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David's diary: June 2009

June 1 - so pinch, punch, first of the month and say hello to the Goznet invoicing system... Too hot to work overly hard, so at least good to arrange for a quite respectable bit of money to come my way over the next few weeks! Quite a busy and sociable weekend just completed, with some gardening, a walk in the nearby park and a barbecue at Lisa's on Saturday, and a picnic on Gostrey Meadow yesterday afternoon before the church evening gathering.

Been doing a bit of Flash programming today, and I had forgotten how unpleasant and downright obtuse a language ActionScript is. This is a bit of groundwork in advance of the big update to my content management platform that I have planned, specifically a neat little widget for interactively uploading files to webspace. Got there in the end, pretty much, but it was a painful experience - so glad I don't have to use Flash too often! That's in stark contrast to Fireworks, one of the other components of Adobe's software suite, which (once one has got a handle on its occasional pickiness) is simply the best software out there for web graphics production.

So the dust is now settling after this year's rather notorious Britain's Got Talent - indeed one of the first of its ilk that we have been bothered to watch at all closely, though mainly because of the media attention given to Susan Boyle. In the end it seemed about right that she came second, though it wouldn't have surprised me if she had won, given how most of the coverage pretty much ignored everyone else. The street-dance act Diversity were worthy winners though, and it was good to see Susan acknowledging that with perfectly honest humility - shortly before checking in to the Priory. Not that the same could really be said for Hollie Steel with her semi-final tantrum; she probably shouldn't have been in the competition at all, let alone in the final, and only got as far as she did thanks to what really did look like blatantly stage-managed heart-string pulling - with a distinct lack of anything but crocodile tears. I doubt she intentionally fluffed, but I'll bet her pushy mum (who has a lot to answer for herself) told her not to worry if she did, and exactly how to react - and the hosts, judges and voting public alike fell for it hook line and sinker. Hopefully a bit more sanity and common sense might return next time round?

Thursday morning, and just back from the dentist - and yay, not only am I "all clear", but I don't need to go again for another nine months now, rather than six. I had been a bit worried that there were problems they were holding back on sorting out, because of their flawed funding model, but no, it seems I really am OK. The requisite £16.50 seemed a bit like money for old rope when I was out in five minutes flat, even before my scheduled appointment time, but I really can't grumble given how much I've neglected my gnashers over the years!

Slightly (though only slightly) less onerous than a typical visit to the dentist was of course going to vote. Apart from European-oriented leaflets from the Conservatives, BNP and UKIP, we'd received no publicity, so it was quite a surprise to find that not only was the European ballot paper about the length of the average toilet roll, but there were also local elections going on. Anyway, a fairly easy choice in the end. It will be interesting to see what the overall turn-out is for today's polls - on the one hand, people may be more disillusioned than ever with politicians, but on the other hand, politics (particularly one's choice of representative) has perhaps never been more in the public eye than at present, so it could go either way. One thing of which there is no doubt is that there will be some utter humiliation, whether entirely deserved or not.

I had been planning on starting work in earnest on version 3 of the Kourou system that lies behind my websites and many that I produce for my clients, but it's had to play second fiddle today to sorting out this office, in part so that I have some vain hope of finding all the paperwork I'll need in order to complete my tax return. Still a little way to go, but between us we've broken the back of what needs to be done, and I don't think we destroyed anything too critical in the process! Taking a breather now though, and it'll be time to cook us up some tea soon anyway, so looking like it'll be at least tomorrow until I can get on with "real work"!

A week on, and much as I would like to say it's been insanely busy, it hasn't. I've frankly just got a bit bored with all this. Don't worry, faithful readers, I'm not abandoning the diary after so long, but writing the same old same old time and time again really doesn't do it for me. Good weekend for us though, out with Mel on Saturday for a walk/photo-shoot on Thursley Common, and out with Lisa Sunday afternoon for a leisurely and blissfully child-free drink at the Slug.

Of geeky interest may be that I have finally installed Ubuntu on my laptop. The Windows XP installation on it had always been a bit iffy, and having tried Jaunty Jackalope from a live CD when it was newly out and found it actually worked rather well, decided I would bite the bullet and load it up properly. With only a 6GB hard disk, no chance of dual booting, so it was all or nothing - and so far, really quite impressed. The seemingly eternal question is whether Linux is yet "ready for the desktop", and I would say with Jaunty it's getting painfully close. I've only had to hit the command line once so far, and that was to do something that could in fact just as easily have been done from the GUI - and therein lies perhaps the biggest obstacle, the people advocating it the most, and their apparent pathological aversion to user-friendliness...

Thursday, and Katy and I have now been legally married five years and one day. "Legally married?" I hear you puzzle... Don't you remember? For various reasons we did the register office bit two days before the church ceremony. Both parts were important and special to us, but we won't really consider it our anniversary until tomorrow. We had been planning on going away for the weekend, but for various reasons that didn't quite work out, but we've still got some nice things planned (some just for us, some involving others) so it won't be forgotten!

Meanwhile, I finally got round to packaging and sending off our camera yesterday. Soon after we returned from our holiday, a very occasional fault became a consistent one, making the camera essentially useless. The symptoms appear suspiciously like ones associated with a fault Canon has issued a recall for, so we're hopeful that the nice people at Colchester Cameras will diagnose it as that, in which case we're entitled to a free repair or replacement even though, like our marriage, it too is almost five years old, having been bought with wedding money!

And now we've been married five years and a day in the sight of God. Banquet for two at the Bon East last night and breakfast at Café Rouge this morning by way of celebration. Then to wrap it all up, a visit from Rachel, Mark and Daniel this evening, availing ourselves of half price pizza. Not yet sure what tomorrow holds - we'll just have to see how raring to go we are when we wake up... At the current rate though, we may well be deciding we need a bit of a rest.

Woohoo, almost the weekend - and it can't come a moment too soon to be honest. Having a bit of a party this evening, with a Mario Kart theme; I wonder who will actually come along out of those who've said they might! Been working more on Kourou version 3 over the last few days, this time concentrating on the file manager. Earlier this month I wrote a fairly reasonable file uploader in Flash, and had the fun and games of integrating that - not helped by the fact that Flash's file-uploading capability does not honour session cookies, kind of a fatal flaw for functionality that should only ever be used when authenticated, no? Got there in the end, but boy was it awkward to work around. Thank goodness for blogs and documentation with user comments and clarifications! Still some way to go both with the file manager and with version 3 in general, but it's only a matter of time. Just rather frustrating when I've done it all before, and not really seen the return on investment of my time that I might reasonably have hoped for.

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