Tuesday, April 30, 2013

KeepCup reusable coffee cup review

As a coffee addict, KeepCup has been one of the best investment I've ever made. Originating from coffee cultured Australia, this is the first barista standard reusable cup - meaning it should fit most professional espresso machines. If you drink as much coffee as I do, then this will reduce the consumption of disposable cups, of which billions are consumed and thrown away each year. Less waste = better for everyone. Released in 2011, KeepCup reusable cups has proven to be so popular that even Starbucks is getting into this whole reusable cup business.

KeepCup cups comes in four sizes: XS, S, M and L, which equates to 4oz, 8oz, 12oz and 16oz. Now I don't know about you, but I like my coffee strong, so 4oz and 8oz are perfect depending on the type of drink you like. 4oz cups are for espressos and 8oz are for milk-based espresso drinks like flat white and latte. If you like iced drinks, then either 12oz and 16oz will suit you, and I suspect these two larger cups will be popular among fans of Starbucks brand of bland coffee.
My partner's KeepCup
In fact, you don't even need to like coffee to want to own this - it is fine for any hot beverage including tea, chai latte (whatever that is) or any other trendy hot drink is at the moment. The removable rubber band allows you to highlight your drink preferences, including whether you want sugar or sweetener (or none), soy milk (ugh), low fat milk (double ugh) or your coffee decaf (triple ugh).

Monday, April 22, 2013

London Coffee Festival 2013

This week marks the 2013 edition of the London Coffee Festival. Coinciding with National Coffee Week, London Coffee Festival will be held once again at the Old Truman Brewery near Brick Lane in Shoreditch, London. For three days, coffee snobs from around the world will be descending to sample coffee, attend or watch the UK Barista Championship, learn the art of brewing artisan coffee and take part in many other caffeine related fun. Inside, the festival will be divided into zones, including a pop up coffee shop in 'Soho', a food court in 'Shoreditch' and picnic area in 'Hyde Park'.

Tickets for each session costs from £12.50 on the door with discounts for online booking. Best of all, while you learn to appreciate specialty coffee, 50% of ticket sales will go towards Project Waterfall, a charity which aims to provide safe drinking water and sanitation in coffee producing counties in Africa.

* picture from The Attendant coffee shop in London

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cambodia: Never forget

38 years ago today, Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge. What happened after was the most horrific events in modern history the media has wished we forgotten. In just four years before they were overthrown, between 2-2.5 million lives were lost as a result to Pol Pot's evil and genocidal regime. That is more than a quarter of the entire population of the country. To put that into perspective, that's double the population of modern Birmingham, UK. Dead.

When the Vietnamese liberated Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge, the governments of Thatcher and Reagan, along with China and the United Nations, supported their 'resistance', even against their population's own public opinions. These includes creating an 'exiled' government made up 'reasonable' Khmer Rouge and training the 'resistance'. The result was years of violence, with many still feeling the impact.

Today should mark as a grim reminder of a genocide that should never have been allowed to happen. Instead, the mainstream media, in collusion with the government, aims to revise history today by honouring a homophobic who supported Pol Pot, one of the most evil person to have ever lived. Not to mention Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, Suharto and Apartheid South Africa. But we will never forget.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Hobbit

So yesterday I finally got to sit down and watch Peter Jackson's first party of The Hobbit. It kinda sucked. Loosely based on Tolkein's classic short children book, the film guts whatever was fun and charming about the book and churn out a fest of mediocre CGI action epic nonsense. Curiously, Bilbo Baggins forgets that he never wanted to be part of all this dwarvish racket, but instead sets out to prove he is action hero. After all, why be the reluctant thief he was supposed to be, when you can be the warrior, John McClaine style, instead.

Almost three hours long, for what is basically 1/3rd of the book. Never mind that there is just not enough content for a nine hour 'epic', even Peter Jackson recognised that, dragging the first film with so much fillers and foreshadowing, you could churn out a new TV series "Dwarves and what they do in their fucking spare time whilst waiting to go on an adventure" and have enough for twelve episodes. In comparison, the Lord of the Ring films were nine hours long but the films were based on six books, and a tons more appendix.
Well go on then. You would be doing us all a favour

Monday, April 8, 2013

BBC forgets its public service remit

This news is about two weeks late, but better late than never, eh? Ever felt that as a license fee payer you don't feel like BBC has your best interest? Well Windows Phone users do. For more than two years, Lawrence Gripper, a developer at Microsoft, has developed and maintained the brilliant none-commercial BBC News third party application. His dedication to bring us the service BBC themselves refuses to provide against their very own charter, should be applauded.

Not according to BBC that is. Allegedly, someone at the Beeb has got their knickers in the twist and decided to come down hard on the app. Perhaps it is because the app is so good (in many ways, even better than BBC's own mediocre official offerings on iOS and Android), they felt embarrassed, maybe. This resulted in the developer being forced to de-list the app from the Marketplace. If you haven't downloaded it yet, tough luck. You will just have to get your news from BBC's rather rubbish mobile site.

According to the developer, the app has been downloaded by over half a million users - a staggering number for a platform that many has insisted is dead. You would think that with such a high demand for a quality BBC News app, Aunty themselves would develop their very own app, or at the very least, turn a blind eye on Mr. Gripper's work. Well you don't need me to tell you how many feels about BBC's own policy towards mobile platform neutrality (*cough* there isn't).

If you are a license fee payer like I am, and feel that the BBC has been most unjust in the way they are treating Windows Phone users, please feel free to send them a polite complaint, perhaps also reminding them that not everyone worships the House of Cupertino and Margaret Thatcher. In any case, the moment we move home, we think our license fee is better spent on something a bit more worthwhile, like Netflix.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

International Pillow Fight Day

It's that time of the year again! The annual international pillow fight day returns this Saturday. For those in London, this means the flashmob will begin at 3pm at Trafalgar Square (for other locations across the world, refer to this handy guide).

Attending your first ever public pillow fight? Well, there are some rules: do not hit anyone who is carrying a camera (it isn't fun having a SLR whacked right back into your face - trust me, I know), or anyone without a pillow. Oh and yes, do pillow fight anyone with a pillow.

As I am bed ridden with an infection, I might have to give this year's a miss. Still I am optimistic (come on antibiotic, do your thing). In any case, have fun!