Tuesday, 8 December 2009


....yes that's right, I've jumped ship to WordPress...sorry Blogspot....

Please visit http://ruralphloggings.wordpress.com/


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Viigo - the best mobile app ever?

If, like me, you are beginning to think that owning a Blackberry feels like playing second fiddle to all those lucky souls with a spanky new iPhone, then you might be pleased to learn about an all-singing, all-dancing application called Viigo. Before I go on, no they are not a client of mine, I just happend across the application whilst reading Blackberry Cool which has covered it significantly. Now I am actually doing a bit of research into it, Viigo appears to be a lot more than just the RSS aggregator that I had previously assumed. Well, it is just an RSS reader, but it turns out it's a rather fancy one at that. Collating news, views and blogs across myriad channels of interest plus weather, podcasts, stock info (anyone actually use this function that seems to be on every phone manufacturer's list of launch apps??) and the usual collection of social media outlets, it is actually a great one-stop-shop application that happily keeps me entertained for the hour-long commute that I put myself self through twice a day. I'm not going to write a long review as I haven't the will nor the time, however I would encourage any fellow BB-ites to download it (it's free) and get stuck in.

The enterprise functionality is quite
intriguing too so I might come back to that in a later post.

On another note, because I haven't posted anything for ages I've been thinking about the best way of making time to post - I might start drafting posts on my BB in the morning (between Viigo sessions obviously) but ideally I'd like some kind of mobile blogging app I think - know of anything that actually works? Otherwise I might have to save for a netbook....eurgh

I also have some new technology arriving soon which is rather exciting - although I am pretty sure it takes me into the realms of geekdom - some network attached storage (NAS for the uninitiated) from Western Digital - My Book World Edition 1TB. I've been after some for ages so I am pretty pleased. Will let you know how I get on with it anyway.

A client of mine once famously said, "I mean, who has a terabyte of storage in their house?? I do but hey my kids are GEEKS!"....that w
as 4 years ago though and I think having a terabyte now is not unusual. If you add up all the storage in your house I bet you get close...(Sky+ 40GB, PS3 40GB, USB drive 250GB, PC 120 GB, MacBook Pro 120GB, old laptop lying around 40GB, NAS 1TB, assorted memorgy sticks, cards etc 12GB...!)

Lastly, I borrowed a marco lens from my wife's very kind godfather who works over at Canon - here's a couple of snaps from the shoot (it's a 60mm Canon EF-S similar to this one) - the calrity you get with a decent lens never ceases to amaze me - I'm still using my old Canon 350D body (a paltry 8MP!) but stick a good lens on it and it's like a £2,000 upgrade....:

Watch out for them others now!!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

New Wheels on The Way!!

Today's exciting news is that I have picked up my Evans Cycles Ride2Work voucher and sold off my old bike. New bike just around the corner!!!

The Ride2Work scheme encourages commuters to ride their bikes part or full way to work. Once your employer is signed up you can choose up to £1,000 worth of bike, accessories etc which you pay for out of your pre-tax earnings and don't pay the VAT. If you are a top band tax-payer this means effectively paying about £500 for a £1,000 bike! A fantastic bargain if you are after a new bike because you can afford something a little nicer and don't have to 1) pay up front or 2) take out credit with a finance company.

The wife is about to do likewise so keep an eye for us zooming through woods near you soon!

Watch out for them others....

UPDATE: Ordered my new Trek Remedy 7 which should arrive this week - cannot wait

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Sad to say it but Twitter and work have taken over my life!!! ARRRGH! 

Read a blog today about a guy who had deleted his Twitter account (cool bog about a new website - check it!) - I'm nowhere near that yet but it got me thinking about how much is too much? At what point do you say, OK OK I better stop this sillyness, get on with life.  Thing is, I really enjoy reading stuff about stuff - it doesn't necessarily have to be about tech or PR or anything, just interesting.

Since the last post (about a zillion years ago) we have been to Nice and to Canada and I am due in Nice two more times before March 10th - once for a client event and once to go skiing with friends a Limone Piemonte on the border of France and Italy.

We've also had SNOW and lots of it - great fun and more on the way. Typically we came to a grinding halt but I don't have too much of an issue with that - as long as there are phones and a broadband connection we can carry on.

Tomorrow night is poker night - I am defending my crown as MSOP (Maidstone Series of Poker) Champion - big money stakes and an MSOP bracelet at stake...ooh yeah. Will post some photos this weekend.

Also getting a new bike through the Evans Ride2Work scheme - huge savings to be made!! 50%!! Poss a Specializd Enduro....exciting

Will write again soon but in the meantime, look out for them others in those TREACHEROUS conditions...


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Crossy 1 Sky 0

I am pleased to announce that I scored a massive victory over Sky TV today and am feeling pretty damn chuffed I have to say.

For the second time in 5 months my Sky+ HD box, prized possession and source of all sport failed miserably.  Not just loss of signal, but now complete and utter, not even responding meltdown. Now, the last box I got cost £65 for a replacement - not enjoyable, but hey, we'd had the other for 2 yrs and I thought not bad, and certainly better than forking out £299 after all.  The new box however was only guaranteed for 3 months...rubbish....another £65!

Cutting a long story short I spent 45 minutes arguing that the box should last more than 5 months and being told that I had no option - £65 or cancellation (and they were happy for me to cancel!). £130 each year for new sky boxes on top of the 50 odd quid a month subscription - daylight robbery.

Solution? Consumer Direct run by the OFT. Sky don't like it when you start talking about consumer rights (i.e. the right for a service/product to be fit for service EVEN if out of warranty) and scheduled a free call out for the day after tomorrow!! Worth remembering for the future as there are also some nice guidelines on there about how to complain (stay calm now!!). There are loads of forums online with advice about getting Sky call outs for free so don't pay for it if it happens to you.

In other exciting news, we've got another blog on the go - The ECT (Enterprise Computing Team) Celebrity Spotting Blog AKA "I've Just Seen Ray Stubbs". Go and have a look and all will be revealed :)

I am resolving to write less content more often rather than every few weeks - keep thinking of stuff to write then go and forget so hopefully shorter, more frequent bursts might be the way forward. Speaking of which I have really got back into Twitter recently - click here to follow me.

Watch out for them others...

Sunday, 28 September 2008

New camera!

During my recent trip to California I picked up a Canon PowerShot G9, a compact camera with many of the functionalities of an SLR (aperture and shutter priority + a couple of other things). Having found that the 350D can be a bit of a mission to carry around all day, the G9 makes a good compromise between a tiny (and often useless) compact, and the big dawg.  The limitation is obviously that it doesn't have tons of lenses you can stick on the front, however you can buy a wide angle and a telephoto (link), although frankly you would be hard pushed to need more than the optical + digital zoom already provided. I will definitely be investing in the wide angle though as have got used to having the 17mm on the DSLR which is great for landscape shots. 

I heard they took the G9 out of production which means it is likely that the G10 is on the way (in October as it happens) - 

typical (i bought my wife an ipod nano in LA too, new one came out 3 days later....). Although they have boosted it to 14.7mp, it will also weigh in at an extra 30g, totally 350g, not an inconsiderable weight....

Anyway, here's a few examples of the images that it can churn out - the whole lot can be found on my Flickr site though, so go visit that too.

I've also recently discovered Blurb, a publishing service that allows you to make books (not just photo books, but actual books too if you want).. They are a recently added AxiCom client so I have to put my hand up to a bit of a plug but I am genuinely creating a book at the moment using the service. The nearest equivalent in terms of quality would be Bob Books, however they STILL don't have a Mac client which is ridiculous really. The Blurb client is pretty thin (approx 40mb) and downloads so you can do everything offline before ordering it up... so far it is great but painstaking. The book I am making is of our Honeymoon trip to Nepal and I took a LOADS of photos so it might take me a little while.  However I can definitely see Blurb being used for many xmas presents this year - prices start at about £15 I think. Check it out!

Watch out for them others...

Friday, 5 September 2008

Hot hot hot

S'been a while, so much has happened!

Firstly kitesurfing - awesome fun, but totally destroyed me. The upper body strength required to actually keep the thing in the air was immense - learnt on a 7m then switched to a 12m for the day trying to get on the board.  Got serious unintentional air on the second day. Seriously dude, it was like totally gnarly - I was here, then I was there (12ft in the air) then I was dumped - whiplash ahoy. Definitely recommended for anyone with 1) a house nr the sea or 2) good at windsurfing/snowboarding/wake boarding. We went with these guys (FC Watersports Academy) - site seems to be down but they were v professional and definitely worth the money.

Now, anyone else totally disagree with this??? - how can the FA (or NFC) justify allowing Joey Barton to continue playing football. RANT BEGINS: footballers, although many don't act like it, are in an incredibly privileged position - they earn a packet, they are idolised by today's yoof and yet they can get away with beating people unconscious. He's hardly served his time?!?! He knocked a fellow player out - not that it would be an excuse but they guy wasn't even on an opposing team!! WTF!? This ridiculous "respect" campaign is going to go nowhere if the FA don't eject thugs (CONVICTED thugs) like Barton from the football profession. If I walked into work and beat a colleague unconscious, I think I'd be facing a little more than a 6 day ban from work on full pay (approx £80K upwards a week for Barton I would think).  Not only that, I very much doubt I would receive the support of my boss as Keegan has done for Barton. It's a disgrace. No wonder our country is in such a mess - when convicts, bullies and thugs are effectively rewarded for their actions it is no wonder that kids today think they can get away with a beating here or a shanking there.  Someone in the FA please stand up and sort this out - he's got to go, if not to prison then certainly to some kind of institution, stories like this will become more common place unless examples are made. RANT OVER

This week I have had the pleasure of attending the Quova sales conference in sunny Cupertino, California. It's down the road from San Francisco and San Jose (at which airport I am writing this entry from) - we stayed in the hotel that the conference was in, The Cypress - recommended for the leopard print robes and excellent service if you are in the bay area. Also good access to the rest of the valley. 

My first time to the valley and it has been quite weird.  Where you expect high rise glass you get lots of single story blocks - and I mean lots, like millions.  Anyway, there were loads of v interesting people talking at the conference about the importance of location. Whilst I don't want to straight pitch my client in my blog, there are some genuinely useful things you can do when you know where your web visitors come from.  Advertising online for instance has been (and will be further) revolutionised by being able to target specific geographic areas. Where once the internet was a facless, geo-less void, it is now a trace-able and (if it is a word) monetisable world. Ever wondered how the world's biggest search engines return localised results to you? Quova! Go have a look...

Off to the LAX shortly to meet an ex-Bromley boy recruiter - funny how it all works out :)

Watch out for them others (especially if you are in San Jose airport - there's freaks everywhere!!!!)

PS - go check out Navizon and download their mobile app - wifi and cell triangulation - GPS without the GPS - cunning eh?

PPS - shout out to Kris K and Catherine and Nicole from SF, thanks for taking us out!!!