Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I think Channel 4 should cancel Big Brother. It's been widely reported around the world, even in Australia and it's awful if people think it's representative of the British population as a whole. "The cult of celebrity is often considered representative of the perceived attitudes towards deliberate apathy, trivia, and dumbing down in popular culture." While we're at it lets ban all reality TV, OK and Hello magazine and all those crappy magazines that headline the "First interview with
Nearly finished, only another 12 hours to go and I can't wait. Sorry Australia, I'm going to have to leave!!!!! The countries IQ will drop considerably (can't wait for the barbed comments). Women will wail, grown men will weep and Mr Howard will discuss it in the house. I need to research protocol as I'm not sure if I salute when reviewing the honour guard tomorrow ;-) Seriously, it's been a pleasure to stay in this wonderful country but there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!! I'm going to kick my heels, close my eyes, have a few glasses of wine, sit on a plane for 24 hours and I'll be back in Blighty. Land of Hope and Glory, Marmite, Steak and Kidney Pie, Black Pudding, Stonehenge, Her Majesty QEII, Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal, Indian take-a-ways and last but so not least...Abi (& my parents!!!).
Sunday, January 21, 2007
"Buy land, they're not making it anymore”
“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”
“It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.”
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
This company is 7 years old, has a similar turnover to Starbucks but has a much bigger brand awareness. According to Business Week Google appeared at #24 in a listing of the top 100 global brands, just below Nescafe(?!?!?!) but above Dell, Sony, Budweiser, Oracle, Ford and Nike.
I've just finished reading 'The Google Story' by David Vise. Not as in depth as I would have liked but interesting all the same. A fascinating insight into the company, it's executives and it's culture. I'm just astounded by it's growth. From a small business created in an office at Standford to a multi billion dollar corporation that accounts for 60% of all searches in the US.
What does it do? The assumption is that it's just a search engine and that's true, but a search engine with a different approach. It doesn't just index the Internet but ranks pages. In essence they are ranked by how many other site link to them and the importance of the linking site. For example a link to your site by the New York Times would rank higher than a link by a random blog such as this. For a really detailed explanation check out Wikipedia.
There are also some great fan sites out there, especially in honour of the logo. Click here for the official Google logo home page.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
In fact since I first started to seriously travel on business (Feb 01) I've spent 851 days out of the country or to put it another way 39% of the time.
It's interesting what you know when you're sad like me and record useless information. On the plus side Abi and I have been rewarded with over 800,000 airmiles. Thank God it's not a taxable benefit!!!
Monday, January 15, 2007
However, I would have to say that two ex England players were RAF fighter pilots who took it in turns flying the UK's only operational plane (we loan it to Ireland on Saturdays and Denmark on Sundays). Situational awareness is a requirement for any decent pilot. So that point is given. I just find Football is more involved and a more tactical sport. I noticed a comment on the BBC's web site that made me smile '"Both rugby and football are games of skill and stamina, but the way the game of football is going the players will soon be required to become members of equity."
Vinnie Jones isn’t a shining example of a football star and he's not a great actor either. Take Tierry Henry as an example, an outstanding ambassador for world football. The leading all-time goal scorer for his club he once said ‘I eat football, I sleep football, I breathe football. I'm not mad, I'm just passionate.’ It’s about passion, its all about passion. Passion and the desire to exceed everyone’s expectations. Just look at this clip of Henry in action you’ll see what a fantastic game this is. I appreciate that some people are in it for themselves rather than the team as a whole, but it's still a great game played in every corner of the world.
To finish up here is Mr Beckham scoring against Greece in the World Cup Qualifiers. The only other recent sporting event that had such a wonderful finish was England beating Australia at the Telstra stadium a few years ago. I seem to remember that involved a lot of kicking!!!
Oh and while we are on the subject of Americans...IT'S CALLED FOOTBALL BECAUSE YOU KICK IT WITH YOUR FOOT. GIRLS PLAY SOCCER!!!!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
But it's not all fun and games. This is a serious business. My company has invested a small fortune in these trips and expects a significant pay back. I've spend a 28 weeks in Australia since January 05 and apart from two weeks vacation I've had the grand total of six working days off (excluding weekends). Three of those were holidays and two were sick days. That's it! Since September last year I've spent 5 weeks at home. Just five weeks!!!
I get up every weekday morning at 6am, catch a ride to work and get back anytime between 5 and 8. Once I'm back at the hotel there are endless evening telephone conferences, minutes to write and emails to send. Then it's time to hit the sack and the whole cycle repeats itself. I work in a nondescript office 10 miles from the city centre in a very ordinary suburb. I spend all day in an air conditioned, tinted windowed cocoon. Lunch is a sandwich and a coke, dinner is usually pretty mundane too (unless Abi is here). So if you can spare the time an email, comment or call is appreciated. It's lonely out here on my own.
Why do I write this blog. We'll partly as a record for myself. It helps to be able to recall what we were up to, anything interesting we've seen or experienced and our or my thoughts. It feels good to be able to put things down from time to time. At the moment it feels like I have verbal diarrhea so expect more random thoughts to appear over the next few days.
Have a lovely Sunday, or whats left of it and I'll be back tomorrow.
I would describe it as a Chinese Meze. Lots of small portions of food eaten while drinking tea or coke in my case. It was way too early for a beer. I could still taste my toothpaste.
Interesting concept. You sit at a table as staff come round with what I can only describe as Hostess trolleys. You then decide how many servings you want, they stamp a card and then disappear. Several minutes later someone else will appear.
Another fantastic day weather wise. Must have reached 26 degrees with clear blue skies. I'm sure Abi is missing this and would rather be here than at home in the cold.
Right back to another episode of the West Wing. Have a great Sunday.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Managed to do a little shopping on the way home. Picked up some jeans (at last a shop that has my size in stock) and a couple of DVDs. I'm reading a book about Bill Clinton's press secretary, I wanted to by his biography but books are so expensive down here. Instead I picked up a cheap copy of the West Wing. Watched a couple of episodes and it's fantastic, and Rob Low (Special Assistant) is great in this. I always thought he was a good actor and its good to see him in a decent series. I've meant to watch the series for ages but have never got round to it. Glad I managed to pick it up.
If anyone is interested I've added a few of the series to my Amazon wish list. Just remember to take a peek before my birthday. :-)
Friday, January 12, 2007
1. It’s just a phone, with video/music and browsing capability
Is it just a phone? Running a version of Mac OS X it has one of the most powerful operating systems in the world (OS X is based upon UNIX). What does that mean? Well its robust in comparison to Windows Mobile, easy to deploy applications (remains to be seen) and a useable, secure OS? What made the iPod such a success was its elegant design, but more importantly the very simple user interface. You can operate the thing with just your thumb. Of the top 10 MP3 players by sales on Amazon.com 5 are Apple products. Microsoft comes in at number 19.
2. There are dozens of devices out on the market that do the same thing
Sony Ericson W850i – Nice phone and it looks good, small, but with only 4 GB capacity and no memory card slot. Doesn’t run an iTunes compatible application.
What a lot of these phones don’t offer are storage, compatibility with tracks purchased from online music services such as Apple or Napster and a decent user interface.
3. New device or expensive catalyst – Market shaker
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a market shaker more than anything else. The iPod came out in October 2001 (click here for a great article about the design process) and what competition did they have? Nothing, apart from some third rate products that were designed for the geek rather than mainstream user. Microsoft launched their version, Zune a few months ago (now with 2% market share). Read this article to understand what the impact on the market could be, it’s quite interesting.
4. The failure of Apple Newton
Very true and I’d forgotten all about that. Perhaps that was Apples problem, trying to invent a new technology rather than perfecting an existing one. See the New York Times article here. It goes on to discuss his failures and some of the issues surrounding the phone.
5. Not in production, competitors have an opportunity
I agree, why announce the product this soon. Perhaps due to the intense media hype or because he didn't have anything else ground breaking to launch? Who knows? Apple TV was announced last year and the new Wireless Access Point isn’t anything to get excited about. They had to do something; city analysts were expecting a major announcement. Look at the share price after the announcement, 6% rise. (I would appreciate your comments on this Mr M.)
In conclusion I think this is going to be a waiting game and the version demonstrated on Tuesday isn’t going to be the production release. They have several months to refine the design; it may be that some of the features weren’t even announced. Who knows, who cares (I do) but that’s enough on the subject now. I don’t want to bore you all. Let’s just wait and see what happens in the not too distant future.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I tend to agree as it’s being released in the US 3 months before Europe.
People are also complaining about the price, probably the same people that fly EasyJet and complain about the service. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. 500usd = 270gbp. Have you seen the price of an unlocked Sony W800i in Vodaphone? £400. Lets just see what happens when the UK service provider gets their paws on the device. I’m sure we will be looking at around £100 - £150. I’d buy one.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivered his keynote speech to a packed auditorium at the Macworld conference in San Francisco yesterday. Weeks of excitement and media hype are no more. Analysts can now pick over the pieces and spin it in any way they see fit. Journalists are rushing to get their reviews out on the net. Geeks like me will try and convince their better halves that it’s all about need and not want. Apple will go back to doing what it does best, making hardware that looks good and works well. Form over function my bum!!! It’s form and function.
Anyway, getting back to the Keynote speech. He started off with the usual info - sales and market share – which is quite impressive. Apple's iPod accounts for 75% of all portable music players. iTunes digital media store has sold more than 2 billion songs, 50 million television episodes and 1.3 million feature-length films. This has catapulted iTunes beyond Amazon.com for digital media sales.
Apple has also changed their name. No longer Apple Computers Inc, just call them Apple. Their business isn’t just about computers and hasn’t been for a number of years. It’s about accessories, but it’s not just about accessories, it’s about media, software, media players, iPods and now….wait for it……hold your horses…calm down….its about P-H-O-N-E-S. Meet the new secret agent on the block, the iPhone. If you thought 007 was cool, calm and sophisticated…if you thought David Beckham looked great in his sarong (I thought he looked like a t**ser!!)….if you think Angelina Jolie is the sexiest woman alive then you’ve yet to meet this sexy puppy.
It looks better than expected; in fact I would go so far as saying it’s sexier than Angelina Jolie on a VERY good day. Some quick specs: 3.5” touch screen, Quad Band, Edge, Bluetooth, Wifi (b/g), 4 or 8GB storage, Safari Browser, Mac OS X Operating system. There are a couple of pictures below. The the first is from Apple's web site,the second was from a geek at the show who uploaded it to Flickr,
I hope you noticed the operating system, its running MAC OS X. This is the same operating system that’s runs on my iMac @ home. I’m not quite convinced that this is the full version but its near enough. This would make it easier to port applications, although dealing with such a small form factor will be interesting. Jobs announced that Yahoo will offer free push e-mail to all iPhone customers which I’m sure will worry RIM. Also included are integrated Google Maps and Dashboard widgets.
I was disappointed to see that it’s not available until June 07 in the US and won’t be arriving at Heathrow until Q4 07. I thought it may be offered unlocked from Apple stores but it’s being sold through Cingular in the US (largest service provider in North America). I’d prefer to have an unlocked phone and choose my service provider but you can’t have everything. Anyway, my contract with T-mobile ends October 07 so it doesn’t really matter. Steve Jobs made an interesting comment when introducing the phone. "We want to reinvent the phone! What's the killer app? The killer app is making calls!!!” It’s not the all singing and dancing iPod/Phone combo that I expected, although it can mimic the ipod and hold 8GB of data. Apple's approach seems to be about making the phone easier to use, which has always been their philosophy.
Interesting to see that Apples stock rose 6% after the speech. Palm dropped 5.7 percent, Blackberry’s Research In Motion lost 7.9 percent and Motorola Inc. shed 1.8 percent. Apple hopes to sell 10 million phones in the first year. While this sounds quite high it’s only 1% of the global market (950 million phones sold in 2006). I’m sure it will have a big impact and wonder which service provider will be selling the phone in the UK. This is going to be big business; perhaps I’ll email Apple and see if they are still looking for a UK distributor.
Other products launched today included Apple TV – Apples take on a Media Centre for the home? Not quite sure at the moment. It doesn’t allow you to record live TV like Sky+ or TiVo or play DVD’s. However, it will allow you to stream content from MAC’s & PC’s around the house, all for £299. On sale now and shipping in February. I’m going to do some research and may be placing an order very soon.
I’m not going to list the specs, have a look here for details. It allows streaming of content from Macs or PCs running iTunes 7 to a TV. Its automatically syncs your iTunes library to any Mac or PC in the house. Any changes made to the iTunes library are automatically reflected on Apple TV. It can access and control music and photo libraries from up to five computers. Whats the difference between this and other competitors systems. We'll you can stream Apple protected media, AAC. They won't licence the technology so this is the only way you can stream media purchased from iTunes. It has built in wireless networking. You can search for multiple devices and it's made by Apple!!!!.
Airport Extreme – This is a new Wireless Access Point, 802.11n compliant. Not that exciting so check out the web site.
An interesting presentation but disappointing at the same time. We got the phone (well we will do in 6 months), Apple TV was launched (but we knew it was coming), 802.11n Access Point (everyone makes one) and a new name for the company. What we didn’t get is any new computing hardware. Where was the slimmed down Mac Book Pro, what about a new iMac or a full screen video iPod. When you get used to surprises perhaps you expect more? One journalist entitled their piece ‘iDisappointed’. Perhaps we were disappointed but that looks like one hell of a phone.
Monday, January 08, 2007
“There is no better traveling companion than an iPod, and now travelers can power their iPods during flight and even watch their iPod movies and TV shows on their seat back displays,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “We’re excited to work with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to offer iPod users an even better in-flight experience.”
In-flight iPod connectivity will be available to Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United passengers beginning in mid 2007. Additionally, Apple is working with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to bring even more leading airlines in-flight iPod connectivity in the future.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
What can we expect this year? iTV, iPhone, revamped iPods, who knows. There is a real buzz on the internet and even Wall Street analysts are talking about the iPod Phone. What would I like to see?? For starters a 12" MacBook Pro, 200GB Hard Drive & ATI Graphics Card, iTV launched as soon as possible, rather than 2Q 2007, an iPhone with a 200GB Hard Drive and and Airport Express that allows video streaming rather than just Audio. If thats the case I would be online and ordering within minutes.
The iPOD is a fantastic invention, far, far better than any other product on the market. It looks good, sounds good and works so well with the iTunes music store. Abi bought me a pair of Bose headphones last week and the sound quality is outstanding, along with the iPod these are two of the best gifts I have ever received. Here I am in Australia, iPod plugged into the TV and I'm working my way through my collection of war movies. How fantastic is that!!!!!! I urge you all to buy one now. Well, perhaps you want to wait a week and see if a new one is available.
Below is an image from the Apple Mac US Web Site. Call me a geek if you like but this is exciting..!!! Bring it on Mr Jobs :-)
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
For those of you who have never experienced Gold Class cinema let me bring you up to speed on the 'first class version of cinema experiences'! We arrived at the cinema and discovered a separate entrance with a lounge and bar. After handing over our tickets we were then asked what refreshments we would like to order for the film. Everything is delivered to your seat; you just have to decide what you want and specify when you want it. As we hadn’t paid for the tickets we decided to treat ourselves to a bottle of wine, chicken pieces, nachos, an ice cream sundae and cheesecake. We held back as we wanted to save some room for dinner!!!!! We were then escorted to our seats, although I wouldn’t call them seats, more like large reclining armchairs. They were situated in pairs with a small table and wine cooler (see pic below). Each cinema contains 40 seats and kids aren’t allowed. It was perfect and I can’t thank the Murray & Jules enough for the generous gift.
After leaving the cinema we walked down to Bondi Beach just to say we’d been there. Lovely beach but the area around it reminded me of Clacton. A little run down and lots of backpackers' hotels. We took a few photos and then caught the bus back to Hyde Park and walked to the apartment. We had hoped to get the ferry over to Milsons Point to take some night time shots of the harbour (looking over the water at the City, Circular Quay & the Opera House) but the weather turned and it’s pouring down (see the shot of the weird Sydney weather below) so we’ll try again tomorrow night.