27 April, 2011

Finks Links #135

Friday!! Well, actually this time it's only Wednesday thanks to even *more* days off! Yay! ;)

Anyway, let's start with the World's biggest Pacman...(seriously, *seriously* big)...

Find out what it's like to play games if you are colour blind...

FOOD FIGHT!

NASA's Earth day photographs...

Forced perspective with a moving camera...

The Scale of the Universe...

The recurring-prop-newspaper...

Don't muck about with the marching band...

Ant vs Spider (*not* a good idea, ant)...

RIP Manual typewriters...

In space fuel stations...

Man discovers new life form...

...and finally a brilliant Royal Wedding memento...

Have a brilliant *second* long weekend everyone! ;)

26 April, 2011

Back to work...

Burger Lunch
...after a lovely few days off, got Flyingpops holiday book ordered, exchanged some Pounds for Euros ready for hols...and just been offered free Burger King at lunchtime (no idea why, but)...yum yum! ;)

21 April, 2011

Finks Links #134

Friday!! Well, Thursday, but effectively Friday thanks to the Bank Hols (during which I imagine I won't be near computers very much)... ;)

So let's kick things off by taking a sneaky peek at (the now abandoned) Holy Grail of UK Urban exploration (finally breached) - the Mail Rail under London...cool! :0

In fact, the entire site probably deserves a look...SilentUK (if you like this sort of thing)...

...and following the theme, the other lost mail tunnel under London... ;)

A (perfectly safe) machete slingshot...

Hoverhands!

Who's suing whom (at the moment) in telecoms?

Lucusfilm's Animation Team have some new offices (which look darn familiar)...

Children don't cheat if 'Princess Alice' is watching...

Can't decide what you want to drink? Things just got a *lot* worse...

An *amazing* Japanese TV commercial...

Facinating Russian Science illustrations from the 60s and 70s...

...and finally - Wow! Look - quirky "dog bone" paper clips...! Hehe...oh...urm, nope, no, actually, that's not really what I was looking for... >8(

Have a brilliant long weekend everyone! ;)

20 April, 2011

TFL SNAFU

When the barriers are closed
A really hearty well done there...*again*...especially as we are, oh so ready for 2012, apparently...

19 April, 2011

Hilarious Fellowship...

Discussion thread re-portal 2
...spotted this on a discussion thread of reasons why people weren't currently playing the (newly released game) Portal 2, after a few "meh, can't even afford to eat"'s and "know how you feel, man"'s this little variation on a meme popped up...it would have been even more hilarious if I hadn't had to clean my mouthful of tea from my keyboard and VDU right afterwards... ;)

Denbies Raptor Show

Raptors at Denbies
Thomas' reaction to seeing an Owl
While the actual word that came out of his mouth was "Owls!" (well done Animal book/drill), that -look- *definitely* said "Woah...Just hold on one minute while we get this straight...these things are actually *REAL*?"...

Brilliant capture by Flyingpops... ;)

18 April, 2011

Goodyear Blimp at Canary Wharf

Goodyear Blimp passes Canary Wharf
Wow, it's all happening today, first free cake then the Goodyear Blimp zooms past us up the Thames (going *very* fast actually)...click it to zoom in... :)

TRON Legacy cup cake

TRON Legacy cup cake
...that's nice, a new TRON film comes out on DVD, we get free glittery cake! Do I even bother to try and get it home in one piece to give it to Flyingpops? Never gonna happen, is it?

Getting Ready for Holiday...

Thomas watching the Shinco
Well, not long now, just a couple of (rather short) weeks before we jet off to Sunny Spain (although actually the weather in Blighty has been perfectly good just lately anyway!) so this last weekend saw a bit of a flurry of activity, Flyingpops flew to the shops and returned clutching bags full of summer clothes (for all three of us), I now have a hat (apparently all *10* of my hats had managed to, very successfully, hide over the winter months) and a nice pair of sunglasses (nope, no idea where my old ones of those went either), we went up into the loft and got the big suitcase down (it's now laying on the bedroom floor waiting to be populated) and we also (finally) got round to testing out the Shinco battery, playing a DVD (i.e. it's most wasteful power mode) on Saturday I got 3 hours 40 minutes life out of it (or *almost* twice through Star Wars - A New Hope) and the flight is about 4 hours, some of which will be eating, nappy changing, reading, walking around and peering-out-the-window-pointing at things (I imagine)...so it looks like we have *plenty* of available distraction time, should it be required by way of Baby Einstien, Thomas the Tank Engine and In the Night Garden...phew! ;)

15 April, 2011

Finks Links #133

Friday!! Bit of a fight on the train this morning (very nearly involving me), passenger alarms and transport police, but I made it to the office unscathed, despite the World *definitely* having it in for me the last few days...Anyway, time for some links to cheer everyone up-

LASER! Although admittedly it would have been slightly more impressive if there hadn't been plenty of time for the target to get out of the way (or hold a tiny mirror up)...

BLAST WAVE!

US Nuclear evacuation map!

Google Earth's wibbly wobbly world... ;)

Valve actually have a turret in reception...

A Lego Lovecraft house...

Following the theme, the World's largest Lego tower....

Be a virtual Yuri Gargarin...

A *very* small camera...

...and finally a funny Japanese Girl Prank...

Have a great weekend everyone! ;)

14 April, 2011

Yay! The Hobbit is underway...!

War and Peace (or "More" and "Please")...

Thomas
So the current little bit of linguistic reasoning being played out in Thomas' mind is to establish precisely what the difference is between "More" and "Please", they are being interchanged experimentally (and somewhat successfully), offered the chance to come into the kitchen to see me prepare his breakfast (on Sunday) I got a correctly applied combination of both - "More See Peeeeeze - Steps! Hup!" (as he couldn't really see what I was doing from the floor, and he knew the solution, his little set of folding steps, which he was rewarded with for being so polite)...but on most other occasions, at the moment it's (for example) "More Bilk Daddy!", "You would like some more Milk, Thomas?", "What's the magic word?"...(he thinks for a moment)...

"More"...

13 April, 2011

Random Mobile phone pics...

...just been tidying up my telephone memory, found an old folder full of a few *rather* random pictures, thought I would share... ;)
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
(wow, look how small Thomas was!)
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
Random Mobile Phone Pics
I dunno, I was obviously half way to a blog idea and then forgot about it (several times!)...more over here... ;)

12 April, 2011

What do mobile phone signal bars mean?

Stupid Nokia N73
It's a constant moan when trying to use a mobile 'phone at 'The Wharf', "I've got full bars, but I can't make a call!"...this annoyed me...if we are at (apparently) full signal strength, what on earth is going on? It turns out, those silly bars? You can basically ignore. Apart from being a subjective measurement (varying from device to device), the absolute killer is that they are purely a measurement of signal+noise...that microwave oven running nearby? Those computer monitors? Those other mobile telephones near you? All that noise that's completely useless for making calls? Yep, they are all added up into your happy signal bars...it's a waste of your time even looking at them...

Want to know what your *actual*, (error corrected) connection level is? It's actually pretty easy-

On Android, go into "Settings", "About Phone", "Network"...

On an iPhone (you lot aren't trusted to know this information, as Apple routinely fib about how good their devices are) so you need to trick your brick into an engineers testing mode - dial *3001#12345#* and hit Call...

The number you are interested in is the dBm (the error corrected measurement), on your 'droid it's under signal strength, on the iPhone it's in the top left of the screen, and (if I have understood correctly) you read it thusly...

-63 (ish) - Perfect signal, i.e. you are practically feet away from the nearest base station
-89 (ish) - Borderline for successful communication
-103 (ish) - Basically useless, anything much less than this is "no signal"


Up on the 22nd floor, my 'phone waves wildly between -70 and -112, as does my neighbours iPhone, so there's not much surprise service is slightly erratic up here in the clouds, down on the ground, and I've walked around a *lot*, everywhere I have checked is a totally solid -63, so absolutely no problem with connection, our problem in 'The Wharf' would appear to be the sheer number of people connecting to the base stations trying to make calls, so mystery solved, plenty of coverage, but not enough bandwidth - mobile operators? Care to help us out?

Anyway, this should (at least) help you diagnose exactly what is going on when your telephone is being silly...

11 April, 2011

A quiet walk to Reigate Fort...

Ah, so the brilliant weather continues (although from the sounds of things today is the last day of that for a while, worse luck)...yesterday, after Thomas had his (extra long) lunchtime nap, we decided to go for a nice relaxing walk in the sunshine...
Reigate Fort
Our chosen destination was Reigate Hill (even though Thomas was absolutely convinced we were going to the "Sea side! Animals!"), he was, none the less, satisfied with the view when we got to the car park at the top, declaring that it was the "Sea side" after all (and then pointed roughly in the correct direction for Brighton) and the large number of dogs present did (admittedly) qualify as animals, so we couldn't really fault his logic or prediction in either case...
Reigate Fort
Anyway, we toddled up the hill, Thomas eagerly pointing out (and being swiftly distracted/hauled from) some nettles, some dog mess, the Catteries' front garden, a barbed wire fence, a smelly pond and a huge pile of horse manure...he resorted, with a confused, hurt look on his face to sucking dusty stones (whenever he could get away with it), as all his other obvious potential avenues of pleasure had been so inexplicably and cruelly denied...
Reigate Fort
After about 40 minutes we completed our 200 yard marathon to the top, and Thomas decided we were going into Reigate Fort (as the opportunities to place himself in danger so far plainly hadn't been sufficient) so in we went noting (with some alarm) the live electric fences ringing the site -
Reigate Fort
- a proliferation of tempting sharp, rusty objects -
Reigate Fort
- a multitude of treacherous, stone staircases -
Reigate Fort
- and venomous native snakes...
Reigate Fort
After weighing up all the remaining options, after trying and failing to mountaineer up to the electric fences...
Reigate Fort
...Thomas finally selected a small pit to throw himself into where he had a standoff with a rather large spider living in a drainage pipe -
Reigate Fort
- which the spider decided rather quickly it didn't want to participate in (and when Thomas finally consented to have his arm pulled back out of the hole) I lifted him back up onto the grass (where he sat perfectly still until all the food ran out)...
Reigate Fort
Of course, when it came time to walk back down the hill, Thomas wanted absolutely none of it, nor would he entertain (even for a moment) that Daddy carry him, so poor tired Mummy had to hand over all the bags to Daddy and pick him "Hup! Hup! Mummy!" and slog back down to the car in sub-tropical conditions clutching a wriggling toddler (who kept dropping his hat)...

What a lovely, relaxing country walk...*collapse*...

More pictures over here, if you like...

08 April, 2011

Finks Links #132

Friday!! Just a few links today, I'm afraid, but hopefully they entertain... ;)

Let's start off by introducing you to Copenhagen Suborbitals who are about to launch a rather big rocket...

Following the theme, meet the Falcon 9...

Where Pringles came from...

A pinhole Hasselblad...

Drying clothes outside in America (not quite as simple as you may think)...

How to make a Lego ship in a bottle...

The Möbius Gear...

A new director starts at the National Railway Museum (aw!)...

...and finally an amusing sign in the window of a closing down book shop...

Have a great weekend (preferably with BBQ) everyone! ;)

07 April, 2011

Tilgate Park Slideshow

This is *really* for the benefit of Thomas, but you are welcome to come along for the ride, a nice slideshow of pictures I have taken at Tilgate Park Nature Center (including all the recent additions)...
Tilgate Park
Enjoy! ;)

06 April, 2011

Office Lights update...

Office Lights...
Well...isn't this nice?
Office Lights...
They have multiplied (and by multiplied I mean more than tripled in number)...I'm starting to get a serious headache now...and I thought it was bad beforehand! People walk sadly and aimlessly round and around the office pleading (to anyone that will listen) for alternative places to sit and have their meetings rather than brave the neon nightmare... >;P

Still, it will be *perfect* at Christmas time... ;)

05 April, 2011

A day trip to Brighton...

Brighton Traffic Jam
So last week, taking advantage of the slightly unseasonally good weather, we decided to take a little trip down to Brighton to visit the Sea Life Center (traffic driving into town wasn't actually that bad, for once)...
Brighton Sealife Center
...parking was still a bit of a pain (as usual) especially as the first ticket machine I managed to find was flashing "Out of Order"...
Brighton
I did, eventually, find one, and we set off on our walk along Marine Drive -
Brighton
- splashing in the puddles (when there was a convenient lack of speeding push bikes) -
Thomas on Brighton Beach
- and enjoying a little toddle on the stony beach (to which Thomas, quite correctly, announced "Stones" Lots!") -
Thomas on Brighton Beach
- (then proceeding to attempt to collect every single one that he could carry to bring with us) as we headed back towards the Pier...
Brighton Pier
Anyway, we decided we would do the Sea Life Center before going to get some lunch (slightly foolishly, as it would happen), we managed to pay, had our hands stamped (for free re-admittance) walked through the first door (Thomas getting very excited)-
Brighton Sealife Center
- managed to take about 1 picture, and then all hell broke loose, an absolute coachload of French exchange students crashed through the door and started taking hundreds of pictures (with the flash set to auto, obviously) and all the fish promptly vanished into the corners of their enclosures in terror, thereby making the whole process slightly pointless...

So we went to the pub...
Thomas having a drink
A short wait in the bar for a table later -
Thomas eating steak dinner
- we were sat down to a lovely steak (etc.) dinner -
Thomas eating steak dinner
- which Thomas seemed to approve of (sorry for the blurry pic, he was jiggling around too much with enthusiasm)... ;)

Anyway, when we thought enough time had past for the French people to be off in the distance we worked our way back down to entrance, stopping briefly to stand on the model of the Nautilus submarine -
Thomas at the Sealife Center
- I had to close my eyes because Thomas was bashing with excitement -
Brighton Sealife Center
- and then we were back in, and had the place pretty much to ourselves (about 3 other couples with small kids- hurrah!)...
Brighton Sealife Center
Brighton Sealife Center
Brighton Sealife Center
Brighton Sealife Center
Brighton Sealife Center
Brighton Sealife Center
- for a very enjoyable, quiet walk round, looking at the very many fish, touching the odd polyp (where allowed)-
Brighton Sealife Center
Brighton Sealife Center
- and enjoying the other sights, including the bent shark cage (oo-er) -
Thomas at the Sealife Center
-and then we lugged the push chair up about 3 flights of stairs (grr)-
Brighton Sealife Center
- to see the big pool (which used to be where they did the dolphin show (when this was the Old Brighton Aquarium - click that link for the 1972 guide book), if memory serves-
Brighton Sealife Center Tunnel
- it now has a glass bottomed boat ride (extra cash to do that though) and an underwater tunnel where Thomas correctly identified a "Shark!"...and that done, we decided to take a little walk along Brighton Pier-
Brighton Pier
Brighton Beach
Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier
DSCF6605
- then finally, as Thomas was very tired from all this excitement, we headed back home... ;)