Plan for the Tiger

Jul 14, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I've hatched a devious and cunning plan on how I can parlay my R1150GS into a Gold-Yellow Triumph Tiger 1050. It doesn't involve anything illegal and it's not one of those ebay paperclip-into-house tricks.

It will be mine. Mark my words. By the end of this year, or in the first couple of months of 2008, this will be in my garage:

Honda Porn

Jul 13, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I got a lot of stuff done today. The GE guy came to sort out the recall on the dishwasher. The roofing people came for their money (at last). I learned about tree pruning and pruned some trees. And then I went to the tire place and picked up the new shoes for the car. It still goes and stops like a 2 ton box but the handling has been transformed. It corners! In fact, it corners so well the ABS came on - twice - trying to recover me from some playfully hard full-lock stopping. At least I think it was the ABS. It might have been the new tyres rubbing on something but I couldn't see anything that looked like it was in peril. Time will tell.



Oh yes - one other thing. I rode the new Triumph Tiger 1050 today. Oh. My. Lord. I love my BMW. It's a fantastic bike. But having ridden the new Tiger.... well. I do believe my BMW and I will be parting company in the near future. The Tiger is just phenomenal. Simply amazing. Well - apart from the gearbox, but that's typical Triumph fare. I could not believe what a great bike that thing is. I simply have to have one now. Now I just need to figure out quite how I can afford it :-(

Sicko ?

Jul 12, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I've not seen the new Michael Moore movie yet - and I won't until it comes out on DVD. But from what I'm seeing in the interviews and trailers, he seems to be putting forth England as the shining example of how health care should be. If he is, then he's unusually misguided. Nationalised health care is absolutely not what America needs. I agree that the healthcare system here is broken but that's the fault of the laywers, judges and insurance companies. My wife's dad had a medical problem that was fairly critical some years ago and because of the nationalised health service in England he was put on a 26 month waiting list. A complication meant he got seen sooner, but he quite literally had to be in a critical condition before they would see him. Had that been in America he would have been able to have the operation probably within days of the diagnosis.
And don't lets forget the awful state of dentistry as suffered by my wife at the hands of some NHS dentist. When she finally got to a good, trustworthy private dentist, his comment was "it looks like a road construction crew have been in here - and a bad one at that."
The NHS is broken - badly so. People are literally dying because of the state of the healthcare service in England, and to suggest that is the solution to the problem in America is just plain wrong.

Two tyres doth not a complete set make.

Jul 11, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I just had an entertaining call from the local tyre place.
"Mr Longhurst. Your two tyres are in. Erm. Two of the four. Oh wait. Two of the four but the wheels haven't arrived yet. Sorry. Never mind."

Oh oh - people aren't scared!

Jul 10, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Fearing complacency among the American people over possible terror threats, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Jerkoff said in Chicago Tuesday that the nation faces a heightened chance of an attack this summer. "I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk," Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune.

And to what data and intelligence does Jerkoff attribute this heightened threat? "Gut feeling".

I kid you not.

Jerkoff has been irresponsible enough to make these comments because he has a "gut feeling". In other words, Bush and his cronies are in a blind panic because the American people aren't currently fearful of anything.
It's odd, because my gut feeling is that Bush, Jerkoff, Cheney, Rice and ex-Rumsfeld are all total cocks, but that doesn't mean I'm right. Actually, bad example. They are total cocks, but you get my point.

Blocking ads - why Firefox wins every time.

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I'd forgotten just how bad the internet is for ads. I'd also forgotten how sedantary internet explorer is. I've been using Firefox and Adblock for so long now that I'm used to sites just coming up in a pretty quick fashion with no ads. One site I came across this morning still seemed to be coded in the dark ages, and insisted on IE - the pages just didn't work at all in Firefox. So I booted up IE and took a look. My God that's a slow browser. In the end there was nothing of worth on that particular site but I skipped over to CNN To read a story about a guy travelling 193 miles in a lawn chair with helium balloons (story) and it took forever to load. The site took plenty of time to load up all the winking, popping, flashing, moving, distracting ads first, and then showed the actual story, which itself was bisected by another ad. I copied the URL back into Firefox and the serenity returned. No ads, and the story came up instantly.
Below a screengrab of the two running side by side. In IE there's even a bloody ad in the "Most Popular" banner at the bottom right. I just don't know why anyone would still use IE.....

The iPhone - no "it" factor.

Jul 9, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I had a chance to play with the new iPhone a couple of days ago and I left the AT&T store considerably underwhelmed. It didn't leave me with that "must have it" feeling that a proper tech toy should do. I just couldn't get past the greased-up, fingerprinted and gunked screen. It looked like it had been on the floor of a chip shop. My current cellphone is bad enough with its little screen but the iPhone is a huge swath of ready-to-scratch plastic that gets covered in grease too easily.
The interface was nice, but it had no real "wow" factor. The text precognition didn't appear anywhere near as good as the stuff you get on Nokia phones nowadays. The browsing was so-so - small screen, slow download times. Even zoomed in, the screen was good but still didn't have any real zing to it. The main failing, of course, is that it's locked to AT&T. If anything is going to be the downfall of the iPhone, that'll be it. Unless someone hacks it to be able to use any provider, of course.
I'm liking the look of the OpenMoko Neo1973 phone. It's been kicking around in development for a year or so now, and it's sort of like an iPhone but it's an unlocked quad-band GSM phone with an open-source Linux interface. Looks OK on paper but I'd like to play with one 'live' before making a decision on one. I've made a decision on the iPhone though - it has nothing I want. For a tech geek, that's sad, because I'll buy stuff I don't need just because I want it. But not only don't I need an iPhone - I don't want one either.

Boeing porn

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Mmmmmm. The new 787 rolled out yesterday, getting it's first public airing. Now that's a good-looking aircraft. Boeing reckon the first flight will be in September this year with delivery to ANA next spring. That's a pretty fast-track for a new aircraft. One of the stuffed shirts at the presentation yesterday was a bit boorish though. He was complaining about his 18 hour flight from Singapore to New York on a "very slow Airbus". He failed to point out that Boeing don't have anything that could cover that distance in a single shot. Given that Airbus congratulated Boeing publicly on the 787, it was pretty poor taste for one of the higher-ups at Boeing to smack them in the face like that. The 787 and A380 and A350 will all co-exist, and to believe anything different is ridiculous. So the pro-Boeing and pro-Airbus fanboys can just stop arguing.
What was entertaining was the amount of pomp and glamour they lavished on the 787, claiming it would bring back the glory days of air travel and so on and so forth. Erm. No it won't. Unless Boeing have designed a floor track that will make it physically impossible for the airlines to jam in a 3-3-3 seating arrangement with a 30-inch seat pitch, the 787 is going to be just like every other aircraft. It will be a miserable, torturous experience to fly in because the airlines will continue to treat their passengers like freight.
The interesting part about the 787 is that because it's mostly composite, it must be painted to protect the structure. I'm keen to see how American Airlines are going to spin this, given that they've historically saved weight by simply polishing the aluminium on their planes. Now they're going to have to paint their aircraft, they'll have to come up with a new livery. That might explain why American haven't ordered any yet. Well, that and the dire financial problems they're in.

380 miles - a nice day out

Jul 8, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Mike and I took off at 8 this morning to do a long loop in the mountains on the motorbikes. Given the 40°C temps here in the valley, it was definitely a good idea - the temperatures up top were much cooler.
Got back about 30 minutes ago and I'm knackered.