January, 2007:

No room to swing a (very small) cat

Just when you thought buying property in London was too expensive this little number can be picked up for a bargain.

A flat roughly the size of a snooker table has gone on sale for £170,000 in London’s upmarket Chelsea.  The former janitor’s storeroom measures 11ft by 7ft and has a cupboard place for a shower and kitchenette area.

The full story is available on the BBC News site here.

Christmas Present Blunder

Continuing the theme of stupid people I spotted this article on Ananova.

Season ticket gaffe

A Man Utd fan’s wife gave her hubby a £550 season ticket – four months after the Premiership kicked off.
She bought it last year but didn’t hand it to him until his 40th birthday earlier this month, reports the Sun. Her blunder meant the fan missed 11 games. To make matters worse, she also bought her son a junior ticket.
A United supporter who sits near the man at Old Trafford said: “A few of us noticed the seats were empty. His wife mustn’t know much about football. He must be gutted.”

Not watching enough films

This is the conclusion I have come to. Today the Oscar nominations were announced and I’ve barely seen any of the supposed best films of the year. The list of ones I’ve seen is tiny. I’ve highlighted the ones I’ve watched and given that the Departed comes up so often the total of unique films is only five.

Oscars 2007: The nominees

Best picture
The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Best director
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Best actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O’Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Best actress
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

Best supporting actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikucki, Babel

Best supporting actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Best foreign language film
Efter Brylluppet (aka After the Wedding), Denmark
Indigenes (aka Days of Glory), Algeria
El Laberinto del Fauno (aka Pan’s Labyrinth), Mexico
Das Leben der Anderen (aka The Lives of Others), Germany
Water, Canada

Best animated feature film
Happy Feet
Monster House

Best adapted screenplay
Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

Best original screenplay
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen
Pan’s Labyrinth

Best music (score)
The Good German
Notes on a Scandal
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Queen

Best music (song)
I Need to Wake Up – An Inconvenient Truth
Listen – Dreamgirls
Love You I Do – Dreamgirls
Our Town – Cars
Patience – Dreamgirls

Best documentary feature
Deliver Us From Evil
An Inconvenient Truth
Iraq In Fragments
Jesus Camp
My Country, My Country

Best documentary short subject
The Blood of Yingzhou District
Recycled Life
Rehearsing A Dream
Two Hands

Best visual effects
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Superman Returns

Best cinematography
The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
The Illusionist
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Prestige

Best art direction
The Good Shepherd
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
The Prestige

Best animated short film
The Danish Poet
The Little Matchgirl
No Time for Nuts

Best short film
Binta and the Great Idea
Eramos Pocos (One Too Many)
Helmer & Son
The Saviour
West Bank Story

Best costume design
Curse of the Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Marie Antoinette
The Queen

Best make-up
Pan’s Labyrinth

Best sound mixing
Blood Diamond
Flags of our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Sound editing
Blood Diamond
Letters from Iwo Jima
Flags of our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Best film editing
Blood Diamond
Children of Men
The Departed
United 93

I’m stupid – please arrest me

BBC News site and sums up the stupidity of some people.

‘Thieves’ tracked via satellite

doh.jpgThree men have been arrested for allegedly stealing global positioning systems mistaken for mobile phones. Fourteen GPS tracking systems were stolen last week from a warehouse in Babylon, New York. They were to be used to help the city council track lorries. Police remotely activated the systems after the theft which lead them to the home of one of the alleged culprits.

The full story is here

Life for sale

This is bizarre even by normal bizarre ebay auction standards

Vista Driver Issues

winv_2dbutton_2dfinal_small.jpgCame across this article which I found quite interesting in a geeky sort of way.

“We spoke to NVIDIA to understand why there isn’t a 8800 Vista driver currently and why we won’t see one until Vista’s launch. NVIDIA’s GPU drivers these days are made up of approximately 20 million lines of code, which as a reference point is about the size of Windows NT 4.0.

Because G70 and G80 are radically different architectures, they each require a separate driver. Combine that with the fact that Windows Vista has completely changed the driver interface, similar in magnitude to what happened between Windows 3.1 and 95, and you’ve got a “perfect storm” of conditions for driver development. The end result is that for Windows Vista, two 20M line drivers have to be completely re-written (one for G80 and one from all previous architectures). In other words, this isn’t a simple port, it’s a radical departure from the way things were written before.

There are other elements of Vista driver development that apparently require more work than before. DirectX 9, DX9 SLI, DX10 and DX10 SLI support is provided through four separate binaries, which increases the complexity of testing and the overall driver itself, whereas there was only a single driver in the past.

Interfaces for HD-DVD and Blu-ray video acceleration requires a lot more code than before, thanks to the support for a protected path for HD video under Vista. Supporting this protected path for HD content decode means that you can’t re-use the video part of your driver when developing a Vista version.

The last major difference between Windows XP and Vista driver development is that the display engine connecting monitors to the GPUs has been completely redone.

Initial investment in driver development under Vista takes up quite a bit of time, and now we understand a little more of why. While it would be nice to have one today, there’s always a tradeoff that has to be made especially when driver work this intense has to be done. Couple that with the recent launch of NVIDIA’s G80 GPU and the decision was made to focus on DX9 and XP drivers in order to make the G80’s launch as solid as possible, and commit to delivering an 8800 driver by Vista’s launch.

When the driver is eventually available NVIDIA expects performance to be at par, slightly slower or slightly faster than the XP driver. What we’ve seen thus far from other Vista drivers is that performance is slower almost entirely across the board. As stability is currently the primary goal for both ATI and NVIDIA, many compiler optimizations and performance tweaks aren’t being used in order to get a good driver out in time for Vista’s launch.” Full article

What I found interesting was that NVIDIA have no real idea how performance will compare to XP other than it will be similar. Also of note is the sheer size of the driver source code nowadays!

Anyway – my laptop doesn’t have enough Video RAM to run Vista with Aero so I’m not really interested. Still planning on getting a Mac next.

Wii Sports Weight Loss

Interesting account of how a Wii can help you lose weight here.

Booked it

Today we booked our flights. We fly out on November 7th in the evening and via Hong Kong make our way to Auckland. Here we pick up our vehicle (which may be a camper or a car depending on what we decide) and head off on a 21 day whistle stop tour of NZ. We end up in Christchurch on the 30th November where we fly a short hop back to Auckland before the homeward trip via Los Angeles.

Kathryn has in her head that she must buy a T Shirt in HK airport but she has yet to announce what awaits during our 3 hour lay over in LA.

Holiday 2007 – New Zealand

We’ve spent the last week trying to work out our holiday plans for the year and it’s not easy. The plan is to Fly to Auckland, hire a camper van and then drive around the two islands (complete with ferry crossing) for 3 weeks before flying back home from Christchurch.

We’ve had to check flights, vans costs, accommodation, dates and all sorts. We were all set to book 3 weeks in October only to be told it might be a bit cold and wet but we didn’t want to go peak time (December-February) so March was supposed to be good. Thing is this March is a bit close, and next March is too far away.

We may have settled on November as a good compromise. Flights on Air New Zealand, possible out via Hong Kong and back via LA.

Whenever we decide it will be a fantastic trip as New Zealand seems to be such an awesome country to visit.
I shall post back as we decide more – any advice, hints, tips however would be gratefully received.

Happy New Year

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! We did 🙂

We have been so busy this Christmas, visiting people, playing on the Wii (which is very tiring!) and just plain old having a good time. The girls had their first Christmas, and it was a real joy to share it with them (and play with their toys!). We had so many great gifts, and I’d like to say thanks and we just hope everyone else had a good time and liked their presents.

So many highlights to this Christmas, but one I will remember fondly – I have beaten Dave at every game of boxing on the Wii! Mwhahaha 😀