it start with one friend and watch it spread from person to person, attempts to warn others either results in scoffing or ignorance.

Most users are like sheep locked in the pen in a nice field, safe, protected or so they think. it is actually a island in the middle of a motorway at rush hour and the only things on the road are trucks, big 18 wheeler trucks with heavy loads and inattentive drivers. But this is true of the internet in general not just Facebook.

But this all boils down to the fact that Facebook doesn’t actually care about its users, otherwise there would be more safe guards against scam’s. Better controls for filtering what information get’s to our feeds and more protection of its users. Because a lot of what I’ve mentioned isn’t the users fault, yes there is a severe lack of education among internet users but the services they use should try everything in they’re power to protect the users.

But as a more seasoned internet user I am personally unaffected by such things, but it’s witnessing this happening everyday, seeing my reports of abuse going unheeded day in day out.

Mobile Application

The mobile application is OK, but it lacks all the features of the full site. Biggest missing feature for me is the ability to re-share content. Take a look at the next screen shot, where is the re-share button? Not there is it? there are plenty of other social networks out there who also have a mobile application, and they have re-share buttons. Even twitter has the ability to re-share a post.

Some one doesn’t like sharing!

Why not Facebook?

So where has this left me

I have had enough of all the problems above, I also think that I like many other Facebook users spend too much time using it. Also it’s not the only Social Network on the block, and the others do things differently and better. I’ve had a Twitter account for years started around the same time as I started on Facebook, but at the time I didn’t get twitter, didn’t understand it and thought it was limited and cluttered. The past few weeks I’ve grown to use it more, and the more i use it the more I’m begining to enjoy it.

I like the simplicity of it, quick little sentence that’s all, nothing overly complex. Throw a hash tag in there to make something searchable throw someone’s name to give them a mention. it works really well when your out and about as these quick little messages come in a bit at a time and any other media is linked so you don’t have to downloaded it if don’t want to. All features work and work well, the level of discourse is as good or bad as you want it to be. and there’s so much scope for tailoring it to the way you want using 3rd party applications or services. There is no extra faff to distract you, it is clean simple with no messing about.

Google+ is nice, it has a lot of the functionality of Facebook and in a format that wont be too alien to some Facebook users. it has a few improvements over Facebook and a few features that Facebook doesn’t have. But it’s still developing and still changing, the nicest thing is the lack of advertising. But out of the three only Facebook advertises to its users directly, so it’s not a unique selling point. But I have this saying “If the service is free then you are the commodity!” and because of this and a few other things I get the impression that Me, I as a person is being analysed and Google are storing every little thing about me they can just so they can target me better. And just because Google don’t have adverts on G+ doesn’t mean they don’t use that information when I use the other services that do advertise using Google’s information.

But then conversely I’m not sure what to make of Twitter with regards to the same thing but I don’t see them advertising and yet I don’t see what information they could possible collect from my tweets. So I fail to see how they make money. But they don’t worry me as much as Facebook do when it comes to this, Facebook are underhanded and I distrust them and the methods they use. I spent a day just going through my Facebook account deleting all my information by hand because I don’t trust that they will remove it after my account is closed. And yes I’m not so stupid that I think they don’t have a backup and could restore anything, any time or that the history of my profile isn’t already full of past information and sold long ago to the highest bidder.

It was the price I paid

It is the price everyone pays and most pay it without knowing or caring, I knew from day one and cared but not enough to stop me using it. I don’t even object to them making money off me, as I’ve said it’s a free service and they have to cover costs and pay staff some how. But I dont want it anymore and I dont care for it anymore. Time to move onto the next thing.

So I say, so long and thanks for all the fish, sorry spam!

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A few months

So a few months has past since my last post, lots of things have been going on, my uncle died, and old school friend died. Family members being taken ill, some one stealing money out of my wife’s Pay Pal account. It’s been a real challenge trying to keep positive and to keep on, things are starting to look brighter though. I’m getting some entertainment from some person that seem’s to like trolling my blog (see last post for comments.). I’ve also been enjoying the latest updates to Project C.A.R.S.

My latest Project C.A.R.S. video. (Had a few little incident’s, due to using a control pad but it also shows some of the crash dynamics)

This weekend I’m off to Monmouth for the night with Vicky (my Wife) and her parents, Nice to have a bit of a break from my latest addiction Anno 2070, me and my mate Phill have been playing it a fair bit. Also been doing a lot of emulating on my media centre, Commodore 64, NES, SNES, Mega Drive (Genesis for those in the US) and Gameboy. I upgraded the memory in my Net book from 1GB DDR2 to 2GB DDR2, my desk top from 4GB DDR3 to 8GB DDR3 but I think my media centre could do with another 2GB DDR2 and its a bit sluggish with full HD content. Also I’ve put my order in and paid for a Raspberry Pi that should be here soon I hope, will write about it after a little while.

Also working on a short story, some times me Vicky and my brother in law Tim set each other little challenges to write short stories by giving each other a title, word count and a deadline. This time however we have only given titles. So I’m working on a science fiction story based on Mars called the Dragons Daughter, research is nearly done and a rough plot outline is forming. And unlike my previous work I can actually publish this, my last one was based on existing characters so I’m reluctant to show it to the world as I wouldn’t want to fall foul of copyright or trademark laws.

Although I have just rediscovered my love for Mystery Science Theater 3000 thanks to You Tube and made a convert of Vicky.

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Up date

I’ve been having a bit of a rollercoaster month and haven’t even had time to think about my blog let alone write in it. Been ill for about 3 weeks with an ear infection that messed my balance up, then it was my 30th birthday followed by a BBQ for me and my wife Vicky (her birthday is only 2 weeks after mine.) Then my wife and her father have been ill. All this has been interspersed with epic weekends of motor sport and gaming.

So I’ve been busy and as a note to a previous post about Linux, I have not done the trial of openSuse but I did live with Linux Mint for over a month. I will give my impression about this some other time, I might garnish that post with my impressions of Google+.

But for now I’m going to enjoy this lovely day and spend an evening with some friends.

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Coming Soon

Been quite busy recently lots of things going on and I plan on writing some stuff here but at the moment I’m preparing a lot of material for one or two posts here. All the work and effort I’ve been putting into getting this material ready may actually make it into another post. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel and something will appear there some time today, but in the mean time take a look at the stuff that’s already there.

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A bit late but as promised, Mincraft post

A few weeks ago I started to create a post about Minecraft to explain a little about the game and why I like it so much, also to highlight some amazing things about it.

But due to college assignments (Had 4 due in the same week!) I had to put it on hold, also I wanted to add a few more things to the post but I think I will do this at another time. But as I’ve finished the post at 3am I think I’ll time the post to be posted at a more reasonable time 6am (while I’m sleeping!) just so that it gets the chance to actually pop up in peoples feed’s and not be buried under all the late night post’s.

So in around 3 hours the latest (and hopefully greatest post) will be erm, for the lack of a better word, be posted!

So keep your eye’s peeled (never got that expression)

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Wow, busy don’t even cover it!

This past 3 weeks have been a real roller coaster, but I continue to push my self. I’ve just spent the past 24 hours researching and writing 4600 word essay that has to be handed in and already writing in my blog and It’s not even been an hour since I finished it.

Here’s a run down on the coaster ride I’m on, this past moth I’ve been to a funeral, a wedding, visit the gym at least twice a week, working on four assignments and two coursework, keeping the house tidy (ish) traveling everywhere by bus (due to unfortunate circumstances), shopping, cooking, enjoying the start of the formula one season, getting some unfortunate news and some fantastic news (still waiting for my Dad to confirm it though) and a million little things I can’t remember.

But now I’m tired, I’m sleep depraved and looking forward to my bed when I get home from college. I just got to get through this day, hand in my assignment and do my presentation for my other assignment.

Wish me luck, I need it! And the large can of red bull in my bag.

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