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.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Crooked Well review

The Crooked Well is a local gastropub in Camberwell. Five minutes walk from Denmark Hill railway station, it isn't too difficult to find. Its location in a neighbourhood, rather than on busy high street of Camberwell Church Street, ensures that it has a quiet ambiance, quite unlike what you would find in most pubs.
Gastropubs are not special to write about, and The Crooked Well isn't particularly special. But what they do, they do it good. We first visited on a Sunday a couple of months ago to sample their roast. We are particularity fussy about our Sunday roast, so it was delightful to find that the roast did not disappoint. The beef roast was delicious and served with appropriately thick, but not too thick gravy. In terms of my own personal Sunday roast ranking, it sits just behind Hawksmoor and Princess of Shoreditch, but The Crooked Well's take on traditional roast takes the crown for south of the river.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Brockley Market

Brockley Market is a weekly food and farmer's market held on the outskirt edge of Brockley close to Deptford and Lewisham Central. We've been living in Brockley for 1 1/2 years now and visits them at least twice a month. South East London hasn't been getting plenty of love by the media, local and regional government, so it isn't like we have a high street that is worth shouting about. We do not even have a none-chain groceries shop selling fruits and veggies. So something like Brockley Market has become crucial to the community here.

Brockley Market is divided into two distinctive bits - one which sells locally sourced market produce - meat, veggies, flowers, wine, cheese, fish and all sorts, an another half where street food hawkers sells hot food and drinks.You know, the kind that are despised by some top chefs in Soho because it is totally wrong to pay £5 to stand and eat something you can see cooked before your eyes, but it is totally okay to pay £40 for something previously frozen and heated in an oven.

The Miles Stairs at Somerset House

Somerset House hosts a ton of amazing spiral staircases, most of which dates back to when the building was build. Not only are they an architecture success that has withstood the test of time, they are also an engineering marvel.

Joining them is the Miles Stairs. Designed by Eva Jiricna, this amazing new spiral staircase is located in the West Wing of the Grade I listed Somerset House, and features a lightweight steel mesh tower core and ultra performance concrete cantilevered stair threads made of a new material called ductal. Ductal is said to be a thousand times stronger than concrete. Unlike the older staircases in Somerset House, the threads on the Miles stairs are connected to the central tower and not on the walls.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Knyttan

Knyttan is a pop up concept store currently located on Somerset House. Since November 2014 they have been selling scarves, jumpers and throws. There is nothing exactly interesting in doing that by itself, but what sets Knyttan apart is you can design (or at least customise) your goods and watch them get knitted instore,

The store itself can be found on the New Wing section of Somerset House, accessible through Lancaster Place near Waterloo Bridge. We've only stumbled upon it by accident last week whilst checking out PJ Harvey residency at Somerset House. At first glance, it looks like yet another typical wool shop, that is until you see that big Stoll flat knitting machine.
Four Microsoft Surface tablets are fixed on one side allowing you to customise your own scarf, jumper or large scarf via a web browser app. Here you select from one of several of pre-defined patterns or designs, allowing you to carefully 'customise' them by creating effects or changing the colour. Once you are done, you can order it. It takes 4-5 days for an order to be fulfilled and send to your address, but you can also make an appointment to watch your order made in that Stoll machine instore.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Wellcome Collection's stunning new spiral staircase

Anyone who has followed my Instagram account will know how much I love spiral staircases. From traditional 17th century cantilevered stone staircases like the beautiful Tulip staircase in Queen's House to the majestic Brewer staircase at Heals and modern classics like the one in City Hall. If there's an interesting staircase, particularly the spiral kind, you will bet I will be there photographing it.