Monday, 21 November 2011

Diggnation

Most people in my circle of friends have never heard of Digg or Diggnation. That kinda sucks, but it means I have something to share with those nearest and dearest to me. I've watched and loved Diggnation for several years now, and I am certainly gonna feel a void when it finishes at the end of the year. It's a bit like the last Harry Potter book/film, you just wish there was more.

Here's a few reasons why it completely sucks that Diggnation will soon be over:

1) Alex and Kevin are actually really good friends. It's not often that you find this combo, two people that really get on with each other and can bounce off each other in a creative and fun way. If nothing else, I'm going to be upset that they won't see each other as often as they would've by continuing Diggnation. As a person who really appreciates the plutonic relationships he has with his fellow man, I know how much this will suck.

Note to self: must stop using the word, 'suck' so much, it's kind of perverse.

2)Kevin and Alex really know what they're talking about when it comes to the internet and social media etcetera. I love getting there insight on the latest goings on in the tech industry. Not only do they have inside knowledge of the plots and schemes but they have experience which is incredibly valuable.

3) Alex and Kevin know absolutely nothing about anything else. Seriously sometimes I wonder if they went to school at all. But I don't care, it's hilarious that they are so ignorant regarding so many topics.

4) They actually make me want to drink. I work in an industry where drinking is sort of encouraged anyway (to a reasonable degree). But sometimes I need a little motivation. I can't put on an episode of Diggnation, whether they're drinking tea, beer, spirits or nothing without cracking open a beer, cider or a bottle of scotch. It's a reflex.

The simple fact is though that you don't need a well laid out, concise list of reasons to not want Diggnation to finish. If you've never seen it, download a random episode, watch it with a bottle of beer and I guarantee you'll be hooked.

This is their website. Alex also does this, among other things. Kevin is constantly coming up with new ideas for web start ups and is a big time angel investor, the best place to learn about him is by following him on twitter here.

I love them, and will miss them like a loved one who has passed away, as I'm sure I'll never be lucky enough to meet them. I wish I had the money to get flights to LA for their last show but alas no.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

DRS and KERS in the new F1 season

I'm a massive F1 fan, it's such an exciting sport, it competes with Rugby as my favourite. With the new season just underway, I thought I'd give my two cents regarding the new DRS and KERS on the cars.

Lets start with DRS. First of all a quick introduction, DRS stands for Drag Reduction System, which basically means that the drivers have a button they can press which will flip up the top half of the rear wing. This reduces aerodynamic drag giving the car a slight but none-the-less significant speed advantage.

There are however some complex rules regarding its use. In qualifying it can be used whenever to decrease lap time. But it has to be used carefully by the drivers, if they flip it on or off at the wrong moment in a turn, it can potentially cause a massive imbalance of drag which will spin the car. This has the power to ruin a flying lap.

In the race proper it becomes a little more complicated. It is purely a tool to assist in overtaking. Once a driver is within one second of the driver in front, the DRS light flashes, indicating to the driver that they can switch it on to increase their speed and give them a better chance of overtaking. But crucially the driver being overtaken cannot use the DRS to comeback, they just have to sit back, take it and do their best to defend their line. This makes—in my eyes—overtaking, massively artificial.

David Coulthard is arguing on the BBC that the car itself is an overtaking device, but, to my knowledge there is no other device that essentially gives the drivers an overtake button, and that is the crucial difference between DRS and the rest of the car.

Whether or not this is the way the DRS is currently working in practice is moot, because based on the rules this is the way it is clearly intended to be used.

Next KERS, which stands for Kinetic Energy Replacement System. I'm not going to pretend to know exactly how it works, but as I understand it, it's an electrical boost to speed. The rules state that in contrast to the DRS, it is up to the teams whether or not they have a KERS in place.

In the coverage you will see a little battery icon when following a driver which shows the state of the KERS. It has a limited use per lap, and has a 'recharge zone' which doesn't actually mean it recharges it simply becomes available to the driver again. Before the season started I assumed that KERS was an obligation to all teams. Sometimes the press coverage of rule changes and such on can be very ambiguous. KERS weighs a fair amount and takes up space in the car which can cause performance reduction and compromise car and engine design.

Red Bull, last week in Melbourne, did not have KERS in their car, which reduced the weight in the car and allowed Adrian Newey; the car's designer to not compromise his clever designs and gave them a big advantage in both qualifying and the race.

I don't think the DRS is a good idea, or at least in the way it is currently regulated. But is there another device in the car that creates a similar overtaking advantage, that has been around for several previous seasons? If KERS is in the sport at all then it should be compulsory for every team.

I'd love to know what you think, thoughts in the comments.

*UPDATE* 8th May 2011

It's since been clarified that all teams have to have a KERS system in place in the car. The difference with the first race and Red Bull is that they did not activate their KERS, because they couldn't figure out how to make it work and are still having trouble with it. So they were still carrying the weight and design compromise of KERS without the extra performance. That is in all honesty, quite impressive, though I understand Adrian Newey is still hating on KERS.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Me, My Hair and I

I'm sure you've all heard stories about people who don't use soap to clean their hair. Here's another one. I only use hot water to wash my hair. The only time I wash it is when I get it cut. This is not because my hair is greasy and horrific smelling. I don't know what it smells like to other people, to me it smells nice, but everyone likes their own brew as any fart expert will tell you. However I don't want to expose a pretty hairdresser to my unknown hair qualities. What if it was greasy and bad smelling, she'd think I was some sort of tramp.

Far from getting strange looks at my hair and disparaging comments, I actually receive compliments, no joke, it's got volume, it's easy to style, what shampoo do you use. When I say none, some people are disgusted, others look a little confused and then are intrigued. No one has been willing to smell or feel my hair though and I don't have a girlfriend to test it on but I'm confident that there's nothing wrong with it.

I love it, it saves me time and money and anxiety, and it really does look good even if I do say so myself.

Any questions in the comments section or on a postcard.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

My Favourite Film of 2010

After having recently purchased the Blu-Ray, and having watched it approximately 15 times in a row—much to the despair of my family—I have decided that my favourite film of 2010 was the fantastic third feature film from director Edgar Wright; Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

The reason I can watch Edgar's films again and again is because of his meticulous and almost ludicrous attention to detail. Every single prop, every single piece of wardrobe, every shot has been tuned and crafted to the finest detail. As such, every time you watch this film you are bound to pick up on a new detail you'd missed last time.

That's not to mention an amazing cast; Michael Cera brings a whole new dimension to his portfolio with his performance as Mr. Pilgrim. He seems more bubbly and confident and he totally kicks ass in the best fight scenes I think I've ever seen. His supporting players are no less brilliant. Ellen Wong, playing Knives Chau in her debut film role is adorable yet dangerous, and was apparently quite the method actor for a particular scene.

Scott Pilgrim is a classic hero's journey story based on a hugely successful graphic novel seriess by the same name written by the author Brian Lee O'Malley. O'Malley was consulted throughout the production of this film and in fact was influenced by the direction of the film to adjust the ending of his novel.

Music plays a huge role in this film. Almost all the cast are in a band in the film, and, apart from Michael Cera who is well known for being an accomplished bass player and Brie Larson in the role of Envy Adams who was once a teen popstar, they had to learn how to play an instrument and look like they belonged in a band.

The comic book style look of the film brings it to life. Aspect ratios are constantly changing in a similar way to comic book frames, onomatopoeic words constantly crop up, and we are led to believe that this is the way that Scott sees his world.

Technical Praise over, time for me to gush unashamedly:

I love this film and I think everyone should see it, if it were up to me it would win the Oscars for best film, director, lead actor, and soundtrack. But no doubt they'll pick something like Inception, not that I'm saying Nolan is undeserving. That film kicks ass in many ways also, but it's not as personal for me as Scott Pilgrim.

Also Mary Elizabeth Winstead is totally hot and possibly the cutest thing ever, and I work in a job where I regularly see puppies so yeah, that's like a big frame of reference. Oh and though I haven't mentioned the rest of the cast individually they really were all brilliant, and perfectly cast, here's a list of their names and a few of the other people that worked on the film who I can recall:

Mark Webber - Stephen Stills (The Talent)
Alison Pill - Kim Pine
Johnny Simmons - Young Neil
Aubrey Plaza - Julie Powers
Anna Kendrick - Stacey Pilgrim
Brandon Routh - Todd Ingram
Chris Evans - Lucas Lee
Jason Schwartzman - Gideon Graves
Kieran Culkin - Wallace Wells
Nelson Franklin - Comeau
Eric Knudsen - Crash
Bill Hader - The Voice
Nigel Godrich - Score Composer
Bill Pope - Director of Photography
Brad Allan - Stunt Coordinator
Beck Hansen