Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Happy Birthday Munich

Yesterday, my home city of Munich had its 850th birthday party.


I’m back baby

WordPress died on me a little over one year ago (I think, I actually lost track of the downtime).  I just procrastinated fixing it because I was busy at home and work and well… lets face it, I don’t exactly have a religious following of readers to worry about.

After taking a much needed three week holiday, I come home to find that not only have my plants died from lack of water, but my email has also passed on.  It seems that lack of payment for the hosting will cause hosting services to cease.  This fact did not suprise me terribly, afterall, who wants to host for free?  What did suprise me was that it only took them 2 weeks from the first email of notice to having my account suspended.  I was mildly annoyed that I may have lost some emails, and decided that while I was working on domain problems, I should spend some time fixing the old blog.

Well, here it is folks, the exact same posts as before in all new, “default theme” colours 🙂  Enjoy….

God I love it when I lose hours of work to the ether.  It feels like the time and energy has somehow been absorbed by a hungry beast and that, the beast being fed, will leave me to continue life for another year.


Speed Climbing

The climber in this video, Dan Osman, is sadly no longer with us.


App Humour

I love this dialog.  It comes from XCDRoast, a CD burning program.
XCDRoast Dialog


Anti-spam measures

I’ve been innundated with spam comments to my blog recently.  I think I reached the point where the work I was doing to delete the spam is probably more than it would be to do something about it.  I installed the Challenge wordpress plugin, so don’t be suprised by the new maths questions when submitting comments.


A Facelift

Why is it that as soon as you finish a web site design, you start to dislike it and think about ways to improve it? I finally cracked and found some time this evening to redesign it. There is still some way to go however, but I feel its a better and more modern design than the “orange” design.

I am going to Hong Kong in a few weeks to attend a wedding of a good friend of mine and I want to take lots of photos and post them to the blog. It was time to smarten the site up a lot.

As a little gimmick my bonsai tree grows its leaves early in the week and they turn yellow and eventually all fall down before sprouting again next week.  You’ll have to come back to see it in action.


Photos online

Ive added a few of my holiday photos to the “travel” sections and a few images to the “graphics” sections also.  I’ve just found out that my sidebar doens’t work under IE and its that time of night again where you know you should go to bed, but you continue letting your tired eyes dry up against the monitor.  The question is, could I sleep, knowing that there are users out there using IE, unable to navigate on my blog?   Well…. actually yes.   Goodnight 🙂


Side bar fixed

Its finally done.  Im going to have a cup of tea now 🙂

Memory game to boost vocabulary

I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert at speaking other languages.  I struggle and find it extremely difficult to learn languages.  After spending years at school learning French, I think I could probably order a sandwich and a glass of orange juice, but I certainly couldn’t converse.  I have always dreamt of being fluent in another language however and have tried many times to learn.  I took an intensive Spanish course in Central America and presently live in Munich in Germany, where I struggle on a daily basis to make myself understood.  Always going through phases of feeling inspired and phases where I couldn’t care less anymore, I slowly advance step by step…. painfully slowly actually :-)  Nevertheless, its getting better and although my French from school was taken out and shot many years ago, my Spanish hasn’t got that much worse, despite not having spoken any for over a year.

I decided that this must be because I have build a network of Spanish ideas and words in my brain and they mutually support one another.  This apparently is why its easier to remember a word that you know in the context of a sentence rather than just a single word on a piece of paper.  Normally I try to write words down in a little book so that I can read them on the U-Bahn in the mornings.  Some words however just won’t go into my head.  No matter how many times I repeat them, I close my little book and they’re gone.  Writing complete sentences in my book actually worked better.  Learning the sentence doesn’t seem any more difficult than learning a single word, and actually you can learn several new words at the same time.  It also seems that once I close the book it stays in my head rather than running away and by repeating the sentence a few times over I find it much easier to remember.

The system for learning new words that I find to be most effective (for myself atleast) is to play a memory game.  I now write all my new words on to flash cards.  A flash card is a small piece of card that has a native word on one side and the foreign word on the other (I’ll assume German for the purpose of this blog entry).  Ok, going from German to English is easier than the other way around, so I take 5-10 cards with words I find difficult and put them German side up.  I then choose one and try to remember what the English word on the other side is.  If I get it right, I put it down English side up (ie. I flip it over).  If I get it wrong, I leave it German side up and move to another card.

Once all the cards are English side up, I then try to go from English to German.  This is more difficult, but as I have just done it the other way, its still fairly fresh in the mind.  Once everything is back to German side up, its repeated until you can do it effortlessly.  I’ve honestly never found a word that I couldn’t memorize like this.  Clearly doing it once doens’t mean you’ve learn that word, I personally need to do this every day for a few days.  Considering that it only takes about 5 or 10 minutes, you can do it while having a coffee.

Once the words are written on the cards they will eventually be learned.  The only problem now is to find the words to write on the cards in the first place 🙂

A good web site, although not bursting with information is How to Learn Any Language.  You can read about Mezzofanti, the Italian who learned 25 languages and tips on how to learn languages.  If anybody has any more tips for learning languages, (especially German), I’d be very interested.



Ok, I should really get around to dealing with the “real” issues with this page, like the dodgy layout with the blog side controls. I’ll get around to it as soon as I can. I don’t hear any compaining voices anyway. In the mean time Ive added a new banner to the blog. Im still trying to decide if I like it of not. Personally I think its too dark, but it’ll do as a placeholder until I can fix my layout 🙂

Ive added the free software page and taken the Brazil photos from my old site.
Well, Ive had no time whatsoever to work on Jetpac, which is a pitty because I really put a lot of work into the new engine. Ive have been enjoying the Munich summer though and spending plenty of time in the beer gardens and eating Bavarian food. The Word Cup is finished and a whole lot of time has suddenly been freed up.

Ive also been meaning to learn a little bit of Ruby for quite some time. I’d seen some of my colleages working on Ruby projects like the Kneipomat from Sebastian, and was quite inspired to try something for myself. Anyway, I stumbled upon this great site that lets you learn the basics and get familiar with the syntax via a nifty little web page. You type in commands and it interprets them and shows you the results on the fly.