What creature can mow your lawn, Eating the grass until it's gone? What bearded animal helps on the farm? The goat!

Great North Bummer

Posted: April 4th, 2014 | Filed under: Great North Run | Tags:

Akkkk, my entry was rejected. Seems I am not cool enough, or it really is a lotto and I didn’t win. I might still try to see if I can get an entry through Cancer Research UK.  I would have to raise some cash, £400 at least, but I was going to do this anyway.  I really hope that I have not left it too late.  This is something that I really wanted to do this year.

Also, to be honest the progress of the training is in the “it isn’t” bracket.  My acute Tendinitis in my right foot is not healing as quickly as I would have liked.  Do I try to run through the pain?  Is it happening because my muscles are weak because I am a fat flute?  Who knows. I am gonna try to run through it I think.

Mind you, that is real easy to say when you are sat at a desk in an office typing on a blog.

What’s Up 2014???

Posted: January 15th, 2014 | Filed under: Updates | Tags:


Yes!  This is the first frist post of the year and all is good. Guess what?  I will, as per script, make a bold claim to blog more throughout the year.  And as per script, this may or may not happen.  If I was a betting man, which I am, I would say “may not”.

So, in the fine tradition of these things lets make these bold claims resolutions whatever:

  • Blog more (see above). I blog only for me, so I have to kick my own ass.
  • Would be lovely if I can finally get my tech and football blogs off the ground
  • Work out if one should put a full-stop at the end of an unordered list item(.?)
  • Get less fat.  Run.
  • Get my entry to the Great North Run.  I have applied so it’s out of my hands.  If I get accepted, start training.
  • Write up how important and special the Great North Run is to me, and especially, to my Father.
  • Actually finish some of my pet projects.  In brief: XBMC TPG Plugin, try some cool stuff in Python and football stats. Lots of football stats.
  • Oh yeah, and get married.

Here’s to an awesome 2014. I’m liking it already.

Draw Madness

Posted: December 6th, 2013 | Filed under: Football | Tags: ,

Tonight is the FIFA World Cup 2014 live draw. I have to admit to being a bit of a draw geek, although this passion has intensified in later years. It’s kind of like train-spotting. But with football. Gadzooks though, the drawing system is complicated. The last world cup draw was relatively straight-forward with 4 pots, and some old bloke* dipping into each one.

I was attempting to make an app that would simulate a draw, and do some sort of prediction, but in the end I lost motivation due to the complications of pot 2. Yeah bloody pot 2. The Guadrian did do one though, and it was quite fun. It predicted for me as follows:

World Cup Prediction

World Cup Prediction

It also offers, based on this predicted draw, using ‘intelligent algorithms’ a prediction for the rest of the tournament. I am not sure just how intelligent these were as you can see…

Iffy Predictions Iffy Predictions

Iffy Predictions



Well anyway – I am pumped. Let’s see if the future was predicted. An easier prediction is whatever group England is in they will, weakly limp out with a team oozing mediocrity.


*It does peeve me somewhat that there is no women doing the drawing, seems all they have to do is stand around and look pretty. What can we expect though from the most corrupt ‘Old Boys Club’ in the world.

It’s The End Of The Fete As We Know It

Posted: August 14th, 2013 | Filed under: Geneva, Updates | Tags: , , , ,

Yep, another years Fete de Geneve draws to a close.  Was the usual mix of sun, rain, beer, Mr Pickwick, bad disco bands and mystery meat.  And what do I have to show for it?  Same as usual…  handful of useless jetons. Merci Fete, until next year.

How Did I Do With That List?

Posted: August 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Updates

Let’s revisit a list I made in July 2009 in this post:

  1. Replace Windows 7 MCE with Mythbuntu*
  2. If I don’t do above write application to import Naxoo listings into MCE**
  3. Build new file server
  4. Consolidate music library to new music volume I created
  5. Replace hard disk on Mac OSX volume***
  6. Get iPhone SDK and build first iPhone application
  7. Finish portfolio site
  8. Do fresh Jaunty install on development PC
  9. Consolidate document library
  10. Consolidate and sort all digital photos
  11. Do 7 Arts website

Yikes! quite a scary list… hmm going to start with 9 and 11 next wekk I think!

* This is going to be a pain in the ass – MCE just worked but Mythbuntu on my Acer iDeat 511 box is going to eat a lot of time I think
** Will still probably have to do a custom XML-TV package for Naxoo too
*** Currently it is a very dodgy old 2.5?” laptop SATA drive

Weeellllll. Let’s take a look at it one-by-one shall we?

1. Replace Windows 7 MCE with Mythbuntu

I did actually try to get Mythbuntu working on my Acer media PC, but it never really worked. As in “not at all”. The Windows 7 MCE experience was so good out of the box, I just stuck with that. This year though I did end up replacing it with a Raspberry Pi and OpenELEC. So in the end, Linux won.

2. Import Naxoo listings into MCE

I ditched Naxoo and got Swisscom TV that came with its own (MS IPTV) pvr. No stress, job done. But I did learn any Win MCE development is a pain in the ass. Guess this is why there isn’t a lot of add-on software for it. Go figure.

3. Build new file server

I almost had a file server going. I upgraded my PC, which was already a decent spec and was going to use the old one as a fileserver, with a fileservery-linux distro on it. But, I decided to get one of these fancy NAS devices instead as it would run quieter, use less power and generally be less obtrusive. And I can say for 3 years now it has functioned perfectly, it’s quiet and just “works”. I think my homebrew fileserver probably couldn’t have said the same. Recently I started to build a webserver from the old machine, but Windows Server 2008 (I was going to use it for .NET/SharePoint development hosting) hated the odd Micron RAID controller it has on it, so I gave up.

4. Consolidate music library to new music volume I created

Music now consolidated on the NAS :) Still need to finish ripping my CDs though….

5. Replace hard disk on Mac OSX volume***

I did this and ran stock OSX Lion on my PC for a while. One update cause a load of problems though, stopped it booting so I ditched it. My thrice-yearly (it works out that way) foray into “Mac is great! Let’s switch to Mac!” invariably leads back to Windows. Since I am now a full time .NET programmer (how did that happen) I really _need_ and _like_ Visual Studio, it will be Windows for the near future at least.

6. Get iPhone SDK and build first iPhone application

If creating and maintaining an iAccount wasn’t such a pain in the ass as it turned out to be (like you want it *not* in German when you are in Switzerland) this might have happened. (Using #5 points machine.) As it turns out, iOS loss was Androids (well Googles) gain.

7. Finish portfolio site

Not. Even. Close.

8. Do fresh Jaunty install on development PC

Did it. Ditched it. (I needed video editing and Visual Studio).

9. Consolidate document library

Did this too! (Very recently…) Now even have this all in the magical cloud, thanks to Google Drive.

10. Consolidate and sort all digital photos

Consolidation from a gazillion different drives and sources complete. Lot’s more sorting to do, with needing to decide exact storage and workflow for the future. But at least they are all on on place and sorted out. Currently writing a program (it’s like an app but old-fashioned) to find all the duplicates so I can have a nice clean set.

11. Do 7 Arts website

Ha, no need as the place has once again changed hands. Still might do it for the right price though…


I suck. But I will continue to dream, and make lists such as this one. What this space :)

Wedding ding

Posted: July 31st, 2013 | Filed under: Travel, Updates | Tags: , , ,

Just spent a faboulous few days in Holland attending the wedding of a couple of very good friends, Susi and Fabian.  I also got some time to hang out in Amsterdam, a city that I am liking more and more each time I visit there.  Found a few very nice little bars, and got to try some new Dutch beers and some old Belgian classics too.

Oh course in true style, no matter how organised I was it still quickly decended into chaos.  This time it was cutting my finger up at the airport and almost losing my suit.  Got there in one piece in the end though.  All good.

Susi Fabian Wedding

Tying the Knot

Blogging on Android

Posted: July 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Geek | Tags: , , ,

Does the offline mode that the WordPress Android app offers really work?  This is the test I guess…

It seems it does.  Offline mode is actually called “local draft”, and it works pretty good.  I was able to take my tablet offline, write the first part of this post, go online and finish it off.

I have wanted this kind of functionality in an app for years, like not the promise of one, but one that actually works.  Who knows maybe this will encourage me to update more.  Maybe.

Evolution of logo

Posted: June 29th, 2013 | Filed under: Updates | Tags: , ,

Just added a new logo today, which I created on the excellent Inkscape, which I first used on Linux a few years back. Seems to have gotten a lot better. Thanks guys, I will be making a donation. Remember people it’s important to support Open Source Software. So if you use it, say thanks :) Also thanks to Kiddie Fonts for the font.

Old logo

Old logo

New logo

New logo

Going Backwards > Going Forwards

Posted: June 23rd, 2013 | Filed under: Nostalgia | Tags: , , ,

I was looking back at past blog sites of mine, and I thought it would be nice to finally have all the posts in one place – i.e. this one. So I think I will start that, all I have to do is dig them all out.

Of course, my brain ran away with me, and I wondered just how many different sites I have had. I have actually had quite a few – this is what me and the Archive.org WayBack Machine came up with:

  • Neil’s Homepage: A blog/homepage type thing that I started way back in 1996 on Geocities. All I can remember from it is that I had an animated Garfield on it that was hotlinked, and I was a member of Television City. This is long gone, and I won’t be getting anything from this.
  • Dinosaur_Suitcase: from around 2000-2002, another Geocities hosted site, this time a little more elaborate. It had a lot of Flash buttons. A number of posts in there which I have been able to find.
  • Agent-Riot.com, v1: I site that I wrote myself when I was learning PHP. Was quite nice looking and I think I can retrieve most of the few posts that were in there. Was online early to mid 2002.
  • Agent-Riot.com, v2: Another self made site, only this time a little more elaborate. Basically the same content, but more green and some nice round buttons for the menu, that I believe used CSS hover foobar to good effect. Lasted until about November 2002.
  • Agent-Riot, v3 & v3.5: I think I must have grown tired of maintaining my own code, as at the end of 2002 I decided to go with php-nuke. Lasted quite a long time with two theme changes until about October 2003. I remember it was quite good fun hacking around with Nuke.
  • Agent-Riot, v4: I went back to self built, and made a very simple but pretty site, that I think was just version 3 with a new visual. I could be wrong though as I can’t find any of the original code. Lasted until I let my domain name expire out in about 2005. I don’t think I made many posts, if any on here.
  • Oxywab.com: New domain name, new custom PHP site. It actually looked quite cool and fun. Not many posts, was mostly using it to server (another self-wrote) photo galleries. Lasted till about the end of 2006, then didn’t want to pay for hosting anymore as I wasn’t really using it.
  • Agent-Riot, v5: A site that was uber minimalist that I made around 2007. Did’t even have a style sheet, was only HTML. I also hosted it myself and used dynamic DNS for the url – with no actual domain name. It died pretty quick along with the machine that was hosting it.
  • goatboy.ch: From about 2007, I started using this site you are on now.

So the plan is not to try to retrieve all of the content from mine and the Wayback Machine and post to this site with the actual or approximate dates. I am also considering a bigger project to recreate the look of the sites as WordPress themes. Will give me a chance to get more in depth with WordPress as well. I will start with the Dinosaur_Suitcase one and take it from there. Should be fun :)

Hailstone Madness

Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Filed under: Weather | Tags: , ,

So what happened yesterday in Geneva? Suddenly hell-fire rained down on the city, and a path of destruction was left in its wake.

Here are just a few highlights:

Big hailstone

Big hailstone

Ground carpeted with leaves

Ground carpeted with leaves

Car covered in tree

Car covered in tree

Picture of a pile of hailstones by a bus stop

Masses of Hail