All posts filed under “London Life

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Things making me happy today…

These are the things that are making me happy today:

  • Top Gear! – Top Gear is back on television! One of the best shows on TV anywhere, it started its new season last night. Really funny, and just lots of fun to watch.

    This also allows me to bring up a HUGE pet peeve of mine with British TV. They do a HORRIBLE job of promoting new seasons of shows. With American TV, new shows debut around the same times of year (September, January, etc.) and the channels promote that the shows will be starting soon. On the BBC, I have NEVER heard that the new Top Gear season will be starting, even though I was checking their website every few weeks!

    For a show that makes a tremendous profit for the BBC, you’d think they would try to make sure that people are actually… you know… WATCHING IT?

  • Lewis Hamilton – Well done to Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the McLaren team. (Though I doubt he’s reading, congrats Oli!)

    If you don’t follow Formula 1 (far too many Americans, unfortunately), Lewis Hamilton just won the Drivers Championship yesterday in one of the most thrilling and nail-biting races I’ve ever seen or heard of! Coming into the last race (Brazilian Grand Prix), Lewis Hamilton was leading in number of points, but his only competition (Felippe Massa) has always dominated in Brazil, his home country. Even if Massa won, as long as Hamilton placed fifth or better he would become Formula 1 champion.

    The race was crazy. Rain at the start delayed the race and forced teams to upend their strategy as they changed tires to Wets. Hamilton stayed in fourth or fifth for the majority of the race and seemed to be playing it safe in order to win the championship. But on the final ten laps of the race, rain came out again, forcing teams to choose to either leave “slick” tires on and hope it didn’t rain hard or go into the pits and get their “wet” tires.

    On the second to last lap, Hamilton was in fifth place but passed! He drove like crazy trying to catch up, but didn’t, and the championship slipped out of his grasp… Massa crossed the finish line in first place. But out of nowhere, Lewis Hamilton passed the car that had been in third place! It hadn’t pitted to get new tires, and was slow on the wet track. Hamilton caught up and passed him just seconds before crossing the finish line… in fifth place!

    It was an amazing race. Lewis Hamilton became the youngest person to win the Formula 1 World Championship, and the first black man to win the Formula 1 World Championship. Britain hasn’t had a driver win the championship in twelve years, so the country is deservedly celebrating!

  • Barack Obama – Is Lewis Hamilton’s victory a portent of things to come in tomorrow’s election? I certainly hope so. According to fivethirtyeight.com, he’s heavily favored… winning >95% of the simulations.
  • Prototype – The prototype for my new venture is nearing completion. While it is FAR from perfect, I will be launching it within my MBA class here at Judge Business School soon to start getting feedback from real users. The U/I in particular is rather crude (my fault), but I’ve been talking to a really talented guy (a fellow Jesus College grad student) who’s going to be helping me out on the coding/design end of things.

    I do promise to write more about this soon, but that post will take longer to write than I have today!

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Air races

This weekend the Red Bull air races are taking place in London. Specifically, they’re racing over the River Thames with the Millenium Dome as a backdrop. I managed to catch some of their practice runs today. Unfortunately the only camera I had was on my iPhone (which is also how I’m writing this post!)

Cool stuff like this is why I really love London.

Photo of one run here…

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First day+ with the iPhone

So I’ve had my new iPhone for about a day now. Upgrading to this from a Motorola RAZR is like skipping two generations of evolution… wow. The display alone is so crisp, sharp and readable that it makes it a treat to use.3Giphone.jpg

The problems I’ve had so far definitely relate to battery life. Partly because it was my first day I’ve been using it a lot and the battery got low really quickly. But part of it was being in a mix of 2G, 3G and WiFi connections. At home I’ve got a solid 2G and WiFi connection (at least when the wireless router isn’t playing up), at work I’ve got a solid 3G and average WiFi connection. Walking around London I’ve got a great 3G connection and no WiFi, and on the Tube there’s crap for anything.

What I really NEED RIGHT NOW is someone to write an application that will allow me to quickly switch between power use settings. As I leave in the morning I’ll use 3G to download NYTimes stories, switch everything off to get on the Tube, and switch certain bits on at the office. If this could be combined with push e-mail settings (which are great when I’m not in the office, but are unnecessary in the office) it would be IDEAL.

Luckily, because of the Application Store, this is quite likely to be developed in the near term! Anyone volunteering?

Overall, it’s a fantastic phone. I really look forward to getting more adept to it in the coming days/weeks.

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Obligatory 3G iPhone post

So, like every other blogger out in the world today, I must post about my experiences with the 3G iPhone.

Specifically: FAIL.

I wasn’t one of those total nutters that queued up hours/days beforehand. I just stopped by the Apple Store after work. (As I’m a new O2 customer here in the UK I could get my phone from an Apple store; if you’re upgrading you have to go to an O2 store.)

As the bus went by I thought it looked a little disorganized inside. I was looking for the queue to buy a phone, and it really wasn’t obvious what the hell was going on. Then I saw that the stairs to the 1st floor (2nd floor to Americans) was blocked off and a ton of employees were standing there. I asked them what I needed to do and was told that essentially the system hadn’t worked all day. Another security guy said that some of the first people in line didn’t leave with a working phone until lunch-time!

The Apple Store employees blamed it on O2’s systems, though I’ve also heard that iTunes was having problems with all the new registrations. I honestly don’t care, but was pretty irritated. Combine this to the problems I’ve been having as a .Mac (and now MobileMe) customer and I’m none too happy with Apple.

In the last couple of days there were simply too many points of failure trying to do EVERYTHING at the same time. (Update iTunes, update .Mac/MobileMe, register massive numbers of new iPhones with a bunch of un-prepared phone carriers, etc.) In the past Apple’s had their shit together… not so much in the past 24 hours.