Friday, March 31, 2006

A day in St. Andrews

Getting up at half past three in the morning is never particularly pleasant. But I today I had a seven o'clock flight from Exeter up to Edinburgh so I could make it into St. Andrews for a meeting at just after nine o'clock, and that meant a half past three start. Couldn't be helped, and all told, I survived the experience relatively intact. At least, nothing several cups of the strongest coffee I could get my hands on didn't cure...

BE 211 to Edinburgh

It was awfully strange going back to St. Andrews after so many years away from the place. I was trying to recall the last time I was back and I think it has to be at least eight years ago. A long time away from a place, especially somewhere like St. Andrews where change runs at such a slow pace that you expect things to be the same as when you left, and when it isn't, it comes as a shock.

I don't know whether returning to St. Andrews has left me feeling young, almost as if I was an undergraduate again, or old and tired, and some what out of sorts about how long ago it all was...

I've spent the day curiously unsettled, it's odd how the mind plays tricks on us at times, I found myself walking along South Street this evening almost expecting to bump into some of the old gang. It really is true, youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What have I done for you lately?

I've been awfully quiet over the last few weeks, mainly because I've been snowed under at work. But you can at least now have a look at some of the stuff I've been doing as the eSTAR website gets re-launched today in the run up to NAM and SPIE. Enjoy!

The new look and feel...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Riya goes to closed beta...

Following rumours of a long awaited public launch, the hottest Web 2.0 start-up on the block Riya, have sent out emails inviting a few more people to the party ahead of their still rumoured public launch.

The up side, I ended up with an invitation...
Through the face and text recognition, through the explicit utilization of your natural photo metadata (like date, time, location, etc.) and through any of the previous work you've done in organizing your photos, automatically tags your photos so that you can start to find the exact photograph you are looking for. In the future, we will also be leveraging your online life to enable auto-tagging of events...
The down side, no Mac version as yet...
The Riya uploader is PC only right now. Darn it, we know. If you are on a Mac and you can find a friend with a PC, you can upload there, then train, tag and search your photos on your Mac. We promise that we are working on that Mac uploader...
Time to dig out that spare PC, darn it...

Update: Well that was quick, Riya has opened the beta to the public. Close on their heels Zoho Creator who I've talked about before, and with whom I also had an account during their closed beta, has also opened registration to the public. Guess it's show and tell time in class today?

Monday, March 20, 2006

More iPhone rumours?

Yet another round of iPhone rumours? We've been talking about this for the last two years. Will it never end..?

Friday, March 17, 2006

MagSafe not so safe?

It doesn't look like Apple's attempts to censor the pictures of the the MagSafe connector, which allegedly burst into flames, have been particularly successful. The pictures, which were removed from Flickr at Apple's request yesterday, resurfaced [1, 2, 3] almost immediately amidst widespread publicity. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...

The censored pictures, courtesy of Wired...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Game over?

After days of rumours that someone has finally managed to successfully boot Windows XP on an Intel iMac, it looks like we now have some solid proof that somebody has managed to get Windows XP to boot on Apple's new Intel iMac. I don't think anyone can argue that the video showing the Windows booting was done in Photoshop, can they?

Update: It's official, the blurry photos and videos we've been seeing over the last couple of days are real and the cheque is in the post...

Update: UNEASYsilence has the full instructions and a link to the patch to let you boot Windows XP on your Intel iMac. Now we just have to figure out why anybody would be crazy enough to want to do it..?

Update: People are now starting to install Windows on the other Intel Macs, so it looks like the hack will work across the board despite initial worries that it would be specific to the iMac.

Windows XP on the new MacBook Pro

Update: It looks like the hack to get XP working on your new Intel iMac isn't quite ready for prime time...

Update: Apple has just released Boot Camp beta, making booting Windows on your Intel Mac officially supported!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

That was the week that was...

I've been remiss, no posts for week? You might be wondering what I've been doing, then again, you might not. But, fairly typically, I'm going to tell you anyway.

I've been in Sorrento in Italy for the VOTech stage three planning meetings with a somewhat intermittent network connection to the outside world which explains the lack of posts. If you can barely keep up with your email, you don't really have enough time to write a blog post. So I've arrived home from my week in Italy with over seven hundred unread posts in my feed reader, and about twenty half written articles in my edit queue on subjects ranging from flocking autonomous blimps, to the International Space Station, to Apple and Microsoft rumour mongering. It's even possible that some of these articles will see the light of day in time...

My over riding memory of Sorrento is of the scent of citrus fruit. Orange trees line the streets, and groves of orange and lemon trees are scattered around the town, and it's hard to turn a corner in town without seeing another tree.

The lemon groves of Sorrento

The meeting was in a vast echoing hotel several kilometres out of town overlooking the Bay of Naples. No doubt over run during the summer months, in March we were virtually the only guests. Considering the size of the hotel this left me, at least, feeling like we were rattling around the place somewhat.

The Bay of Naples

I was there to talk about my work on VOEvent during the DS3 session, but while I was there I got interested in the work that's been going on with the new Plastic standard for interconnecting applications. While there do seem to be some teething problems to do with casting between variable types in the current hub reference implementation, I did managed to write a test bed Perl client and get it to register itself with the Plastic hub successfully.

My initial thoughts was that Plastic offered me two things; an easy way for the eSTAR user interface, the front end the intelligent agents, to control display applications, and secondly an interesting conduit for VOEvent messages. What if Aladin could accept VOEvent messages, extract the relevant meta-data from the message then display the event? That'd be fairly interesting, and useful, but the exact same Plastic message could also be used to inject the message into the "traditional" VOEvent network if a broker running on the network was Plastic-aware. The flexibility, the fact that different applications can do very different things with the same Plastic message, is perhaps one of the more interesting things about the emerging standard.

If you're interested, I've posted more pictures from the meeting to my Flickr feed. I'll also try and get the pictures I took at Herculaneum, which I managed to visit on the final day of my trip more or less on the way to the airport, posted to Flickr over the next few days.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More "real" video iPod rumours

Close on the heels of Apple's total failure to release a video iPod during their recent special event. Think Secret are now predicting that the much rumoured device is on track for a release possibly as soon late March or early April.

The much-publicised mock-up of the video iPod

Apparently the, as yet unseen device, now boasts a 4 inch screen. Whatever will they think of next..?

Popular with Media Centre users?

Does anyone want to comment on my surge in popularity with Windows Media Centre users? Overnight, from a previous high of precisely zero, I've suddenly acquired 41 unique users reading the RSS feed of the blog via their Media Centre.

Hello everyone out there in Windows Media land...

Do you think I'm being monitored as a subversive element by Microsoft?