Friday, January 29, 2016

24 hour in Stockholm

Our January trip continues with a quick 24 hour trip to Stockholm. Well the entire trip was closer to two days if you factor in the flight time and the bus to and from both airports. This was our first time to a Scandinavian country, so it was worth the stress.

We stayed at the Anedin hostel on-board the M/S Birger Jarl, one of many boat hotels around Stockholm. It was moored near Slussen, Södermalm (where other cruise ships were moored as well) only 15 minutes walk from tourist island Gamla Stan, and also a short walk to the trendy district 'SoFo' in Södermalm. The cabin itself was small, though it does have its own en-suite bathroom and toilet.
As we were only in Stockholm for 24 hours, we knew that this was more or less an exploratory trip - one designed for us to get our bearings and to see if we like Stockholm enough to warrant a proper holiday there another time. We limited ourselves to the two islands, Gamla Stan and Södermalm, while also getting a metro pass to explore Stockholm's cavern metro system, which is dubbed the world's longest art exhibit.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Samsung's regressive attitude to product support

Ever since my partner bought her iPhone 6S on launch day, it has received four or five software updates - I can't remember but it was at least once a month.

On the other hand, the last update on my Samsung Galaxy S6 was way way back in October. Meaning, not only is Samsung's so called flagship still running on the archaic Android 5.1, the security patch for it is October! The mind boggles on why this company still loves treating their customers with utter contempt. Even my five year old Windows 7 laptop is still getting its monthly security updates (and also a free Windows 10 update that I haven't applied yet), but not a barely year old flagship.

Android apologists will no doubt refer me to the Nexus series - which I did own for two years under the guise of the initially superb, but then deliberately neglected Nexus 5 phone. If there was a compelling new 5" Nexus phone running on updated hardware that isn't more expensive than the S6, then I would get it.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Six days from Berlin to Vienna (via Dresden and Prague)

Petrin Hill
Early this January we spent six days and five nights visiting four cities in three countries in Central Europe. The budget for the entire trip was roughly £500, including tickets, hotels, attractions, transports, souvenirs, food and coffee. We flew easyjet, and because it was a post-Christmas/New Year period, tickets were as cheap as you can imagine (the entire return flights for both of us were cheaper than lunch for two at Hawksmoor, or a train trip to the North of England).

The itinerary were two nights in Berlin, followed by taking the train to Prague, but with a six hours stop in Dresden, a night in Prague, then the coach the following evening to Vienna (the coach trip takes the same time to get to Vienna as the train, but is significantly cheaper). Then it was two night in Vienna before we flew back to London.
Reichstag dome
Despite our modest budget, we still managed to snag a private room with en-suite shower room at the Generator Hostel in the so-called trendy Mitte district. Right beside a metro station, we are always minutes away from most attractions, including just two stops away from Brandenburg Gate. With only two nights in Berlin, we had to make a lot of it, but with its excellent metro system, we managed to cover a lot more than what we thought was possible, with plenty of spare time to seek out cafes in between sights.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Late to the Party

It is almost mid January and still no Marshmallow update for my Galaxy S6 - supposedly the current flagship Android device from Samsung. Come on Samsung!

Oh, happy new year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Lorax at the Old Vic

It seems rather sad that on the very day our parliament would approve fracking in our national parks, we would be sitting in the magnificent Old Vic watching the Lorax presents his passionate case for the environment. And boy would you get fired up, especially when you read the next day the government is also cutting subsidies to renewable solar energy.

Adapted for the stage by David Greig and directed by Max Webster, The Lorax is based on Dr. Seuss's classic tale of the eponymous cranky mustachioed grouchy critter out to protect his woodlands from the businessman and Thneed-knitting industrial businessman, Once-ler, whose greed ultimately caused the destruction and deforestation of the Lorax's forest. A fable if you will, about the dangers of corporate greed versus the need to preserve nature.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Apple iPhone 6S digested review

Say what you will about Apple, they really do know how to design a lovely looking phone. The iPhone 6S is the latest iteration in their never ending quest to change everything, again.

The 6S follows through Apple's previous strategy of reusing the design of its predecessor. The 'S' moniker is there to indicate a performance update (Speed, see what they did there?), and boy does it perform. The Apple A9 CPU is a beast. Its single core performance is blazing fast, and its multi-core's none too shabby either. Without getting technical, the 6S is the fastest phone you can get on the market today.
iOS9 comes preloaded with the 6S and is optimised for the larger screen. I had been testing it on a 4S previously and found it highly unusable on a small display, but on the 6S - it works just fine. It just isn't for me. As someone who loves the design of Windows (Metro) or the fluidity that Android provides, iOS's garden wall restriction hampers my enjoyment somewhat. Still to some, it is perfect, understandably, and I won't slate anyone who prefers it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Rising Tide

The Rising Tide by Jason deCires Taylor is a temporary installation situated beside Vauxhall Bridge on the beach below Albert Embankment.
Located a mile away from the House of Parliament, the four horsemen of the apocalypse is a political statement on the impact of fossil fuel and the reluctance by our leaders to tackle climate change. The sculptures, which features horses with heads modeled after oil well pumps, are only visible during low tides. Two of the riders in business suits looks away in defiance.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Charles Pétillon's Heartbeat, Covent Garden

About 100,000 white balloons are currently suspended over the south Market Hall in old Covent Garden, Central London. Officially titled Heartbeat, the sculpture earns its namesake thanks to the a series of lighting installation that pulsates.

The inflatable installation by Charles Pétillon was unveiled two weeks ago and will remain in place until 27 September 2015, so better get going before they all pop.