Here’s looking at you

I’ve started a new blog about my eye injury. So if eye surgery isn’t your bag then it won’t clutter up my main blog for you. 😉

Wizzardprang's Site For Sore Eyes

Back in mid December the retina in my right eye became detached. To begin with I wasn’t in the best position to post anything on “social media” apart from a couple of Tweets and a brief post on Facebook. This was mostly because I couldn’t see much of anything, let alone operate an iOS keyboard. In the first week or two I did make some notes using voice dictation on my iPad but… well, have you tried getting Siri to type an essay for you?

So I decided that once I was in a better position to both see and type I would produce a blog on the subject. So here it is. To begin with the posts will be retrospective until I catch up to the present day.

I hope you like the blog and/or find it interesting.

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Retina display

What I’d read about the new iPad Mini a while back seems to be true. Visiting an Apple Store today, I’ve finally had the opportunity to compare the “old” iPad Mini with the iPad Mini Retina display.

They’ve got them displayed on the same table so, as the store was fairly quiet, I was able to set an old mini and a retina model next to each other. With both models set to maximum brightness I selected the same image in the photo app on both, applying the same amount of zoom, etc. so the images were directly comparable.

Even with my less than perfect eyesight it was obvious that the image on the retina model was sharper. What was also discernible was that the colours on the non-retina model were more saturated. This is what I’d read in tech reviews so it was interesting to find that I could see the difference. That’s not to say the non-retina display wasn’t sharp enough, I personally think it would be for me anyway.

So, with apologies for starting a sentence with “So”, which would I buy? With the old model only being available with 16GB, if I think that’s enough storage for me then I’d get the old one. The cellular one is £70 less expensive that the retina model.


Geolympix 2012

Sunday 22nd July was a big day for Geocaching in the UK. The Geolympix was a Mega Event which a bunch of dedicated volunteers have been working on for several years. See link to their website at the end of this post to get the full picture.

On the Sunday I traveled to Oxford with my caching friend The Bongtwashes and made for the Town Hall, the event’s main venue. It was packed with Geocachers from all over the UK, plus visitors from Europe, Canada and the USA. All in, I think the final count was around 1000 visitors. Wow! That’s a lot of ‘Cachers!

Slightly unexpectedly, we found ourselves helping out on the Geolympix stand, selling T-shirts, coins and other fundraising merchandise. A period of manic activity ensued as we endeavoured to deal with the never-ending queue of geocachers with money to burn. Still, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything, what a laugh. Eventually we escaped and headed to the pub for a very welcome beer. Finally, we managed to bag some caches ourselves before heading home.

There were many other events linked to the main one in Oxford; I managed to get along to the Closing Ceremony which was held at sunset on Wednesday, on Coombe Hill near Wendover. Watching the sun set was a fitting end to a great Mega Event.

To everyone on the Geolympix Team – many thanks for a great day and congratulations on a very successful Mega.


Dude, where’s my plane?

As I write this, I’m sitting on the floor in the departure lounge at Alicante. Our flight was due to take off at 19.45. It’s 20.54 as I type this and there is no sign our plane, much less us boarding it. I am slightly bored so have decided to do a blog covering the hopefully short period of time until our departure. I’ll have to wait to post this though, as there’s no WiFi and I’m not paying O2’s extortionate roaming fees to get a cellular data connection.

We’ve moved to some chairs as there’s still no sign of the plane. We’ve been here for ages, having checked in on time and expected to board at 19.05. First off, the flight info screen showed the flight as delayed, followed after a while by boarding and a gate number. When we got to the gate there was a plane there – from another airline! It left and was replaced by another (still not ours) which also boarded and left. To this point we’d not been told anything.

21.23: We’ve just been called to the gate. Again. So here we are in the queue, however I can look out onto the apron and there is still no plane outside. Hmmm.

21.29: Activity! I do believe we will board soon, at least getting on a bus. Hopefully it will take us to the plane and not drive all the way to Gatwick.

22.20: Take-off! Successful old-school boarding of plane using old fashioned stairs, after the usual platitudes from the flight deck we subsequently got a second announcement, an apology even; apparently the plane had a bird strike on its approach to Alicante so the delay was due to the safety checks needed before they could declare the aircraft serviceable. It Would still have been nice if someone had given us more information in the airport, instead of leaving us all in the dark.

Even with the adjustment of timezone, I still think it will be after midnight before we get out so I expect to be charged for an extra day’s parking.

At the moment though I’m just pleased we are airborne.

Update : Landed at Gatters. Now able to post this 🙂

Support your local florist? Not if you want a decent service!

Last week we ordered a pink flower bouquet and a pink “21st” balloon bouquet for our eldest daughter’s 21st Birthday, via Interflora.

On the day, our order was delivered by a local florist – Katie Pico of Hemel Hempstead. However what we received bore no relation to what we ordered. The flower bouquet was supposed to be pink but had not a single pink flower in it, in addition it was made up of mainly cheap flowers – I could have done better by spending £5 in Sainsbury’s or Tescos.

As for the balloons, well… Bear in mind this was supposed to be for a special occasion. The web site’s description was for three pink heart-shaped 21st Birthday balloons and three pastel pink star-shaped balloons. What we got was 2 pink “21” heart balloons, 3 multi-coloured Happy Birthday balloons and 1 purple 21st Birthday star which was already deflating. The ribbons were yellow and the canvas bag containing the weight was lime green. Needless to say we were extremely disappointed.

I rang Interflora who were understanding and promised to sort it out for me straight away. Thus began several days of telephone calls to them and to the florist (once we discovered their identity). I have been promised both a refund and a replacement bouquet of flowers to the original specification. 4 days later, I have yet to receive the correct flowers and the refund.

I am disgusted that a florist can rip customers off in this way – from reviews I’ve seen on the interweb it seems this one has a history of poor service, and that’s putting it very politely.

It seems customer care counts for nothing these days, because although I am a customer with a genuine grievance, they clearly don’t care!

Not bored yet

As I reach the end of my second week as a free man it isn’t really time to reflect just yet. To be honest, I’ve not really had much down time; to simply sit and think about things, what has happened and what the future holds. I have been pretty busy, beginning to sort things out, etc. I have been making lots of lists! Plus, what with having to get up just as early as when I was working to let the dog out, etc. I haven’t even had any of the expected lie-ins!

My new life begins

Well, dear reader; it has finally happened.

Last Friday was my last day working for my very, very long-term employer. It has been a difficult year, what with me wanting to leave but having to wait for the right moment to escape with both sanity and soul intact. Well, I finally made it out alive.

As you might expect, I had mixed feelings about leaving, after all I had been there for many, many years. All the expected feelings competed for my attention: loyalty to my colleagues and employer, leaving my comfort zone, fear of the unknown, etc. At the same time, our way of working was about to change significantly and, on balance, leaving before the Big Change was the best option for me. Of course I will miss many of the people I worked with, both in our department and my customers in the wider organisation but, equally, there are some I will be glad to see the back of. Similarly, while I still enjoyed the job on the rare occasions I was able to do some “real IT”, the nature of the role had changed substantially over the last couple of years and it was no longer the job I had signed up for. It was time to get out.

So, this week I have been mainly retired! This state will not last for ever as after a decent rest to flush out my system, I will be sallying forth to pastures new. 🙂

Smile. 3 days to go!

The event I have been working towards for some time is finally about to happen. At our management meeting this morning I was asked if I was going to smile sometime soon. Yes, it’s true. I have been pretty miserable of late, however the trouble is that I have been disappointed on so many occasions that in the interests of self preservation I have got into the habit of not getting too excited just in case. Anyway, conversations today indicate that I really will get what I want this time.

Time to smile and get a bit excited I think!

A little bit of Zen

I was on the way to an appointment this morning and in the course of my journey I got stuck behind a dust cart. The road had cars parked both sides so I had no alternative but to wait as the wagon moved forward in 5 metre bursts while the bin men did their thing with the wheelie bins. Now normally I am an impatient sort of chap but today I just found myself relaxing and thinking “OK, there is nothing I can do, I have no control or influence over this situation. I simply have to wait a few minutes until there is a space to one side where I can pass the wagon safely”.

And there it was, a situation where I found myself relaxing and accepting the situation, knowing that I would soon be on my way. A bit like my life at the moment, since the personal situation I have found myself in has been one of great stress and, on my part, impatience to see things progress. And, on that score, things have today moved closer to my desired outcome. Which is nice.