I've been forced due to frustration to write this free article of suggestions to manufacturers of smart watches Subtitle: Are you idiots or do you think your consumer is an idiot? This is my conclusion based on the raft of inappropriate and useless new generation function watches that I've surveyed in July 2012. This Friday Intel joined the rumour party
My suggestions are, that a new generation watch might have Essential features like
A primary ability to clearly display the time - it is a watch right?
Bluetooth connectivity - user should not have to plug it in to upload data from all of the sensors listed below
Heart Rate Monitor
Compass / GPS
Skin Temperature sensor and ambient temperature sensor
Vibrator - to wake you gently from sleep state
Optional / Nice to have (but not a strong selling point)
Bluetooth link from iPhone/smartphone to discretely buzz on appointments / text ( about 0.001% interesting or useful)
Currently there is nothing shipping that meets the above useful requirements, however the Mio Alpha presents an interesting answer to heart rate monitoring Links Mio Alpha video
It does actually look like the root cause of the problem on the old server was Crucial M4 disk firmware. Something must have changed on the underlying OS low level disk drivers causing the bullet proof configuration (runs for > 6 months without a reboot normally 24x7 etc) to crash. Anyway the cunning plan to make things easier for us was
Order an Apple Mac Mini i7 Server, with 2 spinning disks
Wait for ages for the custom config to arrive
Continue with HP lashup until Mac Server fully installed and upgraded to use 2 x SSD disks
Here is the step by step process to upgrade and move over:
You will need 2 x SSD, 256GB for the boot OSX disk and 512 GB for VMware disk
After Mac Mini Server Arrives, boot and complete customisation of OSX Server
Now on the HP laptop: shutdown VMachine and make copies of the VMware OS and Webserver Data (about 32GB and 400GB) to a NAS server
Restart HP Laptop and web server, but remember any changes made here will be lost when you fall over to the new Apple system
On OSX install and license VMware Fusion
Fusion is not half the product that the PC VMware version is! I found some significant bugs. (I've bought Fusion 5.02, but still bugs)
Basic Plan is to create and test config on externally connected SSD. When all is good open up Mini and swap disks.
Sounds easy? Well no
Start with OSX operating Sytem. Use Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5.2 to clone the OS partition and the hidden Recovery partition from internal Spinning disk to external SSD
The Crucial external SSD disk is connected via USB and special Apricorn SATAwire kit which you buy as a bundle with the Crucial M4 disk
When OS cloned reboot Mini and by holding down <Option> key boot from the externally connected drive to check all works OKAY.
Now more tricky. Copy from the NAS server the Windows OS onto the external 512GB SSD.
Startup VMware Fusion and add a virtual machine with that disk ... <Note. due to bug it insisted instead on copying the entire OS onto a local disk. So after it did that. Stop Vmachine, edit the .vmx file that specifies where all the files are, point to the correct one, i.e. on external disk, delete all local files, restart VM>
Now create a disk to hold the data (about 400GB in my case) and this took Fusion > 6 hours, so next day ..
To the virtual machine also add the Remote NAS image ( I could not add it directly to VM as the old VMware disk was 500GB and the new one is 400B and Fusion can't resize like VMware for PC can.) <Note: Due to a bug, fusion again insists on copying the NAS .vmdk files to a local disk, whereas I specifically told it NOT to do this>. About 15 hours later !!!!.... it finished and I made the necessary edits of the .vmx again. Hmmm
Now in a position to start Mini server from OSX on external USB connected disk. From VMfusion startup the Webserver. Use Total Commander to copy from the 500GB disk (local) to the new 400GB disk located on external USB connected SSD. About 5 hours later ...
Now we have a valid external OS and valid external Webserver disk (both the Virtualised OS and its Webdata now reside on single SSD of 512GB)
Change Fusion settings to remove the Webdata copy disk .. now your Virtual Machine has again 2 disks: OS disk and Webdata Disk
ALL WE NEED TO DO NOW is open up the Mac Mini Server.
Get out the special tools previously bought from ifixit
Enlist services of very patient and always smiling Agata, my fellow Engineer and Partner. We also needed head torch, watchmakers eyeglasses, and Marcus head mounted magnifying headset
Remove back cover and take out memory. You need the special U shape tool from ifixit to remove motherboard
With moderate swearing, jiggling and sweating motherboard is out. Contrary to ifix instructions don't take off the fan or antenna wires
But watch out to disconnect disk connectors and some 2 sets of power connectors on right top side
Now you can get both spinning disks out. First will just fall out, second needs unscrewing
Now place the proprietary Apple Hard disk connectors onto 2 x SSD. At this point I was heard to shout b****y Apple frequently
Also put onto these disks special plastic covers and spacers from original spinning disks
Label each original spinning disk so in even of backout you know which one to use.
Both disks can go in before Motherboard
Now gently slide in motherboard and connect those 2 very small and fiddly power blocks on right side, then put back long screw on bottom left to hold motherboard
That should be it, more of less .. However in our case ...
Disaster: One of those, idiot small, non standard SATA connectors has got jammed by the edge of motherboard. So we have to take motherboard out again! But wait, that motherboard screw won't unscrew, even with the special tool.
40 minutes later, using Leatherman and shouting frequently, screw is removed. Now have to unconnect power blocks again, slide out motherboard, get SATA connectors in clear, and put all back.
Another 1 hour later ! ....
SATA connectors attached to Motherboard
Powerblock connectors ON
Fan plastic duct and Fan back screwed in
Antenna foil back on
Memory Back in
Back cover on
Startup Mini ... and Using Disk Utility (with extra options enabled via macPilot) we can see that 2 SSD are in and installed OKAY.
To finish up, logon to Hardware Firewall and change port forward rules for HTTP and HTTPS from old HP server to new VMware Fusion hosted server.
After new server is up and proven (check httpd logs daily for about 5 days) then old server may be sunset .. again.
Autocar just published it's top 2012 news stories. Let me see, what does relaxed, holiday mode Marcus have to say about all of that: 01 New Range Rover Spotted At over 70,000 GBP for the entry level model this just goes to show that more than one idiot manufacturer can build European cars as large as that other monstrosity ... the Audi Q7. Can't everybody be happy with the Range Rover Evoque? 02 The Mk7 Golf Understated if a little pricey. Models for every persuasion and taste. What's not to like? 03 New McLaren P1 £800k supercar revealed for Paris show McLaren is never cheap but I always thought the MP4-12C was the ultimate Engineer's sports car. (Mclaren, when you read this, then don't hesitate to call us). Almost affordable, and then they come out with the P1. Now that's over the top both in terms of usability both mostly in terms of price. Instead, why not stick with the MP4 and produce an economy version too.
04 Porsche Macan Small (well; smaller at 4.6M long) and cute, what's not to like.
06 Saabs on the way to the crusher Yes, to me inevitable. When you have a product line that you have been too lazy to modernize for the last 15 years, really what do you expect. Good riddance! 07 Ferrari F12 revealed I did oggle the F12 at Geneva but was too chicken to bluff or stride my way onto the stand. Something must happen, a sort of automotive transubstantiation when you become an owner that makes you keep coming back for more, because to me, it's just a beautiful car that revs highly, and lately might get a little hot for its owner 08 New Jaguar F Type Quite light and billed as a sucessor to the Jaguar E type. At least it has the visual DNA of a classic Jaguar but being a softop, (and since I'm alergic to the Sun) , well interest pour moi is minimal. To have some fun start with the F type configurator
09 New Land Rovers Having moved up the food chain from an essential, 4 wheel drive workhorse, it is a natural progression to compete in the luxury and leisure SUV market. Surely it must be easy to beat the established (and lazy) American competition. I hope it goes well.
10 Alfas plans for 2014 The Alfa Romeo 4C is being officially launched at 2013 Geneva. I'll be there. But 2014 feels like so far away, I'd really rather hear about 2013 lauches and rollouts please! How about the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, or even the Corvette C7.
Let me assume you have been on a long holiday (say for the last 10 years) and have missed a few facts. In America, year on year the Government and most individual) spending is more than earnings. Over time this means you build up a large debt. The Bush Tax Relief Reconciliation Act enabled all Americans to pay lower taxes even when Government expenditure was rising, and Obama's reauthorisation in 2010 meant again that Americas were paying an artificially low rate of tax. These measures expire on Dec 31 2012 and the subsequent increase in taxes is called the Fiscal Cliff. That's my idiot explanation. How difficult would it be to balance the budget? Why not try it yourself: read this
Probably this is too much like hard work so here are some graphics to express the forthcoming woes
Normally I am not a big advocate of convergence devices. A combined Camera and Phone? Seems kind of dumb, and what is wrong with the teeny weeny little camera say on the back of the iPhone. But I have to say I'm rather taken with the
So taken that since November 2012 I've been the owner of one. After using it on a daily basis for about 6 weeks now here is my report:
Wonderful Android The basics are that this is a full featured Camera but with an explicit and acessible Android Operating System that is fully available to the User. In addition the camera has a 3G Phone mini SIM slot (that in Switzerland I've filled with an Orange Pay As You GO card) and a micro SD slot (which I've filled with a Sandisk 64GB card) Some Facts You can read alternative reviews and videos galore. Here is what I noticed
Camera effects: None, Sepia, Black and Wite, Negative, Old Photo,Sunshine, Vintage, Retro, Faded Colours, Nostalgia,Comic, Pastal Shades, Gothic Noir, Impressionist.
The effects can be applied to the Expert Modes. They can't be applied to Preset Camera modes (e.g. HDR/Best Face etc.). These effects don't delay camera operation.
Torch Application Works
Runkeeper (with GPS support ) works
Bluetooth connection to Jaybird Sprint headphones works
50GB Dropbox account in deal with Samsung
Automatically upload any photo taken to Dropbox Cloud
What it can't do && Also
Wired connection to Audi Music system fails
Bluetooth connection to Audi Music fails
After day of inactivity needs waking up to use camera/Android
Android Boot time is <15 seconds
When cold booting get annoying switch to Card for photos message
I've setup VPN network tunnels (!!) and this forces you to setup a PINcode security. (But you can say don't lock for X minutes, && I set it to 30 minutes, so if shooting shots within that time PIN code need not be entered)
16M Pixel Shots not available on all camera modes. For example, 16:9 photos will be 12M Pixels.
Terrible Battery Life! Well less than 1 day certainly even with moderate Shooting. SO: From ebay I ordered 3 batteries (Same as Samsung SIII) and a charger for < 20 GBP (35 USD). Typically I now carry 2 spare batteries.
Summary Having an Internet connected pocket camera is a truly wonderful experience. Whilst I dream of this functionality with the addition of full frame sensor and compact size, well we have to take things slowly. For now the Galaxy camera is the ultimate small format, powerful occaisional camera && And Internet Browser, and Wi-Fi Hotspot, and GPS Map/Navigation, and Alarm Clock, and Torch, and Gaming Device, and SMS sender, and Skype/SIP phone. It just does everything (well apart from making conventional phone calls) Links Samsung Galaxy Camera dpreview Galaxy source code published xda developers Shooting with the Galaxy Sample Album1 Sample Album2
And so as 2012 slips by I remark to myself that this is another year where I managed, but only by quite an effort NOT to buy a fancy, or some would say silly car! The Nissan GT-R or (at a stretch) the Bentley or Mclaren MP4
Many excuses or justifications come to mind but in reality neither Marcus or Agata have time to drive a car. In fact we make great efforts to exercise our way to work, or anywhere either via bicycle or running, thus diminshing to zero what few driving opportunites we might have (as well as our carbon consumption by the way). My Angst was however highlighted when we found that a Nissan dealer only 3Km from our home now runs both GT-R and 370Z demonstrators, and are authorised to sell and service these cars. Cars in Switzerland are a particularly expensive addiction:
Prices here can be (translating CHF to EUR or GBP) upto 40% higher than an identical car in France (just 100Km away!)
Switzerland does not really manufacture any car today (RIP Monteverdi ... I remember you well) and Rinspeed is really a speciality manufacturer. So for motor dealers to club together in a cartel to offer customers just the very highest, non discounted prices is really not so amusing.
Worse, the Motoring lobby pushed thru legislation, enacted Summer 2012, placing high taxes on Personal Imports thereby killing that channel and giving Swiss Motor dealer now 0% incentive to lower prices
Still around this Christmas I have found my fingers visiting comparis.ch looking for bargains ...
So it is really the classic Western connundrum of Desire over Need. But then who really needs a >540BHP, 4 wheel drive, 0-100Km/h in less than 4 seconds, super car these days. (I hear a tiny voice still calling I do !)
Well Christmas day just keeps getting better and better! Although my sleeping disorder is not cured, I did manage 7 hours of sleep on Christmas Eve and only got up once to Surf. I think it's a record. Christmas Eve is the big event here
We had a lot of food and did not need to resort to consuming the holy wafers (sic).
Marcus with all the gear on! Today then, we decided after some tidying that we better get ourselves out for a Christmas run! Run notes: What made our run so very easy?
I am really getting into the Jaybird Bluetooth headset. This way the iPod Nano can be safely enclosed in a waterproof, sweat proof bag and all the controls can be performed wirelessly.
On the icy paths the Salomon S-LABperformed well.I'm back to my V4 shoes since the V5 shoes have worn out already. S-Labs are not waterproof so we returned home with totally waterlogged shoes due to running through puddles. Not ideal.
My Ski du Fond gloves from MEC. These are similar. Not available in Switzerland! Good wrist Velcro means they absolutely can never fall off, or can be worn loosely to regulate temperature.
The Polar Buff not only keeps your neck and ears warm but in conditions below 5 degrees I'd recommend that you cover your mouth with the cloth section. By breathing through that; the air entering your lungs is not so cold. This means you are less likely to contract a cold IHMO.
Finally the seamless Neoprene ankle support. In cold conditions provides thermal insulation as well. Try Boots Overall then the fun run went fabulously. A nice gentle 15Km, with lots of ice and melting snow to keep us literally and figuratively on our toes. Temperature was about 4 degrees and the area was nice a quiet with only a few families out for Christmas walk.
Next our Celebration Christmas Lunch. Delicious, Pasta with some Pesto Rosso. As a ordained minister of my Church this meal was pretty much a holy treat. I think the rest of the day will be spent most productively with a combination of BBC Radio4, good dialogue and a visit or two to the big Interweb, which thankfully is always available 24x365