mcgillianaire: (Default)
Some time on Friday afternoon, my Livejournal account was placed in read-only mode which meant I couldn't create, modify entries or leave comments. I didn't receive any warning or notification. I filed a suspension inquiry and within a few hours received the following response:

"Thank you for your inquiry. Your account was placed in readonly mode when one of our anti-spam systems flagged it as a potential spam account. However, a review of your journal shows this was incorrect. I have now removed the readonly status from your journal. I apologize for any inconvenience this situation caused you."

Has this happened to anyone else? I'm just glad they responded fairly quickly and restored my account. I also asked why the system may have automatically flagged mine up, but they didn't respond to that. I wonder if it's because of my twitter-feed.
mcgillianaire: (Changing Guard London)
Having raved on about the wonders of Android and the Samsung Galaxy series, I've only gone and ordered the Apple iPhone 4S. I blame Samsung for this as I was really looking forward to using Android, but it'll have to wait at least a year or two.

At least I was able to buy it from the American store*, which made it significantly cheaper than buying it from Apple UK. £120 less expensive including tax. Which meant I could use my gift cards to buy a Digital AV Adapter and still have cash leftover to buy other accessories. I'm planning to buy an HDMI cable to make use of the AV Adapter (so I can watch SkySports on my desktop), a portable charger, a portable speaker, a slim-fit case and some screen protectors. AppleCare will have to wait.

(* Only because it's being delivered to my sister in Rhode Island and the credit cards I used were in dollars and registered to her address as well. As a result, I won't get my hands on the phone till later next month in Oman, but I can live with that.)
mcgillianaire: (South Park Me)
I discovered the Samsung Galaxy Note last night... how did this mongrel of a device slip under my radar?! Although it doesn't use the new Android OS (like the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus), I'm tempted to buy it instead. It's like the smartphone/tablet version of the outdated PDA, in that it has a self-contained Stylus pen, but it also doesn't come cheap. It's more expensive than the Galaxy Nexus and probably as much as the iPhone 4S. And it might be too big to fit in many a jeans pocket.

With each passing day, it's becoming increasingly likely that I'll be abandoning the iPhone family and defecting to Android. This was certainly not the case a few weeks ago, certainly not when I drew up a list of apps and features about the iPhone that were too important to leave behind, if such a treachery were to occur. Long story short, there's almost nothing left on the list that isn't already available on Android, or on its way to fruition. And things are only going to get better with Android. Fact.

The only 'advantage' that I can think of by remaining with the iPhone is the money I'll save for the apps that I'll need to buy anew in the Android Marketplace. But if I think of it as a sunk cost (Economics jargon) then it should be easier to move on. It shouldn't be the reason for remaining with the iPhone, although given my current financial situation, it could be a while before I recover all the equivalent apps on Android. I'll also miss iTunes, its database of podcasts and the chance to use Siri.

But I'm excited about the prospect of using a smartphone technology other than the iPhone, especially one that's doing as well if not better than Apple's flagship. And though it feels weird saying goodbye to the iPhone, I know it's the right thing to do.
mcgillianaire: (Ari G)
I've got a new computer and it replaces the HP Pavilion notebook that I got and posted about just before moving to London in April 2007. I hope none of you followed my lead and bought an HP laptop because it flattered to deceive within months of using it. Too loud, too slow, faulty DVD wiring (even after replacing it) and a terrible battery. This time my first choice was an iMac but it was beyond budget (approx £1300). Having used my sister's old Lenovo laptop during my recent stint in Oman, I was impressed with its performance as the PC was just months younger than my HP. And Lenovo had the cheapest online deals for the specifications that I wanted: an All-in-one desktop, 20" touch screen monitor, Intel Core i3 processor (but ideally i5), a better graphics card than the integrated Intel one, 4GB RAM, 500+GB HDD, Blu-Ray DVD-writer, min. 5 USB slots, FireWire & HDMI ports, integrated TV tuner, wireless keyboard/mouse and a 3-year warranty. But most importantly it had to cost less than £800 altogether. And I almost got everything I wanted except for the Blu-Ray. But that's fine.



SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Intel Core i3-350M processor (2.26GHz, 3MB Cache)
  • 23" (1920 x 1080) Full HD, 16:9 widescreen, with Lenovo NaturalTouch Panel & Surface Acoustic Wave multi-touch technology
  • ATI Radeon HD 5650 1GB graphics card
  • 4 GB DDR3 DRAM 1066 MHz memory
  • 640 GB HDD
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Slot-in Optical Disk drive, DVD writer
  • 2.0 JBL speakers (2*5W) with Dolby Home Theate
  • Integrated hybrid analogue/digital TV tuner (AV in, TV in)
  • 802.11abgn Draft-N WiFi, 10/1000M Gigabit Ethernet LAN modem
  • 0.3M integrated Lenovo High-Sense Webcam & integrated microphone
  • 6 x USB2.0, eSATA, 6-in-1 card reader, FireWire, 1 headphone/line-out jack (with SPDIF digital audio support), microphone jack, HDMI in & out
  • Adjustable stand, Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse (operation from up to 65 ft away)
  • Pre-installed software: Lenovo Rescue System 3.0, Power2Go 6.0, McAfee®, YouCam, Lenovo Dynamic Brightness System, Lenovo Eye Distance System, LVT 4.0, Common Components Installation, WinDVD® 8.0 (BD), Healthcare 2.0, PowerCinema, VeriGesture, AutoCollage, IdeaTouch and motion-drive games pack (with optional 4-in-1 Remote)
  • 670 x 207 x 525 (mm) (W x H x D) including base
  • 14.8 kg (32.6 lbs)
It's not the best looking computer especially compared with the benchmark set by the iMac but it'll do. Lenovo are not known for their aesthetics but their A310 All-in-One model gives the iMac a run for its money. Pity it lacked several of the key features which I wanted. My new computer is also pretty heavy but it can be wall mounted and a metal bracket is included. Good for movie watching. Its retail price is £1000 and is now available for £850 on Amazon but I bought it for £650 and it was delivered the very next day! I checked Amazon the day after it arrived and it was available for an even better deal of £600. So bear that in mind if you plan on buying a computer from Amazon. There are good deals but they come and go before you can say Brazil. And if you buy it on Amazon UK you'll automatically be offered the choice of purchasing a three-year warranty plus accident protection from SquareTrade for just an additional £50 (although I had to pay £70 for it). So all-in-all, a good machine for just £730. Half the price of an iMac+warranty and with some better features even. Bhooyakasha!

As for the computer itself, it seems great so far. The only things to bear in mind are that the wireless keyboard and mouse don't pick up movement immediately when you start moving them but if you remain patient for a second or two, all is well. I did read some negative stories from users of similar Lenovo models in which they had to continually pair their keyboard and mouse devices but that hasn't happened to me (yet). The cool thing for you gamers is that the mouse is a 3-in-1 which means it works as a wireless controller like you would with the Nintendo Wii. The link specified a 640GB HDD but it turned out to be 570GB with 550GB free. No biggie really.

I'm yet to test the extent of the screen's multi touch features or the VeriFace technology which allows you to create a password with your face, check who has tried to log into the computer and encrypt/decrypt sensitive files using your face as the password. The first thing that caught my attention was the size of the screen. It was quite an upgrade from my 15.4" laptop and the graphics are much more clear and bright. Score! Everything seems to be running smoothly and quickly; booting up takes under two minutes. There doesn't seem to be any substantial difference between Windows 7 and Vista but you now have the option to combine task bar windows even when it's not full. I like that task bar windows are minimised to their thumbnail icon (finally!) and the fact that you can create slide shows of background images (though perhaps this was already available in Vista?)

The speakers are fairly good for an inbuilt system but I'd still recommend connecting a dedicated set for better quality. I'm yet to test the inbuilt webcam and microphone but all in good time. The TV tuner was easy to use and installed all the Freeview channels. I'm hoping to connect a Virgin Media package with SkySports to it eventually. The computer comes pre-installed with software to record scheduled programmes which is nifty. The biggest downside is the lack of other useful pre-installed software, most notably Microsoft Office. If only I'd bought this computer in Oman or India. Nae bother, this is my chance to join the OpenSource bandwagon and make merry with OpenOffice. I'm even thinking of installing Ubuntu but I'm worried it'll slow the machine down too much. That was one of the main reasons I fell out with my HP laptop. Your suggestions are most welcome.

For more pics including side and back angles, click here.
mcgillianaire: (Default)
@chrisgolds: Hilarious female tube driver whilst stuck in tube tunnel: "Can't get any information out of anyone, it's like talking to my husband ..." (From here.)
mcgillianaire: (BBC Logo)
WIKILEAKS:
16 DEC - The rights and wrongs of hacktivism (Economist)
16 DEC - Art imitating life: Funky new ad puts a spin on personal hygiene and politics (The Express Tribune, Pakistan)
14 DEC - Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange: Michael Moore (Huffington Post)
10 DEC - Ron Paul’s Passionate Defense Of Julian Assange And WikiLeaks On House Floor (MEDIAite)
09 DEC - Pakistani media publish fake WikiLeaks cables attacking India (Guardian)

LAW:
16 DEC - Top judge complains about 'sex with corpses' rules (Daily Telegraph)
16 DEC - Court backs tourist ban for Dutch cannabis coffee shops (BBC News)
15 DEC - Tweeting in court: why reporters must be given guidelines (Guardian)
14 DEC - Qatar: A centre for 'quality' international dispute resolution? (Guardian)

TUITION FEE PROTESTS:
14 DEC - Let’s get London’s riots into the right perspective: Simon Jenkins (London Evening Standard)
14 DEC - An attack on the royal carriage by angry protesters. Sound familiar? (Guardian)

UK:
14 DEC - 'We the people' deserve something better than a high-class villain's charter (Guardian)
13 DEC - Toby Ord: Why I'm giving £1 million to charity (BBC News)
06 DEC - Medieval Britons were richer than modern poor people, study finds (Guardian)
03 DEC - Woman dials 999 to report snowman theft in Kent (BBC News)
03 DEC - Christmas with a German accent – the PR ploy taking Britain's towns by storm (Guardian)

INDIA:
03 DEC - India's third richest man gives £1.27bn to children's education charity (Guardian)
19 OCT - Indian man of 100 goes back to university for PhD (BBC News)

OTHER:
12 DEC - German man castrates teenage daughter's 57-year-old boyfriend (Daily Telegraph)

SPORT:
18 DEC - Liverpool fans outraged after Paul Konchesky's mum launches Facebook blast (Daily Mail)
16 DEC - India enter Formula One limelight (ESPNstar.com)
09 DEC - The top 10 worst misses in football history: your votes are in (Guardian: Sports Blog)
17 SEP - Blackburn's Sam Allardyce 'more suited to Inter or Real Madrid' (Guardian)

Forvo

Aug. 16th, 2010 04:15 pm
mcgillianaire: (Samuel Johnson)
It's been a while since I shared a useful site and this time I've been naughty, in that I've been using it for quite a while before posting about it. Forvo is a database of user-generated pronunciations. As it states on the tin: 800,789 words / 645,626 pronunciations / 258 languages.

ETA: There is also the obligatory Forvo iPhone app which released last month. I've found it quite useful while on the move.
mcgillianaire: (iPhone)
John Naughton has written a timely article for The Guardian. He asks:
    "Are we perhaps losing our sense of proportion? The smartphone market is interesting, but just a small segment of the overall market. In 2009, for example, something like 175m smartphones were sold. The top end of industry predictions of sales over the next few years is about 500m devices. But the world currently buys about 1.3bn phones a year, the vast majority of which are "dumbphones" – ie simple handsets that can't access the internet and which are much cheaper to own and run."
He uses Moore's Law to explain why smartphones will not go down market. Instead dumbphones will gradually become more sophisticated.

Do you agree?
mcgillianaire: (iPhone)
Typical. A day after posting about Kindle, I discover its Apple rival: iBooks, not to be mistaken for its discontinued iBook laptop range. It released about a month ago and it appears decent. There seems to be a larger collection of free books than Kindle (thanks to the Gutenberg Project), but I'd have to verify that properly. So far I've downloaded a whole bunch of free classics including: Tolstoy's War & Peace, Kipling's Jungle Book and Bronté's Wuthering Heights. And it comes with a free copy of Winnie-the-Pooh! Will I ever buy a real book again?
mcgillianaire: (RSS Reading Icon)
Can I just say, WOW! How did I overlook it for so long?! I downloaded the iPhone app eons ago but kept putting it off. Eventually I forgot about it. Then a few weeks ago I read about how Amazon were selling more ebooks on Kindle than actual books themselves. Even that didn't motivate me to immediately look it up. But a couple days ago I was browsing through Amazon and I don't know why, but I clicked on the Kindle link. And bloody hell. I wish I'd followed my usual predatory instinct for adopting new technologies a lot earlier. Their books are CHEAP*, like cheaper than books normally cost on Amazon itself and more importantly, they're easy to read on the iPhone. And you don't have to read them on an iDevice. I never realised Amazon sold their own Kindle reading device. Check it out if you haven't already. It's rad!

* For instance, this book's hardcover RRP is £30. On Amazon it costs £18 and the paperback £15. But the Kindle eBook? Just £8!
mcgillianaire: (iPhone)
I upgraded to the new iPhone OS a few days ago and it's a thing of beauty. There are several new features but the ones that have affected and impressed me the most are multitasking, folders for apps, google suggest in safari and the homescreen wallpaper. Some of these features were only available in jailbroken phones previously. The multitasking feature allows me to use Spotify in the background. The folders feature has enabled me to condense eight pages of my 100+ apps into the single main home screen. However the one feature that I have not warmed up to yet is email threads. It's not quite working well with my Yahoo account. Anyone facing similar problems? Any tips?

[Poll #1604812]
mcgillianaire: (India Flag)
India has the world's most number of domestic TV news channels (over 200), which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given that the quarterly report (for Jan-Mar) from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has revealed, that there are now 503 channels broadcasting in the country. This includes 147 pay channels distributed by 24 broadcasters. 18 new channels alone were added during the first three months of the year. Now contrast this picture with that of exactly twenty years ago. There was only one state-owned broadcaster for the entire country, the Indian equivalent of the Beeb, and therein ended the similarity. Doordarshan or DD for short (and lit. Faraway Vision) still exists and has vastly improved, but it has been largely overshadowed by its private rivals. Yet with only 21.3 million dwellings connected to DTH services, DD continues to perform an important public service to the 100+ million dwellings with access to TV.

India is also home to the world's second-most mobile phone users with latest figures (pdf) from TRAI revealing 636 million subscriptions (upto June). That still leaves out half the country, but consider that in June alone nearly 18 million new subscriptions were added. That's 600,000 a day! Twenty years ago mobile phones were unheard of in India. That's understandable. But you may find it hard to believe that there were only 5 million landline connections, with a further 20 million on waiting lists! As former UN stalwart, Shashi Tharoor MP put it:
    "The government's indifferent attitude to the need to improve India's communications infrastructure was epitomized by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's communications minister, C.M. Stephen. In response to questions in Parliament decrying the rampant telephone breakdowns in the country he declared that telephones were a luxury, not a right, and that any Indian who was not satisfied with his telephone service could return his phone — since there was an eight-year waiting list of people..." (Excerpt from Jan 2007)
Unfortunately, Mr Stephen is no longer with us to witness the wireless revolution that has engulfed the nation. The growth has been staggering. Consider that even 10 years ago there were less than 10 million mobile subscribers, 160 million in September 2006 when Tharoor wrote his article, and 300 million exactly two years ago. Since then it has more than doubled and by some projections India will break the billion barrier by 2013. Tharoor describes how India's monthly growth of seven million in Sep 2006 had just overtaken China's for the first time. That was less than four years ago. It seems to be only a matter of time before India adds the equivalent of an Australia every month.

Both these changes happened because of the post-1991 economic liberalisation policies, that was itself a response to India's balance of payments crisis. The Finance Minister responsible for implementing the changes was a certain Manmohan Singh, who is of course now our Prime Minister. He is an unlikely politician and some like yours truly would argue that he is only in power because of Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Party that they belong to. But I will admit that unlike other unlikely candidates propped up elsewhere in India, Mr Singh has been anything but a puppet. Moreover, his reputation precedes him. As a bureaucrat he has achieved just about everything an Indian economist can aspire to: an Oxford education, Governor of the central bank, Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission, Economic Advisor to the PM, Finance Minister and now the PM itself. Not bad for someone who has never been popularly elected to public office! :)
mcgillianaire: (iPhone)
On Usocial.net you can buy 1000 Twitter followers for $87, 1000 Facebook friends for $197, and 5000 YouTube views for $97. How sad!
mcgillianaire: (Shakespeare)
The New York Times has banned "tweet", "tweeting" and "tweeted" from its pages in a new style guide ruling. It'll effect the way they report Turkish President Abdullah Gul's use of his twitter account to condemn his country's ban on YouTube and some Google services.
mcgillianaire: (iPhone)
I did some downloading last night and there's a noticeable difference since the upgrade. I used to download torrents between 800Kb/s-1.1Mb/s but now I can download upto speeds of 4.1Mb/s. In practice that's about 1GB every ten minutes! Now, I just need more HDD space!
mcgillianaire: (Default)
There has definitely been a change in my internet speed. Usually it would've taken a good few minutes for the following pics to get uploaded but tonight it was done in a matter of seconds. I can definitely get used to this. The following photos were all taken this afternoon. I walked down to Trafalgar Square in search of a souvenir bell depicting Westminster Abbey but there were none. Only Tower of London, Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral. You'd think one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites would impress a few tourists. Anyways, I didn't want to come home completely empty-handed and I was curious to check out the Democracy Village that has laid seige to Parliament Square. So enjoy!

(Click here for the first instalment of my iPhone Guide to London which I posted in March.)


For the past three weeks Parliament Square's "green and pristine lawns have steadily been transformed with a sea of peace protesters' tents and flags into what has been dubbed Democracy Village". It now resembles Glastonbury Festival more than Britain's political centre.

We Are The Angry Mob / We Read The Papers Everyday / We Like Who We Like, We Hate Who We Hate... )

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