Sunday, July 17, 2011

Caught in the middle

Recently a friend caused a bit of a storm following some of their comments. It got me thinking that some things in life are very tricky and there are no real answers. The truth can be hurtful sometimes, people don't always want to hear it and its not always appropriate. So how in the digital age should we go about managing our connections between people?

I find that a lot of people aren't very scientific. When faced with fact based evidence people often come up with the line "well in my experience". Essentially this boils down to their belief that in some way anecdotal evidence is better than fact based research. The problem with this way for thinking is that you might be the exception rather than the rule. Scientific proof attempts to eliminate chance and find the truth.

Even smart people sometimes suffer from the God complex blinkering them from being able to find an answer.

For myself I am going to try and be more careful both to examine myself and in comments to others, some people need treating with kid gloves. I actually enjoy the debate, often playing devils advocate, I can't really imagine being surrounded by people who agree with every word, however I know several people who prefer life this way. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex | Video on

Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex | Video on

Crap streaming

Recently I bought yself a new TV, one of the features was that its Internet enabled, and like a modern smartphone has a series of apps.

It being a TV there are obvious video related apps, like Youtube and Vimeo and some less understandable applications like Twitter and Facebook.

One application was Love Film, I signed up to the steaming trial. They have 6000 films mostly older ones. The quality is nothing to write home about all standard definition they can look fairly ropey with a lot of pixelation. Still when there is nothing much on TV its fairly easy to find a decent film. Its a subscription service, so has a monthly fee though there is a free 16 day Trial.

Another app was Ace Trax. This is a pay per view service which lets up buy or rent content. They were offering one free rental, so I very slowly registered (using my tv remote), it was painful. Then I choose a film went to my movies and attempted to play. This first attempt froze the app. Second attempt stuck at buffering for 20 minutes before I gave up. I had one more go this time I saw one second of fotage before it froze. At this point I gave it up as a bad job.

I guess for the moment the only way to download films is to pay Virgin media pay per view. They are quite expensive (more than actually going to blockbuster), but at least their app works and the quality is reasonable.

I really think that there is a gap in the market for a good quality app that focuses on the user experience and has a decent range of films to capitalise on the non Apple user. Hopefully someone will take up the challenge because the state of streaming today is woeful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Its been a while, found it hard to sit down and write a post. My time seems all taken up with work, commuting and the gym.

Saturday was Paul's surprise 30th birthday party. Saskia had arranged for a group of his friends and family to surprise him. The party was to take place in a pub in Banbury, Paul thought he was going for a Thai meal with his family.

I went for a morning swim, to relax, when I got home I had a missed called on my phone, it was Paul. I called him back and we chatted for a while about Ipad's and stuff. I told him how I managed to drop and destroyed my phone. I was desperate not to give the game away about the surprise. Holly and Jo were good enough to give me a lift down with them. It was a nice and steady trip down, chatting about life, and politics.

We were the first to arrive at the pub. Louise and Paul's mum had been in earlier to set up the balloons and party items upstairs. We had a couple of drinks while waiting, chatting and relaxing.

Next to arrive was Louise her boys, Matt,  Emily and their daughter Lila. Lila is a real cute kid we were all a little captivated with her. After that the rest of Paul's family turned up including his dad fresh from his travels round the Med.

T Spoon turned up, last time I saw him was randomly at the REM gig a few years ago.

Ian arrived with Dan, and Ian's new girlfriend Rachel. She seems very nice, we were chatting and drinking.

About 6 we all headed to the Mezzanine and hid. Louise told us that when she stamped her foot we would all shout surprise. Paul arrived with his mum and Saskia unaware we were waiting. The look on his face when we yelled surprise was priceless.

Earlier in the evening Louise pointed out that Paul would but slightly upset after building up to a Thai meal, hilariously while we were eating dinner Paul said he was missing the Satai chicken :D

Food was laided on, a big buffet style affair.It wasn't Thai food but it was very tasty. gorged and drank. Danny showed off his new car. A white BMW with black leather, and he would never forgive me if I failed mention the black roof lining.

There was lots of banter, drinking eating and partying. I really enjoyed it, and by the look on his face Paul did too.

Danny gave me a lift home in his new car. According to Ian he had driven like a mad man (crazy not in advertising), but the journey home was much more sedate.