Sunday, March 20, 2011

Disconnected!

If you follow this blog (you are one of three people!) then it is now only available using the direct link. Focalplane.com has been isolated and a new site uploaded to promote my professional photographic services.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Libya

Ronald Reagan, where are you?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blues win Carling Cup!

The real, original Blues, a.k.a. Birmingham City Football Club, just won the Carling Cup, beating Arsenal 2-1. I am over the moon!

But I had to follow the match on the internet, with no broadcast TV to watch. And I have to say that the Telegraph was pathetic, the BBC OK and the Guardian incredibly one-sided. When Blues scored the winning goal a minute from full time, this is what was posted:

"What a disaster. Birmingham have surely won it!"

It is possible that the disaster referred to a mix up between Arsenal defenders, but I didn't have the benefit of a TV screen to work that out.

And in the first few minutes, Blues were denied a red card and a penalty with a foul that was deemed not a foul because the player was offside. Except the replays apparently showed he was on side. Doesn't matter now, of course.

Well done, Blues - KRO!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

New MacBook Pros announced

Some interesting boundary-pushing innovations, indeed. But I do have a problem with the language:

"All three models are now up to twice as fast"

That doesn't mean a whole lot!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just how virtual have we become?

I am listening to Philip Sheppard's score for the movie "In The Shadow Of The Moon", a documentary movie covering the Apollo Mission to land men on the moon. Uplifting music, as it should be, given the incredible feats that were accomplished at the time.

Then I wondered what the response to Jack Kennedy's urgings on winning the space race would be today. I suppose modern society could achieve the same success, but at the same time I think the engineering practicalities have been thrown out with the baby and the bathwater. We think we can simulate better than we can act these days, though typical models seem to fail at even coming close to reality these days. Just think "global warming".

So, while I applaud NASA's commitment to forward planning in space, I do have to wonder if the capabilities of the 1960s have been lost by a generation accustomed to doing everything as a simulation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ashton Park and Woodville

I have started a blog for the grandchildren which relates the building of a small model railway. Here is the link.

Progress varies, but there will be a new post this weekend!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The future of personal computers

I recently acquired an 11.6" MacBook Air (MBA). Weighing in at just over 1 kilogram (2.3 pounds) this is a fully functioning Mac capable of running heavyweight software such as Aperture. It is not a netbook lookalike.

It is missing some functionality, however. No optical drive! No Firewire! No mechanical hard drive! No ethernet port! Instead it uses wi-fi to load software, the two USB ports provide fast access to the solid state drive (128BG) which itself is way faster than a conventional mechanical hard drive. And an ethernet/USB dongle is available should you need one.

The processor speed is relatively slow but as noted above, disk access more than compensates. And the same SSD provides almost instant wake up from sleep mode. Even booting up is much faster.

The fear I had was that the lack of an optical drive would be a problem. It isn't, particularly from the perspective of future software purchases. First, the MBA can "borrow" an optical drive from another Mac or PC. Software loading takes a little longer but the advantage of course is that I do not have to carry the extra weight if a drive around with me. But now the Mac App Store has arrived and the delivery of most Mac software will be through an iTunes style download system. Some software prices have come down considerably (Aperture from $200 to $80, for example) and the ease of buying and updating could not be better.

In short, this is the personal computer concept for the future. Well done, Apple!