29 February, 2008

Come one, come all and gasp in mock wonderment at Fink's Links!

So, to start with this week, how about a new idea to help with global recycling from a popular brewery? Yes, brick-shaped beer bottles, the idea being that you can use them to build giant transparent green (and probably not terribly straight) advertising hoardings houses (if you manage to empty enough of them without falling over first)... ;)

Watch a guy burst a water balloon with a pin at 1/80th normal speed (looks ten times cooler than it sounds)...

First ten teams (including one from "the next space superpower", yes, the Isle of Man (WTF?)) sign up for the Lunar X Prize (aim - private individuals deliver 1 (one) x home-made robotic rover to the moon, preferably without breaking it, and then drive it around a bit...bonus points for paying a visit to the relics the US left behind in the Apollo days to shut up conspiracy theorists)...

Incredible proof that Sperm whales actually sleep (although it's slightly more amazing that nobody noticed before), as some british researchers discovered when they accidentally drifted into the middle of a snoozing pod of the giant creatures (and then wondered how the hell they were going to get out without waking them up and having their boat completely wrecked and all hands lost)...(with added video goodness)...

News now that escaped Wild Boar are so successfully breeding in the UK (estimates range between 200 and 400 in the South East alone) that the Biodiversity Minister has sanctioned a cull (no paperwork required, just a big gun) local landowners licking their lips...

Fancy witnessing a totally new concept in 3D gaming? Skip forward to about 3 minutes to bypass the "how it's done" section and get straight to the juicy bit if you like - summary - it only cost £25 to build (using the guts of a Wiimote and a Bluetooth USB dongle), and the code is open source...

Now, a totally *wonderful* collection of quotes from IRC logs (where the concept of chatrooms all began) kept for the amusement of mankind (by QDB)...check especially the Top 100-200...important disclaimer though - much of the content may well be waaaaay too geeky for most human beings to comprehend (although the playing field is levelling)...

A brave storm chaser in Kansas with a decent camera shows us the climate in the UK could be rather worse... ;)

Two good pieces of evidence that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs...one is this brilliant photograph, the other is this very interesting project...

In search of the God particle, shooting more than just particles inside CERN...let's just hope they don't accidentally make us a nice earth-bound black hol... (urk!)

Only kidding, how could the universe afford to get rid of a society who managed to conceive something quite incredibly wrong, wrong and *wrong* as this...!

Someone takes a 19th centry concept for a "paddleboat plane" and actually makes it work (video)!

Now, someone with *far* too much spare time on their hands decides just the one bike isn't quite sufficient for his needs...

Meet "Crusher" the US Armies' new "veee-hickle", totally unmanned and equiped with hard points to mount remotely operated machine guns, capable of driving itself and able to gayly cross terrain that would risk giving human occupants spinal injuries...queue the start of large scale, deadly, robot-army vs Middle East conflict...

Browse (saying "ooo!" and "ahh!") what it takes to make it into the 2nd Annual Photography masters cup, nominee and winners gallery...(although I'm not entirely sure I would be prepared to stand next to a burning police car in order to join them)...!

Check out this amazing interactive graph of the ebb and flow of box office takings from 1986-2007, Titanic made one hell of a splash (har har)...cool just for how incredible it looks, but fully searchable too... ;)

And finally, please take off your hats and bow your heads for the sad aftermath of the UK earthquake... ;)

Previous entries here, more next week (assuming interesting things keep happening, of course)!

28 February, 2008

London Bridge Haunted? Call Ghostbusters!

The end of FAIL...
"Okay, we got a *great* gig for you guys today, you get up at 5am, dress up in this loose fitting, cheap "Ghostbusters" costume and then spend the next 4 hours reaching down to pick up Metro newspapers and hand them out to members of the public saying 'Win a Sony Ericcsson phone', and remember to keep that smile on your face! We'll be checking!"...

Poor guy...

27 February, 2008

NHS Cheese givaway!

Free Mini Babybel from the NHS
I think I might have *slightly* missed the connection here (and I'm sure there is some obvious link between the London Healthcare and French Edam), but anyway, it's promoting the "Have your Say" campaign being conducted by MORI Poll...it doesn't affect me (I don't suppose) as I live in Surrey, but thanks for the cheese anyway...went nicely with my morning apple...the debate, however, as to whether NHS funds should be spent on feeding hungry commuters, is another matter entirely... ;)

26 February, 2008

TFL - Refunds and free SMS service updates

So, I'm doing things from now on -

1) If my tube journey is delayed by over 15 minutes per day, I'm filling out this form, done it twice now, and each time been refunded my £4 tube fare (nice), just wish the mainline train companies would offer that, however, they say they won't help you unless the delay is in excess of an *hour*...which only happens once in a blue moon...

2) I'm also having a go at the free automatic SMS travel alerts service, it texts you whenever you like to let you know how your *exact* tube journey is looking (so for me it's London Bridge to Canary Wharf, morning and evening) just 5 or 10 minutes before you are due to actually do it and inform you of any delays, so in theory, if the tube is mucking up I will now never ever have to go down the escalator to find out that fact...I'll just be able to walk straight to the boat and then submit my complaint form! Result!

25 February, 2008

Lal Akash, Reigate - Stag Do

Heineken Keg
*Somehow*, I am still alive...this keg got polished off *well* before we even made it anywhere *near* Lal Akash (in Reigate) where the beers are enormous -
Lal Akash #1
- and the food is absolutely fantastic -
Lal Akash #
Lal Akash #3
- the Indian waiter spoke to us largely in Spanish (which was a little confusing), only one car broke down, and bed didn't occur on Saturday night morning until around 4am...I honestly think I'm going to need to take a half day today and just go home and sleep...and if that isn't a stark insight into what an *excellent* weekend was had, I don't know what would... ;)
Smeared Car
Thank you everyone for making it special...(and for letting me come out of it without ending up naked in Aberdeen tied to an alsatian)... ;)

22 February, 2008

Fink's Links

So time for another weekly roundup of cool links, I thought Friday was a more natural home for this sort of post, giving you time to savour each delicacy during the gentle wind-down towards the weekend...not that I get to slow up on a Friday, it's accounting day...oh well...! ;)

So, to begin, an absolute gem, apologies if you are already familiar with the site (I know I have mentioned it once before), but it really deserves another mention (in fact, it probably deserves a post of it's own, as it's so vast, but anyway...) welcome to the wonderful world of the "419 Eater archive"...basically a group of twisted individuals that take great pleasure tormenting the (largely) Nigerian con-men who prentend to be in possession of huge sums of money they need to smuggle to the West (and of course scam you for "admin charges" via Western Union and vanish laughing)...the return stings are eclectic, brilliant and largely hilarious...enjoy... ;)

Now, how about a peep at the drawing board for Star Wars merchandise that never made it into production? Some interesting ones, particularly the Death Star BBQ and the Princess Leia headphones... ;)

Continuing the Star Wars theme, take a look at the largest collection of Star Wars toys on the planet (and yes, he does (somehow) have a girlfriend)...

Off on a slight Lucasfilm tangent now to watch the recently released Indiana Jones IV teaser trailer (and thanks to a bit of Hollywood magic Harrison definitely doesn't look too old to be holding that bullwhip)... ;)

Now, two instructional pieces, just in case you ever find yourself in either of these unhappy positions, first - How not to release a bear into the wild - and second - How not to release a leopard into the wild - yes, leave the stick in the cab next time folks (and do up the window)...

Time for some armchair travel, by checking out a nice set of pictures of Istambul's totally amazing Grand Bazaar...

Following on from the "cheeseburger in a can", how about a nice Hamburger-shaped Lunch box to take your salad to work?

Now on to a nice collection of rather poorly thought out business names...

A really interesting story from ABC News about an autistic girl who suddenly found a comfortable means of expression through her laptop...

Check out this nice demonstration of how rubbish your brain is at dealing with the inputs from your default visual system (in certain circumstances)...

Now, following another theme, check out this incredible use of space - a staircase library!

On the subject of home improvements, what about a beautiful steampunk-flavoured Nautilus-themed home cinema setup? Oh for the millions of dollars to do something so ridiculously cool...

A picture entitled "Coming soon to a child's nightmare near you"... ;)

A brilliant bit of urban art...

...and finally - following the wild animal theme from earlier on - a Columbian woman who found a very sick lion while she was trekking in a remote forest, she managed to get it back to her home (as you do) and slowly nursed it back to health, passing care to a local zoo in due course so they could continue monitoring it's recovery professionally, then when it was back in perfect health she went to pay it a visit in captivity (just to see how it was getting on)...what you are about to see is the lions reaction when he saw the woman again, simply incredible...

Previous posts here...and more linky goodness next week...

21 February, 2008

test moblog post...

test moblog post...
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...from the new phone... :)

Nokia N73 3G Cameraphone - Orange

Well got my new phone today, tearing myself kicking and screaming from the Windows Smartphone experience - I have been *very* happily using the classic SPV C500 (IMHO the best phone *ever* made) for the last 3 years, but the bills have been the wrong side of £40 for most of that time and it was, I thought, time to ditch the contract and go "pay as you go" (not being made of money)...so I got on the phone on Tuesday night to Orange, told them I was pissed off with paying so much and could they cancel everything and send me a new (cheap) SIM Card.

By the end of the conversation (at least half of which was contract negotiation by Flyingpops who had been through the process a few months back) my bill was down to £15, a new handset was in the post, and my benefits included infinite free text messages and stupid amounts of free cross-network minutes...I told them my only real concern was that the device must contain Carl Zeiss optics and the Nokia N73 was mentioned, sweetended with the offer of a free 2Gb SD card, I did a quick Google (as you do) and the spec looked good - 3G, built in radio (a first for a phone of mine), 3.2 megapixel camera (with the CZ optics I coveted), and the game that comes shipped on the handset was "Tomb Raider Anniversary"...(bit of a shock!)...

Anyway, as I said, the camera bit was the most important to me, so I charged the phone up this morning (they shipped it next day delivery on Wednesday, and sent me regular updates by text to tell me where it was, meaning I got to the post room to collect it just after they had signed on the dotted line) and it's quite an impressive camera on board actually, 3.2 megapixel (which is plenty), it even has a rudimentary flash (which seems to work up to about 2 feet away, no optical zoom (well, what do you expect), but it's got a macro mode good to 10cm, burst shooting (a bit on the slow side, but functional), and the image quality is pleasingly good giving nice warm colours (the C500 always balanced a bit on the grey/blue side) and the amount of noise is extremely low -
Nokia N73 Cameraphone #1
Nokia N73 Cameraphone #3
Nokia N73 Cameraphone #4
- only complaint, it doesn't seem to ship with a wrist strap, and when I popped into Jessops the only one they had was £4.99 (rip off)...sure I've got one laying around at home somewhere... ;)

Now I'm sat here listening to Classic FM through my headphones (one of only 4 radio stations I seem to be able to pick up from the 20th floor of Canary Wharf) feeling quite smug... ;) Well, I would be feeling "smugger" if I had managed to register my SIM, but when I called Orange they said their server was down...bah... ;)

Food recycling in Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf - New Recycling Facilities
Well, some new recycling facilities seem to have materialised in Canary Wharf, for old food waste, the only thing now is, where do we put *non* recycleable materials? There aren't any normal bins left! ;)

20 February, 2008

Geotagged photographs

Well, I've done it, 4800 photos later (I actually started this exercise about a year ago), I've geotagged up every single picture (well, all those that I can remember exactly where I was when I took them, obviously)...so now, if you click on one, then look at the bottom right, you'll see in the "Additional information" section a new bullet point -
Yahoo Maps - Geotagging #1
- which tells you roughly where the shot was taken (White Bushes in this case), then if you click the "map" hyperlink -
Yahoo Maps - Geotagging #2
- a little window will pop out showing exactly where I was (which I'm sure will be of *huge* interest to everyone, not), anyway, I started out on the silly venture, and now it's finished...(and now of course Google will aquire Yahoo and I'll have to do it all over again on Google maps *slits wrists*)... ;)

19 February, 2008

Fink's Stag Do - Lal Akash Reigate

Dot2Dot promotion - Canary Wharf
Mmmm, free mineral water today, thanks Dot2Dot (they do cheap mini-bus trips between the Wharf and Heathrow)... ;)

Anyway, Stag Do (yes, it's not long to the wedding now)! We are going to try out the new curry place in Reigate called "Lal Akash", it looks absolutely amazing, the menu has a *load* of things I've never heard of, so it's bound to be a bit of an experience (if I can resist the lure of Chicken Tikka Dansak), for my starter I'm contemplating the "Chingri Roshan" which is described as "Tender cold water prawns pan fried with fresh garlic and coriander" (mmmm!), or perhaps "Lamb Momo", "Tender lamb marinated in a secret sauce, gently cooked in the tandoor and then pan fried with aromatic herbs and spices", main course how about the "Nawabi Masalla" - "Chicken roasted with onions peppers and fresh oranges, cooked in a puree of carrots and fresh mint stir fried in an unforgettable sauce" (wow!)...you are almost on the last page of the menu before anything familiar (like vindaloo) turns up! Other interesting things on the menu "Bullet Nan", which is "stuffed with fresh green chillies", or how about "Special Nan" which is "stuffed with paneer, capsicum and chicken tikka" (sounds like a meal in itself)! If you are feeling *really* adventurous, check out the "Mutter Paneer" - "Peas with home made cheese"...! Can't wait!

Anyway, really looking forward to it, I have a table for ten booked for Saturday night, fifteen people have been invited, eight confirmed so far, hopefully everyone can come...we'll do a few beers before, and then xbox/movies afterwards, should be a good craic...! ;)

15 February, 2008

Jubilee Line Closure - Valentine's Day at Canary Wharf

My God, yesterday was bedlam at Canary Wharf, rushing people (male and female) clutching chocolate, rose and card - all available nook and cranny had been filled with expanded stall space, purveying a profusion of said items (at inflated cost), and it was chaos right from the off - imagine the worst Saturday in the run up to Christmas at Bluewater and you are starting to get an idea...

You can picture, then, how happy everyone was when it came time to leave work, clutching their fragile gifts and carefully written cards, hearts full of no other desire than to get to home or restaurant, where loved one, made up and dressed up, is impatiently sitting, sipping rapidly warming drink and surrepticiously checking the time...foot tapping nervously, occasionally trying the mobile, only to be sent stright to voicemail (thinking "He hasn't forgotten, has he"?)...when they arrive at the Jubilee Line to be greeted by this -
Jubilee Line Closure #3
- an angry crowd, actually, a nearly riotous crowd, people were *JUMPING* the barriers, no, not naughty hoodies - *respectable* businessmen, in suit and tie, clutching flower and bottle - *vaulting* the ticket barrier - to scathing bursts of abuse from the PA system and desparate calls for the crowd to just grow up and be patient...
Jubilee Line Closure #1
...welcome to modern London...

14 February, 2008

Awesome geek valentine poem...!

Roses are #ff0000
violets are #0000ff
all my base
are belong to j00...

Aw... ;)

Happy Valentines Day, Flyingpops!

This is your last one ever as a Fiancee (and now I've finally worked out how to spell it, I won't be needing it too much longer)! ;)

Love you...


Update - Yes, do check this, I even arranged for the team responsible to prioritise the authorisation process so Flyingpops would get the message as we were sat together on the train, however, her blackberry was mulfunctioning...very annoying...!

12 February, 2008

Fink's Links

Can't see the top!
Wow, and I thought it was foggy yesterday! Just a shame the sun takes nearly all day to burn it off, otherwise we'd be having some amazing weather at the moment!

Anyway, lets get on with some of the cool things I have spotted on the interweb over the last few days, starting with some amazingly cool aquarium designs by "Octopus Studios" similar to the hamster adventure playgrounds of old, created from connected spheres...the one on the bottom right is my favorite, but I have to say they look enormous... ;)

Dip into an delightful acid bath of the worst 25 cars Jeremy Clarkson has ever driven...

Can't afford *real* gold? It's now possible (using pulses of laser) to modify the surface of several cheaper metals (Aluminium for example) to make them indistinguishable from the real gold (and it's "pretty robust" - the end of gold plating perhaps?)...and want extra quirky? They can also modify the colour of Gold to make it look blue, pure black, or even a freaky shimmering butterfly-wing-type rainbow...but prepare to start having to bite bits of gold jewellery you buy in the market again...

A video showing how to do the COD4 tutorial stage (the one on the fake boat after the shooting range) in 13.1 seconds...*wow*...

A photographer managing a titter-worthy FAIL...(she definitely didn't shoot anything included in the next link)...

The most incredible collection of lightning bolt shots (some rather long exposure though, but none-the-less *very* impressive)...

Virgin Atlantic is ten months ahead of schedule with getting a 747-400 to fly on a blend of kerosene and biofuel (cue all airports smelling like a fish and chip shop)...

10 Sci-Fi dreams that are *technically* possible to build right now, if only someone would put up the cash...(although you should probably scratch a couple of them from the list as already kinda-done (railgun/laser) just need perfecting, minaturisation and better power sources)...

Did you hear that the BBC were made to blush by a black man's willy (according to the Mail anyway)? Inplausibly enough it happened on the popular Radio 4 show "Gardener's World"...!

Super detailed picture of the Shuttle, sitting and waiting for launch...some human forms are visible on the tower so you can acurately gauge it's size!

Some amazing pictures of the Feb 10th "Anonymous" protest against the Co$...included just for the great photography...it's funny to see the gooks and geeks of the internet band together in a common cause (in real life)...the London protest looked pretty amazing too...

Ever wondered what space smells like?

A fishy FAIL...

And an oldie, but a goldie (sound required), a young child's reaction when she hears that Tony Blair is stepping down as Prime Minister...

...and finally, may I offer you a delicious selection of the top 20 reasons that it's probably best I *don't* live in the USA...

More next week... ;)

Previous entries here...

11 February, 2008

Super Foggy day at Canary Wharf

Foggy Day at Canary Wharf #1
Wow, quite a contrast to the normal view out the window today, odd, it didn't actually look that bad from the ground...everyone is just telling me to wait for a thunderstorm across London (apparently that is just *incredible*)...can't wait! Still this is quite spooky, unless you look right up into the sky -
Foggy Day at Canary Wharf #2
Foggy Day at Canary Wharf #3
...it just looks like we are floating in the clouds...and funnily enough, more freebies today - some travel-sized deordorant - will hang on to them for the honeymoon... ;)
Freebie mini deordorant sprays

08 February, 2008

07 February, 2008

Redhill Bus station upgrade 435/100

What a pain...Redhill bus station is *closed*, and instead of grouping all the stops sensibly along Marketfield way, the bus company, in it's wisdom, have littered them all over town, which means for me (a pretty average London commuter), we have a bit of a problem.

If I leave the office on time, enjoy the crush across town from Canary Wharf on the tube (takes about 20 minutes) to a major London railway station (London Bridge in my case) run and jump onto the first train I can (around 1800hrs+) I usually get into Redhill in just enough time to dash across the road and make the 435 at 1835hrs (assuming it hasn't left early, as it often does) if it's running a bit late, so much the better...

Annoyingly (believe it or not) 1835hrs is also the time that is deemed by Metrobus to be the sensible moment to *end* peak services (despite the crowds of people standing at the bus station, and despite the fact that this is the earliest possible time a London Commuter can *get* back to Redhill from London), the 430/435 service stops (for 55 minutes) and then an hourly service starts (running at twenty past the hour). Not *normally* a problem, as I can just pick up the 100 bus at 1900hrs (still a 25 minute wait, and I have to walk for 15 extra minutes at the other end) but not the end of the world, and if I'm *really* lucky a stray 430 or 435 will trundle up seriously late (as happens occasionally)...

This puts me in the unhappy position of loosing any luxury of choice, loosing any chance of catching a lucky late runner, and loosing any chance of catching my normal bus, as the bus stop for the 430\435 is now all the way up Princess way. As if to rub my nose in the resultant Metrobus mess, each day I *now* emerge from the railway station (if the bus is on time) to watch it sitting in the traffic jam by the roundabout (it's out of the question to open the doors and let me on, of course)...the 100 stop is way down in Marketfield way, roughly ten minutes walk from the 430\435 stop (and on the other side of the extremely busy road)...

My only solution? To walk all the way to the stop up the Brighton road, where the 100, the 430 and the 435 manage to co-habit perfectly successfully. I just wonder, if this is the happy case at *that* stop, why on *earth* can't they manage to do so at one of the prior spots (i.e. actually *in* Redhill town centre) within sprinting distance of the station?

Pointless idiocy. No wonder most people run for the Reigate *train* and the queue at the taxi rank has doubled.

The bus station is going to be closed until May. I'm expecting something absolutely incredible to materialise.

06 February, 2008

Kansas Street after Tornado...

Kansas Street
Originally uploaded by Alternative Energy Solutions.

Hrm, America isn't having much fun at the moment then...puts the Jubilee Line closures into perspective...

05 February, 2008

Hilarious Wonderbra Ad - Delia Online

Pancake day - Wonderbra ads on Delia Online!
Ads running on Delia Online today - "Today doesn't have to be pancake day".


Thames Clipper Commute review - pics and video

What could have been an absolute disaster this morning (Jubilee line suspended due to power failure) turned into an amazing experience...I groaned when I got down the escalator at London Bridge and all the gates were shut, whole place rammed (I mean, even the trains had been full when we got on at Earlswood, but luckily two people got off at Redhill and we dived into their seats), but when I got about a third of the way across London Bridge (thinking DLR, but dreading the crush) and just happened to peer to my right and spot the pier..BAM! I stopped dead in my tracks and reversed course (against the almost unstoppable flow of other commuters) until I was able to find a way down to the bank of the Thames...
Thames Clipper #1
...Amazingly only a tiny handful of other people had twigged and were checking prices, which *appeared* to be £4 for a single -
Thames Clipper #2
- but to save the agro that was definitely worth it so I walked down and joined the small queue of people-
Thames Clipper #5
- and luckily enough the next boat was "due" now -
Thames Clipper #4
- it was only about two minutes late (but I don't expect perfect timekeeping when rivers are involved)...
Thames Clipper #6
We were then *counted* on to *ensure* that every single passenger gets a seat (how civilized?)-
Thames Clipper #7
Thames Clipper #30
- and I began to explore, quickly finding the open-air seats at the back of the boat -
Thames Clipper #8
Thames Clipper #24
- waved goodbye to the swarm of ants on London Bridge -
Thames Clipper #9
- and then we were off -
Thames Clipper #10
- past the HMS Belfast -
Thames Clipper #11
- under Tower Bridge -
Thames Clipper #17
Thames Clipper #16
- and then things really got up to speed (had to hang on tight!) tiny bit of video here showing how quickly we were travelling -
Thames Clipper #19
- and in no time the Wharf was in sight -
Thames Clipper #22
Thames Clipper #23
- it took a minute or two to dock (because the pier was full so there was nowhere to moor) and then everyone queued to get off (and pay if the lady with the ticket machine had missed them, as she had done in my case, but it was only £2.60!) past the coffee bar (don't get them on the tube!) -
Thames Clipper #29
- and then through the gardens and plaza(s) towards One Canada Square -
Thames Clipper #34
Thames Clipper #36
- (and I must say it looks incredible walking up the avenue towards the building from this direction, like New York on Thames, honestly) -
Thames Clipper #37
- more pictures here if you like this kind of thing...