London 2012 Paralympics Ceremony – Behind the scenes!

Pictures from the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony – taken during August 2012.

Click the Pic to go behind the scenes!

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How to Move to the Cloud

Well, it happened.
My life reached critical mass, I had lots of things to do in many places, all of which require a variety of internet access, and an infinite amount of patience.
If only I could defrag my brain this easily

If only I could defrag my brain this easily- Time to get organised

Time to move to the cloud …but how to do it without going bonkers?  The subject of my latest post,  I regret to admit, is the reason for a lot of non-blogging.

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The mission was to move everything away from a specific platform (i.e. one laptop) and move it somewhere I can access EVERYWHERE, that would be on the mobile, both laptops, both desktops and at internet locations all over the known universe. Bleh.
Does that sound like a nightmare? It was.  I’m nearly there, though.
So here goes.
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1. I have 37,000 emails I need to have access to on my outlook email – how can I access them somewhere else?
Google Email Uploader for Apps
First of all, I needed to find a way to see my old emails on the internet. As I own a domain, I opened a free google apps account – then took advantage of the free google email uploader.

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I faffed about with pointing CNAMEs in the right direction etc and used the help pages quite a bit. Now your domain hosting service should be able to help out  if you’re thinking of doing this too, and they will be the people to talk to if you’re having a spot of bother.  It all worked fine after I’d sorted out the settings, but took AGES to run as there was so much email to upload.  Happily, after leaving it to do its business, I now have a fully searchable online email database.

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2. Can I get GMail on the move?
I use a Nokia N95  (although its days are numbered, poor thing takes a lifetime to go to “image gallery” now bless it) – and visited the Gmail mobile apps page to download gmail for my phone.  The mobile application for Nokia is now playing nicely with google apps users (if you’re on the mobile reading this, then go here m.google.com) So now I access my Gmail from my phone and any computer with an internet connection.

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Only problem is that it’s still pull, but I’m not too bothered about that at the moment.

3. I add appointments on my mobile phone and while I’m at the computer.  How can I see everything without it all going wrong?
Goosync

Goosync

Now, it so happens that there is a little programme called GooSync which will happily sync your calendar with your google calendar for free. If you want to do other things as well, you’ll have to pay.
(UPDATE – Goosync has now started charging as at 19-10-09 – £5.99 per year for this service. Oh well, there goes the “free”…)

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Once set up  (and GooSync will send you a text message to sort all your settings out) you just go to the Sync menu of your phone, and synchronize your calendar.  Like Gmail on the phone, you have to remember to do it reasonably often – (do let me know if there’s a way to schedule it to sync regularly)  – but it means I can sync my phone calendar without needing a computer USB cable.

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4. What about stuff  like Documents, spreadsheets – that kind of thing…?
Dropbox File Holder

Dropbox File Holder

Enter dropbox, a brilliantly simple and automatic way of keeping your stuff in one virtual place.
The way this works is you have a “dropbox” folder in, say, “my documents” and anything you store there gets Sync’ed up to your dropbox folder in the cloud, and back down to any other dropbox folders on, say, your other computers when they next connect to the internet.  The whole thing is done quickly and without any drama.

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I have a dropbox app on my (mobile) laptop, and one on my (stationary) monster Mac Pro.  I access my docs on other computers by logging into the service online and accessing my files from there – downloading and uploading as I wish.

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How clever – and great if you are on a work or shared computer and you don’t want to download your dropbox there.

Yes, of course I use Google docs but find that sometimes docs uploaded from Excel/Word don’t really like it up there, and go a bit squiffy.  I love Google docs for the sharing,  but not for the sort of anorak-style colour-coding obsessed spreadsheet madness that I’m afflicted with.
Dropbox is completely free for the 2GB version, however if you’re storing video or music, you might feel the need to upgrade to one of their paid-for options with more storage.

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5. My infinite things to do list… er, a little help?
nozbe project manager

nozbe project manager

I’ve been using Nozbe for a while, which has a “free 5 project plan” that you have to hunt for on the home page.
Nozbe Project Managment

Nozbe Project Managment

If you’re a fan of “getting things done” by David Allen (and I am) , you’ll be familiar with the ideas behind this project management site – Although there’s a “nearly there”  ipod touch/ iphone app which accompanies this website where you  sync your “to-do’s” online with your nozbe account, I use Nozbe exclusively on a browser at whichever computer I’m plonked in front of.

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This online project management tool will give you your “next actions” across projects.  This means that once you’ve entered your various (and copious) things to do in different areas – say “music composing”, “home admin” and “holiday planning” – you can see what needs to be done on each project THAT DAY. Really good if you are working on a few different things at once 🙂

6. What about my contacts?
Everything needs to be sync-able with everything else, so any changes made on one platform have to be reflected in the other.
Zyb contact sync

Zyb contact sync

I’m so close to getting my contacts sorted.  Using zyb to synchronise my contacts from my phone to their internet site is pretty cool, but I’m still working out how to merge the ridiculous contact list on my phone with the laughably giant contact list on google apps.  I also have a gmail account that could do with a bit of a tidy.

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This is the only area where I’m not quite sorted yet – and yes, I bet there are lots of paid-for ways to get my contacts in order and in sync, but I want to do it for free. And not with an iPhone 🙂
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So there we have it – a move to the cloud which I’ve nearly managed… please comment if you’ve found something awesome that I’ve missed.

Now for some chocolate.

Nom Nom Nom 2009

…is only 10 hours away, and I’m ready.

No, of course I’m not ready, but I did source a particularly effective chef’s hat

The last month has been brilliant, manic and, alas, almost completely sleep-free.

Excitingly I’m going to be on the BBC again next week as my piece on Music Recognition should be cooked by then – first I have to get 2 or 3 internet shots at some ridiculously unsociable hour on Monday morning, before crawling into the Edit with both Callie the Editor and the sort of coffee that causes spontaneous leg-shaking and hallucinations.

But before that in 10 hours’ time I shall be entering NomNomNom 2009, a charity cook-off where the fabulous Jemimahknight and I are charged with making a 3-course meal and serving it to 2-michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens – so no pressure there, then…

Our team is called Bork Bork Bork – will report back with pix and video assuming I survive.

My Most Treasured Possession

I attended this year’s Figures of Speech event in London last week which raised money for the Institute of Contemporary Arts.  Speakers included Bob Geldof, Alan Carr and Janet Street-Porter, all talking about their most treasured possessions.  Spinvox‘s James Whatley, who hosted the Bloggers’ table, has asked that each of us do the same, so here’s mine.

 

My Most Treasured Possession

 

If you see me out at night, the chances are I’ll have 2 big blue things in my ears, my beloved protectors of unwelcome noise, my USA-imported saviours, the humble hearos ear-plug. Since my previous life as a 4-times-a week musical performer, I’ve always made sure to wear hearing protection when gigging – a lot of the time, the monitors in front of the stage pointing at the band would be as loud, if not louder, than the speakers pointing at the audience. Whilst it looks a little unconventional, wearing my most treasured possession is worth all the good-natured pointing and laughing I get for the moment I step outside.

I pull out my earplugs and my hearing is crystalline, compared to my companions, who are shouting incoherently at each other over the ringing in their own ears. I generally put my earplugs back in at this point until they have calmed down.

what?

what?

 

The most painful thought for me is that if I lose my ability to hear, I won’t be able to navigate my world anymore. I spent such a long time getting used to the many dissonances of daily life, vexed by the microtones in each new scenario until I was taught how to process those sounds as music. It turns out that if you use the appropriate scale, then your audio landscape can become a wonderful, if chaotic, symphony*.

I would be devastated if I could no longer use this method to interact with the world. I recognise people more easily by the sound of their voices than their physical appearance, which is another source of great amusement to those I see regularly.

If I lost my sense of hearing, I fear I will lose the friends I can’t recognise by sight alone. Even sitting on the tube, as I write this, I can hear someone’s headphones at an ear-splitting volume. I wonder momentarily why we seem so relaxed about protecting something that’s fundamentally irreplaceable, before replacing my earplugs, letting the sounds of the Jubilee line recede to a blissfully tolerable volume.

NB *Within reason, of course – I’m not counting the downstairs flat’s questionable and mystifying 125dB musical interludes at 1am on a Monday morning.

London Snow Day – pics from last night

Here are a few pictures of the “extreme weather event” in London and the South East last night.  It took over 3 hours to make a 45-minute journey, complete with car-pushing and buses getting stuck.

london snow at the embankment by you.

London Embankment

city of london bollards by you.

City of London

snow in london by you.

Trafalgar Square

snowball fight in central london by you.

Piccadilly Circus Snowball Fight

london snow by you.

Near Charing Cross

Piccadilly Circus in the snow by you.

Piccadilly Neon in the Snow

london snow taxi on truck by you.

Taxi on Truck, East London

 

Safe journeys today, everyone! Back with more gadgets soon.

CES 2009 – battery! Nooooo

How incredibly ridiculous, I left 1/2 of my UK/US adaptor in the hotel, which means I’m on the clock with a minor uploading drama!  So the video might or might not make it up there, with 32 minutes remaining, it’s anyone’s game.

Highlights so far have been a proliferation of newer, greener display technologies (hold tight for OLED on the vid) and an emphasis on mobile content consuming, including a projector that’s been built into a phone.

In fact, the phone-projector from Samsung (using DLP technology) was the gadget I featured for BBC Click during filming last night, that’s going to be broadcast on BBC World, and perhaps even on the internet site too, which is very exciting.

RSS Readers / Can’t see the link? Click here

Today I’ll go to my appointments on the show floor armed with my (fully charged!) camcorder, and later I’ll meet with the rest of the BBC Click team.

…and tonight I might be attending the Sony Online Poker party which last year had Fire-Eaters and Acrobats as well as many different food stations.

Below are a few piccies from Flickr uploaded earlier:

in front of 150" panasonic tv by LJRich

In front of 150" TV!

phone projector showing kung fu panda by LJRich

Samsung Mini Projector - up to 50" screen size

phone with built in projector by LJRich

bottom phone is also a projector - to be featured on BBC Click

See you soon!

Las Vegas CES 09

Good morning  – at least, it’s morning here in Las Vegas.  It’s the day before CES 2009, the world’s largest trade show for Consumer Technology, and the largest annual trade show in the USA according to the data sheet next to me. 

070120091224 by LJRich

Las Vegas CES 2009

Apparently, people from over 140 countries attend the show, and its popularity is reflected by the packed plane I arrived on yesterday, where, believe it or not, the person sitting in the seat next to me ate my food whilst I was asleep – why? Because apparently, she didn’t like the chicken. 

here comes the monorail! Las vegas

Las Vegas Monorail - $5 a ride

CES debuts from years past include the VCR in 1970, the Camcorder in 1981, HDTV in 1998, Microsoft’s XBox in 2001 and OLED TV in 2008.  Consequently, this morning I awoke with 2 intentions – 1) get up early and have a look round and 2) hit the all-you-can-eat buffet with a vengeance.

all you can eat at las vegas buffet - 1st one to explode wins by LJRich

There are more stations behind me - a shrine to gluttony. Yippee!

So, after a filling meal of pancakes, french toast, potatoes, eggs, fruit and a cinnamon bun, I’m ready for some serious gadget input. 

lj rich blogging in the press room at ces 2009, las vegas  blogging this in the Press Room!Tonight’s party is the Pepcom Digital Experience, where many exhibitors are showing off their new stuff. I shall be bringing my trusty camcorder with me to record anything utterly bonkers or incredibly useful.

 

Please let me know if you’d like me to look up something for you.