There Can be Few Greater Delicacies...

It is a long established tradition that our Worlds trip includes a visit to Edinburgh for the Tattoo. The photos which bear testimony to that fact are in the Gallery post below. A central part of that trip is a dander down the Royal Mile to Bene's chippy for a haggis supper and a smoked sausage supper. Neither of these gourmet treats seem to feature in the repertoire of our domestic emporia and I can't think of a single reason why. Chip Shop Owning Men of Ulster! Get the Haggis in!

The suppers were purchased with pleasure and devoured with gusto. Both the native haggis and the smoked sausage may be acquired tastes, but they are well worth acquiring. Who would have thought it. Aiblins is on the verge of developing a restaurant review section.

Worlds 2010 in Pictures

The day and the build up through the lens...

I have chosen to upload almost every photo taken over the weekend connected with Glasgow and the World Championships. The lack of a discerning editor's eye hopefully makes it a more representative account of the long weekend.

For anyone who might be interested, the lens in question is absolutely nothing fancy - just the camera in an iPhone 4 - which seems to have captured at least the odd pleasing result. I have included the photos which I have posted in the other Blog entries to maintain the integrity of the gallery. I have also chosen not to caption individual images. Some of them were taken for specific reasons and have particular meaning to me - make up your own mind what they mean to you...

Hello Glasgow

The ranks of staff from the Aiblins blogging team are safely in Glasgow. You will see evidence of this in the accompanying photo. Although it resembles an MC Escher painting, it is in fact an image of the mind boggling escalator arrangement in Buchanan Galleries. Tickets for the Worlds have been purchased, programmes have been pored over and Chai Lattes have been consumed. Stand by your beds, folks. The Worlds 2010 Weekend starts here!

Want to Take my Pulse?

A deliberately opaque title for a Blog post. The oldest trick in the book, and you fell for it. If it is any consolation, I recognise that it was a childish thing to do and I apologise for it.

So, what's it about anyway? Well, as I have blogged about elsewhere, I have switched my primary interweb allegiance to Posterous. I have also been utterly seduced by an iPad. Combine the iPad with a news reading application called Pulse and you have a curious partnership which brings with it a complimentary additional Blog, provided by Posterous, where things that you "Pulse" get clipped to.

Thus is born The Aiblins Pulse. Rather than throwing clips and snippets from the Web into the middle of this Blog, all that stuff is getting dropped into the Pulse site. It reflects what I'm looking at on the net and, so far, that has been a combination of Pipe Bands, News stories, Tech stuff and Ulster Scots with the odd cycling story thrown in.

I cannot commend the site to you with any great certainty. Whether you have any interest in it will depend on whether the odd mix above has any appeal. What I can say is that the iPad and Pulse combination itself is pretty satisfying and having the Blog page there to store all your "read later" or "I like this" stuff, makes a nice change from relying on services like InstaPaper. So, have a look at The Aiblins Pulse if you want.

Have a look at an iPad if you want a lighter bank balance and a new form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Live Blogging the Worlds 2010

Last year I conducted an experiment which (unsurprisingly) went without notice. Undeterred, I intend to try something very similar this year.

At the end of the week, I'll be heading for Scotland. It will be the annual Glasgow pilgrimage to the World Pipe Band Championships. We'll also be taking in the Tattoo in Edinburgh on the Friday night. At least, that's the plan. My recent well-documented problems with BPPV may curtail our activities somewhat, but I should certainly be at Glasgow Green for a while at least.

I have digressed considerably. The point of this all is to say that I intend to try to Live Blog from the Worlds again. In practice, this will mean taking pictures on the phone and sending occasional updates by way of Blog posts. The refinements of the Posterous image posting facility through the iPhone app mean that I should be able to create a gallery and then simply update that same gallery as I go without creating additional posts. In between times I can send other posts by email from the phone if anything dramatic occurs. I'll also have the Flip Ultra with me but will hold off on trying to update the YouTube Channel until I get home.  

Should you care to log on, you should see the gallery growing and be kept broadly up to date with events as they occur. Last year, I am fairly confident I had the results posted before anyone else - although those watching the BBC Stream of the event would obviously have got them at the same time as me. If I can stay upright and untroubled by vertigo until the end of the day, it would be great if you could join me.

The Edinburgh Tattoo people always have a very friendly policy towards photographers, so I should hopefully manage a small gallery of photos from there too.

I enjoy the experiment and the use of technology, so I'll probably keep doing this until I stop going to the events. Even so, it would increase my sense of self-worth if you could at least pretend to be interested.

By the way, due to the nature of the auto posting, I'll need to complete the posts on Posterous before I send them to the other sites and Blogs. For that reason, if you do feel like joining me for the day, point your browser at aiblins.com. The other sites won't be updated until the end of the day.  

On Blogging

Blogging. What is it? Why do people do it? Why am I a wee bit fascinated by the whole notion?

All those thoughts have run through my head and I have struggled to come with a response to any one of them that a rational person could be satisfied with.

I have technically had a Blog on the go for a while now, posting to Blogger from time to time. I have found the experience broadly unsatisfying. Mostly, that seems to be because I seldom feel that I really have anything of sufficient import that it deserves entry to the public domain. With no disrespect to those who publish "stream of consciousness" type Blogs, I can't see the point in entry after entry full of "today I fed the cat - the cat was happy". For many years I wrote a diary as a personal exercise but I never felt the need to publish it. Looking back over it, I have no idea why anyone would want to read it. The ability to publish to the Internet places in our hands the potential to each be a publisher

The ease of the process can be variable but fundamentally, if you have a computer, a phone, or anything at all with an Internet connection, you now essentially own your own printing press. That's the sort of thing we couldn't have dreamt of twenty years ago. As with so many technological advances, the power or ability to do something, doesn't mean that we should all necessarily do it. Just because a vanity publisher might agree to print a book of mine doesn't mean that I should gleefully hand over my manuscript - "Three Hundred Types of Fluff and how to Identify Them". The world is almost certainly not ready for that page-turner. Essentially, some thoughts are perhaps best kept to oneself.

At this point, the irony in my posting this is not escaping me. Take your mouse away from the "Comment" box.

After thinking about all this for a while, I decided that the best thing to do was not to over analyse. Again, I recognise the irony

I have looked at some of my favourite Blogs like NewtownLass and Bloggin fae the 'Burn and have been massively intimidated by the content. Mark and Fiona both manage to lay their hands on sizeable quantities of information which they selflessly post and share. They provide a great resource and the worthiness of their posting is enough to put you off. It makes me want to slink into the corner and keep my digital head down. I'm never going to have the time, apart from anything else, to post stuff of that quality or worth.

So, what to do? Give up? Shut down the Blog and say that game's not for me? Could do. But I'm too stubborn for that.

Coincidentally, I discovered Posterous last year. For those unfamiliar with it, it is a Blogging service which sits somewhere between Blogger and Wordpress on the one hand and the microblogs on the other. Posting can be web based or by email and they have a nifty way of organising photos and video, including a really easy to use iPhone application. I started to upload a few bits and pieces to Posterous, created a couple of galleries and started to really like it. You can also link other sites and services for autoposting, so Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter and the rest can all be hooked up and kept updated. All very easy. Recently, they have been suffering a nasty DDoS attack, but once that is resolved it will hopefully return to the easy to use platform that it has been developing into

So, in Posterous lies the answer. I'm going to try to worry less about the absolute quality of the content. That doesn't mean that I'm going to switch off the spell checker. It doesn't mean that I'm going to start telling everyone about the feeding habits of the cat I don't have. What it does mean is that I am going to worry a little less about the "theme" of the Blog. I am an Ulster-Scot, but that doesn't mean that the only thing I care about is Ulster-Scots

Therefore, the Blog will hopefully be a rounder effort, reflecting me and not only a part of me.

Coincidentally, I have also been able to create additional Blogs through Posterous specifically to cover some of my interests and I'll post more about them once I start to populate them with content. So, there you are. I have thought about Blogging and these are the thoughts. If you are one of the very few people who will ever read this, and you happen to be reading it other than on aiblins.com, then you are looking at one of the cross-postings.

The .com address is probably the best place to read it, mostly due to the image handling, but enjoy it wherever you are.

SFU and FMMPB Live in Concert in Belfast!

Despite still feeling pretty poorly, I simply couldn't stay away from the piping and drumming event of the year - particularly when it was right in the centre of Belfast!

To have the chance to see either Field Marshal or SFU on the stage is always a treat - but to combine the two is probably a once in a lifetime experience. In their remarks during the concert, both Pipe Majors seemed aware of the historic nature of the event and it appeared that the capacity crowd was excited from the off.

The evening kicked off wiith a combination of the two bands and then the first half was essentially handed over to FM with SFU taking over in part two. It was rounded off by another "two-hander", at the conclusion of which the bands walked off stage, still playing.

The quality of the music was uniformly high, although it is probably fair to say that SFU had the better "back end" by quite a way and also had provided a more overtly entertaining list of tunes.

The usual nagging of the Waterfront staff about the taking of photos and video was much in evidence. I know that intellectual property rights should be jealously guarded but I had the impression that a lot of the audience were irked by the constantly whinging. Most people just wanted a snippet of video or a quick picture to remind them of a great night out.

The night was scheduled to start at 7.30pm but probably ran about half an hour behind that. It didn't conclude until well after 10pm!

On this evidence, Belfast (and Northern Ireland in general) is certainly able to support the big concert events and it would be nice to see a regular pre-Worlds show to rival the fixture of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall night - which features SLOT this year. Rumours are already abroad that the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA is planning for future events - they should be encouraged by last night!