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Category Archives: General

On Wearable computing…

I’m getting a smart watch for my birthday. It’s a big one, the birthday not the smart watch, although I’ll admit the current models aren’t the smallest arm wear ever. Ever since Android Wear and the first three Android Wear smart watches were announced, I’ve wanted one. Not because they are new technology and the latest thing, or because I want to show off. My phone is over two years old, and my tablet is even older – my tech purchases tend not to be on a whim. No, I want one because I genuinely think it will remove some pain points in my interactions with my phone, and I can see the potential for a smart watch to make my life a bit easier.

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Elite: Dangerous – First Impressions

As a fan of the original Elite, first released way back in 1984, I gave in to temptation and backed Elite: Dangerous on Kickstarter. E:D is actually Elite 4 by a better name, and had long been considered vapourware. David Braben, co-author of the original, and author of the two later followups in the early 90’s had often talked about a possible new version,  taking the game back to its roots and exploiting powerful new hardware to build on the original experience. For twenty years or so  it was all just talk, until last year when the stars came into alignment, and a Kickstarter fund raising project was launched. It was an overwhelming success, and as a backer, I finally got to play the upcoming new game when the standard beta started earlier this week.

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Lies, damn lies and statistics

A friend on Facebook posted the following image of a newspaper cutting, and it piqued my interest because, despite not being a fan of either club, it really annoys me when people misuse statistics posed as facts, just to score points off a rival.

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Miscallaneous Thoughts

Just some random thoughts…

 

  • I don’t understand why MPs wait until the next election to “step down”, retirement aside. If they are stepping down because of some party disagreement  (as in the case of Sarah Teather) or because of some misdemeanour or criminal offence (as in the case of Eric Joyce), why not resign immediately and allow the electorate the opportunity to elect a new representative right away? Surely if something is a serious enough matter to resign over, then allowing the electorate to elect a new representative sooner is better for democracy. It certainly can’t hurt.
  • In the wake of the 130 vehicle incident on the bridge to the Isle of Sheppey, there are calls to make the speed limit over the bridge 50mph.  Since a ‘safe’ speed varies with conditions, inevitably it means that in good conditions, traffic is unnecessarily impeded by speed limits set to promote safety in poor conditions. So basically, the UK doesn’t trust drivers to drive at a speed appropriate to the road and conditions, which says a huge amount about the quality of driver education and testing levels….
  • I’ve just driven a left hand drive car in the UK for the first time, and had to drive down some country A-roads and lanes. It is amazing how much a difference being on the ‘hedge’ side of the car makes when it comes to the amount of the road you can see and how fast you can safely go. If you are following a foreign car down a windy A-road, and they are going well below the speed limit, please cut them some slack. I was driving down roads I know, and simply could not safely drive as fast (within the limit) as I could in a right hand drive car.
  • If the UK continues with the speed limit reductions it seems to currently be adopting, I predict that in the next 20 years, all motor vehicles will be required to have a pedestrian walking in front of them waving a red flag.
  • British drivers have rubbish lane discipline
  • The surface quality of UK motorways is ok, but the rest of the road network is at best hugely variable, and quite often awful. The are some A-roads which are simply shocking for supposedly major routes, and the same applies to some local roads.
  • Belgium has rubbish motorways. You can actually tell when you leave the Netherlands and enter Belgium by the sudden deterioration in ride quality.
  • The Renault Grand Scenic we had as a hire care has all the ingredients to be a good car, and sadly the ingredients aren’t mixed the right way. The VW Passat we had a month go has a similar set of ingredients, but gives a far superior experience. That said, the ability to slide the rear seats forward provided truly cavernous amounts of boot space.
  • It’s nice to go on holiday, and it’s nice to get back home afterwards…..

Leaving the UK – Part 2, Democracy and Politics

So part 2 of my writing about leaving the UK will be about the democratic process and politics. This plays a fundamental role in society in general, and the consequences are significant both culturally and personally.  And because it’s important, it’s one of things that can wind me up. As I leave the UK, and I’m no longer affected by the ebb and flow of political whims that I have some personal investment in, the importance and relevance of it all fades, and I can be more pragmatic about it all.

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Leaving the UK – Part 1, Introduction

As my friends and family know, I have finally (after several years of Euro-commuting) left the UK and have no plans to return. While no country is perfect, and my new place of residence has its share of issues, I thought it might be cathartic to explain some reasons why I’m becoming ever more comfortable with my decision, and why it will lead to a better life for my family and I.

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Red Card Reaction

I was watching the Manchester United v Real Madrid match last night while following the #BBCFootball tag on Twitter. It was an okay game, not particularly special or exciting for the neutral and certainly not living up to the hype, even after United got the first goal. Then it all changed, and watching the resulting TwitterStorm there were two things that struck me that I couldn’t explain in 140 characters, so I thought I’d write about it here.

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Real life with Windows 8

It’s been almost four months since I took the plunge and blew away my Windows 7 system and replaced it with Windows 8. I can’t remember exactly why I did it, except that I figured it would be good to get some hands on experience. Having read about but not used any of the pre-release versions, I approached the new release with an open mind, especially since I’m a real fan of Windows 7 (compared to previous Windows releases and Ubuntu). Now I’ve been using the new OS for a while I thought I’d post some some thoughts on the experience of daily use over a sustained period, compared to say initial rantings after a just a few days.

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Ode to Steve

A friend asked on Facebook which sort of tablet to go for, an iPad, Microsoft Surface or Android device. She eventually chose the iPad, and for some reason I felt inspiration to write the following.

Our Steve, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy iPad come.
Thy will be done,
on Mac, as it is on iPhone.
Give us this day our daily cool,
and forgive us our patent wars,
as we forgive those who patent troll against us,
and lead us not into Microsoft,
but deliver us from Android.
For thine is the walled garden,
and the content and the app store,
for ever and ever.
Apple.

I have seen similar misappropriations of the Lords Prayer before, but not one similar to this that I recall. As far as I can tell this is my work, but it is possible something I read previously lodged in my brain and popped out at time of writing. If that’s the case I apologise. I did have a quick Google to see if I could find anything similar, but my very brief search didn’t find anything.

For the record,  I’m no Apple fan – I have two Android phones and an Android tablet – this just seemed amusing to me.