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Sep. 20th, 2008

Moved in but not connected

We've been in Salisbury for 3 weeks. I'm beginning to get settled into life and figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. The boxes are unpacked, but there is still lots of sorting out to do. The children are at school, and despite a few wobbles are settling down and generally enjoying themselves. Tom's reaction to a move is to get moody and to punch, tease and generally get on his sisters nerves. There is obviously a knock on effect in having miserable sisters. Thankfully the worst of this phase seems over.

No broadband at home yet - although got connected in the church office a couple of days ago. The broadband system is really crazy - you can't ask orange to move your connection until two days after you have moved in and have your new BT line - then they tell you the it will be at least 15 working days before you get connected. I shall pursue them this next week for an update, but don't expect it to do much good.

I am, of course, not connected in Salisbury in the more general sense. While it is great to meet new people, blah, blah... I'd really rather also have a few people around that I know and trust - I'm feeling pretty home sick for the old place. Hey, such if life. Give us a while, and we'll be able to feel at home and connected, rather than simply unpacked.

Aug. 22nd, 2008

Sadness and Excitement

The move to Salisbury is just a few days off. Lots of sorting out and saying goodbye.

Lots of people at a farewell BBQ last Sunday - quite a few people sad to see us leaving and one or two tears.

Nevertheless quite excited about a new place and a new challenge.

Aug. 8th, 2008

iPhone Reflections

I have now had a new iPhone for three or four weeks. My old phone contract had come to an end and I use a mobile a fair amount, so I was already on a £35 a month contract. On my £35 a month iPhone contract I get the same number of minutes and unlimited Internet access.

The bottom line is that the iPhone is almost infinitely better than my previous phone (HTC's TyTyn). Everything it does it just does brilliantly. Everything is completely intuitive and after 4 weeks I think I have pretty much every feature figured out. On the clever windows mobile phone I never figured out half of it - even after 2 years.

Here's a blow by blow account of the things that matter to me:

Typing. Apple have this extraordinary touch keyboard. It's ever so easy to use and changes depending on context (if it thinks you're entering a web address .com is one of the keys). It obviously needs getting used to, but within half an hour it was much better than the HTC's slide out keyboard, and it's now hard to imagine going back to a slide out keyboard. When you make a typo it nearly always gets the automatic correction right, which means that as you learn to trust it you can really begin to type quite quickly. I am typing this on the iPhone, which would be inconceivable on the old phone.

Calendar - is no better or worse than the outlook based calendar on the previous phone. Outlook for windows mobile wins in being able to visually allocate a slot to an event, but repeat events are better handled on the iphone as are adding notes to an event.

Note taking is infinitely better on the iPhone. There is a great notepad application that opens with a single touch on the homescreen (as do all applications, until you start downloading loads and then you have a second homescreen). Also, there is a perfectly good free audionote application, which is also easier to use than the HTC one.

Contacts - look fantastic and syncs fine with my copy of Outlook. I can scroll through 350 contacts in no time - this is a major improvement on windows mobile's list.

Phone - is great. VoiceMail appearing on the phone is much better than having to ring up Orange for it and go through their menu system.

Texting is a revelation. You get to see a series of texts as a conversation - it makes it feel like instant messaging.

All these things are brilliant and matter to me. The interface makes everything very easy, immediate and slick.

You also get fantastic internet and email capability, an impressive video iPod, lots of downloadable games and neat applications like the iTunes remote. Without any of these it would still be a ten fold improvement on what it replaces.


Jul. 24th, 2008

techno wizard

I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. I've succesfully installed a handsfree Bluetooth set in my car. It was pretty easy in the end - just needed to remove amy bits of the car dashboard that would come off. The end result is very tidy, and much more suitable (I reckon) than anything Halfords might have done.

Moving, Multitasking and Mental Meltdown

We're moving in a month's time - so we have to get our head around that - what stays, what goes (the new house is about half the size of the current house).

The business of church continues as usual - well in fact. Some new people, a holiday club I'm in the middle of running.

I find that I'm now trying to think about too many things at once (we're off on holiday from Saturday to Saturday too) and I end up doing nothing in the middle of all this trying to get my head round things.

Perhaps I need to write a list.

Jul. 1st, 2008

Re-cycle-d bike

I've just bought a bike from a great charity called re-cycle - there's a branch in London and one in Colchester:


They take in used bicycles and ship them to Africa where they're greatly appreciated and used. They sell some of their bikes (to people like me) to offset their shipping costs. Anyway, I have a great bike, and the pleasure of knowing I haven't bought new, and that the 'profit' is being used for something constructive.

Jun. 17th, 2008

Move to Salisbury

I've been offered a job in Salisbury, so we're going to be moving down there at the end of August. I'll be the associate minister at a church in Salisbury called St Paul's. It'll be sad to leave here, and there's some trepidation about what a move will bring, but a good deal of excitement too.

Jun. 12th, 2008

Organ Pedalboard

I'm feeling very self satisfied. Our new church 'organ' is a 2 manual home theatre organ with a few foot pedals (1 octave) which drives a classical organ module via midi. Advantage is that we get the most modern digital organ sound, and that our small medieval church has a (very) small console, rather than a hulking great classical organ one which would be out of place. Disadvantage is that while the manuals both have a full 61 notes, the pedals are inadequate for the classical organist. Solution - buy an old pedal board (ebay £1) - cut it down to size, strip it to pieces, sand and re-finish it, re-build it, and fit the switches and electronics needed to make it talk to the organ module. It is done, looks fantastic, cost less than £50 (reed switches and diodes) and works!

May. 24th, 2008

Tory Landslide

I know it's traditional for the electorate to use by elections to express their dissatisfaction with the government, but I can't help feeling that this is all going in the wrong direction.

The unprecedented price of a barrel of oil (which doesn't have good long term prospects - there's a limited (if still vast) supply, and rarity always pushes prices up), the collapse of the American sub prime loans and the doubling of the prices of staples such as wheat are global issues. Anyone who's followed the food rioting 'abroad' ought to know that in the UK we are very cushioned indeed from some of the harsher realities of this situation. I paid Sainsburys 79p for a bag of pasta that would have cost 33p a couple of months ago with barely more than a shrug. In some parts of the world that really hurts.

Faced with such a global crisis, don't we need a figure such as Gordon Brown (I know, hate me...) holding the nation's 'moral compass'. The nice man from Eton with a background in public relations has not convinced me that he has the same grit when it comes to issues of international development and cutting a better deal for the world's developing nations.

May. 13th, 2008

David Ford lecture

 David Ford came to speak to Chelmsford clergy yesterday. It was an enthusiastic plea for us clergy to take biblical scholarship and theology seriously, but didn't really wow me. Rowan Williams had been much more stimulating at a previous one of these. I think it was great to hear David Ford because he was David Ford, and good to have an enthusiastic pep talk, but there wasn't anything new to take away, which was a bit of a shame. I know, I'm just a whinging Brit - it was glorious sunshine, and the Diocese buys us nice sandwiches...

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