Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Google Glass...

Google Glass looks ace.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the video below (or see it here)

Basically it's a piece of eye wear technology.  Walking around, you say "Okay Glass, take a photo" and a photo is taken of whatever you're looking at.  It does translation, sat nav, videos, all the kind of cool stuff your smartphone does now - in this headgear.

If you want one to try out, check out the webpage here for details of how to get one.  Unfortunately they do require you to buy it if successful which is why I'm out (apart from the fact that I imagine I'd need to wear my normal prescription glasses as well and I can't see that ending well)

Again, and this is a favourite subject of mine, I love things like this, the possibilities they bring.  Imagine you're looking at moving house.  You walk down a street, and see a house for sale that you like.  What do you do?  Look at the QR code (it's a sort of square barcode) on the sign at the front, and your glasses pop up with information about the house - how much it is, its features, and how to contact the estate agent.  You like the look of the house?  You tell your glasses to get in touch with the estate agent and set up a viewing, which it does by either email or instant messaging, and puts an appointment in your calendar at a time and date convenient for you.
 No more missed appointments - reminders spring up as required.
 No more danger of getting lost (although saying that I imagine that the navigation ability will be as good as satnav, i.e. about 90% effective, leading to every odd time you end up taking your glasses off and physically asking someone in the street where a certain building is)
 Information is streamed to you as needed.  You're able to transmit videos of a family event, like a birthday, live over the net to friends that can't make it.  And rather than carrying a camcorder it's just your glasses.
 Yes, of course this brings dangers.  Spam windows will pop up on your glasses.  Satnav as mentioned won't always work.  And you'll get seriously annoyed when you lose the things.
 But exciting? Definitely.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Sweets, a melted heart and Vistaprint

I'm working my way through a bag of fizzy squashies (very nice by the way) and found a fizzy cola bottle in the bag?!? Ok...

My heart just melted a bit - we were putting our son to bed, and said "night night" to him, and he said back "Night night dad" - I know this is only important to us, but:
 a) it's really sweet, and
 b) it's a sign that the work we're putting in to encourage his speech is coming on.
Our sons speech development is a little behind the standard so as you can imagine that's what we're focusing on at the moment.  We're due to have a Team Around the Family meeting sometime in the next month or two for us and the professionals involved to agree who should do what - very much looking forward to it.

If you're not aware, Mothers Day is coming up (10th March) - bit of a warning to you about Vistaprint, it's absolutely ace but do be prepared to play about with the website a bit to get the best deal.  If you haven't used Vistaprint, basically you can get all kinds of customised stuff from there - pens, mouse mats, business cards, t-shirts, all kinds of stuff.

At any rate (having to be a bit vague because recipients of the gifts may read this) I picked four things to buy from there. With post and packing it totalled £36, which I was prepared to pay but was a little higher than I really wanted.  So I opened up my email and found an offers email from them.
 Went to Vistaprint from the link in the email, and my order became twenty six pounds.
 Then I noticed on the email that if I ordered £20 of stuff, delivery was free.  So I added two more things and my total became twenty three pounds.
 It's an excellent website - user friendly, and probably the cheapest of its type - but do be prepared to muck about to get the best deal.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Windows (in more sense than one)

 Me and my son were playing this morning with a small brown truck of his.  When I say truck it's probably more of a four by four car variant, by which I mean one of those things that look tough but probably aren't actually as good off road as a forty year old Land Rover, but nevertheless everyone wants for the school run.

 I asked my son, "How many wheels are there?"
 He considered this for a moment, and then declared "Four!"
 Full marks for that one.  I decided to push the boundary a little.
 "Do you know where the windows are?" I asked.
 He looked at me confused for a moment, as if to say what on Earth does that have to do with the topic at hand father, before pointing at the house window.
 Not the answer I was looking for but right nonetheless.

 I'm going to make a rash declaration now.
 I think Microsoft Windows won't be here in ten years time.
 Possibly five.
 The reason for this is that the way we use technology is changing.  Instead of having "The PC" we can now surf the internet on the TV, on our games console, we can write emails on our phones or tablets, all of which are ready to use faster than the traditional PC, crash less often, are simpler to use, and in the case of the last two mobile.
 People are going to start looking at why we tie ourselves to an expensive operating system which appears to take ages to load, crashes regularly and isn't always that easy to fix.
 Of course, the advantage Windows held was that anyone could write a program to run on it.  But the new mobile systems offered by Apple and Linux are better for the vast majority of users, in that programs are rated by users so poor programs are discarded, leaving the cream of the crop easily visible and installable.
 I've started not to write documents on my PC any more - instead I write them using Google Docs. Why not?  I don't have to worry about hard disc failure trashing my work, and I can access them from anywhere.  So the case for paying for an expensive Office suite also goes out the window, especially when alternatives such as OpenOffice can be used for free.
 I'm not a Microsoft-basher at all, I grew up using Microsoft systems.  I remember the first time I used Windows and how wonderful it was to use (yes really).  I remember making programs with Microsoft Visual Basic.  I use it on a daily basis at work, and I'm writing this using a PC running Windows 7 right now.
 But from what I hear Windows 8 isn't fantastic, and that could be the first nail in the coffin for Microsoft.
 The new mobile internet world, of which names like Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are king, is one which Microsoft hasn't got a handle on.  And it's a real shame - who hasn't got an old Hotmail (okay Windows Live Mail) account floating around from way back?
 I really hope Microsoft can work out what it needs to do to transform itself into an organisation fit for the current and future technological age.  I guess we'll see.

Monday, 18 February 2013

I cooked!

I was home late today so I said that I would cook for myself when I got in.

I was trying to decide what to cook - I was tempted to do a three course meal, but it seemed like too much effort.

Then inspiration hit me!

Take 1 bottle of Piccalilli, 1 bottle of Lloyd Grossman Masala Sauce, a tin of corned beef and a chopped red sauce, mix it all up good and bake it for 20 minutes.

I give you - Corned Beef Piccalilli Masala!

My fiancee says it's disgusting (without having tried it) but I've devoured half and am saving the other half for tomorrow.  It's a bit acidic but very tasty!

Just noticed that I'm about to pass 4000 views. Thanks to everyone who's viewed my blog, you make it all good.

And finally, if you've got a Twitter account and got nothing better to do, why not nominate me for a Shorty award?  Voting ends today, 18th February 2013!

The Shorty awards are described as "The Shorty Awards are a worldwide effort to engage hundreds of thousands of Twitter users to identify the best people and organizations on social media, culminating in a blockbuster ceremony in New York City." - basically they're social media awards and it's a great opportunity for everyone to have their say in who is the best.
Head over here to see how to support me. Thanks!

Monday, 11 February 2013

What should I write?

 I'm of two minds at the minute.

I do try to produce a blog post roughly once every other day, for two reasons - one, so that those people who read my blog get something new to read fairly regularly, but secondly so that I keep practising my writing, which is the main aim of me doing my blog in the first place.  I've neglected my writing for many years and my blog is the way that I keep my hand in.

But I am beginning to understand the importance of producing not just content, but quality content.  I don't want to just produce stuff for the sake of producing it, I want it to be interesting or funny or thought-provoking or just have some sort of value.

I also don't know whether I should spend more time consuming or producing (and I'm not talking about food for once!) - one school of thought is that while you're 'consuming', i.e. reading, watching, listening to stuff, you're not producing and I shouldn't be procrastinating in that manner.  On the other hand, logically the only way to produce material is to consume material so that the mind has stuff to work on - right?

But that might just be me trying to justify working my way through The Big Bang Theory - I've been watching a minimum of six episodes a night since last week, very much enjoying it :)

Anyway - apologies for the contemplative post.  Fingers crossed I'll have something new for Thursday!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Working out hurts!

 I've worked out tonight for the first time in months and I ache.

 When I say work out, I've actually played on the Wii for an hour.

 Think I need to do it more often.

 It's the first step in my new project that I'm working on - details are restricted right now but I will be trying out some new stuff over the next few months and I'll keep you posted (hopefully with pictures)

 I'm going to sort out a cherry scone and a cup of coffee now - after that I might watch President Obama firing a marshmallow cannon!

 Finally, if you've got a Twitter account and got nothing better to do, why not nominate me for a Shorty award?

The Shorty awards are described as "The Shorty Awards are a worldwide effort to engage hundreds of thousands of Twitter users to identify the best people and organizations on social media, culminating in a blockbuster ceremony in New York City." - basically they're social media awards and it's a great opportunity for everyone to have their say in who is the best.

Head over here to see how to support me. Thanks!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

My hundredth blog post!

This is my hundredth blog post!

Apologies for the delay in blogging but I've been working on a new writing project (plus I've been under the weather).  Details of my new project are sketchy but suffice it to say that it's going to be my biggest writing project to date - it's going to be a book - and I may be needing help over the forthcoming months to undertake various activities.  As things become clearer I'll let you know!

Today I thought I'd point you to something fun that we can all try - easter eggs on Google.  If you don't know, easter eggs are fun little things that programmers put into programs and websites for people to find.

Take a look at the Wikipedia entry for the ones on Google.  I particularly recommend going on to Google and searching for zerg rush.

Sticking with the Google theme, it's Safer Internet Day and Google have released some guidance on how to stay safe on the Internet.  It's always been a bugbear to me that while people are able to use computers and the internet easier and easier these days (which is good) the traps and dangers online are getting smarter and better and it's consequently more dangerous for the non-savvy computer user.

Anyway, thank you for reading my posts - very pleased to get to a hundred and let's go for a hundred more!
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