Where magic lives

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Canon IXUS 75

One of my more recent tech purchases has been a digital camera.

I went for the Canon IXUS 75 as it seemed to have a good review to price ratio, it is small and it looks sexier than your standard all-silver digital camera.

I have had plenty of chance to test it out on my two recent holidays and so far I am impressed. It has lots of different settings to let you (try and) get the shot that you want but also seems to do a good job in automatic mode (although it is better at this in the daytime).

On the downside it does not have image stabilisation, so on slow exposure you have to try and improvise a tripod. Although, this is kind of a good thing as I have already dropped it once, it doesn't seem to mind a beating but I doubt this would be the case if it had a gyro.

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Bad Girls the Musical

Went to see Bad Girls The Musical in London's West End today. It was fun. Took a bit of getting used to the new actors but there were some familiar faces; one of which was Sylvia Hollamby.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Egypt

Just visited Egypt. It was a new country for me (and I actually acquired some stamps in my passport!) The weather was brilliant. The resort was really good, full board meant free everything!

We had plenty of snorkeling fun, one time we went out to a coral. It was a great opportunity to play some more with my new camera along with its underwater case.

Also, we went quad-biking through the nearby mountains.

One of the days was spent on a trip over the border into Israel. The border it self was interesting; it is amazing how more secure Israel seems than Egypt. In Israel we saw some dolphins and did some shopping.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Thoughts on Freebase

I have been evaluating Freebase a fairly new site that is aiming to create an open database of everything. Think Wikipedia, but with user definable relational structure.

Here are my thoughts:

Weaknesses:

  • Permissions too lapse.
    Not extendible for uses such as a social network, could not easily be used to store private data for a website.
  • No notion of functions.
    Wouldn't it be really cool if users could submit functions as well as types, e.g. a function from post codes to latitude and longitude.
  • Can Metaweb Technologies be trusted?
    This is a lot more complicated than Wikipedia for other organisations to replicate. If Metaweb goes bust or bad is all the data lost?
  • Needs more data.
    It will be interesting to see at what rate the size of the database grows and what the typical method of inserting data will be. Many users will not go as far as learning the API but the current user interface is a bit too clunky for contributors. Refactoring using the Freebase site is currently more-or-less impossible, and a lot of refactoring should be expected for an openly writable database of everything in such an early stage!

Cool:

  • Users can create HTML only data driven web applications.

Possible (Mis-)uses:

  • To store low sensitivity, yet private, data (using cryptography).
    Think of it as a replacement for Amazon S3.
  • A truly open social network.
    At some point soon Facebook, Myspace, etc. have to face the openness interrogation that awaits most successful technology companies.
  • Free hosting with unlimited bandwidth.
    When the site is out of alpha anybody will be able to query the database.

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