30 November, 2010

Let it snow!

London Bridge platform 4 in the Snow
Well, let it snow - IF - the trains can manage to all run on time, which of course they *can't*...it didn't work out *too* bad I suppose - roads were clear by the time we got off the estate, train five minutes late to Earlswood and only twenty minutes late into London Bridge (they weren't even using the snow as an excuse either, today it was a "broken rail at Redhill") - I got on a Dartford train that was supposed to have run at 7am (just over an hour late departing), and oh boy was the DLR busy, but despite it all I still managed to get to work before 9am...
Canary Wharf in the Snow
...and this is the view out over east London that greeted me...total white out... ;)

26 November, 2010

Finks Links #117

Friday, and once again I'm at home (ahh) and have Monday off too (woo)...! ;) Worry not though, you won't have to go without your Friday links (thanks to my brilliant forward planning)... ;)

Let's kick things off with the fact that Japan does condiments *rather* better...

Finally - a loophole for getting more wishes!

Urm...now what?

The worlds fastest rollercoaster in action...!

Journalism by Father Jack...

"Just bought an automated cat food dispenser. It clearly doesn't dispense enough food."

4D Invisibility Cloak Bends Time as Well as Space...

Check out paragraph 105 of the official ruling in the case of Lucasfilm Ltd & Ors v Ainsworth & Anor [2009] EWCA Civ 1328 (16 December 2009)... ;)

Italy from the ISS...

Kyosho Egg (watch the video)...

...and finally an excellent Bumper sticker fail and a hilarious squirrel fail...

Have a great weekend! :D

25 November, 2010

Marine Policing Unit...

Marine Policing Unit
Spotted this in "the Wharf" the other day, which did sort of prompt me to wonder if a "Marine Policing Unit" wouldn't be better off if their chosen mode of transport could actually float (images of crestfallen Police officers standing with their heads in their hands as crooks slowly vanish into the distance rowing a small dingy popping involuntarily into my head) -
Marine Policing Unit
- but when I got a look at the side of the vehicle it seemed to make a bit more sense, it was actually the "Underwater and confined space search team" (which sounds like just about my worst possible nightmare of a job) -
Marine Policing Unit
- I spotted them a bit futher up West India Quay (shivering), several members of support staff manning (what I presume to be) the oxygen supply machinery, the rest looking on -
Marine Policing Unit
- so probably a training exercise, either that or Lord Sugar dropped his helicopter keys... ;)

...and yes, I know he doesn't really work in Canary Wharf, he just likes to pretend he does (while sitting in a business park in St. Albans... ;)

24 November, 2010

Tilgate Nature Center

So on my day off on Monday we decided (after Flyingpops had got back from the church group with Thomas - giving Daddy some valuable Xbox time) to go and visit Tilgate Park Nature Center, last time we went Thomas did a lot of pointing and staring and saying "Ah Goo!", but now, with his well practiced Animal Noises/Names (from various books/posters/plush and otherwise toys), it was time to see if he could put them to practical use...
Tilgate Park - Lion
...first we stopped off at the "raaaaaaar" (outside the entrance) -
Tilgate Park - Entrance Archway
- then passed through the Nature Centre archway -
Tilgate Park - Entrance
- and had a ride on one of the "clip-clop-clip-clop"s -
Tilgate Park
- then, after putting on reins and grabbing a big stick -
Tilgate Park - Sheep
- we stopped to watch some "Baaaaa"s -
Tilgate Park - Chickens
- excitedly chased some "icken!" (thoughts obviously still firmly on lunchtime) -
Tilgate Park - Pigs
- watched some *sound of a clearing nose* having their tea -
Tilgate Park - Cow
- pointed at some "Moooooo"s -
Tilgate Park - Duck
- and waved to a "Wak wak - Duck!"...(as well as peering at some more exotic animals which didn't make much noise at all, and didn't feature in many of the "Farm" word books, etc.)...
Tilgate Park - Capybara?
Tilgate Park - Alpaca
Tilgate Park
Tilgate Park - Aviary
Tilgate Park - Aviary
...a brilliant afternoon, and some practical use for all those extended "ook" sessions learning the animal names and noises...well done Thomas! ;)

23 November, 2010

Orange and T-Mobile Merge Networks

Ah, just had a lovely few days off including a lovely trip to Tilgate Park to see some farm animals (more about that, probably, tomorrow), get to the station and hop onto my (for once perfectly on time) train and get a text message from Orange telling me I'm ready to go on the new super network that has resulted from Orange and T-Mobile combining their base stations! All I had to do was reply "Yes" to a text message, turn on "Roaming" data (which results in an extremely scary message about how much it could cost - as you would only normally use roaming data when overseas), set network detection to "Automatic" and off we go! Hopefully this means the gaping holes in Canary Wharf Orange mobile coverage will now be significantly reduced! Guess I'll find out at lunchtime when I try to ring Flyingpops to see how her and Thomas have enjoyed their morning! :)

19 November, 2010

Finks Links #116

Ah Friday, and I'm all warm at home in my duvet...hehe...okay, well actually probably not, I'm probably walking Thomas to sleep in the freezing cold rain, but I wrote this lot on Thursday, so...well, place your bets! ;)

First up - a lovely Christmas story...

The smallest (legible) computer font...

Check out some of the sets they have built for the Bregenzer Festspiele (over and sometimes in the lake)...Amazing!

Russia in 15 seconds...

Russia in one photo...

Incredible, World Record Breaking -80 Gigapixel-, zoomable panoramic shot of London (don't miss the tour) - the machine that did the stitching had 192GB of RAM..!

The Bloop Incident...

An amazing picture of a submarine battle...

Kentucky Fried Chillin'...

...and finally a peek-a-boo fail and a great spelling fail (Mmmm!)...

Okay, that's all you little scamps! Have a great weekend! :D

18 November, 2010

Thomas' talking...

Fireworks at the neighbours
Wow, this morning Thomas managed to string two words together (for the first time ever) - he said "Yay Daddy"... :)

His spoken vocabulary is now so advanced I would struggle to list all his words, but it does include (perfectly pronounced) "garden", "ball", "car", "socks", "shoes", "train", "pear", "cup", "cat"...imperfectly pronounced (but impressive) "icken" (chicken - the roast variety), "tiangle" (triangle), "taktor" (tractor), "mato" (tomato), "nana" (banana), "nannan" (Nanna), "dink" (drink), "ook" (book)...and the list goes on...the number of words he understands when *we* speak them is colossal, for example he has absolutely no problem understanding "Thomas go and sit on your chair if you are going to eat that" (and so he does) or "Can you see a cat in the garden?" (and over he goes to the patio doors)...it's just incredible...as Flyingpops commented the other day "Once Thomas starts properly talking there's going to be no shutting him up"... ;)

Unfortunately, in other Thomas news, he has managed to pick up a bit of conjunctivitis (in both his eyes), the doctors at the hospital prescribed him some eye drops, but when he woke up this morning and we brought him through to the bedroom he looked like he had come off worst in a boxing match overnight, so swollen are his poor little eyes, and oh boy does he hate having the treatment...three times a day in each eye? This is going to be a nightmare...

17 November, 2010

Southern Trains - Another Great Week

Earlswood in the Fog
...well, two weeks actually...Every *single* day for the last two weeks the train in the morning has been delayed, by now you would have thought they might have decided to set off a little bit earlier, or change the name of the train to the 07:18 instead of the 07:12 (or something)...of course, as soon as we get out of pattern the delays compound and by the time we get into London Bridge we are (on average) fifteen or twenty minutes late arriving...last Thursday things got even better, as I stood (already running late) on platform one, awaiting my Lewisham service and watched in disbelief as not one, but two Lewisham trains popped up onto the boards, only to vanish - without a single announcement - without a train actually arriving at the station, and then just to put the cherry on the top, when I got to the DLR there was a broken down train blocking one of the platforms and about 200 people impatiently waiting...that night there were 51 minute delays out of London Bridge in the direction of home...
London Bridge
Winter (you know, a bit of wind and rain, or a bit of ice) *shouldn't* be coming as a surprise, it happens each and every year...although neither is it a surprise (unfortunately) that we inevitably hit the annual descent into dismal service by the hopelessly under-prepared idiots who (I stifle my manic laughter as I say) "run" the railways...
The Shard
Still, at least it gives me a chance to wander around with the camera... >;P

16 November, 2010

Water Babies Graduation

Water Babies
Wow, so that's it! Sunday (just gone) saw Thomas complete his *final* Water Babies class!
Water Baby Class 1
(In contrast, this is what he looked like walking into his first ever lesson, which was when he was only 4 months old, in November last year)...
Water Baby Class 1
...(and in the water)...

Water Babies
Now, of course, he gets terribly excited about the whole affair, instead of just looking slightly baffled...knows he isn't all that fond of ending up underwater, but knows exactly what to do to remedy the situation and is happy and confident splashing around, climbing into the water and holding on to the edge all on his own (clever boy)...! We picked up his graduation certificate after the lesson and are going to mount it on his bedroom wall along with a (hand picked) picture, but I haven't quite decided which one yet...
Water Babies
So, a milestone, Thomas' first certificate (apart from the Birth one, obviously)...Baby swimming is over, it's on to Toddler Splash next! ;)

15 November, 2010

Canary Wharf Christmas Decorations...

Canary Wharf Christmas Decorations
...are up (yay!), and it looks like they have actually bought some news ones for this year (or spruced them up a bit at the very least), no festive signs in evidence this year either...! ;)

12 November, 2010

How to - Maximise Laptop/mobile Battery Life...

...although you can probably guess this guy's first language isn't English, there is an extremely important lesson for all of us in what he writes -

-Lithium Ion batteries don't like constantly being topped up-

(in case you didn't know, this is what is in your laptop/mobile phone/mp3 player/handheld game console etc.)

In fact, each time you add charge to a Lithium Ion battery, it's performance gets a little worse, for the average battery you can expect 800-odd charge cycles before you effectively kill it - by leaving it plugged in all the time you'll kill the battery at the fastest possible rate.

So what are the "take home" tips about this?

If it's a laptop, when you have access to mains power take the battery completely *out* of the device and put it somewhere cool (not freezing cold) and run the laptop with just the power cable plugged in (99% of machines are quite happy like this - see pic above)...When you absolutely *need* to be using the battery (e.g. on the move/in a tent/whatever), pop it back in for a full charge then off you go, keep the battery out at all other times.

If it's a mobile phone/mp3 player (etc.) or a laptop that won't boot without it's battery, minimise the amount of charge cycles as far as you can, and try to start your charge cycles (as far as is practical) when the battery is at 10%...

Now go off and enjoy your greatly increased (future) battery life!

Finks Links #115

Ah, the end of another week...officially my last full working week of the year! Yay...(*cups hands to mouth and makes pretend applause noise*)... ;)

First up - accidents waiting to happen...

A slightly disturbing tube map...

A galaxy seen perfectly on edge...

Mind blowing holographic sheets...

Gummy Lego!

STOP SINGING!

Amazing 3D pencil drawings...

Self cloning lizards discovered on restaurant menu (nope, it's not April 1st)...

...and finally a cashier fail and a great location fail...

That's your lot this time, it's been a busy week for me! Have a great weekend! :D

11 November, 2010

The Shard...

The Shard
Took this pic this morning, thought you might like to see how they are getting on with building "The Shard" at London Bridge...it's going to be quite an impressive structure!

10 November, 2010

No time for posting...

...today, too busy...but to celebrate yesterday's bit of news I have done some sorting out and updated my favourite pictures (set) on Flickr (if you fancy a look)... ;)

09 November, 2010

Flickr and Getty Images

Goldfish #1
Well, well, well...a "customer" is interested in licencing my photograph of Jar Jar the goldfish which they spotted on Flickr (apparently), so Getty Images have emailed me an invitation to join their books and submit my image for final review (which I have done), wonder if my little photography hobby will turn into an unexpected money spinner?

Watch this space...! ;)

08 November, 2010

Friends Provident Fireworks 2010

So just a few pictures from our evening out on Guy Fawkes night at the FPLO bonfire (actually, this one was on the way, playing with the settings getting ready for firework shots) -
Friends Provident Fireworks
- after a couple of drinks in the bar awaiting my sister, her husband and Thomas' cousin, we headed across to the playing field to check out the serviceable bonfire (nothing is quite the same after you have seen the one at Brockham) -
Friends Provident Fireworks
Friends Provident Fireworks
- huddling as near as we dared to stay warm -
Friends Provident Fireworks
- and before long the display was underway -
Friends Provident Fireworks
Friends Provident Fireworks
Friends Provident Fireworks
Friends Provident Fireworks
- which Thomas enjoyed very much (much to our relief, as these were his first ever ones)... ;)
Friends Provident Fireworks

05 November, 2010

Finks Links #114

It's really **Friday**! Yay! Oh and it's Bonfire night - Boom! Wheeeeeee! Crackle! Oooh!

Lets kick things off this week with Dawn of the Ted...

Learn about Tony Acevedo sent to perform slave labor for the Germans during WWII, but managed to record his experiences in a secret diary

How to troll like a 10 year old...

Ground Zero II...

Laminar Flow...

Laser Helicopter...

Slightly unconventional file sharing...

A cure for the common cold?

Visual maps of Atari 2600 code...

Slightly disproportionate behaviour...

The Chaplin mobile mystery?

...and finally a nasty tattoo fail and an excellent English lesson win!

Roll on hometime (for you guys - I'm already there)! :D

03 November, 2010

Yay, it's Friday...!

...well, sort of... ;) Having to burn up some holiday days as I've got waaaaay too many left, and actually, the way I have it reserved right now (apart from next week) I don't have a single full week to work now until January!

...and relax... ;)

02 November, 2010

Olympic Travel Chaos?

Well well well...some actual good news regarding the Olympics - it seems that the last three major cities to host the games actually saw visitor numbers *drop* sharply as people actively avoided the place (wrongly) expecting a great big bus/train shaped mess! I have a funny feeling that TFL will manage to muck it up somehow though... ;)

01 November, 2010

Spooky Trail - Priory Farm

Priory Farm Halloween
So yesterday, by way of celebrating Halloween, we decided to take Thomas to Priory Farm to walk their seasonally themed "Spooky Trail" -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- made all the more spooky by the huge fields of dead sunflowers left from the summer -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- populated by absolutely hundreds of Himalayan Parakeets greedily gulping down the leftover seeds (occasionally being spooked and exploding into a green cloud above our heads - much to Thomas' amazement) and a carpet of Guinea Hen below picking over what the Parakeets dropped...
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
Climbing the (extremely muddy and slippery) hill -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- stopping briefly to admire the view -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- before playing in the musical maze -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- (which involved banging lots of gongs) -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- got scared by some giant spiders hanging under the high hide -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- and fired a giant arrow down the hill -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- trying not to kill any other visitors (or rampaging wildlife) -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- then we slid down the other side of the hill, dodging skeletons, through the orchard and pumpkin patch -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- and round the lake -
Priory Farm Spooky Trail
- and then back home for roast lamb with all the trimmings... ;)
Priory Farm Spooky Trail