Celebgate

Thursday, 2 October 2014 11:02
claidheamhmor: (UnderworldEvolution)
My insurance broker popped round last night bearing pizza, and we had a good chat. Something we talked about was Celebgate, with all the leaked nude celebrity selfies. He was saying that people shouldn't be taking nude pictures of themselves, because there's that chance the pics will be leaked.

I'm of a different opinion. If people want to take selfies, that's up to them. If they want to store them on the cloud, fine. Obviously, take a few basic precautions - choose a secure location, enable the phone password, etc.

But there's more to the whole Celebgate leak than just pictures:
  • Apple let those celebrities down, by having an insecure "feature" on iCloud that let hackers repeatedly enter password attempts without blocking access.
  • Many of those celebs, I'll bet, had no idea their phones were being automatically backed up to iCloud.
  • All the focus has been on the nude pictures. That's only part of the story, because what the hackers got were complete iPhone backups. Not just pictures, but email, text messages, contacts, calendar, notes, documents, and more. In other words, if those users had a copy of their bank statement in their email, or any unencrypted passwords typed in, or any personal information, or email addresses or phone numbers of family, friends, or other celebrities, or personal calendar entries, or home addresses... that information has been hacked, and someone has it. That could be a lot scarier than pictures.
To say people shouldn't take nude pics implies that they also shouldn't have any other personal information on their phones (or email, or websites, for that matter). It's possible to live like that, but if you do, why bother having a smartphone? Just get a cheap Nokia.

Personally, I think there's a balancing act between the risk of such information being on your phone, and the convenience and utility of doing so. My opinion: go for it, but take precautions. Use a phone password. Use encrypted password storage apps (like LastPass, Password Keeper, et al). Use secure cloud storage (I use OneDrive and Box). And if your information is more valuable (if you're a celebrity, say), take even better precautions (hey, how about a more secure phone).

claidheamhmor: Z10 Scrabble (Blackberry Z10)
 
My cellphone contract was finally up for renewal; this time, on 20 November, I went for the BlackBerry Z30, which was launched that very day.

I posted about my BlackBerry Z10 back in May. Well, the Z30 is similar, with the following major changes:
  • 5" AMOLED screen (same resolution though)
  • Faster dual-core CPU and a quad-core GPU
  • Dual antennas for better reception
  • Stereo speakers
  • Multiple microphones and speech optimisation for improved voiced clarity
  • Huge battery (not removable)

So far, loving it. The OS version is now 10.2, which carries a number of improvements. 10.2.1 is around the corner, with one huge feature: the ability to install Android apps directly. Beta testers are already able to download and install apps directly from a number of third-party store, like Amazon. I really like the operating system; though new, it's solid and intuitive, and feature-packed.

Areas I think the phone could have been better: the camera, at 8MP, is adequate, but not great. The screen would have been better at 1080p resolution (that said, it's a stunning screen - maybe the resolution isn't necessary). More internal storage would have been nice (still upgradeable via SD card of course).

The showcase feature: the sound. It can go seriously loud, and sounds absolutely brilliant. Better than any mobile device I've ever heard. Second best: a much improved battery life.

Another positive for me: my contract with Vodacom is actually cheaper now than it was, and I get a bit of free data (200MB, which compared to my usual usage is actually trivial). They gave me an 8GB SD card with the phone; I have so many, I have no idea what to do with it.I bought a pouch; no official BlackBerry accessories were available, so I got a generic XXL-sized Swiss Army Gear pouch in (fake?) black leather with red stitching.

claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)
BlackBerry Z10: a review

 

I got the new BlackBerry Z10 phone a couple of weeks ago, and I've been setting it up and getting everything I like working on it.
 
Rather than provide a long, complex review (there are plenty on the web), I'm just going to jot down things I found relevant, and add a few screenshots.
 
This is coming from a long-time BlackBerry OS user, though I've had an iPhone and I've set up and worked with a number of iPhones and the occasional Android.
 
Hardware

The Z10's hardware is really good. Fit and finish is top-notch, and the materials used feel good. The phone feels durable too, and scratch-resistant.
 
The screen is outstanding. Put it next to an iPhone 5, and it's unquestionably better – not only bigger, but higher-res. User interface elements take advantage of this – the clock, for example, is beautiful. The screen has a much nicer feel to it than my old 9810's screen – maybe it's an oleophobic coating?

The camera is good, but not great; it needs improvement in poor light. I believe there are some software fixes for the camera due out. One thing I do like is that the button-to-picture lag on the camera is very short. The HD video recording is pretty impressive. I like the time-shift camera, but I haven't really used it much.

The input/output capabilities on the Z10 are great. With HDMI-out, I can connect the phone to a TV or decent computer screen and play movies or whatever there. The Z10 has DLNA too, which means I can use my TV to browse the phone and play media off it over wi-fi (and it works really well!). Wireless storage access is available, so I can connect to the Z10's internal storage and SD card over wi-fi; that's very handy. BB 10.1 will add the ability to access network shares from the phone.

Battery life is not bad; I get about 10+ hours on a busy day, more on a weekend. That's better than I got on my old BlackBerry. It does help that I have a really good car charger, the Energizer 2.1 amp dual-port charger; that can get a phone up to usable levels within minutes.
Phone call quality is excellent; there seems to be some good noise cancelling.
 

Function

The BlackBerry 10 user interface works well. It takes a short while to get used to, but after that, phones with physical "home" buttons (and the app in-out in-out paradigm) feel primitive. I love the way the integrated message hub is always only a swipe away, and the way running apps are displayed is cool (especially those designed to show something useful in the minimised app frame – like weather, battery level, album art, etc.). Everything feels quick and very, very slick.

The multitasking is handy; having the apps actually shown on screen makes it obvious. One downside – most of the ported or sideloaded Android apps don't multitask (in other words, they pause when they're not in the foreground).
 

The user interface (more specifically, the icons pages and running apps page) is obviously meant to be used in portrait orientation, but apps go landscape when the phone is turned. 

The distributed real-time multitasking QNX underpinnings to the operating system will probably become more evident over time, as things get refined. I can foresee a lot of opportunity for integration with cars and other systems. The BlackBerry CEO, Thorsten Heins, was quoted last week as saying there may be no need for tablets in 5 years. I think what he means is that tablets as standalone devices may go away. It makes sense to have a larger dumb screen, driven by your single mobile device.
 
Something really nice about the user interface design is that most navigation elements are at the *bottom* of the screen, making it far easier to use one-handed.

I had some issues getting my data from my old BlackBerry to the Z10, but I think part of this was because of a flaky SD card. One annoying thing was that all of my contacts were saved as local contacts on the Z10, then duplicated the moment I added my email account and synched contacts. I had to remove all of the local ones. A clean setup works much better, especially if you have online contact/calendar sync.

I do like the way you can link various contact records (e.g. email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for the same person, and it's all displayed as one contact, showing interactions with that person (like calls, emails, etc.)

The web browser is stunning – it's faster than any other mobile browser I've seen. In fact, I wish my desktop Chrome were that fast. It supports Flash too. One very nice feature is the Reader mode, which with a click strips out ads and makes an article easily readable.

         
 

Storage handling generally is excellent. There's the 16GB of internal storage, plus your SD card, but if you log in to Dropbox and or Box (where you get 50GB free), you get those too, all shown as part of the filesystem. In other words, anywhere you can open or save a file, you will have Dropbox and Box listed as locations too. This is enormously convenient. The File Manager lets you easily copy/moves files between the various areas.


The Z10's virtual keyboard is brilliant – it's really, really good at predicting text. I've written entire sentences with a single letter and a bunch of swipes. That said, it does need a little more attention than the physical keyboard, and I'm not at the same speed as on physical. On the downside, it's not properly WYSIWYG – it shows uppercase letters all of the time, even when it's about to type lowercase letters.

Sadly, there's just no way of getting some of the efficiencies one has with a physical keyboard, like 20+ single-press speed-dials, or single-press access to most of your apps. It looks like the BlackBerry Q10 will handle those needs for people who value that more than the Z10's screen size.
 

Apps

BlackBerry Maps works pretty decently for navigation. For SA, there's Wisepilot too. I side-loaded Google Maps, but it's a little unstable.

There are plenty of apps available out there. I've been able to easily find either BB10 versions of my favourite apps, or equivalents. I've also side-loaded a bunch of Android apps; there's quite a little cottage industry in sideloaded apps. The ported or sideloaded Android apps, by and large, run very well.

One app I missed from my old BlackBerry was Social Feeds, for providing a single location for Facebook/Twitter/RSS feeds; soon enough I stumbled across Android's Flipboard, which I sideloaded and which works fairly well.


 
 
On my old phone, I used a car maintenance and fuel logging app called Fuel Economy. That's not on BB10, but I found one called aCar, an Android port, which is comprehensive. I spent a couple of hours playing with CSV files and imported 6 years of data into it.

 

Another app I've used for ages is a shared grocery list app, OurGroceries. Initially, there wasn't a BlackBerry 10 app, so I sideloaded the Android version. A few days ago, the BB10 version was released, so I have that loaded now too.

The ported Android app Vivino is quite fun; you can take a picture of a wine bottle, and it has a pretty good go at identifying it and letting you rate it.


 
The Z10's "Remember" app links to Evernote, if you have an account there, as well as to your corporate Exchange server's Notes, and integrates them into a single app. Very convenient. You can of course load Evernote too.

The Last Weather App is brutally straightforward (and surprisingly accurate).


The Compass is pretty

 

Other
The desktop software for synching media, BlackBerry Link, sucks. It's slow and clumsy, and I had to beat it into submission.

"Balance" is a way of separating personal and work data, and it works very well, separating the access to corporate data from your personal stuff, where you may not be so paranoid. Contacts and calendar are integrated, conveniently. One awkward side-effect, however, is that "work" contacts run in the work context; the most visible consequence is that if you tap a contact's address, BlackBerry Maps will load – but in the work area, where it may not have Internet access.

If you have a corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you get even more: you can have separate apps for work and personal profiles, with work apps deployed from the server. In the "work" profile, you can access internal resources, like intranet pages, and you can use apps like Work Files to access data off file server shares.

Data is a problem. With my old BlackBerry, I used about 300MB of data per month on BIS. Currently, it looks like my Z10, doing much the same stuff, is heading toward 2GB per month, which I have to pay for; I have a new respect for BIS's compression. On the plus side, internet access is much faster.

Playbook integration has been gutted. On the OS7 devices, Playbook bridging offered email, calendar, contacts, work browser, internet connection, text messages, phone call display, and remote control. With the Z10, all that's available is the work browser, internet connection (now much faster), and remote control.
 
claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)

BlackBerry launched their two new smartphones on 30 Jan: the Z10 (touchscreen) and Q10 (QWERTY). This has been a long time coming; RIM (now renamed BlackBerry) knew they had to move away from their old Java-based phones, and they've spent the last couple of years coming out with something really good. While the old CEOs screwed up their long-term strategies and nearly sunk the company, the new CEO, Thorsten Heins, has done an amazing job of keeping BlackBerry going while developing the new devices and OS.

The BlackBerry 10 OS is the key to it all. BB10 is built on top of QNX, a very highly available, highly multiprocessing operating system kernel used as the basis for all sorts of devices where the cost of failure is very high (for example, nuclear power plants, manufacturing systems, high-end Cisco routers and switches, and automotive management and infotainment systems used by companies like BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Acura, and many others). QNX supports 32 or 64 processors or more, even distributed across multiple devices. There are stories of QNX systems running for 15 years 24x7 without a single second's downtime (in that particular case, it was 15 years only because the Pentium 3 PC it was running on got stolen).

QNX is that ultrareliable core. BlackBerry "trialled" it in the Playbook tablets, and Playbook owners can tell how solid it is (I thing I've had to restart my Playbook fewer than 5 times in almost two years). It's ready for plenty of future expandability. Apple's iOS, by contrast, is old and tired, and it's multitasking capabilites (such as they are) are a poor afterthought. Android is being developed rapidly, but it's huge (as a comparison, the Android kernel code runs to around 14 million lines; QNX is only about 100000).

Here's an interesting article: History of QNX and its Implementation in BlackBerry 10

It looks like the BlackBerry developers have done a really good job of building an innovative and productive interface on top, and BlackBerry has done an outstanding job of getting developer support, launching with over 70000 apps (probably a lot more - in just the last couple of weekends, 34000 apps were ported to BB10), including almost all of the big apps needed by consumers.

There are changes, of course, to BlackBerry's BIS infrastructure, and to how things work, but they have an excellent base to build on for the next few software generations.

Here are some links:
If there were a fire, which of Stephen Fry's phones would he take?
BlackBerry 10 Operating System Review & Walkthrough

The only thing missing is that I don't have one; I am going to have to make a plan about that. Maybe I should be given one at work because I need to support them...

Clouds

Sunday, 23 December 2012 18:47
claidheamhmor: (EF-111 in the sunset)
I love clouds, especially clouds at dusk or dawn. Here's a pic I took in June, at dusk.
 
claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)
An EDUP Bluetooth music gateway that I ordered from China finally arrived. Now this is neat! What is does is pairs with a Bluetooth device (like my phone, but it could be my Playbook or PC too). The EDUP then has a stereo socket that I can use to plug into my hifi or my car's sounds system. When I play music from my BlackBerry, it plays wirelessly on Bluetooth to whatever I have the EDUP plugged into. So I can wander round the house or have an untethered phone in the car, while playing (and controlling) music from my phone. The EDUP has an internal battery with about an 8-hour play life, and it's rechargeable with mini-USB (and I have a mini-USB car charger). Something quite neat is that when I turn it on, it connects with my BlackBerry, and the BlackBerry automatically starts playing.

 

Steve Jobs

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 14:37
claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)

I recently read Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. It was absolutely fascinating, and I found myself riveted from beginning to end.

Jobs was a complex man. A genius, certainly, but a horrible human being. For the first part of the book I couldn't decide whether to pity him, or just to be disgusted. For example, he believed his fruitarian/vegan diet obviated the need to bath more than once a week...and he wandered around barefoot in the offices. He believed rules didn't apply to him, so he drove at high speeds, without number plates, and parked in disabled parking bays. When he rejoined Apple in the late '90s, he terminated all charitable donations. (By contrast, the oft-vilified Bill Gates has sunk $28 billion into charitable causes, and is estimated to have saved millions of lives.) 

For a smart guy, he also seemed to be singularly oblivious in some ways. For example, when first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer his doctor was very relieved because it was the rare, easily curable variety. So Jobs avoided medical treatment for the next year, believing his fruit diet would cure it. We know how that ended...

His obsession with detail and his broad visions were his genius; he wanted everything just so. Of course, that meant that anyone who didn't want it that way was wrong - which is why Apple devices are so tightly locked down. I don't personally subscribe to the Apple way; I like my choices.

One thing I found interesting was the amount of emotion around Jobs. For example, there are numerous mentions of Jobs bursting into tears in board meetings or when arguing with people. Not just him either - it seemed to be a relatively regular occurrence with others too. 

I did think there was quite a bit of post facto revisionism in some ways. For example, the book talks about how long Steve Jobs took with the design of the case of the original Apple II, and how beautiful and elegant it was. I went and took a look at pictures of some of the Apple II's contemporaries, and to be honest, the Apple II doesn't seem any better than most (e.g. the early Commodores). The same applies to various other Apple devices mentioned: hailed only as visionary because they became popular.

One curious omission in the book was any significant mention of operating systems. There are a couple of brief mentions, but by and large, iOS, MacOS and MacOS X are pretty much ignored. I don't know why that is, given how tightly integrated the Apple hardware and operating systems are.

Anyway: highly recommended.


Choose a book

Wednesday, 12 October 2011 21:11
claidheamhmor: (Conan)
A flowchart to help with navigating NPR's top 100 science-fiction and fantasy books.

Cut for image. It's big. )

Dambusters

Tuesday, 11 October 2011 16:19
claidheamhmor: (EF-111 in the sunset)


So it turns out that Guy Gibson, leader of the famous Word War II "Dambusters" missions, was shot down by a Lancaster in 1944.

Revealed after 70 years: Dambusters legend was shot down by BRITISH airman who mistook him for German

My tweets

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:42
claidheamhmor: (Default)
claidheamhmor: (Guildwars Evaline 1)
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] cuddlycthulhu. Thought this was brilliant!

LOTR shirt

Friday, 17 June 2011 16:17
claidheamhmor: (Fiday)
I want this Lord of the Rings T-shirt!



From Failblog ([livejournal.com profile] failblog_rss)
claidheamhmor: (EF-111 in the sunset)
This was sad to see.

Vintage B-17 Flying Fortress crashes with seven people aboard
The seven people on board were all OK; those B-17s had a reputation for bringing crews back.

My tweets

Sunday, 12 June 2011 12:00
claidheamhmor: (Default)

Books, books, books

Thursday, 9 June 2011 16:15
claidheamhmor: (UnderworldEvolution)
I've been quite busy with reading lately.


The Southern Vampire Series
First I read the entire Southern Vampire Mysteries series, by Charlaine Harries, on which the True Blood TV series was based. The books are addictive; lightweight, but entertaining and easy to read. A different twist on romance novels. I really like the first-person view, and the attention to nominally trivial items and events; it makes the Sookie seem much more real.

Dune
Then I re-read Dune, which I last read some 20-odd years ago. Sadly, it appears that I remembered all the good bits; it wasn't nearly as interesting as I'd remembered. I did enjoy it, nonetheless. Plenty of stuff was derived from Arabic/Hebrew cultures, and it was interesting picking those out. I was also amused to note a fair bit that must have influenced Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.

Dragonlance
Currently I'm re-reading the Dragonlance Chronicles. The writing (at least, in the initial books - it did get better) is as amateurish as I remembered, and you can see how much it was based on D&D characters, in that the books characters feel like D&D characters rather than living, breathing beings. Still, it's entertaining.

I've read all of these as ebooks; it's damn handy having a selection of books with me wherever I am, so I can just resume my reading while waiting in a queue, or sitting in traffic.

My tweets

Friday, 3 June 2011 00:42
claidheamhmor: (Default)

Zoo City

Wednesday, 4 May 2011 15:30
claidheamhmor: (Aes Sedai)



Many years back, one of the D&D players that played in one of my many D&D campaigns was a pretty teenager named Lauren Beukes; she moved on to university in Cape Town, became a journalist, and then started writing books, first Moxyland and then Zoo City.

The blurb for Zoo City reads:
"Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. To save herself, she has to find the hardest thing of all... the truth. Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a client turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she's forced to take on her least favourite kind of job – missing persons. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass, marked by their animals, live in the shadow of the undertow. Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the underbelly of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she'll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives – including her own. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it swirls refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin together into a heady brew."


Last week, she won the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award for the best science fiction novel published in the UK during 2010, for Zoo City. That's certainly moving up in the world! Incidentally, the artist who did the cover, Joey Hi-Fi, won Best Art at the British Science Fiction Awards.

Lauren Beukes Talks (Channel24)
The Arthur C Clarke awards: why Lauren Beukes deserved to win (Guardian.co.uk)

I read Zoo City last year, and I must admit that I had some rather mixed feelings about it. On the one hand: it was really, really innovative, with its focus on Johannesburg slums and society, and many of the concepts were fascinating. The research done was extensive, and one could really get a feel for the environment. In many ways, it was very gritty and very real.

On the other hand, I found it very choppy and confusing (even for a native Joburger who understands a lot of the slang), and very difficult to get into. Reading it was quite hard work. [livejournal.com profile] ereneth, what did you think? Have you lent it to [livejournal.com profile] ihlanya yet?

My tweets

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 12:00
claidheamhmor: (Default)
claidheamhmor: (Cylon Raider)
The Imperial Wall of Remembrance.


Awesome canoe

Friday, 8 April 2011 10:31
claidheamhmor: (Fiday)
How's this USS Missouri battlecanoe?



(From [livejournal.com profile] failblog_rss)

Kill markings

Friday, 8 April 2011 10:24
claidheamhmor: (F-111 in the Sky)
[livejournal.com profile] icanhaschzbrgr posted pics of cars owned by cat-obsessed people.

I look at this one, though, and my first thought is that they're kill markings....

Japan

Friday, 11 March 2011 22:54
claidheamhmor: (Morgan Bay)
The pictures I've seen of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan are horrifying. You can't easily get an idea of the scale though, watching footage shot from a helicopter.

This picture, though, puts it in perspective:
Cut for image )

My tweets

Tuesday, 8 March 2011 12:00
claidheamhmor: (Default)

Mistborn

Friday, 25 February 2011 15:48
claidheamhmor: (Aes Sedai)

Mistborn


By chance I stumbled across Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, and got to reading it. Brandon Sanderson was the author picked to complete the late Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, and he's been doing a fine job of it.

Quite seriously, I haven't read such good fantasy in quite a while. The world is well-developed, the magic systems are consistent and very, very innovative, and the characters well-drawn, complex, and sympathetic. Add a good bit of complexity, and some moral issues, along with some interesting plot directions (so, what do you do after you've saved the world?), and it makes for engrossing reading. Highly, highly recommended.

Here are a couple of the comments on the Mistborn Amazon page, and I have to agree with them:

By Timothy Doke (Dallas, TX USA)
I am a new fan of Brandon Sanderson; I never heard of him until I read book 12 from WOT, the Gathering Storm. After that book, I just had to go find out more about this author. I enjoyed his writing style in the Gathering Storm; it was very engaging. Then, I read Elantris, and really enjoyed it as well. After that book, I found out about Mistborn. I picked up this trilogy and I was hooked!

It is hard for me, in retrospect, to believe how good this series was, especially considering how fast Sanderson writes (how many large books ~700pg can one man write in one year??). To me, this is one of my favorite fantasy series I've read. And I hadn't heard of him two months ago! This series has something for everyone: a well developed and very well thought out, and original, magic system; the characters are complex and have different personalities; the story line itself is epic and gives scope to everything hanging in the balance; there is romance, lots of action; it was honestly hard to do anything else in my spare time while I was reading this series...

Some of the traps other fantasy authors tend to fall into -- dragging out climactic events over too many books -- did not plague this series. This trilogy was very well put together and the events were obviously preplanned. I have to give him credit because he did not shy away from not only killing off major characters, but he also had a powerful conclusion to each book. I kept waiting to be let down, but never was. This book series is quite tremendous. It should be a model for how to write a fantasy series.

S. Farrell (Omaha, NE USA)
Ordinarily, I will buy the first book of a series and then, depending on how it was, either buy the next book or abandon the series for dead. My advice to you, prospective Mistborn readers, is to cast that mindset aside and save yourself a few dollars by buying all three books in a box set. You will NOT regret it.

I will step out on a limb here: Mistborn: The Final Empire is, with the possible exception of A Game of Thrones, the best opener to a fantasy series I have EVER read (Particular apologies to The Blade Itself, The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Name of the Wind, Fellowship of the Ring and Assassin's Apprentice). Here's why.

No exceptions this time, Mistborn has the best, most well-thought-out, most original magic system ever written. Nothing comes anywhere close to rivaling its intricacy and intelligence. Despite its complexity, Sanderson has such a firm grasp on his magic system and is so clearly enjoying himself when he writes in it that it comes off the page so beautifully, so fluidly. Even if said magic system were in a stereotypical, recycled fantasy story, it would make for great reading, but the story is original and enrapturing, too. Sanderson has said that he meant to turn the fantasy genre on its head with the story - the dark, evil lord WON - with Mistborn, and he does it oh so effectively. Character development is strong, the world - a land of dismal browns and greys where ash regularly falls from the sky - is fascinating, plot twists are many times absolutely unexpected (NOTHING is obvious) and the characters are both lovable (Kelsier is one of the coolest characters ever written) and hatable. Not to mention, each book has an extremely satisfying ending - no cliff-hangers here. I hate to go to extremes but, in a word, the Mistborn trilogy is perfect.

It is one of the great mysteries of the world how Sanderson can kick out so much excellent material in so short a period of time, but his books are nothing but the best. I still consider the Mistborn trilogy to be his finest work, and I encourage you all to buy the books, get lost in his world, and proceed to embrace the 9-year-old inside you and spend the rest of your days wishing that YOU were Mistborn.

My tweets

Sunday, 6 February 2011 12:00
claidheamhmor: (Default)
  • Sat, 18:36: RT @DrTwittenheimer: The camera adds 10 pounds, but cropping and Photoshop take off 20.
  • Sat, 18:36: RT @gussilber: Zuma says if you vote for the ANC, you'll go to heaven. That's the best argument against voting I've ever heard.
  • Sat, 18:47: Computers are like dogs and horses - they can sense fear. #fb

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011 12:00
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My tweets

Wednesday, 8 December 2010 12:00
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My tweets

Saturday, 4 December 2010 12:00
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My tweets

Friday, 19 November 2010 12:15
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My tweets

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 12:15
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My tweets

Saturday, 23 October 2010 12:03
claidheamhmor: (Default)
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
XKCD nailed this one perfectly: The economic argument on quackery.



It's along the lines of something I've argued: if something works, it changes the way things are done. Sterilisation worked in medicine, so it got used. Antibiotics worked, so they got used. If faith healing worked, it would be part of all hospitals' standard procedures.
claidheamhmor: (Blackberry Logo)
Some interesting technology news:

Jaguar C-X75
Jaguar showed off the C-X75 concept car at the Paris Auto Show. It's a really interesting hybrid: there's a 145kW electric motor on each wheel, so 580kW in total, powered by batteries and/or a pair of gas turbine engines that spin up to 80000rpm. On battery only, the car has a 110km range, but in combination with the turbines, it'll go up to 900km. 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 330kph.

I hope it goes into production.




BlackBerry PlayBook
RIM unveiled their tablet the other day, the PlayBook. Who the hell chooses their product names? RIM's development names for their products are almost always better than the final release names.

Anyway, it's a tablet, much like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy; I'm sure it'll do all the usual stuff. Where it seems like it will shine, though, is in its BlackBerry integration. It can be paired with a BlackBerry, using Bluetooth. Once paired, it can use the BlackBerry for its connection to the world - so it uses the BlackBerry's data for browsing, etc. It can display the BlackBerry's email, calendar, etc. on its own screen. Because it's using the BlackBerry, it doesn't need a separate data plan, 3G contract, or even special security or licenses in a corporate environment. For BlackBerry users, this will be absolutely fantastic; it's like an extension of the phone.

Of course, there are other nice things too, like HDMI video out, front and rear cameras, Flash support, HTML5 support, and even OpenGL, handy for gaming. A dual-core CPU and full multitasking are nice.

For an existing BlackBerry user, this is a killer device. I hope that RIM make the PlayBook somewhat open - like having its storage show up as Mass Storage when connected to a computer, and having expandable storage via SD card.

claidheamhmor: (EF-111 in the sunset)
I took this last week, at dusk, while on the freeway. I love the Johannesburg sunsets.

Bedroom décor

Monday, 5 July 2010 21:14
claidheamhmor: (F-111 in the Sky)
I want this bedroom! I used to think my Spitfire cockpit duvet cover was cool, but this...



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