Monday, January 31, 2011

Attention fatties - lower your heating, your bills and your waistline

I'm off to the gym in a moment, I'm determined to get back into a healthy routine. Of course the gym alone is a good start but other factors will help like a healthy diet and reducing my alcohol intake. Apparantly turning the heating down also helps you loose weight - so for the sake of my waistline and gut I'm going to turn my themostat down. Hoorah!

Bravia to me

I was a bit naughty this weekend and bought a Sony Bravia. Well I had to really, my housemates are always watching (COUNTRYNAME HERE) Next top Model. NO! BAD HOUSEMATES! 1080i 42" plasma screens are made for PS3 and hollywood blockbusters not Tripe's Most Whacky Celebrities Het Me Out Of Here Cameras Everywhere Got The X Factor Dance Troop Do the Funniest Things 2011 on ice! But I can hardly renegate them to their bedrooms while I use the most expensive piece of kit in the house for what it was meant to. So naturally I get a 1080p TV for my bedroom, at 40" the reduced screen size is just about tolerable.

I'm rather excited about the prospect of hooking it up to the internet and trying out the apps. I've been thinking about convergence for ages and it's good to know that it's happening just as all the clever people out there think it will. My TV can access the internet, my console can access the internet, my phone can access the internet, my laptop and console can play TV, my phone, console, laptop and TV can download apps - in fact these days the only difference is screensize - ok not just yet, but it's great how one of these things can do a bit of everything (although they have their specialisms, a laptop is still best for the net, the console for games, the tv for tv, the iPhone for apps and the Sony Erricsson for phoning people (Yes the iPhone is NOT good for making phone calls!)

I was very tempted to buy an LED TV and then I thought why not go 3D too... then I realised that eating was required this month and seeing as I have rent and bills to pay I figured I would compromise and only get a humble LCD. If anyone can tell me about the why LED is better than LCD (is it?) and if 3D TV's are worth it yet I'd be interested to know.

You can read more about what my TV can do better than yours here:

Today I have also been reading:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Paying for things with your mobile phone

Paying for things with your mobile phone... What a great idea (as long as security is worked out).

Read the BBC article "Orange customers of Everything Everywhere get mobile payments".

I think security is the biggest issue, but I see no reason why you can't type a pin into your phone to authorise a transaction... it'd be as easy as unlocking your iPhone. Hoorah!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a day

Phew, what a day!

I've been reminded of a few classic lessons (not all of them have happened today).
  • Always pass the designs through a developer before the client sees them (always strive to acchieve the near impossible but never promise the actually impossible!), 
  • COMMUNICATION COMMUNICATION - not delivering the impossible dream is only a downer to the client if their expectations haven't been managed. Manage them!
  • And assume they are idiots, you might think you've communicated, but have they understood it... follow calls up with an e-mail (never rely on e-mail), invite them in, have a chat, draw them pictures, tattoo it on their head!
  • Chinese whispers never work - cut out the middlemen, speak directly to the horse.
  • Walk in their shoes - and then walk in the audiences shoes... what the client wants and what their audience want are often different (help them to see this; user centered design makes sense but telling the client they are 100% wrong doesn't... it's a delicate balance).
  • Eat the elephant.
  • Pay peanuts get monkeys.
  • Feel the force luke!
  • Don't become the poo in a poo sandwich.
  • Remember the triangle: Quality, Time, Budget - reduce one and the other two will have to compromise. Sorry, that's life!
  • Be confident - if you aren't sure that's ok, just be confident, find out the answer later. Don't make things worse by letting them think you're clueless.
  • Have breakfast, don't skip lunch!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

View by date on images - would you want this

I've just read an article on the BBC News website about some new tech which puts an expiration date on images.

The way it works is upload images contain an encrypted code which will retire the image after a certain date. I can see why this was thought a good idea. Although I'm sure the reality is even if your uploaded images have an expiry date it'll still be the case that others upload embarassing photos of you which don't... and if you don't want your embarassing images in the public domain why would you upload them at all?

The problem I see is, assuming this is how it works, when I download an image might it expire at some point? As a bit of a hobby I collect images from movies I like. What if these images start expiring on my computer and I'm left with a load of dead files? Will I know which ones are immortal and which ones have an expiry?

Generally I think this is going to be annoying!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What have I been reading today?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green bar - plants all over the shop (bar)

I love the use of plants in this bar - see article about this planty Barcelona bar on TreeHugger.

Happy Tuesday

Hello everyone. Here is a nice little monday morning giggle for you to enjoy (it's actually Tuesday, but I've been away in Berlin, so this is my Monday) - thank you to Faye K for tweeting this link: Things real people don't say about advertising: Such as:

It's nice to be back, but I'll admit. I love Berlin and would be quite happy to still be there. It's always a case of grass is greener. I'm sure if I lived there the reality of living there would be different to holidaying there.

Completely not funny but still very interesting is this map showing the before and after of Brisbane flooding. Nice use of tech to show something quite serious. On the map it's interesting, on the ground, for the people, it must be horrible. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Biotechnology - Bacteria harddrives

"Researchers have figured out that data can be stored in bacteria, and that a single gram of bacteria can store more information than a giant 900 terabyte hard drive!" - Read full article about bacteria hard drives on TreeHugger.

We're still a long way away from biomechanoid spaceships like Moya in FarScape. Yes I just out geeked myself!

Friday fun

It's Friday, and today random things of interest include:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What if Ghostbusters was advertised today?

Awesome recut of Ghostbusters trailer using the inception soundtrack:

Derezzed - Tron / Daft Punk

Fan of Tron? Fan of Daft Punk?
Have you seen the video:

If you liked Tron then let's hope they also reboot Reboot, teaser trailer below:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Become a Jedi / and about Kinect

Hmm, rather excited about the possibility of using Kinect in a Star Wars game.

One of the best parts of Star Wars has to be the Jedi Light Saber. While the Wii could be a good candidate for a light saber game the graphics are poop.

The XBox 360 with Kinect has both the power and the interface now.

Read the Eurogamer review of Star Wars Kinect or view trailer below:

Goes to show that these new Wii clone controllers have potential for more than the family market. Serious gamers can get on board too. It'll be interesting to see how the user actually moves about... is this controlled by Kinect, a controller, or do you move around arcade style? I hope they have found a way to move around freely otherwise it'll just irritate.

If you can't wait for this Kinect game? Get the Force Unleashed 2. I've played the first and can't wait to try the second. Ok, so it's not connected to Kinect but still one of the best Star Wars games out there. 

PS: Just saw a fun little Star Wars fun in the snow video tweeted:

Snowy trench run from Aaron Dabelow on Vimeo.

Also of much excitement (thank you @Melkirk for tweeing this) is the news that Kinect may be developed for the PC. The possibilities of how this could change the way we interact with PC's and TV's is large. The most obvious application - Minority Report style interaction:

You wouldn't even need the silly glowy things on the fingers that Tom Cruise uses.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Flying machines

One day, they say, we will run out of crude oil. If there are a finite amount of resources on this planet (to my knowledge giant rock munching oil secreting butt worms don't exist) then this makes sense. The utopian dream of zero reliance on oil is a long way off, but stretching our resources further using alternative tech is already here. We can already reduce fuel consumption with hybrid cars and more efficient engines. Our electric is slowly being supplemented by limitless green alternatives... one day I hope all energy will be green.

A big consumer of our finite fuel is the aviation industry. However there are those with a dream - a dream of flying machines! And I love it!!

Airships are back - see the BBC for article and video.

Yes, we'll soon be flying around again in airships thanks to companies like Hybrid Air Vehichles and potentially the return of the Zeppelin.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Gym and 2011

I've just got back from the new gym that has just opened up round the corner from me called "Workoutbristol". If you live in Bedminster or Southville, Bristol, then I highly recommend you join. Apart from anything I want my local gym to keep going!

My only criticism of this gym is the chip shop/chinese between the gym and my  current place of work, ThirtyThree at the Tobacco Factory.  I'm not saying it is the fault of either my work, the gym or the greasy wonderful haven that is "The Willow Garden" I'm just saying it's unfortunate as it gives me something very hard to resist after a thorough workout - and who's the git in the office with delicious smelling food?

View Larger Map

All the equipment is shiny and new and although I could only manage 30 minutes this lunch time I intend to fit many more 30 minutes in every lunch time from now until forever. As I'm posting this you'll probably think that I'll only last until the end of this month like most of the fatties who will be swarming the gym memberships right now. I can say that I am serious, and if it wasn't for illness in December and a stupid amount of cheese, turkey, bread sauce, chocolate, crisps, dip, hams, cured meats, olives, oils, pies, cakes, roasted root vegetables, supplier gifts of sweet natured goods, more pie, more dips, breaded and battered treats, mini pizzas, indian take out, chinese take out, staff dinners, birthday dinners, new years celebrations, cocktails, cider, wine, whiskey, liqours then I would probably still have quite a slim waist and wouldn't be feeling the shame of a 34" pair of jeans that was loose in November now feeling more than a little snug.

So I say well done Christmas. You made me a stereotype, but I will not let you defeat me! No by spring I intend to have pushed my stomach back in and have washboard abs, or at least pecs defined enough to hide the fact I have a santa like belly. I would, just once, like to walk along the side of a pool and have heads turn because I'm barely dressed and not because I'm wearing a cavewoman dress (Falaraki 2001 - don't ask!). 

So here it goes, watch this space! I will get fit along with acchieving my other resolutions for 2011.

The Minimalist effect

Calm, enter a white space - fill that space with nothing but your creative thoughts.

Now flush.

What remains will delight and please your audience.

I was just tweeted this brilliant article about the minimalist effect and I thought it was worth a post (sorry I forgot who tweeted it).

A quick scan (which was all I gave it) just shows how sometimes less is more. Sometimes brands look better when they are kept simple. Particularly it seems if they are on a bottle.

Obviously this applies to web-design, in fact it really carries across to all design. In a world where we're crowded with visual input all day something that is given space, kept simple, and instantly recogniseable will appeal - it requires little processing for the brain to say "Yes, I like, recognise and want that".

I wonder if a little of the appeal is that we've grown up in a very minimalist generation? Perhaps minimal design appeals because for the past few decades we've been told minimal = good design?