Dear Diary... July 2013

Wednesday 31st July - The Art of Multiregion Asda Noise

I finished off the piece of work with regards to testing the Blu-ray players out. Two of the main theatres we have actually have a Denon DBP-2012UD Blu-ray player, which is pretty high end and indeed they can play DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (must try those on our Pioneer BDP-LX55 in one of the screening rooms with 7.1 surround to really test it out). However the Denon players appear not to have been set multi region for DVD - any Region 1 disc came back with "wrong region code". Boo.

The final batch of rooms I had to check had a combi DVD and video player, and the DVD part of it should be multi-region for DVD. Well, three out of the five where, but as it turned out, the model was a remote hackable job, so that was pretty easy to sort out in the end, and just means that we have consistency across the estate for the buildings in question. Yaay, sort of. In fact by the end of the day I'd uncovered a more difficult issue that might mean a shed load of work tomorrow - wished I'd have found it earlier really.

Anyway, I headed home via the local Asda as they had a passport picture booth and I needed to get some pictures done in it. I'm renewing the passport (as it runs out in a few months time) but as I'd like a revised picture for them, I'd ideally wish for those to be used on the new one, I've sorted the countersignatory out and all that, and so off I headed. I was going to ask the assistant nearby for change of £10 for the machine, but seeing as they were being pretty miserable with the people in front I decided instead to get a ticket for tonight's lottery and get the change that way.

Pictures done, I headed home and later on got a call from The Love In My Heart. She had been into the Asda near where she lives and by all acounts had had someone in front of her in the queue really badly dealt with - almost forcing him to use the quick pay tills when he clearly didn't feel the need to. Not just that, one till didn't have any bags, the other one had lots, and yet they wouldn't have the common sense to actually swap some around, claiming some form of procedure and protocol. Bizarre. The Love was going to complain but encountered more stroppy staff so decided not to stress herself out and leave itbe.

Asda Eastlands, hang your head in shame, honestly. If it's the same slackers who decided to pack my grocery shopping (including bad replacements, squashed bread and so on) the one time I actually used Asda's shambles of an online delivery service, then I can see why their reputation is so bad in that score. Low prices maybe, but at the expense of what? A smile? Treating the customer like a normal person? Seems that way. I'm convinced that a little customer service goes a long way, and I can cite a fair few examples of lovely people in Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose who've always made the effort to be lovely.

Had a bit of an Art of Noise listening session tonight with CD2 of their "Influence" compilation and then back to "Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise" which in many ways defined who they were - with the lengthy "Diversion One" version of "Beatbox" and of course Diversion Two slightly edited (aka "Close (to the edit)") but the track I adore most on this is "Who's Afraid (Of The Art of Noise)" which has a slightly surreal and avant-garde feel to it all but keeping the beats intact and vocal phrases and samples all over the place - it's experimental alright. Tune of the day.

I did also see the very last evening of ESPN via Top Up TV which included Manchester City's 5-3 Audi Cup win against AC Milan where all the goals were scored in the first half. It was odd as City went 5 up inside half an hour before Milan scored three before half time, and could have easily been 5-4 as well before the break. Still work to do but promising, and we play Bayern Munich in the final tomorrow night, which just so happens to be on Freeview for free via BT Sport's opening night of freebies on Channel 57. I am there!

Tuesday 30th July - Ruby (Curry) Tuesday

It was more testing of the Blu-ray players today in a fair few of the rooms. I did feel pretty good that I managed to get to the point of just having the final seven lecture theatres on the ground floor of another room to finish off tomorrow. All the rest worked as intended today as well, granted I had the same issues as yesterday in terms of monitor and projector handshaking, but I was expecting that. The main thing was that everything played without any issues whatsoever and all was well with the world there.

I headed home later but first had to head to the local Tesco to get a few bits, mainly bread for my lunches at work and also some wine and a few other bits and bobs. As I was leaving I bumped into someone that I used to work with and her nearly three year old child, so it was nice to be able to catch up with her and see how she was and what was happening. It's amazing that considering we both live in the same area we don't bump into each other as often, but when you're a full time Mum, that's your priority and a half really.

Later on The Love In My Heart came over, and we were all good to go with the evening meal. The Love was settled in with Emmerdale (nooo!) but I was busy in the kitchen, as I put in some fresh diced chicken into the pan, fried that for a while and then added some tikka massala sauce, and did the rice and naan breads later on to all come out rather nicely as a chicken tikka massala for two. It worked out pretty well really and in hindsight maybe I could have got some mushrooms to add to the mix as well, but can't really complain to be honest.

After that we settled in for the evening and out came the Wii for first of all Wii Sports and a bit of tennis. The Love is pretty good as well, she really does play some lethal backhand shots on that one. I did suggest the bowling as well but she suggested that we put on The Cube, and after a few goes each, I managed to have a blast at it and was doing pretty well up to the fifth game, lost some lives on that and then battled through the second to last game to get to the final one, and did that on first go (despite it being a harder version of the game I lost lives on!) and therefore did a Mo Farah (ie: I beat The Cube). Woohooo! Tune of the day is therefore the theme music from said programme.

It was then on with Yesterday as The Love wanted to watch a documentary, seemingly made by a French company judging by the end credits, of the history of some of the Royal Weddings over the years. Obviously filmed with as much footage as they could get without paying for it, and indeed before the wedding of William and Kate, so lots of former weddings from the 1960s to the 1990s and beyond, with as many correspondents and first hand witnesses as possible. It just didn't seem like something the BBC would have put out somehow though it has to be said.

Monday 29th July - Under The Influence

I had a pretty busy day of sorts today, as I started the first batch of testing for our new AV installs. Basically, all the Blu-ray players that were installed in a batch of rooms were supposed to be multi-region for DVD (this was to ensure that for some of the courses where they specialise in foreign film they'd be able to play any DVD from any region whilst also future proofing us a bit with Region B (UK and Europe) Blu-ray on top. Effectively the batch of players we got were all the same one, so if they were going to work I'd hope that they'd all work.

So it was on with some Region 1 content, which I'd brought in for testing - my US import of Finding Nemo, Mallrats 10th Anniversary Edition and of course the classic Office Space, as well as a couple of standard Region 2 discs to check that all was well. Every single player I tried today was happy playing both regions, so of course I had to watch the classic printer scene from Office Space at least once or twice, and snootched to the bootch with Jay and Silent Bob as well, but what I did mean was that it all worked well.

Well, almost. It turns out there's a bit of a handshaking issue between the Blu-ray player and the AV equipment. It shows perfectly well on the projector and without any problems, but the PC monitor connected displays an image for a second or two and then goes off. Yet in a couple of cases where the monitor was connected via DVI it was perfectly fine to be able to dhow the display, a real "go figure" sort of moment. However I'll most likely make sure that I've found all the issues and put them together in one report before I do anything else, which may take some time.

As I had to work a little late to work out some issues with a member of staff's PC where they had some fake warning about their PC supposedly viewing illegal content and with a fake "pay us now" identity theft type message from the fake Mid-Cheshire Police Constabulary (or something else equally fake) I suggested to The Love In My Heart that we meet for a drink later, as she had texted me and I suspected her day hadn't been the best, so I was sure having a drink together would cheer her up. And it did.

A nice relaxing sit down in the beer garden at the front of the Elizabethan in Heaton Moor was just the job really - the beer is lovely in there (in fact I had the Pint Sized Prince special ale, wonder why that was for eh?) and we had a good chat and catch up with regards to our respective days. I think it did us both the world of good and being able to just make The Love smile and feel a bit happier meant mission well and truly accomplished for me really. I am a happy bunny when we're together.

Later on at home I made myself some tea and opened the package that arrived safe and sound from an eBay seller - The Art of Noise's "Influence" 2CD compilation. It's an intriguing mix of singles and album tracks as well as TV and advert themes on CD1, and then all sorts of experiments, out-takes and demos on CD2, including a working in progress version of "Who's Afraid (of the Art of Noise)?" entitled "Beep Beep" which is fascinating stuff. Best of all though is the proper instrumental title theme from the Krpyton Factor that I grew up with, minus Granada's Charles Foster introducing the contestants, so plenty of "doish!" samples in that. Tune of the day, absolutely.

Sunday 28th July - Lymm Dam and Gammon

The Love In My Heart and I had slept reasonably well, as the humidity had gone off a bit overnight, it was a bit cooler and the rain that had thrown it down had seemingly freshened up things a little bit. Even during the morning it was on and off with the rain, and we were thinking about where to go for a walk in the afternoon and what to do. Ideally we wanted to try and head out and have a day together, but also we wanted to be sure that we weren't completely rained on.

In the end we decided to head along via Gatley towards Altrincham, and then from there head towards Lymm. At first we were going to head to Willow Pool, but eventually we found out that it was actually a garden centre, and as such wasn't really worth going to. The Love followed the road round, went along the main road and ended up heading over the canal bridge into the centre of Lymm and from there we headed towards Lymm Dam, a natural dam of water which sits nearby the main A56 road.

We located the car park, and headed to the main road, grabbed an ice cream and sat by the dam admiring the view. We were going to walk around but decided first to follow the heritage trail down The Dingle, which takes you to the centre of Lymm itself. Most of the shops were closed though, but there was a very nice deli which was sorely tempting me in, not least with its looks inside of lovely food, cakes and ale. However, it started to hammer it down, so The Love and I headed to the Spread Eagle pub opposite and I had some rather lovely JW Lees Streaker ale. Hurrah.

Once we'd had our drinks and the rain died down, we headed back up The Dingle and towards the dam again, and started walking in a South to westerly direction around, so this followed the bank of the dam and a few of the fishing platforms, and then we cut across to the Wishing Bridge and back along the other side of the dam, which had various curves in and out of the banks with some lovely views (well if it hadn't started raining again that is). We then followed the path and this amazingly took us back to the car park, so a good loop all around really.

We then headed back towards Altrincham, and by this time we heard claps of thunder and it was hammering it down. We stopped off at the Old Hall, in the middle of Altrincham golf course, for a well earned late Sunday afternoon lunch. Their carvery was a mere £6.85 and we both had the gammon for the meat, complete with Yorkshire pudding, carrots, some gorgeous minted peas (in fact in hindsight I should have had more of those or asked for the recipe to recreate that myself at home), two types of potatoes and so on. Beautiful stuff and not expensive? Winner.

It was then back to mine, where The Love headed home and said our farewells for the weekend, and I kept an eye on the F1 highlights from Hungary. Lewis Hamilton was brilliant and I think he'll be the first to thank Jenson Button for keeping Sebastian Vettel behind him for a fair number of laps, and that allowed the lead to be built enough. In fact Sebastian couldn't get past Kimi Raikkonen at the end either, but was still ahead of Alonso, so increased his lead a little in the championship, so all good there.

I also later on watched the Anniversary Games and it was the Paralympians this time who took centre stage. It worked out really well as Hannah Cockroft did brilliant in her 100m race, Richard Whitehead won his 200m with some flair, and David Weir showed he hadn't lost any of his form and won the mile easily. Race of the day was the T43/44 100m, with Alan Oliveira of Brazil breaking the T43 world record, Richard Browne breaking the T44 world record, and Johnnie Peacock set a personal best for his T44 run. Just superb stuff. Tune of the day - simple - Public Enemy's "Harder Than You Think" which became the theme tune for these athletic heroes last year on Channel 4.

Saturday 27th July - Mods and Madeira Chicken

It was a fairly lovely day all round today, and did all the domestic chores first thing in the morning, basically cleaning the house up and getting it all lovely for The Love In My Heart staying over tonight. It was also good then to do that first and dive into the shower afterwards to get cleaned up, because I'd feel less sticky and horrid (well that's the theory anyway). I then headed over to Mum's and sat in her back garden with a cold drink whilst we had a catch up and chat, which was quite nice mid morning. I had to politely refuse a doughnut but still, nice to have that offer of elevenses.

I then headed into Albert Square in the city centre to meet up with some of the Manchester UK Flickr folk for an afternoon meet up. It was good just to chat in Albert Square first off, and we even headed across to the Albert Square Chop House and had a drink outside. We could hear from across the square the strains of some of the jazz bands rehearsing for the Manchester Jazz Festival, and to be brutally honest it reminded a few of us (me included) of that infamous Jazz Club sketch from The Fast Show (and if you've not seen it, you need to, it'll give you an idea all round).

We couldn't help but notice the number of weddings going on, not so much with the Town Hall and a lovely wedding car parked on the square itself, but the numbers going in and out of the registry office at Heron House near Lloyd Street. We felt slightly like Gok Wan in terms of criticising the dress sense (or lack of) of some people. Also, the choices of outside shots for wedding photography weren't exactly the most inspring ever to be honest, and we all had to resist giving them any potential advice and just watched the action unfold.

We had noticed though that plenty of people on scooters had headed down Lloyd Street and were outside the Nags' Head pub, so we thought it best to see what was happening. In fact it turned out it was part of the Manchester Mod Weekender, with the pub playing some good tunes, the people outside with a drink and lots of lovely scooters, all polished to the hilt with lights and indeed some really nice helmet and scooter designs. It was good to see and some of them had even dressed for the occasion and looked really cool (one couple in particular which I got a shot of looked spot on.)

We admired that for a while and then headed down Deansgate, and a few of us diverted to St Ann's Square, where as well as a few outside deckchairs with a musician playing, there were also a couple who had a large wooden cotton bobbin with rope around it and were using it to balance on, almost like log rolling, and doing various stunts with it to keep the crowd entertained throughout. It was pretty funny actually, and along with the Royal Exchange doing things with young people in mind, it made for a very fun filled afternoon for anyone by that square.

We then headed via the Corn Exchange and down Market Street to Piccadilly Gardens, saw the people taking advantage of the makeovers at the Benefit cosmetics temporary stand and then headed up Port Street to the Port Street Beer House, where some lovely ale was had and we sat outside in the beer garden, and chatted about all sorts. It was nice to see such a relaxing afternoon all round really, and later one of my friends and I headed across to the bar called Shack almost diagonally opposite, before making our way homewards after a very productive afternoon.

I got home and got showered and ready, and The Love In My Heart arrived. I got two of the outdoor chairs out and we sat outside in the back, caught up for a while and I started the evening's meal for the two of us - minestrone soup with some seeded granary bread to start with, and then the Sainsburys bistro main I'd got as part of a meal deal for two (a posh one at that). It was chicken in a mushroom and madeira sauce with bacon, potatoes and mushrooms, and it was lovely. I did a few vegetables with that and all was good, and we just about managed to finish the main meal before the rain looked ominous and we got everything in before it started to really throw it down!

Later on we spent some time watching the highlights from today's Anniversary Games (Mo Farah was brilliant, as was Katarina Johnson-Thompson as well - Usain Bolt kicked backside in the relays too) and after a while we were watching the BBC Four programmes about acoustic rock, with a fair chunk of the documentary first, followed by a programme that celebrated acoustic appearances at the BBC with various eras and artists represented. It was good to see the likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell on there as well as David Bowie.

It got to the later periods and I was really pleased that they had featured Roy Harper and Jimmy Page performing "Hangman" which I really like anyway, so tune of the day. However, I wasn't that impressed with the research though - the little info texts that appeared on screen mentioned one of Roy's most well known songs but they titled it wrong - it's actually "When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease" but the last word was shown on screen as field. Dear me.. Still, good to see Roy and Jimmy in fine form.

Friday 26th July - Vertical

It was another busy day today as my colleague and I were heading off to our technical group meeting, where we were able to find out a lot about a couple of key upgrades which were happening at the back end of next week. Importantly this meant we were also able to ask some useful questions and be able to formulate a plan of action and take it from there. It was good to see a few other people as well and chat to them before and afterwards, so that felt rather positive really.

As I had run out of stuff for my lunchtimes, I headed out to the local Tesco close to work and ate outside with a nice pasta salad which did the job, before I headed back to the office on the next mission - to test some of the Blu-ray players we'd put in some of the lecture rooms. They're supposed to be multi-region for DVD, and as I had some Region 1 DVDs to hand, I thought it best to start testing them all out. As it transpired so far so good, my Region 1s of Office Space and Finding Nemo have played all well so far, and they're normally two good test discs as well.

In the late afternoon it was a bit of a late Summer get together as we were having a little celebration and get together of the achievements over the last year, as well as saying farewell to one of our colleagues who would be heading off to Cornwall to do something completely different (and no I'm not jealous one bit!) I did have some initial reservations about going, but was talked into it eventually, and kind of worked out fine in the end. Some real ale and some soft drinks were to hand, as some little finger buffet bite type food, as well as having of course the roof garden to ourselves, which made a lot of sense.

There were a fair few speeches for the departing member of staff, as well as a sizeable collection in a card for him, as well as the latest award for exceptional team member, which went to one of my colleagues in another team (who I know is pretty on the ball and so was really pleased for him). It's good to see that those who want to work and progress do get rewarded accordingly and for me that has to be a positive, seeing that there is a good amount of award and recognition out there. If only that was always the case!

Still, after a while I headed off homewards as I had the evening planned out - grocery delivery from Sainsburys between 6 and 7pm, then the Sainsburys Anniversary Games athletics on BBC2 and then BBC1 between 7.30pm and 10pm - not daft me you know. In fact it worked out to be good all round - the delivery from Sainsburys was spot on and the driver was very polite and friendly, and the shopping arrived all safe and sound, and unlike Asda without anything broken, so that was good. In fact I was able to make myself some tea and then sit back and relax before the athletics started.

It ended up being a good meeting in the end although I noticed that some of the countries didn't have a lot of athletes present as they were thinking of the World Championship, but a fair few British competitors took part. For me there were three highlights tonight: the women's 4x100 metre relay team winning and putting the fastest British time in over a decade at the same time, the very close world record attempt at the high jump from Bohdan Bondarenko which even interrupted Gabby Logan chatting with Lord Coe, and then..

...Usain Bolt. Bit of a shame that the British fastest man at the moment James Daosolu had to pull out, but nonetheless even with a slow start Bolt gave everyone what they came to see, a fast 100 metre race in 9.85 and to be honest if his start was half decent that could have been a fair bit quicker. Nonetheless a great way to end the evening and with some 60,000 fans there filling the Olympic Stadium's now reduced capacity, it really did feel like a homecoming of sorts and a reminder of what happened a year ago. Tune of the day is quite apt really, as it reminds me of those times - "First Steps" by Elbow, the official BBC theme tune that they used during the coverage, and really inspiring and stirring stuff all round.

Thursday 25th July - Humidity and Shoot Outs

Another day, another battle against the humidity. In fact one of my colleagues told me that he'd got in a little earlier than normal just to feel the benefits of an air conditioned office, which told me all I needed to know really. I think even though it's dropped a few degrees, it's all that humid air sticking around that just makes you all feel rather uncomfortable all told really. It's also difficult really to try and concentrate on stuff, but that's what I've been attempting to do during the course of the day.

It transpired that our Skype packaging work was all well and good, but when we attempted to remove the old version before installing the new one on top (5.8 Business Edition) I suspect that because we mangled the MSI in some way to remove features, it somehow changed the GUID of the MSI and so refused to uninstall correctly. Yet bizarrely from the command line the old version would be removed with a msiexec /x SkypeSetup.msi - go figure. Nonetheless it was a good bunch of testing from my colleague though and that has to stand him and I in good stead for the future.

Later on I headed home, and after having something to eat for tea and generally spending some time rocking out listening to some Slayer to wind down (especially the Seasons in the Abyss album and the title track, so that's tune of the day) it was then time to switch on BBC Three and watch the second semi final of Women's Euro 2013, with a Scandinavian derby between Norway and Denmark, to see who would face the might of Germany in the final on Sunday evening.

An early corner meant that the Danish defence crowded their own goalkeeper who couldn't get to it and Norway were 1-0 up inside three minutes with the simplest of goals. However, they sat on their lead a little, and Denmark were really trying their hardest to come back in the second half, with a fair few chances being created but without little on target. They kept putting more forward players on and with three minutes of normal time left a free kick was headed back towards goal by the Norwegian defenders, and the Danes headed home for 1-1, and just reward for their efforts.

Extra time improved the game massively, with both sides having chances and both keepers pulling off good saves to keep the score as is, and off it went into the penalty shootout. I don't know what the referee was doing but it unnerved both sides, arguing about which end the penalties were being taken from and indeed who was going first. The Danes missed the first two and never really recovered and it was left for the Norwegians to convert their fourth penalty on the trot and take a 4-2 win and so reach the final.

Wednesday 24th July - Mr. Blue Skype

With the thunder and lightning yesterday morning, you'd like to think that it might have cooled things down a bit. Actually, it didn't. I couldn't sleep too well last night and it just felt rather humid and sticky really. I even had two of the upstairs windows open (not necessarily a good move) to try and circulate some air, but that just felt like warm air really. I eventually did sleep and at least this morning I was able to get everything ready (including some supplies for the Tassimo which I'd got on the way home last night) and then head to work for another day of doing battle.

On the positive side though, I think I pretty much have finalised the side of things in terms of the difficult application to distribute and indeed get right. It transpires that users need certain rights to a folder once the program is installed, and as it transpired, they also needed some rights to the registry as well, not exactly what we wanted to do, but there is a way to do it - use regini with a suitable .ini file detailing which key (and its subkeys if need be) that you want to give a number rights to (where the number corresponds to certain groups of users) and the job's a good one.

So ultimately, I created a batch file that now does four things: first of all, it deletes the shortcut placed in everyone's start menu so that the program doesn't annoyingly launch on startup, it then gives rights to a particular folder on the C: drive for both users and authenticated users (primarily because two types of user accounts could log in), and then on top of that also give rights to a registry key. I think to be honest the program works better if being a single user and administrator on the piece of kit concerned, but at least it means that we're able to find suitable workarounds and present it to them.

I spent some time with a colleague this afternoon as he wanted to learn some more about application packaging, and what better way than to actually do one that he felt that we needed to look at - Skype. It'd been a while since I packaged it, and as the new version is now at 6.6, plus there's still a business edition that is an MSI which we can look at in more detail it made sense to spend some time so we could then work on passing the knowledge over.

What we found was that with some of the settings in the properties for the new version it tries to install updates during the main install, so that was switched off. We still had to add the registry settings to prevent it checking for updates in future, but found that it was setting the registry key as a string instead of a DWORD value (to be fair the old customised installer did the same - my bad!) - and so we worked out that in fact when adding a registry key you need to use a hash in front for it to force it to be a DWORD value instead (ie: #1 for the setting DisableUpdateCheck).

The good thing was with it being an MSI and being Orca, we could transform it all and create a nice MST with all the changes in, and simply deploy that via SCCM, remembering to add the TRANSFORMS=Skype.mst at the end of the command line. We tried that on a couple of machines, one 32-bit and one 64-bit, and all seemed rather well. Yaay indeedy really. So further testing tomorrow, get that one nailed and then on to the next task - checking the Blu-Ray players in our new AV installs to make sure that they're multiregion for DVD (a feature request we put in) so we then can cross them off the list.

Later on I got all the washing done I needed to do and caught up with last night's CSI which was suitably epic, and a cliff hanger for the next series, so I've got to wait till next year to find out what happens to Morgan Broady (unless of course I see if I can head over to the USA in late September and watch it on CBS when it transmits of course). Elisabeth Harnois was brilliant I have to say and she really did play the role well to try and allure the mysterious serial killer out. However, I suspect that there's something else going on which we'll probably find out...

Finally I watched Top of the Pops from 1978 on BBC Four tonight too. They've now moved it from a Thursday evening slot to Wednesdays, thankfully the series link on my box kept up! And it ended up being the 750th episode when it was transmitted, so what do they open with? "Top of the Pops" by the Rezillos. Absolute genius I thought, so tune of the day there really - it's a bit of a punk classic on the quiet really. We also got "Cold As Ice" by Foreigner, and the often forgotten but classic "Northern Lights" by Renaissance. What do you mean, you've never heard of it? You'll know it when you hear it believe me.

Tuesday 23rd July - The Waiting Game

As you can well imagine today and with the news last night, everything was going into overdrive online, in print and on television about a certain baby being born yesterday. Granted, I do know and appreciate that it is a historical event and really does have a feeling of change amongst our Royal Family and all, but the amount of attention it's got really shows just how one-dimensional the media as a whole now are - satiating the needs of those who act on a whim via Twitter, it almost seems. The thing is, I do actually feel sorry for the Royals in this case.

The Love In My Heart is a real fan of the Royal Family anyway and so it didn't surprise me when I got a text from her to let me know she wanted to see the baby emerge from the hospital before heading over to mine and didn't want to miss it - it was a moment in history and I could fully understand that she didn't want to be caught half way between hers and mine and miss the occasion. As it turned out, the couple and the baby came out, answered a few questions very politely and off they went later in a car, all done and dusted - quite civilised really.

Nonetheless that made The Love a very happy bunny as she'd seen it happen, and sped over to mine where I was cooking the tea already - which I knew was going to take a while. I was doing some corn fed free range chicken along with some baby potatoes and peas, and even some chicken gravy to go on top too. It worked out pretty well in the end and I think I was quite hungry really - I enjoyed every last bit of it and in hindsight maybe I actually should have done more vegetables, but hey ho.

We settled in for the evening and there was a documentary presented by Sophie Raworth on the BBC News Channel about the background of Royal babies etc, and knowing that The Love wanted to see it, I indulged her. I have to say I thought that Sophie was very eloquent and appreciative of all she met and asked questions to, without at any time pandering either. It's all about the name now, I suspect, so we shall see what happens with that. I have a funny feeling on one name but I could be completely wrong of course.

Later on it was my turn to indulge and watch the fifth episode of The Routemasters: Running London's Roads. As someone who does visit London quite occasionally, it's a fascinating insight to see how the road system really does creak in places, and how the danger of cyclists running through red lights is a real danger. To me, it really annoys me when they do that - the traffic rules do apply to all, so stick to it and be safe really. The special cycle police really did clamp down well, but fairly I thought, and you'd think they'd get some more respect.

It was brilliant though seeing how the police had spotted that people were using a recently removed or damaged stone bollard as an opportunity to cut through to a roundabout just off the A13, and so lay in wait waiting to issue fines to the idiots that didn't follow the rules of the road. Not least as one of them was in a 4x4 and obnoxious with it, and another one was clearly being a right pain - those sort of people deserved what they got in my view. And you can't really argue with that.

The Love headed home later and I got thinking about quiz shows, and how good Only Connect is (I watched the semi final last night). To me, there's not been many that have stretched contestants like that, but one that I used to love was The Krypton Factor, with the brilliant Gordon Burns as presenter. At its peak in the late 1980s, it had millions of viewers and the assault course was the stuff of legend, as was the flight simulation that they used to have to do for the response round. The theme tune by The Art of Noise back then was bloody brilliant, so tune of the day easily for me.

Monday 22nd July - Mission Sort of Possible

I had a bit of a mixed day overall really today. On the one hand, it did feel good that I was actually getting somewhere with some of the application packages that were giving me the most grief in terms of getting the settings right for. It transpired that in one of them, it would place an executable that runs on user logins that does a few things and then launches a launchpad type application with all the main things it can do on one screen. Obviously we didn't want that to happen on login, and so what we wanted to do was remove that from happening, but then be sure that when the programme was launched via its correct start menu icon that it'd do all that we wanted it to.

In fact when testing this out, I worked out that the program it called on startup launch was in fact the program that we wanted to call when the user clicks the icon - but this also means we can effectively pipe down a shed load of registry settings, as well as make sure that a file is present in the user's profile so it effectively has said "yes" to accept the user's licence agreement. It needed some careful tweaking to look into that, but I think I've pretty much got to most of the bottom of that now.

I also had some fun and games with the new version of Netbeans. As it transpires as Oracle own Java, they now want you to have the Java SDK kit installed first before Netbeans. However, thankfully, they've packaged it into one neat installer that does the job, and installs / uninstalls both in one fell swoop. Even better, as the installer is similar to how OpenOffice used to install, you can effectively do a --silent (two dashes followed by the word silent without spaces) and that does the job rather well all round. There are separate 32 and 64 bit installers though, so something to definitely bear in mind.

It was still pretty muggy and clammy outside though so it was a bit of a pain of a journey home really - the heat really was getting terribly sticky. That said I suspected that there may be thunder storms on the way and so thought it best to bring in the folding chairs from the back yard garden and put them in a safe place indoors - just in case. Nothing worse than having everything completely rained on, of course. The new plants in the back do look good though and certainly feels much more bright out there.

Apart from that, pretty nondescript really. I did have an email back from Asda after my complaint to them, but to be honest I really felt like they'd taken none of my concerns seriously, so thought best not to go into slanging match mode and instead just forget about it, and if need be, close the online account down. When you see good customer service (like the lovely staff at the Mercure Greenwich for example) you really do feel special and valued, when you're treated like another number almost, it's just not right somehow. Anyone's who's had that feeling of anonymosity will know what that feels like.

Tune of the day in the meantime is the rather compelling and brilliant "Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith. When it was originally recorded the thought of Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton as the backbone of a supergroup was a very late 1960s thing, but listening to how Steve performs it now in an almost acoustic manner really does bring home how well written a song it actually is, and certainly live recently, for me, this was a massive highlight.

Sunday 21st July - Mr. Darcy, I Presume?

We had a long lie in this morning, mainly because of the heat overnight it wasn't that easy to sleep. We left some of the windows open upstairs and tried to get some air through, but it was still sticky. It did though look like the temperature was a bit less stifling today, but with low cloud it might have got muggy. I made us some sausages on toast for a late breakfast / brunch (The Love even had hers outside and read a few more pages of the Richard Madeley book - wooo!) and then we made a decision as to what to do for the afternoon.

We decided to head to Lyme Park, primarily because of something we'd read and seen in the news this week. As part of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" the new Freeview channel Drama commissioned a tall sculpture resembling the BBC adaptation (which Drama are showing on their channel) where Colin Firth who played Mr. Darcy, comes out of the lake opposite the hall at Lyme Park in a white shirt (that was of course a wet shirt and see through, causing many a woman to swoon back in the day) and so as Lyme Hall was used as the location of Pemberley, it was an obvious place to put it - in the same lake!

Needless to say plenty of ladies were there getting their picture taken with the statue, attempting to create an optical illusion of their own to see if they were puttting their arms around it etc. Of course as you can imagine as well the National Trust aren't daft - by putting it inside the gardens, which you have to pay for, a good money spinner too (unless you're a member like me and The Love in which case we get in for free and get to have a good walk around anyway.) It looked good though and The Love, being a massive fan of said book (she does prefer Matthew McFadyen in the recent film version though) could see the resmblance.

We had a lovely leisurely walk around the whole of the gardens including the orangery and some lovely plants, before heading close to the bridge at the far end, walking along the high sections and back overlooking the lake and hall with a lovely view. We even noticed in the shop all the Pride and Prejudice related paraphenalia, including a jute bag that said "A present from Pemberley.. or is it Lyme Park?" - they didn't miss a trick and rightly so.

We then headed back through Poynton on the way homewards and had a late afternoon meal together, with myself having a really nice steak and ale pie (and yaay, it was a proper pie) and The Love had the Sunday roast which was also good. It was hard later on to say goodbye as we'd had a lovely weekend together, but I saw the final stage of the Tour de France and saw Chris Froome arrive safe and sound to win the thing comfortably, and was a bit gutted Mark Cavendish got outsprinted..

Tune of the day though will please The Love immensely, as she reminded me that as well as liking the film version of Pride and Prejudice that she has got the soundtrack CD as well, with lots of lovely piano-led compositions. The one in her mind that seems quite iconic is "Dawn" which is the opening titles, but has some lovely piano. Composed by Dario Marianelli and performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, it really does set the scene well and sounds rather evocative. And I can see full well why The Love adores it so.

Saturday 20th July - Garden Greatness

I spent most of the day keeping cool with the intense heat outside, but I had plenty to keep me occupied inside really. I had a fair bit of time to watch the Open Golf championship from Muirfield, and that proved to be quite good. The course looked difficult and played as a proper links golf course should, challenging but fair, and you could see that by mid-afternoon the golfers were really having to make sure that they got round and think their shots through carefully. I was keeping an eye on the cricket score via teletext and also the Tour de France on ITV4, so plenty to keep me going.

The Love In My Heart arrived a bit earlier than usual, primarily because we were going to sort the back yard garden out and make it an oasis of calm and peacefulness for the remainder of the Summer. Some of the plant pots weren't actually as it turned out proper terracotta ones and so had cracked on the outside in the Winter, so we decided to get rid of them all, get some new ones, put some nice plants in and make it feel lovely. So once we'd bagged up all the old pots and any contents, and also got rid of any rubbish that might have been in or around them, we headed first off to the local recycling tip to put them in the right sections.

It was then on the large B&Q near Stockport. The round terracotta pots were actually pretty cheap, so felt good that they weren't expensive. I also picked up these rather nice little frog and owl statues which would sit nicely in the pebbles that the pots sit in, and give the garden a bit more of a feature. It was then a case of choosing some plants to put in, I went for some fuchsia, a couple of hebe, some lavender, and this really nice one that had pinkish purple petals (name escapes me!).

Once back at mine with everything unloaded from The Love's car, and with a big bag of compost to hand, we started to plant everything, and it all was coming together nicely. We also tried to reconnect the hosepipe to the tap, but it kept basically spilling everywhere as it didn't hold on to the tap as well. I even tried a run from the bathroom but that failed as well, so I ended up using the watering can to water all the plants. I'll have to see I can get a decent enough adapter for the hosepipe, but my kitchen tap isn't exactly standard so to speak..

Once that was done, we washed down the two remaining chairs of the four that were the table and chairs set I'd assembled the other night, and they all now look clean and sparkly and ready to use. We also cleaned the outside of the dining and kitchen windows, and the back door, as they were a litle bit full of some dirt and thought it best to clean them as we were doing the back anyway. The result is a lot nicer and certainly if the weather does hold, somewhere that I'll be able to relax in over the rest of the Summer time.

I made the two of us some tea, and thanks (not) to Asda, The Love had to head into her Asda near her place and get the chicken I was after, which was wrapped in bacon and had some ricotta cheese stuffing. This was to go with my Cornish potatoes and some steamed vegetables for the main, after we'd had some mushroom soup to start. It was nice to dine alfresco out of the back, enjoy the late evening in relatively cooler shade so it wasn't stifling, and also just be chilled out.

We went back in after tea and watched the lottery draw (didn't win, meh) and then the Million Pound Drop which was pretty good. I served up some strawberries and raspberries with creme fraiche for dessert and we saw Greg James and Hilary Devey come back from almost the dead to first win £25K but then double that by taking on the final drop and winning it. Amazing stuff, miles better than the four doctors from Leicester who went out at question three and were officially bobbins - the new phrase I have for that show is RTFQ - I'll leave you to work out what it might be.

Tune of the day though is the theme tune from the Fleetwood Mac documentary which I'd recorded from BBC Four a while ago with the purpose of The Love and I watching it together, and we finally did tonight before we were going to sleep. It was a great insight into the band and all their falling outs, break ups and how eventually they made it big. For me of course there's certain songs that really made them and one before even the Rumours album was brilliant - "Rhiannon" to be precise. It was a start of a moulding of their sound as a coherent unit and even now I really like that.

Friday 19th July - It Asda Be A Disaster

It was the last day of documenting all the things I needed to do for a new system coming in soon, and it was good that I'd worked hard and got to the point that today was the last document needed, which has now been sent to our communications lot for generally tarting up and giving it a web presence. It felt good and positive to actually have people on board that were knowledgeable but also understood the fact that there were some tight deadlines involved, so no worries there.

I also finished off my documentation with regards to the InnoSetup installers, and how to best package them, test a silent install and make sure it's a usable package for System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) as well. I think for me it's important to actually document things as I go so that when I look back in years to come I know that I'll have done the right thing in being able to give people instructions to follow and work out what is best to do in the future too.

I was keeping one eye on the Ashes Second Test of course as I was documenting things too, and once we got to lunch and the first wicket of Shane Watson went over, it was a procession of wickets as Australia collapsed and just before I headed home, the last quick check I had was unbelieveable - Australia 104 for 9. Yes, nine. Maybe England's score of 361 didn't look that bad after all, I wondered to myself, and once I got home it was a case of relaxing and waiting in.. my Mum was coming over. She needed me to print a couple of things off - one being a ticket that she'd purchased from the EventBrite website and that had a barcode within the PDF, so it was on with my trusty little Laserjet 1010 printer and one quality print out later. I think in hindsight over the years it's been one of my best purchases, the cartridges last ages, and the print quality is just as good as most HP Laserjets, and a mere £80 to boot. Even better, I've had to change the cartridge once in the last six years or so, so in terms of cost per use, I can't complain whatsoever.

With Mum all sorted and working out some train times for her for a future journey (which she'll ring me tomorrow to sort out) it was a case of waiting for the grocery delivery, this time from Asda. No vouchers or gimmicks, just low prices they say. And sure enough, in the middle of the delivery slot at 7pm, the driver came. The driver was very nice and explained some items had been substituted, but (not his fault) they were all substituted with items that were nothing like what I had ordered - so at least two of those I asked him to send back.

However it was only when I started to unpack the bags and put things into the cupboards that I could see the issues with Asda on a more wider scale. Whoever they had to pick the list and put stuff into bags effectively were just throwing it into the bags, I think. I had ordered a loaf of wholemeal bread and a granary baton - the baton was broken in three places and the bread was squashed. I also noticed that some of the items had been charged differently - now there is a disclaimer that tells you this might be the case, but usually most other online supermarkets tell you if a special offer price is going to expire (as the delivery date is the day you get charged for your items) so that you can plan ahead a little bit. Compared to oher online supermarket deliveries I've had, it was easily the worst experience.

I had my evening meal and then settled in with some Tour de France action and even headed to Tesco to get some of the items that I would have liked from my Asda shop. I also saw the Richard Madeley book that The Love In My Heart has been after, so one quick phone call later and I got that sorted too - only felt right to do that somehow. Later on it was a case of watching the athletics and seeing Mo Farah beat the twenty eight year old 1500m British record by Steve Cram in the Diamond League meeting at Monaco. With some irony, Cram had set his time down the road in Nice (the first ever 1500m under 3 minutes 30 seconds by the way) and I think he was pretty shocked to see the time go eventually. Tune of the day is the proper athletics theme (hint to BBC: we'd like it back please!) - "World Series" by Keith Mansfield.

Thursday 18th July - The Able Makes The Table

I had a bit of a mission possible planned once I got home from work, after another very hot day, and I was glad that for most of it I was typing up documentation and also working on a few application packages at the same time. The first of which I was doing today was a program called Hot Potatoes, which one of our departments use. After a close look at the installer, it's actually an InnoSetup installer, which means you can easily deploy it silently, and indeed after some testing, we could also record the steps taken during the install so that they're matched when you deploy it silently.

I've started to document this process in more detail, but effectively what it means is that it will allow me to tick or untick anything not needed (such as desktop icons) and then save what settings I recorded. When I do the silent install, load them back in, call the silent switch, job done. And in fact the settings we already had set in registry for this program in terms of registration and language use worked brilliantly once I had the Group Policy Preferences set accordingly.

This is where it gets fun, folks. As part of those preferences, you can download application files or registry keys that you need for particular programs that are installed, and have item-level targeting set so that if the executable exists, and the machine name is the right name, add the key in for example. Of course if you're running a 32 bit program on 64 bit Windows 7 (as you do) then this gets a bit trickier because you will have two application paths for the executables. However, item-level targeting has a neat thing called "collections" where you can basically have things labelled together as one item. The collection is effectively putting a parentheses around that criteria, so it would mean something like: If (executable 1 exists or executable 2 exists) AND machine name=xxx then apply settings

This actually works even more well if you have a global set of settings which you need to apply to multiple machines where you know the names of those machines, you can do all sorts of wizardry such as having two collections for two sets of parentheses, so you can have cool stuff like if (executable 1 exists of executable exists) AND (machine name=aaa* or machine name=bbb* or machine name=ccc*) then apply settings, so as long as both criteria are satisfied, and using clever means of and and or, it all works well.

I felt positive after that so when I got home I entered the small brick shed in the back yard and dug out the garden table and two of the chairs, cleaned them up and then spent a fair amount of time reassembling the table. The two legs are together in an X cross formation, but they then have to be screwed into the table itself with a set of alan keys and screws. Once I'd worked out which way around everything went and located the spare screws, it meant that everything could be nicely put together. Hurrah.

Later on The Love In My Heart came over for tea and we had some very nice rump steak, and later on we watched the Tour de France highlights with a brutal stage up the Alpe D'Huez twice. I did think that the penalty given to Chris Froome and Richie Porte of Team Sky for getting some energy gels in the last 10km of the climb (against the regulations) meant that they didn't lose as much time as they could have done, and was far too lenient. I'd have worked out what time would have been lost by Froome if he didn't take that gel, then apply an appropriate penalty (2 minutes at least). I do want Froome to win, but I do also think that in terms of fairness you have to set the rules down and be sure to heavily punish riders that break them.

Last thing we watched tonight was First Dates on Channel 4, with its usual bunch of dates all hoping to have a spark. Of course if someone's being picked to go on a second first date, it's a difficult one because people will have applied online, and then it's up to the person they're dating to pick them. It's very hard even from looking at a picture and description online too without actually meeting them - and indeed not in the presence of the TV cameras either. Morrissey's "The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye" seemed appropriate somehow so that's tune of the day from me.

Wednesday 17th July - Spooked Out

I managed to get productive today, not least as I finally managed to locate a Blackberry at work that hadn't been crippled by using our Blackberry Enterprise Server (where you can only enter email settings on the device for connecting to the server) and one I could play with without doing too much damage. This meant I could configure the device to set up emails for other accounts, and indeed see how efficient (or not) that it was. In the end, I was surprised.

Even more so when I found the easy way for a Blackberry 7 device to have a screen shot captured. Simply this: install the Blackberry Desktop Software (any v7 version will do the job) - and then connect the Blackberry to the PC using a suitable cable (I have a Micro USB to USB for my Android phone and that worked). Once done, you can quit the desktop software, and open a command prompt. Make sure your Blackberry is at the screen you want to grab and then in the command prompt, browse to the folder Program Files (it'll be Program Files (x86) if on a 64bit machine) then Common Files, Research in Motion and the Apploader. From there the command is loader.exe /screenshot <screenshot path.bmp> which works pretty well, so for example loader.exe /screenshot D:\BlackberryPics\screengrab1.bmp will do it.

And did it work? Yes, it did, easily. I soon had eleven images which saved to the PC with all the screen grab information I needed and simply used Photoshop to re-save them all as PNG images (which were also smaller on the whole too) so it effectively will mean that I'll be able to finalise a guide tomorrow and write up all the useful documentation that I need to. It's great when things work and that I'm able to actually progress things nicely without all the hassle too - so all good.

I headed home later and watched last night's CSI on Channel 5, the second last of the series no less. I really enjoyed the whole plot of being spooked out in a property that was abandoned and was the place where a former serial killer lived, and how years afterwards they finally worked out and found an accomplice, which one writer and detective back in the day believed to be the case. It was a great plot, and for me so good to see Morgan and Greg getting pretty close these days. Be nice if they had a romantic spark I think!

Later on I watched the Tour de France and the last time trial of the race (three massive mountain stages and the finish in Paris to come) and Chris Froome nailed it, with a cunning plan to change the bike at the top of the final climb so he had a better time trial bike for the descent meaning a faster speed overall and more chance of posting a good time - which he did. It meant more time gained in front and a massive attack would have to be launched tomorrow to stop him on the iconic and legendary Alpe d'Huez - which is being climbed twice tomorrow, woohoo!

I also listened to some classic tunes including the brilliant "Get On Up" by Meitz, from his "Vertikal" album. Even after all these years that's still my favourite track on the album primarily because bits of it remind me of his Commodore 64 songs from back in the day, notably the instrumental lead bit in the middle, and also because it's just a great tune to groove on down to and chill out with. So tune of the day easily and if you can locate the CD, do, but be warned, it's not that easy to find...

Tuesday 16th July - The Black Sheep of Zouk

My, am I glad that our office has air conditioning. It's only when I had to head outside and to another site that I realised just how much the heat was hitting everyone, even if it was a little bit cooler than in previous days. The difficulty I've been having though is mainly sleeping to be honest, it's not been dropping that much at night and this means that I've basically been just trying to rest as much as I can and then almost get myself deliberately tired before hitting the pillow so I head to sleep and stay asleep (well that's the theory.)

I did have fun and games with a Microsoft Surface RT tablet today, as I was doing some further testing and configuration with it. It transpired that if you set up a local account and wanted to use the Mail app, you'd be dropped hints at to use the Microsoft account, and if you didn't, no can do. And also we found out that for accounts set up on live@edu domains (which a lot of student email was done) then it also means that there's no easy way of setting up that as a Microsoft account either. Annoying? Highly.

I headed home later and made sure I kept myself hydrated before getting myself showered and changed into some nice clothes before heading back towards the city centre on the bus to meet up with The Love In My Heart and some of her family. It was her nephew's birthday soon and it would be the nearest time we'd get to all be together to celebrate, so we had headed to Zouk on Chester Street just off Oxford Road, a place we've been to before and always had lovely food.

And that was the case tonight too. And - even though it was in the fridge admittedly - they had bottles of Black Sheep! That was a lovely surprise and I simply had to have one of those with the meal and one afterwards, as you do. In fact it was great to catch up with lots of The Love's family, and everyone as per usual made me feel very welcomed indeed, which is all rather nice to be honest. I had the tandoori haddock to start which was lovely, especially the pretty spicy sauce that came with it, and the chicken tikka massala was spot on too. In hindsight I think we should have maybe ordered a little more rice, but all lovely nonetheless.

The Love's nephew had a special little present from his mum (The Love's sister) - a really nice photo book, containing lots of snapshots of him as he was growing up, and even some now with his girlfriend (who is completely lovely - and proper Scottish as well) and it made for an original and very nice present, with pages and sections split up into either being with family, friends, times etc and you could tell a massive load of thought went into it, which was very nice indeed.

The Love and I headed back to mine later as we caught some of the news and had a drink and a chat together and caught up a bit before she headed home, and I contemplated attempting to sleep in the humidity and heat of the late evening - and tune of the day sprang to mind - the rather good "Stringy Acid" by Orbital - it had a trance like quality back in tbe day and does now, certainly listening to that a few times was getting me in the mood to hopefully nod off and get some well earned kip.

Monday 15th July - Meetings and Surfacing

I had two meetings today - our regular team meeting first where we were catching up on numerous things and making sure we were all up to speed with what was going on. In fact it meant that with one project I was helping to work on at the moment I could give the team an update as to where I was and to what was happening which at least proved to be a useful tool for all concerned. I also was able to at the same time work on the user guide for Mac Mail which proved to be rather easy all round!

I then had the second meeting which was with one of our marketing and communciations team along with our project liaison officer and that proved to be rather worthwhile too - lots of stuff to actually work on but we were able to at least see some light at the end of the tunnel which proved to be rather good all round. It's good sometimes to thrash some ideas out and feel rather positive about the whole experience. It's also about supporting as many devices as possible in as little time as we can with the deadline - so all good there.

In the afternoon I borrowed one of our test Microsoft Surface tablets running Windows RT, and that seemed to be fine apart from the fact that if you wanted to configure an email account, and your account wasn't a Microsoft account, you then had to go to the control panel and actually add the account there - however, if you did have a Microsoft account, it was then easier to go the mail app, add the account and do the simple steps. Why oh why couldn't it have been just made simpler by Microsoft not insisting you have one of their accounts to use to log in with. Sheesh.

After work it was time to head home and watch a couple of things I'd recorded last night - the Tour de France highlights (with today being a rest day a good chance to catch up I think) and then a documentary on BBC Two HD which I'd missed as I was out at a gig of course - and this was all about the 1976 F1 season and the intense rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, with the might of McLaren and Ferrari being behind the respective drivers. Of course, the politics in the sport just added to the drama, told with the right amount of memories from both sides too.

What proved to be interesting was that neither Lauda nor Hunt actually wanted to race in the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji that day. Both of them were actually part of the GPDA and they were concerned about the track safety. It turned out that the television audience forced the organisers' hands a bit, and so the conditions were awful and Lauda bravely chose to retire, not knowing that the track would dry out as the rain would stop. The rest was history but it was good to see that both drivers ended up with mutual respect for each other, and no wonder a film out soon, "Rush" is to be a drama based on all that - so should hopefully be good to watch then.

Tune of the day simply has to be by 3 Daft Monkeys, as I'm heading to the Band on the Wall in November to see them, having booked my ticket earlier tonight. It's always a good gig when you go to see them with some lovely song that mix an eclectic mix of folk and world music and bring it all in a Cornish way. It's enough to make me bound around occasionally, and "Days of the Dance" is one such song. I really hope they play this one (hint!) and that'll be a highlight to look forward to.

Sunday 14th July - A Baking Bastille Day

I must admit I did feel for all of those riders in the Tour de France today - baking heat and the longest stage of the Tour, culminating in the ascent of the rather fearsome Mont Ventoux. The fact it's a "hors categorie" (no category) climb says it all - steep, brutal and unforgiving, and with a shed load of people descending on the mountain for hours and even days before the cyclists arrived to get a view of the action and seeing Chris Froome eventually destroy the field, win the stage and put himself in the premier position and maintain the coveted maillot jaune.

I was also listening to the cricket this morning on Radio 5 Live, as I'd only got the one free day pass for Sky and thought that this morning it might be over quickly. But alas, no. England did take the new ball and James Anderson did reduce things to 231 for 9, but then it was agonising from there as the last wicket didn't fall and Australia got closer. Even with the extended half hour before lunch it was 291 for 9, and Australia needed 20 to win and just one wicket for England. I didnt want to delay our planned day out any longer so thought I'd watch and find out later on.

The Love In My Heart and I were heading out for the afternoon and taking the picnic basket Mum had got us for Christmas - which had wine glasses, plates, knives, forks etc. The Love had brought lots of lovely food with her, a small bottle of wine, some nice breads, paté, ham, olives, crackers, nibbles and even a little cake for me too as well as some berries and a bottle of water. I felt rather spoilt and it was so lovely of her to make all that effort just to have a lovely day.

We decided to head to Etherow Country Park as we'd never been there before and I'd heard plenty of lovely things about it. Indeed as we headed around the lake and along the River Etherow for a walk first that was very nice and with some beautiful scenery. We then headed back via the Visitors Centre where I picked up a map and headed back to the The Love's car to get the picnic basket. We walked along the river bank and ended up close to the weir before heading up the hill, following the path for the Keg Pool, where the map said there was a picnic area - there wasn't! So we followed the path up and around and eventually arrived up another hill, took a lengthy walk around.. and then..

.. we arrived at the Sunny Corner! And wow, what a lovely view. Situated on top of a hill, with open grass and a bank downwards, with picnic tables and plenty of space to actually put a blanket down and enjoy the picnic, which is what we did. All the food was lovely and it was good to relax, chat and generally just take it very easy with all the lovely food and drink on offer. I even managed to get a full mobile signal and found out that England had won by 14 runs, James Anderson getting the final wicket with a caught behind after a successful appeal. Hurrah and thank heavens!

It was so enjoyable to watch the time go by, admire the view and just generally sit down and take it all relatively easy. I thoroughly enjoyed the paté and the ham especially, but the blueberries and raspberries were also very enjoyable too - yes, me eating blueberries eh? Who'd have thought that? It was just a gorgeous view (sorry, it was!) and worth the lengthy walk. Thankfully heading back we took a slightly quicker route and we also spotted another place we could have picniced too - so a mental note made for the future. The time sped by and it was a rather lovely day all round.

In the evening I headed on my own to Salford and the Kings Arms pub, to see Mark (MJ) Hibbett and his pal Steve Hewitt perform their latest comedy musical thingy - Total Hero Team. They had been in Buxton in the afternoon performing a show and so had made a train trip, check in to their hotel and a taxi dash to Salford to make it in time. They spotted me in the bar along with another fan, Ellen, who is just as much of a fan as I am (and really lovely to chat to as well), so the four of us had a drink together and a catch up chat, which was good, before we headed up to the upstairs room where it all happened.

And I have to say, it was great! Imagine an alternative super hero story which involves a pub, a variety of characters including an android, a futuristic kitten, a bloke who's a main site IT guy who everyone thinks gets it wrong, and a pub landlord who turns out to be someone else, and you've got some form of an idea of what an intriuging combo it is. With a variety of headgear to play the parts, the two of them adopted a range of accents and a general all round giggle, with plenty of new songs..

.. and a couple of MJ Hibbett classics in there too, which merged well with the actual plot. so that for me was fab - we got the classic "Control Alt Delete" (they are the only buttons that you need, trust me on this!) and best of all, one of my favourite songs of his ever, "It Only Works Because You're Here" which Mark, Steve, Ellen and I all sang together - and it was a beautiful moment, it really was. Not least of course because it sounded lovely with an acoustic guitar backing but because all four of us had different voices in harmony. So tune of the day and ha ha, take that all those manufactured X Factor bobbins bands..

It all finished way too soon but around the hour mark, and so the four of us headed back down to the bar where more lovely real ale was consumed, and it really did feel a rather nice and special gig all round. Put it this way, if you are going to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, make sure you make the effort and see the show. I promise you, you'll come out smiling and full of that lovely feel good factor that everyone needs to have. Plus of course badges too - I very kindly was handed the full set but my favourite is the future kitten one - just lovely all round!

Saturday 13th July - Birthday Balminess

I had a fairly calm day - with just one stop needed to head via the local Tesco to do some food shopping and the rest of the day spent rather relaxed. I remembered that I still had four day passes left for Sky Sports via NowTV, and this effectively meant I could use one of them and watch the First Test Match between England and Australia on Sky Sports 2 (which has been renamed Sky Sports Ashes for the summer, woo!). Effectively as I knew that The Love In My Heart wasn't coming till later I knew I could see the whole day's play and with the day pass - for free too.

It was good to see the match unfold as England extended the lead before being bowled out for 375, a lead of 310, meaning 311 to win for Australia. I was worried a fair bit before the first wicket went down,but even at 150-odd for 3 it was still a concern. However, what helped massively was a big decision in that Michael Clarke had been caught (the initial video check was to see that the ball had carried) - he then appealed, the video review kicked in and both HotSpot and Snicko showed that the ball had glanced the bat and so out he went. Crucially that was also the last review used for Australia which may come back to haunt them.

So at the close of play, 174-6 and job pretty well done by England, although with Ashton Agar at the crease and following his brilliant 98 during the first innings, anything could still happen and it'd be crucial to make sure the job is done professionally and knock down the last four wickets tomorrow. Once that was over and with The Love In My Heart already here and getting herself showered and ready, I did the same and before long we were both looking very good in our outfits and ready to head out to a birthday party, namely my uncle's 50th, three days after the actual birthday.

Despite the invite saying 7pm we got there around 7.20pm thinking we'd be a little later and hoped that several would have already turned up. We were amongst the first ones there and so got ourselves a drink and settled in a nice comfy chair. I did notice that there seemed to be a massive amount of food in the buffet and that even though I'd saved myself during the day for the food at night, it might be too much. The bar didn't have any proper wine as such - it was out of a wine box but at least it was in the fridge, and no real ales at all, so that was me on the soft drinks all night anyway.

It was good to see several of the family and also some of my uncle's current and former work colleagues, a couple of which I know pretty well myself so spent a fair bit of time with The Love chatting to them. It was balmy and hot in the venue though so as you can imagine, people were heading outside. The DJ seemed to be doing everything through a laptop and massively cocked things up when he was getting my uncle to sing a particular song, not least when it played the wrong song several times.

Thankfully that was all sorted, and a good job too as it was no less than the Jeff Beck classic "Hi Ho Silver Lining" which always seems be played at family get togethers. Several of us really liked it, not least my mum and my uncle, and it was good that a lot of us were up there singing along, so that really did get us all in the Saturday night mood - tune of the day for that particular reason, even though I'd happily argue that his better years were to come in the 1970s...

My uncle was pleased that those who had made the effort to come were people that he really wanted to be there - and the buffet was lovely - but just far too much of it even for all the guests that were there. I did have some lovely food though and that kept me going nicely during the evening, and the DJ played lots of songs that I remembered well including The Cure's "Friday I'm In Love" (and how apt that song is considering I actually met The Love In My Heart on a Friday!!) and eventually things went to a close just after midnight, with a good night had by all - and a shortish walk home for the two of us. Isn't it nice when you can simply walk home?

Friday 12th July - Wii Can Stand The Heat (Just)

It was another action packed day at work and I spent most of the morning with one of my colleagues in one of the central teams working on a proposed solution to the issues that we spotted with the Windows 7 build yesterday. I had worked out most of it myself but it was good to put it all forward, work out a plan of action and implementation and then ensure that everything was working as intended. On the whole I felt quite productive and it at least meant that I knew that the difficult part was over.

I also spent a fair amount of time this afternoon updating various bits of documentation, and it was good to finish off three in total that needed doing, complete with screen grabs and other useful bits of information which meant it was a lot easier to do. I think because a lot of people work much better visually, it's actually a lot easier to give them something which they can look at and go "ah, so this is how it works!". I also think part of the reason for doing that is so we know there's a level of consistency which we know plays ball.

After work it was straight on the 109 bus and off to see my friend, as I'd arranged an evening of chill out time and some time on the trusty Wii. He had an interesting quandry for me to solve when I got there - his iPhone had stopped picking up emails from his Virgin Mail email account despite him not changing anything. I suspected that the iPhone had got itself into a bit of a tizzy so after double checking everything was enabled correctly, I deleted and recreated the account, and it all worked first go. Hurrah to that I thought to myself.

We then put on Wii Sports and had a pretty enjoyable evening on it, doing the "close to the pin" pitching game in training mode as well as then playing two player baseball which proved to be a low scoring affair (me winning 1-0) due to the fact that the bowling was top notch. We then played the nine holes of the golf and both beat our best scores on the first go on his Wii - with him equalling his best of -4 and me getting -6 (my all time record on my Wii is -8 so I didn't do that badly at all!) and some great shots being played by us both over the course of the round, notably my friend's 2nd to the par five fifth which left him a short putt for an eagle - wish I'd recorded the shot on camera as it was rather brilliant.

One of his younger relations on his wife's side of the family had come over, and we set her up on the Wii and had a three player game of bowling. It was easier for me to share the remote so I could show her what to do and how it was done, and she did really well, getting a couple of strikes and posting a decent first go score - and doing even better in the second game. It was nice to see that she felt involved and that we were keeping her occupied and happy - so I think I was in the good books all round there - yaay!

I headed back home via the city centre later and thankfully some of the heat had been taken off with the cooler air of the night, although it still felt quite close and muggy overall. I did see lots of people out on their Friday nights out with lots of music blaring away from the nightclubs and a few people worse for wear. For me, just being able to kick back and head home was nice - apart from the fact that someone decided to play some Michael Jackson at full blast on their phone, so got to hear all of "Black or White" as I headed home - tune of the day for that reason(ish!)

Thursday 11th July - A Date With Hell

Well, not true of work, although to be honest being in our current office is at least making things somewhat bearable when I've been working on a shed load of documentation. However all that stopped as I was investigating an issue where when any member of staff logs in to the Windows 7 build for the first time, some of the icons don't show or operate correctly. I worked out eventually what was happening and managed to post a helpful email to the rest of the team to see what was possible and work out a long term solution that we know would at least work, so felt good with that.

And, tada! All the Autodesk packages that I created for Windows 7 64-bit all worked out of the box first go, and all the start menu icons came up as per group policy, and all the settings worked a treat too. As an added bonus I also packaged up Autodesk Navisworks Manage 2012 as well, and got all the settings pumped into the Group Policy at the same time. That as well pleased me immensely to be sure that it was all playing ball. Of course, Group Policy Preferences are much easier if you have a 64-bit native program, as it will install in the same Program Files folder as it would do on 32-bit Windows. It's only when you have 32-bit applications running in 64-bit that you have to create two shortcuts, as the path is different.

Later on The Love In My Heart came over and we were fairly relaxed for the evening. I made us some spaghetti carbonara using all the Ocado/Waitrose ingredients that I'd got from my online delivery, and that worked out pretty well - the pancetta was plentiful and crisp once I'd cooked it enough, but we both agreed that the sauce was a little lacking in flavour compared to either the Tesco or Asda one - still it was good enough though. I even got to watch a bit of the Tour de France that I'd recorded, and that worked out pretty well in the end.

However, we were both looking forward to the First Dates programme on Channel 4 to see how the dates would go and how the couples would interact with one another. It's somewhat fascinating to see just how it all works, and whether those who have been in it before get to see how they pick their next date from all the applicants (some of which might just want to be on the telly it has to be said). Filmed at the Paternoster Chop House close to St Paul's Cathedral, which is a lovely restaurant, there's plenty of conversation and consteration in equal measure.

I think for me the surefire indication on how people get on is a lot to do with their perceptions and also to do with managing to get past those. There was lots of awkward pauses in conversation between Hank and Angela for example, and that wasn't good - almost the first one to blink syndrome. Meanwhile Phil and Tamsin's date were an amalgamation of two fussy people but ultimately I don't think Tamsin liked the fact that Phil thought that by her being a serial dater that she was still playing the field a bit rather than seeing what might happen with someone over a few dates and giving things time to develop. Sometimes the truth, well it hurts I think.

It was rather warm and muggy so that wasn't helping me try to sleep later and I kept thinking of the Faithless classic "Insomnia" which was certainly true in this case - the line "I can't get no sleep" was whirring round in my head before I finally managed to hit the pillow and finally get some well earned sleep, so tune of the day goes to that one. How I wished that I'd seen them during their tours of the first couple of albums, I'm sure it'd have been a rather good gig all round..

Wednesday 10th July - Back To The Boil

It was a busy day back at work today, with lots going on. First off, I had to do my utmost to try and ensure that one particular software order was going to be held back until the 1st August, as the department who were ordering it wanted to come out of the next budget by the year end - and got that done first of all. Then it was a case of completing some documentation that I had created for Android phones, and having captured all the screenshots first, it was just a case of writing them up accordingly and going from there - which proved to be pretty good in the end.

However most of the day was spent thankfully in an air conditioned office, thus keeping the heat off me that way, but the heat was on as I was re-packaging all of the components of the Autodesk Building Design Suite 2012 that we had packaged for 32-bit Windows 7, and this time doing so for 64-bit Windows 7. In effect this wasn't too bad, as thankfully Autodesk on all their installation media have a setup which allows you to create a customised installer (woohoo!) - and even tell you how to call the setups in SCCM accordingly.

The only thing is though is that with DVDs worth of content, this can take some considerable amount of time to do, so during the day I had managed to create the installation folders and admin folders within for AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, Inventor and also 3ds Max Design. It was then a case of creating the SCCM packages from the install folders, adding the setup executable with the command lines, and finally whacking them all up to the distribution points. I'll road test the lot tomorrow and see what happens.

I headed via the city centre tonight even though I did work a bit later than planned - mainly to get a couple of little bits, and then made myself some rump steak and chips for tea. I'd ordered a rump when I did my Ocado order, thinking I might get two, but it was just the one. Nonetheless it cooked really well though and was rather tasty - and was keeping an eye on the Tour de France as I was cooking it and then eating it later. Wouldn't have minded being at Mont Saint-Michel for the end of that stage!

I headed over to see my uncle after that as it was his birthday today - and a rather special one at that too. I think a lot of the family headed over with cards and presents on the actual day rather than wait until his party on the Saturday, which meant he had stuff to open, and so I headed around too. It was good to chat to some of the family and generally relax and have a quiet(ish!) evening with them all. I also noticed the little dog that belonged to my cousin's girlfriend - petite and cute.

Tune of the day is the rather delightful "So Sublime" by Beth Rowley, which I wished I could just play at any moment during today and have a wonderful Summery feel to the office at the same time. It probably won't happen of course but hey, you can wish sometimes can't you? Well I guess I wish a lot these days, primarily because I know that there's so much to do, so little time and so much I really would love to have a hand in doing more of...

Tuesday 9th July - Light on Tap

The Vocals in My Songs and I had pre-booked breakfast at our hotel the night before, and this turned out to be a good move. We got ourselves up and ready, and headed down via the bar to the restaurant area, which was all rather lovely and clean, as well as some very friendly and helpful staff. The breakfast was buffet styled, but this meant you could saunter at leisure, so had some nice cereal and fruit juice, the staff sorted us with some good strong coffee, and the hot stuff was all good - two types of egg, sausage, bacon, hash browns, mushrooms and so on - and even a nice strong toaster to put some freshly cut bread through. All in all, classy stuff.

It was a wrench to leave the hotel room but the staff were lovely on check out and we both left feeling that we would very happily go there again without any issues whatsoever. I think sometimes it's nice to treat yourself to a lovely hotel and just make the break that bit nicer too. The Love had decided to treat me a little bit and instead of heading back on the bus we'd take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) as I'd never been on it before and that was another transport to do list checked off for me. We took the lift up to the platform at Deptford Bridge and then realised that the Oyster card reader was at ground level! Thankfully one of the very nice Transport for London folks noticed we'd taken the cases up and so went down for us with both cards - a great bit of service right there. Kudos where it's due.

We headed on the DLR and it was a rather nice journey, heading to the Cutty Sark station, under the Thames to Island Gardens and Mudchute and onwards to Canary Wharf, a huge six station interchange too. It was then along through the likes of Limehouse before the track veered off downhill just before Tower Gateway and massively underground to Bank where the service terminated. It was then up to the Northern Line (Bank Branch) and off to Euston, and got there relatively quickly it has to be said.

So much so, that we had time to head to the Euston Tap for a drink before we headed on the train too. It was nice to sit outside there and have a pint of the Buxton Brewery Moor Top and have The Vocals so happy and relaxed as well. The last time we were here was on my birthday so that made it even more of a worthwhile day reminiscing about that, before we then headed into Euston, got ourselves anything we needed (mainly Hello! magazine for The Vocals) and then on the 1300 departure back to Manchester.

It was nice being sat in the relative calm of the Quiet Coach heading back, with us having a window seat and watching the world go by, and we were soon back in Manchester where it was still pretty hot all told. I headed out of the station and straight on the bus home, and was soon back and unpacking the stuff to be washed as well as taking time out to catch up on any telly I'd missed whilst I was away - which wasn't as much as I thought to be honest.

Tune of the day though in the meantime is from the nice and new Beth Rowley EP which I purchased when I got home. It's nice to see she finally has some new songs out, and from the four of the EP, it's hard to pick a favourite on the first few listens. Currently though this seems to be "Can't Stop Tomorrow" which has a bright and Summery feel to proceedings, just the sort of thing for the weather right now really. Just wish she'd tour Manchester again as I think we'd both be there!

Monday 8th July - Cutty Sark and Bublé

The Vocals In My Songs and I had the day pretty much worked out today, and so after a morning coffee and a relaxing shower, we got ourselves changed and ready and headed for the short walk into Greenwich. This time we were heading to the Cutty Sark, a historic tea clipper ship that had had lots of restoration work done on it in recent years since it needed some urgent repairs back in 2005 - and despite a fire in 2007, what you see now is remarkably wonderful from the outside, so seeing inside might be a different perspective.

It was £12 each, or you could do a "Big ticket" for £18 which included the Royal Observatory and Planetarium as well, so if you wanted to, all three in a day would be possible. We just paid for the Cutty Sark alone, and so headed into the lower decks of the ship first and got a fascinating insight into its early years when it was built and started to head off on long voyages to bring back massive numbers of crates of tea for the masses. You could see why the ship was built in such a way to ensure that the tea chests could be maximised that it could carry, and on the tween deck you could look through portholes to the view outside, and also get an idea of what life was like with artefacts such as the lifebelt, the old cameras used to keep the crew occupied with a hobby with no winds for the sails and so on.

But it was only when you got up on the deck level that you realised just how impressive the ship is, with a view from the bow end looking over the River Thames and beyond, as well as the quarters that the ship's staff would call home, as well as the masts and rigging (complete with sailmaker replica sculpture on the mast!) and also the lifeboats, the ropes everywhere and so on. It really was impressive, and you could sense the history as you explored the tea clipper.

The biggest surprise of all was when you took the lift down and went underneath the boat itself - and all I can say is "wow". The restoration raised the whole boat three metres from the dry dock which means you can walk underneath it, and it's an experience you have to do. You also got to see plenty of the collection of the figureheads collected from other boats over the years, as well as an idea of the size and scale of the tea clipper as well. We even had a little cold drink in the café down there which was very nice indeed.

After that, The Vocals wanted to soak up the sun and I wanted to explore the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, so we did our own thing for a little while. The foot tunnel was pretty dark and dank and understandably smelt a bit, but getting across the Thames this way seemed to be the thing to do. On the other side you could see the river as well as the pleasure cruise boats heading along in front of the former Naval College, and I headed back a short while after, and it was good to see that cyclists were dismounting as requested and walking their bikes through.

I met back up with the Vocals and we headed out and through some of the former Royal Naval College grounds, having grabbed a light lunch from M&S Simply Food to munch whilst sat on the grass in the sunshine. It worked out really well actually and it was good that we were able to stroll around. We also looked in a fair few of the little shops too including a branch of one of my favourite record shops, Music and Video Exchange, before we stopped off at The Lost Hour pub. Cask ales were a mere £2.25 a pint so I had a very nice drink in there and we sat by the open front and relaxed before heading back to the hotel.

Later on was the main reason we'd come - I got tickets for The Vocals and I to see Michael Bublé at the O2. He's not my thing, but as The Vocals had suffered enough gigs with me over the years with bands she might not have liked as much as me, it was only fair I did payback really. We got changed and The Vocals looked gorgeous in her dress, a really nice burgundy number that really did show off her gorgeous figure. Was I happy? Oh yes. A proud and happy man that I was.

Knowing how rammed the Tube gets after major events, I had worked out that we could hop on buses to the O2 instead - so a little run on the 177 from near the hotel to the Cutty Sark stop, and then from there we got on the 129 which took us to North Greenwich bus station (the 188 was also available from the same stop!) In fact it worked well because once it got under the A102, the 129 bus headed past a Sainsburys and then to a road that was a bus lane only (it's actually called Pilot Busway) which took us speedily to North Greenwich bus station, right next to the tube. We soon were walking and heading to the O2, easy peasy.

Despite us getting there at around 5.50pm the many restaurants inside the O2 all had queues, apart from the Water Margin Chinese Buffet restraurant. We decided to head in there and found that there was plenty of space left still, and as it turned out lots of choice. The Vocals had never done any Chinese buffet before, but I have to admit it was better quality than the ones I've been to in Manchester, where lots of MSG seems to be the order of the day. Not here. I had some lovely mushrooms, prawn toast, won ton, chicken and sweetcorn soup as well as salmon in blackbean sauce, chicken in blackbean sauce, lamb in ginger and spring onion, oyster mushrooms etc, and it all tasted lovely. Even The Vocals was impressed so that made me feel better about making the decision in the first place.

It was then off to the O2 Arena, and our entrance was right around the other side, so took us some time admittedly. We got in, and had a quick check over of the merchandise. Wowzers, £20 for a programme, £25 for a t-shirt etc, who was going to pay those sort of prices? Plenty of people as it happened to be honest. We managed to get to our block and to our seats, and it wasn't bad. We were in Row A of block 415, so not too close to the front stage, but we noticed a little stage at the back, plus no heads in the way so at least she would see which was good.

The support act were Naturally 7, who were more of a warm up for Michael than anything else. They did all the instruments by vocals only, so the drums were sounding pretty decent considering. They did a few versions of songs including Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" and that was okay, but I just had a feeling that with original songs to sing instead they'd actually be able to put more personality into their own songs, without needing a massive audience participation of various "Yeahs". I kind of dislike that whole sell-out attitude anyway, so that did grate with me a bit.

The Vocals got us a drink, the lights went out, and on came Michael Bublé to plenty of cheers from all the ladies near us (and The Vocals of course!). He sang his cover of "Fever" at first and then went into "Haven't Met You Yet" (which is about the only Bublé song I could get away with liking) before a few covers including van Morrison's "Moondance" and the Nina Simone classic "Feeling Good" (which pales into insignificance when you hear how bloody good Muse make it when turning it modern). He did "Home" as well which did make several of the audience go "awwww" with its accompanying video.

Lots of video effects were the name of the game - behind the stage, the stage moved for the band to come back and forward, the front slats could be raised or lowered with video projected onto them, and the back of the stage had a big screen which showed various things and when he was introducing the band as "Team Bublé" he had them come up in an American football type stats screen for each of the band, which actually worked out not that bad all things considered.

Later on as he tried to funk it up by singing Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (I know, hmmmm!) and he was accompanied by security as he headed to the back stage, which meant The Vocals got to see him closer up. Everyone was trying to touch him along the way, almost like a Morrissey concert in that respect. Once he got to the back stage he got Naturally 7 to provide some vocal harmonies for some covers including "Want You Back", "To Love Somebody" and the Beatles classic "All You Need Is Love" complete with lots of paper hearts being fired out from cannons at the ends of the arena. Cheesy, but the female fans lapped it up!

The Vocals had been a bit miffed that he didn't sing "Cry Me A River" but that was rectified as the intro built before he stormed back on the stage for the encore - and that song! She said he'd missed a trick by not coming on to that and wowing the crowd first off, but when he did sing it, it had all the hallmarks of a James Bond soundtrack that never was. As it's one of her favourites, it's tune of the day for her, only fair really. The Bublé then sang a cover of "Save The Last Dance For Me" before a final cover: "A Song For You" - originally by Leon Russell. He sang the last part without microphone, just him and the audience. Too many screaming women meant his voice wasn't heard like it was meant to be - show some respect to your man, next time, will you?

All in all it was better than I expected, and in terms of an arena show it did its job, and I definitely could understand the appeal of him to so many. What still gets me is that with his pianist he can write original material that has the feelgood factor, so why can't he do more of that instead of just turning into a cover version artist? Personally, the fact that he dared to cover the Randy Newman classic of all time from Toy Story, "You've Got A Friend In Me" on his most recent album "To Be Loved" may have clouded the judgement a little, but you get the idea. I'd much rather he try to be more original - then maybe I'd respect him more.

However, what you cannot argue with is the fact that with ten sold out arena shows, there's a lot of people who do love what he does, including The Vocals, who enjoyed it immensely. And that was what mattered to me most. My opinion for once didn't count, it was hers, and if she was happy, then I'm happy. And she was so pleased to get some of her favourites played and she was able to sing along, look beautiful and be a radiant happy bunny of joy. That for me was what made the evening - seeing her that way and giving her that opportunity to be in the moment.

We headed back out of the O2 and as expected, lots of queues for the tube, but not so for the bus station at all, so we headed to stand C, got on the first 129 already waiting, and we got a seat, and the bus wasn't full! Once on the bus lane we soon left the O2 behind, got off the bus at the Maritime Museum and then waited a few minutes for the 177 back to the hotel. What was best of all was the gig finished around 10.20pm, we were on the bus at 10.30pm and back in the hotel room just after 11pm. Result all round - and a good day too!

Sunday 7th July - Greenwich Mean Time

It was an earlyish start for myself and The Vocals In My Songs this morning, as we got up, got ourselves changed and ready and were heading out of her place, on to the Metrolink tram that runs near her place (and very comfortable it was being on a new tram) and off to Piccadilly station, where we'd usually end up meeting before heading off on another adventure by train. This time, it was off to London again, the second time in two weeks, but for a completely different reason - a gig this time, as well as spending some quality time in the area of Greenwich in South East London.

The train headed to Euston and was perfectly on time, and we'd booked on the Quiet Coach (Coach A) this time around. It wasn't too bad, very relaxed and quiet on the whole, and generally less hectic than some of the other standard class coaches. I kind of wish you could do a "pick your seat" thing though so that we'd guarantee a seat by the window - quite rightly The Vocals thinks it's a nicer view generally and you can watch the world go by on the way. If other train companies can do it..

We headed out of Euston and along the Eastern exit to the road that runs by the side, and there we'd take the 168 bus to just after Elephant and Castle, changing there for the 53 to Deptford Bridge. It was a busy second bus journey with many people making their way home after Sunday morning church services (and this was at 2pm in the afternoon!) and so it was a very hot journey too with temperatures in the capital soaring a fair bit. We got to Deptford Bridge, walked along the main road and turned left into Catherine Grove where our Mercure Greenwich hotel was - a former training and residential place for the Metropolitan Police, no less.

The hotel was rather lovely it has to be said - the staff were really friendly, the whole hotel had been decorated tastefully but keeping the original features, and the rooms were very well laid out, the bathroom and shower doors had a history of Greenwich etched on as a nice feature. A large comfy bed, a gorgeous view out over the hills to the Royal Observatory from the window, complimentary water as well as tea and coffee, iron and ironing board, large wardrobe, and massive fluffy soft towels (which for some reason seem to be a rarity in London hotels generally). The room was great and we were both happy bunnies - and so got showered and changed to head out for the afternoon.

It was a leisurely 10-15 minute walk into Greenwich from the hotel, and we decided to head to Greenwich Park and have good look around. After admiring the William IV statue and the very large ship in the bottle outside the Maritime Museum, we then headed along the inner corridors flanked by pillars in the Queen's House, before taking the walk uphill towards the Royal Observatory. And if you're not even going in the observatory, the view alone from the top of the hill makes it worth it - seeing over the park, the former naval college, and beyond to Canary Wharf. Very nice.

The observatory itself was pretty packed, mainly with lots of tourists crowding the Meridian Line, hence the limit of one photo per person. As you can imagine, as you had to pay to get in and it was late afternoon, we instead headed around the free parts, and then headed to a very nice little tea room a bit further back for a cold drink and a chill out bit of time, before heading back down the slope from the Observatory and towards the park exit, where the pub looked rather busy outside..

.. and with good reason. It was the Wimbledon men's singles final - Andy Murray against Novak Djokovic. I had seen the first few games in the hotel whilst getting ready, and now Murray was two sets up but 4-2 down in the third set. Amazingly he managed to break the Djokovic serve for 4-3 and then take a nervy game on his own serve for 4-4. The crowd got larger as they sensed that if he could break the Serb on this game, the title was his to lose. The ninth game was a mammoth effort, you could tell, but he got it done and the crowds outside the pub and inside were understandably going pretty mental.

And as what was the final game got underway and he got to three match points, we had to watch as Djokovic bravely fought them off with some superb shots, and it was going to break point, deuce and then break point again. However, Andy got the advantage and eventually with one massive effort, he hit a great shot down the line with Djokovic only able to hit the net. At that time the whole place (and even parts of the park who had radios on) erupted. Andy Murray had won Wimbledon, ended a seventy seven year wait for a British winner, and in straight sets, which took just over three hours. We stayed and watched him lift the trophy, and it was a really true "where were you when this happened" sort of moment!

After that we walked back to the river bank, headed past the Cutty Sark and then stopped off at the Mitre pub for a well earned drink. The beer garden at the back had some lovely flowers and plants and was also in the shade so that was quite nice actually, and we had a good chat as well as relaxed in the garden. I was even thinking about how much media coverage there was going to be of Andy Murray tomorrow and we were both still amazed at what we'd seen.

We walked back to the hotel and got ourselves looking good and changed for the evening. In the end we decided to head to Frankie and Benny's which was alongside the River Thames in a small development just East of the Cutty Sark. It was two courses for £10.95 which worked out well, I had the mushrooms in a cheese sauce with crostini for starters and the main was a rather nice chicken and bacon carbonara bake which had shed loads of both ingredients and mushrooms too, just the job. The Vocals' philly cheese steak sandwich looked good too and with a shed load of fries to go with it too.

We then headed to another nice pub, this time The Coach and Horses, located in the middle of Greenwich Market. It was a lot more chilled out on the Sunday night though and it was just good to have a nice pint of EPA and see the night in together. Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" even came on which I quite like (make that tune of the day if you will) and I did feel lucky, punk, actually. The Love had got herself a new top and she looked rather gorgeous in it, and we both just were very relaxed and chilled out. A quick bus ride back to the hotel later and we got back in time to watch Today at Wimbledon on BBC1 and see the Andy Murray win in more detail. All in all, a great day!

Saturday 6th July - La Femme Francaise

I headed to the city centre in the morning to make sure I had a couple of things done in preparation for a small break for myself and The Vocals In My Songs, so first things first: get my hair done. As usual, it was no fuss and all the hair I needed to be removed cropped off perfectly by the staff in the Northern Cutter, leaving me feeling a lot less hot and sweaty and a lot more ready to face the weather with some nice short hair. Indeed it was getting pretty warm out there so it was nice to head for Debenhams and some working aircon too.

In fact I had gone there because I still had a gift card from my birthday and thought it'd make a lot of sense actually getting something I needed with it - namely a new wallet. The one I had got from Boots in the January sales a while ago had lasted really well, but the button was failing and parts of it were worse for wear, and so what better way than to use the Blue Cross Sale in Debenhams to get one? And that's what I did - a Jeff Banks leather one for pretty much the same price as the gift card I had. The word result springs to mind, I like this shopping for free lark!

I headed home in good time to make myself some lunch and settle in for the afternoon's Wimbledon ladies singles final between Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki. Some of the pundits were putting Lisicki as favourite, but I suspected that with Bartoli having got to the final here before and losing to Venus Williams back in 2007, that experience might stand her in good stead and that she'd hold her nerves better. It was a fascinating match up and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen.

Although Bartoli lost the first game, she was on top from then on and broke serve on several occasions, winning six games in a row to take the first set 6-1. Lisicki was just stumped by nerves to a degree, although every mistake was being ruthlessly punished by Bartoli, and she deserved to be in front. The second set seemed to be going much the same way, as Lisicki was broken twice again and Bartoli had got herself to a 5-1 lead in the second, and Lisicki could be seen crying emotionally between points as her game had faded rather badly.

However, in the moments of despair, inspiration can often be found and after holding her service game despite being match points down for 5-2, she broke Bartoli to make it 5-3 and then held her serve under some pressure for 5-4. Could it possibly change around? No. Bartoli kept her cool, played a great first point to get that under the belt, won the next two pretty easily and was once again at match point. No mistake this time, a perfect ace and a well deserved win for the very likeable French lady and her quirky style. In the post match interview she did her best to say to Lisicki "I've been in your position and you will come back from this" which was very sporting and lovely, she was bubbly and personable.

That made me more shocked to read later lots of idiots on Twitter abusing her and saying she looked more like a man, even more so when BBC's John Inverdale got himself into trouble for basically saying she wasn't the best looking. He obviously hadn't seen her off court with her hair as it normally is, looking actually very pretty. So what if she's not a stick thin blonde? I was actually pleased because she might prove to be a role model for aspiring players to prove that it's not all about the skinny blondes, it's how you apply yourself to the game that matters, as well as being absolutely lovely as a person. So yaay Marion Bartoli, I say.

I had been packing my case and later on headed to see The Vocals In My Songs, who was very kindly cooking me an evening meal and I'd be staying at hers before we were heading off tomorrow. I had brought some filled mushrooms from my Ocado delivery for starter, and The Vocals had some chorizo chicken with some vegetables for main, which was lovely. Dessert was wonderful - a lemon cake, made with a Gino D'Campo recipe, and tasted beautiful, and light too. Yaay! We also settled in to watch the Million Pound Drop, which always fascinates us both to see how the contestants do and it does have that shout at the television type moment throughout. In the meantime, tune of the day is the rather good "Tour de France" by Kraftwerk as I was watching that earlier too..

Friday 5th July - Ocado And Andy Murray - Both In A Hurry

Last night I decided to try out Ocado for my grocery shopping online. As much as I don't mind the trip out to the local Tesco, and to get the stuff I like and take it home, I got to the point where I was thinking to myself "do I need to actually put myself through carrying lots of stuff either by walking or on the bus if I don't have to?" and certainly since I did an online order at Tesco for the grocery shopping for the holiday, it worked out well and for some of the last few weeks, I've done the same.

I tried Ocado primarily because I had a voucher for £20 off plus free delivery on the first order, and after checking Top Cashback, there was another £9 or so cashback on offer as well (not daft me) when I did that order. The condition was I needed to put £80 worth in the basket to qualify, but as I needed a large box of washing powder as well as some Mach 3 blades, that'd help a bit towards the cost. Plus I did admittedly treat myself to a couple of nice items too, and why not? So I got the order sorted, and discounts all applied, all good.

I got an email from them today explaining who my delivery driver would be and even what colour van they drive (they have five different colours apparently). The email also explained one of the items I ordered wasn't available, so it knocked the order down by around £4, but they still honoured the discounts etc, so all good there. Even more efficiently, I got a call on the phone as I was on the way home from work from the driver saying he was in the area, so if I wanted, he could drop it off earlier. I explained I'd be home in 15-20 minutes or so and he was happy to wait a few minutes for me, so all good - and friendly too.

Everything arrived spot on, all neatly bagged and boxed and the packing list was even in order of which stuff was by the earliest sell by date, so I could if I wanted work out what meals to plan first to ensure that everything would be usable at the right time, but also a nice checklist for me to go through as I was putting things away. Overall, pretty impressive stuff. Granted, some of the Waitrose branded items were a bit dearer, but hey, I guess they're a bit more posh than I normally have, so that's sort of allowed really.

That arrived as the final set between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro got underway. No quarter was asked or given, particularly after the Argentinian had saved two match points in the fourth set tiebreak with some superb tennis to stay alive. The world number 1 started to show his class and crucially got the first break of serve in the final set, which meant that was enough for him to win 6-3 in the last. Nonetheless, at a shade under five hours, it was the longest semi final ever at Wimbledon and the way they both played, you had a feeling that one of them would have been tired, but no. Massive credit to them both really.

This of course meant Andy Murray up against Jerzy Janowicz. This time last week The Love In My Heart and I were seeing both of them in their third round matches and they both played pretty well, winning in straight sets. It was massive for both players for different reasons, but I knew with a big serve and some shots that defy his height, Janowicz was a danger, no question, and when he snatched the first set on the tiebreak, with Andy Murray double faulting, it was a deserved lead.

The second set hinged on a break which Andy Murray got, and that meant a 6-4 set there. It all started to get a bit tense in the third, as the lights were coming on under the normal roof of Centre Court for some reason, prompting Janowicz to start asking the umpire when the roof was going to come on so that they could continue playing when it got dark. He'd broken the Murray serve and so was 4-1 up in the third, but with Murray serving, he got it back to 4-2, broke Janowicz for 4-3, levelled on his own serve at 4-4 and was playing some inspired tennis. And another break of serve meant 5-4 before he finished it off on his own serve. In those five games, Janowicz scored four points only and that for me was the massive turning point.

The umpire declared that the roof would go on, so the players had a break, and Andy complained to the umpire, thinking that because Janowicz had been repeatedly asking, they had relented to him. In truth it was a difficult call either way - if the fourth set was say an hour long, it'd have been dark by the end of it and would they have wanted to go off mid-set or not? It was swings and roundabouts, but I guess the umpires thought that at the end of a set it'd make more sense than half way through.

That actually fired Andy Murray up when he came back out, breaking Janowicz early on for 2-1 and although the rest of the games then went with serve, it meant that at 3-5 down Janowicz had to stay in the match. Not the time then for two double faults and in fact five faults on the bounce, before he finally got a second serve in which Andy Murray punished to win the match 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3 and so get to the final. Mark my words, Jerzy Janowicz will be back and probably learn a lot from the experience, but well done Andy Murray. It's going to be some final on Sunday, and so tune of the day is the proper Wimbledon theme - ie: "Light and Tuneful" by Keith Mansfield.

Thursday 4th July - Speedy Scrabbling

Another busy day at work, but also one which proved to be actually pretty productive, not least because I had worked out an issue which had been puzzling me for some time. Effectively, we have a piece of software which installs fine but for some reason when you run the licence activator contained within the program afterwards, it fails to work. Yet if you run it a second time, it works. I looked at the SCCM advertisement logs and then I had an idea what was happening - the main installer was exiting before it was complete and so therefore was actually trying to call the licence activator program when it wasn't actually there.

I did a bit of reading up on the documentation for InstallShield (as that's what the installer uses) and remembered that for SCCM (or SMS as it was previously) you could use the /SMS switch. That didn't work, but later versions use /w instead (w for wait, as if you didn't guess). Tried that, and guess what? Worked first go. Tried it again after ensuring everything had been safely removed. Yes, that worked too. So that felt rather good to be able to get that sorted and indeed make some progress. We even managed massively to get some of the registry settings sorted for the program too, oh yes.

So all was good there and indeed even more so as I spent some time today with one of our Helpline staff as I was taking them through some more advanced Mac stuff - they generally knew their way around the Mac and as such wasn't going to teach them how to do all the stuff they already knew - no point. So I went for the more advanced stuff such as setting up imaging, how we manage to do some of the checks, make sure we add the specialist printing and how we configure the accounts etc, so more sort of the background stuff we do and why we do it so to speak.

Later on in the evening I had a relaxing time with The Love In My Heart, as I indulged her with some Emmerdale and then made the spaghetti carbonara for tea which tasted rather lovely, and was just the thing for us both to have. We then relaxed for a bit as she watched the next Emmerdale episode, and then it was out with the Scrabble. We'd not played since we'd been on holiday and so it was good to be able to relax, chill out and listen to Steve Winwood's "Nine Lives" album at the same time. Tune of the day is "Dirty City" which has a certain Eric Clapton on guitar, epic.

We were playing the game remarkably quickly though, so much so that we finished inside half an hour, which has to be some sort of record for us. To be fair we were pulling off some good moves, The Love playing JADE near the bottom corner and getting rid of the J in a useful position, and following that up with VIPER for 33 points as well, so she was on fire really. I did do QUA and get rid of the Q on triple letter, which did prove to be of use, but sometimes the letters do come out awkward and it's sometimes tricky to play..

Finally we watched First Dates on Channel 4, and it was clear to me from the outset that one of the people going on their second date chose a feisty woman, and from the start it was disagreements and arguments, almost like they both wanted to row with each other for the sake of television - and as she said "the worst date I've ever been on." Makes me wonder why she would a) want to apply and b) want to date on telly, because although quite clearly the bloke was an idiot, she didn't cover herself in glory either. Car crash. However, on the flip side, if some of the couples do get on, it's nice to see, and even if some of them don't have a relationship spark, they can still enjoy the night.

Looking back, I think that attitude worked for me because I took any pressure off myself. When I met The Love In My Heart I subconsciously said to myself to enjoy the evening and have a lovely time with lovely company, and if I thought of it as a lovely night out then if things happen they do (and they did of course) and if it didn't, well we had a nice night out anyway and that's still good. Little did I expect the most wonderful night I've ever had on a first date (ever) and something that just made me think "wow, she is so beautiful" as well as just feel comfortable, have good conversation, and of course, fancy each other too.

Wednesday 3rd July - A Price Revolution Needed

I spent the whole working day on another site and working together with one of my colleagues on some tricky applications that needed some careful care and attention. One of which seemed to install perfectly okay, but the issue effectively is that when you run the program, it brings down some files to the machine and runs an executable from it - and requests User Account Control when it does. The software vendor had already suggested that we turn UAC off but that's a complete no-no, especially when the previous version actually worked without issues.

I also worked on getting Adobe CS6 Master Collection up to our SCCM servers and also managed to test that to make sure that was working too, and so felt pretty productive on the whole that it was another one laid to rest and sorted, and my colleague and I also sorted out AutoCAD 2012 (the 64 bit package) and got that one up and running and tested too, so it was good to at least put those all together and have a nice working set of packages that were running without issues, so did feel considerably better after achieving quite a lot in a small space of time.

I went out with a few colleagues for one of our team's birthday - it's actually on Friday but today was only day all of us were in, and in the end five of us headed out. We were going to go to Odder, but because it's the Summer and they think that because the students have gone home they'll have no custom, they don't open till 4pm - bit daft but there you go. So instead we went into Revolution, and that to us all over lunchtime represented everything that's effectively wrong about some bars in the city centre. Where shall I begin?

Let's see - the pricing for one. Main courses for almost £10 in a place that's a glorified bar is a couple of pounds at least too expensive, and especially when you considered the portion sizes. One of my colleagues had fish and chips, which seemed to taste fine, but the fish for the price was way too small. I had the pepperoni pizza, which for £8.45 was okay, sort of similar pricing to Pizza Express, but with a massive difference. Pizza Express actually serve their pizza to you hot - not lukewarm. It was just about warm enough not to send back, but I did feel mightily let down.

Also, we must have been asked on at least five occasions by the staff if we wanted any more drinks - and each time that they asked us, that just made us feel more like we actually didn't want any. If there's one thing that turns me off a place, it's when staff get in your face every few minutes, and we had two within one minute of each other at some point. It's almost as if they were trying too hard to be nice to be honest, and not good. So whilst lunch was good to be with colleagues, it was made less good by the whole experience of Revolution, so that's one I won't be going to again in a hurry if I can help it to be brutally honest.

I got home from work later and Andy Murray looked to be in trouble against Fernando Verdasco as he was two sets to love down. However, Andy started to play more like he can play and took the third set 6-1 and crucially broke the Verdasco serve in the ninth game of the fourth set, having held on to his serve just at points, and then served out for 6-4. It looked a bit ominous in the final set as he was down at 4-5 in the final set on his own serve but came through that to get to 5-5 and then broke the Verdasco serve and served it out to win 7-5 and take a dramatic match in the end.

He'll face Jerzy Janowicz in the semi after he won his all Polish quarter final, but as many predicted, me included, Janowicz will not be a pushover at all. It also meant that The Strings On My Racket and I saw two of the semi finalists playing at Centre Court when we went last week so we can't really complain about that. I can see that semi going all the way to five sets as well so should be quite a good matchup there. I do wish BBC would really keep all the proper theme tunes though, just works much more evocatively with them.

One nice surprise I did have in the post was the Steve Winwood album "Nine Lives" which I had ordered from one of the New and Used sellers from Amazon. It was the limited edition complete with a DVD as well, and so that was good. I loved some of the tracks played when I saw him live recently, and especially "Fly" and "At Times We Do Forget" - the former being tune of the day as it just feels delightfully floaty and a nice way to wind down for the evening really.

Tuesday 2nd July - Shock and Awe

What I didn't expect to happen in the tennis at Wimbledon yesterday was to see Serena Williams lose, but when I got home from work and put on some of the coverage online, that's what indeed had happened during the day. Considering the way that she had been playing it was a major shock, but this meant for the ladies left in, their Quarter Final day took on even greater importance and so it would be intriguing to see when I got home who had made it through and who was still left to make it. Serena's conqueror Sabine Lisicki did win her match in straight sets against Kaia Kanepi (who had defeated Laura Robson yesterday) so one through at least.

I had too much to do at work to even think about the tennis though. I got Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium uploaded to our SCCM source files server, re-created the packages from scratch (one 32 bit and one 64bit) and then tested the installs to make sure that they were working correctly and without issues, which they were (hurrah!). I made a backup of the CS6 Design Standard installer folder on the server, and then used Adobe Application Manager for Enterprise (AAMEE) to modify the existing installer, add all the updates and re-save it. The good thing is that the package remains the same with the same MSI, so it's just a case of update your distribution points, test it installs and off you go. So two down, two to go!

Once I got home it was on with Wimbledon, and had seen that Agnieszka Radwanska had beaten Li Na in a three set thriller, and with the rain bucketing it down, Sloane Stephens' match against Marion Bartoli on Court One was stopped but on Centre Court on came the roof and a classic, but also a big shock, with former winner Petra Kvitova losing to Kirsten Flipkens in three sets, and the Belgian really being the fairy story for the women in these championships - she had a bad bloot clot around eighteen months back, and she plays with passion and determination and look - a semifinal. It'll be against Marion Bartoli, who came back out in the dry and gave Sloane Stephens a lesson or two as she won in straight sets, and a Belgium - France semi too.

The Strings On My Racket came over later for tea, and I had started preparing one of my specialities - the chorizo pasta bake. It actually works really well on the whole and gives the traditional pasta bake a bit of a kick - plus it works out a rather wholesome meal to cook as well. I got on with that whilst The Strings was keeping an eye on Emmerdale and so I was recording the Tour de France coverage to watch later on after we'd had the tea. It was nice to sit down and chat with the telly off as we had tea - I think I need to do that more often instead of having it on in the background.

We did watch the Tour de France coverage later on as it was the team time trial in a course that took in a big chunk of Nice. Of course having been there a few times we knew what the score was, and so to see the bikes going along the Promenade des Anglais to the finish was cool, as was seeing the bikes head through the narrow streets of the city centre at the start of the run. It was good though that you could tell that the riders were giving it everything as they headed down the promenade, with the iconic blue chairs in the background too. Oh yes. I kind of wanted to be there if I could!

Tune of the day in the meantime is something that the BBC need to play more during Wimbledon - the proper closing theme to the day's coverage. None of this "we'll let the players pick some chart bobbins song for the end of the day" but instead make it seem more proper by having Arnold Steck's "Sporting Occasion" instead, with its really trumpety intro and then lovely marching middle bit that sounds very Pathé newsish and the sort of thing the Harry Enfield character Mr Cholmondley-Warner would listen to. However, it just fits the setting of Wimbledon and the All England Lawn Tennis Club's overall poshness appeal I think.

Monday 1st July - Packaging and Planning

I started packaging applications in earnest today as I was planning ahead. Some of our student labs across where I work have already started to be Windows 7 imaged for next year, and as such this effectively means that as a lot of the labs have Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium installed on there, it would make sense to update the current package we have and add all the latest updates into it (which can be done). This also means that it should be more secure, more up to date and support more stuff that we need to.

Now the tricky bit. Adobe have a very useful tool which is Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE for short) which does lots of useful stuff like incorporate all the updates you want, and then have a nice installation package with an MSI installer in it which does all the work for you - especially via SCCM of course. AAMEE 3.0 was released to package Adobe CS6 suites, but you couldn't include any updates. AAMEE 3.1 can, and in theory you can load the existing AAMEE package file and make changes, but guess what? You can't.

Well, okay, you can to some degree, but if your suite includes Dreamweaver CS6, the AAMEE package file you have is supposedly corrupted and so won't load into AAMEE 3.1. This means that CS6 Design Standard and CS6 Production Premium are okay, because they don't have it, but CS6 Design and Web Premium along with CS6 Master Collection - no can do. So you've effectively got to start from scratch, re-create the whole package again. The only good news is that once you've done that, you can load that package file back into AAMEE 3.1 and it will then allow for extra updates in future, so there should be some future proofing at least.

So I spent most of the day working on packaging up CS6 Design and Web Premium and CS6 Master Collection, and saving the resulting packages on my work laptop first. I'll then upload these to our source files server for SCCM installs, and make sure I back up the existing one, and then re-create a package based on the new installation files, place it on the distribution point, and away we go in theory once I've tested it. Thankfully as a lot of the apps in CS6 Master Collection are 64-bit only, I'll only create a 64-bit package for that, but do 32 and 64 bit for the other suite, so that does take some time.

I also had a Mac laptop back from repair from our Apple authorised repairers, and my colleague had at least imaged the Mac and put the software back on. The member of staff brought in the loan Mac back to us and from that I was then able to transfer any data they'd stored on there to the Mac brought back, and it was all done and dusted pretty well by late afternoon. They were eternally grateful that I'd managed to salvage almost 90GB worth of data off a potentially dead hard disk as well, so it was good to see a happy smiling face too - just the sort of thing that keeps me going sometimes.

Later on when I got home (and it was a long day in the end) I wound down by a bit of old school Wii Sports. I've been trying out the golf close to the pin game where you practice your pitching shots to the green. I managed to beat my best and it's 36 metres or so now for the 10 attempts in total, which is pretty good. The key thing is just to make sure you don't miss the green on any of them or a 30 metre penalty really does scupper your chances of beating the best scores really. I had a blast of the tennis as I guess all the Wimbledon stuff on at the moment has kind of made me want to play a bit more.

I also decided to spend some time listening to some Autechre at late night, as I remembered one of their tracks the other night and thought I needed to play some more stuff - and indeed their "Anti EP" went on. One of the tracks "Flutter" actually contains no repetitive beats and on vinyl can be played at 45 or 33rpm without issues (and they sound massively different at the two speeds). The CD single I have plays the 45rpm version which is still massively cool, so tune of the day for that one - and technically speaking I couldn't be arrested for playing it under the controversial Criminal Justice Bill back in the day either..