Thursday, June 11, 2015

Carsten Höller Decision

Carsten Höller: Decision
Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre has always hosted some pretty amazing and immersive exhibitions such as Martin Creed's What's the point of it? and Lights. So it was pretty exciting news when they announced that they will be hosting Carsten Höller latest exhibition - Decision, featuring some of his best installations and more.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

RipCord by iFLY skydiving demonstration on board the Anthem of the Seas

RipCord by iFLY is the first, according to Royal Caribbean, skydiving experience on cruise ship. Located on the stern of a Quantum-class ship, above the FlowRider surf simulator, guests can finally learn how to fly in the safety of a skydiving simulator.

Last weekend we were given the opportunity to participate in a teaser course on board the Anthem of the Seas. Unfortunately, yours was unable to participate because he has had one too many cocktails. However according to other guests, they are first outfitted in a skydiving gear (minus the parachute obviously), jumpsuit and all before being a 30 second go on the 7 meter tall wind tunnel. On a typical cruise, each guests will be allowed two, one minute flights with an instructor.


Embedded is a video of a truly awesome (and terrifying to me) of a flight instructor showing off his mad skydiving skills.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Anthem of the Seas balcony stateroom tour

Last weekend we were invited to sail on Royal Caribbean's most technologically advanced cruise ship yet, the newest Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas. The pre-inaugural sailing was held from the port of Southampton.

During our trip, we stayed on one of the superior ocean view stateroom with balcony. These staterooms are typically about 198 sq ft in floor size and comes with an additional 55 sq ft ocean facing balcony. Our room, 210, was located on deck 7 (7210).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Visiting the Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas bridge

During our visit to Royal Caribbean's recently launched Quantum-class ship Anthem of the Seas, a number of guests were allowed to visit the bridge to join a Q&A session with the captain. We were one of the lucky few to be allowed access.

The bridge is a nautical term for where the ship is commanded. Typically, on a cruise ship at least, the bridge is located on one of the upper deck levels on the bow of the ship, and is strictly accessible to crew members only. On a Quantum-class ship, the bridge platform provides the crew members with an almost 360 degree vision across the ship.
The wheel
The Quantum-class cruise ships are currently one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world. So it was important for the ship of this size (it is the second largest cruise ship class in the world) to get the bridge right. The bridge itself has been designed by Royal Caribbean captains to allow them more freedom to do their jobs.


Monday, April 20, 2015

"We Will Rock You" rocks Anthem of the Seas

Radio Ga Ga
Last weekend, I've had the opportunity to attend the pre inaugural sailing of Royal Carribean's newest ship, Anthem of the Seas. While I prepare a post about our experience on Anthem, you can read about my experience on Quantum of the Seas, the lead ship of the Quantum-class cruise ships of which Anthem of the Seas is part of (and therefore is almost identical).

During our weekend stay on board, we also attended the dress rehearsals to We Will Rock You, the popular musical based on songs by Queen. As someone who has always wanted to watch the West End musical but unable to do so, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. There were two live dress rehearsals held on Sunday, and we enjoyed the first one so much I insisted we went to watch the second one a couple of hours later!
We Will Rock You tells the story about a group of Bohemians outcast stuck in a future Orwellian world now dubbed the iPlanet where people listen to computer generated music. Free thoughts are not only frowned upon, but are also forbidden. Rock music, and the concept of rock and roll (free thinking, fashion) itself has been lost.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bakerloo Line extension

After a consultation period that can be measured in decades, Transport for London has published a mind blowing report that dwellers in the neglected part of South East London wants better transport infrastructure. Shocking, I know! (You might also notice a distinct lack of bridges in this part of the capital).

Just how much money did Transport for London spend on this consultation just to get this very obvious answer?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Android 5.1 memory leak bug persists on Nexus 5

Android 5.1
For four months since I updated my Nexus 5 to Android 5.0 Lollipop, my phone has been suffering from severe memory leak. A memory leak happens when the system doesn't release RAM back for the user. In this case, after several hours of uptime, Android 5.0 was reserving 1GB of RAM for its use and aggressively killing off apps.

Yesterday I applied the latest Android 5.1 update on my Nexus 5. I declared, prematurely, that my phone was finally usable. It was true, at first. With a fresh boot, the phone was quick off the mark. It may be placebo (or wishful thinking), but it felt like what a Nexus phone should be. Soon after (and I mean roughly 6-8 hours later) however, the dreaded memory leak bug reared its ugly head.

Since 'upgrading', I have rebooted my phone twice. Like Android 5.0 and 5.0.1 before, 5.1 requires me to reboot every 8 hours in order to force the OS to release RAM. It means that the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning and before I go to the bathroom is to turn off my phone, wait for it to turn off, and then switch it on again. And then do it again later in the evening. And again. And again.

A first world problem perhaps, but one I have paid good money to enjoy.

While 2GB of RAM is plentiful for a phone (Apple and Microsoft can get away with 1GB!), I can see why Android apologists are demanding 4GB of RAM on their newest gadgets. It may be powerful and filled to the brim with more features we do not need, but Android is the very definition of inefficient.

With Google's inability to do a very basic job, their reluctance to fix critical bugs (so they can sell new phones and fill their landfills with still pretty decent phones), I think I am done with Android. Time to look into this Windows 10 phone thingy I've been hearing about lately.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Casa Howard, Florence

Casa Howard is a guest house in Florence, Italy. We stayed there for two nights when we visited the city in December of last year.

The guest house is located on Via della Scala, a street just behind Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. Its location, just five minutes from the main SMV railway station, and the value for money was what drawn us to book here after a failure of a Airbnb host to confirm a booking. Florence city center is small, but it was still neat to find that the guest house was less than ten minutes walk away to the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. A far cry from the dreadful Airbnb flat we had in Rome.
Casa Howard is located in a very old house (I can't put a date on it but the architecture style is renaissance) with a grand staircase and old fashion lift. It was a delight to find something with character, as most value for money guest house and hotels are lacking in this department. The guest house occupies the first two floors of this building.