Longstanding grudge: Don Coyote Country Pursuits…

Today saw me have a huge clear out of “piles of junk”. My recycle bins are full, I have space to move, I have spare storage boxes.

In this clear out, I came across a photocopy of an advert for Don Coyote Country Pursuits – they were contracted to provide a horse and carriage at our wedding some seven years ago. Except, they didn’t. They happily cashed my mother-in-law’s cheque for £100 (deposit) and then denied all knowledge of the booking. We ended up making other arrangements, kind of at the last minute. This seems reasons enough to boycott an organisation.

Anyway, I don’t take lying cheating sods likely. We wrote to them. We went to see them. All to no avail. We even wrote to the Sunday Post’s Raw Deal and saw our complaint printed:


However, even that didn’t work. So we pretty much left it at that…

…until now. Since I’ve “re-discovered” their advert and the Raw Deal piece, it’s time these folks were ousted.

Do not use Don Coyote Country Pursuits under any circumstances, they suck. If you see an advert like this one, avoid them, turn the page, go somewhere else.


This post will remain on this site until £100 + seven years of interest at 10% (compounded) is paid and a full written apology is received.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gig: Queen, a tribute band


Thursday 28th (yes a school night), five of us went to see One Night of Queen, aka Gary Mullens & The Works. Venue: The Edinburgh Playhouse. It seemed appropriate, September 2006 would have seen the Freddie Mercury’s 60th birthday.

The show opened with Tie Your Mother Down (A Day At The Races), which would normally serve to demonstrate the power of the sound system. In this case, it provided an fairly acceptable warm up track. The sound system was a little under-powered, certainly for the first five songs. However, it did prove that this tribute band do actually sound very much like the masters who they are imitating. That said, after a gentle kick from Gary, the audience woke up and stood up…it certainly seemed louder at that point.

Throughout the set, we were subjected to a modicum of Freddie-isms: these boys have studied their subjects well and manage to inject a lot of the real Queen into the performance.

Under Pressure (Hot Space)
Now I’m Here (Sheer Heart Attack)
Keep Yourself Alive (Queen “1”)
One Vision (A Kind Of Magic)
Jailhouse Rock
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (The Game)
Another One Bites The Dust (The Game)
It’s a Kind of Magic (A Kind Of Magic)
Friends Will Be Friends (A Kind Of Magic)
Love Of My Life (A Night at The Opera)
Hammer to Fall (The Works)
Bohemian Rhapsody (A Night at The Opera)
Seven Seas Of Rhye (Queen “1”)
Radio Gaga (The Works)
We Will Rock You (News Of The World)
We Are The Champions (News Of The World)

Given the average age of a regular Queen fan, there was an intermission, a comfort break if you will. This was our cue to get to the bar and throw some [more] lager down our necks.

And no Queen gig would be complete without God Save The Queen. Most folks were standing for this, which was good – very few folks were singing however, which wasn’t so good.

I would certainly recommend that you go see these boys, especially if you enjoyed the original works from Queen themselves. They’re on the touring circuit, so it’s very likely that they’ll be in your neck of the woods.

Anyway, it would appear that my last gig prior to this one was Magnum, some three years ago. It’s time to start going to a few more gigs. Perhaps starting here, in Germany?


Amazon aStore

I think that Amazon (Associates) aStore is a great idea. It’s a great way of getting book recommendations out to people/community. I deliver a reasonable number of presentations throughout the year and always have a ‘resources (books)’ slide. Amazon’s aStore firms that up and makes it easy for me to point attendees to the new link on my blog: Book Recommendations.

Glasgow 26th September 2006 – TDD slide deck and code

Today saw me run my Test-Driven Development and Code Coverage session for the third time in as many months. Whilst the audience was fewer in number than usual, the interactivity made it a good session for me (and for the attendees from what I can gather). One thing that came out of this delivery was the need to examine user interface testing in more detail – something for 2007 I think.

The source code, crib notes and slide deck are available here.

Leeds – Security Event with a former FBI agent

I am pleased to confirm that Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor and former FBI agent, Ed Gibson, will definitely be making a stop in Leeds.

If you are a develop looking to learn more about what Oracle and Microsoft are doing in the security space, then this event is for you!

Leeds, Courtyard By Marriott Leeds/Bradford

12th Oct 2006 (4pm-7.30pm)

Further information can be found here, and if you want to register please click here.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Compressing PowerPoint slide decks using NXPowerLite

I’m getting super results from NXPowerLite, a PowerPoint compression tool.

It works wonders on slide decks that are graphics-heavy or those that contain cut’n’paste pieces from Word documents or Excel spreadsheets.

I’ve noticed .ppt files that were 2500K drop down to 250k without tweaking NXPowerLite.

If you have a web-site full of .ppt files, this application could be a real boon – I plan to compress all the slide decks over at www.craigmurphy.com as soon as time permits.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Offline blogging using Windows Live Writer

I’ve been using Windows Live Writer for the last month – it’s an offline blogging tool that ideal for writing blog entries whilst in aircraft or on a train or anywhere without an Internet connection. It’s good, but since it’s a beta you do know where the edges are.

Microsoft’s Mike Taulty has written a super little plug-in for Windows Live Writer – it provides a very quick means of locating and inserting a URL into a blog post.

If, like me, you like the cross-linking nature of blog posts, you’ve probably found yourself search for another person’s blog URL using another browser window…then you’ve cut’n’paste it into the blog post.

Mike’s plug-in automates that, keeping the whole operation inside Windows Live Writer. At the back-end, it uses Live Search to produce its results.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Did you know? Windows Quality?

When an application crashes, Windows error reporting pops up a box with “send” and “don’t send” buttons offering you the chance to send technical data relating to the crash back to Microsoft. It happens for Microsoft applications and third-party applications too.

As a side-effect of attending an MSDN session about Vista, the speaker (Dan Moth) mentioned “winqual” to the audience.

This is what he was talking about. Dan was telling us that we can register on the winqual site and gain access to the technical data sent as a result of our own applications crashing (assuming our end-users actually click Send…everybody clicks on Send, right?) Whilst a credit card is required for registration, gaining access to your own application’s data is free – the site is careful to advise if there a cost involved for other content.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

DDD4 Geek Dinner!

I am pleased to announce that Zi has once again organised a geek dinner for those attending DDD4 on the 2nd December 2006!

If you wish to attend, please sign up here.

Spaces are limited to 40, so sign up is very important! Last time at DDD3, we had a full house and ran a waiting list – book early, that’s my advice!

Whilst we’re on the subject – do you want to speak at DDD4? If so, sign up here (earlier site outages have been fixed!)