Sunday, January 30, 2005


Check out this pidgeon we saw at South Kensington Station!

Chubby pidgeon
Chubby pidgeon

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Weather Panel

One thing that is essential to my iPAQ's today screen is the weather forecast. For years I'd been using Journal Bar for this purpose.

I'd often eyed off the cool skinnable options for Weather Panel, particularly Juni's skins, but never made the switch. It seemed a bit frivolous to buy Weather Panel just because it was prettier.

Journal Bar's weather
Journal Bar's weather

Weather Panel
Weather Panel

Last week, I decided to download the trial version of Weather Panel and give it go. To my surprise, Weather Panel was more than just a pretty face. Here are other benefits that Weather Panel has over the weather bar in Journal Bar:
  • the default weather icons in Weather Panel are cuter
  • there are other skins available for the Weather Panel icons
  • Weather Panel can display 7 days weather instead of the 5 days that Journal Bar displays
  • Weather Panel stores more than 7 days worth of weather into the future so it updates even if you haven't synced that day (Journal Bar relies on you syncing every day to regularly update the weather)
Although, to be fair to Journal Bar, the weather bar is only one of its many features. It also has news links from all around the world and a stock checker so it's still worth getting if you are after these other features.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Rubik's cube makes a comeback!

Last month I read an article about the Rubik's Cube making a comeback. Apparently sales of the Rubik's Cubes had increased by up to 300% in some major stores compared to the same period last year.

scrambled cube

If more people were buying cubes, I wondered if that meant more people were Googling for cube solutions? To test this idea, I checked the stats for my Beginner Solution to the Rubik's Cube page. I noticed that there had been a significant increase in visitors through December 2004 and January 2005. There was a noticeable spike for the two days following Christmas where the number of hits was up by about 250%!

I can only assume this means lots of people got cubes for Christmas!

solved cube

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Jenneth is over her hx4705!

Mobile phones used to be my favourite gadget. Even a year after I got my first iPAQ (the 3970), I still loved mobile phones more. But now that I've got the iPAQ hx4705, how could my iPAQ not be my favourite gadget! The hx4705 is so beautiful!

Given this, I was distressed to read that Jenneth has recently ditched her hx4705 in favour of a Dell Axim x50v! I know that Jenneth has dabbled with other PDAs before, but as far as I can tell, she’s always been an iPAQ girl at heart.

I'm not quite sure how to deal with all this! :o

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Motorola V550

I got a new mobile phone yesterday. It's the Motorola V550.

Motorola V550

This phone has zillions of features that my previous phones didn't, however, my favourite thing about this new phone is that it's a flip phone. I just love the flip style phones! It means I never have to worry about the keylock coming off and the phone accidentally making calls (used to happen sometimes with previous non-flip phones of mine). Also, it means I don't have to worry about the screen getting scratched when the phone gets bumped around in my bag.

Motorola V550

My previous phone in Australia was the Sony Ericsson T68i. It was a very nice phone, but it was not a flip phone. I chose it mainly because it had bluetooth (for connecting to my iPAQ) and it was triband. My phone before that was the Motorola v3688. The v3688 is still the most stylish phone I've ever had and is one of my favourites, even though it doesn't have half the features of the T68i. Before the T68i and the v3688 I had a Motorola v2088. I chose this one merely because it was one of the free options on the mobile plan I wanted. Before the v2088 I had a huge chunky Nokia whose model number escapes me. I've never really been tempted by Nokia phones. I'm sure they've very good phones (so many people have Nokias!) but they are not very attractive or stylish. I've always found Motorola phones to be more aesthetically pleasing. :)

The user interface of my new phone is much more complicated than my previous phones. I guess this is unavoidable since it has so many more features. Interestingly, things that should have been easy to work out I found confusing (e.g. deleting a contact), whereas things that should have been more complicated (e.g. getting my iPAQ and my phone to talk to each other via bluetooth and transfer information) I worked out without any trouble.

Friday, January 14, 2005

It's cool when a popular site links to you

The other day Jenneth linked to my blog in one of her blog entries. Jenneth's site is quite popular, so I wasn't surprised to see a spike in my hits that day. Take a look at this chart of visitors to my blog for the past week.

Can you guess when Jenneth linked to my blog?

Can you guess when Jenneth linked to my blog?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Cat Writers' Association

I just found the most awesome organisation -- the Cat Writers' Association.

Cat Writers Association. Cats who write? Or people who write about cats? (This kitty-on-a-keyboard pic comes from the Pawsense website)

No, it's not an association of cats who write. It's an association of people who write about cats. More specifically, "the Cat Writers' Association, Inc. (CWA) is an organization of professionals writing, publishing and broadcasting about cats".

Here are some of the goals of the Cat Writers' Association:

  • Be a major influence for the good of cats by providing news, information, and education on all aspects of cats
  • Improve the quality of writing about cats
  • Encourage cat writing in general newspapers and magazines

The site has a book list with some cool titles including:

And while checking out some of these books I also found the following:

I think I shall have to acquire some of these books!

I actually already have a fairly extensive collection of cat books (general cat health, cat breeds, cat genetics, cat metabolism, cat psychology, cat behaviour, cat mythology, cat cartoons, cats in art, cat photography, fictional cats, real life cat stories). I counted the collection a couple of years ago and it was in excess of 50 books. I've certainly bought many more since then so I'm not sure where it's at now!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

London Zoo

Peter and I went to the London Zoo today.

I rank zoos by the number and variety of cat species. By 'variety' I mean the number of different genera represented. For example, a zoo with five species in five different genera ranks higher than a zoo with five species in the same genus -- especially if that genus is Panthera. Also, bonus points for cats from genera rarely seen in zoos.

Based on these criteria, the London Zoo does not rate very highly. There were only four cat species, representing only two cat genera:

  • Panthera leo (lion)
  • Panthera tigris (tiger)
  • Panthera pardus (leopard)
  • Leptailurus serval (serval)
However, on the plus side, we were able to get much closer to the kitties at this zoo than at most other zoos. Peter took some fantastic photos with his whizzy new camera. I shall post these pics later.

Stupid/annoying people at the zoo

While at the zoo, I observed the following stupid/annoying things:
  • someone calling a serval a cheetah
  • someone referring to a girl lion as "he" (apparently she didn't know that boy lions have manes and girl lions don't)
  • someone smoking near the animals, despite the "no smoking" sign
  • someone tapping on the glass of the lion's den, despite the "no tapping" sign

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Roast dinner

Peter and I cooked dinner tonight for the first time since arriving in London three weeks ago. Up till now, we have been making good use of London's impressive array of pre-prepared food (e.g. at Mark's and Spencer and Sainsbury's), eating out occasionally and getting invited to friends' houses.

Tonight we bought some pork and a big pile of veges and made a very yummy roast dinner. Mmmm... roast dinner. I looove roast dinners. And then we played CAT-opoly! I looove CAT-opoly.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Tea supplies

The re-establishment of our loose leaf tea collection is progressing well. Last weekend we bought three new varieties: summer pudding, lemon and vanilla. We also bought a few tea accessories.

Mmmm... tea!

These teas came from Whittards -- but not just any Whittards. I looked in four or five Whittards shops before I found one with a satisfactory tea selection. Most of the shops had a fairly limited tea range.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Cinemas in London

Peter and I went to the cinema last night. It was the first time I'd been to a cinema in London. Based on this one visit I made a few observations about how cinemas in London are different to cinemas in Australia.

  • The tickets are more expensive in London (converts to about $AUD19).
  • The cinemas have reserved seating.
  • There are far more advertisements before the film -- and by advertisements, I'm not talking about previews (which I like), I'm talking about boring ads for products and stuff.
  • The audio is louder, particularly during the advertisements.
BTW, the film we saw was Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I read the first couple of books of this series years ago. It was weird to see three novels condensed into one 108 minute film. It was also weird to see stuff out of order, e.g. there were scenes from the end of the first book which were shown after scenes from the third book. Fortunately they made it work though, and viewers would be none the wiser if they had not read the books.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Paddington bear

Peter took these photos of Paddington Bear at Paddington Station.

Statue of Paddington bear at Paddington Station in London
Statue of Paddington Bear at Paddington Station in London

Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington on a railway playform. In fact, that was how he came to have such an unusual name for a bear, for Paddington was the name of the station.
"Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington on a railway playform.
In fact, that was how he came to have such an unusual name for a bear,
for Paddington was the name of the station."

Saturday, January 01, 2005