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My photographs of the hard-to-find Marmite Chocolate were taken using the new Canon PowerShot SX30 IS UltraZoom Camera. These will be some of the first photos on the Internet from such a device.

Marmite chocolate is very yummy, but I think it owes more to the celery flavouring than Marmite itself, the presence of the latter being barely detectable.

At £2.75 per 100g, this is clearly intended to be a novelty product only. Knock a quid off and it could quite easily compete with Green and Black's.

Yes, I know ross will hate this on principle.

Vodafone adds

"Normally our website works properly but, due to some technical issue there is some problem in our site.

"I ensure that this problem should sort out as soon as possible."

Well, that's alright then. So long as it's fine for everyone else, why worry about me? I look forward to the problem sorting out, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean.

Is it any surprise Vodafone is closing one of its customer care centres, in Banbury? One can see where their priorities lie.

But wait, what's this in my inbox?

"Thanks for choosing Vodafone. Our aim is to make you feel like number one – that means customer service that really puts you first."
I'd hate to be in their bad books, if this is how they treat their new customers.


Why, I asked, doesn't your website get updated when a store has been closed for a month, so I'm not left running around blindly like a headless chicken after a phone I've paid for and asked to be delivered there?

I received a reply:
I'm sorry for the inconvenienced caused to you.

As you know that the website is running down with the updates due to some technical reasons.

Can anyone translate?

It went on to value the couple of hours or so of my time, and a wasted journey, at £10. How very generous.


I've been a bit tied up lately. Ollie and I are living together and we're making appropriate adjustments to help things along. Sorry if you've missed me, or I you.

We decided it would be a good idea for us to spend as much time together as possible to see how we got on, in 'real life'. This was a welcome change for me; the past few years, I've been with 'weekends only' boyfriends, each visit like a mini-break, often where the main attractions are closed for repairs.

It's good to have someone, finally, to share nearly all my interests with. We get along pretty darn well. The flat is crammed with 20 years of acquisitions of a previously solitary man on a decent wage; thankfully, not only did he exhibit interesting taste, but I'm good at sorting stuff out…


I now have an iPhone client, Journaller. It seems very nice so far and a big improvement on the web interface. Looks like £1.79 well spent.

Posted via Journaler.

Sometimes words have two meanings

I'm at the end of day 2 of the Introduction to Project Management. Our tutor is a guy of some note in big IT projects (Deutsche Bank, Aldermaston, international datacentres etc.) and has billions of dollars worth of experience.

Whilst some of the course is genuinely interesting, and I'm sure I can adapt some of the techniques for the future, I'm finding it quite convoluted. Considering Project Management is about an organised way to break down, plan and deliver complex (or simple) jobs, this is strange. Usually, the learning of a new skill, process or approach sheds light on what is casually observed, helps one explain how the world is, or at least has some 'hook' onto the way nature and/or humanity operate. Such was my law degree. But there is very little I have ever done that I can relate to in this course.

The choice of terminology seems arbitrary, at variance to that used commonly even in the industry that is paying for me to obtain this qualification. The exam tomorrow feels like it will primarily be a test of the new lexicon I have attempted to acquire over the last 2 days.

I don't have the quickest mind or the best memory when it comes to learning new vocabulary (I even mispronounced Cwmbrân yesterday, and I know it rhymes with … rather than divan. OK, I can't think of anything it rhymes with in English, but the 'a' sounds like 'are'.)

Although I need only 60% to pass tomorrow's multiple choice exam, this does feel like a struggle to maintain focus and absorb what's required in so short a time.

As it is, the best tip I could give anyone like me in my line of work is: never trust your memory.

Revision tonight!
Last night, my brother celebrated his 28th birthday at Salt's Whisky Bar on Edgware Road. Bizarre venue.

Perhaps the oddest thing was that this group of late-twentysomething lads (and I) were the only ones drinking Whisky at all. There was initially one table of Asian women in eastern dress, then one guy replaced them and nursed a single glass of wine for about 1.5 hours, occasionally playing games on his phone with the sound up. Avoiding the wife? Other clients were wine and beer only, and the place was half empty.

Our loyalty to the core values of the venue was noted by the DJ, who enquired what my brother's taste in music was henceforth quick to up the cheese count, playing that Ha-ppy Birth-day to You song (is it Stevie Wonder?), followed later on by Do the Hustle. I was surprised to recognise this song from its introduction only, as it's not my kind of thing. I impressed those assembled. The 70s tracks were far more appropriate to a whisky bar setting than the default playlist of indifferent contemporary drum-and-bass, played far too loudly for any pub, but especially one ostensibly aimed at those with good taste.

Service was friendly though occasionally sluggish and the prices far from giveaway (cheapest shot, £3.50; most expensive at least £16), plus optional 12.5% service charge. We declined to pay most of this. Having said that, El had a lovely time and the food was cheap and acceptable. Possibly worth investigating in future, if there are comparable venues to compare prices.

The real disappointment of the night was The Tyburn, the Wetherspoon's at Marble Arch with terrible food, I understand. Fortunately, my late arrival precluded any involvement in that fiasco.


Learning the hard way

Today has been filled with more challenges than most. I describe them on my Twitter (@pubby). The one that's taken the longest time to sort out, however, has been getting Epson Print CD to work with Snow Leopard 10.6.2 on the new iMac. I've got an old(ish) Epson Stylus Photo R800 and I've reinstalled the driver numerous times, only to have Print CD crash out as soon as I launch it.

Turns out (thanks to one comment on the Apple discussion site) that it's caused by a font conflict rather than anything to do with the printer.

My font collection is irrelevant to me. I use Helvetica and that's about it, but dad's more print-oriented. As such, I've got some fonts that I acquired in the early 1990s and are still knocking about in the Fonts folder. Duplicate fonts confuse programs, so I had to use Font Book to disable the duplicates. This was very easy.

I wish Epson had put something on their support pages to that effect. It would have saved me a load of time.

This has been a public service announcement.


… has had a bad experience or two lately, some of which are all the more unforgivable for being repeat performances, encores of disappointment.

I seem to find that whatever shit pisses me off, it doesn't keep me down for very long. I seem quite resilient, like a quality pillow. I'm lucky.


I wrote this a few days ago, but Safari and Rich Text editor don't seem to like one another. Since writing, things have got worse, and more expensive.



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