Posted in London on Friday 3rd June 2005 at 10:17pm
Came up to London yesterday morning having failed miserably to obtain cheap tickets from Great Western for this morning. Checked into the Cosmo, after waiting a while for a member of staff to show up. Glad to see its still the same, no frills establishment which I've grown to love. No real plans so took a gentle walk to Euston and spent the afternoon at Willesden Junction watching trains before heading back to the Swan for a couple of pints, then an early night.
Up early, but similar problems finding a member of staff to check me out of the hotel! Customary breakfast on Southampton Row, and a meandering trip out to Liverpool Street via Kings Cross. As with the previous LAMAS walk, had problems identifying fellow members. Eventually we began to assemble, with the notable exception of the leader of the walk, who arrived a little late and breathless!
The proposed walk was a little longer than I'd expected, but I plunged in with high hopes of being able to complete the whole course before dashing off to my parents house prior to tomorrows' trip to North Wales. Set out wandering into Spitalfields, to examine the Norman Foster scheme which has to some extent changed the skyline around Christ Church. From here, via a series of smaller back streets and some impressive 18th century shopfronts to Bevis Marks. Some negotiation from our party leader, a security check and some temporary headgear gained us access to the Spanish and Portugese Synagogue which is hidden from view behind other properties. An amazing building, not dissimilar to a contemporary Wren church. Amusing and friendly warden gave us a long and fascinating talk about the history and day to day workings of the building, including stories of some of its previous worshippers.
Next a number of city churches including rarely open St Katherine Cree, St Helen's with its curious double nave, noble St Stephen Walbrook and good old St Mary Woolnoth which unnerved some of our party with its unusual design and strangely square internal proportions! Explored Leadenhall Market and its environs before slipping into alleyways once occupied by Coffee Shops and Inns. At many points we considered how the Swiss Re 'gherkin' has altered the skyline and created some unusual new views. A fair point was made about the strange circular footprint in a square plot. Some sadness too that the frontage of the old Baltic Exchange had not been preseved to maintain the largely Edwardian street scene.
Unfortunately, at this point I realised that a long break for food during a busy city Friday lunchtime would mean the walk had some hours to run. Disappointed to have to call it a day here before getting to some of my city highlights, but glad to have been able to visit some unusual spots today. Good to spend some time in some old haunts too.
Posted in Computers on Wednesday 1st June 2005 at 10:27pm
Last week I promised to help a friend get DSL up and running, but stumbled at the first hurdle as Windows NT4 did not even recognise the USB ports on the machine, let alone run any of the supplied software! I suspected an upgrade to Windows was required. It would have been great to think this was an opportunity to promote Linux, but in reality it wasn't the time or the place.
Having not installed Windows for six or seven years now, I didn't know what to expect from the shiny new Windows XP disk we purchased from the computer shop. The install took a long time, and seemed to load drivers for all kinds of esoteric hardware prior to beginning 'just in case'. Whilst it wasn't prepared to upgrade NT4, it sorted itself out in a way that left NT intact, along with all the data created with the previous install.
I was pretty impressed with the results - it seemed quite quick to learn, easy to use and nice to look at. Whilst it still suffers from some of the frustrations which drove me away from Windows in the first place, lessons seem to have been learned in terms of multiple users and security. A nice touch was the dialog which walked me through installing a virus scanner, firewall etc.
Ironically, the DSL install on XP took literally seconds and was so simple my friend could have done it unassisted! I don't think I'll be switching back to Windows XP any time soon but I'd consider a second machine with it installed just to play around with. It seems to have come a long way.
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.