28 July 2009

Google's choices not bullet proof

Image representing AOL as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

We tend to think of Google as bulletproof and everything they touch turns to gold.

They have made some HIDEOUS decisions in the past, and none greater than the one biting their ass today - the offloading of their 5% stake in AOL which was originally purchased for a cool $1 billion.

We were all giddy at AOL when the transaction happened, both for the fact that we worked for a company worth $20 billion (5% x 20 = 100% for those having maths difficulties) and the fact that we MAY have an "in" to getting work at Google.

Neither really happened.

Today, Business Insider are reporting that Google has called time on the horrible experiment that is investment in AOL and sold their share for $283 million.

I wonder what Google's other stunning investments - Orkut, Jaiku, etc. - will have to do to get similar treatment.
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26 June 2009

HD and the gadgets it comes in

FreesatImage via Wikipedia

I've been humming and hawing for ages about getting two new HD gadgets - a blu-ray player and a Freesat PVR.

Today there's news that Freeview HD will be kicking off in December. However, the march to terrestrial HD is long and winded and not free of problems, the main one being capacity.

Even though I have a wonderful (if dead) Humax Freeview PVR, getting any type of Freeview HD will require a new box, rendering my beloved (if dead) Humax 9200T useless.

So, do I stump up for a new Freeview HD box to receive a couple of HD channels, or do I stump up for a Freesat HD PVR to receive all the glories of satellite capacity? It's a no-brainer really.

I'm just wondering what USP Freeview HD is going to use to tempt people away from the higher capacity of Freesat.

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01 June 2009

Jetlag... finally

I've been in three timezones in the past fortnight and jetlag has finally caught up with me, just when I need it not to.

Our trip from the UK to the Pacific Northwest was met with zero jetlag, similarly our trip from the Pacific Northwest to Toronto was sleep deprivation free. Only when we fly back to Blighty do I succumb to the dreaded sleepless night... just when I have to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for work the next day.

As it is, I feel rough as houses - a bit queasy and quite tired - and not at all well-rested as you should be when back from holidays. Still, I'm glad I didn't waste a second day of the hols on jetlag recuperation.

30 May 2009

End of the holiday

I really hate holidays sometimes. About four days before they end, you know they're coming to an end, and it's long flights, jetlag and back to work awaiting for you. This really kinda marrs the end of the holiday for me.

I really enjoy the run up, as you're counting down the days and doing less and less at work, as you hand over your workload to colleagues. You also get the "going anywhere nice?" questions, followed by the inevitable "oh, nice!"

I guess my holidays are generally sullied some, as we're visiting friends and family and it's harder to leave them than it is to leave some faceless hotel you've called home for a few days.

It still doesn't make it any easier to leave Canada or Australia and return to a pokey two-bed flat and to work.

26 May 2009

Off to the cottage

So far, we've had a wonderful time in Seattle, a nice trip to Vancouver (marred by the worst hotel ever), and a wonderful wedding. Now we're off to the wilds of Ontario for a few days at a cottage, to relax, unwind and watch the rain fall.

The forecast is not terribly friendly, but as with most things - this holiday will be what we make of it.

20 May 2009

Seattle trip comes to an end

As I write this, we are readying for our return to Vancouver, to await our flight to Toronto tomorrow.

Having never been to Seattle before, I have nothing but fond memories and Sue's friends Peter and Caroline were lovely hosts, ensuring we saw all the sights there are to see. We tried local beer, and seafood, saw various tourist sights, hooked up with an ex-colleague of mine and just had a nice relaxed time.

I'm looking forward to getting to Toronto and having the wedding portion of our holiday, but Seattle was a very nice surprise indeed.

18 May 2009

Another day in Seattle

Today we actually headed into deepest, darkest Seattle.

I was on a mission to find the first ever Starbucks, for no other reason than historical curiosity. I really wanted to know why, in America's city of coffee, one shop rose above all others to become the international McDonald's of hot brown lovin'. The shop really provided no answers, but I did enjoy probably the best cup of Starbucks I've had in a while.

We also hit a place called Lowell's, which is a Seattle institution. I had one of "Lowell's rolls", an arctic cod roll with chips, all washed down by unsweetened ice tea. Sue found a local brew from the Pike Brewery and washed down some fish and chips with that. I think I could live here - unsweetened ice tea EVERYWHERE, decent local microbrew and the city of coffee. Only negative being the rainfall.

This arvo we're hitting a local mall to see what US prices compare to Canada and the UK.

Sunday in the hills

Today we took a trip into the Cascade Mountains to a town called Leavenworth. In 1972, the townsfolk decided that in order to bring tourists in, they'd need to theme the town. From 1972 on, the town was Bavarian themed. The place looks like a Disney version of a German town, albeit with the Cascade mountains in the background.

We ate a a themed restaurant and had a so-so meal. We also tucked into some local made salt water taffy, and found a place called the Australia "Store" that sold random things, as well as Aussie imports. Just the thing for Sue.

It was a crazy day of driving, punctuated by some German grub.
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