3 January 2006
I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I’m totally incapable of keeping them. Previous years have seen me try to stop biting my nails (several times) and give up kebabs (which is actually impossible). This year, however, I’m going to try and do a couple of things: chew my food more thoroughly and post to my blog more frequently. Only time will tell whether I’ll keep to either of them, but since it’s the third day of the year already, it must be time I posted something to my blog. (Especially since the extra food chewing hasn’t been going too well over the last couple of days...)
Anyway, it seems fitting that my first post of 2006 should review what happened to me in 2005 – i.e. all the things I probably should have posted about at the time but couldn’t usually be bothered.
Warning: anyone with a low boredom threshold should probably stop reading now as I’ve just read the post before publishing it and I have definitely rambled on a bit too much...
I’ve been researching my Ruscoe family tree for around five years, but over the last year or so I’ve started to take it more seriously and decided to visit Shropshire Archives in January 2005 to help fill in some blanks. Whilst we were in the area, I took the opportunity to have a look at where my ancestors would have lived back in the 1800s. If you’ve got the Ruscoe surname in your family tree, you might want to look at my photos from the trip, my Ruscoe Family Genealogy website and the Ruscoe Family Genealogy Google Group.
I received a letter from a popular men’s magazine threatening legal action against me unless I removed photos of two TV celebrities. The images showed how the celebrities looked before and after they were photoshopped for the magazine. I received them by email and made them into Flash movies so that you could hover over each to see the differences. Needless to say, the magazine’s legal team didn’t like this, so I kindly agreed to remove them. I now get hundreds of disappointed visitors looking for the photos on my website each month.
We managed to get some tickets to go and see The Games being filmed in Sheffield for Channel 4 and watched a few celebrities compete in Olympic style sporting events. The line up included Craig Charles (comedian/actor/presenter), Princess Tamara Czartoryski-Borbon (model), Danny Foster (former member of Hear’Say), Kirsty Gallacher (presenter), Mel Giedroyc (comedienne), Chesney Hawkes (singer), Lisa Maffia (singer), Jonathon Morris (actor), Philip Olivier (actor), Kevin Simm (member of Liberty X) and Anna Walker (presenter). There’s not much else to say about this really. Chris posted an equally brief description at the time.
During the first Bank Holiday weekend, I built myself a brick barbecue in our back garden. It’s something I’d had planned ever since we moved into our house and, even though we only got to use it three or four times, it was worth the five trips to Wickes, sore arms, aching shoulders and the sunburnt neck!
I also finally updated my website (again) to use XHTML & CSS, moved my three-year-old weblog to use Blogger and was kindly given a Flickr Pro account, which I really should be making more use of. (Maybe that should be another new year’s resolution...)
I travelled more in this month that I’d travelled in my entire life. First of all, we went camping in Malham, North Yorkshire for Andy’s birthday (like we did the previous year). Then we went on holiday to Florence for a week, also visiting Pisa whilst we were in the area. About a week later I then made a business trip to Montréal, Canada. (You can read a bit more about these escapades in my Around the World in 25 Days post.)
Chris and Dawn tied the knot and I had another birthday, which was when I played Singstar for the first time. (Sadly, this was when we also introduced Chris Riley to the game and he now takes it quite seriously...)
A surprising number of rather large spiders made an appearance in this month. I’ve not seen many of them since then, so I can only presume that they’ve been beamed back up to the Planet of the Rather Large House Spiders by their mothership.
Google released their Gmail button for Google Toolbar, which enabled me to figure out how to add custom search buttons to the toolbar. They then released Google Blog Search which would later result in my website traffic increasing considerably as people found my blog posts much more quickly than they would through the normal Google search.
October was an exciting month (for a geek). First of all, I wrote a script to check for Google Subdomains and found a few that people hadn’t seen before. One of these was purchase.google.com which might have inspired the folks over at WebmasterBrain.com to dig a bit deeper, resulting in them discovering the Google Purchases (AKA Google Wallet / Google Payments) sign-up pages. Incidentally, almost three months on and this new service from Google still hasn’t been released yet.
I decided to run the script again after reading a comment by Wouter Schut and discovered the Google Base subdomain. What happened in the days following my post about this discovery was remarkable. Within 24 hours, Google-watchers all over the world were discussing a new service that they didn’t even fully understand. As screenshots started to appear on the Internet, people were speculating what the new service would be capable of, which caused eBay’s stock to reportedly drop by as much five percent at points during the day! The Guardian and The New York Times – amongst many others – referenced my website and I was even interviewed by Business Week magazine! Incidentally, the title I chose for my post – All your base are belong to Google – was used all over the Internet, with some people even posting it to their blogs without even knowing why they were doing it!
I finally went to see The League of Gentlemen live in Llandudno (as I’d mentioned earlier in the year) and the show was absolutely excellent, completely exceeding my expectations. It was well written, well performed and well worth the wait. My only real gripe was that it wasn’t long enough; the two 45-minute acts just went far too quickly! For any League fans didn’t get to see it, I’d definitely recommend buying it as soon as the show is released on DVD.
T’was the week before Christmas and my sister gave birth to a baby girl, making me Uncle Tony and ending the year perfectly.
If you’ve read all the way to here, you deserve a medal! Please accept my most sincere apologies. When I started writing this post, I only intended it to be a brief look back at 2005 but then I got blogorrhea and I couldn’t just hit the delete button after spending so much time on it...
Happy New Year!
On a note about your post, you have been busy - lets hope you stick to your resolutions, or your blog really will fall off my blogroll!
You still working with Phil? Or have you moved on?