Tuesday, September 26, 2006

European Rubik's Championships 2006

Congratulations to Joël van Noort for winning the European Rubik's Championships 2006!

Congratulations to all the other winners and participants as well. I look forward to seeing the photos. Full competition results are available from speedcubing.com.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Strongbad podcast

I downloaded my first video podcast a couple of weekends ago. I have had my video iPod for a few months now, but haven't been making the most of it. During the same expedition which had led to the incase case incident, I discovered that Homestarrunner is now doing podcasts! As Strongbad would say, this is totally awesome.

The podcast includes selected episodes of Strongbad's email, and Teen Girl Squad.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ebooks vs paper books

I went into a real bookstore a couple of weekends ago. By 'real' I mean a physical bookstore that sells books made of paper, as opposed to an ebook website. I saw two books I was interested in reading. They happened to be on special and I considered buying them. But then I paused, I just don't know if I can bring myself to purchase physical books anymore.

I find physical books so incredibly inconvenient compared to ebooks. I have many friends who are avid readers and are appalled by these comments. I totally agree with them that there's something really nice about having the physical book sitting on the bookshelf. It looks great, it really does, much nicer than an ebook.

However, I travel quite a bit and I've moved 7 times in less than 5 years, including living in 3 different countries. When moving around this much, physical books are a huge hassle. So no matter how much I feel like buying a physical book, I always stop myself and remind myself that I should go and see if it is available as an ebook.

Back to the beginning of my story... the two paper books I was interested in... I looked them up in my preferred online ebook store, Fictionwise. One was available, the other was not. I've purchased the one which was available, and am going to continue thinking about the other. Perhaps if I wait a while it will appear on Fictionwise?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Super thin models banned from Madrid fashion show

Models whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is less than 18 will not be allowed to take part in the upcoming Madrid Fashion Week.

Depending on which source you look at, the minimum 'healthy' BMI is considered to be 18.5-20. This means that to participate in the fashion show, the models can be slim, but not not super skinny.

According to the news article, Medics will be on hand to check the models weight and 30% of the models who participated in the event last year would now be banned under the new rule.

The ban has been set by Madrid's regional government who say that the fashion industry has a responsibility to portray healthy body images. Of course the modelling agencies are complaining. Apparently they think it's unfair and discriminatory against super skinny people.

And if that isn't enough to make you think 'what the??', then behold the following unbelievable quote from one of the top modelling agencies:

"I think its outrageous, I understand they want to set this tone of healthy beautiful women, but what about discrimination against the model and what about the freedom of the designer...".
What the?? Freedom of the designer?? Oh, silly me, obviously the 'freedom of the designer' is considerably more important than all the health issues associated with young girls developing eating disorders, distorted body images, and low self esteem from trying to copy the waif-thin catwalk models.

Well done, Madrid. Let's hope we see more places following your example.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New iPod case

My iPodI bought a 60GB video iPod a few months ago and have been on the look out for a nice case. For gadget cases (iPAQs and iPods), I really like Sena Cases. I have a Sena Case for my hx4700 series iPAQ and Peter has one for his older generation 40GB non-video iPod.

incase case for iPodI was going to buy a Sena Case for my new iPod, but discovered that they all come with a flip cover for this model. While I definitely do want the flip cover for an iPAQ, I definitely don't want it for an iPod, so I decided against getting the Sena Case. :(

I am sad about this for two reasons. One is because the Sena Cases are so well made, and I want a quality case for my prized gadgets. The other reason is because I ended up getting another case which is definitely inferior in quality.

I'm really disappointed with this incase brand iPod case I bought. Here's why:

  • The leather on the incase case is really stiff and cheap looking. Sena cases are made of strong, but soft, leather which gives them a really nice look.
  • The incase cutouts don't line up properly with the click-wheel or the screen. On the Sena cases, they line up perfectly.
  • The incase cutouts have a thick layer of plastic over them which make it difficult to use the click-wheel. The Sena Case click-wheell cutout is just a cutout, so you have the same access to the click-wheel as if when the iPod is not wearing the case. However, the cut-out for the screen still has a clear plastic covering to protect it.
  • Once you put the iPod into the incase case, it's very difficult to get it back out again. I had to get Peter to do it for me the first few times because I actually couldn't get it out! The Sena Cases on the other hand are a firm fit, but it's also not a big deal to extract the device if you want to.
I'm really hoping that the leather of the incase case will soften up over time so that I don't up end completely hating it. At this point I'm wishing that I had just bought the Sena Case instead, even though it does have the flip cover.

Mine and Peter's iPodsHere are two of the three members of our iPod family. Mine is on the left
and Peter's is on the right. There's also a baby iPod (a.k.a. iPod Shuffle),
but he's off playing somewhere and didn't want to be part of the family portrait.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Most expensive sandwich

At the very trendy department store, Selfridges, you can have the privilege of ordering the most expensive sandwich. At a mere £85*, why not have two?

(*That's ~$211 Australian dollars, ~$160 US dollars, ~126 Euro.)

If this is a little too much for you, then you can choose from their more affordable range of sandwiches which cost between £3 and £4.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Oh no! The Crocodile Hunter is gone! :(

Was very shocked and sad to open up the news websites this morning and discover that Steve Irwin has died. :( I see that this news has made the headlines all over the world. I hadn't realised he was so well known in so many countries.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to me (for last week!)

It was my birthday last week. I turned the big three-oh. Peter and I went on a nice boat trip down the Thames to Kew Gardens, and then had dinner at a yummy gastropub in Kew. Mmmm!

When Peter asked me what I'd like for my birthday, I always said "Kitties!", so he adopted these guys. They are shy and haven't yet told us their names. Let us know if you have any suggestions about what to call them.

Three new adopted kittiesBelow are other presents from Peter (the stackmat, speedstack cups, and flowers that is - the cubes were added for visual effect). I finally have my own stackmat!! My speedcubing buddies will appreciate how exciting this is, but for those who aren't speedcubers, you probably need a brief explanation. The stackmat is the official timing device for WCA competitions (WCA is the World Cube Association). This means I can now practice my start/stop technique for my next cube competition. Cool.

My new stackmat!My speedcubing buddies will also have noticed the speedstack cups on the stackmat. These were part of the stackmat pack. My best time on the Cycle Stack so far is 24.15 seconds. I reckon I could get down to sub-20s with some practice though (haven't practiced much at all).