Posts in "Other"

Technology Fail

It’s strange how we don’t notice technology until it fails us. In India we have to put up with daily power cuts that can last up to two hours and sometimes even the whole day. Even though we know the cuts are coming it still seems to catch us off guard by coming at a really inconvenient time.

Today I had the option of leaving the office fairly early, I just had to get some paperwork printed and photocopied. Of course, technology failed me as the office bought a new super whiz printer with wifi but the computer stubbonly refused to talk to the printer regardless of whether it was connected by USB, ethernet or wifi. I exhausted my entire arsenal of ninja Google search skills looking for a solution but all in vain. The printer was a Canon by the way, just incase you were thinking of buying one. In the end the computer gave up and said “you know what, good luck on that one because there ain’t no printer around here”.*

Then this evening I was supposed to be involved with a pretty exciting call to a PR company in America. The way it works is you fund your Skype account with some money and you can call a number in the US to be patched in to the confernce. The moment I funded my account the Internet died on me so I couldn’t connect. I knew it was fairly important so I called in from my pre-paid Indian number (calling to a US number, youch!) which lasted all of 5 minutes before it burned through all the credit.

10 minutes later my Internet came back so I quickly connected to the conference again via Skype but that lasted barely 3 minutes before the Internet conked out again. I’ve had Internet installed for 8 months and it has never gone down, the one time I really need it and it fails me.

Today was just one big fat technology fail.

* Actually the printer didn’t say that exactly, I was just giving it a bit of anthropomorphic personification. What it actually said was “Runtime error X00111XXX01100. Please try again” which basically means the same thing.

It’s Kinetic Typography

In the last few weeks I’ve found myself getting increasingly addicted to Fiverr.com which is having a negative impact on my social life, bank balance and relationships. If I don’t get my daily Fiverr fix then I turn in to a grumpy old man and start writing blog rants about the state of the world and how we’re all doomed (so smile and get on with it). OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I was a grumpy old man well before Fiverr came along, but anyway it does mean I’ve been introduced to loads of incredible concepts like this one I’ve just found.

It’s called kinetic typography which is basically a fancy way to say the text moves…yeah, it must be an Americanism. The video below is the best example ever of kinetic typography and the song is very nearly as awesome as the video itself. Give your eyes and ears a three and half minute treat, check this out…

(awesomeness, eh?!)

The Winner

Yesterday I won a competition for a free privileged entry to an international social media seminar that is taking place in Chennai this week with the lead speaker from the famous SEOmoz company (which I’m really excited about!). You know, a lot of people say they never win anything and I am certainly one of them. My girlfriend asked me what the last thing I won was, I racked my brains and the best I could come up with was winning the Most Polite award at the annual Cub Scout (Great Bowden Cub Pack) summer camp when I was 9 years old. Apparently I always remembered to say my “please and thank yous” to Akela and Brown Owl. But I hardly mention that any more and might even take it off my CV under “Achievements”.

Morning Mists

Not to be outdone by the often spectacular sunsets that India has to offer, I snapped this photo at about 7:30am which has the usual English Autumn morning mists with the sun desperately trying to break through. I’ve obviously brought the Indian weather home with me because it’s not supposed to be mid-high 20’s in October! Or as one person on Twitter pointed out: Greece, pay your bills and you can have your weather back!

Are Things Really That Bad In England?

Yesterday the BBC reported a story where there has been a sharp increase in metal theft. Are things really that bad in England that the only way to make a few quid is to steal the metal slide from the children’s playground? I once laughed when a friend in India told me that the reason all the manhole covers are made from concrete is because people used to steal the metal ones and leave big gaping holes in the road. I remember reading in mild amusement that thieves in Cape Town would steal the electrical cable from the street lights.

Now I’m left wondering what England has come to when thieving robbing bastards will steal the lead lettering off of gravestones, pilfer metal doorknobs and letterboxes from highstreet shops and even make off with 100 year old bronze statues. Suddenly Indian politician Mayawati’s statue protection police force doesn’t look quite as absurd. And for what? Probably to make ten quid to get a haircut! Apparently one 22 year old was left with “horrendous” injuries when he tried to cut through a live electrical wire and was jolted with 22,000 volts of kick-ass karma – and probably did a remarkable Luke Skywalker impression when he was attacked by Emperor Palpatine. Who has to pick up the bill to pay for his surgery? Who has to pick up the bill when he claims for compensation for loss of earnings? And did he get charged for the attempted theft? Did he hell, he got 12 months community service.

Apparently train tracks are the favourite of cretinous scumbags who will steal anything from the signaling cable to the clips that hold the tracks to the sleepers which are kind of important if you are worried about little things like wanting the train to actually stay on the line. With such a disregard for safety where is it actually going to end? Are they going to start removing 5m sections of track so they can have a night out on the town followed by a doner kebab afterwards?

My Dad, who was working on an industrial site during the summer, recounted a tale where the complex suddenly lost power which was odd because there were no power cuts in the area. A scout around the perimeter fence located a very strange event; the heavy duty industrial power cable was mysteriously moving of its own accord back through the fence. Further investigation revealed a band of travelers on the other side heaving the cable through. “Oh” they said in their best Brad Pitt in Snatch accent, “We just saw this lying around and didn’t think it belonged to anyone.”

BBC News - Metal theft: Britain's most annoying crime wave

BBC News – Metal theft: Britain’s most annoying crime wavehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15062064One copper cable theft from a railway line. The result? A total of 108 trains delayed, 17 hours worth of hold-ups for thousands of passengers and damage put at over £80,000.…

This Is The Worst Flu Ever!

I’m currently down and out with man-flu, which is a little bit like a cold that women and children get – what with all the aching joints, mucus oozing out of various orifices, a single functioning nasal passage, sneezes so hard it gets picked up by seismometers around the world, sinuses that have inflated to twice their normal size and general Sunday morning tiredness – only man-flu is scientifically proven to be 10x worse. Yes, it might mean we are a weaker sex, but damnit if that’s what it takes for you to believe that this flu has me at deaths door and it’s using all my bodily strength to fight it off and it’s not ‘just a cold’ then so be it.

So far, I’ve kept myself occupied by finding out why mucus is yellow when you have a cold (and that your nose contains the same, err, expandable flesh, as male sexual organs), what the hell the sinuses even are or do (I was surprised), read an entire Star Wars novel and then researched who Sifo Dyas was and why General Grevious was a cyborg with lightsabers. So despite being completely knocked for six as my body battles this virulent man-flu, I feel as if I’ve achieved something with my new found knowledge that Grevious was trained by Count Dooku and will be sure to pass on this information when I meet new people.

Oh yes, and my girlfriend has sent a care package to help me get better which consists of honey, pepper, ginger and cloves which I’m to mix in to a cup of tea and then take a Combiflam afterwards. If you haven’t heard of Combiflam it’s an awesome 1+1=3 painkiller where the creators thought “Hmm, Ibruprofen and Paracetamol are great but they both lack that little something. I know let’s mix the two together and call it Combiflam!”

Forget The Shire, Hobbit Homes Come To Wales!

A tree hugger An environmentalist from Wales has created his own version of the hobbit home replete with rounded windows and doors, grass covered roof and will undoubtedly become a super-charged magnet for all kinds of creepy crawlies that lurk in the undergrowth. The gentleman who created it, Simon Dale, had no previous building experience, no previous carpentry knowledge and yet for just £3,000 he got the place done in about four months. I know people here in India that have hired a whole army of builders and decorators and their all-ready-built home still isn’t finished after 9 months!

Apparently Simon is going to live in this eco-friendly home with his wife and two young kids but as far as I can see there is just one open plan bedroom which I’m sure the children will be thrilled about when they hit their teens! It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Euw, mum, dad, get a room!”.

I’m wondering if the wife will think it’s still such a brilliant idea when Wales has one of its famously wet winters (which is like the Wales summer really it’s just the day light hours are shorter) and the eco-friendly compost toilet needs emptying, the turf roof has sprung a leak and half the rodents of the nearby forest decide that this little hobbit hole is an awesome place to keep warm. Given the opportunity, I think I’d rather live in one of the £60 houses I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Man builds stunning ‘hobbit house’ for just £3,000 - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Finance

Man builds stunning ‘hobbit house’ for just £3,000 – Yahoo! UK & Ireland Financehttp://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/Man-builds-stunning-hobbit-yahoofinanceuk-1514084024.htmlA man has built a hillside home reminiscent of a hobbit house from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings — on a budget of just £3,000. Simon Dale constructed the woodland home for his family in Wales, taking only four months to fully complete the project

The Rise of The Man Cave

I’ve recently moved in to a new 2 bedroom apartment except I tell everyone that it’s a one bedroom apartment. Why? Because the second bedroom is, or will be, my man cave. Decked out with everything the modern man needs to survive, the only reason I’ll ever have to leave my new cave is to go to work. I have my new 6 core computer (if you even know what that means then you can come visit my man cave) hooked up to the 32″ HD TV, 7.1 surround sound, a couch (built for comfort and not for style), games console, cable TV with all the sports and movie channels, a mini-fridge stocked with beer and most importantly, Dominos pizza on speed dial.

And it turns out I’m not alone, in America, men are desperate to reclaim a small part of their ‘castle’ and rescue it from good taste, cushions and femininity. Oh, and before anyone thinks it’s all about being a social recluse where a man can retreat to when life gets him down, a man cave is built for fun and enjoyment where mates can come over, watch the game, knock back a few beers and unwind while the missus watches Antiques Roadshow in the neat, clean and beautifully decorated living room downstairs.

BBC News - 'Man cave' boom in America explained

BBC News – ‘Man cave’ boom in America explainedhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14923750Jeff Wilser, co-author of “The Man Cave Book”, talks to the BBC about the forces behind these hideaways, why men are so protective of them, and why the variety of such…

In Soviet Russia, England Comes To You

When you’re kicking back after a hard day of arresting wayward businessmen who won’t kowtow to your corruption demands, feeding dog food to your army of conscripts (and then arresting the man who exposed it on spurious allegations), meeting despotic rulers of other countries, raiding foreign business offices, assassinating dissidents who dare to question the regime and rounding off the day by permanently silencing prying reporters; what better than to spend the evening in a quiet English pub, sipping on real English beer, in your English town, near to your English home, enjoying the civilities of England, all located on the outskirts of Moscow.

BBC News - Rich Russians' love affair with Britain

BBC News – Rich Russians’ love affair with Britainhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14851129In the countryside outside Moscow, an army of cement mixers is droning, churning and, quite bizarrely, helping to turn Russian fields into an English town.

Ugandan Engineer Dreams of Sending Astronaut To Space

I wonder whether he’s going to put his money where his mouth is and be on the maiden space flight like Richard Branson will. It seems easy to mock, but I guess even when the Germans first tested their rockets they had to start from somewhere and didn’t have books and data tables to refer to. They are training hard for the lift off by learning how to calculate the distance between planets, not sure how that relates to sending a vehicle in to orbit but if it gets people interested in aerospace engineering it can’t be a bad thing. Still, I can’t help but think it would go the same way as Top Gear’s rocket car.

BBC News - African space research: Dreaming of a manned shuttle

BBC News – African space research: Dreaming of a manned shuttlehttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9573163.stmBut it still seems like quite an achievement and if this hadn’t been a space programme I’d have been pretty impressed. Chris believes that if his team is successful, this will…