Greg Gannicott’s Blog


Stan: Hello World!

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on July 20, 2009

If my new born son Stan follows in his Dad’s footsteps, and assuming Object Orientated Programming will still be of use in 18 years time, he might appreciate this bit of geekery. I’m sure I’m not the first to do it, but as I thought it up without seeing it before, I’m pleased with it 🙂

class Stan extends Greg, Becky {
   // Constructor
   function Stan () {
      print "Hello World!";
      print "I was born at... 1247991540";
   }
}

It’s already been a huge pleasure getting to know you Stan, can’t wait to do more of it 🙂

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Itunes playlist for songs you like but don’t listen to enough

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on May 31, 2009
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I’ve created a really enjoyable itunes ‘smart playlist’, which I’m listening to now whilst sorting the garden out.

I’m not a big fan of hammering a tune so this ones ideal. Basically its a playlist of songs I like but don’t listen to much for one reason or another.

Its all songs with 3 stars or more with less than 4 plays.

Its bringing up some great old songs I’d forgotten about (ie. I rated them without listening because I know they’re great) and songs I loved on first listen but forgot about.

How Not to Sale a Car to Me

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on May 14, 2009
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A few weeks back we bought a new (well, second hand) car. It was one of the more painful shopping experiences I’ve had, and its not because I have no interest in cars.

We went to a local dealer called Somerset Cars Sales. It was a painful, frustrating, demoralising experience for one reason: the cars were not priced up.

Instead we were given a printed price list which you can use to match up the make/number plate.

At a guess there were between 100-300 cars and it wasn’t easy finding the price.

As we were on a budget (as most people are), it was quite a demotivating process. We’d see a car we’d like, eventually find the price and then realise its too much. This happened again, and again, and again. Eventually we found three cars in our price range that we didn’t mind – but none of which we wanted to buy. There may have been many more in our price range – one of which we might have bought – but it was simply too much hassle. It wasn’t a pleasant shopping experience at all.

We then went to some other dealers who had prices shown. This was soooo much easier and enjoyable. Right from the start we could see what we could get and there was no disapointment.

Why would you want to encourage disapointment? I hope at the very least its a logistical reason (ie. To many prices to maintain) rather some kind of sales trick (ie. Before the customer realises it costs just a little too much, let them fall in love with it).

We eventually purchased are car from a dealer called Brian Plowright. He didn’t have a huge selection, but if he does have what you need then I highly recommend him.

He’s a great salesmen in that he’s very friendly, goes above and beyond what’s required to make a sale and doesn’t push the sale.

Certain people in mobile phone shops could learn a lot from him. None of this ‘as I’m you’re new best mate, and cause I like you (,and cause my boss says I have this much scope for discount to make a sale) I’m going to throw in this discount’ bullshit. No in your face, jump on you when you enter the store.

For example, the car we bought had a small dent in it. We asked whether we could either get a discount or have it fixed by him. He told us we’re getting a good deal anyway, so no. Fair enough really – he knew he’d made the sale. However, when we went to collect the car a week later he’d had it fixed at no extra cost.

That’s how to generate good word of mouth. Unlike Somerset Car Sales which I can’t put down enough.

The ‘Elbow Effect’

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on March 15, 2009
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Its that time again! To make it sound dramatic, records are being ‘smashed’ on this blog (today sees its busiest day to date), and its not because I’ve written a clever, insightful technology related post linked to from Techmeme.. Its all because the band Elbow are back on tour.

Back in April of last year I posted a review of an Elbow gig, and a couple days later the set-list for the gig. And every time they tour, those posts get what I consider to be a reasonable number of hits.

Already today, the blog has had 40 new visitors, and during ‘Elbow Touring Season’ it averages around 30 a day. Its not a huge amount, but its much larger than I ever thought would look at this blog.

The set-list post has now received 1,347 hits – that’s more than half the number of visits to this blog. I sometimes wonder whether anyone has stuck around since reading it? Anyone bookmarked me? Added me to your RSS reader? If so, feel free to comment below.

I posted the link partially because I thought it would be useful info for others, but also to see if there was demand for set-lists. At the time, I didn’t know if there were any sites out there dedicated to the task. I thought, if there was demand it might be worth setting up a set-list wiki where people can add setlists to the gigs they’ve been to in order to help others. Given the response to the post, I started putting the plan into action. I got so far, then decided to Google for such a site just in case, and found setlist.fm. As with all the good ideas, someone’s already beaten me to it and done a much better job.

Easy come, easy go.

Douglas Adams Quote

Posted in Personal,Technology by Greg Gannicott on February 15, 2009

I do like this Douglas Adams quote from a Tech Dirt article I read. Generally speaking its true. Hope I don’t fall into the trap though:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

25 Things About Me

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on February 11, 2009
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I just wrote this for Facebook. Given that I’ve put some time and effort into it, I’d just as well post it here too.

Here’s 25 things about me:

  1. I was born with one nut. So too was someone else in school. Strangely, he got loads of stick for it and I got none. I’m to old to care about it now so knock yourselves out. For the record, I’m now fully armed and operational in the man sack department. When I was a kid, I had an operation which rescued my stray ball.
  2. I’m a very shy person and it pains me to publish this list.
  3. I feel guilty over the daftest things. I remember as a kid, me and some friends broke some bird eggs by mistake. I think I went home and cried to my mum over it. I haven’t changed much, although I can hold back the tears better now.
  4. I’m really anal with copied media. I won’t watch copied films, I won’t listen to copied music. When I say “Oh, I’ve got that album!” I want that to mean I took the time to buy and own it. Nobody gets me where this is concerned.
  5. My folks never hit me as a kid. I was ruled by the word “disapointed”. To this day I still fear disapointing my folks.
  6. Glastonbury may only be on for 5 days a year, but its been home to so many highlights in my life.
  7. I love music in an indescribable ways, but I’d still give it up to keep Becky (I would resent her if she made me choose though :))
  8. As I get older, I’m appreciating family more and more.
  9. In certain ways I’m lazy. I think that ties in with my love of technology.
  10. On New Years eve this year I wore tights to keep warm in a very cold London (and as a joke with Becky). Ignoring the technicallities of it all, its probably the most liberating thing I’ve done to date. Including it in this list ranks 2nd. My cross-dressing days end their though.
  11. Contrary to the usual pattern, the older I’m getting, the more left wing I’m getting.
  12. Old people who whinge about young people annoy me. I don’t class myself as young, so its not a defensive thing.
  13. I’m classist in the sense that I’ll forgive someone who’s working class for doing something, but dispise someone who’s middle class for doing the same thing.
  14. The most exciting album I’ve heard in the past couple years is Of Montreal’s Skeletal Lamping. Prior to that it was Modest Mouse’s “Good News for People Who Like Bad News”. Finding the next one is what keeps me buying music week in, week out.
  15. I’m a news-junkie. For me, watching news is no longer watching other people’s lives. Its more like fiction where no-one gets really gets hurt (<Loud Homer Simson Whisper Voice>I realise they doooo</>). I think my junkie tendencies come from missing 9/11 take place live on TV. I don’t want to miss the next big event.
  16. I probably surf the net more on my Blackburry than I do my desktop or laptop. With that in mind I want an iPhone.
  17. I seem to do most of my thinking walking to and from work. If I did as much thinking sat at a keyboard, I’d have a frequently updated blog.
  18. After years of thinking, as it stands the tunes I want played at my funeral are Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is A Cage” and The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?”. If I was pushed for a third – right here right now – I’d say Pixies’ “Monkey Gone To Heaven”. The title speaks for itself. Curse you all if it doesn’t happen. A bonus would be having Gogol Bordello’s “Gypsy Punk” album played at my wake, with people being in the right spirit to dance and drink to it. That only happens on TV though.
  19. I’ve probably spent more time in my life thinking about what songs to have played at my funeral than any other subject. I won’t even be there to witness it.
  20. The thing I love most about technology (ignoring the fact it saves me time and effort) are the possibilities it brings. It gets the creative juices flowing just thinking about it.
  21. At the time, I was the first person I knew who had the Internet. Dial-up and Amiga didn’t really do it justice. Firefox, it wasn’t.
  22. More often than not, I’m not overly fond of my job, but when its good I really enjoy it. I’ve never had that in any other job, so I think I’m on to a good thing.
  23. I now understand why the media keeps on barking on about young people having disposable income. I still don’t regret not saving mine when I had it, no matter what my mother says.
  24. I can’t wait to have my baby in my arms. Can’t explain why. Just cause.

25. Despite what everyone says to me, the day will never come where I actually appreciate getting ID’ed. It also seems possible that the day will never come that I don’t get ID’ed.

TheyWorkForYou: Making me want to vote

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on November 23, 2008
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Until now, British politics hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. I follow it in the news (simply because I watch more news than is healthy) but I’ve never had the urge to vote. That’s unlike the American election where if I had the chance, I’d have happily voted for the Democrats.

My not wanting to vote has been down to the fact that neither party (Sorry Libs) interest me in anyway (I neither like or dislike them – unlike in American where I really do dislike the Republicans and quite like the Democrats). I’m tired of the spin, lies and party-politics. Just one episode of Question Time is enough to do that.

However, thanks to a Tim O’Reilly blog post, I stumbled across the site TheyWorkForYou.com. I’d heard about it before, but despite visiting it I never really read it.

The idea is, you type in your Postcode and amonst other things, it tells you what your MP has voted for and against.

Seeing that my Bridgwater Conservative MP (Ian Liddell-Grainger) is:

 

  • very strongly against a hunting ban
  • very strongly against a smoking ban
  • very strongly for the iraq war (ok, I was too at the time)
  • moderately against equal gay rights

 

makes me want to vote the chap out. More here.

Its the first time I’ve been able to see what he’s about. In his defense I’ve never tried to find out. But now I know, I don’t like it.

Congratulations Ian Liddell-Grainger, you’ve had that McCain effect on me and you’ve made me want to vote.

PS. His homepage looks like it was created in 1997. Classy.

Random Thoughts II

Thoughts that don’t deserve their own posts:

  • MTV2 vrs NME TV? Considering how much I use to enjoy M2, it pains me to say NME wins it.
  • The best few hours of radio is on a Sunday evening on BBC 6Music. Listener 6Mix followed by Guy Garvey. For new music though, weekday evenings with Marc Riley and Tom Robinson are both solid. Both on 6Music too.
  • Whether I like it or not, Techmeme and Friendfeed seem to be stopping me from using Google Reader as often. I think I actually preferred it when I didn’t have the options.
  • Best soundtrack on TV (at least before the series ended)? The Apprentice (UK). I’m not a big fan of background music (especially the way US tv does it), but this music adds to it.
  • Worst theme tune? Girlfriends on Trouble. Becky watches it and it cuts right through me.
  • Best album of the year so far? Its a close fight between Nick Cave’s “Dig” and Elbow’s “Seldom Seen Kid”. Elbow have the advantage of me seeing them live though.
  • MGMT’s “Electric Feel” has just clicked. Would sound great on a Sunday afternoon.

The Poor Folk at Three Mobile Call Centres

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on May 23, 2008
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The people who work in call centres in India (etc) get a hard time, and although I feel its right that the company employing them (eg. Three Mobile) get a few harsh words, the staff don’t really deserve it. At the end of the day, they’re just earning a living and I can’t imagine the choice of jobs over there is too rich.

Its not just the abuse and bad attitude that they get from the customers that makes me feel sorry for them, its the job as a whole. Even the easiest of calls must be a dull, fruitless affair.

I just called Three to cancel my contract with them. I stopped using them a few months back as I wanted a Blackberry, and its only now I’ve bothered to cancel. Given that I’m with a new provider and have a phone I love, the chances that the lady was going to convince me to stay was zero. Yet the poor girl had to read off what must have been a 2 minute speech about the offer she can give me. Not only did she tell me about the number of texts, minutes I can get, but also a full in depth feature list of the phone on offer – some of the terms I’ve never heard of (although they sure sounded impressive.. the sort of seemingly meaningless details Hi-Fis use to have on the front of them to make them appeal over other players).

It was during these 2 minutes that I felt sorry for her. I knew full well that I was going to say no at the end and it was all going to be for nothing. At the time I couldn’t decide whether I would be doing the right thing by either rudely interrupting her and just saying “Really, no!” or wait it out and waste both our time by saying an apologetic “So sorry, but no thanks.” at the end. I chose the apologetic route. No doubt she went through the same tedious process during the next call. I bet that caller didn’t give it as much unrequired thought as I did.

Putting her plight aside, us consumers don’t get a great deal either. To me the mobile phone industry is not too distant from the political situation in this country (and here it is, the first and maybe last mention of politics on this blog). There isn’t really a great choice out there, you just settle for the lesser of two evils (sorry Libs).

From a political point of view, many people are now keen to see the back of Labour, but I don’t believe the Tories will be any different. We’ll still get the same lies, spin, initiatives and ultimately failure.

From a mobile phone point of view, you quite often hear complaints that Three have over charged, or their tech support is appaling (etc). Both me, Becky and mother have had issues with them. Becky’s wanted to change for ages. But the thing is, you get it with all mobile providers. Switching isn’t going to do much good. You’re still going to get the same crappy service, they’re still going to con you with the bills (etc.). In fact I think that’s what happened with Becky when she switched from Three to [I can’t remember who].

Still, you know life is good when you spend 30 minutes of your life moaning about something as unimportant as this.

Life Without the Net

Posted in Personal by Greg Gannicott on April 17, 2008
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It’s been years since I’ve been without the Internet at home. During those years I’ve no doubt become dependent on it for things I don’t even realise (just like when there’s a blackout and you run through a list of obscure things you can do to kill the time (that you otherwise wouldn’t bother doing) only to realise you actually require electric to do them).

Well, in the coming days/weeks I’m going to find out. Tomorrow (Friday) we move home and as a result my net access will be gone. Its only now that I’m writing this that I realise I probably should have been building up a small collection of books to help break up the TV viewing.

I also wonder how I’ll come out of it following the ‘net blackout’. In recent weeks and months I’ve almost become addicted to following tech news via sites like techmeme and bloggers such as Mike Arrington, Robert Scoble and Louis Gray. My Google Reader unread items is going to be huge with only my Blackberry to help me dent it. And its only in the past week that posting on the blog has become fun, what with people posting comments and all.

God forbid I may realise that I can actually live without the net. That would certainly free up some time, but it would be a real shame as I think I learn so much by just browsing it.

Anyway, see you on the other side…

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