Thursday, 22 July 2010

Observations on Swans

Well, I'm done in Staines working at Samsung - and lots of fun it is too.

I like to go for a wander to get out of the office and have a good long think about a project, some code, an optimisation or just simply clear my mind. It's good. Well, I think it is. Maybe it doesn't seem too productive to some peeps but for me it works.

Anyway, the Thames, Wraybury and Colne all flow through Staines so there's lots of water here... and lots of swans.

I watch these swans a lot - they're nice and peaceful.

Sometimes they float around with one leg tucked up over their backs and their big grey feet pointing up from between their wings - it looks odd and a little uncomfortable so I wondered why they do it... I think, from watching them, that they might do this one leg at a time so as to warm one foot whilst still being able to swim.

The other thing they do is lift their wings slightly and form a sort of heart shape. Initially I thought this might be a aggressive thing - but no (they just hiss as a warning and are pretty placid really). Then I thought it might be a mating/showing off thing - but no other behaviour indicated that either.

I think they're sailing... when the wind is in the direction they want to go they put their wings into this shape and get blown down (or up) the river saving lots of energy.

Well, that's my thought for the day... I wonder if I can put a sail on my Ka and get home for free???

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Latest results - sales up - especially Laptops.

I'm no fanboy of anything really (ok, maybe DS-10, Korg Radias, Roland drum machines, TNA, My girlfriend, my cats) but I ma going to say "I'm not surprised".

For years I owned a Sony Vaio T1XP. Tiny thing - had problems (CPU fan died, sound board had to be replace, HD died, dead pixels on screen) but it was so tiny and great and cost so much I kept using it - Win2K Pro + audio software + web software + Dev Studio and more... it did a lot.

So,eventually it gave up the ghost (won't even POST anymore but I might fix it up). I 'ummed' and 'arrrred' and boot a MacBook - cheapest Apple laptop. I have had NO problems (actually the first was DOA but that turned out to be Argos' fault). I never reboot it - I don't need to. XCode is a bit gnarly but QtCreator sorts me out on that front. It's been a great experience - reliable, solid, never crashes. Not something I can say about most PC laptops and Windows XP or Vista - although Win7 has proved to be pretty good.

I also have a desktop machine - dual core, stacks of RAM, every gadget you can imagine (I use it to recover other peoples data). Once apon a time I'd have put Windows on it but I tried Ubuntu 9 and it turned out to be very good... I upgrade to Ubuntu 10 and... BLIMEY! What do I need Windows for now? I don't!

Very reliable, very fast and the effects! Desktop cube (there are 4 desktops in a row) is awesome! Pick up a window and move it - as you bash the edge of the screen the screen rotates to the next desktop as if they're all mapped onto a cube. The "social" side (MSN and chums integrated into the main desktop menu) is actually useful and the software... the software!! TONS of it! All very easy to install (there's a little 'store' type app that does it all for you - you just search and click).

Ubuntu 9 was nice - Ubuntu 10 is REALLY good. Combined with all those lovely Unix tools & Qt Creator I've got a very hansom developer box - in fact - I do a lot of work on it now. My Mac comes everywhere and does my XCode/iPhone stuff too.

Sometimes technology really suprises me.