Monday, November 28, 2011

Morning Tea

I loved these when I was a kid growing up in NZ.  At work I would pull the cord, and when the water boiled it would whistle and turn itself off. I'd then come back to the kitchen and make a pot of tea.  The whistle would have alerted my coworkers to the fact that it was teatime (even when it really wasn't) and they would come into the tearoom for their morning or afternoon break.  This way I could manipulate my coworkers to take a break whenever I pleased!

I haven't seen one in California.  Must be an Australasian thing.  It's especially useful where there is no provision for hot water.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mirror iPhone Screen to TV Screen

There's a feature of the new iPhone 4S that no one seems to mention: You can now mirror the screen and sound to your television using an Apple TV. And it's not an app, it's built right into IOS 5 for the 4S.

Here's how:
Double tap the home button and swipe your way to the very left. Tap on the AirPlay icon, chose Apple TV then chose mirroring. That's it. You're done! What ever is showing on your iPhone will now also be on your TV. Of course it only works when the iPhone and Apple TV are on the same WiFi network.

Next I want wireless mirroring for OS X.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peep Show

Click on image to watch an episode (NSFW)

I couldn't wait for the BBC iPlayer to become available in the US so I setup a UK Proxy Server ( ~$10/month) so I could watch it.  It's not as good as I'd hoped.  Apparently I don't have the bandwidth to stream iPlayer, but I was able to download programmes to watch later.  However, iPlayer is mainly limited to repeats of shows aired in the last few weeks and I couldn't watch my favourite shows from the 70's.

So I took a peek at Channel 4 and discovered this comedy called Peep Show. The last time I laughed this hard was watching "The Germans" episode of Fawlty Towers back in the mid 70's. Yeah, it's that good. And I real like the characters played by David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I laugh just looking at them and listening to there accents and inflection.

So I sat down and watched all 42 current episodes over a few days. Fantastic. No laugh track. Everything is shot with one camera in real locations in London - no studio.  I had fun too using Google Maps and Street View to look around their outdoor shooting locations.

Friday, August 05, 2011

When Day Is Done (1975)

Many years ago I caught a little bit of an excellent Edward Woodward programme on TV and I've been searching for it ever since. I only remembered that he was playing an upright piano and singing the song "Kalamazoo" in a hauntingly sad way. I couldn't get it out of my mind. Woodward tended to play sad and introspective roles. A shady government agent with no friends, carrying a pistol. Callan. But this was much sadder than that.

Now after 30 years I've found it! "When Day is Done", an episode of Thames Television's
Armchair Theatre from 1975.

The DVD is sold on AmazonUS (~$64), or AmazonUK (~£17) but in both cases the format is PAL region 2. Sadly I live in NTSC region 1. Oh yeah, there are ways around this formatting problem.


Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Change the Appearance of iCal in OS X Lion

I installed Lion, and I'm generally happy with it. But I might replace my mouse with a trackpad so as to take advantage of the shortcuts that the multi-touch gestures provide.

One thing I definitely don't like about Lion is the appearance of the GUI for iCal. It now reminds me of the calendars office workers used on their desks after they switched from ink blotters and fountain pens to ballpoints and Biros. It doesn't interfere with the functionality of the calendar app. It just looks bad. And it could well indicate the future graphic design direction for OS X.

Categories:Gadgets Design

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hunky Dory

Photo: BBC

Last night I started watching the British time-travel-cop drama "Ashes to Ashes". Just like on "Life on Mars" it uses David Bowie music and glam-rock.

DCI Hunt and two of his mates are back! And the first words out of his filthy sewer are "my friend, your diary entry will read: took a prozzie hostage and was shot by three armed bastards"!

The prozzie he mentioned is DI Alex Drake. She replaces DI Sam Tyler (deceased). And this time we're in 1982 and Hunt has replaced the Mk3 Ford Cortina with an Audi Quattro. The Ur-Quattro was a very quick car, but I don't think a 2 door car will be an effective plot device, given that DCI Hunt often travels with two other cops. I would have given him a 4 door Ford Sierra 2.0. He has enough attitude to make any car cool.

Anyway, Ashes is now in its 3rd series, and I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing great cars and music from my youth.

Update July 29th, 2011:
I just watched the second episode. They've got it all wrong!: The main character DI Drake is played as a basket case. She's flakey in a bad way (Sam Tyler was too). Breaks down, cries, changes her mind, gets drunk, falls apart. People (police) don't behave this way. She needs help, and so do the writer and director. They need to watch some "Law and Order". The show needs a strong female lead.

The other thing is the way she's dressed: Like a prostitute. I'd be surprised if woman detectives dressed like this in 1982. I think it's supposed to be appealing to male viewers. No. Is she really going to wear heels and makeup in every episode?

Anyway, I'll have Ashes playing in the background while I do other things. I'll miss the witty dialogue when it happens, but I'll hear the music and see the cars.