Cracking the Oyster

Perfectly in line with Mr Butt's advice that the oyster is unseasonable in all months that do not have a letter R in their name, I have used my new Oystercard for the first time this morning. By which information you can safely deduct that I am in London again - until Thursday.

P.S. What's really great about it is that it's available without a UK address, thus for tourists and other London travellers. And that's a good thing seeing how the rates for individual trips have been hiked. It's not completely thought through, though, in that you do need a UK address to register the card to protect it against loss and top it up online.


An iPhone for Smaran!

The buzz is on again! Probably recycling contact information from the WSJ article, the Times has its own article featuring Smaran, this time placing him as an opinion leader on all things Apple. If he plays his cards right, he might just be one of the first people to get a (free) iPhone on the subcontinent!


My first video blogpost

... would invariably be starring Laika. This dog is beginning to mimick its master's liking for water.

Peter Doig

I came across this striking picture by Peter Doig in a newspaper article, and it seems to be stuck behind my retina ... in German, we have the expression Ohrwurm (earwig) which refers to a catchy tune, but includes an annoying quality. I wonder whether there is a similar term for the comparable visual effect - I know now that it exists! You get the impression of an almost naturalistic quality of the picture (with a bit of Monet's clarity thrown in), but it is not, of course, because of what almost seems like a chromatic shift - which again, it's not. Very annoying, and fascinating!


Macs are cheaper!

Stuff like that makes the economist's heart rate go faster - great work! Apple Matters has an interesting piece about Mac resale values which shows the actual fair value depreciation on Mac laptops, based on ebay prices. For a three years old laptop, you still get to recoup some 40% of its purchase price. This is exceptional, seeing how our tax depreciation allows for up to 80% in the first year!

This should be proof enough that the old stereotype that Macs are expensive couldn't be further from the truth. And I am not talking total cost of ownership (which, if done right, would actually include resale value unlike in this example), although that would be the proper metric, but only cash out/in when you buy and sell your machine. Given that Macs cost about the same as your garden variety PC for comparable configurations nowadays, it's safe to say that Macs are cheaper.


Ian Richardson

I only just heard about the sudden death of Ian Richardson this morning. What a pity! He was one fabulous actor, capable of out-acting his fellow stars with the merest nudge of an eyebrow, as Philip G comments so appropriately. He will be most fondly remembered for his rendition of Sherlock Holmes, and for giving live to the modern day Machiavelli, Sir Francis Urquhart in the BBC production House Of Cards - one of the most prized pieces in my DVD collection.

A new Cold War?

Mr Putin's recent speech at the Munich Security Conference seems to have caused a bit of unrest in the corridors of power worldwide. Talk of a new cold war abounds. Is it justified? Only time will tell, of course. Meanwhile, have a go at the speech - it is very oddly disparate in my view, so much so that some substance must have been lost in translation, I suppose.


Buzz wizzards

The Wall Street Journal offers an interesting insight into how social bookmarking sites work. The article came to my attention thanks to Smaran, an online friend and frequent commentator on this blog who is justly proud to be featured as an influencer in that article. Congratulations - way to go!!


The right attitude to rain

What's a crime story where the only crimes committed are theft (a sausage & cheese stolen by the fox in residence), suspected arson and - almost, but not quite - murder by failure to render assistance? Why, the latest masterpiece in the Isabel Dalhousie series, of course!



Of all the Get a Mac ads, the Vista security one is the best one yet! It pokes fun at what is allegedly the most annoying "feature" of Vista, namely its hallowed security. Perhaps, Mac fanboys and -girls will start saying allow now rather than ok. At any rate, I am sure Mr Gates will be livid.


Free the classics

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, my classical radio station of choice DRS 2 offers a full album's worth of fine chamber music by Schubert, Schumann, Mozart & Dorati for free legal download. Get it while the offer lasts!


Collective autism

Just back from watching Babel with A. If you're not familiar with the biblical background of the tower of Babel (near Baghdad, as it happens), then you need to familiarise yourself with it before seeing the movie. It's an allegorical piece about the current state of the world with its globalised acts of collective autism and unnecessary hysteria. While an irrelevant news item randomly spreads around the world like wildfire, those who suffer from it lastingly are the innocent small people.

Babel is an annoyingly well crafted, politically correct conversation piece for your next penthouse dinner party. 'nuf said.