Friday, September 30, 2011

Who Defaults First

To put things in perspective, if someone asked me to invest in Greek Government Bonds  (a favourite with nation states like Germany)  or Eastman Kodak stock.

You know, I would pick Kodak

But don't just keep your view to yourself.  You can vote in this poll

Kodak stock takes the 54% 1 day plunge

2 strikes and I am cross

Social experiments can be fun, even if they are at a small personal cost.  Please view Dan Ariely's excellent TED talk for some more ideas after reading ...

In my case I have bad news for my Social Experiment that I have carried out at my customer Client site where I predominantly work.

This week I have been subject to 2 thefts

  • My Weather Station
  • My Shower Gel
I keep  (well kept) a Weather station in the office to precisely monitor the external temperature and pressure.  This helps me get the right clothing on for my return home or leave early if thunder is probable and I'm Cycling.

I keep (well kept) large shower Gel containers in each of the 2 Corporate showers so that if anybody had forgotton theirs they could use mine.

Both items stolen (the 2nd shower  gel remianed so it was not security taking it away)

So what are the learning points?

  • I have to report the thefts at Work, totally wasting my time
  • I lost about 50 CHF (60 USD)
  •  More significantly the time to order the Weather Station (from Hong Kong) , pay for it ,bring it to work, visit IKEA for the Shower Gels ... is all lost
  • The shower thief causes me not to place my communal Gel there.

    So the majority loses at the expense of the selfish thief.

  • I lose because the shower gel is heavy and that's my lazy reason for leaving it there (experiment not withstanding)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Mole Truth

2 hours with Adrian Mole.

What could possibly be more exciting?  Intellectuals of the world unite. Stop whatever you are doing right now and 

TTL: Time To Live

Agata and Marcus are for better or worse the descendants of brilliant Engineers  (or so we were always told).  And as such it is fairly inevitable that some parental mantras have been ingrained into our souls.

One such dictum is that as Engineers it a positive sin to throw items away immediately.  The  phrase:

That could come in useful

is one that we heard often in times past.  And so the picture above proudly represents my new bedroom light and cupboard.   Both recycled from a few items we kept in the cellar.

But as the current sales indicate we added an important update rule to prevent us turning into hoarders.  Every item must has a recycle/disposal date.   For example, if we have not used clothes (for 12 months), or computers (for 24 months)  they must go.

So whilst we would like you to watch this commerical its' message is entirely flawed.  We would never take a working light out to be junked, not without a rest in our basement cave first.   You never know, it might just come in useful

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Windows Programs Cleanup

Imagine you have deleted the programs on your Windows Computer that represent a Progrmas installation  but not used the correct Uninstallation from Control Panel.

In such a case your control Panel list will be incorrect.  So how would you make it right?

  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
  • Click to Uninstall
  • Control-F to start Find Dialog
  • Type in Name of Program to find  (System Planning) in my example

  • Locate the Key and delete that Key (and all subkeys)

Now magically control panel will have that Program Removed from the list.

Of course this could also be used to hide existing programs from the list, but that would be a terrible thing to do n'est pas :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Announcement Mania

Ah technology never stands still ...   I see within one week I have

Amazon Sept 28

Which new Kindle to choose?

Apple October 04,   Tuesday 10.00 Pacific Time

HTC Come Feel Every Beat October 06

So of course it is just as secretly planned that we will soon be in the land of far far away. Hopefully to take first hand advantage of such announcments.   Watch this space :-)

HTC and Dre video promo 
NB: to get this mobile sound quality you will need to walk around like a twat using a pair of full sized headphones
Apple iOS5 Operating System

Monday, September 26, 2011

Paying it Forward

This is a social Engineering post combined with some good economic advice.

In the first instance I continue to be alarmed at the multiple attempts by European Governments to find a magic solution to the Euro(pean) debt crisis.   There is no magic way out and the 2 Trillion Euro bailout will only work until it itself (inevitably) fails.  The above caption is more likely to work than this tripe!

On a personal level what can you do in the short term?

  • If you are low on funds then stop unnecessary spending!  This Steve Martin video will explain it to you
  • Take all Credit cards and if possible move to equivalent debit card. Stop using all credit cards!

  • Next,  if you have some modest savings then pay off all future debts you can.  For example in Switzerland, we pay our tax bills monthly,  but in fact the Swiss Tax authorities have a better Interest rate than my bank and are more reliable.  So pay ahead the tax!

  • If you have more assets consider taking >10% of your salary out as cash.  The reduction in the money supply will give your bank something to think about, and also protect you again immediate bank insolvency

  • If you have even more assets watch The Paying it Forward film and consider what you can do to improve and not moan at the situation.

Full Film  (may not play in all countries, in which case buy the DVD)

Pay it forward theatrical trailer
The Meltdown series of videos
Unreleated but Interesting:  Currency Exchange x8vid

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Simple Life

As a student I was absolutely sure of the truth of the maxim  Less is More  ( A phrase from   Ludwig Miles van der Rohe and generally accepted as a phrase that is a precondition for minimalism  ).  So you will not be surprised to hear that for over 4 college years my Mattress or Futon mattress was directly placed on the floor.

A succession of every more intense back problems over the decades later and I now realise that a mattress on the floor can work,  but you have to consider the line of your spine when you sleep.

So in fact now I have the knowledge it might be possible not to replace the recently sold Bed frame and go for the mattress only option.

And moving into the lounge what is this?   Yes the Lounge computer has gone!    The TV has gone!

What is happening to us?   Well we are rationalising let us say.  Nothing sinister,  time will reveal all

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where is My Perfect World

(Shutdown from GUI screen fails,   sudo shutdown -r now ... takes minutes to run, then ... )

Okay my expectations were set high, but this is not the sort of thing I'm led to believe happens in the perfect Intel OS X world, especially after only weeks of participation.

(then this happens)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Greek Odyssey

Not my own work.  Please follow this BBC Link


Now might be the time to Android.

At these prices from my Chinese Wholesaler I might have to give him a little try.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running with Camelbak Octane LR

The Camelbak Octane lightweight Rucksack is basically a horizontal bladder enclosed in a tiny rucksack with some limited storage space.

As such why did I choose this Rucksack?

On a daily Cycle or Run commute of 20Km this Rucksack provides just enough storage space for essential items whilst also providing a bladder.  In so doing I feel it it the lightest possible sack.   The compromises I make are:

  • No really: daily items only just fit.  If I plan on taking carrying anything extra then I'll need to change that day to a larger Rucksack
  • The Bladder is easily removed but the space that is liberated may not easily be used to stow stuff since there are holes around that bottom area and items might fall out.

Back to what you can do with the Rucksack!

  • A horizontal 2 litre Bladder, with a quick close water lid and a host that can click detach for easy manipulation e.g. fitting, cleaning, installing

  • Plenty of Pockets:  To name all the storage spaces
  1. 2 zipped pockets on the lower belt left and right
  2. 2 zipped pockets on the top left and right of the rucksack.  They are separate i.e. they dont lead to any shared space
  3. Elasticated pocket at back or Rucksack
  4. Mesh open pocket on upper left front Rucksack strap  (too small for an iPhone, but a ipod nano/shuffle would fit
  • While Cycling I can fit my cycle lock in the open rear elasticated pocket, walkman and ID cards in the left and right belt pockets and minimal change of underwear + gadgets like USB keys in upper top pockets.  Oh and also carry the bladder with at least 500ml liquids.

  • Whilst running it's the same story except I dont need to carry a cycle lock and so instead can carry some running food

  • Bare weight without bladder is 370 grams.   This means you have  a sub 400 gram overhead whilst using. Incredible.

  • The only criticism so far is that the shoulder adjustment straps dont have anywhere to put the ends.  So I plan to use for another week,  get my straps sorted, cut the ends and duck tape the ends to running strap to stop them flapping about.

If you can afford a specialised Rucksack for Running / Cycling and you want the lightest then the Camelbak Octane LR could be for you.

Wiggle: Camelbak Octane LR

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Running and Vendage

I am certainly not looking for sympathy when I say that I am not ready to resume running after my recent cycling accident  (first in 30 years by the way, I don't make a habit of this sort of thing!)

However an unstoppable urge motivated me to rise at the traditional run-into-work time of 05:30 and get changed.

Unlike previous weeks when it could already be almost 20 degrees C, today the temperature was a chilly 10.5 degrees C.

Some warm clothes later I set out.

First signs of Vendange activity at Cully

 Empty Boxes, but not for long

 Close up with the grapes

Just me and the Wine pickers are awake at this time of the morning

I have to tolerate views like this as I run by the side of the lake. It is not easy.

 Even small locals are at it

We are ready at Testuz

We re ready in Vevey

So the vendange that I witnessed brought to mind how privileged I am to be able to run to work along this beautiful, industrious and interesting morning route.  Combined with stunning views and for the most part warm and dry weather it does not get much better than this.

I am a little down on my running and fitness (did I mention +5 Kilos over my normal weight after only moderate exercise in the 3 weeks since accident).  But I should not forget all the great sights, sounds and smells and industry that this area has to offer me.

Bonjour Timeo

Timeo, Vojto and Ingrid

Congratulations to Vojto and Ingrid on the birth of Timeo on Saturday September 17 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coming home or Leaving Home?

We are a touch confused as with a tear in our eyes we leave our home  (well we call it mama's house) in Warsaw and journey back to a Lausanne Home.

As usual it has been an all too short 5 days or much business and much pleasure.

 Before getting her hair chopped off Agata displays her tiger like knowledge of the USB key

Perfectly preserved old style Communist pavement.  If only this was the surface throughout Warsaw, street running might actually be practical without tripping over.


 The sign of the ex English Polish worker

 The Police call us to halt while a Harley Rally passes

Hello Charles

 Novy Swiat, now really posh  (was just posh)

 Marcus is always running towards Nestle

Yes a skater

 A pretty girl, her iPhone and a cup of tea

This is why foreigners don't learn Polish

 A tractor in Warsaw?

 New Warsaw

 Traditional Warsaw

 Can you guess who has just been to the Dentist?

 Sad Skoda

 Marcus arrives at Justyna's only 1 day late

 Agata and Magda: serious talking

 What a fantastic Apartment block

 Polish White Van owners show solidarity with their world counterparts in parking terribly

 Zoom in to checkout the rear speakers

Arrival at Lausanne bedroom at 01.30 with the frightening realisation that Marcus had to get up at 05:30 to goto work.

Work ... whilst we like work,  we really like not working. So Wednesday is going to be a difficult day