Monday, December 29, 2008


It would be nice to swim a little faster and no doubt one day we will get a coach. Hopefully they will be diplomatic enough not to laugh too much at us.

In the meantime we have investigated some low drag swimwear that might just improve matters forthwith.

The Speedo LZR Racer is probably the leading suit of the day. At about 350 GBP that is quite an investment. Trouble is that poolside onlookers will expect Olympic style performances every time you nip in for a quick swim. Let's face it, this would just embarass oneself

So onto the Orca Killa Triathlon Suit Like all Orca this is a quality though 200 GBP product. Great for traithlon in warmer climbs but that cycling pad is not totally ideal for swimming.

And finally the winner is the modestly priced Decathlon Fatiglass Swim Suit The technical writeup is here. It is so good we bought one and here is why:
  • Modestly priced at about 50 GBP. At this price you can have at least two, for alternate days and as a backup (of course!)
  • It has got arms, that is always good
  • Good range of sizes and in Decathlon you can try out all the sizes to get your best fit
Initial impressions are good, now I only need to carry one bit of swimwear to the pool instead of the usual Orca shorts and Tribord rash vest top. One unresolved problem, where will I put the waterproof iPod nano in case without creating a hilarioiusly large swimsuit bulge?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

8 Random thoughts in 2008

Another memorable year ... 2008
  1. Investments can go down as well as up
  2. Podcasts like The Archers, Mark Kermode and Coverville transformed our listening habits forever
  3. Did you possibly notice the West overborrowing thus tipping the world into financial calamity. Government response: Cut interest rates so that we can borrow even more.
  4. From the worlds most proprietory Computer company: Apple iPhone from zero to hero
  5. The US dollar got stronger .. it doesn't get any more stupid than that
  6. A year of trekking, running, cycling and diving for us like no other
  7. Quantum of Solace was a ground breaking Bond film in 2008 - humourless
  8. 2008 Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Britains Closing Down Sale

Well you might think us exiled British would be rubbing our hands with glee. As the above Swiss Franc to British Pounds chart shows (I did not have the heart to call it
Great British Pound) things are starting to look pretty good for visits to Britain for a touch of shopping.

In fact this Boxing Day afternoon I can report a degree of chaos errupting

The trouble is us we may soon not have anything for us to spend our money on. I mean the demise of MFI is fairly acceptible. I never felt a strong urge to hop onto a plane, burst into MFI then fill our Swiss home with a bunch of crap quality built in.

But unfortunately it is a slippery slope

Can I make a plea to the UK government to safeguard some of the following assets:

Dyson Industries
Lotus Cars
Marks and Spencer
Robert Welch
The Mini
Twinings Tea

Oh no, looks like foreign ownership might have taken over some of these British icons already :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

No really, we have done the following:

  • Backed up all 2008 emails, correspondence and taken the backup copy 1000Km way for paranoid safe keeping
  • Backed up all new 2008's new Computer data (about 600 GB) and also taken that to a Disaster recovery site 1000Km away for safe keeping
  • Had a look at the finances to determine the location of the Marcus's squirreled missing millions - yes we are still solvent. 2009 Credit crunch do your worst, we are prepared.
  • Bought the Christmas tree - this year small enough for 1 person to lift. Now I am able to spend endless hours grumbling about the carbon unfriendly nature of it all
  • Installed Agata's mothers new computer. Quite a jump from Windows XP and 25GB of disk to Vista 32 Ultimate and nearly 2TB disk but Mama is coping splendidly.
  • Jumped out of Switzerland to an undisclosed xxxxx location, secret enough so that none of the unwanted presents we fear we might receive will ever find us

Christmas here we come!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Farewell Prakash

Farewell Prakash, your in depth AIX skills will be sorely missed

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too much of a Good Thing

It was something of a surprise to discover that not only do I have to maintain an intake a bewildering array of Vitamins and minerals but that too much of some vitamins can actually lead to damage.

So for optimum health we need to maintain a good balance of Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Fibre, Vitamins, Minerals, energy (calories) derived from above, but we must not overdose on the relative quantities.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Subnotebook evolution

Subnotebook evolution continues ....

Everun Note - 7 " screen

Asus EEE 701 - 7 inch screen

Asus 901 - 10 inch screen

MSI - 13 inch screen

Can you all see what is happening here? Notebooks have traditionally settled on a screen size of about 13 inches or greater because that is comfortable to work at ..

If you are a child with small hands, sharp vision and a limited budget (from the bank of mum and dad) then a subnotebook might be winging it's way to you as we speak. Else just think again. For non occasional use you will need a large screen.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Good Book

I spent the weekend with "The Good Book" . No, come on, not some ancient fantasy novel but the latest Apple Macbook, you know the one with the Aluminium unibody casing. Above we see pictured an early prototype (well of the keyboard anyway). So what were the overall impressions?

  1. Great packaging and reasonable price made a good first impression
  2. If you have been begiled by Apple OS X then you pretty much have to Apple (or try EFi-X)
  3. Keyboard - What were they thinking? I suppose it might be okay to have a Spectrum-esq keyboard on this entry level system but on a MacBook Pro , well I'd be well disappointed.
  4. There is now no appreciable tehcnological gap between MacBook and MacBook Pro, just the MacBook has a smaller screen (trust me you will never use those faster graphics on the Pro).
  5. As usual Apple makes do with lowres (cf Windows laptop) screens but renders everything excellently
  6. Touchpad was great. A real suprise. Not only can you other button click but 2 finger gestures for scrolling and other things worked very well
  7. Wow a removable battery and hard drive, how long did that take - 8 years or more?
  8. I could not find the Firewire port
  9. Precision unibody enclosure is a great Engineering step forward in principle. Although Aluminium is not great for screwing things into, and this first gen has lots of sharp edges (cf iPod 1st gen). Apple will release a smoothed gen2 product just to piss existing customers off
  10. Running Windows XP inside VMware Fusion worked well
  11. Finder is still ridiculously crude compared to Windows Explorer
Summary: A great travel notebook but the 13 inch screen is too small for this to be your only computer screen

Friday, December 05, 2008

Clarkson explains the bailout

My erstwhile neighbourly Jeremy (Clarkson) is not normally to be taken literally. But here are in fact 2 minutes of sense. Worth a viewing indeed.

Can the [UK] government bail every single industry out?

Simple answer .. no

Meanwhile in America ....

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Getting FAT for Christmas

Recently every morning I awake and my pre Scientific brain informs me that since winter is drawing closer, temperatures are surely dropping and so what better idea than to increase the daily chocolate and fat intake.

It is common received wisdom that an increased "winter coat" i.e some extra padding is quite a good thing in Autumn and winter times.

But I'd like to stress the contrary. With a little thought, this time of year is exactly the time when we need to exercise the very most.
  • Snowboarding season is about to start. Arms and legs needs to be in peak condition for boarding. Stomach and back need to be in peak condition to survive falling!

  • Then there are the parties. The weekly if not daily round of office parties, Christmas parties,New Year parties, parties with relations, parties with friends must all be endured. The higher the fitness level now the more chance you have of exiting the Christmas period not looking like a complete potato.

So let us agree to step up and not reduce the exercise campaign in these chilly months.