Saturday, 25 July 2009

Attention to Detail

In Formula 1 the little details are important. The slightest change to an aerodynamically sensitive part of the car could be the difference between winning and losing a race.

What I didn't realise was that this attention to detail can become so important to a team that it crosses over into other parts of their business -- like the merchandise.

Whilst not particularly a fan of Ferrari (their approach to F1 politics usually annoys me) I do think the cars look fantastic and I couldn't help myself, when we were at Silverstone, and bought a Ferrari polo shirt. I was moving it around in the wardrobe a few days ago when I noticed the stitching holding the top button on. Now that could be considered taking the attention to detail just a little too far!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

I Was A Victim...... Of The Millenium Bug!

Having moved home I've been sorting through boxes of old junk working out what I could throw away or at least what I could store in the loft. One of the boxes contained a whole bunch of old University paperwork.

One of the pieces of paper concerned my account on the department of computer science's teaching network. I never noticed before but I'm guessing that the expiry date of 23.09.101 was caused by the millennium bug. For those of you who can't remember what all the fuss was about computers had been using just two digits to store the year which had worked well for most things but suddenly they would need to use four digits or the world would end! See Wikipedia if you really want all the gory details.

I'm guessing the department's system got fixed as my account continued to work correctly all the way to 23.09.2001.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


We have a problem with squatters in the garden! Actually they aren't bothering us too much but I'm guessing that at least one pair of small birds are homeless this year.

Fortunately for us the bird box is not that close to the house so the wasps aren't causing too many problems, although I should probably get on to the council to come and deal with the nest before it outgrows the bird box.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Realising the Semantic Web

It has often been said that the lofty goals of the semantic web community, embodied in the well known layer cake diagram, will never be fully realised. Well I have proof to the contrary. Here is a copy of the diagram and photographic proof that it can be successfully baked.
I'd love to be able to tell you that it tasted great as well, but unfortunately the colouring was marzipan and Nutella had been used to stick the layers together.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Silverstone, Day 3: Historic Sports Car Challenge

As the F1 race was finishing lots of people rushed to leave the circuit hoping to beat the traffic. We took a different approach and stayed to watch the Historic Sports Car Challenge. At some point I might go through the photos from the race and blog about the different cars but for now I just thought I'd show them lining up on the grid.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Flowering Statues

Whilst I was off work moving house Sheffield City Council were making the city centre look nice with their annual flower displays. The displays are usually the same every year but I happen to quite like these two statues which they place outside the town hall.
I'm guessing that they are supposed to depict the industrial heritage of Sheffield -- steel making and it's use in cutlery.

Monday, 13 July 2009

We Have Moved!

No I'm not moving the blog to a new home, I'm referring to the fact that we have now finished moving into our new home. It has been just over a fortnight since we got the keys and we have done a lot of work in that time.

It has been a long week and I want to thank my parents for all there help. Not only did they help shift boxes between the houses, but my Dad stayed in the house all week and boarded out the loft, laid a carpet, fitted a TV aerial and did lots of other jobs requiring a drill and random tools.

Whilst we have moved everything into the new house very little of it has been sorted or stored away. As an example, here is a photo of my new study -- most of the rest of the house and garage are in a similar state. We may have moved but the work hasn't stopped yet. It will be a while before we can sit down and enjoy our new home.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Silverstone, Day 3: The 2009 Forumla 1 British Grand Prix

On race day rather than being able to go into any stand or enclosure we had assigned seats in the Luffied A stand -- seats S212 and S213 to be precise. These were actually on the very back row of the stand and with the extra height gave a fantastic view of the complex of corners at the end of the circuit leading into the pit straight. We took an awful lot of photos during the race so I though that instead of just showing some of the photos I'd turn them into a short highlights programme of the race. Turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy the 2009 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix as seen from Luffield A, seats S212 and S213.

Silverstone, Day 2: F1 Qualifying

In the last post I did about our trip to Silverstone I mentioned that I don't take much notice of the adverts on the cars just the colour scheme they produce. Maybe that is why I really like the livery of the Brawn GP cars.

It is such a simple yet striking colour scheme and without many adverts it doesn't look cluttered. It was such a shame then that Jenson could only manage to qualify 6th fastest (with a time of 1:20.289). Watching him on the track he looked as quick as the Red Bull cars which qualified 1st and 3rd. Then again we only saw the cars through a few corners and there was less than a second (0.78) between Jenson and Sebastian Vettel on pole so I'm not surprised we couldn't see a difference in speed!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

New Layout

When I first started blogging (almost two years ago now) I didn't spend too much time on the layout and colour scheme. I took a standard template, made a few minor layout changes and changed some of the colours just so that it wouldn't be the same as any other blog using that template. It was never meant to last as long as it has.

As I now view and edit this blog from computers with wildly different screen sizes I started to get annoyed by the way the posts would display differently due to the fluid layout. So I've redesigned the blog to use a fixed width layout that will display the content in an identical fashion on any computer with a screen that is at least 1024 pixels wide (i.e. most modern computers including my netbook).

I hope you like the new design. It still needs polishing around the edges so if there is anything you think I should change or if it doesn't display well for you please let me know.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Fast Moving Adverts

Over the years I've seen lots of cars with adverts on (on the TV and now in real life) but I can honestly say that I've never really seen the adverts. I don't really take much notice of what the adverts are for, but rather the colour scheme the combination of adverts builds up in order to allow me to differentiate between the cars from separate teams.

On the Saturday at Silverstone I was happily munching my way through a box of sweet and sour chicken with noodles when a Matrixware logo went flashing through my vision attached to the side of a Porsche! The small group I work in at the University is known as SAM which stands for Semantic Annotation for Matrixware. And there I was thinking I was having a weekend away from work!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Silverstone, Day 2: F1 Third Practice Session

On the second day of our trip to Silverstone we ended up arriving at the entrance by Club corner. As we had very little time before the cars appeared on track we went straight into the Club B stand and found a seat.

The view from the stand at Club is actually really good and in the end we stayed in the same stand (although we changed seats as we came in and out for food etc.) all day.

The first session of the day was the final F1 practice session before the qualifying hour at lunch time. Rather than more photos I thought I'd share this brief video clip we took which nicely shows the speed and sound of the F1 cars.