Archive for July, 2009
Following up from both my previous posts (post 1 & post 2) about the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Fan Trip Train Ride 2009, which gave you the chance to travel by steam train from Paddington to Oxford aboard the Hogwarts Express (GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 no 5972 Olton Hall) steam train on Saturday the 18th of July 2009.
I have now had the chance along with my girlfreind (see her post) to travel on this Hogwarts Express Journey, it was really enjoyable and worth going, the atmosphere around people was a great experience.
I have just finished uploading all the photos I took of my journey on the Hogwarts Express (5972 Olton Hall). My photos include both outside and inside photos of the main steam engine train and the carriages, along with some photos of Oxford and a few of London.
I shall soon be adding my Hogwarts Express Videos to this post too, which are definitely worth viewing, even if you didnt go!
As of the 31st of August 2009, it’s the end of the road for Microsoft’s MSN Soapbox, Microsoft attempt of creating a YouTube. From the 29th of July 2009 you will no longer be able to upload videos to Soapbox and have till the 31st of August 2009 to download them. Guess I better start downloading my videos next week then and host them on YouTube!
Attention Soapbox Users,
MSN will no longer offer Soapbox, the user generated video service within MSN Video, as of August 31, 2009. Beginning on July 29, you will no longer be able to upload videos to Soapbox. People who have uploaded videos to Soapbox will have until August 31, 2009 to download them. Please make sure you download your videos by this date if you would like to keep them. We will have a notice running in the Soapbox service to remind you to download your videos. It is our goal that you download and keep all of the videos you uploaded that are important to you. Online video is a key part of the MSN experience and we will continue to offer a rich experience on MSN Video. We will also continue to invest in delivering great customer experiences, while keeping a keen eye on our business objectives during this tough economic climate. Thank you for your support of MSN Video. More details and download instructions are available at: http://video.msn.com/shutdown.html
Thank you for using Soapbox.
The MSN Video Team
Following up from my previous post about the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Fan Trip Train Ride 2009, which gives you a chance to travel by steam train from Paddington to Oxford aboard the Hogwarts Express (GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 no 5972 Olton Hall) steam train this Saturday the 18th of July 2009.
I can now confirm travel times as obtained from uksteam.info.
Saturday 18 July 2009
GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 no 5972 Olton Hall
(alias Hogwarts Castle)
Steam hauled: Paddington-Oxford
|0.0||London Paddington||d 09.23||5972|
|Didcot N Jc||10.43|
|Hinksey N UDGL||a 10.58|
|Didcot Parkway||a 16.06|
|London Paddington||a 17.34|
|0.0||Southall WCRC||d 08.15||5972||ECS|
|Southall Yard||a 08.28||rev|
|London Paddington||a 08.48|
|Oxford UCS||a 11.26|
|0.0||Oxford UCS||d 12.40||5972||E+C|
|Leamington Spa||a 14.08|
|Tyseley LW||a 15.10|
The Hogwarts Express Steam Train and Carriages have also been spoted making it’s way down to London from Scotland:
- 5972 ‘Olton Hall’ heads away from Carnforth for Southall with ECS. 5972 was heading down to London to work a Harry Potter special on Saturday for American fans from Paddington to Oxford.
- 5972 Olton Hall in charge of the Hogwarts Express ECS from Carnforth to Southall in conjuntion with a railtour from London Paddington on Saturday to coincide with the release of the latest Harry Potter film
- another shot of Olton Hall in a downpour. the train was running as 5Z59
- 5972 Olton Hall, 5Z59, Hest Bank, 16 July 2009 – 1348 1
- 5972 Olton Hall, 5Z59, Hest Bank, 16 July 2009 – 1348 2
John Montgomery from the Microsoft Popfly Team has confirmed via a blog post on the Microsoft Popfly Blog and via email that as of the 24th of August 2009, Popfly (Beta) is closing down. Popfly is/was a fun, easy way to build and share mashups, games, gadgets, Web pages, and applications. Popfly consists of a set of online visual tools for building Web pages and mashups, and a social network of creators where you can host, share, rate, comment and even remix creations from other Popfly users.
I’m writing to thank you for registering and using Microsoft Popfly. I’ve been fortunate enough to see all the innovative mashups, Web pages, and games created by the Popfly community since we launched Popfly two years ago. It has truly been a pleasure to watch the spirit of creativity flow through a growing Popfly community over the life of the product.
It’s with a heavy heart that I share some news with you today: on August 24, 2009, the Popfly service will be discontinued and all sites, references, and resources will be taken down.
After August 24th, your access to your Popfly account, including any games and mashups that you’ve created, will be discontinued. However, Microsoft is still very much dedicated to helping you express your creativity and pursuing a path to software development. If you’re interested in refining your skills in Web applications, please visit Microsoft Web Platform Installer. For those interested in programming on the Xbox, then please visit Microsoft XNA or Microsoft Kodu. And for those who are interested in Windows programming, please visit Microsoft Express.
Thanks again for your support and please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
for the Popfly Team
Goldsmiths designers create Routers of the Future with TalkTalk
The common internet router. Most of us have one. Whether hidden under a desk or shoved next to the TV, this ubiquitous chunk of plastic and wires may be functional – but it certainly isn’t sexy.
However, a new generation of ‘designer’ home routers will do far more than flash randomly and deliver the web to our computers.
Goldsmiths, University of London – world renowned for design and innovation – has been working with the country’s largest home broadband provider, TalkTalk. Together, they have been exploring what the Routers of the Future might look like and how they could take pride of place in our households.
TalkTalk asked Goldsmiths to consider four factors: signal strength, home style, energy efficiency and, finally, pure enjoyment.
Said Mark Schmid from TalkTalk: “Routers represent a passport to one of the greatest communication revolutions ever – but you’d never know it from looking at them. Working with the design boffins at Goldsmiths, we wanted to transform the humble router into something that people would want to shout about. With the very first Routers of the Future collection, our vision of making the router an integral part of our customers’ lifestyles and interiors comes to life.”
Members of the public are being invited to visit www.futurerouters.com and vote for their favourite – and broadband company TalkTalk will consider the winning design for production.
ROUTE O’ CLOCK
This 24-hour clock creates a picture of the varying signal strength throughout the day, so people can make the most of their internet connection.
TalkTalk: “We have tons of juicy data about your experiences online. For example, we know the best times to connect to the web throughout the day. As demand for bandwidth grows, this information becomes increasingly useful. So, what better way to bring the subject to life than through our beautifully designed Route O’clock? Complete with twenty-four glowing segments, the display indicates signal strength as time passes. In future, our customers could be able to choose the very best times to enjoy bandwidth-hungry activities like watching internet TV, or playing online games.”
Goldsmiths: “This router is essentially a twenty-four hour clock divided into half hourly segments. As a reaction to the broadband signal, a different traffic light colour indicates bandwidth strength at each interval.
“It is, in design, an object of reflection – helping the user to manage their time online more efficiently, understanding and making the most of bandwidth strength in the local area throughout the day.”
The Hybrid Router combines traditional craftsmanship, classical lines and modern technology. For the first time, the router becomes an elegant and practical addition to users’ homes. A 60’s revival style statement, the handmade Hybrid Router seamlessly integrates the guts of a traditional router with a funky hardwood side table.
TalkTalk: “Routers often sit in a prominent place in our customers’ homes, yet they can be a real eyesore. So, we asked Goldsmiths to transform the common wireless router into a practical piece of furniture that would proudly sit in any contemporary living space.
“The team came up with a Hybrid Router that is a practical, sexy side table and a bold style piece, whilst still fulfilling its raison d’être as a fully functional router.”
Goldsmiths: “Contemporary homes have to deal with the mess of wires that come with a high-tech lifestyle. So we created a stylish side table that can hold and disguise our router cables, as well as other objects – making it a multi-functional piece of furniture.
“Flashing lights, hidden behind frosted acrylic, signal the presence of the router embedded within the base of the table, and add a subtle glow. It’s an ambient object, integrating classic lines into a modern living space.”
ENERGY SAVING ROUTER
This intelligent router switches off automatically when not in use, saving both energy and money.
TalkTalk: “It’s no surprise that ‘always-on’ wireless routers have been so successful. The convenience of uninterrupted internet access has almost killed off the poor old dial-up modem. But when you think about it, do we need our routers on 24/7? In fact, we could save power during sleep, or when nobody’s home. A great compromise is the ‘always-on-when-you-need-it’ router. That way, we only consume energy when absolutely necessary.
“We love the thought and innovation behind the Energy Saving Router. Team Goldsmiths’ execution is based on house-key hooks; on when you’re in, off when you’re out. Plus there’s an integrated timer for long downloads. We look forward to exploring this further – it’s a very interesting concept.”
Goldsmiths: “Although shared living spaces have many advantages, there is plenty of waste from objects that are continuously used – like routers.
“We identified house-key hooks as an appropriate indicator for the presence and absence of people within the home. So, we programmed the router to switch off automatically when the last key is taken off of a hook. When someone returns home and re-engages a hook, it then switches back on in time for them to start surfing.
“To make the object more adaptable, a timer allows for extra hours of download time after the last key has been removed.”
This high-tech router is inspired by nature. It has been designed to become the centre of attention; a talking point which brings people together.
TalkTalk: “There’s no rationale behind the Jellyfish and that’s precisely why we love it. This router is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Goldsmiths really showed us what can be done with the innards of a router and a healthy dose of creativity.
“Interestingly for a project based on wirelessness, the cables form a key part of this piece, encouraging users to connect with the router and each other when they surf”
Goldsmiths: “This is our craziest design and we were given full creative license. We wanted to place the router at the centre of the community, at the heart of the house. We wanted to come up with a router that would live and breath; an organic element inspired by nature that would be emotionally engaging for its users and become a real talking point.
“The inspiration for this unit grew out of the study of fluorescent properties in jellyfish anatomy and their smooth movements through water. We have embodied this notion into a glowing breathing sequence, which indicates bandwidth strength.
“The unit has the potential to carry eight Ethernet cables, becoming a centre-point of communal attention. Multiple users can plug into the device which is situated in the centre of the space, and share time together.”
Video of Amazing Routers of the Future by Goldsmiths & TalkTalk
At 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday 15 July, Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 7, goes on pre-sale to people in the UK at a special promotional price, but you’ll have to be quick as prices are low, stocks are limited and it is first come first served!
To say thanks to its loyal customers and enthusiasts, especially those who have taken part in the Beta and Release Candidate (RC) programmes, Microsoft is making pre-order copies of Windows 7 available through selected retail partners at one-off promotional prices* of around £49.99 for Home Premium and £99.99 for Professional. This is a great opportunity for your readers to get their hands on the best Windows operating system of all time and save plenty of money in the process.
The Windows 7 Beta and RC versions have been very well received by consumers and media alike. Pre-order copies of the final version of Windows 7 have already been selling fast in Japan, Canada and the US. To pre-order a discounted copy of the final version of Windows 7 you need to contact Microsoft’s retail partners after 12:01 a.m. on 15 July or go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/win7preorder.
Retail partners in the UK taking part in the promotion are Amazon.co.uk, Argos, Comet, Currys, Dixons, Ebuyer.com, John Lewis Partnership, Littlewoods, Micro Anvika, PC World, Play.com, Staples and Tesco. Links to pre-order offer webpages are listed below.
Finally, a quick reminder for Microsoft’s UK customers: if you are replacing an older version of Windows with Windows 7 once it arrives on 22 October, a clean install of the operating system and the installation of an internet browser will be required. For more information on how to do this, and for general information on other aspects of Windows 7, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows/.
Retailer website links:
Microsoft Store – http://emea.microsoftstore.com/UK/Microsoft/Windows/Windows-Vista/Windows-7-Preview
Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AB002DUCMT2|B002DUCMTC|B001XCWGII
Currys – www.currys.co.uk/preorder
Dixons – www.dixons.co.uk/preorder
Micro Anvika – www.anvika.com/windows7preorder
PC World – www.pcworld.co.uk/preorder
Play.com – http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/3-/379971/2-/Promo.html
Tesco – http://direct.tesco.com/p/inc/specials/windows7/
* Estimated retail prices, actual retail prices may vary by retailer.
Industry analysts CCS Insight today unveiled a report on what is driving the use of the mobile Internet among young adults in the UK today.
The report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 adults between 16 and 35 years old, offers insights into the mobile Internet habits of this technology-savvy and demanding consumer group.
Key themes to emerge from the report are:
- Mobile Internet use is growing at a phenomenal rate; social networking is driving that growth with a third of young adults regularly accessing Facebook and Twitter from their mobiles
- Men are twice as likely as women to access the Internet through their mobile phone
- Young adults expect mobile content – especially music and videos – to be free
- BBC iPlayer is the service people would most like to see on their phones
Paolo Pescatore, report author and Head of Mobile Content at CCS Insight, said:
“The Web is revolutionising the way people use mobile phones. Forget music downloads and video – social networking is what people want. Media owners and operators will have to find new ways to make money from their assets.”
“And it’s clear from the report that the industry could do a better job marketing to women. Some networks and phone-makers have got it right. Their rivals are leaving money on the table.”
CCS Insight says BBC iPlayer will be the next catalyst in mobile Internet growth.
Green Britain Day is here, and if the campaign to go-green by 2012 has got you thinking of ways you can do your bit perhaps the Econav can help? In fact this new Sat Nav can assist you in saving more than 15% of your fuel consumption.
The way it works is simple: as you drive, Econav gives clear commands which will show you how to drive efficiently, saving fuel, and therefore saving costs and cutting the amount CO2 you produce when driving. The first eco-friendly GPS in the world, it will help you to cut fuel emissions by up to 30%, and will pay for itself in the first six months of use.
Econav’s groundbreaking new device couldn’t be easier to use. Simply input car type, fuel type and occupancy level, and the system will direct you on the route that is kindest to your fuel consumption. The system will also advise you on which gear to use, while the Accelerator Pedal Indicator will show whether you are using the accelerator pedal correctly (or not). As well as fewer greenhouse emissions, you’ll also make fewer stops for fuel, making your journey cleaner, greener and cheaper – in fact, used by the average motorist, the Econav system will pay for itself in just six months – and in the following six months you can expect to make a saving on your fuel bills of up to £200.
And you might be surprised to hear how much fuel and cash will be used by the average motorist:
- The average driver notches up a staggering 11,000 miles every year
- The average annual fuel bill is more than £1,800
So, as well as navigating you to your destination, the Econav will help save your money and the planet.
Vexia Econav product information:
- 3.5” / 4.3” colour touch-screen
- (350 / 430 versions)
- Automatic day / night mode
- Econav system
- Eco tips
- Tunnel mode
Four Models Available:
Vexia Econav 350
- 350 Regional maps – £159.99 inc VAT
- 350 European maps – £189.99 inc VAT
Vexia Econav 430
- 430 Regional maps – £199.99 inc VAT
- 430 European maps – £229.99 inc VAT
More info at: http://www.vexia.co.uk/
The battle between traditional-in-a-box accountancy software firm Sage and web-based accounting software company Kashflow is heating up.
Sage recently succeeded in their complaint to Trading Standards about Kashflow making price comparisons about Sage, Kashflow had to withdraw the price comparisons. Now Kashflow has dealt Sage another body blow with this new YouTube film whereby a Sage box is turned to ashes.
Sage were thwarted in their attempts to launch a competitor to Kashflow, called Sage Live (which like Kashflow, was also web-based). After Kashflow exposed security weaknesses in Sage Live, it was withdrawn.
Don’t forget, until the end of this month you can send us your boxed accounting software for our big bonfire and we’ll give you ours free. Details can be found here.
Ant to top it up, Kashflow are offering everyone till the end of this month to send them your boxed accounting software for their big bonfire and they’ll give you theirs free. Details can be found here.