Everything’s Better With Bacon

Horse And Cart

Horse And Cart (Photo credit: foilman)

To be honest I quite like the adverts for the UK’s EE phone network featuring the always-connected Kevin Bacon, even if I’m not a fan of the name “EE” – at least I can still say I’m on Orange if anyone asks.  The latest ad dips into popular colloquialisms for its inspiration and shows Kev dragging a “shedload of data”.

My first thought was where they could go next with the idea:

“Why you lugging a cart of manure Kev?”

“That’s not manure, it’s data, it’s a metric shit-tonne of data.”

There you go EE, have this one on me.

A Digital Future for Film

Canon EOS C300

Canon EOS C300 (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

When I was younger it seemed like an eternity between a film being on at the pictures and it being on telly.  Which was because it typically was an eternity.  By the time a video of it came out it was almost forgotten which was perhaps the idea, to be absolutely sure that every last drop of cinema cash had been wrung out of the celluloid and it was ready for people to relive in their own homes and pay for over again.

Today though the Amazon pre-orders for the blu-ray of a summer blockbuster are up before the first pair of 3D glasses are slipped on at the local multiplex.  Still though it would surely be madness to release a film in cinemas if it were, for example, shown on Film4 at the same time?

Maybe not.  A Field in England, a film by Ben Wheatley was released on 5th July across formats – on disc, on-demand, on TV and on the big screen.  The black-and-white film, shot on Red Epic and Canon C300 cameras tells the story of three deserters from the English Civil War who are forced to help an alchemist search for mushrooms in the aforementioned field – which is its sole location.

It is both the production and distribution that are important though.  The digital technology to film and distribute the movie are likely to reinvigorate the industry as lower-budget films become increasingly viable.  The widespread outlets enabled Wheatley to reach the greatest audience possible and he believes that it wouldn’t reduce the cinema audience for example – there will always be people who prefer to see a flick on the big screen and others who will always wait for the DVD or TV so why not give everybody what they want from the start.  The film received funding from the BFI which supports experimental release models and the distribution was in collaboration with Film4 and Picturehouse Entertainment.

So it seems that despite the fears of some in the entertainment business 21st century filming and distribution technology looks like creating a renaissance in film rather than signing its death warrant.

Cast of Thousands

English: Fig 57 on Page 190. A broken arm in a...

English: Fig 57 on Page 190. A broken arm in a splint Flickr data on 2011-08-17: Tags: public domain, copyright free, illustration, drawing, image, Points in Nursing, 1910, Emily A. M. Stoney License: CC BY 2.0 User: perpetualplum Sue Clark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People are always saying “oh, you’ve just got to do this before you die” about so many things; seeing the sun set over the Kalahari, visiting Thailand, touring Italy, bungee jumping, and so on.  Breaking your limbs, however, not so much of a must-do and, call me insane if you must, personally I’ve avoided the experience as much as possible.  So far I’ve only managed to crack a clavicle.

One thing I would dread is the cast – the ugly lump of white plaster, er, plastered around your limb getting progressively grubbier and inevitably itchier with every passing day, getting in the way of normal clothes, making it awkward to sleep, bathe, eat and so on.

Well a solution may be on the horizon – Jake Evill, a Victoria University of Wellington graduate, has designed a concept for a modern replacement utilising the current wonder-tech of 3D printing.  While home 3D printers let us make little plastic models this concept spits out something very neat – a lattice-work structured, washable, hence hygienic and non-itchy, cast created using x-rays of the limb fracture which can concentrate its strength and rigidity where it’s needed most around the break.  It would be assembled and fitted together with permanent fasteners to prevent it being taken off prematurely or accidentally and would then later be sawn off in the same was as a conventional cast.  Another advantage is the plastic could potentially be recycled.

Once the current print time of 3 hours reduces this could be the more comfortable and less obtrusive future of broken limbs – just, as Gizmodo’s article points out, without the friends’ decorations.

[Gizmodo / Dezeen]

Cloudless

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain (c) 2013 Andy Vickers

Like walking into a house when you’ve been away for a while I pull off the dust-sheets and open all the curtains…

It feels like such a long time since I’ve been able to post anything here, in reality it’s been a couple of weeks that I’ve not been able to access The Lunch’s dashboard or create new posts.  At first I thought it was my browser, my computer, my ISP, I searched online for WordPress issues but couldn’t find anything so was stumped.  Then finally via Google I found mention of a similar issue on another blog which told me it was a problem with WordPress servers being blocked by ISPs due to someone’s blog breaking Terms of Service.  A demonstration of how one persons actions can cascade on systems like the internet.

Secondly the other week we had rain that looked like a monsoon, almost as dense as fog, waves of water were flowing off the tops of roofs across the road, the road outside itself became a river, water erupted from drain covers.  One driver of an expensive saloon car *cough*a BMW*cough* clearly felt that a couple of inches of water was too risky and reversed back then drove down the pavement instead while others ploughed through regardless spraying people and buildings with torrents of water.  One especially impressive young man managed to leap completely over the large bow-wave created by one passing car as it rolled along the pavement.  As usual I watched the rain and lightning, listened to the thunder.

All seemed ok that evening as the storm passed and things settled back to normal.  The next evening though I found my landline phone wasn’t working, seems the storm had taken out the phone lines locally, and then the terrible reality struck.  NO INTERNET EITHER – The Cloud taken out by Rain Clouds.   Arghhh.  I couldn’t even use 3G on my mobile because I hadn’t got enough credit.  It didn’t bother me that much, the emails can wait, I’d perhaps miss one of the Deals of the Day emails but there probably wouldn’t be anything decent anyway.  I watched some TV then thought about listening to some music, the new CD I’d ordered for example, I’d got the MP3 version free, downloaded it and then uploaded it to Google Music, I’ll listen to that…  Ah.  Maybe not.

Luckily I’d still got it on my computer too (the CD itself hadn’t arrived yet) so I could still listen but it was a little reminder that when you put everything in the cloud and you lose your connection you’re stuffed.  This is why I only use cloud services as backups or as a quick and convenient way of accessing music or photos on just about any device I have.   Other services like Evernote and Wunderlist will sync with the cloud database once reconnected so at least they’re still usable locally.

Lifehacker has some useful advice in case of internet outages including using a mobile hotspot or tethered 3G phone, borrowing a neighbour’s internet or using public wifi if these are available which shows that thinking ahead can save the day but even then at the wrong time you might still be netless.

Maybe one day the dreams of the likes of Google with their (mostly) everything-online Chrome OS will be realised but we’d need an internet that only goes off when the power to run the computer does too.