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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Triming

Damn warm today. Not hot, just clammy. Started it off with a cup of coffee (of course) and a quick ride over to the in-laws to wish happy retirement to W. He was on exceptionally good form and had very much enjoyed his surprise party his colleagues had organised for him. He did say he felt more than a little bit guilty because he'll be back at work with them all again on Monday. They just couldn't bear to let him go and they need all the help they can get. I told him he should feel flattered and just enjoy it knowing full well if you've had enough you can just stop whenever you please. It's alright for some.

A quick trip to Next on the way home found me procuring a new pair of jeans and Mrs G a new dress as well as a little something for the hosts of the early evening engagement party that we're attending tonight. Followed that up with a quick stop in Sainsbury's for bacon and crispy bread rolls which became some excellent bacon rolls fir our lunch. Nothing beats a bacon roll and a cup of tea. Leaves me feeling that sometimes I wish I was a 'White-van Man' just so I could know the carnal pleasure of crispy pig in bread every morning over a copy of the Sun or the Daily Star (or whatever it is he reads nowadays)

After that, the lawn. It's been crying out to be mown for a week at least having had a long holiday over the last month or so, while the weather was too dry for it to grow, so it sunbathed until it was brown. Now we've had a little precipitation again of late and it's been sprouting like a good 'un. So a strim of the edges followed by a good mowing of the middle bits and everything is back in it's rightful place and looking inviting again.

Daughter's feeling a little sorry for herself (sinuses giving her grief now). If it's not one thing it's your mother. As a result, after son and I finished watching the Formula 1 qualifying, she settled down with Mrs G to watch 'My Sisters' Keeper' the film of the Jodie Picoult book. That's how I've managed to knock out this entry before going to join them.

As I've mentioned tonight sees us visiting an engagement party and then to Aunt S' for a proper Singaporean curry with M and her dad. There will be alcohol.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The End is Nigh

So what have I learned this week?

A Hong Kong Bilionaire bough all the electric cable in the country... sort of...

I saw a great music video...

Dancing Pigeons - Ritalin from Blink on Vimeo.



I found a great place for recipes: http://www.yummly.com/

I learned this:
Almost every dimension of cognition improves from 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and creativity is no exception. The type of exercise doesn't matter, and the boost lasts for at least two hours afterward. However, there's a catch: this is the case only for the physically fit. For those who rarely exercise, the fatigue from aerobic activity counteracts the short-term benefits.
... from Newsweek

...and that the late Stieg Larsson has become the first author to sell 1Million E-Books...

oh, and finally, the oldest goldfish in England may well live just around the corner. I've got to say, I'm not wholly convinced by this story. I mean, mum and dad surely must have replaced them a couple of times over the years.... don't you think?

Happy to say that it's Friday (I'm in Love) and the weekend is just about upon us. Have a great one!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I just had to share....

Breaking up with facebook is hard to do...

When it kicked off back in 2004, it was just a method for students at Harvard to share info. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg (and who ever else was actually involved with it) didn't really know what they'd got themselves into from what I've read. Anyway, it turned out that "facemash" (as it was first called) became the website they decided to call facebook which in turn became an almost overnight global sensation. It wasn't actually open to the world until September 2006. I joined up not long after in 2007.

Zuckerberg has come in for a lot of criticism over the years, and some of it appears to be well placed. Facebook's attitude towards data security hasn't been a good one. The rumours of how the people that work at facebook use the data are all bad, and the tools for the user to be able to manage their own security settings are equally poor. Things have been bad.... very bad....






But the take up of such a dodgy environment has been huge!!. And when I say huge I mean off-the-scale. They now claim to have over 500million users signed up and most estimates suggest around 50% use the site everyday. That is an insane amount of traffic. It's also an enormous amount of personal information about a very large number of people.  With security and privacy being so poorly managed no-one should feel surprised when the see headlines like this:

Details of 100m Facebook users collected and published

But actually this isn't a particularly new or disturbing story....  What's actually happened is that some bright spark has written a piece of code that harvests all the publicly available information from the facebook site. Note how this information is Publicly available.  This is simply because at least 100 million members of facebook have not changed their default privacy settings and so their information os free for all to see.

If you want a better understanding of some of the impact of this, take a look at this site: http://youropenbook.org/ which gives you the ability to search all of the unprotected posts on facebook in real time. And this is just posts..... not birthdays, biographies, phone numbers, email addresses, all of which also exist and many of which aren't hidden from view either.

Given all these terrible traits, people still join facebook.... and they don't appear to be leaving in a hurry either. And that is for two very simple reasons. 1) All their friends are on here and that's how they keep in touch. Even more-so now that they can do it from whichever mobile phone they have (and everyone has a mobile phone in the 1st and 2nd worlds) and 2) Where would they go?? There's hundreds of social networking sites out there, but none seem to be a viable alternative or picking up enough momentum to take on the might of the appallingly managed facebook.

Sadly this is true for me to.  I keep banging on about leaving facebook, and I'm trying to.  I don't post to it any more. Although I do post selective tweets....  and occasionally I'll have a look at my friends status updates.... and maybe comment on a few...  and post the odd picture...  d'oh... you see??.... It's like giving up any addiction. Damn near impossible. But it can be done.

Just recently there have been rumours of a "Delete Account" option being in the works, or in some cases available, and for those of you that are really ready for it, there's a Wiki How To which explains what you need to do. http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account.  Me?, I'm really nearly almost set to consider thinking about the possibility of leaving facebook....  *** Sighhhh ***

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Calendar vs Scott Pilgrim vs Paul vs The World

If you're anything like me your calendar runs most of what you do, so it's important that it's in the right place and up to date. Sadly this isn't always the case for me and that's because of my hardware/software combinations not playing nicely together.

Personal
Google
Desktop
iCal
Mobile
iCal iPhone
Web
MobileMe
Work
Lotus Notes

You can pretty much bet that whichever calendar I look at, I have a different set of priorities on any given day. Lotus Notes will import Google calendars, but for syncing you can only do it with a 3rd party application.  iCal and MobileMe almost play nicely together, but they use Apple's Sync Services, which aren't exactly a standard and so cause problems with Google calendar. On top of this calendar subscriptions don't work well for updates across all of these platforms....  until now... ish....   There is hope in sight.

Apple are moving away from Sync Services for iCal and MobileMe.  In fact the MobileMe calendar has just appeared in Beta looking very similar to the iPad version of iCal.  The new sync method of choice is CalDAV, which is also supported by Google, so a clean solution without the need for 3rd party applications may be just around the corner.

So can I get them all to play nicely together now ?? Well the short answer is yes you can with all of them except for MobileMe it seems.... so close and yet so far. Apple are perfectly happy for you to create your own calendars and share them with other people, as long as those other people are also using MobileMe. I'm afraid I can't see this working for them for veryt long though. The sync options of MobileMe and the iPhone and my iMac are what make MobileMe so appealing, but if I can't plug my Googlemail Calendar into it as well, the gloss just peels away at the corners. So come on Apple. Sort it out and then I won't feel so pained by the annual subscription to a service that covers 90% of my needs.

By the way, if you're looking for a 3rd party tool to  sync your Lotus Notes calendars with Google (and I mean properly sync both ways) then I found AweSync to be the best in it's class in the past, although I should also point out that I'm no longer syncing my work calendar anywhere but work. Nicely partitioned to promote my Work/Life balance.

Now onto some interesting-ish movie news... Edgar Wright, the director behind both the fantastic Simon Pegg movies, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz has got his latest offering landing at cinemas this week. "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" is almost a video game, and almost a comic book, but is really a movie. All very strange stuff, but the basic premise is that our hero (Scott) has to "defeat" his new love's (Rhamona) 7 evil ex's... and yes I did say "defeat". It's very funny stuff. Here's the trailer:



...and on a related note. Mr Pegg (a local bloke, having lived within sight of the cheese chasing place) has released some information about his next project at last week's Comic-con festival in california. You might already have heard a whisper or two about this.... it's called..... wait for it..... "Paul". What is Paul?? Well, you can find out here: http://www.whatispaul.com/ but you can't watch it until next March.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Geek, Therefore I am

A few months ago the Gorse Fox mentioned dictation software that he was using on his PC to write his blog entry. Well, now I've got dragon dictate and I'm able to do the same thing with one small difference. I am using my phone. Vocally mobile blogging should in theory be far less complicated than it sounds....

But the question remains is it less complicated or not? So by way of an example, I have dictated this entry into dragon on my iPhone and in a moment I shall press the stop button. Whereupon, it will process what I have said and then I can copy and paste it, or twitter it, or e-mail it wherever I wish. So, let's see what the results are like....
A few months ago because Fox mentioned dictation software that he was using his PC to write his blog entry well now I've got DragonDictate and I am able to do the same thing with one small difference I'm using my phone totally mobile blogging should in theory be far less complicated than it sounds


of the question remains is a less complicated or not so by way of an example I have dictated this entry into Dragon on my iPhone in a moment to press the start button where upon ill process works out and then I can copy and paste it or could trick or e-mail it wherever I wish so let's see what the results are light
Actually, I think that's not too bad for a first attempt. Not right, but not bad. I suspect that the whole process is hampered somewhat by my slight west country accent (Whot axe-ent be that then miy muckurr?? - Ed) but given a little practice and my best Queen's/BBC english, I'm sure it's not too much to worry about.  Having said that though, is it what I want to be doing?

The thing is, I find that I enjoy the process of sitting and typing out an entry far more than I think I would just sitting and talking to myself.  This may just be a "stuck in my ways" problem, or it could be me romanticising the role of the writer into someone who sit's at a desk with a typewriter and looks out the window for inspiration (only to find naught but the writers block).  I'll persevere for a little, but I suspect, like many others before me, I'm just not ready to jump ship and talk....

Just catching up with my RSS feeds and I see Gizmodo running this story:
Gulp: Security Researcher Discovers WPA2 Vulnerability

It's time to be nostalgic for the days when you could count on WPA2 as the strongest, most impregnable wireless security standard. Security firm AirTight Networks has discovered a means of compromising WPA2 encryption using about ten lines of code.
Marvellous.  This is why the Digital Economy Bill needs to be repealed, before my Dad gets locked up because someone parked outside his house and downloaded the top ten singles every week for a year.... or something similar....  There is no such thing as secure.

You may have seen yesterdays news report regarding the search for the next generation of cyber security specialists. I registered and had a go at the example cypher they had and I think I did quite well. If you want to try it, it's all happening here: https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/. Wound up with a piece of Hexadecimal that I haven't been able to fathom but I believe that's just because I'm not using the right tool for the job.

The niggle is that it's small, so doubly frustrating. I've been through the obvious stuff and just keep hitting a wall, but I haven't tried taking it as double-byte hex into UTF-8 (Chinese maybe) and then translating the resulting glyphs back to english.... that might do it.... or it might not... Sadly, as I'm not being paid for it, it will have to wait until I have some spare time, and the way things are today, that may be next year....

It's all geek to me....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elementary

It would seem that the BBC have outdone themselves with "Sherlock. It is a genius piece of work and absolutely A1. Worth the license fee, every penny. Minor spoilers, below but nothing you shouldn't be aware of.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
in BBC/Hartswood Films, Sherlock
Mark Gattis (the lanky one from 'The League of Gentlemen') has co-created it with Steven Moffat (Doctor Who). The concept is the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes but set in contemporary England. Not unlike the Basil Rathbone Sherlocks of the 1940's - ie a current Holmes. Apparently, the pilot episode was made in January last year and this led to the commissioning of the full series. Sadly there's only three episodes, but with writing like this, if there aren't more, then I'll eat my deerstalker.

Resetting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters back into the present day has just worked perfectly. Dr Watson is now an army doctor recently returned from the Afghanistan war, which provides a wonderful symmetry with the original Watson who was an army doctor in the 2nd Afghan war (1878-1880). He's instantly believable and artfully portrayed by Martin Freeman. Mr Freeman is of course very well known from 'The Office' and the porn body double in 'Love Actually' as well as the remake of 'Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy'.

Happy to say that Mr Gattis has a role for himself; as a big-wig in the British government. Other notables and honest to the original stories are the likes of Rupert Graves as Detective Inspector Lestrade and Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, their long-suffering landlady (not housekeeper).

The name of the moment has to be Benedict Cumberbatch who has the role of the main man himself - SH (as he refers to himself via SMS message).  He's reasonably well known for playing the part of Professor Steven Hawking in "Hawking" (one name drama must be his thing), although I recognised him as the University Challenge mentor from Starter for 10 which was a great coming-of-age piece.  He's just focused enough to appear to be completely distracted, and so that makes him a perfect Holmes. My personal favourite character though, has to be Dr Watson's potential love interest. She is beautifully dismissive in every way. Go and watch it.

The writing is what makes it for me. It's not just funny, it's clever too (don't you just hate people who are both funny and clever!!??).  What's particularly clever is how they've worked in so many original plot points but in a way that makes them fit with modern England.  For example, Holmes doesn't smoke or take drugs (as is often alluded to in other adaptations) but we have a great scene where he appears to be rubbing his arm in a post injected kind of way. What's revealed though, is how he's applied 3 nicotine patches to help him think.  Conan-Doyle's original had Watson keeping a journal, of course now he has a blog: http://www.johnwatsonblog.co.uk/ and when he first meets Sherlock, what does he do, but what we would all do.  He google's him and finds Sherlock's website: The Science of Deduction. All these elements are simply magic and add a whole extra layer of entertainment.

The direction is sharp and snappy and the photography is beautifully done, with London looking appropriately moody, the use of bullet-time (almost unnoticeable, meaning 'used perfectly') and great sets (a deliciously intimidating Warehouse being just one). If you've seen "Lucky Number Slevin" then you'll understand why it's so polished, when you realise Paul McGuigan is also on-board here.

Personally I can't wait until next Sunday.  More please!!... oh and just so you know, it says here that Sherlock is simulcast on BBC1 and the BBC HD channel (available through Freesat 108, Freeview 50, Sky 143 and Virgin 108).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here's a Sunday...

Doze until about 9.30. Walk to the shop to pick up a paper, milk and bread. Daughter off to work. Coffee and toast in the garden. Catchup with Kermode and Mayo's wittertainment. Tuna mayo panini's for lunch. Watch the Grand Prix. Walk a couple of miles through the park and along the river. Stop in Sainsbury's for refreshments. Walk a couple of miles back. Catchup with the IT Crowd. Cook a Chicken Korma for dinner. Mrs G catches up with Casualty. Tweeting. Prepare for Sherlock at 9pm on BBC1. News. Daughter arrives home and regales us with tales of roast dinners. Blog. Bed.

Monday will be get fit day with a 25 min jog first thing. . . . . . or maybe not.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Titchy Shuffler & Davina McPhwoar

Tinchy Stryder is in town. Anyone over the age of 40 fear not. It's perfectly acceptable to say "Who?" at this point. Apparently he's some sort of rap artist who clearly has been poorly educated judging by his spelling.

Where do you get a name like that anyway? I suspect (although I've not seen him) that he's quite a short little fella. No doubt at some point in his mis-spent youth someone pointed out what titchy strides he took to get around (or if his friends were Australian - what small trousers he wears). From here it's simply bad spelling to get to Tinchy Stryder. Perhaps from now on I'll be known as Gulfee Brawl.... What do you reckon Breadman?

With all this commotion going on, daughter had elected to work the 'safer streets' patrol rather than provide onsite support at the gig itself. Turns out there was a bit of a scuffle around five am and she made her first bonafide arrest. I can't go into detail obviously, but I understand she handled herself very professionally.

Bit of a Spaghetti Bol for dinner this evening I think, followed up with last nights Big Brother and the gorgeous Davina McCall. I can't help it. I'm a man of a certain age and she is a woman with certain curves and bends, and I have no brakes. She's no Mrs G mind you, but she's a close second.

I haven't mentioned Big Brother since it started but I must admit that I have been watching. Not as avidly as I have done in the past, but keeping a polite passing interest so that I can be socially acceptable in any given circumstance. You may mock. Plenty of people claim the BB is not worth the time of day and that it is cheap television for the masses looking for a quick shot at fame. Possibly. But I happen to know that large numbers of people who are publicly disparaging of this twoddle, are completely glued to it behind closed doors. An interesting phenomena.

I'm not glued to it but I do find it entertaining. I may even give you my series summary in a few weeks when it's all over. For now, I'll just enjoy being in the virtual company of Miss McCall.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flowery Dinner, Top 10's and Porn Code

That was out 5th Wedding Anniversary then and as I promised, I'll just tell you a few words about dinner last night. We went to the Daffodil in Cheltenham. You may or may not of heard of it. It's reputation more than proceeds it. The food is spectacular and this regrettably means you pay the price, but it's worth it. We had a lovely evening and shouldn't have had a second bottle of wine.... ho hum. Actually as restaurants go, I couldn't have chosen more aptly given the subject of todays post. The Daff' is a re-purposed cinema. Next time we visit we'll be taking a booth on the balcony, rather than a table in the auditorium, just because we'd get a much better view of the Kitchen, which is up on the stage. Fantastic stuff, but no usherette's with ice creams and popcorn is most definitely not on the menu.

In conversation with Stretch yesterday he suggested posting some top 10's. Books, Movies, Albums & he suggested Girlfriends..... (I declined that one). But I'm going to start off with an easy one - at least for me.... Top 10 movies, especially after our dining in the old cinema last night. Most people would struggle with this for hours, but sadly I won't.... you'll see what I mean.


BE WARNED!!

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!!
YOU'RE PROBABLY SAFE, BUT THEN AGAIN
I HAVE A FEW LEFT FIELD CHOICES SO
ON THAT BASIS HERE'S THE LIST, AND THE SPOILERS ARE FURTHER DOWN THE PAGE.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!


I am the worst kind of movie geek, as you're about to find out. In this list, I've included a couple of instances of multiple movies as part of a franchise. Just because the franchise ties them all together doesn't mean they're all good movies, but equally they may not all be bad movies, so if I rate two out of four of a franchise - then I think I'm at liberty to hold them as part of my top 10, but.... and this is the important bit... in preferential order. On top of that, I'm going to share my favourite scene from each of the 10, which in some cases is going to be quite hard. I've gone back through my library and added a time code for each scene based on the UK version which runs at slightly different speeds to the NTSC versions, but they are there or there abouts. Well, I can't have it easy all the time. Those of you not interested... look away now.

10.The Dark Knight (2008)
9.Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and The Terminator (1984)
8.Leon (The Professional) (1994)
7.Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)
6.Close Encounters of the Third kind (1977)
5.The Dam Busters (1955)
4.All the Presidents Men (1976)
3.Jaws (1975)
2.The Ladykillers (1955)
1.The Big Lebowski (1998)

Here we go then...

The Dark Knight (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]10: The Dark Knight (2008) - A complete surprise to me when this arrived two years ago. Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker, completely blew me away and Christopher Nolan's direction made this one of the most amazing films of the naughties (00's) in my opinion. I can just go back to it time and time again, and still love every second. The downside to it, is that it pushed my previous number 10 out to number 11.... so it's a real shame, but I can no longer include any of the Star Wars or Indiana Jones franchises - gutted. Anyway - to the scene, and there are loads of cracking shots throughout this one, but I'm going with the Hospital scene (from 1h 46m 52s onwards...) The Joker cleans his hands (we have a short cut to a related scene) and then back to the Joker as he walks calmly from the hospital while it explodes around him. The clincher is (at 1h 47m 45s though) where the explosions have stopped. Beautifully done.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day [Blu-ray]9: Terminator 2 (1991) & The Terminator (1984) - Terminator 2 wins out here, probably due to special effects, which is a bit of a lame reason on my part, but that said, this was some ground breaking stuff in '91. It was also James Cameron performing the ground breaking film making, and bear in mind this was long before Titanic or Avatar, so you can see where he was going. That said, the story, which obviously starts off in "The Terminator", is a genius piece of work, hence they both are worthy of a mention.

The Terminator [Blu-ray]The Terminator movies are chase movies, so it's quite hard to say where the best chase sequence is, but in T2 (at 31m and onwards) there's the moment that John Connor realises the governor of the state of California (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is actually a good guy. That shot of the box of roses with a shotgun inside is burned onto my retina's for ever.

The relationship between John Connor and The Terminator (in T2) is a great piece of work, with the former trying to "teach" the later how humans behave and of course it's home of the immortal line "I'll be back" which has entered and is part of the modern day english language. All good chases come to an end though and the final 20 minutes of T2 round it all up perfectly. It's just a shame that in more recent years they've made a right hash of what was a great franchise that had the potential to run and run.

Léon: The Professional (Theatrical and Extended Edition) [Blu-ray]8: Leon (The Professional) (1994) - Depends on which side of the pond you live on as to what you know this film as. In Europe it's simply "Leon" while in the US and Canada it's "The Professional". Don't ask me why. Presumably something to do with employment law over there? You have to have a job. Anyway, there are two stand-out performances in this movie. They come from Natalie Portman, who plays the 12 year old Mathilda (and goes on to be better known for her role in the Star Wars Saga - No.11. - as Padme) and from that great british actor Gary Oldman. For me there's a "moment" in this movie that has stuck. Specifically it's when we realise that Oldman's character (Stansfield) is a proper bad egg. Again this is a fairly early scene (at around 22m) in which we see him pop a pill, in a fantastically theatrical way, and then say "I like these calm little moments before the storm... It reminds me of Beethoven". A perfect picture of insanity (and one he's gone on to use else where, most recently in the "Book of Eli").


Alien (The Director's Cut)7: Alien (1979) & Aliens (1986) - Another franchise now, but this time the first isn't so much better than the second as it is different from the second. Overall, the these two were excellent, but after that, things started to slip down hill. In 1979 nothing had ever been made that was anything like Alien. It's director (Ridley Scott) is often referred to as a "chocolate box" director because he shoots scenes that look like they've come off of the front of a chocolate box. You'll know what I mean if you go and watch some of his other work. Things like, Blade Runner, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, White Squall, Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster and most recently Robin Hood. Some amazing stuff in there and all worthy of my top 100 (for another time).

AliensIt would be easy to say the "moment" is the chest-busting scene (which is of course a defining moment of the film and some might argue of cinema history). Sigourney strutting around in her underwear in the final scenes is also a moment (bearing in mind a was a teenager when I first saw this). The bit that sticks in my head though (besides the chest-buster) is Ian Holm as the android, Ash, going crazy (at about 1hr 18mins through to 1hr 23m). Great work with his head on the table.

Aliens, on the other hand is a different kettle of worms altogether. It's another James Cameron movie who after the success of the first Terminator movie had proven enough to the studios that he was allowed to take on the franchise. He brought it bang up to date, with all the latest gadgets and gizmos that he could and turned it into a little polished gem that sits beautifully alongside Ridley's box of chocolates. The moment here though is Sigourney driving the Loader (at 35m) with the line "Where you want it?". It is just priceless.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]6: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Finally Mr Spielberg shows up. Well in the old list he was in at number 10 with Mr Lucas on both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, but for now he's here at number 6 with some brilliantly told guff about aliens coming back to earth with the answers to lots of unexplained mysteries. The special effects really sell this movie, but the plot, script and fantastic insanity from Richard Dreyfuss in the lead role make it completely unmissable. It's a great all round package and Mr Spielberg presses all the right emotional buttons throughout. It might be Sci-Fi, but it's really intelligent Sci-Fi which makes it accessible to a much wider audience. A tough one for the best scene, because I love them rolling the globe out of the county supervisor's office (at 45m) - "Thats a 25 hundred dollar globe! What are you guys doing?" or Brad's train wreck (at 15 mins) "Quickly Brad, there are thousands's of live's at stake. Brad, Any answer." - genius. But my scene of choice has to be where that impossible bass note blows out the windows (at 1hr 53m 50s) of the monitoring station on top of Devils Rock. Spine tingling-ly good fun.


The Dam Busters5: The Dam Busters (1955) - On a Sunday afternoon when it's raining, there's nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a mug of warm tea, a plate full of biscuits and an old war film. When I do that, this is the one I choose most often. I love it because it's two films for the price of one almost. The first half is all about Barnes Wallis' attempts at solving the engineering problems around the bouncing bomb and delivering payloads to the bottom of dam walls. The second half is all about the mission of the 617 Squadron led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson attacking the dams in question. The whole piece is just a beautiful mix of wartime melodrama and action that I wish there were more of. There's a bunch of scene's I particularly enjoy here. The marbles (at 2mins), the bombing of the model dam (at 10m 50s), the letter to the MoD about the chickens (at 54m 20s) "the stupid young men...my hens lay premature eggs... a serious loss to both me and the country", but the winner (just because it give the censors such a hard time, tying themselves in knots to be politically correct) has to be the scenes with Commander Gibson's dog who's name changes depending on which version of the film you're watching (around about 1hr and 9minutes). I have the original, but I'm no racist.


All the President's Men4: All the President's Men (1976) - A political thriller now. This tells the story of Watergate from the perspective of the two Washington Post journalists that uncovered it (Woodward and Bernstein). Directed by Alan J. Pakula (who passed away in 1998), I can't really explain what it is about this film that keeps bringing me back to it. Perhaps because it's a true story, or perhaps it's the work of Mr Hoffman and Mr Redford who's chemistry makes them a believable pair and turns it into a buddy movie. Redford's work with the un-named source "Deep Throat" and the flag-in-the-flower pot are great fun secret-spy devices. The way the conversations overlap with actors talking over each other, and the intercut "actual" news footage, just makes it feel more real. It's just great 70's paranoia and thinking about it now makes me want to go and watch it again. Just wish I knew why. My scene selection is the Library of Congress (from 28m 27s). It's a huge round room and the camera is hoisted from desk level all the way up to the ceiling. A great shot that just sticks in my head.


Jaws (30th Anniversary Edition)3: Jaws (1975) - Another visit from Mr Spielberg, this time in what most consider to be his breakthrough movie. You can't not love this movie. OK so it's got a few jumps and scares, a bit of blood and gore and it's done nothing for the reputation of the great white shark, but it's a beautifully made piece of cinema. Spielberg hated making it because of all the technical problems with the shark, but the finished work does exactly what it's supposed to. Keeps you entertained and glued to the very end. More good work from Richard Dreyfuss and great stuff from Roy Scheider. However, the show is well and truly stolen by Robert Shaw as Quint.

From his first appearance (19m) "This shark..swallow you whole", he has some of the best lines. (1h 4m) "Here's to swimmin' with bo-legged women", (1hr 6mins) "What are you? Some sort of half assed astronaut?" (1h 7m) "Farewell and ado to you fair spanish ladies, Farewell and ado you ladies of spain, For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston, and so nevermore shall we see you again."... as Chief Brody puts it "Colourful ain't he?".

There's some great shots as well. The chief sat on the beach with that scary zoom (at 16m 35s). The Sunday Roast as bait and the dock being pulled into the water (at 25m 25s).But my favorite scene is Quint's story of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (1h 25m). This piece was re-written by Robert shaw and the result is a stunning and poignant moment.


The Ladykillers (StudioCanal Collection) [Blu-ray]2: The Ladykillers (1955) - More post war melodrama now, but this time it's drowned in comedy from Ealing. Five oddball criminals plan to rob a train, well actually steal a trunk load of money from the station, and to do so, criminal mastermind Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) enlists the unsuspecting help of a little old lady Mrs Lopsided / Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson). His henchmen in attendance are Claude / the Major (played by Cecil Parker), Harry / Mr Robinson (played by Peter Sellers), Louis / Mr Harvey (Herbert Lom) and One Round / Mr Lawson (played by the enormous Danny Green). There's also appearances from Jack Warner who predictably plays "The Superintendent" at the police station and Frankie Howerd who shows up as a Barrow Boy.

The cast alone are enough to draw you to watch it, but when you factor in the Director it becomes a must see. Alexander Mackendrick also responsible for a bunch of other films that sit comfortably in the high end of my Top 100. Masterpieces like "Whisky Galore!", "The Man in the White Suit" and "The Guns of Navarone" all of which you should see at some point in your movie going lifetime. And so to choose a scene. This rightly gets harder and harder as I work up the list. After all, we're now talking about movies I really love, so choosing the best part becomes nigh on impossible. In this case we've got Parrots (19m15s), Railway trains throughout, thumping pipes (5m23s), fat blokes in small cars and phone boxes (32m56s), dangling from rooftops (1h 7m) and pushing wheel barrows (1h 13m - to name but one). The whole ensemble is heaven on celluloid and the very definition of a perfect Ealing Comedy. To be honest, I'd be better off just randomly sticking a pin in it, but I have made a selection and here it is....

(41m53s) just about halfway through, the job has been done and the villains are about to make their getaway with the loot. "It's stuck in the door". The sight of One Round on his hands and knees in his Cello case looking up at Mrs Lopsided.... Seriously, if you haven't seen this movie, go and watch it now!


The Big Lebowski1: The Big Lebowski (1998) - Without a shadow of doubt my all time number one... I loved it from the second time I saw it, and once you realise it's meaning, you probably will to. All of the Coen brothers works are in my top 100, but this quirky piece with a plot that twists and turns like a twisty turney thing (and you can call me Susan if it isn't so) is one of the most beautifully written and performed works of all time. It's a cult movie in the truest sense. Lots of people are "aware" of it, but a far more select group "get it". I know the Coen brother's don't know how they did that, but if they could bottle it and do it again they'd be millionaires. Choosing a single favourite scene from this movie for me, is impossible. I just can't do it. Every one is brilliant in it's own way. If I'm pushed, and I mean seriously pushed, I might go for the scene in the back of the limo (from 47m) where "certain things have come to light", but then I could just as easily go for "Enjoying my coffee" (at around 52m) or "Calmer than you" (at 19m) or "He thinks the carpet pissers did this?" (23m53s) or "Leads!?" (54m45s) or "Donny was a good bowler, and a good man" (1h42m28s). The list is quite literally endless because every line is a winner. I could go on forever about the plot, the meaning, the cast, the art direction... but I won't. I will mention it's place in culture though. Its become so much more than just a film now.....

It's a Festival, which I am definetly going to attend if it ever makes it back to the UK, or if I happy to be in the US. You can read all about that here: http://www.lebowskifest.com/ and follow them on twitter.

It's a documentary...



The Achievers

It's a book or two.....

The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies

I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You
The Big Lebowski (BFI Film Classics) The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers

It's spawned a bazzillion websites....
including a random quote generator: http://thugbot.net/lebowski/, a Shakespearian version http://www.runleiarun.com/lebowski/, the Dude's house: http://www.thedudeshouse.com/....

and it's even a religion. Dudeism. Who'd have though it? http://dudeism.com/

This leads me to the only sane conclusion. The best scene starts at 0h0m0s and ends at around 1hr52m24s. Just go and watch it, and then watch it again to figure out what you missed the first time round.

As this is my number one, here's the trailer, but don't expect to understand the movie from it... it's here just for completeness...





There you have it then. If you haven't seen any of them, get out and see them.

Ahh, yes, now you're probably wondering about the "Porn Code" that I alluded to in the title today. Well, one of the funniest things I've stumbled upon in ages has to be the fallout from this little twitter conversation as re-printed on Gizmodo yesterday.....

So busy today!!! Working on site stuff and coding...all while booking work in LA the next two months! Work is crazy busy...but that's GOOD (jelenajensen)

@jelenajensen you code? html/css/js/php? woah? (GE3King)

@GE3King Yup...been running my site 100% on my own for 5 1/2 years now and I'm running other girls' sites now as well! I'm a nerd! (jelenajensen)

Jelena Jensen is apparently a centerfold sensation during the day and a hardcore programmer at night, or that could well be the otherway around.. not sure, but that's not what tickled me. The real belter came from the first posted comment under the Gizmodo story....


Classic Stuff. Have a great Friday and a movie weekend. Why not!!?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Anniversary Mrs G

So it's our 5th today, which if you follow the UK list means wood.  Hmmm.....  Anyway.... I managed to pick up a card, (which I guess is made of wood pulp, so pretty close) yesterday during my time shifted lunch break.

On  my way back from town, walking, I saw a few odds and sods.. Lots of white van men, they seem to get everywhere don't they?  A couple of old biddies with walking sticks and shopping bags shuffling their way into the city to spend their pensions at Sainsbury's, on cat food and sherry.... probably.  Some fat bloke waddling along shaking and nodding his head to whatever he was listening too in his headphones. He looked a bit odd if you ask me. I steered clear, just to be safe.

The walk itself though, got me thinking that this sort of activity in the middle of the day is a bit like the Badman's dog walking routine must be for him.  It creates a bit of space in the middle of the day, breaks up the work and allows his mind to wander off almost unattended to come up with god knows what.  Usually something prophetic or some stroke of genius that helps get him through the rest of the day.  I don't normally operate like that. I tend to start early (pre 7am just about) and then just push on through into the middle of the afternoon.  The problem with my approach is that I don't seem to stop to feed and water myself and by about 3pm I am pretty much burnt out for the day even if I have got a hell of a lot done in the meantime.

Having had this self imposed break, I think I might try and adjust my working routine to accommodate the same and see if it keeps my business brain perky all afternoon.  I don't have a dog to walk (I suppose I could walk the cats, but they wouldn't appreciate it, they walk themselves mostly). I guess I could have a wander up the road to the shops for an hour and try and flush out my brain cell. That might be just enough to give it the spark of enthusiasm it needs in the afternoons, just around tea-time....  I'll let you know how that works out.

In other news, I see with great hilarity that Durex maker SSL has agreed a £2.5bn bid from the people that make Cillit Bang. Clearly the News Quiz, The Now Show, Have I Got News For You and That other one with the big Irish fella must be besides themselves with glee, knowing that there's enough material in there for at least 10 minutes.....  better yet, that Durex condoms, is set to be sold to Reckitt Benckiser - who also own Finish dishwasher tablets....  Wreck-it, Bang & Finish....  this stuff is just made for comedy.

I also read that there's a story going round that BAE have come up with a system to pipe wireless data through the solid steel internal walls of submarines, thus rendering the dodgy wiring that has to pass through the walls at the moment, redundant. Now, is it me, or have that just not though that through quite properly ?  My basic knowledge of submarine detection understands that it's all based on noise underwater, and as well all know , noise is vibration.  Surely banging a very small hammer up and down against the walls of the submarine is going to have two problems.  1) It's a bit like having a big arrow over the surface of the sea, with neon lights that flash the words "Here We Are!" which is helpful for passing shipping and enemies. And 2) if the vibrations can be picked up the other side of the steel plate, then they can be picked up around the steel plate, so doesn't that mean that you're enemy as well as knowing where you are also knows what data your transmitting through the wall??....  They must of thought of this, otherwise god help us all....  Next thing you know we'll have 12 year old snobs in charge of the treasury....   oh...  really??...

Anyway - back to the monotony of it, and perhaps with a little stroll at lunchtime.  Mrs G's day will be broken up with the delivery to her place of work of some flowers and chocolates, and then this evening we're off out to dinner to a really nice place in Cheltenham, but I can tell you about that tomorrow...  Have fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mainlining Online

I'm sure you can tell from the quality of yesterday's post, that I got a shed-load (verifiable quantity as per H.M.Weights & Measures) of work done yesterday. Had a very productive day, not that everyday isn't productive, but yesterday was just more so. It's a satisfying feeling, but will be instantly tainted by the need for something else to be done. Just like the Donkey and the Carrot on a stick, The Hamster & the Wheel, or  outer space.... it just goes on forever.

Luckily, the fact that I don't have it allocated yet, should allow me a little bit of time to get some life balance stuff done.  In particular the 5th Wedding Anniversary shenanigans, which if I don't get sorted (as any married man will tell you) my life won't be worth living.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so probably best not to scorn, I say. I've got everything done but a card, so I'm going to have to have a quick trip into town at some point to find something appropriate.  There is a dinner plan, but I best not talk about that until after the event, just incase Mrs G decides she's finally going to read this rubbish.

Moving on...

Let's get wasted!!!!!  (Woah... hang on a minute... What!?? - Ed)  What I'm actually talking about is "i-dosing". Still none the wiser?? Let me elaborate.

Parents of todays youth (that includes me), you should be very very concerned.... again...  Your kids may at this very moment be getting high as kites by downloading a speedball of sound from the evil Internet and uploading it into their brains via their ears.....  Or to put it another way, they might be listening to this new-fangled music that gets them high.... Or to put it another way, they might have discovered "Binaural Beats" which are used for sleep therapy and are labouring under the false impression that this tosh somehow makes them high.... It's all here in the Telegraph, so it must be true...

Actually they probably are getting off their heads, because for 5 minutes they're not texting, video gaming, facebooking, tweeting, flippin MTV channels or trying to figure out how to be an adult. A little bit of peace and quiet in an ocean of noise, can't actually be a bad thing can it??  We used to call it meditating, but that's the generation gap for you, always re-inventing the language.  So if you want your kid to get high (which apparently now means 'relaxed') without the use of drugs, send them off here: http://gethighnow.com. I'm sure they'll have a gay old time... ooo... hang about, that's changed as well, I mean... happy old time...  word...  I mean rad... I mean sick... no I mean random... oh, whatever.. D'oh!

Finally some calming video imagary in the form of animation. OK, so perhaps it's not really calming, but it's not exactly drug fuelled speed on acid and ecstasy. You probably won't get "off your face" on it. Lagoa Technologies have released this video on 'Vimeo' (You know, the other YouTube - Ed.) which shows what they've been doing with Real World Physics Simulation.  Very impressive looking stuff if you're interested in modelling and rendering and all that good stuff..







Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0 - Teaser from Thiago Costa on Vimeo.

Ta-ra then... I can hear the factory whistle tugging at me as if I'd caught my coat in a car door after disembarkation.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cows on Tuesday

Useless and inane moment of the day comes in the form of this news on cows. If you're not scared of cows, and lets face it you probably should be, then this might help change your mind:



I loved the bit with the cow in it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Freezing Clouds

It's damn hot today (27 centigrade), but as one locked up in a prison camp in WWII, as they say on the coast of Northern Africa... worth waiting for...

The end of the day can't come soon enough.

However, this scenario of an ice cold beer in Alexandria, or even in my house for that matter, is hampered by the fact that it looks like the freezer might be on the fritz.  The door's not shutting properly and I think that maybe because the outer door (it's one of those freezer-in-a-cupboard jobbies) is consistently used as a coat peg when daughter walks in the back door. There's nothing for it but a defrost and disassembly of the outer door to try and realign it. What joy.

Of course, global warming the way it is there's nothing to worry about.  In less than 24 hours we'll have thunderstorms, rain, sleet, hail and snow no doubt. In fact as I look out the window I can espy a jolly cloud heading our way as we speak.  And so I've crowbarred in a connection to todays subject, which is.... wait for it....    Jolicloud!!  (OMG - did he really just do that?! - Ed.)

So what's Jolicloud then ?
Well it's an Ubuntu based distro.  Still none the wiser??  OK, so it's an alternative to your poor old Windows for Workgroups/3.1/NT/XP/Vista/7 operating system which is designed for net-books (very small laptops) and laptops and just about anything you like really (apart from phones for the time being). What it provides is a very slick and fast user experience with all the Internet connectivity most users need.  You keep your data locally, but you can save anything you like online. It supports 3G modems, bluetooth & Wifi so you can in theory connect from just about anywhere.

I don't have a net-book, but I do have a VirtualBox platform, and so over the weekend I build a JoliCloud instance on it.  I make it sound like it was some sort of complex technical mission, but it's really very simple given some light concentration.  The result looks like this:


A nice simple layout and very easy to use point&click menu system that just does exactly what you'd expect it to do. But more than that, it does it very quickly too....  No more hanging around for Windows to do something-or-other that you really don't care about, this stuff just gets on with it.  Best of all, it's free and as the great man once said, you can't get much cheaper than that.

If you've read about the Google Chrome operating system currently in development, then you'll know what sort of thing to expect. The main difference being that this one is available now.  Next time Mrs G's laptop build of Vista becomes too much of a burden to fix, or Daughters net-book version of XP dies a death, JoliCloud will be the weapon of choice to replace them - at least for the time being.

Todays post was brought to you by the number 3, the letter G and the movie Ice Cold in Alex..... enjoy.
Ice Cold in Alex ( Desert Attack ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom ]

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fixing the SocNet - Facebook fail and other stories

I managed to crowbar mowing the lawn in between the showers yesterday while waiting for Daughter & Mrs G to get back from the hospital (Nothing to worry about). To be fair it hardly needed it what with all the warm weather we've had of late, but a least it's tidied the garden up.

I do love an empty Sunday. A full english brunch is on the cards and if the wether turns to rain, which it's looking like it might, I may finally get to see the last instalment of "The Silence" which I was raving about earlier in the week. For various reasons we didn't get to see it on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. We did get to see a few old friends last night in the form of C's 40th birthday bash, which was a BBQ and drinkies at their house up north....

I could say more but I can't and that brings me nicely to my subject today: Fixing Social Networking (or SocNet, which is the phrase that I've coined and is now copyrighted to me ;-) ).

The undisputed king of social networking is Facebook. With over 400 million regular users, 50% of whom check in every day, there's no denying it is all encompassing. That said all is not well in the kingdom of the book of faces. In recent years it's security and privacy policies have come under scrutiny and they've had to make significant changes, but while these things are concerning they're not the elephant in the room which Facebook are ignoring.

The big problem is who your Facebook friends are. For example, it might seem like fun to be Facebook friends with your boss, that is until he/she sees what you've been up to with your Facebook friends from the pub. This is the tip of the iceberg, and its an iceberg that the unsinkable Facebook is sailing straight towards. These two social groups (pub & work in our example) are non existent in the world of Facebook, and this lack of 'friend granularity' is what will lead you to post less or be far more selective about who your Facebook friends are based on what people may or may not learn about you. As you acquire more friends in more social groups you'll be using Facebook less and less.

The fix is obvious and is simply a case of grouping your friends together in their respective social groups so that the right people see the right things and not the wrong people seeing the wrong things. The groups will have to be able to crossover because (in our example) you might be the type of person who spends time in the pub with your boss. It's a function that's not in place today, but you can bet it's being worked on, if not by Facebook then by google (Google Me) or someone else who has their eye on the SocNet throne.

Worse still for the SocNet owners, this problem is by no means exclusive to Facebook. Twitter, Foursquare and any number of SocNet sites all suffer from the same basic failing. So in fact, what were faced with is not something that perhaps Facebook can fix or maybe even should. Ownership of this metadata about your friends (your relationship status to them) is something that is unique to you and you should take responsibly for and thus be able to manage.

I think your contacts is where the action is really at and we should look closely at the vCard, CardDAV (or similar) standard. Here's the ifs that could make it work:
  • If your contacts were all in the cloud
  • If your contacts held SocNet data (ie: pub, work etc)
  • If your contacts held SocNet membership data (ie: is a member of facebook, twitter etc)
  • If your contacts auto synced to your local device (smartphone, PC etc) that would be nice too.
Then each of the SocNet sites could (after your approval) interrogate this data and manage your posts accordingly. Of course you would still have to mark which of your social groups can see your posts, but you would have a finite list based on your contacts metadata that you own.

All the tech to do this exists today. The question is who will be first to tie it all together and make it work? Whoever it is, let's hope they get it right and then I can tell all - at least to the right people.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cutting through the dross

So here's the thing. It's generally believed that choice is good. Informed choice is becoming more and more difficult to achieve. Who should you believe ? Well that choice is yours. Tricky isn't it?

'Antennagate' is starting to highlight this is a never-before-seen way. Apple's press conference on Friday was a completely new thing for them. Unheard of in their PR history to hold such an event. What really got me interested was the fact that Mr Jobs showed exactly the same 'antanna' issue happening on a Blackberry, an HTC Droid and a Samsung Windows phone. If you want to watch the whole thing, it's available here: Apple's July 16th Press Conference

You could see it happen with your own eyes. Most phones have been plastic historically, but with smartphones that's all changing especially with larger and larger screens. This must have some impact on signal quality, but this stuff is real and is clearly a problem across the board, not just for Apple.

Here's a Droid Incredible with singnal issues:


...and a Blackberry...





The competition don't like Apple eating huge chunks out of their market, the press love a failure in amongst a load of success, but some of the reporting is just false. The question is which is wrong ? Are apple lying to us, or are a handfull of websites lying ?

I'm lucky enough to have an iPhone 4, and I'm very very happy with it. It's certainly a vast improvement over the 3GS and I haven't had a single call fail. The comptetition's response to Mr Job's presentation only serves to show he's rattled their cages by calling them out.

Nokia's response:
We prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.

RIM's response
RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls
So phones that work really well, but look really awful? We are talking about smartphones here right?? People don't buy smartphones that look like housebricks - why would they? If you're paying 500 quid for that much computing power in your pocket, you don't want it to look like an old TV remote. You want the big display, the quality graphics, the slick interface etc etc.... and like I said, I'm still waiting on that dropped call feature - not something I've experienced, but again, Apple's innovative design is irking the boys who like black plastic.

People don't pay as much attention to the problems with these phones because they don't carry the same publicity that the iPhone does. I don't know how the Apple Marketing people got their products to have this god-like status, but they've done an amazing job with that. That's really where the pain for the likes of RIM & HTC lies.

The entire thing hasn't been blown completly out of proportion, rather it's in direct proportion to the amount of coverage that the iPhone as a brand gets. Ultimately the only person's opinion you can count on is your own. Don't ask me (or anyone else for that matter) to make the decision for you. Inform yourself. Go out and try them. I tried an HTC and a blackberry (friends handsets, not on a long term test) and Starfleet issue Blackberry's by default (although there is now an option on iPhone's). I drew my own conclusions.

And this brings us to the really great thing about choice.

You have a choice. Buy one (and you'll love it - they'll even give you a free case if you want one, and you can take it back if you don't like it) or don't buy one. It's up to you. But remember.... It's just a phone. Ring your loved one's, Calm down.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Secrets, Lies & Mobile phone reception

First off, the lies.... Yes we can get you out of there. Meaning, you're not going anywhere. The escape committee know what this means.

As badman has pointed out, it may have to be the glider option after all, so I'm currently trying to figure out how to get on the roof of the komandant's block with a 40ft fold up hang-glider unobserved. It's just high enough that given the correct wind direction I should be able to silently sail clear over the top of the fence and down into the woods.  Certainly not a job for the feint of heart. I'm just glad it's Friday.

Now, the secrets...
Grand Central Terminal, in New York City. Next time you're in there, (and if you haven't you've missed a treat) take a close look at the clock that sits on top of the information booth in the middle of the main concourse. It's synched to the atomic clock at the U.S. Naval Observatory and is worth an astronomical amount of money.  The four faces are made from opal, and have recently been valued at about 20 million USD.  There's also a hidden platform far below the surface that you'll never see, but which was installed for President Roosevelt in the 1930's and is still in use today.

On the subject of secret railway stations (I've mentioned the Queen's stop in box tunnel, but yesterday the Beeb published this guided tour of an abandoned tube station. (UK Only I'm afraid). It's St Mary's in East London, which closed in 1938. Here's the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10612599

Phone reception now... Apple have planned a surprise briefing on the iPhone 4 antenna issue at 6pm UK time today.  Now it's only a surprise to those that haven't been paying attention.  I think they'll stop just short of a full product recall, after all they sold over 1.7million handsets in the first three days and the cost of getting them all back is estimated at around £1bn.  More likely is the opportunity for those experiencing problems (and as I've said, I'm not) to be able to walk into an apple store and exchange the unit, but we won't know for sure until this evening. From Apple's perspective I imagine the worst part of the whole story is the damage it's doing to it's brand and that can be far more costly. They have released a software upgrade which means the signal strength is now shown correctly. The only difference I'm seeing are slightly differently designed signal bars.  Very odd stuff going on here.

I think the best summary of events so far, has to be Andy Ihnatko's blog entry regarding his expectations of the forthcoming press conference. This seems like all logical and sensible fare. It is impressive just how much kafuffle it's generated. I mean... it's a phone..




...and onwards to the weekend....  which this time will involve a trip to the hospital with daughter, a trip up north for a birthday party and trip over the long grass in the back garden meaning I'll have to get the mower out on sunday if it stays dry.

Oh, and one last thing as it's Friday.  Those of you that enjoyed the Old Spice shenanigans might be interested to hear that their marketing has gone all viral (to use the parlance of our times) and you can even get "him" to anser your phone. Hope you enjoy this: http://oldspicevoicemail.com/

Update: Is there no stopping the Oldspice ?? Monacle Smile....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Saunter through the shires

Today finds me getting up at the crack of dawn to drive to my just-about-nearest Starfleet base. This act in itself is a blessed relief but only because it forces me to do absolutely nothing but listen to the radio for two hours (one there and one on the way back).

And the subject of this audio delight - pod-casts! Scobi rattles on about them, presumably because his time management skills are so awful ;-) but for the most part I'm usually up to date with mine. So in the last week I've made a point of not listening, just so that I can have the pleasure of their company on the journey in this morning. This however, leads me to another point - connecting your iPod/iPhone to your in-car audio.

TomTom Ipod Touch Car Kit - GPS receiver module for Apple Ipod Itouch ***WILL NOT WORK ON IPHONEWhile I was up in Scotland I picked up an official TomTom cradle from the Apple store. This was in the heady days before the existence of the controversial iPhone 4. That cradle is specifically designed for the 3GS and so I was concerned that the 4 wouldn't fit and or work, and in fact initially it didn't. Until I figured out that there's a small pressure switch just behind the doc connector where the phone sits. This switch is pushed in by the phone itself once it's in the cradle. With the 4 being square-er it doesn't push the button. The answer is a small piece of sticky backed Velcro (the soft half, not the rough half) stuck on top of the switch on the cradle. This pads out the switch to be just thick enough for the phone to push it into the correct position et voila!!

With that sorted I could enjoy and audio filled journey through the shire's to the Starfleet base.

Stretch, one of my colleagues, has been taking time to visit as many Starfleet bases as possible it would seem - clearly he's not busy enough ;-) but I have pointed out that in "FourSquare" terms that would make him the Mayor of Starfleet. If you haven't looked at FourSquare - take a peek. I keep reading that it's the next big thing in the dreaded "social networking", but I'm not wholly convinced just yet. It's interesting at the moment, but I don't believe that everyone wants you to know where they are at any given moment in time.




Now I've got far too much work on my plate now that I've arrived. So I better try and get on with. Have fun.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You know you're having a bad day when....

....even though you're the only person that can hear, you start shouting and swearing at your PC just because you got yet another instant message.



Deep Breaths.....


10...

9...

8...

7...

6...........

An URL* is for life, not just for Christmas...

All is well on the domestic front. Our wedding anniversary is just round the corner, so preparations are afoot for a surprise, although energy levels are low due to a combination of rubbish work all day and too much broken sleep.

Pleased to say that part 2 of the 'The Silence' has not disappointed. Later in the year we also have 'The Deep' and 'Sherlock' (Martin Freeman -From 'The Office'- as Watson ought to be a laugh) to look forward to. The BBC are one of the all round best broadcasters in the World and as a nation we should rightly be very proud of their consistently high quality output. Easily worth the licence fee - unless it's Chris Moyles. Just to prove the point, this morning sees the launch of the new BBC News website (http://news.bbc.co.uk and damn good it is to. They've finally ditched the lefthand list/menu in favour of a 'top of the page' horizontal menu. I haven't seen it on an iPad yet, but I bet it looks great now it's less cluttered and open.

That's my thoughts on the BBC and what a great gift to the nation it is, even if we do have to pay for it. And on the subject of gifts, my days are exactly (well almost) like this, which is in part why I shall be visiting a Starfleet/Dante location on Thursday (I might feel inspired by some of the other inmates and feel better about the whole place but I'm not holding my breath mind you). So with them in mind, I've found some 'gifts'** for my Starfleet/Dante colleagues. Without further ado, this is for them:

Let's start the day with something special for the Badman (who I'm hoping to catch up with in person on Thursday). Maple Bacon Coffee. We know how much he loves meat - especially in the form of pig (preferably mashed up and stuffed into either Hog or Sheep casings - not that I know the first thing about sausage making), and how much he loves coffee, so this must be simply perfection in his eyes. Either that or just disgusting. You can buy it here. Crazy stuff.

Just nipping back to the 80's for Scobi - who has a love of music, albeit not necessarily Gary Numan (who's still as moody as ever) and a car battery:








Next up, Stretch. Those of you that have read his blog will know that he's about to become a father again (Congratulations in order for Mrs Stretch). Those of us that work with him will know how tight that makes the purse strings, so with that in mind this gift is more for his future child (or even his existing one of he feels that way inclined). Either way I'm sure he'll enjoy the sentiment - to be taken with a tongue firmly planted in a cheek. You can buy one here.

On to The Gorse Fox and a much trickier one to select for. Of course we're aware of his morbid fear of the demon that is electrikery, but it would be too simple to point him at Dr. Zap, or even an appropriate T-Shirt like Stretch. But no. The perfect gift for the man who's suited and booted at a client meeting and in need of a bottle opener, screwdriver (philips or otherwise), thread cutter or a keyring.... The Exuvius Multi-Tool Titanium Collar stays - perfect.

....and Finally, he's not a blogger (yet) but he's spent time in the Southern Hemisphere and so for that reason alone, here's a Vuvuzela for the man with the compass set to left. Hope to see Mr Left, Badman and Stretch on Thursday. Pretty sure that's him on the left, and could be a Badman on the right.... Judge for yourself...




If I've missed you out, drop me an email at the contact link.
Hope that's brightened your day.

*URL's are hosted on servers not in my control and as such can be up as well as down.
**Gifts will not actually be delivered, if you want one, get it yourself.
*** Your home is at risk if you don't keep up with the Jones' (apparently) - who knew!?
 

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