Friday, April 12, 2013

Very amusing.  Some companies are up their own arses sometimes.  This chap deflates the situation beautifully.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Motorbike - BMW R80g/s Restoration - Complete

I have a 1981 BMW R80 g/s which I bought in 2001.  After buying it I had it serviced and spent money on it occasionally as the need arose.  I had about 6 good years riding it before things starting going wrong, mainly through age, neglect and tampering by previous owners.

Since buying the bike, it has been periodically plagued with electrical faults.  It went through a phase of cutting out for no reason when warm, not charging the battery, not starting, the list goes on.  It was getting to the point where the frame was starting to get rusty, one of the engine bars had broken its joint with the frame and it had developed a nasty habit of not firing on one cylinder when rolling on the throttle.

With all of these problems, I wasn't confident riding it regularly, not knowing if it was going to get me home, and there was no way I could convince my wife to come with me as she doesn't really like motorcycling when everything is perfect.

This year I was in a lucky position to be able to get it restored completely, from the ground up.  I'd looked around at a few BMW restorers and came across one chap who seemed really good.

I telephoned Phil Kingston from Euro Classics and went though a few questions and answers and then Phil offered to come and have a look at the bike and would give me a quote for what I wanted doing.

Phil and his friend came to visit me from Northampton on 1 April 2010.  They went over the bike taking notes of what I wanted doing, asking what I'd had done already and what problems I had had with the bike.

He told me that he may be retiring soon, so if I was thinking about having it done, I'd have to make a decision soon.  When I asked him when he needed a decision by, he said that he'd got the van outside and could take the bike now.

I made a decision and Phil took the bike away along with a cheque for my first instalment.

I gave Phil a pretty free rein on the bike restoration.  I didn't want it concourse standard, with everything cleaned to perfection, what I wanted was my bike, functioning and able to last me another 10 - 20 years.

I made a couple of visits to Phil's workshop in Northampton to have a look at progress and entered a BMW wonderland.  I was happy that I'd made the right decision after seeing the work he done restoring other bikes waiting for their owners to pick them up.

Phil talked me through issues that he'd had with my bike and told me why my bike had never ticked over smoothly.  Someone had put a sports cam shaft in engine and not done the rest of the work so that it would never have worked properly.  Other modifications had been made to the bike, so that when the frame had been cleaned for painting, missing bits had to be welded on along with a couple of bits that needed mending.

Phil may have encountered a few more problems than he'd anticipated whilst doing the restoration, as the end price was quite a bit more than the original quote, however the results are fantastic.

I now have a brand new looking 30 year old bike.  After saying that I didn't want it concourse standard, to me it is.  It's immaculate.  I had a couple of non standard additions - heated handle bar grips and two spot lights fitted to the engine bars.

Riding it back from Northampton to Nottingham was great.  It felt like it had more power than before, and certainly ticked over smoothly.  Heated handle bar grips should be standard on all things with handle bars, not just motorbikes.

I am really pleased with my bike.  It looks great, rides smoothly and I can't wait to get out and put some miles on it.

Phil's work has been worth the money.  The bike is pristine, he doesn't leave any detail untouched.

I will be posting pictures soon, I wish I'd taken more 'before' pictures so that comparisons could be made.

I'd like to say thank you to Phil and Dinah for their hard work and making me feel welcome whenever I've visited.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My first iPad thoughts

Well, like other's tweets and blogs first impressions are that it is a fantastic bit of kit but difficult to find a use for it.

For a lot of us who have laptops and iPhones we have an expectation of something along those lines. The iPad fits somewhere in the middle and we have to change our mindset as to its use.

This is a totally new medium, neither phone nor computer. My first thoughts are that it doesn't do some of the things my computer does and it doesn't do stuff my phone does, so what does it do that's different. This will come.

When software developers get to grips with it and companies find ways to take our money off us via software, books, periodicals etc., the iPad and its future generations and competitors will be a superb medium for a lightweight, easily portable device, for light weight computer needs as well as web based business systems such as ERP systems, warehouse, stock and ordering systems, as well as the leisure stuff. And we've all seen Star Trek where they're passing on their reports via these flat screen devices!

So my view of the iPad after 12 hours of ownership is that it works smoothly, such an intuitive interface, and like the iPhone, it doesn't really matter what you want it to do in the future as it's a glass screen, all you need is to write software and the device will then do the job.

I'm off to find some fun apps, like the one that turns your iPad into another screen for your laptop. I've always fancied two screens.

I'll blog back soon and update my views, but so far I'm impressed, but I'm yet to find the USP.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I haven't blogged for a while. It all suddenly seems to have got a lot easier with nicer templates and stuff. Also normal formatting stuff rather than html stuff.

Anyway, wanted to promote Mrs. Tufty's work at Life Food and Everything.

I may do this more often now it's easier.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Personal Computer History

My friends think of me as an Apple Fanboy. Another Mac evangelist espousing the virtues of Apple over everything else. What they don’t understand that this isn’t a cause I’ve jumped upon because it’s trendy and Apple is a cool brand to be associated with, it is a more judged and considered position.

In 1987 I was at college studying IT. Writing poor quality applications to gain an understanding of coding using Honeywell Basic on a system that was built in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. My teenage jobs led me to work on ‘green screen’ systems such as IBM and ICL. We were totally blown away when we found the button that allowed colour on the IBM system. Some people, however, preferred the green screen!

In 1990 I started using an MS-DOS PC, an IBM PS/2. It was my job to configure these. First you had to create a Config.sys and somethingelse.bat. This was just so shit, and in the time when your PC Support would do stuff for you but made you turn away so he wouldn’t give away any of his knowledge (power). It took me weeks (and a deleted route directory) to work out how to delete a directory using DOS commands. Nobody would tell me.

I moved jobs and was still using an MS-DOS PC. Mainly to use SuperCalc. When I was offered this job I was told that I would be using an Apple Macintosh computer some of the time. I asked my PC Support guy why they were different. He said that they were ok to use and were icon driven rather than by commands. I had no idea what this meant, and being human, instantly took a dislike to the new and unknown.

I wasn’t allowed on the Mac for my first few weeks in the new job. It was seen as prestigious to be allowed to do the Mac work. I didn’t care, it was new and unknown and I was happy with the familiar. SuperCalc rocked. Although the Mac had something called a screensaver. What? Why? How? Fireworks and Flying Toasters from After Dark. This was all in colour, on a huge monitor. Hmm, when do I get a go on this computer? I was taught how to use it and it seemed easy enough, but we were only using it for one job, so I didn’t really get to see its potential, however, in 1991 I got a job in the same company using a Mac.

It was during this job that I started to see the advantages of the Mac. It was quick, powerful, you could do stuff on it that PC’s just couldn’t do. Microsoft Excel, for example, was written for the Mac before PC’s could run it.

Windows came out and looked very clunky. It wasn’t even close. I was happy that by 1994, my old Mac IIx was still faster than the new PC’s that the company were buying.

But it wasn’t just the power and speed. Even in System 6 and the OS X of its day, System 7 it was intuitive, easy to use, helpful. The computer worked for you, you didn’t have to fight it to get results.

The Mac Team (two of us) were sometimes seen as elite (when we helped people out of a hole) but mainly seen as a bit odd. We moved to offices where everybody had a brand new PC on their desk. We took our old Macs with us and we were considered difficult and non-conformist.

In 1994 I ordered some Power PC Macs. I was uninspired by them which was pretty much how Apple were during this time. Apple had pulled out of the MacWorld show in Kensington Olympia and I felt let down.

Why should I feel emotional about a computer? Surely it’s just a tool for a job. It seemed more than that. My computer could resolve nearly all of my work issues and problems. In my Apple menu I had a list of applications that could do most stuff, including translating files from MS, work on them and convert them back. For five years it had been my work companion, got me out of trouble, was customised to exactly how I wanted it and more importantly, never let me down.

Since 1995 I’ve had jobs using PC’s, which is pretty much the usual business landscape. In 1999 I was bought an iMac for Christmas by my girlfiend at the time.

It wasn’t until after a couple of years using PC’s at work and my Mac at home I realised why I was getting frustrated at work with the PC. Most people don’t have this issue, if you’re not aware of something else, then you’ll carry on doing the same old same old, but because I had been using a Mac, I knew that there was a better way. A cleaner, quicker, more efficient way of computing.

So having worked in and with IT over this period of 20 years or so, 12 of which have been employed implementing IT systems and solutions, I have used both platforms for work and leisure. It is not any fanboy exuberance that prefers Macs over PC’s, but a judgement made over time.

When I’m asked, ‘can you advise me what computer to buy’ I’ll say get a Mac and I’ll even help you adjust to the switch. If they say they really want a PC, can I help them choose, I just don’t have the inclination to help. Something with a lot of memory, don’t touch Vista and make sure you get some virus protection.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Quidco - The web's cashback cooperative A great site that gives you money for buying stuff on the web.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ThinkGeek :: Wi-Fi Detector Shirt I didn't know t-shirts could be this technical!

Monday, November 12, 2007

BBC - BBC Three - Homepage New Season of the Mighty Boosh. Up to the standard of the last season.

Monday, October 22, 2007

YouTube - Bert and Ernie sing. Vol 1 Not only is Moyles a radio genius, he's also going to give Mr Corbett a run for his money.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Stephen Fry I never knew Mr. Fry was into his technology, yet alone a Mac chap. Excellent reading.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hello, is anyone reading this? I've been reading about Joost and want to join the Beta. Does anyone have a spare invite they'd like to extend? If so, please send it this way.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

I am not a state secret - Los Angeles Times Innocent German man detained and beaten by the CIA, then left on a mountain when the realised he wasn't a criminal.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Apple (UK and Ireland) - MacBook Should I have waited? Naaah, I'm happy enough.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

innocent drinks - fresh fruit smoothies and other healthy drinks You've probably tried the drinks, their website is lovely too. Especially the knitting instructions

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ricky Gervais... Obviously. Superb work from Ricky and Steve (and Karl)