Monday, 27 February 2017

moonlight and an integrity, accuracy and confidentiality slippage in la-la land


Has anyone else noticed Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz with those black briefcases containing the Oscar results? Especially that Brian, for some reason, appears to have two cases? A case of double entry (boom-tish accountancy joke).

Come to think of it, that PWC slogan about '..accuracy..' might also have taken bit of a boom-tish.

Last year Kate Blanchett appeared to be trying to help Brian out, attempting to remove one of his PWC monogrammed cases. She may have got a best actress award that year, but Brian didn't get her hint about keeping things simple.

Oh well. It looks as if Ryan Gosling still had a good time, even if the actual award was snatched away.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

coffee break


A guilty pleasure watching this tv advert.

OK, I'll admit it, I have even rewound it and played it again.

When we meet before a business meeting in London, it'll often be in a random coffee house close to the venue where, no doubt, some of the situations described are playing out.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

spicy acolyte gaggle reduction denials


At that aircraft hanger rally MrT talked about the fake media that was out to get him.

Then a couple of days later his spicy acolyte decided to run a press gaggle without certain of the media in attendance.

The ones missing happened to coincide with the ones that MrT had earlier identified as fakes.

But that's not what Breitbart News reported; they were able to say that the whole 'ban' on some reporters was, itself, fake news.

MrT has now said he won't appear at the upcoming correspondents’ dinner, which is scheduled for 29 April. That's the one where the incumbent U.S. President has the Michael extracted by a bunch of comedians and other press folk.

Many have seen that one a few years ago where Obama was the President but Seth Myers managed to get a few barbs into Donald, although Donald remained rather static and looked as if he'd remember the speaker for a very long time.

I suppose we will have to make do with that ongoing Saturday Night Live series now that the White House microphones could remain blanked out for some of the coverage? Perhaps they will also re-run the old Comedy Central Roast of Trump? That's another one where Trump doesn't look best pleased for most of it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

virtual reality and stranger things


Having recently turbo-cycled through the Stranger Things series on Netflix, it has been fun to spot the numerous references to other movies and genres during its episodes. A sci-fi show set in the 1980s, so before the prevalence of mobile phones and other gadgets.

Right from the Star Wars like montage of the promotional poster, it is clear to see that this series has many sci-fi and horror influences. A primary styling influence is E.T. with wider Spielberg hat-tips such as the 'drop of blood' Jaws component.

There's oodles of other references, from Alien face huggers, Firestarter psychic powers and nosebleeds, pre-cog tank floatation from Minority Report, Altered State morphing, Under the Skin's black event horizon (yep that is Scarlett Johansson below), clicking pre-striking Predator sounds, boy buddies like in Super 8. Then there's a short sequence which plays the melody line from Twin Peaks (I had to rewind to check I'd heard it) and the titles for the whole show come straight from the cover of any Stephen King novel.


The list goes on and we even get posters from other movies on various bedroom walls, in one case even declared 'inappropriate' by the Dad character.

In a movie like Under the Skin, the female lead gets a strong character part. In Stranger Things, despite including female lead roles there is also some utilitarian and unsympathetic writing. Without wishing to spoiler it, there's at least one unlamented disappearance.

It all makes the main plot line of the series a bit Scooby-Doo, with various episodic adventures involving scary buildings, bear traps and sundry weaponry. It's like a a few recent series I've watched which seem to break out guns and rifles just a bit too readily. I suppose the succession of episode writers are given a start and end position and x minutes to improvise with their characters and the locations.

There's even a set of those mysterious scientists that work in an anonymous building on the edge of town. And a quasi-governmental Agency able to do just about anything.

The series has clearly been popular and there's a current countdown already running for its sequel. I notice the countdown scrolls like a VR screen. Like any good scary movie, the obvious thing is 'look behind' and find the vintage television running an upside down show, which gives some further clues about Series 2.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

old phones for new? hey alexa, what color are your eyes?


As part of the ongoing tidying and clearance operations, I stumbled across this time capsule of old phones. They were tucked away in the back of the garage, in a crate. Ironic that this is the week that the owners of the Nokia brand for one of the phones announce they are to restart Nokia 3110 production.

I never had a 3110, which was the type that had the gimmicky plastic cover swaps. My professional 6110 and subsequent phones all had 10 day plus battery life and held on to calls even on one bar signal strength. They were brilliant for, yes, making phone calls and I had several generations that all fitted the same car kit. I remember buying that Ericsson 'World' at Brussels airport duty free when I was on the way to the USA in the days before everything worked everywhere.

Nokia's approach changed around the time of the 7110 with the Matrix style spring cover hiding the keyboard. Nokia changed the buttons to a roller and it just didn't work as well. But it had that predictive text system which worked okay if you only had a few keys. It still fitted the car kit though. But then we were all given a succession of Blackberries right up to when the iPhone appeared.

My question now is whether there will be a new demand for a simple phone based upon advances in voice recognition? For example, 'Hey Alexa' works okay, but is still somewhat temperamental when it wakes up unexpectedly in the middle of a movie when it thinks it hears its name. Like with the playful deliberate sequence in Mr Robot.

Meanwhile, my experimental holding of shares in Apple continue to go north. They are showing a 51% gain since I bought them last year. As well as the upcoming Chinese and Indian 5SE update, Apple are allegedly expecting an iPhone super cycle in September, when they release something that includes augmented reality and wireless charging. Has anyone else noticed the increase of iBeacons around certain areas (buses and tubes spring to mind)? But whatever they do with the next iPhone I bet it won't fit my current car kit.

Here's one of those Mr Robot scenes from S2E11, redrawn here in cartoon form via DSC. Dominique DiPierro is played by Grace Gummer (that's Meryl Streep's daughter). Alexa is the sightly weird North American Alexa.

As a footnote, this cartoon version doesn't trip Alexa, I think it's because of the rerecorded audio?

Monday, 20 February 2017

Alexa tries to join in a conversation with two other Alexas chatting on youtube


When I was preparing the Tuesday post, I noticed the 'two Alexas talking to one another video'.

It's quite fun to add a third one to the two already talking.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

fake reality: or maybe it was all a dream?


I watched the unfiltered full version of the aircraft hanger speech live on Saturday. It was interesting to see Donald re-running one of his pre-election speeches with a few extra pieces about press reporting added into the mix.

My problem might be that I have actually watched whole chunks of the live stuff. So when Trump talks about something bad happening in Sweden Friday night, I am intrigued. I can't find out what it was?

Watching it live gives the chance to hear directly what is being said rather than just absorbing a remix from a media site. Of course Fox, which seems to carry most of the stories and events, has its own 'friend of Trump' agenda, which I noticed loud and clear from my time in the USA last year when the conventions were taking place.

There are so many box-set worthy items to pick from. And yes, I know I have left a few out. Including Sweden.
    BIG ACTS
  • The EPA unfreezing: Comprising the removal on Day One of the Presidency, of all climate change material from the White House Site. The later appointment of Scott Pruitt as the new EPA boss will ensure that climate change initiatives are rolled back.
  • The Affordable Care repeal: So called Obamacare repeal, putting 18 million Americans into an uninsured healthcare poverty trap, unless there is a new initiative put in place by next month.
  • The southern wall: signed off along with 10,000 new immigration officials to be added. Operation Cross Check has also just conducted targeted enforcement actions (raids) in at least 11 states, related to immigration and scooped up another 680 people. In Obama's administration, the rate of deportation was circa 300k-400k per annum.
  • Dodd-Frank to be repealed or at least reduced. This is the Act that was put in place to stop the banks from having a free-for-all approach to their conduct.
  • TRADE
  • Immediate freeing up of regulations for Detroit and other car makers, along with threats that if cars are made outside the USA they will attract huge tariffs.
  • Re-pricing of the hyper-expensive F35 fighter, via negotiations with Lockheed Martin. The trumpeted $600m saving is small beer in the scale of the program where the US intends to buy over 2,400 planes for circa US$323 billion. And something else. It had already been negotiated by the Pentagon before Trump came to office.
  • UK special relationship - whatever that will mean
  • Changing the way the US Trade deficit is calculated, to support the need for deal renegotiation
  • DIPLOMACY
  • The Mexican stand-off when the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called off the meeting with Trump.
  • Ambiguous relationship with Russia, which includes the old footage of Trump saying he was talking to Putin, but which is now being denied. My speculation is that the old claims were in any case false.
  • That unfortunate shortened phone call with Australia
  • Family links to Russia for business.
  • Israel changes of direction
  • China one state/two state changes of direction
  • Trans Pacific Partnership deal cancelled (was already likely to go)
  • Trump's scorn of NATO has been rebalanced by Pence's visit and reassurances in Europe. All subject to everyone paying in their 2%.
  • Mike Flynn appointed and then sacked/resigns over Russian interests. Storyline from Trump has been haphazard but implied at one time a lack of trust.
  • Sean Spicer says it was the Obama administration that approved that January 28 raid on al Qaeda in Yemen that led to the deaths of a Navy SEAL and possibly civilians. But former Obama security official Colin Kahl says this is false.
  • IMMIGRATION
  • The seven country immigration stoppage, where the countries were predominantly Muslim and the attendant chaotic scenes caused partly by not informing anyone in advance about the action.
  • Indefinite ban on Syrian refugees entering the USA and new 'safe' areas proposed in Syria.
  • LEGISLATURE
  • Arguments between the government and the legislature, including the quotes about a 'so-called judge'.
  • A call by the President to investigate 2016 alleged voter fraud (could be interesting?)
  • Sally Yates, acting Attorney General was fired after not supporting the travel ban. She also blew the whistle on the Russian sanctions a long time ahead of it becoming general knowledge.
  • Hundreds of diplomats and officials signed a protest at certain new State Department directives. White House says they should quite.
  • Trump encouraging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to "go nuclear" and change Senate rules if required to overcome Democrats' opposition to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
  • Delays to confirmation of Presidential nominations for certain key posts.
  • Trump hinting at use of Fed in troubled areas, such as Chicago
  • PRESS RELATIONS
  • Press spokesman for the President (Sean Spicer) losing cool in press conferences.
  • Fake News becomes news
  • FAMILY AND FRIENDS
  • Family links to Trump's ongoing so called 'blind businesses'
  • Use of Trump facilities for State business (such as Mar-a-Lago which has also now doubled its membership fees). Trump referring to it as the Southern White House.
  • Use of Mar-a-Lago for informal deal brokering, like the $20 billion wall. Trump startled member Richard LeFrak by suggesting he might contract to build it, albeit for a lower price. A whole new kind of swamp.
  • Still no news on tax matters.
  • Use of Presidential equipment (such as Air Force One) as part of his oddly timed 2020 aircraft hanger campaign presentation.
  • Steve Bannon as Manipulator in Chief, with access to just about everything.
  • Trump top team comprising mainly billionaire white men of a certain age.
  • TRIVIA
  • The weird argument about who had the biggest inauguration crowd. And whether or not it rained.
  • That stuff about shoes in Nordstrom
Phew. Using any manipulation handbook, expect President 45 to start talking about deep state conspiracies next, followed by some selective sackings. That is, unless the Munich Bierhalle talk of the 25th Amendment gains any momentum?

And even after Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson's attempt to get the information, I still don't know what that Friday Swedish thing was?

Friday, 17 February 2017

down by the water

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Still checking out waterside locations. This one is very close to cycle route 2.
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Two gold fish are sitting in a tank. One gold fish looks at the other and says: "Hey man, how the hell do you drive this thing?"


I saw this video a couple of weeks ago and have been waiting for a gap in my regular blog posts so that I could drop it in.

Yes, a goldfish controlled vehicle. Experimental imaging allows the goldfish to determine the direction of the cart.

"I'll drive, you take the guns"

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

six foot air gap


I know this is a totally posed vanity shot from that expensive Mar-a-lago resort. I'm sure that the shadowy uncredited image of the back of the Manipulator's head wasn't an accident. It is remarkable how often he is shown in shot within two metres (I suppose I should really say six feet) of the person allegedly in charge.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Monday, 13 February 2017

a different kind of rehearsal

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A few days away.

Beach, waterside views, village, easy access to a city.

Maybe it is a kind of rehearsal?