Events (Concerts, Theatre etc) Music Review

Muse Drones Tour 2016, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

Muse Drones 2016
Muse Drones 2016

For our first concert of 2016, we were lucky enough to get a couple of late-release tickets for Muse Drones Tour 2016, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham on 2nd April 2016, which was the first night of the UK leg of Muse’s Drones tour.

Opening the evening was Nothing But Thieves who done a great job of getting the crowd warmed up and seems like a good band to keep an eye on for the future.

Muse performed in the middle of the arena with on a circular stage, it’s hard to describe the experience of the 360 stage and it’s immersiveness, and of the use of the amazing flying drones and floating 3d projections. It was a spectacular stage for a spectacular evening of rock. Another thing to note with the position of the stage was the sound was much better than the normal arena set up which was deep and clear which is sometimes muffled and lost.

Events (Concerts, Theatre etc) Music Review

Chic/Nile Rodgers review – O2 Academy Birmingham

A very funky evening with Chic/Nile Rogers opening with Everybody Dance until finishing with Le Freak and a party on-stage to Good Times!

20150325_214205_bHaving seen and enjoyed Chic at V Festival at Weston Park in 2014, we were excited to get some last-minute tickets for this and thought if they were as good as at V Festival then I would be happy. They were much better then they were at V Festival and enjoyed it with a more appreciative crowd of attendees and it was a privilege to watch a more personal performance in a ‘small’ venue sucvh as the O2 Academy, for which we visited for the first and (based on our experience) not last time!

Security Technology

Secure Password Generator – revamp!

Just a quick note to announce some improvements to my popular Secure Password Generator 🙂

Improved layout and strength indication – you can even enter an existing password to check it’s strength.


Events (Concerts, Theatre etc) Music Review

Robbie Williams, Etihad Stadium, Manchester – 22nd June 2013

Robbie Williams - 22 June 2013
Robbie Williams – 22 June 2013 – Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Like many people I bought the tickets an age ago – around December last year, and so the night arrived and we were not disappointed. Having seen Robbie Williams in 2006 @ MK Bowl (see old review) he did have a lot to live up to as that was a great concert. And I always go on record by saying I will not usually listen to him at home or anything, but his live performances have always been great.

Events (Concerts, Theatre etc) Music Review

Hugh Laurie (and the Copper Bottom Band), Birmingham Symphony Hall – 18th June 2013

I’ve always liked Hugh Laurie from the days of Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder, House (of course) and his occasional foray into film.

It’s not often you do get to see people like Hugh, and so, when tickets to see him with the Copper Bottom Band were announced I had to get some.

He did take a while to come on-stage and did blame nerves when he finally cam on, but when he started he couldn’t stop… We were treated to two encores and the audience was still asking for more, and I think he would have done if allowed!

He and his music was/is infectious and indeed we carried on listening on the drive home!

Hugh’s singing itself is pretty decent, but it was the strong vocals, and exceptional band to back him up that really made the whole thing shine.

Laurie is clearly an accomplished pianist but the piano never took centre stage and for the majority of the show he let the talents of his fellow musicians on the trombone, saxophone, guitars and drums lead the way.

In between the  music he interacted with the crowd with comic banter – almost as if we were in a pub somewhere, and even treated the crowd to a tango.

Comedy Events (Concerts, Theatre etc) Music Review

Bill Bailey, Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 15th June 2013

Bill Bailey - Qualmpedler 2013
Bill Bailey – Qualmpedler 2013

I’ve always liked watching Bill Bailey on TV, mainly for the musical humour as well as briefly watching him on QI etc. and obviously Blacks Books.

So it was for my birthday that I was presented with tickets to see him on the 15th June 2013 at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Being honest I wasn’t sure what to expect from the comedy part of it.

Events (Concerts, Theatre etc) Music Review

Bon Jovi, Villa Park, Birmingham – 9th June 2013

Bon Jovi, Villa Park, Birmingham - 9th June 2013
Bon Jovi, Villa Park, Birmingham – 9th June 2013

The set was amazing, before a single guitar had been strummed it was looking like it would be an amazing Bon Jovi show!

After an amazing 3 hour set we were not disappointed.

Opening with That’s What the Water Made Me (a track from the new album What About Now) instead of one of their stable old classics. It was clear not all were yet familiar but it was a bold decision non-the-less. This was followed by a slightly more well known song – You give Love a Bad Name… and as soon as the opening chords were played the stadium became alive.

PHP Programming Web Design

PHP Shorthand If Notation or the Ternary Operator

Why should I care about PHP Shorthand If Notation or the Ternary Operator

Programming would be a bit useless without being able to evaluate conditions using if/end and switch statements. If/Else statements is obviously a great tool, but they aren’t optimal (or necessary) in all situations. And so I introduce you to … PHP Shorthand If Notation or the Ternary Operator.

Ternary operator takes the form “(condition) ? (true return value) : (false return value)” to shorten your if/else structures.

Travel & Adventures

Hawaiian Cruise (and visit to Los Angeles) on the Golden Princess

Our Hawaiian Cruise (and visit to Los Angeles) on board the Golden Princess Cruise November-December 2011.

During this trip we visited the Hawaiian Islands and spent a few nights in Los Angeles on the way back.

OK, it’s taken me over a year to finish writing this up – keep not finding time to do it! I will add some photos in the next few days.

jQuery Programming Web Design

jQuery Scroll page to position of an element/div

When you’re working with a complex page that has a load of areas on-screen, making use of this jQuery Scroll page to position of an element/div function below to scroll to the location will enhance you’re user experience by saving them needing to scroll… take them straight to it!

All The Rest

Rocking in Hyde Park with Jon Bon Jovi at Hard Rock Calling – 25th June 2011

Having booked tickets a lifetime ago (or felt like it), the day finally came.

We were in the queue around 10/10:30PM and so we were about the first people in… so picnic rug in hand set up fort middle center just 2 or 3 rows from the front of the pleb partition. while  the queues for entrance stretch through Hyde Park on a glorious day unlike the damp start to the weekend. But we did visit the Park while The Killers were on, crowd was nowhere near as big as Saturday but nonetheless sounded like a good show from what I heard under my tree from the rain. And ‘wet’ our appetite for Jon Bon Jovi on the Saturday…

PHP Programming

Hints to help optimise the performance of a PHP website (LAMP)

Over time, the websites I have been involved in have became more and more complex (and indeed carry more and more traffic).

And so the ever increasing need to optimise and increase the performance of your website (or web-application) becomes more crucial.

As you will appreciate this is a HUGE subject, so I aim to simply put you on the path to devising a better architecture and design. But I will attempt to introduce some ideas to assist…

PHP Programming

Working with Dates & Timestamps in PHP

Working with Dates and Timestamps is always trying, but using UNIX timestamps can save you a lot of time and hassle!

HTC Desire Tips & Tricks

Calibrate HTC Desire battery – help improve your battery life!

Need to stabalise the battery life on your HTC Desire? This will help a little… Read on…

JavaScript jQuery Programming

Get element with CSS class name or id with jQuery

Get element with CSS class name or id with jQuery, jQuery is extremley powerful and a time (and even life) saver, using jQuery, you can get elements with CSS class name and id easily without too much blood and tears!