Archive for the 'Tech' Category

Feb 10 2013

Why isn’t there an app for that?

Published by under Tech

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It’s 2013.  We’re not just in the 21st Century, we’re hurtling through it at breakneck speed.  And as part of a busy, 21st Century family with busy, 21st Century lives, I live in eternal gratitude for the marvels of modern technology that make things easier.  The Mint that’s currently mopping my kitchen floor while I put my feet up, for example, or the streaming service that’s enabling me to catch up on my favourite shows while I write this.

But there’s something missing.

Today was supermarket day.  And, as is always the way on supermarket day, there’s a certain amount of organising to be done first – what do we need, what have we finished / used up during the week and so on.  Then there’s the inevitable refrigerator triage – throwing out the time-expired food that we never quite got around to cooking or eating.

C’mon, 21st Century, you can fix this.

The building blocks are already there:  I can go online right now and see a list of everything we bought; I can scan barcodes into any number of recipe or fitness apps and it’ll tell me everything about the product in question.  I can curate my shopping list on my ‘phone or iPad.  So let’s get smart and put this all together.

 

I want a cloud-based app which:

  • Connects with my supermarket bonus card so it knows everything we bought this afternoon
  • Lets me manually enter (or scan the barcodes of) stuff so it has a complete inventory of what’s in my kitchen
  • Interfaces with the supermarket’s stock control system so it knows the expiration date of all the above
  • Lets me scan products (or manually enter them) as I use them, to help me compile next week’s shopping list
  • Sends me alerts when something’s approaching its expiry date.  “Hey, James, you’d better eat those Andouille sausages today or tomorrow”.
  • Gives me recipe suggestions.  “In fact, you’ve got some celery that needs eaten, too, and plenty of potatoes onions and pulses.  So why don’t you make a sausage casserole tonight?  Here’s the recipe!”
  • Tells me what I have and haven’t got if I want to make a particular dish.  Even when I’m not in the house.  “You want to make a curry?  Sure, but you’d better stop off for cumin on the way home from work.”

None of this should be that difficult.  Green Egg Shopper does some of it.  So does 222million tons.  I want the whole package, though, even if we might need to reinvent the humble barcode a little to include use-by data.  Who’s up for the challenge?

There’s a serious point to this.  Depending on what you read and who you believe, almost half the food we grow goes to waste.  Surely there’s serious PR capital for whichever supermarket comes up with an app for that?

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Nov 06 2011

Riding with the kids – technology that just works

Published by under Misc,Tech

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Or nearly, at least.  It’s still a little quirky.

Today we rode from our comparatively new home in Falls Church, alone the W&OD trail, through some quiet Dunn Loring residential streets and down the Fairfax City Connector for brunch with some friends.  And home again.  Cycling 30k helps assuage the guilt associated with the Bubble ‘n’ Squeak at Artie’s.

I didn’t really have a clue where we were most of the time.  But that doesn’t matter, thanks to these  simple steps.

 

1.  Create your cycle route thanks to the new bike route tool on Google Maps.

2.  Click the GMapToGPX bookmarklet you’ve got from Josh.  Thanks, Josh.

 

3.  Paste the output into the text editor of your choice, and save as whatever.gpx

4.  Import into your routes at MapMyRide.com

5.  Strap your iPhone to your bike (I use one of these, from inCase)

6.  Fire up the iMapMyRide app

7.  Ride, enjoy, share via twitter / facebook.

 

That’s what technology is for.

 

 

 

 

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Jun 14 2010

Keeping up with the cool kids?

Published by under Digital,Tech

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This week I’m going to play with DropBox and Flickr. Why? No real reason, other than everyone else I know seems to use them. And the iPad integration looks cool.

I didn’t think I needed EverNote a while ago, either, but now I use it all the time. On the other hand, I didn’t think I needed Digg or StumbleUpon, and I was probably right. ReadItLater I’m undecided on as yet – it should be useful, but it doesn’t integrate properly yet.

Waaay too many new services to get to grips with at the mo. (yes, I know they’re not all new, but bear with me).

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Mar 08 2010

SkypeAccess: Nice idea, but …

Published by under Tech

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EDINBURGH AIRPORT, YESTERDAY.

(1) Hey, cool, they have a Boingo hotspot with SkypeAccess! Cheap Wifi here I come.

boingo2.jpg

(2) Meh.

skypeaccess.jpg

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Jan 28 2010

Fanboi alert

Published by under Tech

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hardware-01-20100127.jpgApple lost two sales today.

I’d been teetering on the brink of replacing my five-year-old MacBook Pro with a new one. I don’t really need it, but the new ones are shiny. My daughter is busily saving up every Pound, Ruble and Dollar she can, so that she can have a MacBook of her own to replace her ageing G4 tower.

Don’t need either now. Just put me down for a couple of these.

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Oct 07 2009

Barada Nikto!

Published by under Misc,Tech

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Gort_Firing.jpg

Marvellous news from Amazon that the Kindle will shortly be available in ‘over 100 countries’, including here in Russia, in time for Christmas. No blogs or browsing, though, and there’s no 3G here yet.

Just make sure you sign the Kindle License Agreement And Terms of Use. Or Gort’ll get ya.

(you shouldn’t need to scroll down, but just in case …)

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Mar 17 2009

BBC fail

Published by under Digital,Media,Tech

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No offence to Neville, but this amused me:

BBCFail.jpg

Perhaps a Google Reader thing – the clip works fine on his blog when not using a reader.

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Mar 03 2009

Save XH558!

Published by under Misc,Russia,Tech

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images-2.jpeg images-1.jpeg

Around the time I arrived in Moscow, in mid-2007, Russia resumed long-range patrol flights by its fleet of strategic bombers. For a few months we had fairly regular media excitement as the Tu-95s embarked on a tour of the Frozen North – Scotland, Norway, Canada, Alaska.

Around the same time, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, Avro Vulcan XH558 took to the skies for the first time in fifteen years. XH558 is a truly special aircraft, the last airworthy reminder of a force which once threatened some sixteen million Soviet citizens.

Both Vulcan and Tu-95 were technologically impressive. The Vulcan, with its delta wings and four Olympus engines, was hailed as being decades ahead of its time. And its Cold War rival, the ‘Bear’, remains the fastest propeller-driven aircraft nearly 50 years after its introduction.

Here, though, the similarities end. Russia currently has 64 Tu-95s in service, and expects to keep the type operational until at least 2040. India has another ten. The UK has one flying Vulcan, XH558. And if the Vulcan to the Sky Trust can’t raise £500,000 in the next three days, XH558 may never fly again.

Even in the current global economic gloom, there must be someone out there with a spare half-mil. And hey, the pound’s cheap at the mo.

via Theo

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Feb 24 2009

Twitter: What I like, and what I don’t like

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Tech

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Too much noise on Twitter.

Stuff I like:

- Tweets that make me think, that are part of a debate
- Tweets that show me stuff I hadn’t seen before
- Retweets that introduce me to new and interesting people

Stuff I don’t like:

- Hearing that you’ve just put the kettle on. Save the mundane and the banal for facebook.
- Being told to read your latest blog entry. If I’m following you on Twitter, I already know you’ve got a blog. And if I want to read it, I will.
- Tweets like @BorisBorisovichBorisov: yeah, me too – that’s what DMing is for

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Jan 30 2009

Engaging the disengaged?

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Politics,Tech

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So the PM says the web will be

as essential to our future prosperity in the 21st Century as roads, bridges, trains and electricity were in the 20th.

And he’s probably right.

Thought, though: In the digital age, will we need special task forces to engage with the minority who don’t have broadband?

Discuss.

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