Monday, May 31, 2010

That will teach them

While downloading updated versions of software this morning, on the list was BeeCellsLite (a strategy game - place the coloured dots together). The reason for the update - "bugs fixed". Hope they didn't "fix" all of them otherwise that's going to detract somewhat from the game.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The iPad has landed

After what seems like an eternity, and at the least, a very very long time, the iPad aka large-screen iPod Touch has finally arrived on Australian shores. The machine is simply amazing, and no less so because it comes (fully) charged out of the box, so there's no need to plug it in and wait (even longer) for it to be useable. And, surprisingly, it is much more functional than an iPod Touch - and there are some tremendous design features. You can still use it to Skype because it has a built in microphone and speaker - which is good since neither of these came in the box with in. If you haven't already ... it's well worth dropping in to your local Apple store and getting them to give you a demo. Afterall, they have just overtaken Microsoft in the "worth" department.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Enough said

On the wire this morning: "An English university researcher studying serial killers was being held yesterday on suspicion of murdering three prostitutes." The discovery of Stephen Griffith's alleged gruesome hobby is being credited to a caretaker who saw footage of one of the murders while reviewing CCTV footage. The reasons for his reviewing the footage is not given, but it appears that there was nothing amiss to suggest that a murder had taken place at the location - in Bradford, which people may remember was the home of Peter Sutcliffe aka the Yorkshire Ripper. I suppose it may not be long before people are calling for an end to research on serial killers - because it turns you into one - or perhaps Griffiths was only doing the research because he had predilections that way already.

Sign of the times?

There's a large advertisement in this morning's Bully (that would be the Gold Coast Bulletin to non-locals) entitled "Flights cancelled as Volcanic Ash Closes Air-Space" which could lead a reader to believe that the testing of the giant Hadron collider may have been responsible for invoking God's wrath to the extent where s/he first caused the Global Financial Crisis and then the eruption of the Icelandic volcano which has closed European air space on a number of occasions. The ad ends with the question: "Are you ready for the Lord's coming?" and contact details should you wish to avail yourself of the offer of a free Bible. And here were some people thinking that the experiments with the collider had failed to produce any results.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Now and ...Ben

On the radio this morning (2CBR - or perhaps that was really 4CRB), an old favourite - it's been a while - hit the airwaves again. It was Michael Jackson's hit Ben. As I listened to the heartfelt and touching lyrics about how much Ben was valued and it was a pity not everyone had a "friend like Ben", I couldn't help but wonder how many of those listening in radioland had watched the eponymous movie and seen Ben - the rat - and the services he performed for his best friend Willard. Just to recap, Ben was a rat - really, four legs, a tail, twitchy nose and whiskers - and (I can't remember if it was at Willard's bidding), Ben would lead the other rats out and about and do things like killing Willard's unappreciative boss. At this point I'd like to comment: Yes, everyone should have a friend like Ben - but I wouldn't really mean it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Please help ...

... to the "lady who locked the door" to the playground at Nerang McDonalds because it "is too wet and it's not safe" - as the small child behind me keeps getting told - and "be cross with her not with me"; can you please let me know - did you? Or is this something that the woman is telling the child - like some people tell me that the ice cream truck only plays the music to let you know that they've RUN OUT of ice cream.

Love a "chat"

Well "love" may be too strong a word but I am still enjoying the Chat Room page of the Gold Coast Bulletin. My favourite this morning starts: "To the crow thatwakes me at 5.32 every morning ..." (although, of course, on the Gold Coast anything is possible and the crow might actually be reading the paper .... ). Meanwhile, over at Flirt time, there's obviously some kind of code being used: "To the BJ cougar, im short and cut meat". Hopefully it's means something to someone.

Robin Hood

Off we went to see "Robin Hood" last night, quite enjoyed it and then found this in the paper this morning (showing how much of an effect it had on some people): "To the robin hood wannabe on olympus circuit in robina that shot an arrow through my window, come forward. Someone could have been serious hurt. - unhappy neighbour"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not so much rigging as ...

... as ringing the voting. Councillors at the Gold Coast City Council are being asked not to use their phones during meeting amid fears they are using text messages to control debate and manipulate voting. What happened to the good ol' fashioned art of conversation? The Mayor, Cr Ron Clarke, "fired off" (much more urgent sounding than "sent off") an email recently asking (oops, "ordering") councillors to put away their phones and concentrate on decision making. There is apparently no evidence of the ringing rigging but some councillors, concerned about
the possibility, raised the issue with the Mayor. Councillors contacted for comment said they used their mobile phones during meetings for catching up with correspondence, and this was no different from "councillors going through printed correspondence during meetings and writing notes for their personal assistants". At least one councillor is reported as saying that she was not even aware that she could text on her "Blueberry".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Which iPad are you?

Finally Australians can pre-order Apple’s iPad – which may not be as easy as it seems. There are six models on offer, three of which will have Wi-Fi and 3G. Details of the data packages for use with the 3G models have not been announced by all telecommunications carriers - nor is there any suggestion of the option of using the same 3G account for both an iPhone and iPad. (if your have them). I’m not even going to worry about it for a while; as my wonderful partner is procuring the iPad for me. As well as being an extremely generous offer it has also freed up hours and hours of my thinking time - usually about now I would have started on the "will I/won't I; should I/shouldn't I; do I really need it etc etc]. Instead I’ll just concentrate on thinking about how to accessorize – which could end up costing as much as the device itself – bluetooth keyboard, power adapter, screen protectors, card reader, protective case – and the list will no doubt grow as more Companies start producing “add-ons” – let alone any applications one decides to invest in! There’s even a Louis Vuitton iPad case on offer.

Back up

We’ve all heard about Twitter and tweets – these short messages sent out over the internet and “followed” by others sometimes few; sometimes a lot. This communication method would seem to be ephemeral in nature unless the plan by the U.S. Library of Congress goes ahead and they do archive the billions of tweets published since Twitter launched 4 years ago. How would you sort them? Dewey Decimal system? Internet tags? Other? Surely someone somewhere will tweet the answer.

Ashes to...

Plans to scatter some of Edmund Hilary’s ashes on Mount Everest have been cancelled because Buddhist priests there have warned it would bring bad luck – and possibly a flood of requests for/from others. Most of Hillary’s ashes were scattered in the sea off Auckland after his death, aged 88, in 2008; the remainder was/are in the care of a small Buddhist monastery.

Mouthing off

Researchers have demonstrated a device which allows people to have a phone conversation without saying a word. Lip reading technology is involved – or should be, especially on public transport or in eating/drinking houses. And on the subject of mobile phones; I am reminded of the stories we hear of people who were reportedly caught out at times when they were “pretending" to talk on a mobile phone and it rang. These days, with some phones having dual lines, you’d just tell the “caller” you had another call coming in – just by moving your lips. This could have wonderful applications for those who are hearing-impaired as well - rather than just helping reduce all the white noise and other people's conversations associated with mobile phones.

Copy that

The plain-paper office copier has turned 50, sometime in March apparently. It could be a close call (or perhaps not really) as to whether the copier has saved or wasted more time since its introduction. Ah for the days of yore when people copied illuminated manuscripts by hand.

On the phone

I haven’t seen one - just read about it – but now there’s a solution for those who have an iPhone but also want the satisfaction of being able to slam down the phone when they wish to express dissatisfaction with a call. It’s the Desk Phone iPhone Dock Of course, it also works for people who want to fidget with a phone cord as they talk.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pencil it in

Are pencils less expensive than biros, or pens as they’re called these days? I ask because when a personable young adult offered me a pamphlet as I detrained* the other morning, I took it. It turned out to be a Public Transport User Survey and the instructions entreated “Please place your completed survey form, and the pencil provided...” – and that’s when I started wondering, yet again, about the way we, here in Australia, are asked to express our opinion in pencil. But I hadn’t thought it had spread from general practice for elections to surveys in the real world. Why can’t we write in pen for things which are supposedly important? All I can think is that pencils are cheaper. Because surely no one world want to change the submitted forms. I wonder if they disallow submissions which are not made in pencil? Ah well ...only are way to find out!
*I always thought I used to “get off the train” but on one trip on Queensland Rail last week an announcement referred to passengers “detraining” – so that’s what I do now that I’m in Queensland!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

What will they think of next?

A nasal spray can make men more in tune with other people's feelings and boosts their ability to learn, say researchers. Chances are it's not the nasal spray that's advertised on large yellow billboards here in Australia which promises better partner relationships (that's obviously a euphemism). It makes me wonder if nasal delivery technology is effective - and if there's any substitute to taking the time to teach children about caring and compassion so it continues with them throughout their lives rather than a "quick fix" (and now I'm wondering about "quick fix" and where the term originated - and how it came to be used in drug culture). How would you test/measure the results for something like the caring nasal spray - where would you find the test subjects ... and would you pick people who were particularly "not" caring or a gradation of caring profiles - and is caring dependent on the beholder or a function of the circumstances and persons involved? Hmmm - so many questions - but, really, will anyone care?

Probably a misprint

From the Sydney Morning Herald's Technology section: "Microsoft has cancelled plans to launch a table to rival the iPad, for now.". Okay, it's probably a misprint but given the work Microsoft has pioneered in large touchscreen surfaces, there's a slim possibility that it really does mean "table" not "tablet".