Category Archives: Personal

I Killed My FaceBook Account. Or So I Thought.

Preamble

I joined Facebook for two main reasons: to become more connected to clients and to view my brother's wedding photographs which were only available on that platform.

Whilst I tried to engage with the Facebook environment, I found the interface confusing, the advertisements annoying (targeted advertising should not put singles ads in for someone who has stated they are married,) and every visit left me with a sour taste in my mouth. For me, Facebook had little or no value, even as entertainment. Contrast this with Twitter, which I find to be a valuable communication channel, network builder, and a source of entertainment.

I am now in the process of leaving Facebook, not because I just don't get on with it, but because of the behaviour of those who run it. Every now and then, Facebook releases a new set of Terms & Conditions; it seems that, each time this happens, members' privacy is impacted. Things that were originally private, to be shared only with contacts ('friends' in Facebook terminology,) suddenly become public and the ways to make these private again (if indeed they can,) become increasingly complex. To misquote a popular meme, "all your data are belong to us."

Whilst I appreciate that Facebook's clients are not the members, but the advertisers and those to whom they sell all this data we have so kindly provided, I regard this behaviour as totally disrespectful to members, and irresponsible in the extreme. I regard Facebook as having a Duty of Care to preserve the privacy of its members and for all data to be private by default. The process of making data public should make it clear exactly how public the data will become and include information or links to information explaining the possible consequences of this. (If the general public were more aware of the possible effects of the broadcast of their private data, I would imagine that Facebook would have a much smaller user-base.)

Leaving Facebook

The thing that got me really riled about Facebook's privacy abuses was the fact that leaving the service was anything but easy. After jumping through a few hoops, I discovered that my account was merely suspended, not deleted. Up to the very end of the process, I thought I was really leaving – but discovered this to be anything but the case. All my data is still there, waiting to be mined and sold on. At the time I suspended my account, I discovered that the only means to fully delete it is to un-suspend it, go in and delete every single post, contact, etcetera, one-by-one. Only then would it be possible to ask Facebook's support team to delete the account. Since then I have been advised by Mark Pesce, in a comment on his Manifesto, that there is a possible, easier, means to delete an account documented at WikiHow, but I have yet to put this to the test.

Further Reading

Whilst it had been my original intention to explore Facebook's privacy abuses on a case-by-case basis, events have overtaken me, with a swarm of members deserting the platform and articles being published left, right and centre.
So, rather than make this the type of article will take me forever to complete (I have already been at it a month,) I am presenting the following as further reading on the subject. Yes, this list may be biased; you will not find "Facebook is Extra Nice with Sprinkles" articles here, because what I am presenting is here to reinforce my position.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the many people who shared links – mostly through Twitter – which I have used in this article. Special mention must go to Tony Hollingsworth who alerted me to so many relevant items.

Short URI for this article: http://bit.ly/ayKnRp

Getting Better 2009

The Story So Far

Executive summary: I’ve been sick for a while. (End of summary.) I have reported on this at various times in this journal; in February 2007, which would have corresponded fairly closely to the nadir of my health issues, I described a day in the life of (me.)

Skip on a couple of months and I started – albeit slowly – weight training. The Weighty Matters section of this site (includes this article) documents my weight training progress.

Now, 2 years and 10 months from that low point, things are much better – and I am talking quantum levels better, from my rather subjective viewpoint, at any rate.

The Story Today

I think that my work capacity speaks volumes. At the beginning of this year, I was able to work about 12-14 hours per week, never more than 4 hours a day (on a really good day) and never 2 consecutive days. At the time of writing, I am able to work in excess of 20 hours per week, sometimes up to 6 hours per day (best days) and up to 2 days consecutively.

As regards lifting weights, improvements during this year include some of my troublesome joints ceasing to be so (and for the first time in my life,) and breathing issues that hindered exercises with heavier weights, far more than the weights themselves, having resolved.

Where I Am With Weights

My weight training progress seems to have been the most constant of improvements. This is a good thing as it creates motivation (and something to feel good about in general) through positive feedback.

Primarily due to elbow issues – the last of my joint troubles to persist – and a weakness in my thoracic spine due to a probable combination of scoliosis and an old horse-fall, I have simplified my workout cycle to something resembling the following:

  • Bench press
  • Variants on the lat pull
  • Squat
  • Bench press
  • Variants on the lat pull
  • Deadlift

Including rest days, this constitutes about 10 days to 2 weeks of workouts. I tend to avoid using the same intensity of exercise for more than two sessions of a specific workout.

Numbers-wise, I regard workout-weight to be that which can be performed for 6-8 repetitions, expressed in terms of bodyweight. (My bodyweight, that is!) Squats are at 1.75, deadlifts at 1.46 (with hooks – wrists still a bit dodgy,) bench press lagging at 0.92, with 5 reps at 0.97.

My most significant, recent, milestones in terms of absolute weight were reaching what had for long seemed the unobtainable 4+ reps at 100kg (after months in the 90’s,) and achieving 4 sets of 5-rep deadlifts at 130kg without hooks. Meaningless milestones to most, but morale-boosters for me. And yes, I can be a bit numbers-obsessive; I have a terrible compulsion to count things – wonder if it means I’m a vampire?

Quantum Sleep-Leap

My health improvements have been due to factors both within and beyond my control. In the list of ‘beyond my control,’ I include things which I could control, but am unaware. It turned out that my sleep quality was one of these things.

After 4 years of CPAP therapy, I thought that my sleep apnoea issues were well and truly nailed. So did my respiratory/sleep physician and the rest of my medical team. At my last appointment, my physician suggested a machine upgrade as the old one was rather old and I had no backup should it fail. (No machine = no sleep. Or at least, no sleep that would count.) I followed up on this advice and acquired a new machine and mask.

Within a week of starting with the new equipment, I had far more energy and my work capacity shot up. Why? Despite 100% CPAP compliance and despite data downloaded from the machine suggesting that all was well, there was more to the problems of sleep than just apnoeas. The discomfort of the mask – possibly designed by a member of the Spanish Inquisition – and the noise of the old machine appeared to have been giving me really lousy sleep-quality. I just wish I had known that a long time ago.

CPAP therapy isn’t the scary thing that it may seem to those who think they may need it or are about to start on it. You need it, you use it, you get used to it. At least I do/did. Having the extra bag when traveling and trying to find a power point near hotel beds can be a bit of an inconvenience, but that’s life. It would be far worse without it.

Keep Taking The Medicine

One of the key players in my improved health has been my doctor (GP.) Lots of diagnostics, trialling medications (mostly hormones,) and regular reviews have finally hit a relatively sweet-spot. Whilst I’m still well below-par when compared with that elusive beast, the population average, I am very pleased with where I am and what I can do compared with that time nearly 3 years ago.

Although I’m not writing the prescriptions or ordering the blood tests, the business between my doctor and myself is very much a factor within my control. Collecting and presenting relevant information and complying with a doctor’s suggestions (including taking medications) is very much the patient’s responsibility. Doctors can’t work miracles.

Despite the best of intentions in both directions, things can go wrong. I have experienced a few occasions where everything started going wrong – fatigue started to get worse again, the weird eye problems that limit my work came back – almost like forgetting to take medications. It transpired that, on each of these occasions, there was a common factor: stale medication. A crucial, heat-sensitive, medication (hydrocortisone,) short-dated and sourced through a rural pharmacy which has no cold-chain deliveries seemed to be the culprit. Changing the source to an online supplier – which incidentally seems to have much longer-dated batches – and ordering for delivery during cooler weather has eliminated yet another unanticipated, external factor.

In addition to medication, I have also received several treatments from a massage therapist. This has certainly helped with various skeleto-muscular issues, which has helped with lifting weights. (Having a massage therapist who understands weight training is a big advantage.)

Lifestyle Management

That which isn’t from my doctor or lifting weights falls under the catch-all of Lifestyle Management. This I will break down into two sections: Eat Well and Don’t Overdo It.

Eat Well

I’m not going to give a nutrition lecture unless it’s “don’t eat processed food.” I tend to break my own rule here by eating the occasional protein bar.

Don’t Overdo It

You may need to push yourself a bit to get moving but, once moving, don’t keep pushing – you may end up crashing to a halt.

One of the most important lessons that I have learned through the time of my incapacity is to learn to gauge my limits and work within them – whether working, lifting weights, gardening or anything else. I won’t pretend otherwise – this can be incredibly frustrating; stopping a job half-way through because you’ve reached your fatigue threshold may be very hard. But then so is the crash from over-doing it and equally frustrating the week that you are unable to work due to poor body-management. I have been there many times. I think that I am finally getting the message and no longer exceeding my limits.

Conclusion: My Message

  • This article is all about me. If you see yourself or somebody you know in here, take heart, you are not alone.
  • Chronic fatigue is probably one of the biggest cop-out diagnoses being made by doctors in this day and age.
  • Don’t let your doctor write you off; if looks like they’re going to, write them off first and find one who really cares and wants to help you.
  • Sick people can lift weights – and doing so with care can help make them less sick.

Stupid Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, this article doesn’t constitute medical advice. If you want medical advice, go to a healthcare professional.

International Women’s Day 2009

International Women's Day Logo

It saddens me to advise that today (8th March – not accounting for my local timezone here) is International Women’s Day. And the reason that I am sad? It is because IWD need exist at all. To me, it is just another sign of the socially-exclusive behaviour that dominates human societies, irrespective of how “advanced” those societies might be.

Sexism is possibly one of the worst forms of discrimination. Whilst it appears easy for people to take offence at people who are from different countries, may have a different skin colour, have different religions or philosophical beliefs, might walk a bit funny, have different sexual preferences, use their left hands – ooh, all those horrible things – women seem to be singled out as being in some way defective in a horribly large number of societies. Women are not a minority, we have women in our families. Hey, our mothers are women! I try to understand the prejudices that I see in an attempt to understand these naked apes that seem to be dominating and/or trashing this planet; difference = unknown = a threat. But women? Don’t want to speculate on demographics, but half the world’s human population consists of women; other than the different roles in the reproductive process, they are not so different. As a part of our families they should certainly not be unknown. So where’s the threat?

Moving on from the philosophical side and my utter incomprehension of why women should be treated like Space Aliens (and illegal ones a that,) a look at the theme of IWD 2009, per the United Nations:

Women and men united to end violence against women and girls

Ah, practical stuff and something we can all agree on! Possibly. I tend towards the pessimistic and wonder if a lifetime of the species of abuse against the female contingent can be realistically curtailed. Whilst I assume not, cultural changes can at least make it less acceptable and therefore – hopefully – reduce the frequency and stigmatise the offenders.

I am saddened to say that much of my cynicism, pessimism and various other ‘isms that make me think that the lot of women is not going to suddenly get better comes from recent experience. It is now just over 8 years since I moved to my adoptive nation, Australia. This young nation, land of opportunity, a place where everyone gets a “fair go” seems to have gone badly wrong somewhere as the attitude towards women here doesn’t seem to be any better than that prevelant at the time of first colonisation. I thought that maybe what I was seeing was just a characteristic of the rural area where I live; in such areas attitudes are often behind the times. It appears, however, that this is not the case. I am reliably advised by women, professionals from Big Cities, that sexism here is fully rife and showing little sign of going away any time soon.

Be it far from it for me to suggest that Australia is a specifically misanthropic nation; I believe that the conditions for women in Australia are probably typical of most of the “developed” (never saying exactly what is developed – certainly not socially) world.

I find it hard to conclude this article; I am disgusted by what I see, I don’t see it getting any better. Even if it did get better for women, I could probably re-write this article a dozen more times, each time picking up on another group, often close to home, that is a victim of discrimination.

So, although this may seem like I have a) gone off on a tangent or b) completely lost it, I would suggest a reading of Frank Herbert’s “God Emperor of Dune”, with attention being given to Leto’s discourses on the role and history of the Fish Speakers. Reading the orignal trilogy first is probably a good idea.

Further Reading

@smiffytech – The Twitter and I

Important Note

As of 15 August, 2009, my Twitter identity changed from @smiffytech to @smiffy. The @smiffytech account still exsists, but with a message referring to the new one. Followers/following not affected.

Preamble

Until fairly recently, my only encounters with online social networking were with the professional networking site, LinkedIn. I have to confess that my impression of the other social networking utilities out there was “kids’ stuff”, “silly” and the like. Now that I have delved into these utilities, I have gained considerable respect for them – in concept if not in execution.

There are two main reasons for me looking into and taking up with various online social networking utilities. These are 1) my clients use them and 2) they are web applications; as a web applications developer, I need to keep current with applications being used at large.

I have decided to take up regular Twitter usage because, even in the short space of time that I have been using it, I have made some valuable and interesting contacts. Despite its limitations, Twitter is a valuable tool and, from a business perspective, only a fool would ignore it.

Twitter

The history and actuality of Twitter are a matter of public record so I feel no desperate need to regurgitate a load of facts in this article.

These are what I consider to be the key points of Twitter:

  • Posts are limited to 140 characters. I know the reasons for this, I don’t like them and I don’t like the restriction. But that’s what Twitter is, I don’t see it changing so one must put up with it.
  • Twitter has a publicly available API so anyone can develop their own add-on, value-adding or whatever software. I consider this to be a very important feature.
  • Threading is limited; whilst one can reply to a “tweet”, the reply appears to be linked only to the parent, not to an entire thread.

Usability/Accessibility

Accessible Twitter icon

Twitter has in common with every social networking utility I have seen so far – the web interface is crap. I’m not knocking the developers here specifically – it still seems that only a minority of those developing for the web have even the faintest clue when it comes to accessibility or web standards. However, by offering an API, Twitter gains itself Brownie Points because this allows others to develop better, more accessible interfaces. Step forward Dennis Lembrée, the creator of Accessible Twitter. (Dennis is @AccessibleTwitr on Twitter.) Whilst this service is only in alpha at the time of writing, the work done so far has been truly excellent.

Followers and Following

Whilst one can sample the random noise that is the Twitter live feed, to get any sense out of this vast flow of information, one needs to “follow” specific users. For me, the first people that I follow are those in my own “tribe” – those that I know in real life – friends, colleagues, associates, etcetera. Others that I follow are those who follow me; I choose these based on a certain set of criteria – more of that later.

So, do I just follow everyone that follows me? Absolutely not! Whilst Twitter is important to me as a network builder, I don’t want to spend excessive time looking at it or suffering from information overload.

My “following the followers” are:

  • If a new follower has too few posts that are of interest to me, I don’t follow them.
  • If a new follower has posts of moderate interest but is posting a vast volume, I don’t follow them. Until such time as I have written my own Twitter-reading code to help me sort through posts, I need to keep the incoming volume down to what I can easily handle manually. Twitter may get me new business, but looking at it doesn’t get my work done.
  • If a new follower is following many, has few followers, has no posts and not completed their profile, I will block them straight away.
  • If a new follower is following many, has few followers, has no posts, has completed their profile, but still has no posts after 24 hours, I will block them unless I have good reason to believe that they are genuine users only just getting started.
  • If a new follower has only made spammy posts, I block them straight away.

It’s a Game!

Er, no, I don’t agree. It seems that there are those that use Twitter as a means of self-gratification, measuring their “success” by their number of followers. I believe that any form of success in social networks is the number of meaningful relationships that one establishes – quality being significant rather than quantity.

But each to their own. I want to build professional networks, others want an ego-trip. Twitter appears to be able to provide both.

Further Reading

 

Cheers all!

Smiffy, aka @smiffy

TinyURL for this post: http://tinyurl.com/clar7f

A Year of Weights

Preamble

Today is just under 3 weeks away from the 27th of April, which will mark one year since I started my Weight Training programme. As the longest that I had ever managed to stick to a programme before was about two months, this is something of a major achievement for me, all the more so when my Chronic Fatigue is factored in. (See my previous articles on Weight Training and Chronic Fatigue.)

Setting Goals, Boring Numbers

My goals have changed in the last year; initially, I just wanted to be able to exercise as I had just spent a couple of months highly incapacitated. Back last August, when I was starting to get into the swing of things, I decided that some specific goal would help keep me motivated. The goal was this: in 1 year, I should be able to perform 8 repetitions of 2 major compound exercises with in excess of my own bodyweight on the bar. The exercises in question were the bench press and the deadlift. At the time, I did not have equipment that would allow me to perform squats with any degree of safety; when I finally acquired my power rack, I added the squat to the list.

Perhaps being a little over-ambitious I then thought that it would be nice if I could reach my goal not by August 2008, but by the end of this month, or a year since I started the programme. If it were not for my bench press, where my set of 8 is currently performed at 85kg, some 20kg short of my bodyweight, I would be there as I have reached the target weight for the deadlift and am well past it with the squat. In a way, I am being helped by the fact that a change of medication has accelerated my decrease in fat mass. However, working against a diminishing bodyweight is probably cheating somewhat, so I have reset my bench press goal to the magic figure of 100kg. Can I get that extra 15kg in 4 months? I’m certainly going to try.

For those exercises where I have passed the target weight, I am now working to the next target of one and a half bodyweights. Once again, with the bodyweight changing, I’ve decided to fix a figure of 150kg, but with no time limit. I know that my beginner’s rapid progress is slowing down, so I don’t want to disappoint myself by setting any unrealistic targets. I am almost certain that – barring accidents – my squat workout weight will be at or past 150kg by August; no further weight targets will be set beyond that as my power rack is only rated to 160kg.

Lifting Weight, Gaining Weight, Losing Weight

Whilst some of the benefits of this year of exercise cannot be measured, changes in body mass can. A quick look back over my records shows that between August last year and March this year, I lost approximately 6.5kg of fat mass and gained 10kg of lean body mass. Much of the fat loss was in the last month or so, due the change in medication that I mentioned earlier. So, a nett gain in body mass, but of the desirable sort. Prior to the changed medication, there was little change in diet other than an increase in protein consumption – lifting weight gained good weight but lost bad weight too.

Subjective Stuff

Benefits of my Year of Weights that cannot be measured include the disappearance of the all-over myalgia (muscle pain) that I used to experience when I became particularly tired. (That’s more tired than normal as opposed to the 24/7 Chronic Fatigue tired.) Heat tolerance does not appear to have improved any; I had a vague hope that it might have done, but am not surprised that it has not. My diabetes has not become any worse; I do not know whether Weight Training has helped this or not, although exercise is certainly indicated in diabetes control through lifestyle.

Motivated? Bored?

Yes, I am still motivated – and enjoying – Weight Training. Boredom is not an issue because as soon as I start to think “oh no, not this routine again”, I change it. Being able to perform some very similar exercises both with free weights and cable makes it even easier to maintain variety. Tomorrow, for about the first time since I started doing squats and deadlifts on the same day, I will be doing deadlifts first, rather than second and I am quite excited at the prospect – but then it doesn’t take much!

Just Do It!

For anyone contemplating taking up Weight Training, I will plagiarise the marketing slogan of a certain sports goods manufacturer (link warning: horrible Flash content): Just Do It! Chronic Fatigue has not prevented me from lifting weights and I am fairly certain that doing so has benefited my condition, too.

Here’s looking forward to another Year of Weights!

Blogathon 2007

It has been some time since Smiffy’s Place last saw any new material – some 3 months in fact.  Maybe an explanation for this lapse would be appropriate.

Since this past June, I have been busy.  With my impaired health, I am only able to work about 5 hours every other day – combine this with 3 client projects, one rather large, and that accounts for nearly all the time that I have spent in front of a computer in the last 6 months.  Whilst still working on one of the client projects, I am allowing myself some “me” time to work on some of my own stuff.

Due to the combination of ill-health and general busy-ness, a few projects have fallen behind.  One of these, I am sad to say, is my Dublin Core for Drupal project.  As my paying clients have to come first and because I am moving away from Drupal for my own projects, it is with some regret that I must put this project on indefinite hold; I simply cannot commit the time required at present to learning the Drupal API to the degree required to produced an effective module that integrates correctly with the Drupal core.  Should anyone interested in the project wish to see the database mechanisms that I was going to use, please get in touch.

Another sad miss was this years OzeWAI conference.  Although too sick to attend last year, I was at least able to make a presentation via Skype and some remote-controlled HTML.  This year, pressures of work prevented even that.  Hopefully next year…

One personal project that is about to “go” is a simplified re-write of my “Aggie the Aggregator” RSS aggregation software which will be driving the Gluten Free Feeds site.  This site is an aggregation of feeds from sites and bloggers with the topic of gluten-free living.  The site is currently generated using the RSS aggregator module of Drupal.  Unfortunately, the Drupal aggregator is highly intolerant of errors in feeds so content frequently does not make it to the front page.  Whilst I would like to live in a world where all site feeds are well-formed, valid XML and contain no weird (like Windows character set) characters, I believe that this world – which has also cured cancer, eliminated poverty, war and Western-style fast food – is one that does not, and never will exist.  So, the plan is to build a light-weight aggregator that uses the Perl HTML::Parser module – a most lenient and forgiving piece of code that should ensure that all but the worst of feeds may be parsed, sanitised and displayed.

In other news, I will be reporting on the iPod Nano, weight training with Chronic Fatigue, an anti-disablist cartoonist, and how to make perfect gluten-free fish and chips.

Blogathon 2007 posts will be filed under the Blogathon07 category in addition to any others.

No Comment, No More!

This blog is finally open for comments, through my new BackChat programme. Hoorah! Yes, I have nearly finished writing the software; it's been a long haul, but we're there.

I have spent the last hour trying to iron out the bugs; the system seems to be taking comments and doing things as it should. So far. We will see.

To help stem the tide of comment spam, an e-mail verification process is used for first-time commenters. Those with known e-mail addresses (provided they are not blocked as spammers) are not required to go through this process.

There is also a strict process – the comment module can only be accessed if referred by a blog page allowing comments, or from itself. This is achieved by using an MD5 digest of the post ID and other data which I will refrain from disclosing. The HTTP Referrer is just to unreliable for this job.

The general idea is to get spammers to file Smiffy's Place in the Too Hard basket, although I await the challenge of seeing by what means they try to circumvent my security.

Smiffy 2007: A Day in the Life Of

Preamble

For those who do not know me, I am an Information Technology professional of English origins, in his fortieth year, living in South Australia. I suffer from what might be called, in general terms, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, in vaguely technical terms a malfunctioning endocrine system (thyroid, adrenal and more), and, in subjective terms, a total pain in the bum.

Early Morning

Up at about half six, my wife already being on the go due to the call of the doggies. Before getting out of bed, I take my basal temperature. Shower, apply first medication in cream form. Wash hands, dress, take blood sugar reading. Record temperature and blood sugar reading. Read over-night emails. Take various other medications by mouth. Prepare scrambled eggs and espresso. Consume scrambled eggs and espresso. Record time of consumption of scrambled eggs and espresso.

Do any minor chores, like turning irrigations taps in vegetable garden. Brew tea. Feel knackered.

Check logs on hosting servers. Work on client or own programming projects.

Mid Morning

Take and record blood sugar level. Brunch – tea, sprats in buckwheat pancakes. This delightful combination can be a major highlight of my day. Now probably too tired to do much more in the way of work, but struggle on, regardless.

Noon

Take and record temperature, take noontide medications. May still be working, if this is a good day.

Mid Afternoon

Snack – probably cashew nuts. Time for afternoon snooze.

Pre-Teatime

Summon up energy to prepare the evening meal. This is never a good time of day for me.

Teatime

Prepare meal, take temperature, try to remember to take medications (important dose). Possibly a blood sugar sampling here.

Serve and consume meal. Generally too tired to do much between now and the end of the day.

End of Day

Further temperature recording, taking of medication and consumption of my good-night pickled herrings – the latter seems to help my fasting blood sugar.

Conclusion

For anyone who has enjoyed (or worse, taken for granted) reasonable health for most of their life, this may sound pretty grim. Whilst I got used to using a CPAP machine, my "nursing home" medication dispenser and its contents, can still be quite overwhelming; I assume that this too, in time, will become such a part of everyday routine that I will not even notice it.

Whilst I get depressed on a fairly regular basis, I know that this is just a physiological thing, even if it is rather unpleasant. I am striving to turn my depressive episodes into something creative, as I know that others do.

Not working, as such, tends to make me feel fairly worthless, but I am still productive, just at a lower level than I am used to or might like – I am still cooking meals, with the new and extra challenge of making them gluten-free, as well as interesting and nutritious. I am learning the Java programming language, and probably setting myself a bigger-than-necessary challenge in this by working on both desktop and mobile applications at the same time.

Does This Sound Like You?

Have you just found yourself in a position like mine, with a chronic and debilitating illness? Take heart – whilst some fairly radical adjustments to lifestyle may be required (or just happen), life goes on. You may not be able to engage in the activities that you used to and would like to, but there are new ones to be discovered and the Web is big help in this.

Above all, remember this: you are not alone!

A Belated Welcome to 2007

For those who embrace the (flawed, in my opinion) Gregorian calendar, a slightly belated Happy New Year.

Much I have to recount, and hopefully will get around to making posts on:

  • Update on the MotoRAZR V3i
  • Hosting changes/I love my Linodes
  • Review: running Gentoo Linux on the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61m
  • How does my garden grow: the 600 gramme courgette, and other stories.
  • Drupal revisited
  • Count-down to Blogging Against Disablism Day

(One may notice that this is not the first post dated 2007; it is, however, the first published, as my icecream disaster was in draft until after this post was first published.)

Smiffy on Flickr

Smiffy is now on Flickr, the photo-sharing, social-networking site.

Whilst I have browsed through Flickr on previous occasions, I have never had a strong reason to become engaged with it. Now, however, I think the time is ripe; I have a mobile phone with a built-in camera, and Flickr would appear to be the place to store my pictures, whilst looking at other camera phone pictures for inspiration.

Although my phone has the same resolution imager as my old Olympus compact digital camera, it lacks the quality optics, is almost impossible to hold steady, only works well in bright light, has little manual control – I could go on. However, as I have the camera, I am going to experiment and, whilst I will not be expecting to take any clear, sharp, pictures, will be looking at how this gadget can be used to create Art.