Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Demilitarised Zone

Some time ago I wrote about the dilemma I had making our main living room safe for Lucy. The fact is that we have a environment that is virtually impossible to make child friendly. 3 computers, loads of wires and cables, loads of plugs and sockets, bookcases, rubbish bins, guitars. Basically - carnage. So I decided on a rather orthogonal solution. Rather than make the whole room baby safe - why not divide the room into the safe side and the dodgy side. For a divider I found the Summer Infant Super Wide Safety Gate. So on Lucy's side she has sofas, toys and a big TV to watch "In the Night Garden" on.

And then on the other side of the fence is Ali and my Office. The sad thing is that Lucy's safe side if far bigger so it make us feel like the cages ones :-(

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Trinitron Gone

A sad day - Sony has announced the end of their Trinitron line of televisions. Here is an Obituary on Slashdot. The first Trinitron I used was around 30 years ago when my mate Matt had one as a monitor for his BBC Model B Micro computer. The last one I had was a 32 inch widescreen which I bought in 2000 with the money I received for working in Lotus Support on the night of the Millennium (incidentally - money for old rope - nothing went wrong apart from a minor problem with an unsupported cc:Mail X400 gateway).

I say the last one that I had - but actually I still have it. For various reasons I have upgraded to a new Sony Bravia flat screen LCD. It is actually about the same size as the old Trinitron - the difference is that the new Baravia is all picture. The problem is that the old Tele is still in perfect working order with a brilliant picture - but you can hardly give them away. I can't stand the thought of just throwing such a loyal old friend in a skip - so if anyone out there is willing to give it a good home then you can enjoy owning a bit Trinitron history.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Which Greek God are you?

Haven't seen one of these for a while. I'm still basking in the fact that my Muppet was Kermit. Anyway - this is a little more high brow.

You are the god: Ares

Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera and is the God of (savage) war. Ares is one of the gods that takes no sides regarding the battles of mortal man. He readily takes human life and is driven by bloodshed without remorse. Wielding a spear and associated to animals like the dog and the vulture, Ares is feared by men and envied by other gods. He was fearless, good-looking and impulsive. Interestingly, he was secretly making love to Aphrodite, Hephaestus' wife at the time. This was soon discovered by Helios and revealed to the other gods residing on Mount Olympus in aims to humiliate the adulterers. Ares has never married, and although his real love and passion is war, he still gets around. Homer references Ares in the Illiad, whereby Ares sided with the Trojans as they fought against the Achaeans. He was wounded by a spear from Athena, and later Ares flipped sides after discovering his child, Ascalaphus. Ares cried at this moment.
I am the Ancient Greek God:

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Matt's Domesday

I got a phone call from my best pal Matt a few days ago. He said "I'm sorry I can't come round tonight - I'm on Richard and Judy." For the few people who don't know, Richard and Judy are a bickering married couple who have risen to national treasure status on the back of their daytime and early evening cheesy chat shows. Matt making an apperence on their show was, to put it mildly, unexpected.

However, it turns out that the invitation came becasue of Matt's long involvement in the Domesday Online project with his Dad, Prof. John. (Incidentally trivia fans, you should refer to Domesday Book and not The Doomsday Book). Channel five is not noted for it's coverage of medievil history so it was very refreshing to see a piece that was both interesting and educational.

It was also very nice that Matt gave such a brilliant performance given how potentially nervous one could get appearing on live national TV. Although I'm pretty sure that he is still wearing the makup.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Awesome and frustrating

My lovely wife kindly got me a Sanyo Xacti HD1000 digital movie camera for my 40th birthday. Now that our baby is just about to turn one year old and has started moving about and doing funny things it will be nice to capture some of them. And there is always the chance of getting on You've Been Framed if she falls over.

Unlike many movie cameras the Xacti is tiny and has a docking bay making it just as easy to synchronise with the PC as a stills camera. Until recently video cameras used tapes which were heavy and awkward. Re writable DVD's were also popular but their size and shape adversely affected the shape of the camera. Some even feature a built in hard disk. But the Xacti uses SD cards for storage. This is great because they are cheap, small and use minimal power which in turn allows the camera to be so little despite still being very capable.

As you can see it has a reasonably large 2.7 inch screen and supports full HD at 1920 x 1080. If you have a 8Gb SD card it can store about and hour and a half at top quality or 5 hours of standard TV quality. Pretty impressive.

The problem is that Ali ordered the camera and the 8Gb SD card at the same time - but so far only the camera has arrived. And the only spare SD card I have is 128Mb which can only record about one and a half minutes. So I have Smallest and Lightest full HD camera in the world with nothing to record onto! How frustrating. Hopefully the 8 gig card will arrive soon.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Engineer vs. Manager

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted,
"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied,
"You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."

The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."