Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Braid - completed

FInished. Worth it.

Still not sure I get the resolution, but still well worth the effort.

Beautifully done.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Braid

Just picked up Braid for the mac.

Oh my god it's awesome.

It's also damn annoying, but for about £7 - so so worth it.

If you haven't tried/heard about it, it's originally an XBox 360 Live Arcade Game, then ported to the PS3 and the PC/Mac. In it you play a guy called Tim who's rescuing a Princess he lost through a mistake. The gameplay is essentially platforming puzzle-tastic, but crucially each level is a puzzle where you manipulate time to achieve the result and each world has a different mechanism. I'm yet to finish it, and I've been playing pretty hard over the last few days. Often the puzzle answers are clear but how to effect them is not!

Probably the best game I've played in ages, including things like Modern Warfare 2 and GTA 4...

Buy it, you will definitely NOT regret it.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Friends

Sometimes you finally realise what you miss most...

Your friends.

Much love everybody!

- Mobile Dr Retard

Friday, 11 December 2009

Xmas... Time of giving

Would love to. If only could find the time to do so!


- Mobile Dr Retard

Monday, 7 December 2009

Companion to Specialist Surgery

What On Earth? The 8 book mega-set of the 4th edition is MORE expensive than buying them individually! By £70ish! What do elsevier and their WB Saunders imprint think they're doing? I know the print price is £75, but no one is selling it or that - £60 is about standard on Amazon. Still even if you do buy from their site at £75 per book you're unlikely to lose much cash compared to the boxset!

Ridiculous!


- Mobile Dr Retard

Friday, 4 December 2009

Lambeth Council are idiots

Sometimes you just have to wonder...

To park in Lambeth you need a permit. Fair enough. To get this permit you essentially have to provide DNA evidence of who you are and where you live. Again understandable if over zealous, especially for renewals (when they have the tenants details and so on).

However, to get said permit you have to do battle. Not with the poor (very friendly and helpful) staff in your local council office but with 'the network' which is always down. This means the only place to reliably get a parking permit is Brixton, which is a battlefield both due to busyness of the office and understandable staff frustration.

Why there is no other way I do not know. Why the network appears to be a problem I don't know but maybe they just don't like their residents. Or they don't care!


- Mobile Dr Retard

Thursday, 3 December 2009

No sleep for the wicked

Apparently wards in hospital are noisy busy places - BBC News

No shit sherlock.

This is possibly the most obvious piece of information I have ever learnt!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Travel for London Price Hikes AGAIN!

They are raising the prices for public transport in London. Boris Johnson says it's all down to Ken Livingstone and his wasteful system. Now whether that's true or not I don't know, but seeing as the main party is really not to be trusted, and his wingmen were often referred to as crooks; maybe it's all true.

But tourists still manage to get shafted - no oyster card sir? Well that's £1billion pounds per trip now...

Congestion Charge Redux

I have received a letter to say that of course I do not need pay for the erroneous ticket. Entertainingly due to the mail strike the letter saying it's silly arrived after the acceptance letter!

So there. Finally a win for the little man...

New Mac Photos

See here on my flickr pages for this - it even has it's own little set

My sister has also managed to get one. And LOVES it! It is so amazingly beautful I must say.

New MBP!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Congestion Charge

I have just been charged for using the congestion charge free diversion around Victoria - the Bressenden Place Diversion.

I think they will be apologising soon. I am annoyed that following the rules = ticket...

Not happy!

New Mac!

I have just got a new Macbook Pro...

My 6 1/2 year old TiBook is still going strong, but I needed something to take me into the next decade. Thanks dad! Totally unexpected and very gratefully received.

Bought day 1, arrived day 2, migrated day 3. Awesome.

Photos later when I've synced it all properly - investigating Chronosync.

Just used my old one - dear god the new one's screen has ruined me!

It is awesome all-round frankly!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The CWU - Are they actually idiots?

The CWU are responsible for the current parlous nature of the Royal Mail in the UK.

Who cares I hear you ask - we've got the internet, and ecommerce!

Bear in mind that contracts etc all have to be done hard copy and that letters for appointments for hospitals etc all go by post. Let alone all the people of a certain age who don't use the internet and are now completely isolated.

Well done the CWU. They have taken heed of the need to modernise (no more hand sorting please, we actually can use machine that do it quicker better and with less stealing), and taken that to mean that they should get more money for less work.

Private companies are jumping for joy - how else to get a foothold in a monopoly than by getting the 'workers' to strike, meaning that DHL, UKMail et al are the only alternative.

If you are working for a company, unless you are on Flexi-time, or have a special arrangement; you should work you contracted hours. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES. You should not be allowed to slope off home at 09:30 when there is a stack-load of post to do.

But then what do I know, I only work in a public sector job that gets absolutely screwed continually and cannot strike. Plus I don't get the benefit of being in the outdoors all the time.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Good Luck to the GB Fencing World Championship Team

Good luck to the boys and girls who are off in search of medals at the World Championships in Antalya, Turkey...

Do us proud chaps and chapesses!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Batman Arkham Asylum Demo

Jeez! Had seen some of the hype, but totally unprepared for this. I
had never realised quite how much a proper back story adds -
Chronicles of Riddick is a fantastic game but with forgettable
characters, apart from Riddick. The Batman universe adds so much more.

The actual mechanics of the game are similar to Riddick, bu. Without
the killing, and much more high level fun.

Stylistically they've gone for a gritty take mixing the new batman
films with the animated series in my opinion. It works.

Overall, me like. A lot. It made me late!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Travel For London...

London is sinking in a mess of poorly thought out and poorly implemented travel systems.

When the London Underground first started 1863, the population of London was only about 2,800,000 people. Now it's about 7,500,000 (possibly more as these are estimates from last year). The transport network has not really improved since the old days.

Minimal new tube lines have been built. Minimal efficiency gains have been garnered. Many more people have cars for two reasons - 1) you have to as the public transport is so bad and 2) they are cheaper and more affordable.

The only major change recently has been the congestion charge, which has not really changed things in my, the common person's, view. The cost of operating this awful scheme is massive, you cannot check if you actively need to pay the charge because they DON'T KEEP records! No way of checking them. Awesome labour bureaucracy, over-spending and non-transparency.

Now what they need, especially with the Olympics in mind, is a MASSIVE MASSIVE improvement.

The tube system - it's ok, but over-priced, over-staffed (by striking greedy people by the looks of the strikes. £40,000 a year for pushing a lever, sod off!), and hugely inefficient. Additionally it only serves North London effectively!

My idea is for new lines/re-opening of the old ones. The West-East Cross-Rail is good but not enough. There were plans for an Express Northern Line in the 1940s utilising the Deep Shelters from the war. But these were shelved due to cost. This should be re-established to take the pain off the worst line on the system.

Extensions/new lines west from Clapham to Putney to link up the district, northern, victoria and bakerloo line would be a boon.

Finally I think a big exterior circle line is needed, a la Moscow. Seeing as London's Underground only moves 1.2 billion a year compared to Paris' 1.4 billion (at a fraction of the cost and twice as quick). You have to ask the question why?

Is it:
a) cost
b) poor routing
c) too unbearably hot
d) all of the above

I think a reduced cost, a better system and you might find that no one bothers with cars. Plus they need to re-open the ventilation systems. Remove all the high power, high heat electrical systems that you can and get some fresh air circulating!

Buses... more needed, more often and more routes. Better once they figure out how to fix the tube.

iPhone

My new iPhone is actively awesome.

I'm almost quite upset that I've been resisting getting one before now. They are almost stupidly easy to use. It's annoying and addictive and also a fantastic phone. The apps system works very well indeed, allowing endless customisation within the sandbox of the optimum iphone environment.

I think the massive amount of freeware and cheap software means endless fun. Additionally they are always improving - now my research papers are on my iphone with Papers and I can fiddle with things in DocumentsToGo the mail program and calendar are a godsend.

Until I broke my WinMo 6.1 phone I didn't realise how much I used it. Now I have an iPhone I can't believe I battled away with that absolute crud that is the WinMo 6.1 interface, I am such a muppet.

I use it for life and Tube Deluxe and London Buses make the maze of London's awful travel network a breeze!

The iPod is bloody good too.

Seriously. Ignore that haters and get yourself one. You will not regret it I promise!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Exactly how I feel about Glastonbury!

Telegraph story about the over-hyped crap that is Glastonbury

HERE

Friday, 26 June 2009

The start of the future for my blogging

I've bitten the bullet and bought an iPhone - had to really as broke
the Tytn II!

Now I feel silly - as could have been in there much
earlier! But I now feel confident that I've made the right decision.


Gone are the days fighting the Internet and fighting winmo 6.1.

Instead I have fun and can all I want quickly, easily and well.

Best app so far is - Pocket Alan and London bus and tube apps.

Awesome!

More Rota Gaps, but that's ok cos if we ignore it no one will die...

Source 1 and Source 2

BMJ Careers Journal vs Department of Health Publicity Machine. I wonder who to believe????

Personally I would say that the 'overwhelming majority' is not enough. All this means is that the rotas are 'compliant'. Not full. Not actually workable. Not actually of benefit to patients or to doctors. It just means that another unwanted target has been foisted on the NHS by the Government and the EU. Especially as those services that have been given extra time are those who can't recruit - but every Trust already has large rota gaps and unfilled posts... How bad will it get before they relent?

No one works in the NHS for the money. If we did it for the money we'd be in the US. But then seeing as the government is obsessed with aping the world's most wasteful and unbalanced national healthcare system, I want more money (I actually don't, but in general US doctors get paid more)!

Of course what I'll actually do is do what all doctors already do - do what is right for the patient first, then what is right for their training second and finally (if forced) do what the government thinks is a good idea third.

I Disagree - Bad Science Column on Drugs

I like Ben Goldacre. I think his writing is very well constructed and researched. But sometimes I don't agree. His drugs column is one I don't agree with.

Unfortunately he is basing his argument on an unreleased (either through a). conspiracy and censorship, or b). not being complete) 1995 WHO document about Cocaine and it use/misuse, which apparently the US government required be lost. It's existence is now denied by the WHO but is 'available' on Transform Drug Policy Foundation, who's existence is to bring about a 'just, effective and humane system to regulate and control drugs at local, national and international levels'. this is an admirable aim, but the implication is that the current status quo is not one. Therefore obviously they use evidence to back up their thought processes - again admirable. It is merely unfortunate that they are the only repository of this leaked document. That does NOT mean it's credibility is necessarily in question, but it is a happy coincidence.

Anyway, the sad thing is that this document is I believe out of step with the current situation - it is after all 14 years old at least. Does this correspond with current knowledge on the long-term damage of differing patterns of drug consumption in a more sedentary and unfit populace? Do the statements regarding positive effects on indigenous Andean populations correlate with improved life expectancy and quality of life compared to matched indigenous controls? The reason why the majority of negative consequences are due 'legal' drugs such as nicotine and alcohol is because these are legal and therefore freely available.

The actual negative effects of cocaine seem to be quite important - it is associated with increased rates of STIs - such as HIV, Hep B and Hep C. This is significant - especially in a world dramatically different to that of 1995. It is also associated with increased rates of mental illness.

In the past 14 years purity of cocaine and cocaine use has vastly increased along with the cost dramatically reducing - such that it is now cheaper than cigarettes and alcohol. The key thing is not the legality. People will take it whether it is illegal or not, if they want to. But should that be a reason to legalise it? If you legalise it you unleash a whole new wave of problems on the vulnerable and under-privileged. Sometimes the law is there not to punish but to protect. Too many people have heart attacks under 30 due to cocaine. We do not have enough long-term evidence (10+ years of scientific research) to state that there are no long term consequences to industrially produced, chemically powerful drugs

But that's just my impression having seen many people have problems.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

European Working Time Directive vs Surgeons and Patients

Everyone knows that it is actively impossible to run a service and then train people without working a bog-standard 8-6 hour week (even that's over the 48 hr limit). Imagine, no on-calls, no nights, nothing actively possible unless you're not there during the day. Means nothing ever actively gets done!

Here's the Royal College of Surgeons' Take on it:

RCS President John Black

Monday, 4 May 2009

Wedding done twice

Can I just say congrats to K&D. Fabulous English Reception. Fantastic Hindu Wedding. Full marks throughout. Bloody good way to spend two weekends!

Better than work.

Julian Lloyd Weber

Amazing. Truly first class. And only £17 each.

Never seen someone quite that amazing with an instrument.

If you get a chance see him.

He even encored with Air on a G String.

Looks like he has Marfan hands though...

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Rant about the EWTD and stuff...

Oh god... I will finish this someday

Basically the European Working Time Directive (EWTD or wank for short) only works if:

1. you work to the hours set, ignoring patients and the situation
2. you have enough people to cover the rota
3. you don't need to train the people on the rota
4. people don't mind seeing hundreds of different doctors during a two day stay!

Now the NHS are all in favour of the EWTD as of course it gives them an excuse to pay people less... What people fail to realise is that newly qualified nurses and newly qualified doctors are on similar salaries - in fact a nurse's basic salary is more! Plus for london weighting they can get up to £4000 as opposed to £2000. The difference is then that doctors are on-call - nights, weekends and evenings. This mean's that despite working a 48 hour week (band 1) lots of that/all of that could be out of hours. Obviously nunrses do work out of hours too, but generally, not in addition to their weekly normal hours. I am not calling for nurses to be paid less, I think when allowed to nurse and not be forced to do the pointless bureacracy that most managers want them to now, nursing a hard but rewarding job. As is being a medic. Unfortunately being a medic means fighting off the media and Nu-Labour crap of being overpaid.

The way a rota should work is:

1. Training jobs should include training.
2. Jobs should involve continuity
3. Consultants should have input into training.
4. Guidelines and protocols are for guidance.
5. There should be support available.
6. Floor time should be maximised.
7. Service time should be minimised.

But that wouldn't work as it would cost too much and be far too beneficial to the patients and the managers might be out of job. Or whatever it is they decide to call it next.

See Dr Rant for clarification on any points...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Sony Walkman NWZ-W202 2Gb MP3 Player Review... Wearable!


The Sony NWZ-W202 is the first Sony music product I have bought since the dawn of time/my first walkman cassette player (except for a second hand vaio for £65! and a previous digital camera). It's not that I don't like Sony products it's just that actually they always seem over-priced and not quite right for me.

So why this review and the change of heart? I have an Apple Powerbook (6 years on and going strong) and an Apple iPod 10Gb Second Gen (6.5 years and going strong). I am always on the lookout for new gadgets. It is my cross to bear, but in this case I was looking to upgrade my trusty ol' iPod.

So as ever I'm wandering around the gadget shops and I spy what appears to be a set of headphones. On closer inspection they are headphones, but with the mp3 player built in. So far so good. Killer selling point then appears - 12 hour battery life! And if you forget to charge it, 3 minutes (yes 3!) will get you 90 hours of playback. Being Sony I reckoned, looks nice, probably osunds nice, but will be ridiculously expensive... £59. No cheaper elsewhere as only just released and only Sony Centres stocking it. Tried it on - nicely fitting. Compare it to other Shuffle-esque products... similar price. Plus no bloody wires to break from the headphones (I often spend £30-£50 on headphones to replace broken ones).



So I bought it. And here is the review.

Price £59. Second person in Westfield London to buy it apparently.

The box is reasonable, but once you take it out you'll never get it back in again. It looks like headphone packaging.

It comes with:
Replacement ear buds.
Strange little docking cradle (essentially a standard - hurrah! mini-USB cable stuck in a bit of plastic).
Software
Bizarre plastic case
Other crud.

The actual player looks and feels really well made. It has no screen (obviously), and consists of two black plastic earpieces with chrome fronts. The ear buds project out of the back of the pieces, with the actual in-ear bit coming off at about 45 degrees from the base ear buds (look at the pictures it's really hard to describe!). The two earpieces clip together with help of a magnet (strong!) which also turns it off. You have a shuffle on/off switch, an operation light (blinks to show power levels), and then on the underside of the right earpiece, the mini-USB connection, volume rocker switch, a reset hole and a jog wheel for skipping and playing.

The buttons work well as does the jog-wheel. The jog-wheel also controls the 'Zappin' feature. This is both rubbish and awesome in equal amounts. It's design is this - press and hold the jog-wheel and some stupid american woman says 'zappin in' and then the player will skip to the middle of the song and play either 4s (zappin short) or 15s (zappin long) of the song, before skipping to the next track. You can choose which to play by pressing the jog wheel to 'zappin out'. Now this is actually a good feature, and works well. If only they had not put in the stupid voice. To make it perfect it would merge the Apple 'Speak it' feature of the Shuffle and this 'Zappin' feature.

The sound quality is good. Very good. Good deep immersive sound. Seems to be a good representation of the whole range of audio.

2Gb - enough for about 20 reasonable albums. Enough for me when doing short commutes or warming up for comps. I have my iPod for bigger things. Plus it's so quick to load (and charge at same time!) it's no hassle. Besides, quite how many songs do you want to have without a navigation screen?

Does it fall off/out? No. In fact there's a free-running blog where they tried it and failed completely to lose it! It is only 68g so can take it anywhere, and if you want to you can hang it on your neck too. When I'm on the tube or running it's fine, no loosening unless I want it out. Perfect.

If you use it with a Mac it has USB drag and drop abilities. On a PC it comes with software (on the player!) to allow you to either a) use Media Player (urgh) or a special loader which analyses the songs to adjust the equaliser for them. It seems to work well. You are also able to use playlists (somehow) or order the albums via naming them. I haven't quite found out how to do the playlists with a mac yet!

Overall from my point of view (bit techie non-audiophile) this is an awesome bit of kit. Plus for £59 it's pretty competitive and looks cool!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Berne, World Cup Event!

I dislike Berne. Not because of the place, which is lovely, but merely because I'm always rubbish there.

This year was no different. Off a period of relatively low training thanks to exams, I crept to Berne hopeful I could give a similar performance to Legnano. Oh such a shame.

To start with it wasn't the hardest or biggest comp, but tough enough. In my poule I fenced like a wally. My first fight I lost 5-0. Mainly due to being off the pace and the opponent (HUN) being exactly the wrong guy to work a head of steam (i.e. nice and steady in the right place the whole time...). Then second fight (ITA) 1-0 up, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 down; bit down and concentrated 2-3, 3-3. Then stupidly 3-4 down with about 45 seconds left. Finally pulled off a good hit to get back level 4-4. Into extra-time 5-4 win. This set the tone - 4 wins by 1 hit, and two absolute thrashings. Fenced like a plonker, but a grimly determined plonker.

Ended up with a reasonable 40ish seeding, and a bye into the 96. Here I met a guy (CZE) I had beaten 5-4 in the poule. This didn't go well, as I continued my rubbishness and fell behind early. This was compounded by a complete lack of ability to attack today... game over and an early bath.

So what have I learnt? I learnt that I wasn't fencing well and yet still managed to win 4 out of 6 in my poule. That's not bad. Essentially with my game working I should have won through to the next day and at least 16 on previous form. We'll see if I can make this happen in the future.

Photos here

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Legnano, Further World Cup Event!

Hmmm... another weekend, another comp...

This was another Grand Prix. So very tough... Plus had a hideous cold...

Fenced well. Really well. But not well enough in the end.

In the poule:

SUI - Won
CAN - Lost
POL - Lost (Just in extra time)
AUT - Won
ITA - Won
RUS - Won

So 4/6 in the poule, which wasn't bad. This gave me 2 knock-outs to reach the Top 64. Won the first comfortably against a young Russian fencer. Then I had the wonder of Beran (CZE) - previously up to 20th in the world... Tight fight - lost 15-14 in the extra minute, having been 13-11 up, then 14-13 down, levelling to 14-14 at the death and losing priority. Then getting it wrong and losing 15-14. Bugger.

In the team, we fenced Japan - comfortable win. Then France - world number 1. Fantastic experience, didn't disgrace ourselves, but lost. Then Canada - lost 30-29, just couldn't quite finish it. Then China, lost again. Finally Venezuela - again lost. Lots of fencing, good team atmosphere, and a start towards working well.

We'll see how it goes...

Photos HERE

Friday, 23 January 2009

Doha, World Cup Event!

So I've been building up to this - the big comp...

The way a Grand Prix in fencing works is this:

Each team enters a certain number of fencers. I believe the maximum is 12 per country. Traditionally, the strong teams are European, but now the Chinese & US teams and the rest of the world are more than a match for most.

The comp is divided into two days. The first day is a preliminary day, consisting of a group stage (poule) of ideally 7 fencers. In that stage, it's up to 5 hits in 3 minutes. Then based on those results, some get eliminated, some get straight through to the next day to join the world top 16, and then the rest fight off to leave 32. This gives 64 for the finals day. They battle through to win.

In Doha, the prize is €10,000! That's unheard of in fencing. Bastards.

So how did I do? Well... Not as well as I hoped. Not as bad as it could have been.

128 total.
112 in the poules.
79 promoted...

Poule of:
1. Pol - loss 5-0 (bollocks)
2. Can - win 5-1
3. Ger - win 5-3
4. Ita - loss 3-2 on priority (bugger)
5. UAE - win 5-2
6. Esp - lost 4-3 on priority (bugger)
7. Me!

So 3-3 in the poule meant I was slap bang in the middle of the draw. Only problem was I met a bloody good guy - another Pol... and despite his injured knee he was good enough to beat me 15-13...

close, but no cigar... piccies up on the link

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Day 2 in Doha...

Today:

Simple:

breakfast, more training - not as good today, think they've come up to speed and I haven't!
lunch, then sightseeing in doha - yay! photos to follow which I think will impress.

also the wikipedia site about doha is much better now - here and a cracking map here

would have been bloody useful to have them before we got here, but hey.

Been selected for Legnano (Italy, near Milan) Grand Prix too... yay!

photos to follow when I can be arsed.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Doha, Qatar... Fencing Grand Prix + Team

First day in Doha...

Easy flight in (London-Bahrain-Doha), got to watch all of Ghost Town (funny film indeed!) and then some of Hellboy 2 but crucially the little buggers didn't turn the vids back on the second 20 min hop... bastards...

hotel easy, free trip there... I like competitions here from the funding point of view.

training against the other countries is awesome... it's amazing how eye-opening it is to be gently thrashed by other guys who are obviously better than you, but you can keep up a reasonable pace in training. I think this week is going to be good for my training. Well bloody better be or else by friday everyone else is going to be that much better it'll hurt!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Comedy Clubs Ahoy!

So I've found these places...

Just before I go to Doha, I'll put them here to prevent me forgetting them...

All less than 10 mins from me so should really go!

The Bedford - apparently famous...

The Exhibit - cinema with pub food!

I will be trialling them soon.

I am going to muse about the state of the NHS next time!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Taman Gang...



Night out on the town... Taman Gang - Park Lane in Balinese apparently.

Been a while since I've out in the West End. I've never really been to a big club before but I liked this one very much.

Nice and understated, it was worth a try. Admittedly the house white was a bit of a shock at £42.50! But then it was on Park Lane.

Music was good, bar was quick. Company excellent. Entertaining other people in the club. Decor was lovely and understated too. Only thing I didn't like was the ostentatious showing of sparklers when people bought stupidly expensive drinks!

Well worth a visit.

I give it four Retards...

Saturday, 3 January 2009