Everyone is smiling
As I don't have any other place to put this picture - having lost access to linusm.com (due to the fools at uklinux) and it not, therefore being fair to put it on gabrielmitchell.com, I shall put this lovely picture here.
As you can see, they're all smiling. The crying, whinging and general stroppiness being put on pause for a few moments.
Getting unix/linux tools in a windows environment
While this may be useful to you, really this is just an excuse to link to http://www.scl.com/products/mks/grep-for-windows
There are plenty of times when using a beloved unix/linux/gnu tool on a windows platform is just the right thing to do. When this happens I figure you have a few options :
- GNU utilities for Win32 - http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/ - these are some perfectly good builds of tools/utilities such as ls/grep/sed/gzip/find that are statically linked, so there is no need for extra dll's or installation.
- When you need more than just some tools then something like Cygwin may be more appropriate http://www.cygwin.com/ . This will provide a build environment so you can build your own stuff on windows.
- Finally, when you need the job finished, need support for lots of obscure unix API's or need supported versions of Unix utilities then MKS toolkit is what you're after. http://www.scl.com/products/mks
If you're looking for something as simple as grep for windows then look at http://www.scl.com/products/mks/grep-for-windows
Sun Secure Global Desktop 4.4 - first looks
I have just found a few minutes to try out Sun SGD 4.4 - I performed the quickest install that I could just to see how it all looks.
- Xen DomU - single processor - 768 Mb memory.
- CentOS 4.4 - fairly minimal install
(MD5 for reference)
The package now weighs just over 200Mb, still not bad considering that a full apache/tomcat and a couple of JRE's are packaged inside. The install is more-or-less unchanged - we still default to HTTP on port 80/tcp for the browser interface.
Packages that I found myself installing (SGD is not dependent on them, but some are needed for some features to work) :
- firefox (for testing)
- xauth (to make stuff work)
- xterm (kinda useful)
- blackbox (minimal window manager for full-screen session)
- ghostscript (Needed for SGD printing - also installs some font packages for dependencies that are useful for firefox/blackbox)
Initial observations :
Post install we are now greeted with slightly new screen :
Note that we now have PDF versions of the documentation and, most importantly we have a link to the "Sun Secure Global Desktop Administration Console". Ooooooo.
There is nothing that an end-user will immediately notice as different from either 4.3 or 4.31, but an administrator gets the new browser-based console to play with.
As an introduction the new interface gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the new terminology - although I wouldn't expect for there to be too much confusion.
After dismissing the 'help' the first view is of the SGD servers - here you can see that I have just one - with a basic status report.
The new browser-based interface consolidates both Object Manager and Array Manager, so the new interface presents controls for everything that would have been tuned in Array Manager including all the Protocol Engine settings.
While most of the screens are clean, I get the feeling that some were created in a hurry, for example the log-filter interface could do with a bit of an update - perhaps some graphical control instead of a giant textbox?
Applications (and users and other stuff) is still presented in a treeview, although I think that there will be a tendency to leave applications in the 'root' of the tree, rather than sorting them away nicely. The other small glitch, related to the above, is that in order to move a person (User Profile) from one place to another, you have to use a rather clunky cut-paste operation.
Finally (for now) lets take a look at the config screen for an application. You can see that all the settings that you would expect are there - although they have been re-arranged onto new/different screens.
Overall I would say that the new interface shows great promise. It should make it easier for the developers to introduce new functionality to the product and to the admin UI.
If you are familiar with the Object Manager / Array Manager applications then it will take a little while to get used to the new interface, some things aren't where you'll expect them to be and some terminology has changed, but the effort will reward you in the long term.
Sun Secure Global Desktop 4.4 is here
I am downloading now and can't tell you what it's really like (although I'll try and post a review soon), but Sun have released the next version of SGD :
If you're a release-notes whore, (like myself) then head for :
Not that exciting, but kinda useful is formal support for RHEL 5 this will make my life a little easier for the SGD Administrator training courses that I run here.
We have a new baby
It's been a little while - please excuse me, we've been kinda busy. Instead of the usual slacking that I do in the office I have been off work for a little while helping with our new little baby.
He was born on the 26th October, at 12:21 (pm) weighing 4.22kg (um, 9lbs 5oz) We have decided to dub him Gabriel.
At some point over the coming weeks we will set-up a domain name and web site for him.
After delivering a lecture for the Consumer Metrics course at the Uni of Southampton
It all went rather well. Despite the 0500h start and the nightmare journey down to Southampton that meant that I only arrived just before nine o-clock.
I spent two hours talking through a first introduction to Web Analytics - A 'Web Analytics 101' if you will.
Here is the presentation that I used - it's mostly made it through the converstion to flash in once piece.
Use here or open.
References used in the presentation :
Glossary of WA terms : http://www.sclanalytics.com/resources/glossary
Web Analytics on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_analytics (not everything is correct, but it's a reasonable read)
Web Analytics the Nokia Way : http://tinyurl.com/224szr (a guide to the use of KPI's within a large organization)
Web Analytics Princess : http://www.marianina.com (a blog, not just WA, but many insightful things.)
Avinash Kaushik : http://www.kaushik.net (another blog from the respected WA evangelist.)
Preparation for delivering a lecture for the Consumer Metrics course at the Uni of Southampton
It looks like I'm going back to school, except this time I'll be the chap at the front of the room waving his hands around.
I have been asked to present the Web Analytics section of the 'Consumer Metrics' module that is part of a couple of the University of Southampton's school of Management MSc programmes.
More information, links, comments and stuff will follow - but at some point I need to settle down and put the slides together for the session.
The department is launching a blog :
Also, references :
People that I feel the need to link to
My Dad : Devon Mitchells and other genealogy stuff.
M'cousin Alan (and family) Sandcastles and Squirrel Pasties.
Anyone feeling left out? Let me know or leave a comment below.
Something wonderful arrived last night
Claire and I didn't really announce it, but we have a new addition to the household.
We made-up a pathetic excuse that allowed me to purchase a shiny new Nikon D40x (which has a silver badge, instead of the rather mundane D40)
Anyway, expect some nice pics real soon.
August 2007 - Web Analytics Wednesday - London
The August Web Analytics Wednesday in London seemed to be a success - although we don't have all the feedback yet to make objective measurements.
I had missed the July session, having been in Iceland /travel/reykjavik - so this was my first time at the venue (A big thank you to the Crown and Anchor - who provided us with our own bar. Fools!)
I have been asked to publish the presentation that I used for the pre-networking session, while there isn't a lot of context on the slides, it may give you a little flavour of what happened.
You should be able to click through the slides below :
Use here or open.
We didn't manage to cover all of the points, but here was the gist of the discussion :
- Not everyone agreed that 'mobile content' / 'mobile sites' were worth doing at all.
- Effectively measuring mobile sites is non-trivial, although it should be possible to get something of use (even if it's not 100 percent good (not that anything is)
- Some people are waiting on standards support from operators and manufacturers before attempting anything.
- I figure (maybe someone agrees) that we may need to remember what the web was like 10 - 15 years ago and just get on with it and code defensively around lack of standards / support.
- There is a greater requirment to support the mobile multi-channel mix, but having %somewhere% for an online 'campaign'/message to go back to would be a good idea.
Also - BlackBerry quirk
I have an interesting trick (noooo, not %that% one, the other one!) If you want to track the network that a mobile device belongs to then you can simply use the IP information and look it up in a sensible GeoIP database... BUT if you try to do this with enterprise BlackBerrys then it will tell you the organisation that they are attached to (useful in it's own right, but still doesn't tell you the network). So, IF you get in touch with me (email address on /bob ) then maybe I'll tell how you can add the network operator for the BlackBerry into the mix.
The WAA : http://www.webanalyticsassociation.org/
Linus has an exciting day at the Gnome Reserve
Ages and ages ago we visited the Gnome Reserve. While hunting for something that I've lost I found the pictures from the day on a USB stick and thought I ought to share a couple of them with you.
Simple free online games for children
I went looking for some online games for children that I could play online with Linus, unfortunatly most kids or childrens games were too complex or goal-oriented. Linus likes games that are simple and that let him use his own imagination.
The very first 'game' that I hacked together involves a polar bear. You use the cursor (arrow) keys on the keyboard to move the polar bear around the screen.
Ideas (should you lack imagination)
- Get the bear to a place on the screen
- Get the bear to where the mouse cursor is
Known working on :
- Windows XP / Firefox 2
- Windows XP / IE 7
- Windows XP / IE 6
- Linux / Firefox 1.5
- Windows 2003 / IE 6
- Windows 2003 / Firefox 1.5
These may not be the best online games for children, but I think some very little people will like them.
Logfiles can be your friend
Sorry it's been a while - it's been a crazy couple of months.
I had started this entry whilst I was working in Reykjavik, I think I'm now allowed to let you know (#1) that I was spending a week with the lovely people at Landsbankinn. (#2)
While I was there we had a problem that we have addressed a number of times in slightly different ways.... "If I have a website with regular pages as well as 'resources' (pdf files, spreadsheets, whatever) how do I track the usage of these if I am using page tags for my data collection?"
Throughout this I will refer, interchangeably to resources, files or downloads.
There are two solutions that I can think of right now :
1. Track the links leading to the file in question.
2. Identify the downloads based on web (or proxy) log files.
Now, tracking the links does work. You can do this the hard way (by hand) or you can use a pagetag that auto-instruments the links in question (like ours). The problem that I see with this approach is that resources like PDF files are highly rated by search engines (#3) and some visitors are going to land directly on your site on a resource, without the chance to trigger a pagetag. This sucks, especially if you're in an SEO mood.
The log-based method works fine, but there is a problem. If you *just* use logs (does anyone still do that?) then you miss-out on all the benefits that tagging gets you.
So, there is another way (two actually) (I wouldn't be writing this otherwise).
Real solution number 1. You can use Unica NetTracker or NetInsight in its hybrid mode, where it manages tags and logs, but that can sometimes be more trouble than it's worth, it's very easy to end-up double counting requests for regular pages.
Real solution number 2.
- Identify a parameter that can *only* be obtained from a page-tag based request. I extracted our 'lc' parameter.
- Identify a parameter that can *only* be obtained on the 'resources' (files, downloads, whatever) that you need to extract from just the logs. I extracted, using a regular expression, from the page, anything that ended-with .pdf and another untagable page (could be an RSS feed, anything really)
- Create a third (are you keeping up?) parameter that joins these two together (what we call a meta-parameter)
- Finally, specify a filter, so that only when this third parameter has a value, do we bother loading the line into the database.
This may all seem like a lot of work and the product really ought to do some of these things automatically, but it isn't too much effort, is nicely maintainable and produces a lovely clean profile containing mostly pagetag-based information, with some extra requests from things that just can't be tagged.
#3 http://www.google.com/search?q=landsbanki.com (to see some PDF results in a search)
#4 http://members.mrtc.com/anvk/fielddaycart04/fielddaycart04.html (for the picture of the man with the beard and the log and the tags)
Week of the midnight sun
It's been a long while since I've had a chance to sit down and
write anything. I have spend a few weeks working in Bracknell and this week I have been in Iceland.
This terrible URL (to be fixed) http://tinyurl.com/34dlop will take you to an annotated Google map (with extra bits to be added) that shows the highlights of my visit.
Places that I ate :
- Silfur http://www.silfur.is/ has a more 'fusion' menu than their site suggests. Their signature chocolate dessert and anything that has Wassabi ice-cream is a good pick.
- Hereford Steakhouse http://www.hereford.is/ is a generic steakhouse, not quite good enough to feature on my 'all time' best steak list but perfectly alright. Their fish soup starter was good, but the tentacles lurking at the bottom were a little off-putting (despite being very nice).
- ...more to follow.
As I'm writing this I realise that I am starting to think in the idiot English that I have found myself speaking all week - despite the fact that most of Iceland seems to speak better English than most of England. Go figure.
p.s. Sorry about the mis-spelling of Reykjavik, I've had character set issues with the RSS feeds and this was the easiest thing to 'fix'.
How to tell when you own a domain
For some time I had a little problem. If you searched on Google for this site then you didn't get my site at #1. Which sucks.
Now, instead of Bob Staake (bobstaake dot com) who simply has had a page with the word 'Bob-O-Rama' on it, you get me.
Now, this really shouldn't be difficult. It's like winning a prize for being yourself. I still have work to do for boborama and, more importantly, my own name.
More lame SEO to follow.
Daytrip to The Netherlands
Last week I took a daytrip to run a Web Analytics course for an organization based near Amsterdam. While not strictly a day trip, as I travelled the afternoon before, it all felt rather rushed.
Problem number one (did you really think that this wouldn't be an endless whinge about everything?). Reasonable looking taxi from the airport that charged WAY too much to get me to my hotel - I didn't really feel like telling the thug (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:007Jaws.jpg ) (no, really, he had a mouth full of shiny steel that I don't think any orthodontist had anything to do with)
Anyhow, the freaky taxi dude dropped me off at the hotel (Green Park Hotel) at about six or seven pm. I present myself at reception where the very nice lady tells me that they don't have any rooms. Now, please bear in mind that I had a reservation and that it had been placed for a couple of weeks and that it was guaranteed for late arrival.
No room at the inn.
So, the lady in the hotel says she has made another reservation for me at their sister hotel which is only about twenty minutes away. Fine. Whatever. Just get me a taxi.
(I think we're up to problem number three or four here, but who's counting?)
(taxi journey uneventful)
Hotel #2. (The Grand Winston Hotel) (I won't link to them, they don't need it)
This looks like it's a much nicer hotel than the first one. They don't actually have any record of me, but that soon gets sorted. Classy. Inexplicibilly they have a thirty foot high picture of Winston Churchill looming over reception.
Food is okay - although the nice restaurant isn't open on Sunday or Monday nights.
At last I get to bed.
The bed from hell.
Why is it so hard?... perhaps it's upside down..... no... just as hard the other side.... perhaps it's me.... it will get better.... but it's so hard..... my hip hurts...... I think I'm getting pressure sores....... is the floor any more soft?...... no, but it's only a little bit harder than the bed...... I can't sleep... I can't sleep...... I need to sleep.... perhaps I'll have a glass of water and then it will be better ........ ... ... can I call reception and demand a better bed? ..... perhaps if I lay on one half of my sheet/blanket it will make it better.... yes - a bit.....
So somewhere at about 4 or 5 AM I get to sleep.
Next morning, when I check-out I ask that if I had paid more (it was still the original room rate from the first hotel) would I have had a nicer bed? No, I am told, it's our most frequent complaint.
So, despite people telling you that your beds are too hard you don't do anything about it?
The rest of the day passes without event.
May 2007 - Web Analytics Wednesday - London
And so another Web Analytics Wednesday passes. This is the second such even that I have assisted with and I think that it was even more successful than the first.
The most obvious change was the new venue - from some deep-underground basement bar, that anybody could wander through we have moved to the rather more up-market Royale room in the RubyBlue bar located off Leicester Square. Plenty of light and even some fresh air from the balcony overlooking the square itself.
The dedicated room made it much easier to mingle, as there was much less of a chance of wandering up to somebody at random and launch into some conversation about long tails before realising that they'd just come in for a drink.
The 'Networking' aspect was also helped by the lovely name badges that we managed to hand-out to just about everyone ... no more guessing that you already know someone and really ought to recognise them by now.
The main session (1800h onwards) was prefaced by an open discussion about the use of Web Analytics tools for SEO tasks (part led by myself and part by m'colleague Matt). This was the first time that either of us had done anything like this and I think we have learned the following lessons :
- Make sure that people are expecting to contribute with an opinion or questions.
- With the above point in mind, pre-announce the full agenda.
- Less, but better (perhaps more inflammatory) points. :-)
- Make sure that everyone can hear (duh!) and that there is a real 'circle' effect in the seating.
- Try and avoid a focus in the circle (although with a projector this can be difficult)
- ... any other ideas?
This time we (the remaining SCL mob decanted ourselves into a nearby restaurant where we mostly had really manky salmon fishcakes. I wish I knew the name of the place so I could suggest that you avoid it.
This time we all made it home without drunkenly disgracing ourselves.
Update in the world of Bob
This is just a few words to let you know that I haven't forgotten to update. I have just been *really* *really* busy and really haven't had a chance to sit down for what seems like weeks.
Things for me to do before the long weekend is over :
- Write some of the thoughts that I've been about stuff that I've been working on
- Write about places that I've been in the past couple of weeks (bigass easyjet rant coming up)
- Clean / tidy stuff at home (honest)
- Mow the grass at the back of the house
- Go and by a table and chairs for the back garden
- Finish (well, do some more of) my dads new php'ized database-backed website
- Print some stuff for work BEFORE Tuesday morning!
Well, three out of seven isn't *that* bad. Is it?
Where and why I quite like steak
Sometimes I eat steak - occasionaly I have some that is so nice that I add it to my list (it's in my head, don't worry) of "The Best Steak on the Planet".
1. A steakhouse below/near one of the SAS Radisson hotels in Oslo - although I can't seem to find out anything about it online.
2. Old San Francisco Steak House, Houston. (USA)
I think that my opinion may have been swayed by the pretty girls on swings. A bit of research online suggests that the place has now been knocked-down and replaced with a mall.
3. Sofitel Airport Hotel, Brussels.
Good - and it's still there and hasn't been demolished (at least, since two days ago)
Also very nice lamb.
(and now the list isn't just in my head)
How to make pretty AND useful dashboards in NetTracker and NetInsight
One of the things that I do at work is support the Unica NetTracker and Affinium NetInsight products. In the course of my work I sometimes find nice things that it would be good to share with a wider audience.
The products have had two sorts of dashboards for some time - the pretty graphical dashboard with nothing but pictures and the informative but ugly 'Executive' dashboard with nothing but numbers.
Wouldn't it be nice to combine the two? (can you tell where I'm going with this yet?)
While I have tested this myself in a few different environments and it all seems okay neither I, my employer (SCL) or Unica can be held responsible for any loss or damage of you trying-out any of this. This article is written by me (Bob Mitchell) and is not produced or endorsed in any way by either my employer (SCL) or Unica.
These instructions apply to version 7.1 of NetTracker and NetInsight, I would imagine that there will be a neater, gui-driven way of doing this in future versions of the product.
(edit: possible in NetInsight 7.4 and better)
1. Create a graphical dashboard containing the graphical elements that you want. Save it as a custom report.
2. Take a look at the reportxxx.xml file (where xxx is the number of the report) in inst_dir/data/profilename.
3. Now take a look at the file 'execdash.xml' (It's for the Executive Dashboard - the one with all the numbers). Look familiar? (You should notice that the 'section' is of type 'executive', but otherwise it looks a bit like the graphical dashboard.
4. Transplant a section from execdash.xml into your reportxxx.xml
5. Force NetTracker to regenerate the report - perhaps just click on a single day and it will regenerate the report from scratch.
6. Observe the results :
Now, I think you'll agree that this both looks nice, while also presenting 'real' numbers.
Further options :
1. Change the 'link' attribute - this will alter, or prevent the report you get when you click on it to drill-down.
2. Change the 'label' attribute to rename an item
Following the release of NetInsight 7.4 all this is now built-in to the GUI (but there still isn't a GUI for it in NetTracker).
Better ways to spend your time
Sometimes, usually on a Sunday, when I can't usefully spend any more time at home, Linus and I will wander into into town with nothing in particular to do.
One of the few good things about this is that the carparking is free all day in the mall.
Last Sunday, almost a week ago as I write this now, we drove into town first thing (about ten thirty ish) and parked in the 'Blue' side of the mall (just opposite the doors to the lift, which was nice)
Sometimes we will first walk down to Costa Coffee in Queens Square for a bit, I like a nice coffee and Linus may have a tub of different fruit.
Linus doesn't really like the apple bits (although he likes apple... Hmmm?)
So, this week Costa was full - the chap at the counter, I hesitate to call him a barista, said that it's always that full.... This is a lie. I have never been unable to get a seat. Anyway, "one Cappuccino and the fruit to go please".
Sitting in Queens Square we notice the following things :
- The seat is really wet - on account of the rain.
- The mass of Unwashed outside Primark.
- A really old (thirty something) skater dude.
Moving on from the square.
There are no worthwhile Wii games (other than Zelda, which we have now finished). Perhaps we need to consider a PS3 - now available for pre-order for delivery at the end of March.
There are no shops on the High Street side of town any more - at least, none that are open on a Sunday. Nothing but estate agents.
After testing/playing with the fairly nicely finished virt-manager that is packaged with Fedora Core 6 (and hopefully in RHEL 5 when it eventually arrives) I was fairly sure that it would be 'good enough' to use as the management layer for our foray into virtualisation. Unfortunately it proved too difficult to effectively boot/install/manage windows VMs in its current state.
In order to get things running I have tested Xen Enterprise (3.1), that provided a nice pre-built dom0, very lightweight, with nothing that really needs playing with. There is a nice-ish gui (available on different platforms) that makes the installation of windows virtual machines a breese.
- No 64bit support yet
- No built-in way of doing clean installs of other linux OS's (such as CentOS)
Both of these are being addressed in a future version (I am told)
Lack of 64bit won't kill us right now, although it's rather a waste of the Opteron cores that we have.
In order to get CentOS working, I ended-up doing a minimal install of CentOS on a spare machine and then using the P2V process (that is really really slick) to migrate it to a VM. This VM can then be cloned as many times as we need.
Right now it all seems to work and the sub £500 pricetag seems quite reasonable.
More than you need to know about Bob
Name : Bob Mitchell
Born : 1978
Home : Crawley, West Sussex, UK
email : bob dot mitchell at scl dot com
linkedin profile : http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobmitchell
employer : SCL ( http://www.scl.com/ )
role : Wrangler
Current Location : "where is bob?"
If you feel like buying me stuff take a look at:
For 'entertainment' value you should also see : http://digg.com/users/bobmitchell .
Having a proper job title is quite important, although the job title that appears on my contract really bears no relation to what I actually *do* most of the time.
Things that I do (while at work) :
- Go visit prospective customers
- Attend tradeshows and other industry stuff
- Provide pre and post sales product support
- Advise customers on the *right* way of doing things
- Support some of our internal applications
- Develop some of our internal infrastructure
- Drink tea
Products that, to a greater or lesser extent, provide support for :
- Unica Web Analytics products, NetTracker and NetInsight http://www.scl.com/web-analytics/
- Sun Secure Global Desktop http://www.scl.com/interoperability/application-deployment/secure-global-desktop
So, if there is some way that the best bits of this can be fitted into a job title then I would dearly like to know.
Things that I like :
- Linus http://www.linusm.com
- Gabriel http://www.gabrielmitchell.com
- Asa http://www.asamitchell.com
- Steak - /steak
You may find the is bob having a bad day page useful.
All about Linus
Linus quite likes broccolii...
A video of him from this last Christmas : /linus/christmas_2006
If you want to visit his site then go to http://linusm.com
All work and no play
At work I do some things. No really, I do. Sometimes I even manage to write about them here.
For work I sometimes have to travel - if I have pretty pictures or need to remind myself never to go somewhere again, then I'll write about my travel.
Getting sore feet at a tradeshow
This Wednesday I will have the pleasure of attending the TFM show at London Olympia where I will be mostly stuck on stand D56 and trying not to have hurty feet.
If anything exciting happens on the day I will keep you informed.
This is a test of images
I think you'll agree that it seems to work okay.
Hints, thoughts and issues with Sun SGD on Fedora Core 6
I have just taken delivery of a nice new Sun X4100 (M2) server and, as a quick test I decided to install Sun SGD (4.3.915) on the box.
As this is a nice 64bit platform, and I'd used the x86_64 version of FC6 I was a couple of libs short :
[root@xxxxxxxx ~]# rpm -Uvh ./tta-4.30-915.i386.rpm
error: Failed dependencies:
libXt.so.6 is needed by tta-4.30-915.i386
libgdbm.so.2 is needed by tta-4.30-915.i386
libXp.so.6 is needed by tta-4.30-915.i386
As SGD is still built as a 32 bit application you will need, at least, the i386 (32 bit) versions of libXt, libXp and gdbm
yum install libXt.i386 libXp.i386 gdbm.i386
It should then mostly work.
(as an aside, if you are attempting to install on a really cut-down RHEL4 box and the PDF printing is failing then you may need to install ghostscript)
This site, being almost done
This site is almost done, I am not 100% happy with the CMS, but it's all very very simple and it's not too bad.
- Visibility of items. Right now everything is visible to everyone.
- Some form of categorisation / tagging.
- Spell check :-p
- Off-site links to stuff that matters.
- Images. (yup)
- Upload of videos and images (any any other stuff) (uh huh)
- Feedback (forum/messageboard thing).
- More markup, so I can do lists as well as paragraphs. (now done)
- Prev/next pages of the main roll
- make sure it all still validates
Linus on Christmas morning
This is a little video of my boy Linus - I have put the video here as I can't be bothered to figure it out on his site (http://www.linusm.com)
A Monday evening meal in Leeds.
Travel really shouldn't suck. Perhaps I have too-high expectations, but it should be possible to go places and not be treated like an animal (regardless of whether I deserve it or not)
Mio Modo in Leeds seemed like an okay sort of place when I was here a month or so ago. Perhaps it's because it is still the 'holiday' period but it seems that they have given-up any thought of treating people like me (travelling for business & eating alone) with any real respect. The table of people that they've just sat next to me seems to have two waiters hovering around them at all times, meanwhile I'm still sitting here waiting for someone/anyone to take my order.
Eventually my order was taken and neither the starter nor the main took too long to arrive. My starter, Bruschetta, was quite pleasant - although the tomatoes were a bit flavourless.
My glass is now empty, but they seem to keep missing the opportunity to ask me if I'd like some more. I think I may need to ask.
I didn't mention this before, but I was aiming to be done in about an hour and be out of here in here shortly before nine o'clock, that way I can get back to the hotel and watch the first episode of 'Pandemic'. It is currently five to nine.
I did manage to order another glass of juice (pineapple) - it may have been better if the bottle had been shaken first.
It's now seven minutes past nine.
Re-writing this afterwards from my notes, I don't really remember what I had for my main - although I do remember that the 'ham' was really cheap and nasty.
'Service is included' on the bill and there wasn't the opportunity to add a tip onto the card transaction. If you really feel that you've been treated well then you may want to tip in cash.
I finally managed to escape at about twenty past nine. Overall my experience wasn't all that great, although I suspect that if you have more people on a table or visit at another time of year then you may have a better time than I did.
Not really a hotel review
The Queens hotel in Leeds is quite lovely, although it would be greatly improved if they had some way of figuring out that I've given the same details at check-in a million times before.
There is good internet access (a wireless device that plugs into a normal network socket). They currently give out cards that get you two hours free access, but ask for a card at reception as you check-in, thus saving the hassle of having to go back down to reception in your pyjamas.
Rooms facing the square are nice - the windows don't open, but the air con is okay - although it escapes me why it should be necessary to have it on in January.
A theme for bob-o-rama
How about this for a theme? It's pilfered from the lovely Arcsin (arcsin.se) - although I had to get rid of the hearts and fluffy clouds!
I have been attempting to write some real words - stuff that people may actually want to read, although I'm not going to put them online until I get the CMS sorted.
In the end I decided against Movable type - it has too many dependencies (such as Perl) that I just don't want to worry about right now. So, for the time being, I will use my own simple CMS that I can play with and tweak to my hearts content.