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06 August

Killin' it

To start this legendry post a picture of me with a French dude – who’s an intern (I’m crap with names), look at my beautiful unkempt hair – the bad thing is it’s even longer now. Notice the good use of “the Fonz finger point”.

So pretty much – as usual I’ve been crap at updating my site, I was kind of tempted to take the weblog offline, but then again that would be too much effort so wasting company time typing shit is a much better option! My excuse for not updating is I spend all day whacking my keyboard at work that when I get home – I just want to watch the Sci-Fi channel and chill.

Any how I can’t even remember what I’ve done since I last updated, which was AGES ago. So I think I’ll write a list:

• Went to an intern scavenger hunt – which was pretty lame as there was lots of traffic, but then we ended up at Alki beach. That was pretty nice and I met a cool dude called Alex from Norway (not Kenya), he would like me to call him “the man” but that would be taking it too far.
• I went to a BBQ at Bill Gate’s house – if I’m honest it kind of sucked. He had an awesomely nice house and stuff, but there was a whole posse of interns surrounding him so I couldn’t ask any questions and I could hardly hear it, but I did see him from a couple of meters away, so I can check that off my “things to do before I’m 21 list”
• Went to a tech fair (if you can call one tent and some computers a tech fair) on the MS playing fields. Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) spoke to us. He was funny, cool and very motivational – but he’s got the scariest eyes ever so I found it hard to look at him for more than 3 minuets at a time.
• Went to a cool tech talk with the head of the UX (user experience) for Windows codename “Longhorn” – he was very funny and actually made me think – hey I’d love to work on this stuff.
• Went a blues concert at the Seattle Pier (pier 66 or something cool like that), featuring B.B. King. The dude is 78 and still rocks the show – it was awesome.
• Missed my brothers wedding (congratulations Steven & Steph!) – felt pissy and didn’t feel like working for about a week.
• I bought an iPod – I am now officially “cooler than you”™ (unless you have an iPod that is, then I probably suck)
• I have spread the use of the finer points of the English language (Minge, Wanker, Tosser etc…)
• I’m going to watch a baseball game (Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees) next week – I want to get a big pointy finger and a hog dog to complete the experience.

So there you go. I also need to apologize to people who have sent me e-mails I’ve been crappy at replying – so I’m setting aside some time this weekend to get typing and replying or “little ‘r’” as the “cool guys” here would say. I haven’t even checked my personal mail for like a week.

Any way I’m over and out for now – going to bash my keyboard some more and make things happen.

22:26:49 - Phil - 198 comments

11 July

Howdy Partner

Well it’s been 3 weeks in Bellevue/Redmond/Seattle now, and I’ve been as-per-usual lame at u dating my weblog yay me, I’ve really been shown up by Mike who is in the middle of nowhere (well Australia) and manages to keep his weblog updated. But at least I should have enough to talk bout. So I moved into my apartment with Bex over in Bellevue, I’m about 25 mins walk from my building on the Microsoft campus, but the actual campus starts over the road from NE 148th St (I live on NE 35th street which is off 148th). The apartment is very beige, but very spacious, we have an open plan front/kitchen/dining room (which is beige and cream), a room with a washing machine and tumble dyer (which is cream), we each have our own bedrooms with walk in closets (which are beige and cream), Bex has an en-suite (bah) and I have “my own” bath room (which funnily enough is beige and cream). Got all the mod cons so it’s pretty cool, but I really did under estimate how much America is ruled by the car, so it’s a bit isolated here as neither of us can drive but luckily Dom and Rachel drive us round which is very kind of them! There is a Safeway, sears, (insert random store names here) Retail Park kinda a thing about 15 mins walk down 148th so that’s handy.

So how is the work? Well it’s defiantly much harder than I thought it would be, I’ve had so much to learn in such a short space of time, and it can be frustrating at times when things don’t work, but things are starting to fall into place and it’s getting much better and much more enjoyable. I have a big project starting tomorrow, which will take up most of my time along with my usual SDE/T duties. Whilst I’m at it I might as well “pimp my wears”, please take the time to check out the Express SKUs of Visual Studio 2005 (Whidbey) if you are so geekily inclined, it’s the product where my work focuses at Microsoft and of which I am a member of one of the teams that make up the Product Unit. Use the MSDN feedback thingy if you have any bugs reports or suggestions or failing that feel free to send them to me.

Obviously I don’t work all the time, and I’ve done other stuff. I’ve done a Microsoft Intern Puzzle Day, which involved solving (too hard for me) puzzles which made up a larger puzzle to tell you a location to go to “get the prize” my team came 6th out of 26 teams, so that’s not bad even though if I’m honest it’s probably nothing to do with my effort for the team. I’ve been shopping in Bellevue Square and down town Seattle, whilst I’m at it have a picture of the first ever Starbucks (located next to Pike Place – which is famous too, apparently).

Yesterday I went to the at The Gorge (about 150 miles from Seattle) see a list of bands who played. Not really my thing but I really enjoyed it and it was a nice release from the work and I got to act like a kid again which was great. Flogging Molly was my favorite band which I decided to go into “The pit” and unleash some English doom on the 500 or so people actually in “The pit”. As it turned out I just managed to get winded about 10 times in 30 seconds, I really need to start getting fit, I was knackered after 2 songs. So that brings me up to today, I have a BBQ at Bill Gate’s house to look forward to on Tuesday, and also getting paid again at the end of next week. Hope everyone is well and please feel free to drop me an e-mail for a chat anytime… Please…

23:14:24 - Phil - 106 comments

22 June

Looking back

I wrote this weblog entry in Heathrow airport when feeling a bit lonely, I've only just got net access now (someone was kind enough to leave an open wireless AP on the housing complex), so here it is...

So I decided to be all Carey Bradshaw, but probably a male version thereof, or at least hopefully and write a weblog entry in the airport, admittedly this won’t be posted online until I actually get some form of internet access in Seattle, but at least I look cool writing on my laptop in departures. So now I’m pondering what I should actually write as I’m feeling quite upset if I’m honest, I like to think I take everything in my stride, but in all honesty I’m scared of leaving home for 3 months, let alone living in another country.

First of I’d like to say a big thank-you to all the people who have made my last year `at university and home really fun, I don’t want to do specific shout-outs in case I miss somebody and then people will get angry with me `for missing them of, so I’ll say the classic and clichéd “you know who you are”, but really you should. The last thing I did socially was watch the England vs Switzerland match in the pub, and I’m pretty gutted I’m missing the next match (and future ones depending on how England do). Even with all the thuggery and violence associated with football, I really enjoyed chanted “Rooney Rooney Rooney” to a big projector screen and celebrating with friends, something I don’t think will be the same in America no matter how hard I try!

Some of my friends are heading off for a whole year in the big country, and I just wanna take the time to say how much I’ll miss them next year and I wish them the best of luck doing their GCSE styled courses and going to “Frat parties” and drinking from kegs, or what ever you do at American universities. They all made my year really enjoyable and great fun so best of luck to all of you.

So now I’m having to look at what the future holds for me, 3 months of hard work, fun and games I should think, but what really scares me is the possibility of getting a full time job in the states, I’m not really sure what I would do, as I’d love the opportunity but the “little boy” inside me doesn’t want to leave England, but I shouldn’t fret too much about what might happen and concentrate on what is happening now, I guess.

So I think I’ve written enough blurb and “thoughtful” comment, I think I should go and amuse my self in “world duty free”, look at posh sun glasses and probably go for a pint in O’Neills, the person next to me on the flight is going to love that! So anyway, over and out for now, roger, delta, omega.

I'll update my website with Seattle-ness and pictures tomorrow.

06:07:14 - Phil - 83 comments

04 June


Well it’s that time again to update the weblog after another long period of inactivity it’s time for a bit of a mammoth update, I’d decided to categorise things into groups so the stream of text isn’t to intimidating.

Last few weeks at university

The last time I blogged I briefly mentioned the end of year ball, and that I had gone paintballing. My digital camera wasn’t used extensively at either of these events (not at all at paintballing, obviously) but I can report the few ball photos I took before the battery died are now online.

After the ball and all that was over I did really do much with my time up in Hull, just saw lots of my friends who are going off to America next year to study, or just generally heading off around the world. That involved a wonderful trip to the lake district, more specifically Ambleside. The “Crazy KrEw” (yeah - i'm down with it) where Myself, Hannah, Tom, Gaz, Dan, Sarah-Jane and Frankie . Again there are photos online to browse through. One of my lovely pictures.

The first day was spent by a park next to lake Windermere catching the sun, running around making ourselves dizzy and generally cavorting around. The next day the sun had gone and the rain had started so our ingenious plan was to go for a bit of a hike around the lakes, it was great even though it was a bit drizzly got some fantastic photos, knackered myself out and was rewarded with a cream team and a bus ride home when we got to our destination – Grassmere. In Grassmere there is probably the best garden centre ever, it sold Plants, Hats, Toys, Shoes, (good) Food, tea, coffee has internet access and loads of other stuff, generally an all-round good place.

After returning home from out 2.5 day stay in Ambleside, we all went out to Vodka Reveloutions (photos here) on Sunday night and the next day had a “KFC Advert” style BBQ at Tom and Gaz’s house as we like to pretend we are cooler than we actually are. Its quite sad that I won’t get to hang out with any of these people next year as they’ll all be gone (with the exception of Dan) – so I’m really glad we made the most of the time left that we had! Good luck to everyone.

Redmond update

If you’ve been reading my (fantastic) website you should know that I’m heading off to Redmond in just over 2 weeks to work for “The Big House” aka Microsoft on an Internship scheme. Nothing much has moved on – on that front but me and Bex (the other person from the UK who is going to Redmond) went to get our J-1 Visa’s from the American embassy.

Now I’m not one for endless ranting, so I’ll put it simply – that place is my version of hell. Ended up queuing or waiting around for about 4.5 hours, which by anyone’s standards is not cool, all for a 2 min “interview” with a bloke in a booth – what really got to me was that the people doing Camp America (well some of them) had an agency help with their application so their numbers got called out and it was all done there and then, which is fair enough but it was exactly the same visa as me and Bex where getting so it did seem a little unfair. But – hey – at least it’s all done now and I can look forward to having a picture that actually looks like me in my passport – yay.

Assorted Geekery

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, got my self a graphics tablet from (don’t laugh) PC World, it works great with Photoshop but not too well with ink enabled controls for .NET – so I’m going to do a bit of investigation and see if I can overcome this problem as it was the reason I bought the dam thing!

I’m currently standing at the brink (the beginning or whatever you want to call it) of starting a big chunk of my final year project to demo at Microsoft Research for the MSP Meeting #3 I’ve not done a great deal so I’m going launching myself headfirst into code boy and aiming to get a load done over the next few days.

11:46:09 - Phil - 73 comments

19 May

Bruises on my body, pain on my mind.

I wanted to start this weblog entry off with some kind of punchy phrase rather than “hello” or “sorry for being lame and not blogging enough”, so instead I opted for this, isn’t it great?

I went paintballing yesterday for my mate Mark’s 21st birthday, to “Paintlery Bridge” (very apt name if I do say so myself) in a cramped mini van rammed with 16 student types and really uncomfortable seats. But the crap-seat-induced pain was worth it once we got to our destination, a few hours of paintballing fun ensued and I’ve got to say I think it’s great.

My personal favorite moment was me capturing the flag (Capture the flag style) for my team – the all powerful orange team. You may think “that’s not very interesting”, but the fashion in which I captured was the funny part. I won’t beat around the bush; I shot my team-mate carrying the flag in-front of me so I “had” to take the flag to the base. Now I would like to think of myself as an upstanding civilian and I’d like to say I didn’t do it on purpose. In retrospect I’m not really sure what happened at the precise moment I shot my team mate – I think I just wanted the glory of taking the little red flag to the pile of branches and logs that was the green base. We also played a game of “no death free for all” where we could shoot each other as much as we wanted, it was great, although the amount of temporary pain inflicted on me – wasn’t, but I am secure and happy in the fact I probably inflicted the same amount of pain on some one else.

On another note the end of year ball was much fun, went on carnival rides, drank too much red wine saw Big Brothaz and Girls Aloud then drunk some more, good stuff all round. I really enjoyed “The Cage of Doom” (what I like to call it) a big circular cage where you get “strapped in” (by one loose chain), and spun at bodily-function-malfunctioning educing speeds. All this on campus at the university, everyday should be like that.

I have a rather bleak couple of weeks in front of me, the next “event” that I’m taking part in getting my J-1 Visa at the US Embassy in London, and I’m really looking forward to that, a lot, yeah, great. In the mean time I plan to watch lots of day time television, code some stuff for my final year project and “catch some rays”, if the weather lasts.

14:11:45 - Phil - 70 comments

15 May

Feeling dapper. Looking smooth.

Hello their adoring fans! I have come back from my brain vacation, being unable to comprehend anything other than revision, stress and drinking I have now gained the use of my hands again to update my weblog. So where have I been? What caused my mind to implode?

Well I’ve had a set of exams the past few weeks – trying to do the minimal amount of revision isn’t easy I’ll have you know, you need to do lots of things to keep your mind occupied, but that’s a secret I will not share. I also split up with my girlfriend - which kept me occupied as well – but you are not meant to talk about that kind of thing on weblogs. Right?

Going off an a random tangent it’s the End of Year ball today, much dapper wear has been purchased by myself including a fine half-priced suit, cufflinks and braces. I get the fine pleasure of seeing Girls Aloud, Big Brothaz, Roxanne, DJ Yoda and the Cut of Brothers. Some one better keep Big Brothaz and Cheryl Tweedy apart mind, or that could get nasty. Here a picture of the young lady in question, she may look innocent now, but really she wants to cave your face in.

GBH is cool

On a more geek related note I’ve started some work on my final year project, unfortunately my supervisor in under the impression that neural nets are a good way to do shape recognition, now I know the human brain is meant to be a big neural net and therefore it’s a natural thing of nature, but why-o-why do the people writing books on the subject use such hardcore math and funny symbols? Personally I think it’s just because they can, they take a basic formula and make it as complex as possible, adding all sorts of Greek stuff over it so my pitiful brain just dies on reading it. Anyway as you can see I feel inferior to the neural network kings and have developed a complex. The basic idea is to normalize some ink from a tablet pc to a 25 by 25 matrix making 625 inputs to a neural network, have a funky hidden layer than an output for each wanted (known) shape type. Train the network with a few 100 variations of a shape and the desired output and fingers crossed I’ve got some shape recognition. I will post sample apps and code when I have managed to do this.

On the Redmond front nothing much have moved on, I’ve got my visa interview date for the 2nd of June, the same day as Bex the girl who works for MS UK who is also going to Redmond to funky it up Bill Gates style. Apart from that I’ve generally just played e-mail ping-pong with people in Redmond, which I must say is a fun game.

Well it’s time for me to retire from typing, and get stuff ready for the ball (It’s so only like, 7 hours to go, man), I shall take pictures and most of all I shall keep it real.

11:18:35 - Phil - 49 comments

26 April

Last day of being a teenager

Yes it's true, today is the last day I can be called a teenger, As of tomorrow, in about 4 hours, it'll be my birthday - reaching the grand old age of 20! It's quite weird to think I've probabbly lived a 1/3rd to a 1/4er of my life, scary thought. I think not being called a teenager anymore is probabbly a really good thing, most of my friends at university are atleast a year older than I am, so maybe they can't take the piss quite so much out of my age...

Fate being the nice thing it is means I have an Exam for my Computer Science Degree, Computer Graphics and UID, luckly its my "favorite" of all the modules I do, and I'm pretty sure I'll do fine in the exam, finger crossed anyway. And good luck to all my course mates as well!

Not much has happened to me recently, I've been pretty much in a weird state of limbo, not really knowning what to do with myself - and probabbly annoying people in the process, it's probabbly miss-placed exam stress (I don't really think I suffer greatly from "classic" stress), so I'm really looking foward to the end of the exams in about 3 weeks time!

20:45:29 - Phil - 55 comments

18 April

Redmond update

Bit of a redmond update - I've spoken to my recruitment person at Microsoft over the phone a couple days ago. Offically got my "offer" and offically accepted the job. Talked about all the benefits I get and my "compensation" - no don't worry I've not slipped over on a stary copy of OneNote, it's just the American word for "wage" - weird. Getting back on track, I found out that I'm in the "VSCore" group of the "Visual Studio Group", so it pretty much leaves it wide open what I'm going as, apparently, VSCore do loads of stuff (except the lanauges and compliers) to do with Visual Studio, so I guess I'll have to wait and see, and If i did know I probabbly wouldnt be able to post it here anyway.

Random internet junk: extreme wallpaper

12:32:00 - Phil - 109 comments

I fixed Jodie Marsh's nose

I was watching last night and was wondering what it was all about - really, I mean Jodie Marsh's nose, is well - weird. It has a funny bit on the left hand side - its quite big at the end and it's pretty much an eye sore. I couldnt sleep last night so I decided to have a go at fixing here nose - like the digital plastic surgeon I am!

So after my extensive, expensive and skillful use of the pixel knife, Jodie has a "better" nose (could be better - first operation). I find it quite weird that she just looks pretty averagely normal now, and it got me thinking maybe it is her weird nose that has got here into the world of the Z-List celebrity and on the cover of magazines, giving her the extra "slapper tart" edge with an obviously fake nose...

PS. Be careful plastic surgery is addictive, after doing her nose I started on her lips, then wanted to change the shape of her face - remeber kids, love your self for who you are.

11:43:10 - Phil - 99 comments

15 April

Me and Visual Studio

Smooth baby
Well I've finally found out what team I'm working with in Redmond this summer... (Drum Roll)... Visual Studio! To be fair it's probably the best team I could be working on as an SDET as I'll get to play with the new .NET CLR and try and break things, fantastic. I'm going to find out some more information over the next few days (I hope) so I'll keep my wonderful readers posted.

On another note I went to see Starsky and Hutch last night with Laura - it's a pretty good film but unfortunately doesn't live unto the giddy heights of Zoolander, but otherwise a hood 2 hours spent, apart from a couple who thought it was okay to talk at random intervals, I mean what where they thinking? It's not okay to talk normally when a film is playing, ever! It's the first time I've been to the UCI cinema in Hull, pretty good cinema, but It was really strangly lit, I mean it was really bright in the rooms before the actual cinema screen, very odd.

14:47:13 - Phil - 58 comments

14 April


Just a bit of boring keeping, for the people who care I have changed my passport account used with MSN from phil_price_uk2/at/ to phil/at/ - I managed to import all my contacts from my old account but it might of missed some one out.

14:04:03 - Phil - 66 comments

13 April

Back from the dead (almost)

I suppose I owe my adoring readers (insert pseudo-witty joke here) an explanation for the long-term brokenness of my website. Let's just say I was too lazy (and poor, send money) to re-register my domain until I got told there would be a £200 penalty if I didn't re-register by the 13th April, so unsurprisingly mister master-card and I where more than happy to make a quick phone call.

So there you go, I've been lazy and I deserve a slap.

Now I'm sure I might of mentioned that I'm going to make this weblog a whole load more interesting and less about myself and more about issues, well as usual I'm going to start off with an amazing start and totally ignore what I said to myself and be selfish and talk all about me! The reason mainly is I've got some very cool news (not that anyone who I know hasn't been told/heard, but anyway), I'm going to work for Microsoft US as an Intern this summer (maybe I can get my face on thier intern webpage)! I'm of two people chosen from the UK to work in, WA on "some project" (no it's not under NDA, I just don't know yet) for 3 months! Woo!

I found out about 3 weeks ago but I still can't really believe it yet, it's not sunken in. I get lots of cool things like free gym and a free bike, a very decent wage and cheap accommodation. I'll be working as an SDET, which means I write code to automate testing of code. So with my "reborn" weblog I'll be able to blog about my Microsoft experience and my love of Redmond. Probably.

I went to my parents for the first time in ages over the Easter weekend. It was kind of weird as I've not been there since Christmas, but I was cool and my parents have got a new pet dog called Poola (the name sucks, but she came with it)...


I think my parents dogs are transsexual, their male dog, whiskey, is the meekest and womanly man-dog I've ever seen, and Poola is pretty much, in every way, a Man. Except of course she is missing the relevant "man-bits", but I managed to smack her head on the concrete path in the garden when playing with a tennis ball with her, and she didn't whimper or anything. Hardcore. Maybe she should be a wrestler? Who knows...?

Other exciting things I've been doing? Well I went to London with the Microsoft Student Partner scheme, had an open-bus tour of London, probably the most cold I've been in my entire life I couldn't really feel my face, but then again when do you feel your face anyway? I noticed in London there are lots of "Men on horses" statues which I thought was cool, one day I aspire to have a "Man on a horse" statue of me, holding some geek implement and looking all austere. I tried to snap them on my digital camera but as it only costs like £90 they came out crap, so have a girl on a big lion statue instead...


I've been reading a book recently, Microserfs by Douglas Coupland, brought as a "Going to Redmond" present by my girlfriend - Laura. I'm really surprised that I've spent a lot of time reading it, I'm a bit of a spaz as far as reading speed is concerned but I'm very much enjoying it. I'm going to read more books, maybe a bit of a late new years resolution, but at least it's a good one.

20:41:59 - Phil - 115 comments

17 March

Welcome back

Hey look no more "3 lines of times new roman font" with a lame excuse for me not getting my site back online! Well the truth is that my website was hacked, well actually not just my website, the entire hosting box that my site runs from got wiped - then restored but the database was lost forever. The current "style" i am using for the site is one of the premade ones that comes with nucleus (the new weblog software I am using) - it's rather dull I do agree, I hope to nock up something all funky when I have a spare moment.

Looking at it from a more foward-thinking point of view, it means I actually might update this site a little bit more and maybe put some decent content on it - rather than "what I did this week was this and that" which is all rather "18 year old girl" if you ask me. So where will I be taking the 5th incarnation of this site? Who knows, I'm thinking more pictures for a start, and more general thought on issues that affect me and stuff that I am thinking about.

Now going right back on what I said, I do feel the need to update all my beloved readers (all 3 of them) on what I've been doing... The "coolest" thing I've done of late is a presentation at Microsoft UK to this years uk finalists. 40 mins, me and a stage, it was pure joy. Coming on on this monday is a pretty scary interview, again at Microsoft UK headquaters with Microsoft US for a 3 month intership over summer. I'm looking foward to it as it'll be challenge, but I really have no clue what to expect, how well I will do, or what I will do if I do get the job... It has been something at the forefront of my mind the past couple of days after it all came about, so I'll be happy when it's all over and done with.

Well I think thats enough from me at the moment, I'm going to dive "crazy man style" into my mounting number of coursework projects that need to be done.

Peace out for now.

19:26:53 - Phil - 84 comments

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