The Road

Pleased to see that Apple’s Film of the Week is The Road, so you can rent it for 99p.

The Road is a thrilling and deeply moving tale of survival as a father and his young son journey across a barren, post apocalyptic America. Respectfully adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s hallowed novel, THE ROAD boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of – a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.

I’ve not seen the film before and am anticipating watching it. After a few duds for the 99p film of the week this is a much better film choice from Apple.

Rent The Road from the Apple iTunes Store.

The Finishing Line

I watched this film by British Transport when I was a young lad and I struggled to sleep that night as it freaked me out.

Warning, this 1970s information film does contain graphic and disturbing scenes and was shown to persuade children not to play games on the railway network.

If I remember rightly I saw it on Nationwide, however what I do remember is the film disturbed me out so much that I couldn’t sleep that night. I should also point out that I also never played on the railway either!

British Airways Advert

I do quite like the new British Airways advert, particularly the way that Concorde flies off at the end.

It does make you realise how old Concorde is and how nothing today comes even close to the futuristic look of that aircraft. Of course aircraft don’t need to look futuristic to be futuristic, the new Boeing Dreamliner is a case in point; it looks like a traditional airliner, but the way it is made and constructed is totally different to how airliners have been made. Likewise a lot of technology and work has gone into engine design over the last thirty years, but you wouldn’t notice it by looking at the planes themselves.

A video on the planes themselves.

BA have also released a short video of the “making of” the advert.

As you can imagine there was a fair bit of CGI, however they also did use real planes and real people.

Expecto PotterNoMore

Those of you who are fans of that Harry Potter will probably have heard of Pottermore, a site created by J K Rowling to tell more of the back story behind Harry Potter. The site is scheduled to go live in October.

It was possible to get early access and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to get an account.

Today the site went live for early access and though I got in quite early, unfortunately the site has been unable since then to cope with the access and has fallen over…

Teething issues…

100 Greatest Gadgets

Tonight on Channel 4, that Stephen Fry will be presenting his 100 greatest gadgets. In a recent blog post I did think that we would see a couple of Apple items in the top ten, but if this recent tweet from that Stephen Fry is anything to go by, his number one won’t be an Apple product.

Ha! All those who are convinced it’ll be an Apple product might just be a bit shocked *tightlipped*.

Stephen’s blog post about the programme makes for interesting reading. It looks like the programme will not be covering just recent gadgets, but will be looking back over the last thirty years or even longer.

There are some gadgets that I have used and have always liked and would be in my list if Channel 4 ever asked me to create a list (like that’s ever going to happen). In my list would be the first HP PhotoSmart digital camera, this 0.3MP camera used proprietary memory cards, didn’t have a LCD on the back, went through batteries real fast and as for picture quality, well it left a lot to be desired, though outside shots weren’t too bad!

I always loved the concept of the HP CapShare, a portable document scanner that didn’t need a computer and stored the scans in them, you could then transfer them to your PC by infra-red where they could be OCRd. It could also be used to scan flipcharts.

I always liked my Compaq iPAQ that I had in a previous job. Even without internet connectivity and relying on syncing for e-mail and calendars it was a revelation to be able to have access to my diary and respond to e-mails on the move. After I added a card reader in a slide on jacket, I was able to use the iPAQ to watch videos on a IBM 1GB Microdrive. Always took hours to encode videos for using on it though.

Using a MacBook Air now made me reflect that Sony use to make some fantastic (if expensive) small laptops (well they still do). I once had a VAIO SRX41P which had a 10″ screen, a useful keyboard, wifi, Bluetooth and a built in memory card stick reader. With an extended battery it would last quite a few hours compared to other laptops of its time. Though the memory stick was only used by Sony as I had a Sony digital camera, that meant it was really quick and easy to move images from the camera onto the camera and online.

The Sony Cybershot Camera was a superb camera, yes it was only 3MP, but the Carl Zeiss lens certainly made for some great digital images. I remember printing one as A2 on the office printer to put on the wall.

I bought my wife a Sony digital camera recently and I don’t feel that it was as good as the old Cybershot I had.

Another gadget that was a real eyeopener at the time for me, was a 3COM wireless 802.11b access point. To be able to go into the office, open up the laptop and connect to the network and the internet without plugging in cables was like “wow” and really (well at the time) amazing. Of course I did need to plug in a wifi PCMCIA card into the laptop, but generally I left that in there. Wifi was really useful in the office, so much so that in the end I bought an Airport base station for home, though we didn’t have broadband, the Airport base station at the time came with a built in 56K modem, which was really useful as ADSL wasn’t available in our area for what seemed years. ADSL in itself, can you call that a gadget, was fantastic, now though I have BT Infinity FTTC , this is so different from the old 56K connection I use to have to work with.

I think the one other gadget that made a real difference to me was a Vodafone 3G Datacard.

To be able to have internet access on the move, at conferences and events, made a huge difference to the way that I use to work .

Of course today I could talk about the iPad, the iPhone and the MacBook Air, but sometimes it is nice to reflect on what we use to use and to see how lucky we are now on what kit is available and what it is capable of.

So what would be in your list of gadgets?