Sunday, November 30, 2014

Moving to Android

I've been an iPhone 4 user for a few years. It has probably been 3 years now. That's a fair length of time for a mobile these days. I was very happy with the iPhone when I got it as a gift back in 2011. However, the cost of the contract and the availability of cheaper alternatives has driven me away to an Android phone as my new cell phone. I've gone for an inexpensive Android phone, the Motorola Moto E. It's the cheaper end of the market than many phones I see people at work using. However, it seems responsive while browsing and playing videos on wifi. I can't tell what the performance as a phone is like yet because the number is in the process of transferring. I will have 14 days to either accept or reject this but at the moment I am not seeing a downside. Well, not strictly true, the ONLY downside I can see at the moment is that the camera is not as good as the iPhone camera. BUT my Panasonic camera is way better than my iPhone anyway so I would normally use that for shooting. So far so good with my new phone, the other advantage is that the whole family has the same phone. We have a family deal. I wonder what shape we'll be in after two more years of this contract? At least the monthly cost is cheaper than a single brand new iPhone model. I still don't understand why people spend that amount of money but maybe I never will.

I've transferred important information to the new phone but one app on iPhone I had and liked was a journal app called Day One. I wanted to keep it, so looked for an Android version but there wasn't one. I looked up some alternatives and have gone for an app called Diaro. The cool thing was that I was able to set up my iPhone to sync with my Dropbox account. I then signed in to the Diaro website and sync that also to my Dropbox account. I was then able to move my Day One Dropbox folder to my Diaro Dropbox folder. Then in the Diaro website I chose to import my Day One journal, selecting the replace all option (because I had no content in Diaro) and it worked. I had to close the app on my phone and start it again but then the content appeared. Great, the data I wanted to transfer was transferred. Now I can use my phone to continue my journal as before.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas is just around the corner

It's that time of year again when the shops are selling Christmas goods openly. The shopkeepers are hoping for a good turnout. I always think of shopping at night at Christmas time. I do like when the towns are all being lit up with Christmas lights. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping days. I don't like the crush of crowds very much but if I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere then it's okay. The best place to be at Christmas is either at home or at the pub I reckon. Nothing quite like being warm and drinking wine or beer in the company of friends and loved ones. It's better if you're safe in the knowledge that you have got your loved ones all of their presents. I don't like the stress of buying presents just for the sake of it. Despite all the talk of shopping, I love the food and the smells of Christmas. I even love the fact that the weather is usually terrible. It makes me happier to be indoors at home. At the end of the month we have some friends over and we'll go watch the turning on of the Christmas lights in town, they do a fireworks display as well that is quite good. Looking forward to it. I will also be seeing the Christmas market when I go to Manchester. That's usually very good as well. I love the fact that there are so many food and drink stalls.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bletchley Park

This afternoon my son and I visited the secret wartime code breaking location of Bletchley Park. I knew quite a bit of the story before going, as it is one I do find fascinating. But I picked up things even I had not known or had forgotten. The tireless way the people worked there and the production line like nature of the code breaking is only something you can appreciate by going. It's incredible to think what teams of linguists, mathematicians, scientists and engineers can do when they work together. It's a great place to visit, the funding they have had has really helped make it an attraction that's worth visiting.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tasty supper for a cold day

Last night I had a walk around and decided to eat at one of those places I like to go once in a while. It's a restaurant that specialises in pies called Pieminster (in Manchester). The food is great and arrives really fast to the table, the beer was great bottled beer too. Here's a photo of my supper, yummy! This particular dish is called Kate & Sidney and I had mine with minted mushy peas and cheese, a combo they call the Mothership. It also has a pouring of rich red wine gravy on the creamy mashed potato.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Bonfire Night 2014

It was our local fireworks display last night. My wife was in London at the theatre with a friend so I went with my children and a couple of other families. The fireworks were pretty good, they usually are. Here is the video that my son shot, he wanted this particular music for it - Carmen Overture.

We Remember Them

Very poignant Remembrance services were held today across the country. It is 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall too. I took the photo below of a section of the wall that is outside of the Imperial War Museum.
So many men and women have fallen in battle for the sake of our country and our freedoms. It is hard for subsequent generations to truly recognise the sacrifice they made. The war poetry and poignancy of the ceremonies helps us all to mourn and remember them. Even though we may not appreciate the ways that they all fell, the day to day gritty nature of life in wartime. Few can truly remember what it was like, our soldiers of today have perhaps the best chance at this. But even though it is hard, it is important to think and reflect on how awful life would be if our freedoms had not been fought so hard and so valiantly for.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Imperial War Museum

After our large lunch we went to the Imperial War Museum, which was incredibly interesting. Unfortunately, to get timed tickets to visit the First World War galleries you need to get there very early. So we didn't get to see those but I did go and look at another interesting gallery about the Holocaust. It was quite shocking. At the end of it there is a scale model of the Auschwitz Death Camp, all in white under bright white lights. Very stark and very chilling.
I took a photo of one of the exhibits, an eagle from the new Reich Chancellery. It is shocking to think what a hold that Nazis had over ordinary Germans to make them accept what Hitler wanted. Very disturbing to think that something like that could happen again because it has happened before.

Wagamama's Firecracker

On Friday when we were in London with the boys, we visited the Wagamama restaurant near to the Royal Festival Hall, it's close to the Thames river. For a change, I ordered a dish I haven't tried before. I believe it has only recently been added to their menu, it was called the Firecracker. It had a lovely sweet sauce with red chillis, green mange tout, spring onions, chicken, red pepper, green pepper and a lovely centrepiece of rice. The food was hot and spicy but not unpleasantly so. I could take it, I had a few ice cubes leftover from my ginger beer and I used those to cool my mouth down. It was a great meal and a great dish but I was a bit too full for all the walking I still had to do in the afternoon. I don't think my legs have yet got over the distance we walked.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Shard

Our visit to London yesterday gave me an opportunity to take a few more photos of The Shard. I had taken a few photos from London Bridge when I visited Comic Con the Saturday before. Here are the photos I took, adjusted slightly. I think The Shard is an amazing building, it is really striking. here you see it in black and white with the sun behind it, in another shot I got the reflected image of it and finally I shot it from the ground looking up.

Tower of London ceramic poppies

I had the day off yesterday and visited the Tower of London with my wife, my son and his friend. There were a lot of people visiting the display and it was an amazing sight. My photographs don't really do it justice. It was unlike anything I've seen before, considering the poppies are not the paper ones but are made of clay. They can be purchased but have all been sold in advance I think, they will make a lot of money out of them and deservedly so.

RIP Jack Bruce

Sad news to hear of the death of the amazing bass guitarist Jack Bruce this week. I also really thought he had a great voice to go with his bass playing. Cream is the band that a lot of people will recognise he played in. One if the first 7 inch vinyl singles I was given included Cream's Tales of Brave Ulysses and the B side was great too. I also enjoyed Bruce's work with Robin Trower. Amazing songs and playing on the B.L.T. album. He would be what I describe as a musician's musician, not interested in looks or ego but someone only making music for the sake of moving it forward, constantly stretching himself.