Showing posts from April, 2008

The power of Google (again)

It's pretty awesome what Google manage to get done sometimes. Even if in this case it's limited to a few dozen US cities, check out how they've integrated Google Maps and its direction finding with their Street View project. This sort of integration is truly eye-opening. And it's here now. If you live in the right parts of the US, anyway! Enjoy.

Handling petabytes at Google

We all know and love Google. But how exactly do they handle so many billions of users, so much data, without ever losing anything? I was interested to come across this video talking about their infrastructure and philosophy, which explains how things hang together reliably. Worth 10 minutes of your time to watch!

Tribute Bands - don't they ever get fed up?

I saw an excellent tribute band last night. Off The Wall, proclaiming themselves 'The Spirit of Pink Floyd'. And super they were too. Really accurate sounds and a great 2 hours of music and lights. I'd link to their web site but that seems to have gone AWOL.... Anyway, I've seen quite a few tribute acts in the last few years. Fun for the audience, who are transported on a trip down memory lane, but what about the performers? Playing the songs of their heroes is probably fun for the first few months, even the first year, but what about after that? Playing virtually the same songs in the same way, night after night? However tricky and complex they are, boredom must surely set in, and how they to conceal this from the audience? The temptation is to start changing the songs, adding embellishments, experimenting - that's what all normal bands do. But if a tribute band starts altering the songs of their trademark, they get castigated and scorned. Everything has to be 100

Lasered by a Dalek

Not every day you bump into a Dalek in the High Street and get shot down in your prime.... Gulp. Kudos to Waterstones in Guildford for getting one in though!

Dust and fluff - you just wouldn't believe how much!

One of the best things we ever did was get a Dyson clear-barrelled vacuum cleaner. Not just because of the way the sucking strength carries on even when the barrel is full - clever tech there - but because you actually get to see what it's picking up. One look at your house after a few weeks without vacuuming and you wouldn't know anything was amiss. But run the Dyson round it and you'll have a barrel chock full of dust, fluff and hairs. It's amazing. And a bit disgusting. But thinking of all this 'stuff' sitting around on your carpets, waiting to be disturbed and to fly up and be breathed in or cause allergies (etc), or to be a safe haven for mites and other insect nasties.... Try it yourself. It's sooo satisying doing the vacuuming now. Ooh, I must be getting old.

Streaming BBC TV-on-demand is changing everything... and now on the Nintendo Wii too!

I've had a (kind of) epiphany. Having used a PVR (Personal Video Recorder, a.k.a. a Hard Disk Recorder) for the last few years for my time shifting of TV, the PVR in question died a death and it was time to look for a replacement. Yet nothing of any reasonable price seemed to fit the bill and I was umming and ahhing for a while. And then my wife said 'Have you tried the new BBC iPlayer?' I hadn't, but I was fairly blown away. Any decent BBC programme (and let's face it, well over half the decent original new programmes are from the BBC) from the last seven days, available on demand? And all for free. Stunning. Was this the end of my search for a way to timeshift TV? Not quite, I didn't really want to sit in front of a computer to watch TV every time. But then came the news today that the BBC had introduced a version of iPlayer optimised for the Nintendo Wii. You'll recall that it has a reasonably up to date version of Opera (almost) built-in . So I tried it