Saturday, 24 September 2011

The latest tablet device to fail

Against Apple will be launched by Amazon next week. So far HP, Samsung, Blackberry and more have all failed with several withdrawing their devices and all discounting a lot save for Sony. Sony has a decent looking effort out on the Market but the software and ecosystem around it are hopeless and that's where Apple is killing the competition. Then again they where first to market by miles and have had the time to dig in and get further ahead.

Youview - er no I can't view

Where is this mythical youview telly box and when is it coming out. It looks like it will be released by March 2011. Over a year late. And an important year - a year in which Internet tv really caught on. It leaves you wondering that no matter how good this box is has it missed the boat. Lots of higher end TV's already have this sort if stuff built in.

The advert says - "YouView brings you all the plug-in-and-watch simplicity of Freeview, plus the UK’s leading Internet catch-up and video on-demand services.

That means you’ll get the digital TV you love, plus BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and SeeSaw, all instantly available on your TV, through one simple set-top box.

For the first time, your on-screen programme guide will go backwards in time as well as forwards. You can discover and watch great programmes whenever you want – even ones you thought you’d missed.

Of course, YouView will also have High Definition, as well as the choice of pay-TV channels and on-demand programmes from TV providers such as BT Vision and Talk Talk TV. It’s also a personal video recorder, so you can pause, rewind and record live TV whenever you like.

Basically, you’ll get all the best bits of 21st Century TV, without having to grapple with complicated technology or pay any TV subscription fees."

Even given its lengthy delay it does look quite good, doesn't it.

England RWC - Haskell scared of sheep

Very funny Telegraph footage taken by Haskell.

Quality paper

Where is captain smiles

A bit of a negative outlook revealed by one Spectator blog commentator. Have a break, have a kitkat.

The comment being -

"Look, James, nobody cares.

The Euro is bust, Greece and Turkey are squaring up in the East Med, iran and Pakistan are barmy, Islamic nuclear armed theocracies, and Obama is imprisoned in the Wicker Man of gazillion dollars of debt with China the cold-eyed creditor holding the torch. Oh, and Cameron thinks he's Tony Blair.

Lower the life rafts and instruct the musicians to play 'Abide with me' shipmates.

We're done for."

Also - I hope he is wrong!

Dyson do it again

As the BBC note "The AM04 is a follow-up to the company's high-end bladeless fan, that was launched in 2009.

The £269 price tag of the AM04 suggests that the device is unlikely to find the mass market appeal of its bagless vacuum cleaners.

However, Dyson claims that the device does a better job of warming a room than traditional electrical fan heaters."

It's a bit pricey but the amazing thing really is the technological innovation. Very impressive.

Best Clay shoot in the West Country

Is to be found on Franks Farm. Really good people making it a very good time. I heartily recommend it.

Watch out!!!!!

Telegraph - Matt

The slow death of the Criminal Bar continues

See below for the latest bad news for the Criminal Bar. When will they realise that the LSC, newish legislation and Government are destroying them. I think it may already be too late to save lots of the junior bar but I wonder whether action will finally be taken now the QC's are going to be stuffed. They must make a last stand at some point surely! Or maybe the very fact that they are all individual members of the bar will mean they are incapable of getting their act together.

Quality Assurance of Advocates Scheme to be used for cost-cutting exercise.

This from the chair of the Criminal Bar Association:

"Dear CBA Member,

The national CBA Committee met last night. You can read my Chairman’s Report here, or by going to the CBA website.

I need to update you as to a very serious development relating to QASA, which came about since I drafted my Report. On Monday morning I attended the Legal Services Commission at their request, for a meeting to discuss ‘QASA and AGFS’. I did not go alone, but was accompanied by our Secretary Nathaniel Rudolf, Nichola Higgins Chair of the YBC and Alexandra Healey QC for the Remuneration Committee of the Bar Council. The LSC told us, for the first time, that they intend to consult over proposed amendments to the Criminal Defence Service Funding Order, which contains tables relating to AGFS payments to counsel by category eg QC, Leading Junior, Led Junior, Junior. The LSC intend to replace these categories with the QASA levels 2, 3 and 4 (being the three levels intended for Crown Court advocates). The LSC say this is intended to be on a ‘cost neutral basis’. However, when challenged, they confirmed that they would interpret QASA to mean that there would be no payment category for silks, and no circumstances in which judges could certify cases as requiring silk. They think that judges will certify simply ‘QASA level 4’ etc.

It will not escape your attention that this proposal, if allowed, would be the end of silk payments for any and all publicly-funded defence cases in future. Far from being ‘cost neutral’, the result would be to reduce the £27 million the LSC claim they paid to defence silks last year down to zero. And yes, they did add that they would not be increasing leading junior rates to silk rates on the basis that QASA Level 4 as proposed would include silks and senior juniors.
It will not escape your attention either, I am sure, that this proposal would replace current AGFS payments by offence category, and all juniors would be paid according to their QASA level. Every one of us will be affected.

QASA was never intended to replace silks. QASA was never intended to impact upon remuneration. We have never been told that the LSC intends to use the scheme to tie remuneration to QASA levels in this way. For the avoidance of doubt, it is clear to me that the BSB were not told either.
This development threatens the entire QASA scheme. We cannot move forward until this issue is resolved. Together with Bar Council leadership, I am meeting the senior judiciary to inform them of this problem, confident that they were not told either.
There will be more to report. I shall keep you informed.

Max Hill QC
Chairman, Criminal Bar Association"

The letter lacks real anger which by now surely there should be. The time for politeness being gone years ago. Come on CBA - fight, fight and don't stop fighting.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Krak de Chevalier

Its the most incredible place.

Krak des Chevaliers (French pronunciation: [kʁak de ʃəvaˈlje]), transliterated Crac des Chevaliers, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval military castles in the world. In Arabic, the fortress is called Qal'at al-Ḥiṣn (Arabic: قلعة الحصن), the word Krak coming from the Syriac karak, meaning fortress. It is located approximately 40 km west of the city of Homs, close to the border of Lebanon, and is administratively part of the Homs Governorate. Since 2006, the castles of Krak des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din have

been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Via vaulted stables they could house 1000 horses and had enough storage to withstand a siege for 5 years.

Never captured by force. Even Saladin failed.

See Wikipedia for more. Indeed google more info. It is amazing.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Newsnight nightmare

Despite all the news going on in the last year or so I thought Newsnight was losing it a bit. Now I see Michael Crick has jumped ship or been pushed and headed for Channel 4. Or rather heading back to ITN. He was a BBC man for 20 or so years mainly on Newsnight.

I also note that a lot of people moan about Peter Rippon who has been Editor since Nov 2008. certainly he hasn't coped well with the budget that has been slaughtered. The investigative side of Newsnight has gone down the tubes and there seem to be far too many talking heads. They save money as they are mainly studio based but the in depth coverage of events seems to have diminished especially with foreign affairs.

2 years ago viewing figures were around 1 million. They are now apparently around 500000. Not good enough really. Still they would never chop it? Surely not. Not while Paxman ploughs on picking up his million quid or so.

Catch 22

As someone puts it on Wikipedia "Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during World War II in 1943, is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. It has a distinctive non-chronological style where events are described from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot."

And also notes that "Among other things, Catch-22 is a general critique of bureaucratic operation and reasoning"

You see I know all of the above but I just don't like it that much. I feel I am supposed to because it's said to be a great literary work but I just didn't enjoy it greatly. Catch 22, of a sort, I suppose.

Forbes global rich list

I know the American 2011 list has just come out but who will top the Forbes global 2011 list. The Forbes 2010 runners and riders were;

1 Carlos Slim Helu & family Mexico 70 53.5 Mexico
2 William Gates III United States 54 53.0 United States
3 Warren Buffett United States 79 47.0 United States
4 Mukesh Ambani India 52 29.0 India
5 Lakshmi Mittal India 59 28.7 United Kingdom
6 Lawrence Ellison United States 65 28.0 United States
7 Bernard Arnault France 61 27.5 France
8 Eike Batista Brazil 53 27.0 Brazil
9 Amancio Ortega Spain 74 25.0 Spain
10 Karl Albrecht Germany 90 23.5 Germany
11 Ingvar Kamprad & family Sweden 83 23.0 Switzerland
12 Christy Walton & family United States 55 22.5 United States
13 Stefan Persson Sweden 62 22.4 Sweden
14 Li Ka-shing Hong Kong 81 21.0 Hong Kong
15 Jim Walton United States 62 20.7 United States
16 Alice Walton United States 60 20.6 United States
17 Liliane Bettencourt France 87 20.0 France
18 S. Robson Walton United States 66 19.8 United States
19 Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud Saudi Arabia 55 19.4 Saudi Arabia
20 David Thomson & family Canada 52 19.0 Canada
21 Michael Otto & family Germany 66 18.7 Germany
22 Lee Shau Kee Hong Kong 82 18.5 Hong Kong
23 Michael Bloomberg United States 68 18.0 United States
24 Sergey Brin United States 36 17.5 United States

Top Brit born person is the Duke of Westminster at about number 45 in the 2010 list.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Guilty Men

The premise of Mr Oborne and Mr Weaver is that “Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons."

As Guido Fawkes notes "the title was nicked from a book written by Michael Foot, Frank Owen and Peter Howard, published in 1940, attacking the leading establishment figures of the day for their appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s." This pamphlet goes just as far. It really gets stuck in to all those who were pro Euro and rips up their reasoning and shows just how wrong they were and right the Tory right was.

Guilty Men can be accessed on the Centre for Policy Studies webiste here.

Macrumors Addiction admitted

I admit that I am becoming A little obsessed about Apple products and the best way to waste time looking up new Apple stuff is on Macrumors

For example when will the new Apple iPhone come out. Latest bets are of an announcement on October the 4th. But what will the phone do. Tim Cook below is the new CEO and Jobs successor, but will he be any good?

A new bookmark to add

The Commentator is a new news website which is a bit different to the rest and contains some very good articles. Try it out or add it to your bookmarks.

Einstein was wrong - I knew it!

Apparently E may not =Mc2 as we have always been taught and which I always got wrong in exams. I must have subconsciously known something was up!

Anyway read this from today's Telegraph

If things can travel faster than light it makes it possible for things to arrive before they have left. Get your head around that!

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Monday, 5 September 2011

Château Pèlerin

Château Pèlerin, also known as Atlit Castle and Castle Pilgrim, is located on the northern coast of Israel about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) south of Haifa. The Knights Templar began building it in 1218 during the Fifth Crusade. One of the major Crusader fortresses, it could support up to 4,000 troops in siege conditions. It was lost to the Mamluks in August 1291, shortly after the Fall of Acre. It remained intact for several hundred years, until being damaged in the Galilee earthquake of 1837. In modern times, the castle is part of a training zone for Israeli Naval commandos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad