Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

iPhone Tracker results

I’m sure anyone with an iPhone is aware of the iPhone tracker application.  I guess this is a good example of ‘the innocent have nothing to hide’… here’s my map – click to embiggen.

The strange quirk is my heavy presence seemingly in Amsterdam!  I think this is when I use my Three ‘mi-fi’ to connect my iPhone, when the o2 3G signal is particularly poor.  Either that or when I’m asleep a soft drugs dealer borrows my phone and hops over to Amsterdam to carry out a quick deal.

It’s interesting how well last years summer holiday in France is tracked, and the ‘world view’ confirms that I did indeed head to Florida and Tunisia with my iPhone.

Interesting stuff, maybe I’m naive, but if Apple say that this is gathered anonymously, I believe them.  I know however  there are security implications, and some people may be worried by this, and Apple’s silence is becoming a little ominous.

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International man of mystery

Well, a well traveled Briton at least.  In the space of a fortnight I will have accumulated nearly 1500 miles of travel, which is a lot for a homeboy like me.

Last week, I was in Lancaster for the second, and final, PhD residential experience.  Of the twenty-five who started the course, we’re now down to effectively sixteen.  Attrition rates are traditionally high on higher degree courses, and whilst it was great to meet everyone again and renew our commitment to the course, it’s also a little sad that so many have dropped by the wayside.

The week itself was busy, both socially and academically.  I’ve mind mapped like there’s no tomorrow, been confused by some discussions, and had foggy ideas clarified by others.  One important element was the discussion of our ‘Part 2’ ideas, the thesis which I’ll be working on from the end of the year through to the end of 2013.  I have the germ of an idea, which wasn’t completely laughed out of the classroom, which I’m pleased about.

This week has been manic so far, writing online lectures and resources, and also catching up on Open University marking – I couldn’t do this the weekend as one of my PhD colleagues stayed for a couple of days – great fun but I have been playing catch-up which has only just eased itself.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day, a crack-of-dawn train down to London to a legal practice, this time to look at some risk-assessment software and look at risks that the Charity sector face.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like this, though it used to be a regular part of my job evaluating software packages.  It will be interesting to see how many awkward questions I can ask.

The it’s the glorious weekend, when I hope the toughest thing I’ll do is battle with Morrisons and hang out some washing, before flying off to Edinburgh next week for ICPD2 – not as I thought at first one of the lesser known droids in Star Wars.  I’ve already written about this, so I won’t bore you again, but it could be an intense, but fun packed few days.

Then we’re into Easter breaks, and with bank holidays and royal weddings I don’t have a full week at work for a good while… around this time though the next part of my PhD starts.  I’ve already accessed many of the readings, and this is a subject that does interest me.  I’m looking forward to this, the last substantive module in the ‘taught’ part of the course.

So, if anyone emails me and gets an ‘out of office’ reply, then you’ll know why over the next few days.  As Trillian says, we’ll have normality – “just as soon as we know what is normal anyway”.

Radio 4 Extra – The First Weekend

I have spent much, some would say too much of the weekend listening to Radio 4 Extra, the successor to Radio 7, or as some of us will still think of it due to early publicity, BBC 7.
I actually set my alarm for 5:55 on Saturday morning so that I could hear the switch over, and see if my digital bedside radio (one of two by my bed actually, for complex reasons) would change the name automatically.

Maybe they could have chosen a better start to the station than a play by George Bernard Shaw, but remember that the start of channel five was heralded by the Spice Girls singing 5-4-3-2-1 so at least it’s an improvement on that.

There is much to like about the new schedule. Comedy and drama seem to have a roughly 50:50 balance in the new schedule, with space for more 90 minute dramas. Whilst none of these yet have been my cup of tea, that isn’t the fault of the programme planners. Sci-Fi is still planned for 6pm and midnight, and in a shamelessly popularise move, the heavily plugged Torchwood dramas, all of which I have heard before and have varying levels of success are leading this.

But there are some criticisms. Repeats within the day are still to frequent, and for the moment appear unpredictable. I am sure over time I will start to notice when the repeats are scheduled, and this weekend was exceptional in the amount that I listened to, but there’s still to many. There is a good argument to be made that with iPlayer there is no need for any repeats, but I know a schedule has to be filled.

And the 10:00 Saturday evening comedian stand-up slot is a good idea, but to start with a frankly filthy routine by Whoopi Goldberg, which dealt with ‘lady parts’ for much that I was able to listen to (about 10 minutes) – I was glad to switch to Family Guy for something more cerebral.

I am away all this week, but have packed my little Pure Mi radio in my overstuffed gadget bag, and will enjoy listening to the new schedule. I did really enjoy waking to Dick Barton, special agent at 6:45, and even forgave the whimsical (i.e. boring) Ballylenon at 7:00 – after eight years of big toe/little toe/cbeebies in the morning, I’ll forgive much – except for King Street Junior, for which I have a personal hatred that goes beyond the rational.

So I would give Radio 4 Extra 7.5/10 for its first few days. Room for improvement, but could have been much worse.