Apologies – I’m back…

This is just a quick post to offer my apologies for the lack of updates on this site over the past YEAR! Whilst it is true to say that I have been busy with work, the honest truth is that I haven’t prioritised the site the way I should have and, as a result, have lost readers etc. Time to move on…

Anyway, I am back and writing…New Service Desk Express article going up this weekend.

Please, please, please…If you have any ideas of what you would like to see posts / projects about, please let me know.

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Season’s Greetings / Thank You

As 2009 draws to a close I thought I would just pen a final post for this year essentially to say “Season’s Greetings To All” and a massive thank you to all of you who have viewed, downloaded and commented (positively or negatively) on my content. It never ceases to amaze me how many people visit my site and, more importantly to me, how many different pages they view. The table below shows the high-level statistics:

  Visits Page Views Hits
Monthly Average 10,798 26,477 81,961
Yearly Total 129,582 317,725 983,541

To maintain (or hopefully increase) these numbers I need to keep writing / write more interesting articles and to do this I really need your help. What do you folk want me to write about? Are there any series that you would like to see? Let me know in the comments to this post and next year I will see what I can deliver.

Happy holidays everyone and thanks again.

Students, Apple, VMWare and Microsoft DreamSpark

I am a genuine student of the Open University (www.open.ac.uk) having so far completed three out of lots of modules in a bid to achieve a Masters Degree in Computing for Commerce and Industry. As a general rule of thumb, so far, this aim has cost me a lot of money (Open University courses are not cheap!) but recently I have been pleasantly surprised by the discounts/freebies that are available to students. So without further ado, and as an introduction to the fact that in future you may well see posts relating to Apple Macs appearing here, I thought I would share a couple of the discounts I have recently received:

Apple iMac

I finally took the plunge and bought an Apple iMac 24″ 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM. The retail price for this either in an Apple shop or online for us UK customers is £1457.00. In case anyone is interested by the way, it is absolutely gorgeous and I don’t think I’ll be using a PC anytime soon for anything other than work!

Anyway, I got 12% off the Apple iMac and 11% off the 2GB RAM upgrade resulting in a saving of £184.64. Granted it is still a lot of money but hey, £184.64 is worth having!

VMWare Fusion

I do a lot of work on Microsoft Windows (both servers and desktops) and consequently, at least for the time being, I need access to these environments. VMWare sell a very cool product in the form of VMWare Fusion 2! Essentially this provides virtual environments for the Mac in the same way as their Workstation product provided for Windows. Microsoft have a similar (FREE) product called Virtual PC which is also rather neat. However, the really cool thing here is that a) I can happily run Linux machines as well as Windows ones and b) I can place links on my Apple desktop to files and applications on my virtual Windows machines using the amazing Unity feature! Take a look at some of the videos on YouTube regarding VMWare Fusion 2.

Anyway, I got 50% off VMWare Fusion 2 resulting in a saving of £33.29.

Microsoft DreamSpark

I mentioned I did a lot of work on Microsoft Windows – usually in the form of Service Desk Express stuff or .NET software development in general. Whilst hunting around for something else on the Internet (as you do) I came across a result offering “Microsoft Gives Students Access to Technical Software at No Charge to Inspire Success and Make a Difference” alternatively known as DreamSpark.

Now, subject (of course) to certain licensing agreements (e.g. not using the software for commercial purposes), students can download and use the full version of the following Microsoft products:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional
  • Microsoft XNA Game Studio 2.0
  • Microsoft Expression Studio 2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer

This is a brilliant initiative by Microsoft and an excellent way of students developing essential new skills e.g. Silverlight 2.0 in the forthcoming year.

Hope everyone had a great holiday period and I look forward to receiving your comments throughout this year.

Theme Woes!

Recently, I have been experimenting with other themes that will provide a more usable site for the displaying of my technical type posts. However, after receiving feedback I realised that I had rendered the site almost unusable in IE6 which was obviously unacceptable. Please accept my apologies for the unstable nature of the appearance of the site. This WILL be resolved very shortly.

What would make this blog better?

So, my blog site has been running now for almost 9 months and a recent comment suggested adding a gallery of user submitted forms, which incidentally, I rather like the idea of. Equally though, there must be a whole bunch of other stuff that you might like to see so I thought I would add this post as a placeholder for all ideas.

Leave me your comments of what you would like to see and I’ll see what I can do.

Freediving For Charity – British Record Attempt

On the 7th February 2008 I am going to attempt to set a new British Record in the freediving discipline of dynamic apnea without fins – essentially, swimming as far as you can underwater on a single breath of air.

The current British Record in 120m! I am aiming to achieve 130m – just over 5 lengths of a 25m pool!

I am hoping to raise £1000 for The Brooke (http://www.thebrooke.org), the UK’s leading overseas equine welfare charity whose aim is to improve the lives of horses, donkeys and mules working in the poorest parts of the world. If you could spare any money for this charity please visit my sponsorship site: www.justgiving.com/freedive.

Many thanks.

Back from hols – Projects!

At the weekend I got back from a weeks well-deserved (or at least I think so) holiday. Having spent much of the holiday lying on a sun lounger in the baking heat of the South of France, I have returned to boring, drab and wet England with renewed vigor and vitality.

Projects! My philosophy is that one should “Pay for services not products…” As such I don’t believe in developing products per se, but rather Projects that are free and available to everyone (without those little licence catches.) On the right is a new Projects page that will give you a little information about the projects I am currently working on in my spare time – renewed vigor remember. When complete, hopefully they will allow me to give something back…