Dec 31, 2008 0
Dec 22, 2008 1
Back in 1986 my brother Mahmood started a Bulletin Board Service (or BBS’s as they were known then) called Stray Cats. Remember those? 9600 baud modems beeping, handshaking and connecting? Settings like 8 bits, 1 stop, no parity? Ah, those were the days… online communities stripped to their bare essentials. Except it felt ultra high tech then.
A few years later my boss gave me access to his Compuserve account which I was very careful with. I would log on, download what I wanted and then log out making sure I didn’t spend too long “online”. The only problem was that Batelco, the state-backed telco monopoly, was billing their customers per character instead of time. Yes that’s right, per character. The bill that month was BD 1,500 or $3,980. I stopped using his account after that.
Then came AppleLink. At the time I was working for the Apple dealer in Bahrain and we used it to download software updates, email Apple Support and scour their libraries. It was, as far as I know, Apple’s first online network. It was also where I made my first online purchase. During the first Gulf War when everything was locked down I wanted to buy a fun software package that’ll skin the interface on my System 7-based Mac (it was a Mac IIci as I recall). I couldn’t get the package delivered so I emailed the developer through AppleLink, paid by Visa and downloaded the software. And that felt revolutionary.
It was only after I moved to London that I started using a new innovation called Mosaic to “surf” the World Wide Web. Those dancing hamsters were something else! And GIFs that were first blocky and then resolved themselves to images! And it was zippy fast! 56K fast!
ADSL and broadband came next. 256Kb/sec speeds and always on! No, wait 512Kb/sec now and… how about 1Meg! And MP3′s online! I can download music! Wait, the iTunes Music Store! And now I’m on 2Meg broadband! Please stop, this is going far too fast.
Virgin just launched their 50Meg cable service this month. Here’s what I want now. An online 1080 HiDef film site which sells or rents new release films as they hit the cinema. A beefed up Apple TV hard wired to a blazingly fast 100Meg+ line. A BBC iPlayer that is integrated into a razor thin flat screen that streams HD TV shows especially Planet Earth. Direct downloads from Amazon of film titles, TV shows and games. And all of that controlled from my iPhone. Now, where do I sign up?
Dec 20, 2008 1
The bug has caught up with me. You know how it goes, you work incredibly hard before a holiday, shoehorning five or six campaigns before you go on your break. Then the cold that’s been going around the office and at home and you miraculously miss hits you. Bugger.
Anyway, it’s Christmas in Ireland for us this year. We have the joy of flying RyanAir on Monday but I’m sure when we get there everything will be fine. In the words of that great Irish philosopher and national poet, Father Jack:
“Feck!!! Gurrrllls! Drrrriiinkkkk!!!”
Dec 14, 2008 0
Dec 12, 2008 0
They are necessary aren’t they?
Now the anaesthetic has worn off I’m not sure I should have been so polite in my thanks before I left. Ouch. Now I can fully experience the pliers in my mouth, in full stereoscopic pain-o-vision.
Right, time to self-medicate.
Dec 11, 2008 2
Gillian and I received some very bad news today. One of our friends was in a car accident and passed away. Petros was a wonderful man and we both feel guilty that we haven’t been in touch for a while.
Mark, Petros’ partner, was my best man at our wedding. He is also one of my dearest friends. It was wonderful when we were all together.
Our sincerest condolences to Mark and to Petros’ family.
I can’t say any more except that life is shit sometimes.
Dec 8, 2008 0
Dec 5, 2008 0
I love coffee. We have a nice Siemens-Porsche designed machine at home and the smell of Illy coffee on a Saturday morning is high up on my list of favorite things.
The illustration on the right is from a set by Christopher Neimann describing his coffee habits through the years. Beautifully illustrated.
Dec 3, 2008 0
Amazon launches its’ MP3 download service in the UK and from what I’ve seen initially it’s fantastic! £3 for whole albums instead of iTunes’ £7.99! Apple, you have some competition!