Car Bombs

Terrorist attacks always seemed pretty remote, even when they were in the UK. I guess there was always a sense of ‘it’s London’ and ‘it won’t happen up here’. Today’s terrorist attack on Glasgow airport disproves that totally. Like the London cars that were found on Friday, the car that drove into Glasgow airport had propane gas and also petrol on board. Thankfully no one seems to be badly injured apart from one of the two people in the car. They were described as Asian with an eye witness stating that one guy was shouting Allah as he was pulled from the car.

Most disturbing was that one of the terrorists who has suffered 90% burns was wearing a suicide belt. The belt was only found on the suspect when he was in hospital. It’s shocking to think what damage he could have done.

Even more shocking is that this looks like a botched attack. What would have happened if the propane had gone up or the suicide belt detonated? How many innocents would have died? Or was the plan to ever kill lots of people? Was it just to disrupt, cause panic and fear, unsettle the public? I guess no one really knows at the moment. All we can do is keep vigilant for anything suspicious. Who knows where these guys were staying, worked or who they were friends with.

Tom Fordyce

I’ve been loving the live text commentary on BBC sports recently and yesterday/today’s Henman match was a highpoint. Here are some of the better funnies:

  • Still feels strange to look up and see Centre Court without a roof – it’s like meeting an old pal for a drink, only to find he’s gone completely bald since you last saw him.
  • Relief for Moya as Henman’s groundstrokes are drawn to the net like papparazi to an intoxicated Jade Goody.
  • You’ve got to love the English summer – as reliable as a 1973 Skoda.
  • Moya, as outwardly emotional as a frozen haddock
  • This being tennis, the players then go for a sit-down.
  • Lucy Henman is in the same seat as yesterday, wearring a beige cardigan with sand-coloured wool scarf. She’s waving a large Union flag with the words “Go Tiger!” emblazoned on it. As if.
  • Three seats along, Mr Henman Snr is showing all the emotion of a marble bust.
  • Who’s going to blink first? Certainly not Mr Henman Snr, whose face hasn’t twitched in 14 years.
  • Henman Snr looks like the sort of chap whose definition of emotional contact with his son would be a handshake twice a year – once on his birthday, and once on Christmas Day.

Top work and thanks to Tom Fordyce as it makes for a far more entertaining game if you can’t watch it live, like when your at work…although I read this all tonight. Honest.

Achilles Heel

The 360 is a fine console with excellent games, great online community and a fine multi-media machine. However it’s failure rate is atrocious yet Microsoft have always denied there is a big issue with returns. Now comes news that the UK repairs team is receiving 1500 – 2500 per day according to this article published on 360 Gamer.

1500-2500 per day in the UK alone

That sounds really high but tie’s up with my own findings. I game regularly with a group of guys and almost all of them have had at least one 360 fail. Two of the group are onto their 5th 360. That’s five machines in less than 20 months. If it happened to one guy only you would put it down to bad luck but not two. I’ve also had mine fail, Shakeel’s has just gone, Graham’s on his third and as already said most of the guys have had theirs fail two. If it’s not the red ring of light it’s scratched disks, which is definitely caused by the 360 as the guys that I know it’s happened too haven’t even removed the disk from the machine for two weeks. It started to fail and on inspecting the disk concentric scratches were clearly visible.

These problems have now transferred to the 360 Elite which was Microsoft’s chance to address the issues which look to have been sadly missed. A couple of folk I know are now thinking it’s time to ditch the 360 and move to PS3 despite that platforms lack of current games – at least it seems more reliable. Time to come clean Microsoft. Early adopters deserve better than this. Consumers deserve better than this. You no longer have a monopoly when it comes to HD games and a busy online console community and gamers are becoming tired of the failure’s.


Bernabeu StandOn my last trip to Madrid (two weeks ago now) I managed to squeeze in a stadium tour at the Bernabeu. It’s a magnificent stadium, very compact and the tour is only 10 Euro’s and is a bit of a bargain.

While there are no guides to tell you about the place you are allowed to walk round at your own pace and get to see views from many parts of the stadium, a small museum full of trophies and detail on Real Madrid’s history and then a walk down on to the pitchside and the dug out. You finish off in the away dressing room and press room before finally reaching the shop. The shop is actually the most disappointing part of the whole tour.

The weather in Madrid was fantastic although a bit too hot for me. Again the food was great and I tried Octopus for the first time – very nice. However trawling through the photo’s has been annoying. The camera has 4 or 5 dead pixels now on the sensor, a couple looking like a small cluster meaning each photo needs touched up. On individual photo’s it’s not bad but when you’ve a large batch to process it’s nothing but a pain in the arse. Looks like it’s time for a new camera. Yep, it’s a great excuse. Anyway, the full Flickr set is available here.

In the dug out

How much does episodic content cost?

Well if it’s GTA IV, it’s $50 million.

The first 25 is for the first episodic content package that’s supposed to go out and that is in March of ’08. That’s why it moved into current because it’s in the next 12 months. The second 25 will be for the second episodic, the episode, and that will be later in fiscal ’08.

Thats what Take Two have just announced via a shareholders briefing. $50 million gives the 360 exclusivity on the episodic content, the second of which could be almost a year after the game released. I wonder how much making the full game a 360 exclusive would have cost…and how many console sales it would have made.


If your in the market for an external drive and your computer has Firewire 800 then do yourself a massive favour and pick up an external drive which has Firewire 800 too. My old external USB couldn’t cope with backing up the desktop and laptop so I invested in a 500 GB My Book Pro and the speed difference is very noticeable.

Looking at the specifications for USB 2 & Firewire 800 tells you that Firewire should be faster but real world difference for me was that the backup was a fifth of the time using the new drive against old – much faster than I was expecting. Speaking of the drive I’m fairly impressed with it as it’s quiet and has a nice finish too it. It’s also easy to power down unlike many others. I also intend to use the drive for Time Machine but only on certain key folders.

I had another thought on Time Machine – not much use for laptop users unless they are attached to an external drive, which aren’t always portable or convenient.


Leopard was the big news at this years WWDC and to be honest, there wasn’t really much to see. The Intel/Apple ‘incredible job’ was trooped out again (how many times??). Games on the Mac was one of the opening spots but they kept the fact that the EA games will be run using Cider. If it works well it’s not an issue but I have my doubts.

The new desktop does look nice although I’m more pleased to see consistent window look and prominent active window than Stacks. Nice feature but hardly ground breaking – Stardock’s Objectdock has had that feature for quite a while (although they originally ripped the Apple dock). Icons look far more detailed though which is great as I’ve been using a far bigger icon size recently that suits this. Not so sure of the transparent menu bar though – hopefully switchoffable

The new finder looks quite sweet. When reading from Madrid on Monday, Cover Flow and an iTunes look and feel sounded pretty weak but watching the demo and seeing Cover Flow in action has changed my mind. The sidebar looks far more flexible, Cover Flow could be useful and the better .mac integration and spotlight network searching (at last!) will be very handy.

Quick Look is like a fast Preview although I use QuickSilver to launch data and apps quickly so I’m not sure it’s much of a time saver. Still, it could end up being the most used new app in Leopard. Spaces – it’s virtual desktops, it’s been talked about to death, seen on Unix and Windows machines for years and not something I’ll use much if at all.

iChat upgrades looks very nice, especially as it leverage’s Quick Look. Must use iChat more! Not sure about the video backgrounds though. Scratch that – I’ve just seen the hologram iChat effect. Very nice.

Time Machine looks ok but by default it backs up…everything. How big would the backup disk need to be? I think most users will back up only certain key folders (certainly not the downloads folder) and so a frequent full system backup is still required. I’ll probably stick to SuperDuper.

The Safari for Windows announcement left me kind of cold too making for a fairly tame keynote…with no new hardware. Still, roll on October – Leopard could be my first Glasgow Apple Store purchase.

Catch Up

Been pretty busy so not had much posting time, so without further ado…some stuff.

  • PS3 update. Firstly the reviews of the update have garnered some great reviews. Upscaled DVD’s look great, noticeably better than the 360. I guess most surprising for me is that they looked better/on a par with the Denon I have. Looks like I can eBay another piece of kit. Of course me writing eBay really means it will retire to the ‘gadget graveyard’ – the attic. I have an embarrassing amount of old gadgets and tech that I won’t part with or can’t be bothered selling on eBay and dealing with Nigerians (sorry all legit Nigerians), kids wrecking bids and fraud. 720p playback of Blu-Ray is also welcomed. Network playback of media…nice try but not quite there yet. Nero and Media Player 10 work well on Windows for sharing media. For the Mac, options are a little more limited. TwonkyMedia Beta 4.4 and EyeConnect are the best bet’s for the moment. Hopefully a version of Connect360 will support the PS3 (news that Connect360 tries to talk to the PS3). Joystiq have a list of 20 clients that may work. Final option is to use a NAS device that supports DLNA. Unfortunately my current NAS doesn’t. Synology forums admin have said they have purchased a PS3 to look at connectivity – supporting DLNA would have been my preferred option although it’s probably easier for me to rely on a Connect360 derivative.
  • Since switching to Mac I’ve only used Windows to update my remote and a couple of other small’ish tasks. However the last 3-4 weeks have seen me use Windows every day for a couple of hours and during that time Parallels has been a life saver. Rock solid and to be honest, you are hard pushed to notice your running a virtual OS. The coherence feature alone is worth the money. The good news is version 3 has been announced with increased USB support, 3D graphics support (pretty vague but a good list of Windows games) and future Vista Aero support. Sounding good and like a good little fanboy I’ve already paid for the upgrade.
  • Halo 3. It’s soooo much fun. It’s a shame it will finish this Sunday but I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of weeks. Robert – hope to see you before Sunday!
  • Forza out this week. Has had great reviews, the user screenshots from USA & Japanese gamers have looked awesome and a received a 9 in Edge this month. Roll on this weekend.
  • I’m starting to become a GTD geek. Been using iGTD for a few weeks, Omnifocus is picking up some good early press and the process has really help me keep on top of tasks recently. If you’ve got a lot on (even a little but some of it’s long term) or need something to help manage those inspiration moments that need noted down somewhere then give GTD a try.
  • WWDC next week which means a lot of Mac rumours. New laptops and iMacs could make my hardware feel out of date which is always the problem with Macs. However, the hardware has been good since I switched, the software excellent and I have absolutely no regrets. Should have done it years ago. Tips for next week – new Leopard features (I still think there will be some virtualisation/boot camp news) and new Macbook pro’s. One more thing – new iPhone features?
  • I think I’ve finally settled on a work/laptop bag. I’ve always admired Tom Bihn bags and I think the soon to be released Zephyr will fit my needs. Why does it take 30 mins to choose a laptop and 6 months to find a bag?
  • Try and catch the Jobs/Gates interview from last weeks D|All Things Digital. Gates comes across really well and it was nice to see the respect they both had for each other. Video’s here and now on iTunes.

Mmm – that went on a bit.

Olympic Brand

London 2012

What a shocker. This is the result of £400k of branding by consultants – the new brand for the London 2012 Olympics. There’s a site that explains the brand and an accompanying video. According to the site “The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible. It will work with new technology and across traditional and new media networks.”

All I know is it hurts my eyes and means sod all to me apart from 4 blocks of annoyingly bright colour. Will we get graffiti artists at the opening ceremony?