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Posts Tagged ‘trends’

So despite the fact that the prevailing opinion from my Twitter contacts and friends alike was that I should wait for the Kindle to grace the shores of the UK, the holiday in Denmark with three bulky paperbacks squeezed into a too-cramped rucksack and the impending implosion of my bookshelves into some minor singularity broke me, and I picked up a Sony PRS 505 from Play.com about two weeks ago. I’d seen my friend Rob with one and had a pretty good idea it would be decent, which its proving to be, and I had a feeling that the Kindle would be some time coming…

Here’s what’s good about it:

1) It stores lots of book in a sleek, elegant casing. I’ve shoved a 1GB SD card (at a cost of a not so princely £4) in there, which will cover me for at least 1000 books but potentially as many as 3000 – which is probably more than I’ll need on there

2) It works well with the open source Calibre, even under Windows7 RC1 64bit, which is something of a relief (as I gather the Sony software is its usual bag of decaying tripe)

3) The screen is amazing. E-Ink works like an etch-a-sketch, so reads well in any light. It also makes for…

4) …awesome battery life. Due to the etch-a-sketch nature of the device, it only draws power when turning pages. So one charge (by USB cable), will give you room for about 4000 page turns

5) You can get books. Waterstones has many, even if Amazon is probably banking on the arrival of the Kindle in the UK at some stage.

The not-so-good

1) I’ve already mentioned Sony’s software… the navigation on the device itself is not brilliant, no way to go directly to a page (that I’ve found as yet), not until you’ve made bookmarks (although it remembers what page you were last reading), and there’s no search functionality, ability to make notes etc. I’m also having some fiddling with page alignment (page numbers in middle of page, NBSPs, etc)

2) There’s no wireless connectivity – hence awesome battery life, but hey, if I want wireless, well, that’s what the iPhone I’m planning on getting will do…

3) The page-turning is not that speedy, although its not terrible

All in all, it’s up there with my Netbook in all-time useful purchases. I carry it around daily, have got through two novels on it in two weeks and will probably maintain close to that rate, saving valuable bookshelf real-estate, holiday packing and being stuck on the bus in between books…

Here’s a quick video demo from some dude on Youtube:

Cross posted on Division6.

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Hedge find

Forget hedge funds – hedge finds are where it’s at in 2k9.

If you’re stuck for something to do this weekend, why not head for the Bedfont Peacocks, in Middlesex.

This is where you’ll find a totally topiary-tastic bit of bush, in a lazy subburb in the shadow of Heathrow airport.

You can read more at ‘Nothing to See Here’ a great blog dedicated to quirk British places that most people overlook.

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I think Spotify is fantastic – www.spotify.com. It is great to have an on-line jukebox with millions of songs with high quality sound. You can listen to all kinds of tunes once only, including those naff ones you would never dream of buying, without having to buy them. I introduced Spotify to my kids who now use it a lot too. Their response made me think about how they will be about security when they come into the workplace. They have created one account which they share with their friends  at school and then they create playlists for each other. A bit like the way people used to give each us compilation cassette tapes but less hassle. I wonder whether they will need lessons on security and privacy when they start in the workplace. However it does make you realise how open tomorrow’s workforce will be to collaboration technologies.

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I have a confession to make: I’m on my knees thanks to a filthy new addiction: growing my own grub.

Every day I end up covered in organic soil from seeding, potting, planting out, digging in, uprooting, weeding, and going toe-to-toe with zombie-like slugs and death-from-above wood pigeons. And before you think I’ve lost the plot, I’m not the only one.

Urban farming is a dirty new trend taking root in London’s zone 2 neighbourhoods and beyond, thanks to projects like Landshare, which just launched this week. Landshare matches untended (or unwanted) gardens with garden-less growers.

Swapping Starbucks for PH soil tests

As a grower – I ran my first urban farming project last year – I’m all for it, and have signed up to assist less-able folks in their growing efforts. Plenty of people in my area are taking part, as East Dulwichians swap their Nars varnish for soil-caked fingernails, their Converse sneakers for Hunter wellies, and Starbucks for soil PH tests. There are a number of drivers behind this behaviour.

Trends like the slow food movement, the food miles debate, and the economic nosedive are convincing people to think differently when it comes to their scran. London needs 125 times its own area to provide the resources it consumes,  so it’s no surprise people are taking matters into their own hands.

Mutant carrots

Some people are even calling for participatory landscaping with a greater sense of urgency than Landshare, an article on which features my highly experimental mutant carrot strain from last season.  However, if you’re not convinced about turning London’s available spaces – from decked yards to vacant lots – into urban farms, then at least sharpen your secateurs for fashion’s sake.

Gardening as vandalism

If you need any more convincing that it’s hip to grow, then look no further than achingly hip sportswear brand, Adidas, whose guerrilla gardening project last year saw the brand ‘vandalise’ public spaces with flower power. What’s next I wonder – Banksy ditching his spray paint for mushroom spores to save the world?

Crossposted at my other blog.

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