September 2006 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

NTL Digital TV Upgrades (6th September 2006)

In the small hours of this morning I noticed the channels had been rearranged. It’s been a long time since the Digital TV service received an update of any kind, so I decided to poke around to see what had changed. It seems like the changes have included some upgrades to the client-side interface code:

These changes have gotten me wondering why wasn’t it like this in the first place? When NTL’s interface used pink and white, it was all pretty rapid and functional (if a bit garish). But when they tried to mimmick Sky’s blue and white interface it’s been a real chore to do anything with it. They also got rid of the versioning information page, so I can’t tell if they’ve been releasing minor builds during that time.

IIRC, the last change was about two years ago. I’ve been paying my bill all that time for a service which is slower than it evidently could have been!

Although the old response times were between one and ten seconds, the majority now seem to be under one second. It’s like a whole new experience. All the usability studies that say you need response times below 0.1 seconds for users to feel connected with the interface must be true! Let’s hope NTL continue to improve their service and don’t let it stagnate again.

Collaborating with Phil Smears (5th September 2006)

My previous collaboration with Phil on Solas Associates went very well. I get to focus on the HTML and CSS side of things while he liased with the client and developed a rich visual design.

Well, he’s now creating his own website design studio by pooling the talent of a few other webby folks. The company is called sdesign1 and it already has some blurb about my role. It’s a great comfort being under the wing of someone who is experienced in the web industry and who is a real all-rounder. I am going to remain available for freelance work from other sources and have recently been approached by another collaborative venture.

Late August/Early September Visit to Fliss’ (2nd September 2006)

From 19:00 on 2006-08-30 until 20:00 on 2006-09-01 I stayed over at Fliss’ during which we watched:

On 2006-08-31 we did fake martial arts playfighting, complete with silly oriental battle cries and then went to the nearby fields to play frisbee. We’re getting pretty good at it now! We stayed up really late that night getting each other to describe what obscure words meant. We drifted off to sleep together after I’d given her a light massage.

The next day Fliss was giving blood, so we left the house and walked to the donation centre. On the way there she ran a few chores. It was quite windy, so we cuddled up on a bench while she smoked and probably looked like a couple to anyone walking past. c{¦¬)

I had given blood in July with Fliss at this donation centre, although she couldn’t give blood that time. This time she could but I couldn’t since you have to wait 16 weeks after the first time. Her vein took a bit of persuading to make itself available but they got a pint out in the end.

After giving blood she had some biscuits and drinks which were provided; I was invited to them as well and did so. They had some tasty strawberry custard creams, which neither of us had seen before. We sat outside for a bit afterwards before slowly making our way down the hill, with me holding her steady. We tried to find some toilets on the way back but they were closed. Luckily we weren’t desperate and made it back in time.