Saturday, 20 December 2008

keeping up with the latest applications

I've always found it difficult to keep up with the latest computer applications that are taking the world by storm. I don't like to spend all my time trying new things but it's always clear to me that new ideas and new apps so often speed up my work and help me come up with newer faster ways.

I just stumbled across Lifehacker which is a site dedicated to apps which make life easier. I haven't tried the applications yet, well.... some I've already tried so I know their quality, but I'm really impressed with what's on offer and excited to try some of them. Particularly Mojo, Quick Media Converter, AVG Free Antivirus

I also like the site since it gives a simple summary of what's currently being downloaded. From this I found the following apps

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Japan's long life could be linked to large welfare state

I'm just watching the tv programme The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. A comment he made about the japanese welfare state struck me as interesting because many health experts have us believe that the secret to the amazing health and long life of the japanese people is down to their diet and lifestyle. Not once have I heard that they have a very advanced welfare state that takes care of all their citizens.

Being British I've always been given the impression that the UK has one of the most advanced welfare states yet we have a poor life expectancy and standard of life compared to other nations. Well Niall Ferguson states that Japan in fact have one of the best welfare states in the world. This in fact is becoming one of their biggest problems with it's drain on GDP. But it's not the economic consequence that interests me here. It's the idea that maybe the Japanese are just better supported by their state than other countries. Maybe that's got a big part to play in their amazing longevity and health!!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

It's official, there is a flying car!!!

I can't believe it. I heard about this hears ago in bbc focus magazine. I hadn't heard about it since so I thought the project had failed. Well... I've just found that the project is alive and well and about to release it's first car. The car is developed by Moller international and the latest version is the m400.

Monday, 8 December 2008

play creativity and flow

Following on from the concept of flow. I then watched another really useful talk on the powerful link between creativity and play. Given that creativity is very much related to flow it becomes clear that when your work feels like play then you'll be the most creative, particulary if you identify a purpose that you really identify with.

The talkcentres around the following principles
You need to develop a relationship of trust to both play and be creative so trust is key.

In terms of a process 3 steps or key elements were explained:
  1. explore: Become knowledgable in the task at hand. explore multiple solutions and combine them to find the best overall solution. go for quantity so you have multiple options and gain lots of experience in the field
  2. build: thinking with your hands. Make prototypes, something you can hold. A toothbrush stuck to a piece of wood so you and others can see and feel it in action and discuss it.
  3. roleplay: act it out. How you gain more empathy for the situation you're designing for and create seamless and authentic experiences.

achieving flow

Since I love sports science, a key aspect is acheiving flow. By that I mean getting to a state where doing what you need to do seems really easy, where you're at your best and most comfortable. I've just watched a very interesting talk from TED titled creativity, fulfilment and flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

local web pages made safe by Google Chrome

I just read the google chrome blog. I know, geeky right, well I 'm always interested to see how companies represent themselves and I am really positively surprised how open the google developers are allowed and encouraged to be. 

Not only are they 'eating their own dog food' as I've heard people put it since they use the google code repository and interface as the project home page. They also use Blogger. I know they probably don't have a choice but atleast they're using the tools of google and showing us how to make good use of them, in theory. 

Any way I just read a post on the blog about the security hazards posed by local web pages. I have to confess I wasn't aware that local pages had elevated security. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Firefox 3 has a relatively good policy towards local pages since that's my main browser at the mo. 

I just got google chrome working on secure pages because I realised that while it seems to use the internet explorer conection details. Because I'm behind a proxy server at work I still needed to check the box that enables all the protocols including secure pages to use the correct url for the proxy server. Once I did that I am surfing https:// pages fine. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Simple phone add ons could provide netbook on your phone

Another idea that I would love some one to pursue would bring the netbook functionality to a mobile phone.

Basic idea. I use a netbook eee pc. I'm typing with it right now. I also always have my mobile phone with me. I would love to combine the features of my mobile phone with my netbook. When I thought about it I realised that the netbook just has a bigger screen and keyboard that's about all. sure the procssor, memory and battery are all higher spec but I'm sure these could fit in a mobile it would just cost more. The only issue is the screen and keyboard.

Ok, no it is really obvious when I think about it but, why doesn't someone just create a keyboard and screen like the nertbook has that can connect to a mobile phone. If the screen takkes a bunch more poer then maybe have a separate battery for it. You could have the screen and keyboard connected like a netbook or have them separate. The keyboard could even connect via bltooth I expect the screen couldn't due to the required data rate.

Either way hy don't manufacturers unbundle things like this . I think, particularly for phones you'd then be able to get so much more out of them.

How to get more choice and more revenue from a cinema

I've had this idea for a while now and it just occurred to me put it down in print. It's about how you could both make cinemas far more profitable than they currently are while also providing a lot more choice for the customer while using the space that's currently available.

The idea is becoming cheaper and cheaper to imlement because the prices of hardware are coming right down and the quality is going up rapidly. The basic idea is to convert one or two screens of the average multiplex to a suite of entertainment rooms that can be booked adhoc. These would ebe in effect their own little cinema, fully sound proofed and equpped ith th latest visual and audio kit possibly even gaming and conferencing facilities.

The point being that many screens are not full all the time. I go regulrly to the cinema and oten the screen is just a quarter full. The problem is that cinemas are geared up only to show a fe movies at a time for all sorts of reasons. My loic is that lots of us still want t perience the magic of the big screen but want to be able to choose the film or entertinment we want when we are there. A cinema could set up these smaller rooms with the best equipment and soundproof them such that the quality is ar in excess of anything you could get at home. A bunch oof friends or a couple say, book the room and watch their favourite film in super hd, , with 10:1 surround sound r whatever. Because they paid for the film they can even pasue and rewind if the want. They pay from the time thy etr the room to the time they leave it. Swipe card entyr would account for that.

Secuirty/safety cameras can operate in all rooms to keep the equipment safe. It wuld not b hr to add gming facilities to thi since th screen and sound system is already in plce. A bnch of riends could then book a nights gming. Separate rooms coul be connected through a network or the internet could connect rooms at different cinemas. to share the gaming or filming experience. You could even book conferencing facilities if the demand is there.

There could be a range f rooms provided. One or two large rooms, sy 20 seater, 2 10 sater , 6 4 seaters say.

You fit all this i the sam space as one screen, probably moreyet you'd be able to keep this booked probably 24*7. In the cineworld in milton keynes inf the xscape sayed oopen during the night it would easily attract enough people wanting to go out and have fun like this ith their friends at all hours.

If there is a constant stream of people using the facilities then the food and drink kiosks will also do more trade and enhance profitability.

So thre may be a reduced seatin space for the same cubic footage, theoccupancy rate could be increased significantly ad possible the charge per head.

In terms f the risk of implementing this idea I think that can easily be negated. irst off you could easily test this by convrting your smallest theatre rather than your bigger more profitable one. If that''s still not viable you could simply install oner two rooms where space is available and promote these to peole who are waiting for their film. Get people used to the iea by offering short films or cartoons in a top quality 'ersonalised' cinema experience and introduce them to whats possible. If it doesn't work out you can simply remove th rooms you've mad. If it does you should already have your first couple of rooms sorted.

Any ay it 's just somthing I'd relly like to see happen so I thought I'd put it to paper so to speak.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Social Entrepreneurs Turn Business Sense to Good

Wouldn't it be great to know that there are people out there who are very successful at what they do and aren't completely focused on profits. People who use their skills to harness the latest technology or thinking to fashion new ways of solving problems without charging the earth.

Well I stumbled across a fascinating article about people who do just that and I wanted to record it here for reference. Social Entrepreneurs Turn Business Sense to Good