World Cup memories: 1982

In the Summer of 1982, I was 15 years old and on the verge of spending time away from home for the first time. Three weeks on an exchange trip to Germany was in the offing and Northern Ireland had qualified for the World Cup in Spain.

In the first group stage, they battled out a couple of draws against Honduras and Yugoslavia before facing the hosts Spain. Nobody gave them a chance, but it was a match they had to win and clearly it was a match they believed they could win, even with 10 men for most of the second half. I still get goosebumps watching this heroic performance which won them the group and qualification for the second phase of group games with Austria and France.

Continue reading “World Cup memories: 1982”

World Cup memories: 1978

So the World Cup 2010 is on. I’ve never been very good at playing football, but I’ve always enjoyed having a go and will continue to do so for as long as I can. I’m quite good at watching from the armchair, though. For this tournament, I’m running a wee Score Prediction Game online. When I conceived this labour of love, I envisioned a much bigger thing with prizes and everything, spreading virally around the Twitterverse. However when push came to shove and important things like work and family took priority, I only just about managed to get it implemented in time. I’m delighted to have the little group of 29 predictors battling it out throughout the tournament.

As the 2010 tournament begins to splutter into flame halfway through the group stages, I’ve decided to look back at my World Cup memories down through the years. My interest in football probably was just beginning to blossom in 1974 (aged 7) what with Cruyff, Beckenbauer and my “namesake”, Gerd Müller and Co., but the real strong World Cup memories begin in 1978. Continue reading “World Cup memories: 1978”

Top twenty Twitter clients

Following my experiment with sampling the public Twitter timeline this morning, I ran another sample, this time for much longer and at a time of day, when many American users would be active to get a slightly more accurate breakdown of the top twenty Twitter clients. Continue reading “Top twenty Twitter clients”

Sampling Twitter to determine client breakdown

sampling the public timelineThe arrival of promoted tweets on Twitter got me thinking about how people post their tweets, as the initial dipping of the Twitter toe into monetization will only impact users of http://search.twitter.com.

So, how many people actually use the Twitter.com website to post their tweets? What are the most popular clients? Continue reading “Sampling Twitter to determine client breakdown”

Windows Live Mail text colours are awful…

…but the workaround is even worse

I’ve been a relatively happy user of Windows Live Mail since I started using it 18 months ago or so. But Microsoft gave me no option recently but to upgrade to the latest version of Windows Live Mail when I decided to install Windows Live Messenger and the current colour scheme is shockingly awful and what is worse there are no options within the application to set up a user-defined colour scheme.

The main problem is that on your list of messages, Windows Live Mail now displays the subject text of read messages in an insipid barely legible gray colour. I googled the issue and found that there is indeed a solution, though I suspect there never was a more appropriate case for using the term workaround as the fix is arguably much more annoying than the Windows Live Mail problem it addresses. Continue reading “Windows Live Mail text colours are awful…”

Talk to the hands in my Joy Division Oven Gloves

Joy Division Oven GlovesIn the wake of the Rage Against the Machine Christmas No. 1 campaign, copy-cat campaigns have been bobbing up and down destined never to achieve the same success.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day for the “Ultravox Vienna for No.1” campaign. When you delve a bit deeper on that one, you discover it’s just a self promoting campaign originating from Ultravox themselves on their comeback tour. I suppose just getting to No. 2 still rankles with them, but it’s not something that fires my imagination, in other words It Means Nothing To Me! As pointed out in Comment #1, I didn’t delve deep enough into the Vienna campaign and got the wrong end of the stick. http://ultravox.org.uk is the band’s official website, but it is run by fans not the band and the fans’ Vienna campaign pre-dated the RATM phenomenon by six months.

However the campaign to catapult Half Man Half Biscuit into the charts for the first time in the band’s long and admirable career gets my support because…

  1. It makes me laugh. In the spirit of band’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics, the campaign’s target chart position is No. 6.
  2. It’s one of my favourite HMHB songs: Joy Division Oven Gloves
  3. Behind the humour, there is a genuine reason for supporting the campaign, namely to raise awareness about the axe looming over the BBC 6 Music radio station, possibly the only radio station that consistently plays the music I want to hear.

Continue reading “Talk to the hands in my Joy Division Oven Gloves”

Inflated Tweet Count: it’s not about the numbers, dude

On 25 Jan 2010, Twitter Support Team confirmed that some Twitter users had experienced an approximately three-fold increase in their Tweet Count; i.e. the number of 140 character posts they have submitted to Twitter.

As it happens, I myself am an Inflated Tweet Count Syndrome sufferer. I think my tweet count went from 3600-ish to 9600-ish overnight. To be honest, I don’t give two (or six) hoots about the numbers, but there are many on Twitter who are much more numbers-obsessed than me, so it’s an issue that’s causing ripples of irritation across the Twitter user-base.

Karen from GOAL posts tweet no. 50,000 for @mcawilliams
Karen from GOAL posts tweet no. 50,000 for @mcawilliams
Many users do keep an eye on their tweet count and treat milestone tweets as special events. Honourable mention here is due to the example of @mcawilliams who raised money for Haiti in the run-up to his 50,000th tweet. He invited a representative from Irish charity GOAL to post tweet no. 50,000 on his behalf. I note that John’s tweet count has now also succumbed to the hyper-inflation that’s going round…either that or he has passed milestones 100,000 and 150,000 in superhuman time.

The thing that irks me about this whole thing isn’t the faulty counts themselves but the low-priority status Twitter are giving to the problem:


UPDATE: 02/02/10
– This bug is a low priority issue because it does not prevent users from fully using Twitter. We do not expect to have this issue fixed in the immediate future for this reason. Please leave a comment below if you are affected by this issue. Thank you!

Continue reading “Inflated Tweet Count: it’s not about the numbers, dude”

Sunday Spotlight: We Thought It Would Rain All Day

In my spotlight this week is a song about weather and intimacy. It’s a song where my soul gets bared a wee bit, so if you’re squeamish or lacking the voyeuristic tendency most of us have, you’d best look away now. It’s complex in its simplicity or maybe it’s simple in it’s complexity, but we thought it would rain all day.
Continue reading “Sunday Spotlight: We Thought It Would Rain All Day”

Sunday Spotlight: Everybody has their part to play

On Sundays I like to pick one of my songs and write a little bit of background about it. It feels like a month of Sundays since the last one – the Sunday Spotlight took a break over Christmas and New Year. It returns this week with a song I wrote in 2004: Everybody Has Their Part To Play.

Lyrics | Studio recording, 2005

Live recording, 2009

Continue reading “Sunday Spotlight: Everybody has their part to play”