Geni Schwag

Geni Schwag
Originally uploaded by Jane Dallaway

I blogged about Geni a few months ago and had quite a few email conversations with the guys from Geni off the back of that blog.

Since then Richard’s family have really taken to Geni, and have added a couple of generations to their tree. They’ve found it really usable and seem to have enjoyed adding photos etc. Still no GEDCOM import yet for me though 🙁

Today, a box of goodies arrived from Geni for me, thanks Geni!

Nokia 6110 Navigator and Route 66 satellite navigation

Over the hills
Originally uploaded by Jane Dallaway

Whilst we were on our recent holiday, we took the opportunity to try out the built-in Route 66 navigation software.

The main observations are as follows:

  • The battery life with the navigation system running is obviously impacted. In Liverpool the phone ran out of battery a mile away from our accomodation. We bought an in-car charger for the unit to prevent this from happening at other times.
  • The software likes direct routes. Despite having selected fastest rather than shortest it sent us through the Snowdonia mountain park, (the road in the photo), with cattle grids and gates etc. Even when I told the unit that I was in a lorry it sent me the same way.
  • It is very optimistic about how long a journey will take. Unlike google maps’ directions which I’ve found to be pretty accurate, at 100% Route 66 seems to expect 60 miles per hour on all road types, including that mountain pass.
  • In city navigation is excellent, getting in and out of cities and towns using the navigation system was really good, and really helpful.
  • The postcode to longitude/latitude conversion is problematic at times – I don’t think this is the software’s problem but a complication with low population areas. Something to be wary of – next time I’ll check the position of the landmark on the map against any other map or information availabile

In summary, I’ll probably still print out google maps, and I’ll still have a road atlas in the car, but I’ll also let Route 66 guide me in and out of cities and towns.

Cross posted to Jane’s Technical Stuff.


We recently had a week off and spent it exploring more of the UK. We started and ended our trip with visits to snowboard shows – the first at Tamworth Snowdome, the second at Milton Keynes Xscape. We figured it was time to explore more of the West/North West/Midlands and so based ourselves around there for the week.

Gardens and Grounds

We took the opportunity to stop off at Chatsworth and spent a very pleasant afternoon strolling around the grounds and the house. (More photos) . The “Beyond Limits” exhibition was a really interesting addition to the beautiful gardens, and Damien Hirst’s Virgin Mary was really impressive. As a Girl Guide I visited the extended grounds of Chatsworth many times, camping on the grounds, staying in stone barns, but this was the first time I’d visited the house and gardens. It was a really lovely afternoon, and the cake in the cafe was wonderful too.

Still water

Our next stop was a couple of nights in Liverpool, a city I’d only visited once before for a University open day, and which Richard hadn’t visited at all. As Liverpool is to be the City of Culture next year, we thought now might be an interesting to visit as it prepares itself. It is definitely a work in progress at the moment, and the number of cranes on the skyline is quite impressive. We felt obliged to visit the Beatles story exhibition, which entertained us for quite a few hours. We also visited the Tate which unfortunately for us was having a swap around to make room for the Turner Prize exhibitons. We were both surprised at how small a city it is, being really walkable and not requiring public transport to get around the major attractions. I found the architecture amazing, and it reminded me quite a bit of Hull, my home town. Both cities are ports, both were heavily bombed during the 2nd world war, both have some amazing maritime buildings. More photos.

Porth Neigwl

Then a fun few days in Wales staying at Cae Gwyn Farm an organic bed and breakfast found via the Organic Holiday directory. We attempted to do some mountain biking, but couldn’t find an open rental shop. As usual, wherever we go, things are closed. Maybe we should go “in season” sometime :-). Still we managed to get some walks in, one around the visitor centre, a longer one around the forest and one in Barmouth on the beach at low tide. and a trip on the Snowdon Mountain railway.

A great trip, and a great opportunity to unwind.

The Positioniser

Have you read The Visual Display of Quantitative Information? Yeah, me too. It’s great, isn’t it? I found it really kicked me over the edge in appreciating the capabilities of getting information across to people in graphs.

Now, the graph below breaks a whole bunch of rules: way too much ink, and.. hello!… what’s that spurious bell curve doing there? But it’s still one hell of a useful diagram.

Diagram showing the position of snowboards against suitability and price

What I love about the diagram is the way it allows you to hunt-and-peck regions to find boards you might want to try out. For example, it tells me that I need to be over to the left next time I try any boards out.

The diagram is called The Positioniser(TM) and is from last year’s Document Snowboard magazine’s Ultimate Gear Guide supplement (it’s my second favourite snowboard magazine, after Snowboard UK, but the supplement rocks).

Snowboard shows

We managed to attend two snowboard shows over the past couple of weeks – firstly, the snowboard show at Tamworth and then the Sno!Show at Milton Keynes.

At the Snowboard show we attended a talk on photography by Russ Shea before having our first ever rails lesson with Hamish McNight and Stu Edwards. We caught up with Ash and collected a couple of demo boards he’d brought down for Richard to try, whilst I made the most of the exhibitors and took a Salomon Ivy and a Burton Feelgood out for a spin. The Ivy was much twitchier than I’m used to and is a lot more of a handful than the one I tried in Breckenridge a few years ago, but that could be because it has become more of a freestyle board in the intervening seasons. The Feelgood was lovely, a really enjoyable ride.

The Sno!Show seemed busier, and had taken over a lot of the snow area of Xscape catering to both skiers and snowboarders. Again I took out a couple of different boards, firstly the omatic super by Tara Dakides and then the Head Fountain. I didn’t find the omatic board very interesting and defnitely not as much fun as my Ride Kashmir. The Head Fountain however I loved – it was really responsive and I spent most of the time riding this with a great big smile on my face.

When I bought my Ride Kashmir 18 months ago I bought it because it was the best board of the 2 I’d been able to hire whilst in Breckenridge. These demo days make so much sense as I’m a firm believer that, at least for me, it isn’t the graphics that matter, it’s the ride style. I tried 2 boards that I wouldn’t have ever dreamt of trying, and one, the Head Fountain, turned out to be a really fun board to ride and one that I’m looking for a good reason to buy to add to the collection :-D. I’m sure I’ll be making the effort to attend this kind of day again to try out more new shiny things…