Monday 13 September 2010

NatWest MBA loan

So, I'm going back to university in a couple of weeks to start an MBA. In true social media geek style I have started new blog specifically to cover the MBA and any business issues I feel capable of discussing.

My first post covers the NatWest MBA loan - essential reading if you're thinking of applying for one to fund your degree.

Saturday 3 July 2010

All done and dusted

The biking is done for this year. Today we rode North up Pacific Coast
Highway 1 back to San Francisco. It was really cold on the coast but
warmer as we moved inland again.

We decided that we wanted to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge so
headed to Sausalito for lunch. W got a great video of us riding over
the bridge.

We then rode back over the bridge - $6 toll for a motorbike. What a
rip-off! I got us back to the hotel on Post Street, W checked in and
took our bags in and I went to hand the bike back. It wasn't due till
tomorrow morning but if took it back early it would save hassle

So I make the not unstressful rise through downtown SF back to the
bike shop. So glad to hand it back without any mishaps.

Then, still wearing my bike kit, I walk out of the bike shop, hail a
cab and get back to the hotel.

When I get back W asks me where the luggage is. Ha ha - of course she
already has taken our stuff in. No really - where is the lugage we
left at the bike shop for the week.


Looks like I'll be making another trip to the bike shop tomorrow
morning. Damn.

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Friday 2 July 2010

some video riding towards Carnel Valley

Download now or watch on posterous
P1020974.MOV (21776 KB)

We've got a better video in Carmel Valley but I can't post it yet because it's too big. Will do later.

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Lake Nacimiento and Carmel Valley Road

Yesterday's roads were great - Lake Nacimiento, then Carmel Valley Road. I wasn't going to try Carmel Valley Road as I though it might be a bit to twisty, but I was persuaded by Norm - a biker we met at the Bluebird Motel. I'm glad to did it - the views were absolutely amazing and the ride was just right. We could ride for an hour without seeing traffic. Amazing!

In one of the pics you see what we thought was a tornado at first. It looked like a massive cloud originating at some point and turned the sky really dark. Turned out it was actually grass fires at Fort Hunter Ligggett which we were riding through. 

W has taken some great videos but I am having trouble uploading them at the minute. 

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Frenchman on Kwak

We saw this guy stopped at the side of the road crossing Lake
Nacimiento dam. We didn't see the 'No Parking Any Time' signs till
after we had stopped and got off.

He was immediately amazed that we were riding a Harley but had full-
face helmets and proper biking jackets. We explained we were European
then it made sense to him and we agreed that most Harley riders are
mad going about with tiny helmets and just t-shirts.

Turns out he was French and had been living in California for 30
years. He sounded like he had just got off the boat.

We told him we were heading for Carmel Valley Road and he warned us
that the road was quite small and difficult. Another few minutes chat
and we were on our way...

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Thursday 1 July 2010

Carmel Valley Road

We're about to ride to Salinas via Lake Nacimiento and Carmel Valley Road.

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Wednesday 30 June 2010

Pacific Coast Highway 1 to Cambria

Yesterday got off to a good start when the 'limo' that was arranged to take us from the hotel to the bike rental place turned out to be a proper white stretch limo.

Got to EagleRider and there was a Portuguese guy, Pedro, there hiring a bike and taking the same route as us so we agreed to ride down together. eD from came along too to help us get out of San Francisco and take us on a bit of a tour out of the city. So grateful to eD - without him we would have been quite screwed getting out of the city! Nice twisty roads out of SF then we stopped at a famous biker cafe called Alice's Restaurant (see previous post for pic).

OK, I don't have time to write more  now - got to go ride! Take a look at the pics and I'll write up more later. We're in Cambria now. About to go try Route 58. :D

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Escape from San Francisco

The riding is good!

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Penguins and pancakes

  • Went to Monterey Bay Aquarium. Saw more sea otters. Penguins will rule the world one day
  • Now in San Francisco. Exited BART as Gay Pride March went past with ticker tape falling from the sky. A suitable welcome for our arrival I think.
  • Waited 40min for a table for breakfast at Dottie's True Blue Cafe. I had pancakes but I didn't really like them that much tbh.
  • Went to visit a friend at Google HQ today. Google HQ rocks. Please can I have a job there? I could be a gardener or something...
  • Going to pick up the Harley tomorrow. Now the real holiday starts!

Download now or watch on posterous
IMG_0726.MOV (5083 KB)

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Sunday 27 June 2010

Spot the Seal

I hired a bicycle yesterday and took a ride down to Monterey, where I hired a kayak for a few hours. It was not particularly sunny, but of course I still managed to get burnt. I had a wetsuit on, so I have a nice line at my ankles, and my forehead is glowing nicely. Out on Monterey Bay I saw loads of seals, quite a few sea otters and a seagull using a dead seal as a surf board. :D 

Burnt feet really hurt. Not good.

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Saturday 26 June 2010

Spot the Seal

I hired a bicycle yesterday and took a ride down to Monterey, where I hired a kayak for a few hours. It was not particularly sunny, but of course I still managed to get burnt. I had a wetsuit on, so I have a nice line at my ankles, and my forehead is glowing nicely. Out on Monterey Bay I saw loads of seals, quite a few sea otters and a seagull using a dead seal as a surf board. :D 

Burnt feet really hurt. Not good.

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Freezing in Asilomar; TomTom California map?

We arrived in Asilomar yesterday after a 2.5h bumpy bus ride from San Francisco. This conference place is a little odd - kind of like a cross between a scout camp (Douglas Wood anyone?) and something from Amityville. 

Main problem is that it is really cold and misty. This isn't the weather that Arnie was showing off on all those "Visit California" adverts recently! I'm sitting in front of a roaring fire right now. It would be warmer if we headed in-land, but considering we're planning on riding Pacific Coast Highway we might not be getting much sun.

W is working now in some meeting. I'm thinking of going for a cycle ride but I'm not sure I've got warm enough clothes!

Gripe: I still planning the route for next week. I have my TomTom Rider (v1) with me and wanted to add a map for California to it. However, it seems you cannot buy individual state maps in the US. Seems a bit daft when you can buy individual country maps in Europe. The US is the size of a continent and California is about the size of the UK so you've got just as much chance of only needing a regional map. Would someone using their TomTom in Washington really want to be forced to buy a map which included Georgia? Seems like a economically motivated decision by TomTom which is daft when they're about to be crushed by Google et al who will be offering a more customer focused service. 

You used to be able to buy individual state maps for TomTom so if anyone can point me in the direction of one please do. It doesn't matter how old it is - I doubt Pacific Coast Highway has changed much recently!

Pic is of Crater Lake taken on the flight over. 

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Sunday 20 June 2010

Time to ride California again

On Tuesday I'll be flying out to San Francisco and on the following Tuesday I'll be picking up a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and riding for four days around California. I did this 6 years ago and loved it. This time I'll have W sitting behind me! Like the social media geek I am I'll be using Posterous to tweet, blog and Facebook my pics as I go along. If Google Latitude worked properly on an iPhone I would be able to track my route properly too. Use a map you say? Yeah I guess that would make sense...

Technical gripe - when you email a photo directly from the iPhone to Flickr via Posterous, the GPS Exif data seems to get stripped out, which is a shame. I'd like to have all the photos geo-tagged.

Posted via email from Steven's posterous

Saturday 30 January 2010

Post Office Oxford

Post Office Oxford
Originally uploaded by major_grooves
When i arrived at the Post Office with the queue below there was only
two people serving. I wonder how busy it has to get for them to
consider opening all the counters. Really people should be grateful
that the Post Office has shut all the local post offices. If they
hadn't people wouldn't get the opportunity to travel in to central
Oxford and queue for 20 min. Thank you Post Office for being so useless!

Saturday 16 January 2010

LipDub videos and stupid record companies

I made a Barenaked Ladies LipDub movie with some friends in Dundee over Christmas as a wedding present for a friend. It was inspired by a fantastic LipDub movie of the Black Eyed Peas' song "I Gotta Feeling." It's such a fantastic clip, I think I've probably watched it more than a dozen times (also see the follow-up 'making of' video). It's impossible to watch without it putting a smile on your face.

I tried to upload our movie to YouTube. OK, the video has the Barenaked Ladies' song "If I had $1000000" playing throughout, but I just assumed that YouTube would automatically add a "buy this from iTunes" link that you often see on videos with music in them.

Nope, YouTube just blocked the video as soon as it was uploaded.

I knew that most of the major record companies had been getting their knickers in a twist about arranging licensing deals with YouTube so that their music could be posted. Turns out Warner Music Group has thrown a major hissy fit and now all their music is blocked. There are amusing/annoying stories about of people's videos being blocked because some copyrighted music is playing in the background i.e. on the radio or something!

Wonderfully, YouTube gives you the option of uploading the video with a) no audio, or b) audio from YouTube's library of available music. Me thinks that might somewhat spoil a LipDub movie. For example.

I don't really have a problem with record companies protecting their music per se. I've always been against file-sharing as it just feels like stealing. However, I do think that the record companies are being quite short-sighted with the opportunity that YouTube presents to them. When I listened to the I Gotta Feeling LipDub, I immediately bought the tune on iTunes. A few months later I bought the whole Black Eyed Peas album (should I really be admitting this?!).

I didn't buy them through YouTube, so Google gets no money from this - just Apple, the record company and the band. However, I bought them because of the video on YouTube. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.

Warner Music Group apparently don't get this. I therefore presume they are run by thickos and I fart in their general direction. Black Eyed Peas' record label, Interscope (part of Universal Media Group) are clearly much more enlightened.

Of course everyone wants to get their video on YouTube so they can have their 5-minutes of fame! Instead I have uploaded the video to Vimeo, which is a really beautiful video website. They've actually been encouraging people to make LipDub movies (and even claim to have coined the term). Sadly though, they're getting sued for their efforts.

Anyway, here is the video we made. I expect the morons from WMG will come along eventually and issue a takedown notice, but in the meantime please enjoy:

$1000000 LipDub from Steven Renwick on Vimeo.

A LipDub movie we made to Barenaked Ladies' "If I had $1000000" for Kev and Hilary's Wedding (8th Jan 2010). Filmed at various locations in Dundee and Carnoustie.

Image from Flickr user Tracy Russo used under a Creative Commons licence.