June 05, 2008

Hmmm …...

Am I the only person to be disturbed that :-

  • The UK Government has a Military Satellite network called SkyNet 5?
  • The US arm of QinetQ has announced it's first shipment of a military robot called MAARS?

Do we have about 12 weeks before the end of the world!

I wonder if anyone has started work on that time machine yet ...


January 08, 2007

Halo 3

Halo 3 may just be the game that gets me to fork out for an Xbox 360. I’ll probably play it 5 times and then wish it was a film, mind you, but the trailer is pretty compelling stuff for anyone who played the first two games.

(It’s a WMV link, other formats/media here)


October 31, 2004

Delicious Software

Writing about web page http://delicious-monster.com/

This software (Mac only it appears – barbarians kept on the other side of the gates again) looks fantastic. Sure, it's not in and of itself an original concept – something to track your book and CD/DVD library, but the extra's are what make it (on paper at least). Integration with Amazon for buying/selling, and the ability to read bar codes with an iSight. Oh and the UI looks gorgeous.

And it's only $39.95, which is bugger all at the moment in UKP.

The company was founded by the people who started OmniGroup (who have some pretty good software of their own, including a Visio competitor for the Mac called OmniGraffle, which I'll take any day of the week over the overbloated monster that Microsoft churned out). Bodes well for this.


October 26, 2004

Much Better …

Follow-up to Yuck! from fake plastic trees

The iPod Photo Edition on the other hand, is much better. Bigger disk, synchronise your photo album onto your iPod and show your holiday snaps to people on the colour screen. No video, but hardly the end of the world that this is missing.

Yuck!

Writing about web page http://www.apple.com/ipod/u2/

Sorry, but BLACK? With a RED clickwheel?

Not pretty. No. Not at all.


John Peel, RIP

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3955289.stm

This seems almost insignificant given events in Thailand, but John Peel - the BBC radio broadcaster - has died whilst on holiday in Peru. The BBC have an obituary up on their website for him already and Google News has plenty of links with more about John, his life and career.

October 24, 2004

Five Steps? Or Just The One?

This last week has been national Cybersecurity week in the US - designed to encourage people to better care for their PCs and prevent the spread of viruses and trojan horses caused by lack of awareness of the need to use anti-virus software and apply OS patches and updates.

Microsoft – with a a footprint on the majority of the world's Internet connected desktop computers – have no small part to play in this and on their homepage have a large and prominent graphic bearing the motto '5 Steps To Improve Your Online Security'.

All highly laudible. Except that the lady shown in that image may have instead opted for an alternative strategy to fulfill her safe computing requirements – as seen on the full version of the photograph - that being to instead opt for a platform with an operating system designed by someone other than Microsoft. Note the careful use of editing and lighting effects to effectively conceal the computer in the version of the photograph on the Microsoft website.

Stock Photo Libraries – doncha just love em.


October 22, 2004

Top Ten … [world] Universities

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Matt Chapman has prompted an interesting discussion on his blog; prompted by a remark on Question Time which inferred the only two UK universities capable of competing on the world stage are Oxford and Cambridge, quite a few comments are popping up claiming that this is due to cashing in on historic brand.

I'd like to challenge that view and propose something which suggests that the remark may not only be true but have some substance behind it. If I wanted to assert that Cambridge and Oxford are the only two UK universities able to compete on a truly global scale then how could I do so?

Well, depending on how you rank them, the top 10 Universities in the world are apparently

  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. Cambridge (UK)
  4. UC Berkely
  5. MIT
  6. CalTech
  7. Princeton
  8. Oxford (UK)
  9. Columbia
  10. Chicago

Yale, that's 11th, with Cornell, UC San Diego, and Tokyo next in line. We (UK) next get a showing at 23rd and 25th positions. Then 47th, 60th and 69th.

What is really, really interesting is looking at how these rankings are constructed. The methodology is online here. For those that can't be bothered, these are some things that they don't pay any attention to at all.

  1. How many work area PCs there are.
  2. Numbers of type of class of degree awarded.
  3. Is the Student Union any good

(Hell, they don't even count the employment rates after graduation)

Want to know how to build a University with a worldwide (not just regional, but global) brand in the top ten? Well, this is what they measured and perhaps herein lie the answers.

  1. Alumni of that institution who go on to win Nobel prizes
  2. Staff who win Nobel prizes and Fields medals
  3. Staff who are highly cited researchers
  4. How many articles published in Nature and Science (they shift this to other areas for places like LSE, which only do Humanities and Social Sciences)
  5. How many articles published in the expanded Science and Social Science citation index
  6. Academic performance related to size of Institution

Our very own Andrew Oswald wrote an article in the Independent (which I can't find online) which is how I ran into this site. In it, he suggests that perhaps these are not entirely unrealistic measures for a University to be benchmarked against – our currency is not the investment we make in sports facilities, but our ideas, and these are measures of just that.

Fact is: the world is a big place. If we are going to try and compete on a global scale then we have to understand where we are (and not where we like to deceive ourselves into thinking we are). If we don't, then we won't stand a chance of succeeding.

Just my $0.02 … (pun intended)


October 21, 2004

The Odd Couple

Writing about web page http://ubergoth.net/sims/bushkerry/index.html

How do you create a fantasy land in which George W Bush and John Kerry live together, with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden in the house next door?

Simple. Buy a copy of The Sims 2. This is really all quite disturbing.


October 19, 2004

Gmail (again)

I seem to have ended up with another six gmail invites. Since everyone I know seems to have a gmail account (and some of them have accounts for their pets, too, which I imagine isn't quite googles target audience) they are up for grabs.

If anyone would like one, send me an email at chris dot tilbury at gmail dot com (that way I have your email address, which is kind of a pre-requisite to actually inviting you, and it saves me from having to try and work it out, which I won't, because it's not like I actually care that much).

First come, first served.


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