Saturday 27 March 2010

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour - Proudly Committed
It's that time of year again... at 8:30pm (local time) turn of your lights and make a statement that you are taking a stand against climate change.

Friday 19 March 2010

My Top iPhone Apps

The first thing I wanted to do when I got my iPhone was fill it up with useful, life-enhancing, or just plain fun Apps. For about an hour I browsed the App Store seeing what was available, reading reviews and generally getting nowhere fast.

I did internet searches, I read blogs and articles... I think I spent about a day all told... although I did manage to fill six screens with Apps!

So, for what it's worth, here are my top Apps (this week, anyway).

Tube Status - invaluable if you are a London commuter. It tells you which bits of the Underground are (and aren't) working... and updates with a shake! Cost - free.

Tweetie 2 - for Twitter addicts... a beautiful clean and easy to use interface easy to use and read. Cost  - £1.79.

Metro UK - get your daily newspaper fix without getting newsprint fingers. You can download the edition to read offline in the Tube. Cost - free.

Gorilacam - this adds a lot of missing functionaity to the iPhone's very basic camera... including anti-shake and zoom. Cost - free.

ContactsPlus - gives a more comprehensive and photo based interfaced to the iPhone contacts directory. Cost - £0.59 (free 'lite' version available).

Pocket Informant - a calendar/organiser application. This synchs with Google Calendars (which you can in turn synch with Outlook) giving you a total solution. The interface is much improved on the iPhone's native calendar... more like a Blackberry. Cost - £5.99 (free 'lite' version available).

101Classics - get around to reading War and Peace at last (yes, really!) and a hundred other books. Cost - free.

Tap Tap Revenge 3 - I think it is like Guitar Hero (or similar) tap the screen when coloured blobs hit whilst music plays. Dangerously addictive. Cost - free.

Facebook - take the important parts of Facebook with you - easier to read than in the web browser. Cost - free.

Shazam - wonder what that song playing on the TV is? Shazam will tell you just like that. Was surprised to find out how well it works! Cost - free.

Constant Connectivity

One thing that characterises the 21st Century for me is the ability to be constantly connected... to just about anything and everything.

Two weeks ago my phone contract expired... and working in an office with several iPhones I decided that what I really needed was an iPhone.

I was seduced by all those tempting Apps.

In the last fortnight I have learned several things. First (and probably most important) you are never going to use most of the Apps you install - pay for a few you think you will get a lot of mileage out of... go for free ones on the rest, then you don't lose anything when you change your mind and uninstall them!

Second (and more alarming) there is never going to be enough time. The iPhone talks constantly to the internet - email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, SMS messages... the phone becomes like a new appendage!

When JFK was assassinated everyone remembered where they were when they heard the news... even a decade ago on 9/11 most people can tell you what they were doing at the time they heard. The constant exposure to information now means those type of global consciousness moments are probably a thing of the past.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Feeling very zen

Garden maintenance

It's that time of year again... Spring is imminent. We had to go out in the garden yesterday to replace the pond netting. It had not survived the winter well what with the snow and ice, and a couple of times this week the heron was spotted in the pond trying to take advantage of his very own 'all you can eat buffet'. Well, no longer. This year we started from one end and then instead of starting again with the second sheet from the far end we started from the middle - we got a good few feet lapped and tied it with plant ties. No way in for the long legged bird!!!

Whilst we were out there we dead headed the rhododendron bush (which badly needed it) making an ad-hoc feeding station for the smaller garden birds!

The robins and all the other garden birds are totally not bothered by our activities... both thin robin and fat robin came to investigate the newly filled food tray!

Sunday 7 March 2010

Experiments with light and glass

The camera and I were enjoying the sunset... I got up close and personal with the crystals hanging in the window as sun-catchers.

Then the camera and I got up close and personal with the crystal bubble ball... helped by the colour changing light underneath.

Lastly I managed to catch my glow in the dark rubber ducks, well, glowing in the dark!

Wednesday 3 March 2010


I spent this morning at Earls Court enjoying the annual event that is Ecobuild. Call it an Exposition or a Convention - the outcome is the same. A large (extremely large) exhibition hall filled with stands populated with manufacturers and suppliers (mostly) along with a few industry bodies, publishers etc.

With hundreds and hundreds of stands it is a tiring morning... especially with my sense of direction. I had thought to be heading in a straight line through the hall - until I ended up back by a very distinctive stand and I realised that I was, in fact, going in circles.

It's a fantastic way to find out about the latest renewable technologies - although for an eco-friendly event I certainly collected a lot of paper, but no plastic bags - one cotton and one hemp. Easy way to become popular at such an event, give away free bags!