Saturday, 27 October 2007

Back from France now and I must say I really enjoyed my short time there. It was only the second time I've really been in France. Chambéry is a very nice, quiet town - probably more so this time of year, just before the skiiing season kicks off. You certainly feel safe and welcome there; I had no qualms about walking around with a camera at night. It was a good test of my very limited knowledge of the French language, picked up from before my 'O'-levels which was when I dropped languages completely. The roads are busy, but the motorists generally very respectful of pedestrians - you don't get bursts of hooting and abusive language like you do in the UK. You don't see fat people, fat kids everywhere. You don't see crowds of pissed-up louts falling about in the street. In fact, everything about France is more civilised than over here - something you soon come to realise when you come home again.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Photo of Aix-Les-Bain's lake-side promenade and impressive tree avenue along Lac du Bourget, near Chambéry, on the way back to Geneva airport.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Night photo of the famous Elephant fountain in the middle of Chambéry.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

First day of a three-day gathering for a European languages teaching project called webCEF I have become involved, in Chambéry, France. Not that I am a language teacher - I'm just helping out on creating the web tools.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

More nanny state nonsense:

"Firefighters face 'ladders ban'
Firefighters have been banned from using their ladders to take down festive bunting because it is deemed a health and safety risk. In previous years, firefighters have helped remove decorations in the centre of Ampthill, Bedfordshire, after the town's Gala Day in July. Three months on, the green and white bunting is still there. The festival committee is now trying to find another way of removing the bunting before the winter.

BBC NEWS | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Firefighters face 'ladders ban'

All these bans and extra legislation on "safety" don't say to me "we're doing this to make your lives safer" - instead it says "we no longer think you should be trusted to use your own common sense".

Friday, 19 October 2007

"Looking for a new way to save money on your car insurance?"

There is only one way to save money on anything - pay less.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Mobile phone use backed on planes
Passengers could soon be using their mobile phones on planes flying through European airspace. Plans have been developed across EU countries to introduce technology which permits mobile calls without risk of interference with aircraft systems.

They think they can do it, but have they ever stopped to consider if they should do it? I for one could not hack sitting next to some selfish git yakking away on a mobile phone. This is bound to lead to complaints, annoyed passengers and quite possibly unrest on planes.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Mobile phone use backed on planes

Canon finally cops to the focus issue that many early adopters of the EOS 1D Mk.III digital SLR are finding. Apparently its something to do with the sub-mirror (a little mirror that hangs off the back of the main mirrors) and it requires the camera to be returned to Canon for a hardware fix.

Rob Galbraith | An EOS-1D Mark III autofocus fix is on the way

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The WorldCouldn't sleep last night so I watched part of the Chinese film "The World" (Shijie), about the lives of a small number of workers at a strange theme park just outside Shanghai, built around scale replicas of famous landmark buildings around the world - so much more ironic for many of the central characters yearn to leave China and see some of these buildings for real. I found it a sad yet compelling movie that accurately portrays the huge culture clash between the China of old and the Western world China now strives to become part of.

Entry in the Internet Movie database
Reviews on Internet Movie database
Another review, admittedly not good but includes a couple of stills

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Town Crier

Town Crier
Town Crier,
originally uploaded by hockeyshooter.
Got a bunch of nice shots this morning at this year's Living History Heritage Day in Leighton Buzzard. The Town Council lay this event on every year.

Friday, 12 October 2007

HelisphereLight Fantastic is a free, family spectacular which celebrates the best of light, special effects, technology and entertainment. State of the art large format projection will be used on buildings to transform their appearance.

Someone obviously feels our buildings need transforming! I presume this is something to do with this year's anniversary of Milton Keynes - but it doesn't say so on the website. But it does say:

Entertainment will include a light parade, a son et lumiere show, and huge gas jet flames choreographed to music.

Not exactly respectful of the environment is it?

Light Fantastic Milton Keynes 2007

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Big brother really is here...

"UK ID card service mounts birth, marriage, death landgrab
The UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS) has staged an identity landgrab on birth, marriage and death records. From April 2008 the General Register Office, which is responsible for recording these matters and is currently a directorate of the Office of National Statistics, is to become part of IPS, meaning that IPS will be logging you from the moment you're born until the moment you die.

Why don't they go the whole hog and tatoo a number on your arm?

The Register | UK ID card service mounts landgrab

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Photo © NASA/JHU/APLPhoto montage of New Horizons images of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, taken during the spacecraft's Jupiter flyby in early 2007.

New Horizons Web Site | Jupiter-Io Montage
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pluto-bound probe's Jupiter vista

Have you seen the film 2010? Do you remember the reverence with which Dr. Heywood Floyd talks about Jupiter?

My personal feeling is that our exploration of space should be limited to unmanned probes. It takes so much more effort and expense to put people into space - and when you do, the focus falls on the people, not what they are exploring.