A video of Saddam Hussein’s execution has popped up on the internet, taken on someone’s camera phone. I don’t think I have to tell you that it’s pretty graphic.
I missed it, but yesterday (24th December) was Ejecutive’s second birthday. I could bullshit about how I never expected it to last this long and be so successful, and how I love my readership and want to have their babies, but no.
I think most people who know me will say that I’m probably the grumpiest person at Christmas. I couldn’t care less if we celebrated it or not, but I do enjoy the two bank holidays and the good food. But this year, I feel like getting a bit more into the festive spirit, so I’ve redecorated Ejecutive with a almost-Christmas-tree-like-but-not-quite-green colour.That’s all you’re getting, so stop standing around waiting for more and go away and enjoy Christmas away from your computer!
In the past couple weeks, I’ve been to three work Christmas bashes. Two off site, and one in the company. Out of the three meals I’ve had, I’ve not really enjoyed a single one. Maybe my standards are too high? But then I even enjoy eating at TGI Fridays and still love KFC burgers although now that I’ve seen the amount of calories they contain I’ve stopped eating them.
Bankside EC2 was the first, we went for a long lunch with the rest of my technology department, around twenty people in total.
It’s quite hidden away down an alley way (not surprisingly in the EC2 postcode in London) and is entirely underground. The place is massive, it easily seats over one hundred people with a fairly large bar area. They server us rather acidic champagne and cheap mulled wine when we arrived, which was a nice gesture but rather unpalatable.
The one thing I detest about planned Christmas lunches or dinners at these type of restaurants is how they cram as many people into a table as possible. Our relatively small table had eight of us getting friendly. Then they lay a three course set of cutlery, a bread plate and knife, and the three wine glasses for all the different types of alcohol on the table. Along with the crackers and wine coolers, this leaves you with as much space as Nelson Mandela’s prison cell.
For Â£29.99 a head, you get a reasonable choice of dishes, I had the deep fried Cornish brie as the starter, which was very well cooked and very well balanced. However I was disappointed with roast leg of lamb for the main. It was dry, cut like a steak (far too thick) and lacked flavour. I struggled to finish it. Also our vegetables and roast potatoes arrived much later than the meat. The dessert selection was grim, as was the taste and that was also the uniform opinion of everyone. Over sweetened sludge is all I can call it.
However, the after dinner coffee and drinks were very good, and I did have a good time overall even if I didn’t enjoy the food.
This was a major undertaking. The whole of GPC was invited, including all the big guns. We were shuttled to a big garden in Chelsea, where they had set up a big marquee, which once you were inside you couldn’t tell the difference from a permanent building.
Again there was a big reception area where we were served champagne and orange juice if you’re that way inclined. They must’ve wanted us drunk, as we had our glasses regularly refilled by a rather nice waitress who I flirted a bit with.
The dining area had a glass roof that showed we were next to very large illuminated trees, quite a nice touch. However the food left a lot to be desired. The salmon and pancake starter was rather uninspiring and lacked flavour and portion size. The main of what I think was pan fried lamb was a bit too undercooked, although better that than overcooking it. The surrounding mash and gravy were again plain and boring, and the portion was far too small. The dessert of raspberry cheesecake/moose was too sweet. However I couldn’t fault them on presentation, very Michelin in style.
To make up for the poor meal and especially poor dessert, there was a white chocolate fountain, with an assortment of fruit, marshmallows, mini doughnuts; the works! The chocolate was incredibly rich and creamy, just the way you want it in a fountain.
The highlight of the evening had to be the casino gambling. We were given a fake $100 bill which we cashed in at a table for chips. I started off at the Blackjack table, where after twenty minutes and one Blackjack, I managed to get my stash up to $1000. I then moved onto the dance floor and boogied for half an hour or so. I must’ve been feeling lucky, as I then proceeded to go onto the Roulette table and put all $1000 of chips I had onto red. I won, so I played double or nothing, and won again! I then played red again with $4000 of chips, and won again! At this point, I was thrown off the Roulette table as I’d cleared the dealer out of money.
Unfortunately, I then had to catch a train home so I left, after what was a very enjoyable night for a company party.
The final Christmas lunch served on site at the company today was the worst out of the bunch. The starter was a smaller and even less tasty version of what I had the Snow Ball. The turkey was dry, the stuffing was boring, the potato was undercooked and the gravy was bland. To top it all off, the mini sausage that came with the turkey had bacon that tasted like plastic. Fucking plastic. Dessert was chocolate moose, and again far too sweet.
Seriously, I thought I would get at least one decent meal out of three attempts this Christmas, but it seems the most places are glad to fob you off with large quantities of cheap and nasty alcohol in the hope you’ll get drunk and forget about the taste of the food.
I’m very disappointed.
Microsoft Windows Vista isn’t even in the stores yet for us normal folk to buy, and they’ve started working on the next release of Windows codenamed Fuji. Mary Jo Foley speculates that this is only going to be an incremental upgrade to Windows Vista (ala Windows 2000 to XP), and possibly just the first service pack…
Fuji is Windows Vista R2, and may eventually be called Windows Vista Plus, or Vista 2009 or some other crap Microsoft will come up with. However, Microsoft learned its lesson from Vista: the code base is a stinking pile of crap. It took five years for Microsoft to make a comparatively minor upgrade to Windows XP. Okay, so there’s the new security model, Aero a.k.a Windows Presentation Foundation and a few interface upgrades, but this is far less than what you’d expect from Microsoft with 10,000 employees, five years and over $20 billion burning a hole in their pocket.
Since development of Longhorn was announced, we’ve lost WinFS (possibly the one thing that got me excited about Longhorn when it was announced) and PC to PC synchronisation of data, and it hasn’t implemented many wanted features, such as better user account control, a better driver management model, enforced driving signing and many more other security related details.
But the post-Vista Microsoft knows the errors of its ways, it knows that implementing a feature in Vista was too difficult, there were too many people involved on each feature, a chance affected too many other features, and so stifled innovation and frustrated developers and designers. Everything took too long, cost too much and wasn’t implemented well enough.
The next major release of Windows needs to be a complete rewrite, it needs to be redesigned with compatibility as a secondary thought, it needs to concentrate on making Vista + 1 the best operating system ever released. Here are a few free tips:
They have five years to do this, if you include the time spent developing Fuji. It’ll be a big shock to everyone, especially for developers who find their applications no-longer work. Not everyone will be happy, and Microsoft will generate a lot of bad press, but they have the money and the monopoly to ride the storm, and its what Windows needs if it wants to have a sustainable future. Its about time the Windows NT 3.1 code base got retired for something a bit more modern.
Ever since I decided to disable public commenting on Ejecutive nearly four months ago, I’ve been closely monitoring the traffic and regular readership. I’ve released a steady stream of improvements to Ejecutive since then, mainly Opacity2 and upping the professionalism of my writing, so you’d think that my readership should improve eh?
Well you’d be wrong.
Things did start quite well, with an eight per-cent increase in visits in September compared to August, while the number of unique visitors remained the same. However October saw a 38 per-cent drop in visits compared to September, and 40 per-cent drop in unique visitors. Things got worse in November which saw a 21 per-cent drop in total visitors compared to October, but the number of unique visitors did remain the same.
If you look in the archives, it’s easy to see a big reason why this is happening, in September I wrote eight articles, all of which were in the first half of the month. Then there was a gap of over a month before my next article in the second half of October. In total there were only two articles in October. And again in November I only wrote three articles although at least they were spaced out evenly across the month.
Thinking back, I don’t remember why I got such a boost in early September to write so much, but it obviously helped the success of the site hugely, especially seeing as one of my articles was heavily linked to and got submitted to Digg. But I know I have to get that drive back if I want stop the slide in readership after all the hard work I’ve put into Ejecutive to make it successful. So I’m going to try a little experiment, I’m going to post an article on Ejecutive at least five times a week. This means you’ll be getting ten times more love (articles), and I’m not just talking about links, these will be proper articles about anything I care about, not just technology, the web and politics, but also music, photography and cinema/movies/film.
I’m also going to add a more personal touch to this site, as you’ve probably noticed in my last article. I’ve asked for feedback, which as been 100 per-cent positive, so I’ll be sticking with it for the time being. With the standard blog format of Opacity2, I find some of my best articles are lost with time, and it’s increasingly hard to find them, I’ve got to figure out a way to feature them, and figure out some time to do it in.
I do have a cold at the moment, which probably means I’ll have it over the weekend too, so I may as well make the best of a bad situation and work on Ejecutive, making the site easier to navigate as a whole and bring more structure to the content. While I do love the minimalistic design of Oapcity2, maybe its turning my visitors away instead of inviting more in.