Thursday, August 30, 2012

PunkNews.co.uk


PunkNews.co.uk was originally started way back in 2001 by someone called Tom, then it was taken over by Ellis, and then Colin, then it changed its name to PunkNews.org.uk for a bit, and then back to PunkNews.co.uk, but nobody really gives a fup about that do they?  We’ve probably got our own history wrong anyway…

PunkNews.co.uk became the place for misfits, braggarts, liars and fools to hang out and irritate the dripping shite out of each other.  Relationships were formed and destroyed on the forums and frequent raiding parties made their way over to rival site’s forums to spread filth and cast pointless aspersions.  We were all dickheads, but we knew we were dickheads and in fact we quite enjoyed being dickheads.   We were happy.

Then something called ‘social networking’ came along and blew our little world all to shit.  At the time we continued sticking two fingers up to ‘the man’, and sticking our fingers in our ears and going ‘la la la, can’t hear you’ but little by little our cute community dwindled until it became a small collection of freaks, and eventually PunkNews.co.uk was like a deserted borstal classroom.

So in 2009 we took a last shit in the toilet (leaving it un-flushed of course), tipped the full ashtray down the back of the tatty settee in the corner (where a certain user once clearly marked his territory) and left the
front door unlocked for the last time.

We still have the data from the old site and forum and we'd like to bring the old posts back into the cold indifference of a world that has significantly changed since we started, but we probably never will...

There is a PunkNews.co.uk group on FaceBook, which of course nobody cares about, but if you're feeling nostalgic for a good time that never existed then see here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/2364426978/


P.S The Punk News UK Twitter account lives on, a bit like a Zombie, but with good taste...

It’s not the story that’s the thing; it’s the telling.

I’d love to be able to take credit for that quote, but as you probably already know it was said long ago by someone who isn’t me.  I like it though, and the theory runs as a persistent thread throughout all my writing.  After years of writing for zines and musical folk I’ve taken a bit of a swerve, and am currently developing my skills as a novelist, and if that’s the sort of thing that interests you then you taste a few samples littered about this blog.

As well as being a writer I have also worked as a photographer and herder of words for marketing purposes.  Oh, and I’m also a musician – I play bass in These Are End Times and ZEEB?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In August 2012 I cycled 500 miles - I'm as surprised as everyone else!

I've always loved cycling and (in my mind at least) my childhood was spent almost entirely in the saddle roaming the countryside of Suffolk in search of Famous Five style adventure (that we never found), but other than a few minor injuries cycling never had much of an impact on my body, until now...

When I first met my wife I was a ten stone waif, but a fondness for ale and a decade and a half working in the IT / Interwebs field added an additional six stone to my frame.  My wife assured me that being twice the man I was when she met me wasn't an issue for her, and I'd like to think that I'm not the sort of fellow who is obsessed with my body image, but over the years the weight related jibes from friends started to annoy me.  Some folk weren't quite so subtle; my doctor said something along the lines of 'you've gotten huge' and my mum (upon hearing that I weighed nearly 16 stone) said in a quite matter of fact way that I was much too heavy.

My year so far.
Until August 2011 I worked for myself, and worked at home, which somewhat narrowed the opportunities to cycle my morning commute.  Over the years I enjoyed the occasional tootle around on my shit-heap mountain bike, and I even managed a few long bike rides, but in May 2011 I bought my first 'road bike' (an old Claud Butler Dalesman) and everything changed.  To be fair by May 2011 my wife was very heavily pregnant with our first child, so my life had already changed a great deal, but finding out that I could actually cycle up hills on this road bike was also a revelation.  The other big change that happened was that I got an actual proper grown up job, and a job meant a commute - huzzah!

I didn't commute at first, in fact borrowing my mate's van seemed like a reasonable cop out for travelling the three miles from my house to work, but in March 2012 I decided I'd had enough of paying silly money for diesel and got back on my bike.... and here I am six months later three stone lighter and much fitter and happier.  The commute is now often much more than three miles and the weekend rides are getting faster and longer.

To be honest there's not that much of a story to tell, I have always eaten well so I guess lack of exercise was the missing part of my lardy puzzle.  I've had a LOT of advice from the good folk of http://www.cyclechat.net/ and fallen off a few times, but on the whole commuting to work and getting out on Sunday mornings has been a total joy.  I guess if you view weightloss as painful and daunting then the chances are you'll find it painful and daunting, I appreciate that I already loved cycling so I've been very fortunate to be able to shift the flubber doing something I love.

500 miles in a month!
Targets are useful, if nothing else they stop exercise being mundane, so at the start of this month I decided to set myself an unreasonably high mileage target - 500 miles!  I'm quite shocked that I've managed to achieve this seemingly insane goal!  The charts below show some of the geeky stat data from the last month - I track all my rides using Strava and Endomondo on my phone and using my Holux bike GPS.



P.S This is my Endomondo profile - http://www.endomondo.com/profile/4626205

P.P.S This is my Strava profile - http://app.strava.com/athletes/596232

P.P.P.S  August 2012 isn't over yet...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to set how many days worth of emails are synchronized between your Gmail and your android device / phone

Android phones sometimes get clogged up with a lot of mail, especially if users are new to Gmail and have just transferred all their mail from another email program, here's how to minimise this issue.  For the purposes of this tutorial the blocky red bits are my attempt to hide my personal email address from you.

NOTE - all version of Android are slightly different, so your screens might look a little different and your options might be in a slightly different place.

Go into the Gmail app, press your menu button, then 'more' then  'settings' then click on the account you want to change.

Scroll down until you see the 'Sync inboxes and labels' button

Using this screen you can click to set the amount of mail you want to sync for each part of your Gmail account.   I recommend just changing the top option to keep things simple

Here's what the box for setting the number of days to sync looks like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alefeed (R.I.P)

Alefeed.com was a real ale, homebrew and craft brewery news website that I ran for most of 2012, but for various reasons too dull to impart I shut it down on Wednesday 22nd August 2012.

If you came here looking for homebrew information please visit the very excellent Brewers Barn website at http://www.brewersbarn.co.uk/



161211 - Bike News for Bike Punx - (R.I.P)

161211.com was a cycling news website that I set up for kicks at the start of 2012.  The name (and domain name) was used simply because I had it left over from a promotional project for my old band, and I thought the numbers looked cool.

After nearly a year of running the site I decided that it wasn't really adding much to the Interwebs, and became fed up with constantly trying to fight off bastard hackers who were constantly trying to break, enter and shit on the metaphorical bed.

So 9,102 news posts later it's bye bye to 161211.com - you were fun for a while, sort of.


P.S. If you've found this page after following a link to 161211.com and you're in need of cycling info I can heartily recommend you check out www.cyclechat.net (which is where I hang out these days).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

FOR SALE - Claud Butler Dalesman road / touring bike.


I love this bike, in fact it was the first bike I truly loved, but needs must and  I have to sell it.  My wife thinks I have too many bikes, and as I've just built a single speed beast the 'one in, one out' rule is coming into affect.

I think this bike was built mid-70s, and I know the Claud Butler 'Dalesman' model is still made and costs over £1000 new.

The distance between the centre of the crank to the top of the seat tube is 60cm, but I think the frame size is more likely described as 23".  I'm 6 foot(ish) tall and there is plenty of adjustment to be had for shorter or taller riders.

This was the bike that got me into road cycling after years of panting and sweating around on a heavy old mountain bike, incidentally this bike only weight 11.5kgs, which is is very light!  I regularly hammer past people far younger than I am who are riding very expensive carbon bikes!

If you're wondering what a touring bike is, then think of a classic racer, add slightly wider tyres and fixings for panniers and mudguards and you've got a touring bike.  The geometry is also designed for comfort - I've done 100 mile rides on this bike and still been able to make my way comfortably around a pub at the end of it.



The tyres are very high quality Schwalbe Marathons, one is very new and the other has years left on it.

There are a few scrapes, but nothing more than any other bike that is over thirty years old.  When it comes down to it this is a well maintained, surprisingly fast comfortable high quality bicycle.  I will warn you though, if this is going to be your first foray into road cycling you WILL get hooked!

This bike has been lovingly maintained and the chain / gears have been cleaned and lubricated every week for a very long time indeed.

I have recently added a very nice Charge Spoon saddle to this bike, but if you're after something comfier I still have the old padded seat!

There are a LOT more photos of this bike over on THIS BLOG POST  (I took these photos after a long bike ride, so you're see the bike uncleaned).

The price is £175, please contact me through http://www.andrewlaws.com/contact-me

P.S if you're into vintage fixies then this bike is ripe for conversion!

P.P.S this bike is SOLD


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Slitter? What? Don't sell with product photos!


The company for which I am Sales and Marketing Manager builds slitter machines.  This is a statement I make fully aware of the fact that almost all people reading this blog post won’t know what a slitter rewinder is, which is a fact that goes someway to illustrating the point I am about to make...

Good stock images are at their most useful when used to market a product that people don’t understand.  Here at Universal Converting Equipment we make large and complex machinery that some customers might not know they need until they fully understand the role the machines perform.  Therefore (for me particularly) the challenge is to start a dialog with a customer that will hopefully end in them buying one of our machines.  To gain this initial interest showing the potential customer a photo of one of the machines might not be the most beneficial way forward, instead I have to find a way of assuring the customer that we are the correct people to help them through the complex issue they wish to solve... and that’s where choosing good stock images comes into play.

By choosing a striking image that expresses a concept we can raise our brand above competitors who still focus their marketing on product photography alone.

It goes deeper than this; because if you’re selling a product that people are already familiar with - let’s use spoons as an example - then showing them an image of a spoon might not convince them that your spoon is the best for their needs; instead show an image that explains why your product will revolutionise their daily spooning.