Monday, November 29, 2004

100 Thing to Do Before You Die

New Scientist published this fun little booklet free with its 27/Nov/2004 issue. In "100 Thing to Do Before You Die (plus a few to do afterwards)" each idea is described in a paragraph or two. They serve not only as entertainment (some are impractical or even impossible) but also little insights into the natural world. Some of the items are submitted by various science and popular science celebrities. Most items also have concise but detailed instructions on how to do stuff you previous thought was impossible for non-scientists.

I've been able to cross a few things off the list already, (mostly unglamorous):

  • Inhale Helium
  • Experience the nocturnal world
  • Ride the Bangkok rush hour
  • Watch the night sky
  • Read A Brief History of Time - I did, honest! It says "read" not "understand".
  • Fall in love

There are some far more glamorous and interesting ones though, and quite a few that are funny but impossible. Here are some that appeal to me and I think I have a chance of doing in my lifetime or can be done in the kitchen:

  • Swim in a bioluminescent bay
  • Extract your own DNA
  • Find a meteorite
  • Make a dilatent liquid
  • Weigh your own head
  • Measure the speed of light with chocolate

Finally a few of the more mind mending ones:

  • emphatise with a machine
  • See an atom
  • Be a gecko
  • Visit Tuvalu before it sinks

Sunday, November 28, 2004

In Hong Kong

I'm in Hong Kong and it is as vibrant and busy as ever. Never saw it decorated for Chirstmas before. I'll post some pics when I get home. I'll be a bit jet lagged tomorrow, slept only 1 hour on the plane and 3 more since I landed. I have to be up early tomorrow but I'm not a bit tired. Going for dinner now!

Monday, November 22, 2004


I'm going to China next week. Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai in 6 days. It is a hectic schedule but hopefully the last business trip this year.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Half Life 2

Bought this in the states, starting playing today. Very, very good. Just the right mix of story and action, much like Half Life 1, amazing graphics also. Some whacky creatures to shoot. New weapons, and the ability to move, stack, roll or break almost any innanimate object in the game. Some of which is required to progress through the game. Cool vehicles. Excellent exploration and puzzle elements so far, not a second of "find-key-open-door" tedium you get in some FPS games.

I've taken some pictures also, a kind of virtual reality photography. Actually this featuer has been arround in games for ages but I never had any pictures worth taking until "Zelda - Wind Waker" and couldn't get those onto my PC, so here are some of my shots from Half Life 2 (scaled down for the web)...>

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Land of the Meat, Home of the Fry

Well, my trip to USA is going well.

So far though, I've only eaten fried meat. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. I'm beginning to wonder if it might start to effect me. I'm sure Americans eat healthier at home, nobody eats out every day. This is what restaraunts serve though, which is all I can eat while I'm staying in a hotel.

Today at lunch I ordered a side of vegetables and a salad, and they were nice, and I'm sure my digestive system will thank me for the fibre, but the vegetables were also fried and the salad had fried chicken in it and fried bread and oil based dressing.

More steak tonight...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Another Trip - USA 15-18 Nov

Next week I'm going to the USA.

I'll be based out of Atlanta for about four days and travelling around a bit. I won't have much time for sight seeing, essentially each day I'll be there I'll be getting up early, going to the airport, flying somewhere to meet one or two customers, flying back in the evening and going to bed.

Except Sunday - anyone know what there is to do in Atlanta on a Sunday?

Monday, November 08, 2004

SITA Visits Dublin

Some SITA folk from around the world came to visit the Dublin office last week. So of course we took them to Temple Bar!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

How jedi are you?

It is Saturday and I'm trying to work. I've been in the office for five hours now and my attention span is starting to slip.

So I decide to take a break, and look at some of the news rooms in

Here we go again, another of those "which character from X are you?" type quiz.

I remember about 10 years ago "expert systems" - essentially the mechanism by which a series of weighted questions are given by a computer so it can arrive at a conclusion - were going to revolutionise the IT industry and the whole world. Well here we are in 2005 and the only expert systems I can find are basically these blody quizes. I assume they are all the results of college projects.

In any case, I was happy with my result:
:: how jedi are you? ::

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Strange Fruit

My sister brought some of these strange fruit from Spain. I've been told they are called "Chirimoya". I don't like the taste (kind of slimey apple), but Andrea likes it, and has started eating them for breakfast. You just cut them in half and eat with a spoon, leave the black pips.

I have seen the name translated as "custard apple" but I really think that's a bad translation. English is supposed to take the words it needs from other languages, not to force English words on everything. We don't call Tortillas, "savory cornflour pancakes". In addition chirimoya sounds nicer. So my vote is for chirimoya.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

New PC

Andrea's new PC arrived at last, took over 3 weeks! It is a Dimension 8400 with 3GHz P4, 1GB memory, 160GB HD, 16X DVD+RW, 17" LCD Flat panel monitor. Very nice, here's a picture:

For now the old PC is there, I've shared the drives and also using TightVNC so we can use it from the new PC, until we've transferred all the files and settings. It all works very well. The network setup just happened automatically!