Year: 2007 (page 1 of 32)

Resolutions

Almost a year ago I did a quick best of 2006 and also mentioned that I had some goals for the year. Well one of the goals was to lose some weight and I’m pleased to say that I have.

It took until August before I actually did anything when I bought an exercise bike and started playing badminton again. It was hard going at first as it wasn’t just the fact I was obese. I was totally unfit. Really, really unfit. When I think back a few years to when I was at uni I was doing lot’s of sports and I walked everywhere. Fast forward 12 years and there is no sport and almost no walking – everything is done via the car now. From leaving uni to now I reckon I’ve put on around 6-7 stone. When I started exercising in August my weight was 124kg (19.5 stones). My BMI was 38.3. Shocking.

Weight Loss

Over the last four months though I’ve lost 13.4kg (just over 2 stones) and the BMI has dropped to 34.2. I’m really chuffed with the progress so far as it’s not been without hiccups. I had a quick trip to hospital, a really heavy cold (man flu – honest) and I also managed to tear my calf playing badminton in mid October. Despite this the weight loss has been slow but constant but I won’t be stopping there. I first need to work off the Christmas excess as I’m in no doubt that I’ve put on some weight while I’ve been off and away from home. However I’m keen to keep going and see if I can get the BMI away from obese so that I’m just overweight. That would mean getting down to 97kg – another 13kg so I’m halfway there at the moment. A big ask but something I’m pretty confident of achieving. Once I get to that point? Not sure really. Probably a wardrobe shop is required as I’m already noticing that some of my clothes are looking a bit looser than they used to.

At the moment I’ve not changed my diet really. I’ve cut out snacks and also reduced biscuits – my main failing. However my diet as a whole is pretty poor so I’m sure there is a lot to be done with it. As for exercise, I’ll continue with the bike at the current rate and also return to badminton. I’m a bit fearful of badminton as the calf is still not recovered 10 weeks on from the injury but a proper warm up and gentle introduction should see me OK. As for the bike I’m currently doing 50-70 miles a week and I think that is OK. Since the end of August I’ve done 770 miles on the bike burning off 23000 calories. Allegedly.

Apart from that I’m looking forward to a new job next year. Still at the same firm but moving to IT rather than Engineering so should see quite a change in day to day work. I can’t wait. I’ve been stagnating for a while now and I’m hoping the change will work out well.

Apart from that I’m itching to start programming. I’ve a couple of web app’s that I’ve been wanting to do for a while but I’ve never got round to it. It’s also been a long time since I’ve hacked anything together so it will be great to brush up on skills. There also a couple of house projects to get done that I’ve put off for a while.

And that’s it. Happy 2008 to anyone that has the misfortune of reading this blog and getting this far in the post. Hope it turns out well for you.

Listen 07

A run down of some of my favourite music from 2007. Albums first, then best tracks. No ‘best of the year’ as it’s to hard to pick just one.

Radiohead Radiohead
In Rainbows

This got a lot of hype due to it’s method of release but to be honest it should have got the press for the quality of the album. Easily their best work since OK Computer it’s hard to find fault. The bonus second cd that comes with the boxset also has a couple of gems too. A must buy.

Ronson Mark Ronson
Version

They might be covers but this was one of the brightest and freshest albums I’ve heard in a long time. A couple of the tracks were pretty poor but as a whole it’s a great album.

Maximo Maximo Park
Our Earthly Pleasures

Far stronger than their first album this was a real grower throughout the year. Great lyrics and strong melodies throughout.

Biffy Biffy Clyro
Puzzle

Confident album from these Scots rockers. A stunning opening track but the best thing was the variety of styles throughout the album. Some ‘rock’ albums can sound samey but not this one.

Enemy The Enemy
We’ll Live And Die In These Towns

Before I listened to this album I had written off The Enemy as the next great indie thing, three young lad’s looking to be the next Arctic Monkeys and probably failing? How wrong was I. If I had to take one album away from the year it would be this or Radiohead. Great energy and superb lyrics.

Other albums that are well worth purchasing are…

Digitalism – Idealism
Kate Nash – Made of Bricks
Justice – Cross
Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release
Crash My Model Car – Ghosts & Heights
Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Arcade Fire – Neon Rainbows
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

Favourite tracks are…

Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead – In Rainbows
Is There A Ghost – Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Roc Boys – Jay-Z – American Gangster
Shooting Star – Air Traffic – Fractured Life
Do Me A Favour – Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Machines – Biffy Clyro – Puzzle
Pogo – Digitalism – Idealism
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – Editors – An End Has A Start
You’re Not Alone – The Enemy – We’ll Live And Die In These Towns
Standing In The Way Of Control – Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control
Song 4 Mutya – Groove Armada – Soundboy Rock
Pioneer To The Falls – Interpol – Our Love To Admire
Stronger – Kanye West – Graduation
Genesis – Justice – Cross
Foundations – Kate Nash – Made Of Bricks
Beauty Of Uncertainty – KT Tunstall – Drastic Fantastic
Oh My God – Mark Ronson – Version
Sandblasted And Set Free – Maximo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures
Hustler – Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release
Wide Awake – The Twang – Love It When I Feel Like This

Next up will be a viewing and playing review but it might be next year before they are posted.

Ripper

After Shakeel re-ripped his music library I’ve started to do the same, brought about by a lack of quality TV at the moment and anticipating some games playing over the next few days. On Windows good quality ripping tools are abundant with EAC almost universally recommended. On the Mac though there seems to be a bit of a dearth when it comes to ripping. Max is often mentioned but I found it a bit buggy so I’ve ended up using iTunes-LAME from Blacktree.

The latest version makes use of Lame 3.97 although the latest latest version available on the Blacktree site was a bit flaky with tags. I have used iTunes-LAME-2.0.9-34.zip without issue so far and I’ve ripped around 30 cd’s today. As for quality settings I’ve went for something a bit beefier than 192kpbs which was my old default. For iTunes-Lame I’m using the following setting:

-V 0 –vbr-new

Visit the Lame Wiki for more info on the numerous command line settings for Lame. What’s nice is that once the ripping is done the tracks are automatically added to iTunes. What’s not so nice is that I’m re-ripping some cd’s so I will lose ratings, play counts, last played details etc…or so I thought. A quick trip to Doug’s AppleScripts and I found a script that would copy my precious meta data to the new rips. Bliss.

Pity I can’t find a script that will rip the other 150 cd’s.

LocateTV

LocateTVStumbled on this site this morning and thought it was worth mentioning. LocateTV lets you search for TV shows and movies and easily see when they are to be broadcast or whether they are available on DVD. That’s it really. What really nice is that it’s fast and covers UK, USA & Republic of Ireland. So many of these sites work in the USA only so it’s nice to get some UK coverage. You can also set-up a favourites list so you can see when your programs are to be shown over the next few days. This is limited though as it works via cookies. If this worked over many machines via a login then it would be a really nice service. Well worth a visit and is currently free.

myDigiGuide does something similar but looks more feature rich but at a yearly cost (and the software is for Windows only).

New Desk?

Milk

A picture says a thousand words. More details on Milk at their website. I think it’s safe to say this is one I can’t afford.

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