Wednesday, November 28, 2007

THIS is why I like Google

So many reasons why Google are so great. Superb web searching and general time saving. Great online tools that save you having to worry about local apps. Free spam-free email with unlimited storage, the list goes on and on.

But THIS is why Google are so great. Using their might to help save the earth. http://blogs.business2.com/greenwombat/2007/11/googles-green-p.html

Investing 100s of millions of dollars, etc. I know they're not the only green company out here, but this sure is one more reason why I love Google!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rhydian a star and X Factor a foregone conclusion - again

Maybe it's the fact that there's simply no competition, but TV's X Factor is again a one horse race, and it's been obvious since show 2 of the 10 live finals. Opera-trained Rhydian has been quite stunning, with stage craft, a perfect voice and (seemingly) a humble (yet confident) personality. Add it all up and you get something like this:



Quite mesmerising, considering that this was his second performance on a live TV stage ever.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Value Added Tax?

Who does the UK government think it's kidding with the name VAT? Yes, I know it's been around for years, but the name VAT stands for 'Value Added Tax'. Err... adding value on things I buy by making them more expensive? Sounds like a lot worse value to me...

At least the Americans and many other countries have the honesty to call it what it is: a sales tax.

Now, why on earth did I think of this criticism of the UK government when there's the whole juicy missing 25 million personal Id records saga? Can't think.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jaw droppingly cool - Earth rise, Earth set

This is just so incredibly cool/awesome. The Japanese have stuck a satellite in orbit around the moon, and have released video showing Earth rise and Earth set. The mission arrived at the Moon on 18 October, when it was inserted into orbit at an altitude of roughly 100km.

You can watch the Earth rise here, and set here. And yes, the little blue dot in the centre of the screen is OUR ENTIRE PLANET!

Very humbling in every respect, physical and spiritual....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Review: The PURE Move portable DAB radio


Now a really decent portable DAB radio has been something my wife and I have been after for ages. The existing hardware was either too big and heavy or had too small a battery life - but the PURE Move hits the sweet spot in many ways.

DAB radios are essentially portable computers and thus are real battery drainers. But PURE have solved the issue by including an internal rechargeable battery, phone style, so no more buying packs of AAA cells and no more lugging around huge mains DAB units. And life on a single charge is excellent, many hours, so this is the best of both worlds.


Build quality on the move is great, with a brushed aluminium faceplate and a rubberised back, with a fold out plastic stand to keep the unit at the right playing angle. There are no surprises in the main controls, which look tacky and plasticky but which work very well.

DAB reception's very good as well, better than on some mains radios and our biggest complaint by far was the audio quality over the built in loudspeaker. OK fro talk stations, switching to a music station reveals the cheap speaker, with no bass and plenty of middle and treble.

Still, a great DAB radio for anyone wanting talk and news stations!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Allow longer for sleep and avoid cancer?

I'm fascinated by the process of cell replication gone wrong, that is cancer. And I'm convinced that the human body should be able to work better than it does in avoiding malignant growths of rogue cells. And one of my theories has to do with sleep, when I figure that much of the body's repair and reproductive work goes on.

So I was fascinated to read this article from 2003, including the following paras:

"The first involves a hormone called melatonin, which the brain churns out during sleep. Melatonin belongs to a class of compounds called anti-oxidants that mop up damaging free-radical compounds. With a disrupted circadian rhythm, the body produces less melatonin and the cell's DNA may be more prone to cancer-causing mutations.

The second link lies with a hormone called cortisol, which normally reaches peak levels at dawn then declines throughout the day. Cortisol is one of many hormones that help regulate immune system activity, including the activity of a group of immune cells called natural-killer cells that help the body battle cancer. "

So, don't short change your body by burning the candle at both ends. Allow enough time for sleep and make sure it's quality sleep. You'll do yourself a big favour!

My TV show chugs along!

Wow. I can't believe I'm up to programme 47 of my Smartphones Show. Viewings per month peaked during the summer at around 90,000, which I'm over the moon about.

And, since I'm curious as to how well it'll embed in a blog post here:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Matrix: Just how DID they do that?

Prompted to go back and revisit the Matrix trilogy of films on DVD, I'm still in awe of the special effects in the final movie, Revolutions. Yes, the story could have done with a little pruning in places, but the sheer scale of the battle scenes is ENORMOUS. With hundreds of sentinels, a giant drill and thousands of humans (both real and CGI) all on screen at once and all mixed in with explosions and dirt and grit and dust and all looking incredibly real, I just can't conceive of how they managed to create it, even with the fastest computers in the world and the best programmers. Amazing. Ditto for some of the machine city scenes near the end of the film. If you've never watched the Matrix trilogy then where have you been? Go rent or buy it now!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Vista is growing on me...

I'm not totally, totally sold on Microsoft's vista yet, but I have to say that, despite the eye candy and despite the wierd way in which some things happen (disappearing 'recently-used' app shortcuts, anyone?), some of its technology does make things easier. The file indexing got turned back on and, after its initial hammering of my disk, seems to have settled down and made things faster and better. The way I can plug in almost any device and the drivers get installed invisibly and automatically is wonderful. And innovations like ReadyBoost, using a USB flash drive as a fast 'disk cache' help on my laptop to keep the main RAM running smoothly.

The biggest surprise was that all my applications from my XP era have installed and worked well, with only a very few minor problems.

It's still early days, but the tipping point is upon me and I suspect it'll be Vista most of the way home from here.