Sick of soccer pundits sticking up for their ex-colleagues

I’ve been listening to the radio a lot this week, especially to 5 Live where they’ve had various pundits on discussing Ashley Cole’s disgraceful show of petulance and disrespect for referees.

They’ve tried to convince us that the respect that rugby referees get from players wouldn’t work in football because rugby players get involved in punch ups, and that’s an even bigger lack of respect for referees.

I’m sorry but that’s just such a ridiculous argument, when was the last time you saw a rugby player argue over a referees decision? and when they do they get sin-binned for 10 minutes, or the ball gets moved 10 yards closer to their own try line (when was the last time you saw a free kick moved forward 10 yards for dissent?)

These ex-players also insist that dissent isn’t as widespread as people like to make out, but I went to watch Blackburn Vs Wigan yesterday and almost every free kick brought a reaction from them player concerned, not on the level of Ashley Cole’s petulance, but to say that it’s not widespread is rubbish.

Come on someone, have the guts to speak out about this, your making fools of yourselves and no-one believes you.

This post was originally made by me to FootyTechs, a community for geeks interested in Footy


There is more to the UK IT sector than Brighton & London
August 1, 2007, 12:22 am
Filed under: barcamp, fowa, it, leeds, north, opencoffee, sheffield

Reading most of the IT events you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing happens outside of Brighton or London, but don’t overlook Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool as places to hold your IT gathering, Geekfest or just a quick beer with some online buddies.

I really wish the FOWA bus had stopped somewhere in between London & Edinburgh, there are events like the Sheffield Barcamp, the Leeds Barcamp & the OpenCoffee Leeds events, but they’re not really on the same scale, and don’t do the North justice in showing off our talent and creativity

Animated gif of traffic chaos in Sheffield
June 30, 2007, 12:08 am
Filed under: flood, sheffield

PreviewIn my last post, I described my journey home from work on Monday. I have a little website called TrafficJammr that shows info on traffic problems around Sheffield.

I used the data I collected on Monday to produce this short animation of the traffic problems as they built up throughout the day.

The animation didn’t come out as dramatically as I hoped it would, but this is because the “heat” is relative to the rest of the map. So while the A61 being shut had an amplitude of 5 (out of 5) there was only 1 report, whereas Rotherham center had 3 or 4 reports very close together which made it appear “hotter”.

Continue reading

The kindness of strangers
June 26, 2007, 9:31 am
Filed under: flood, sheffield

The following is the tale of a rag tag group of strangers, thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, struggling to get home to their loved ones and facing almost insurmountable odds. Sounds like the plot for a cheesy disaster movie? Well that’s what happened to me on the way home from work yesterday.

buried burgundy(Photo: random_dave) It had been raining heavily all morning and just got heavier and heavier toward lunch time. At 2pm my boss sent a mail round the office saying we should all leave sooner rather than later, so I did. I got on a bus at about 3:30 and 4 hours later we’d travelled less than half a mile, but at least we were out of the rain.Our driver had repeated calls from his depot to drop us of and return home, but he was an absolute diamond. By now all that were left on the bus were those passengers who lived right at the far end of his route, this included some pensioners, a 5 year old boy, a pregnant lady & a disabled lady. The driver did his level best to try and get us as close to home as he could, he drove all the way out to Rivelin Valley, through Stannington and up to Oughtibridge. Unfortunatly the road at Outibridge was unpassable so we had to turn round and go back to Hillsborough, by now it was well after 10pm. We had a whip round for the driver (who’s name I didn’t get) and we got off and started to walk.

We waded through the water at Leppings Lane, and onto Halifax Road. Myself and Phil walked with Samantha, the disabled lady we met on the bus, the rest of the group were able to walk a lot quicker, but I couldn’t just leave her. We walked almost as far as Wadslet bridge, all the way trying to thumb a lift.

Eventually Danielle & Dave picked us up. They were in the car looking for Danielle’s sister who hadn’t arrived home. Shortly after picking us up, the received a call to say she’d arrived home safely. The traffic was at a standstill again, so I figured they’d rather be at home, we got out and started to walk again, we’d got as far as The Red Lion on Halifax Road. We didn’t have to walk far, we managed to thumb another lift from Ken, who had driven all the way from Huddersfield because his son had had to get off the train at Sheffield. Unfortunately Ken couldn’t get anywhere near the station, so his son headed for the Town Hall, and Ken headed home. We got out just before the A616 and walked the short distance home from there.

When we got hom, Samantha’s Dad met her at the door and thanked us both for helping her home, but I think I should be thanking Samantha, because without her I’d probably have tried something daft to try and get home :-)

It’s a real shame that it takes something like a flood to get people to help each other like that, just imagine what a better world we would have if everyone was like that all the time.

Review of Barcamp Sheffield 2007
May 27, 2007, 7:51 pm
Filed under: barcamp, barcampsheffield, plusnet, sheffield

This weekend I’ve been at Barcamp Sheffield, a two day barcamp where the 1st day was more traditional (if it’s been going long enough to gain any tradition) and the 2nd day was a bit more focused on startups, presenting their applications, I’m so glad I took the advice of my old boss, and didn’t rely on a live demo, I lost count of how many times I heard “well, it’s still in beta so …” or “It worked 5 minutes ago” ;-)

Day 1 was taken up by presentations on any number of subjects, from designing a card game around “The War On Terror” that ended up seeing Jesus battle Ron Jeremy for control of Heathrow airport using a cow bomb and a zombie virus to the more traditional topics of scaling web apps, and a live demo of Rails programming.

I think the ones I enjoyed the most (except for Jesus’ epic battle with Ron) was Sue Jamison-Powell’s “Psychology of Online Social Networks”, she gave a brief and very high level overview of the theory of social networks, and then went on to explain an expreiment in social networking she and her group are hoping to present. It was both something I’m interested in, and something I have no idea about, the perfect mashup :-)

I also enjoyed what I heard of Simon Polovina’s presentation of conceptual structures, I only cought the last 5 minutes, but it sounded fascinating. I won’t do them in injustice of trying to explain them after hearing on 5 minutes of a presentation, so I’ll just send you to the iccs website.

Well done to Adam Bardsley & Wojtek Kutyla who claimed the 2 slingboxes for giving the best demos of the day.

Day 2 started with a demo of TravelManager, an online app for managing a fleet of coaches and their maintenence and schedules, this was the “ah well it’s only a beta” day, but thing went pretty well for Mike. Divebuzz was a good example of a niche community site, and we also had a look at 3 upcoming apps from developers in the north.

First of these was Thinkfold, an online, collaberative outlining application so that people can make notes at the same time on the same page, and see the resuilt in realtime, a very innovative use of ajax, but I would worry about how it would scale given that almost every keystroke seemed to be transmitted to the server, which would then send a reply.

Dave Verwer presented afeeda, a very simple and no nonsense take on the feed aggregator, the app suffered from the old “it’s only in beta”, when the aggregated Barcampsheffield feed failed to show any results, but Dave rode over this with the air of a man who’s seen it happen before, and pulled it back with a demo aggregation of my blog & Flickr streams, as well as fixing whatever the problem was with the feed right there and then. Afeeda & Thinkfold won the runners up prizes in the best demo, well done guys.

The winner of the £1000 cheque went to Meecard, who very sensibly went for a pure slideshow approach because of “technical difficulties” which despite their best efforts in the past few weeks, there just wasn’t enough time to fix. A Meecard is an aggregation of all your online identities into 1 place, 1 widget for your blog or 1 page to link to, and seemed a good solution to the problem of having your identity scattered across the ‘net.

One thing that did worry me however was the lack of business plans, very few of the demos presented seemed to have put any thought into how their app was going to make money other than “we’ll have a premium version” with a few extra features. These guys have put a lot of time & effort into their projects, and I’d hate to see them fail by not thinking about their cash flow and how it’s going to pay their wages. I recommend anyone thinking of starting a business reads Ryan Carson’s blog, and also his article on Vitamin about how to do a cashflow, it’s what convinced me that TrafficJammr just isn’t worth persueing as a viable business.

Speaking of which, I showed it off to the room, and feedback was pretty good, I was so nervous about doing the whole presentation thing, but it’s definatly something I’d like to do more of, especially now I know it’s not actually that tough (remind me of that when i get asked to do another!!)

I think Dean’s idea of a startup focused minicamp in a few months time is a very good idea, hopefully we could get some VC’s in to wake us all up and smell the coffee, or even better invest!!

All in all a very good weekend, good to meet some old friends and some new ones as well. See you all at the next Barcamp, and the ECEX group’s inaugural conference too.