The last year of my life has been working on several projects for Skype and today is the day of reckoning. The beta launch has officially gone out with all kinds of cool new features and a kick ass face lift.

Things that I got to play a part in on this release? New Skypecasts controls that are integrated into the client, the Live Tab, enterprise compatibility (geeky) and my personal favourite and pet project – public chats.

What are public chats? (from the Skype blog)
In short, you could say that public chats are text chats that anyone can create, host and join. They’re similar to the current private text chats and indeed, share large parts of the interface, but what public chats offer are better moderation controls, letting anyone join without being “added” and letting you have a link to a chat straight on your webpage, e-mail or any other place.

Read more about them here

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I am pretty damned excited that we got this out the door. It is nice to see something come to fruition after months of brainstorming, blood, sweat and tears.

Go and download it now — then join me in one of the first public chats and see for yourself how cool it is! Link is on the sidebar of the blog.

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Oh God. I have done it. I have crossed over into the darkside again and I’m not sure that I will ever be brought back. After my long weekend in New York hanging out with all these business obsessed American/Austrian banker, financial, CEO, celebrity-types I have given in to my technophile weaknesses and purchased another Blackberry.

I sat around all weekend watching everyone obsessively check and re-check their Blackberrys. To the extent that I was completely and totally annoyed. Yes, annoyed because unless you have something to fiddle with 24/7 then you feel a little left out and out of touch with the world. I don’t even know who the hell I care enough about to need to have my email delivered in realtime to me, but the fact that I was the only kid in the playground without a shiny, cool lunchbox grated on my nerves.

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Then I started to reminisce about the good old times I used to have with my Blackberry in Spain. Ahh, the joys, the tears, the laughter. It all came back to me. My love affair with the crackberry.

And since I am completely and totally obsessive when it comes to purchasing gadgets – I get it in my head and I spend hours and hours researching and drooling over it like it was some dirty gadget porn – I then had the daunting task of trying to figure out which Blackberry I wanted.

The obvious mobile professional choice is the 8700g. It has the full QWERTY keyboard that everyone loves. But I find it a bit large for my taste (that’s what she said). Plus I want something slightly more stylish and a little less financial district anal looking. The next one that I looked at was the 7130g. Much smaller and very similar to the 7100v (the model that I previously owned). Cute and familiar – I like that. And finally there is the new Pearl 8100. The Pearl is the latest addition to the Blackberry family and is geared towards a more consumer oriented market than the other models. It has a camera and mp3 playing abilities. Sounds right up my alley…

At the end of the day I have not had so much luck with convergence devices. I don’t really use my phone as an mp3 player and I always carry my digital camera with me so was the Pearl what I wanted? Turns out not. I decided to go for the 7130g. One thing that pushed me in this direction was the fact that the Pearl lacks the sidescroll and esc keys that Blackberry’s are famous for. I didn’t feel like diddling around with their “pearl” dial in the center of the keyboard because in previous interfaces (such as Sony Ericsson phones) I found this experience to be somewhat annoying given the fact that I have such fat fingers.

The next issue that I was having is the fact that after the purchase of my stupid and useless PocketPC I-mate I am now stuck with a Vodafone contract that I have never once made a call from. Great. I also have a contract with T-mobile for the 3G data card. Basically I didn’t want to start up yet another contract on a phone number that I wasn’t going to use. So I decided to search Gumtree to see if I could find some unlocked Blackberry for a reasonable price. And I lucked out! Ended up scoring a brand new O2 7130g for a mere £150. Bargain!

Now I have to get the thing set up with O2 and I will be well on my way to becoming another Blackberry carrying, annoying droid like the rest of the world. I feel at least 1% more important already…

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Finally getting around to doing the recap of NYC trip…

Thursday night flew in on a Virgin flight. I arrived 1 hour late having managed to watch Volver (the new Pedro Almodovar) and The Queen on my flight. Got into JFK, ran through customs and hopped in a fast-driving taxi on my way into the city. I was staying at Greg’s loft in Tribeca which happened to be on the fifth floor. You can imagine how thrilled I was to look up the long, narrow stairwell and realise that there was no elevator. Thankfully, Greg being the gentleman that he is carried my rather hefty suitcase up the stairs. I took a quick shower, was introduced to his flatmate Ori, drank a few glasses of wine and then we ran out to meet up with our old friend Dan.

greg’s loft

Went to 66 right around the corner from Greg’s place. It was a cute Asian fusion lounge restaurant. Turns out that Dan lives exactly one block from Greg which made our meeting for dinner that much more convenient given my jetlag was approaching rapidly. Downed a few vodka tonics, ate some dim sum and then headed to the Tribeca Grand for a few more drinky-poos with Dan (Greg had ditched us at this point since he is super Mr CEO responsible guy now).

Next day woke up at about 5 am freezing my ass off and not able to sleep anymore. Sat in the living room of the loft contemplating purchasing about 12,000 pairs of wool socks and finally fell asleep for 2 more hours. Received a call from Benji around 11 – he had flown in from Vienna the night before – and made a date to meet at Bathazar for lunch at 12.30.

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benji and steph at balthazar

Balthazar was lovely. Had some steak tartar (yum raw beef for breakfast) and then Benji and I started having a few cocktails. White wine, glass of vodka, the usual. Then we decided to take a stroll and do some shopping while we waited for the boys to arrive on their flight from Vienna.

I love shopping in New York or the States for that matter. It is so great to be paid in sterling and then shop in the US. Like 2 for 1 everywhere! Ended up purchasing quite a few things. My jetlag was starting to rear its ugly head again, but we kept on. Finally the boys (Albi and Thomas) arrived when Benji and I were having some champagne at the Soho Grand so we jumped in a cab and headed on over to Philippe’s flat in Union Square to meet them.

Got to Philippe’s and started to make our plans for the evening. Not an easy prospect to get a dinner reservation anywhere cool for 8 people at 7.30pm on a Friday, but we somehow managed.

Headed to Greg’s where we had a few more glasses of wine and off again to meet up with the crew at Blue Water Grill for some dins. Food was good (not great) although my jetlag didn’t really allow me to eat anything anyway. Drank a few cocktails and had some laughs.

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philippe, steph and thomas at blue water grill

And this is when we really realised that it was Halloween weekend in NYC. Crapola! I forgot how seriously Americans take Halloween having been absent for the festivities for the past 6 years. And it really wasn’t even Halloween until the following Tuesday, but parties were in full swing and all the girls were out in their best slut costumes. No wonder guys love Halloween!

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dinner folks

After dinner we ran out into the pouring torential rains to steal taxis from people and headed off to a bar that was holding a Halloween party. At this point I was feeling a bit tired so I opted to ditch the bar and went back to Philippes with a six pack of Heinekin. Ended up falling asleep on the sofa. The boys rolled in around 5 and started talking to me which I completely loved. NOT. Slept until 9 am then went back out into the flash flood to find a taxi home to Greg’s house. Arrived to Greg’s only to find that he himself had not made it home yet. I guess I missed a pretty eventful evening!

Again, woke up at about 10 and got ready for brunch with the crew down at the Stanton Social Club in the Lower East Side. Had a wonderful breakfast with little donuts and pancakes and other magical little tapas dishes. The chef of the place was in love with Lucy and kept sending up complimentary dishes. Yum! Afterwards went and did a little shopping and strolled around in the rain. Ended up in Soho eventually and spent even more money. The whole goal of the afternoon was to get our Halloween costumes for the evening which is a little more difficult than one can imagine. We ended up choosing a group outfit and finally we were done.

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albi and steph at stanton

Michael arrived from Los Angeles and then the legendary Johnny from London so at long last the entire posse of Austrians and myself were together for our crazy evening out on the town. I met up with the boys at a small loft party where we dominated the scene dressed as the Boy Scout Troop from Den #2 with only myself as the girl scout. Loved it. After a few vodkas we headed out to another loft party down the street which was absolutely amazing. Complete with two Borats and lots of other good looking folks having a great time. That lasted for a little bit longer and we were out in the blistering cold again to yet another loft.

the borats

We finally ended up at Pure/Pear (can’t remember) where we had a table booked. 4 bottles of vodka and a lot of crazy dancing later (the place now tops my list of bad clubs) we all headed back to Philippe’s where we contemplated the sexual virility of 30 year old women (contemplated, I said – not practised so get your minds out of the gutter). I ended up in a taxi in my boy scout uniform on my way home around 7 am where I fell into a deep and peaceful slumber for about 3 hours.

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the troop

Spent all of Sunday on the sofa at Greg’s watching the 60″ tv and ordering from various delis in town. We ended up being so desperate, stupid and hungover that we actually watched the entirety of Oliver Twist AND discovered that CSI is about the worst written show in the entire world, not to mention far too much about the world of competitive eating. I digress.

The boys phoned me for dinner at about 7.30 and after vehemently refusing (at least in my own head) to go, I got up and got dressed. Met up with Michael, Thomas and Benji at Le Souk for some wine then ended up downstairs at the club for a few cocktails. Yes, I am a trooper. Got home around 3 and passed out.

Last day, Monday got up at 9 and packed up the room that I had completely destroyed with all my shopping bags and 17,000 outfits. Met up with the boys (Benji, Thomas, Johnny and Mike) at Balthazar for brunch which we happened to miss by about 10 minutes so ended up having lunch. Walked around town again for a little more shopping time, it was a gloriously crisp and sunny day. Finally around 4 pm we had to catch our taxi to the airport with our taxi driver named Butt Faisal. Exhausted.

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thomas and johnny

I had arrived a bit too early at the airport since the boys had their flight to Vienna 2 hours before me so I ended up getting a massage, manicure and foot massage at the Express Spa in JFK. What a great invention. I love that place.

Got on my flight, took 1/2 a sleeping pill and passed out for the entire 6 hours which happened to be the most I had slept the entire weekend.

HILARIOUS time with the band again… Wonder where we will end up for the winter break?!?

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Imagine that my house started on fire and I could only grab 10 things that I would take with me… What would I take?

1. Roley – I couldn’t let the puppy die in the fire!
2. Grandma Ginger’s diamond bee ring – it is the one thing that reminds me of her most
3. Box of photos and negatives – all the rest of my photos are online so unless the Flickr servers disappear then i’m mostly ok
4. Passport – I’d be screwed without it
5. My computer – might be a bit large but I’d try to drag it out
6. Jewelry – The Rolex, Tiffany ring and pearl earrings
7. Personal journals
8. Mobile phone – how am I going to be able to call for help?
9. Glasses – might be blind without them
10. Mr. Bunny – the stuffed rabbit that my dad gave me when I was 7

I think that is all. I might take Arlie with me, but I’m pretty sure that she would be able to run out on her own. Goes to show you that I really don’t need that all the stuff that I have and could probably live without it all. Hmmm, maybe I should start selling stuff on eBay again.

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You knew that the video would be coming out soon and here it is. Weekend fun in NYC with the Austrians and Biscuit. Recap coming soon…as soon as I recover from this nasty jetlag.

See the photos here

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Well based on this article it certainly is a good thing that I am a virgin and plan to remain that way until I get married since according to the NY Post it is a fine line between innocent and slizut…

YOUR LAYS ARE NUMBERED
5, PURE;10, YOU’RE PARIS? THE FUNNY MATH OF N.Y. SEX
By MARINA VATAJ

“I’ve had nine sexual partners, but I tell my boyfriend that I’ve only had three. I don’t count some of them since they only happened once.”- Andrea, 28

October 24, 2006 — TO a woman, size does matter. But it’s not the size you’re thinking of. What women really care about is the length of the list of former lovers, which is usually either too many or too, too many. No matter how sexually liberated (or liberally sexual), most women believe that the number of guys they’ve had sex with (the average being somewhere between 7.2 and 10.5, depending on the survey) really does count.

Read the entire sorted affair here

This quote is great “I don’t count some of them since they only happened once.”. Awesome, one-night stands don’t count. You might as well rule out anything involving a condom since no skin is really touching. Go ahead and add in oral and anal sex (ala Clinton style) and then the whole world is nearly a virgin. Actually, you should probably subtract for any kinky stuff…giving yourself negative numbers!

“Yes, honey, I have slept with -3 people. I am that innocent.”

Reminds me of those dirty virgin stories that you always hear. Girls that do anything…BUT…because then their virginity remains intact.

Well – count me in, but I’m taking a different route. I am taking the mormon route. I am a born again virgin. Yep! As of today…just like Madonna and next I’m going to steal adopt a baby from Africa next week.

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Weeds is a great show. Too bad we haven’t gotten season 2 in the UK yet. Here is a little sampling…

I will never eat a banana again…

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It has been a while since I exposed the contents of my fridge to the world so I thought I would do it as a refresher. For those of you that didn’t know – there are 5 major food groups.

Those 5 food groups?

According to the contents of my fridge those would be: beer, dairy, veg, condiments, eggs (which technically falls under dairy) and vodka (not pictured because obviously it is in the freezer).

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I love Iron Chef almost as much as I love sushi. So the fact that this is the Iron Chef Sushi Battle just plain rocks.

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Things that I am digging on this week.

  1. Ryan Gosling
  2. The Killers – Sam’s Town
  3. Roka
  4. Lounge Lover
  5. Andrew’s Garage
  6. Anticipation of going to NYC
  7. Convertible mittens
  8. Black nail polish
  9. Chicken salad with Nando’s marinade
  10. DOA 4

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