Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Size of a Spire

So it was 5am, and I was thinking about what kind of house to move into once my rental period ends here.  The first thing I was sure of is I wanted some kind of awesome feature to make it worthwhile, like a spa.  But given spas aren't necessarily broadly strewn I gave consideration to what other features may be worthwhile and came up with "crypt," "waterfall" and "spire."
Now a crypt and a waterfall are pretty much cool however you look at them.  If you go to someone's house and there's a crypt you don't find yourself considering if it is really quite big enough or sufficiently dense with bodies.  You just accept there is a crypt and that it is awesome.  A spire however does beg the question, when is a spire really a spire and not just a cone shaped extrusion from the ground?

So this left me thinking, how big does a spire really have to be to be a worthy alternative to a spa and when would it be so small that is it simply a disappointment and even possibly detracts from the overall awesomeness of the rest of the property?

I'm thinking a spire begins to have meaning and relevance at either four stories or twice the height of the house itself, whichever is taller.  That is, it must be at least four stories tall, but if the house itself is three stories it must instead be six tall, for example.  Anything less than that and I don't think you'd really be getting the full spire experience.

You know, a friend comes over and you're like "Hey, check out my 5 story spire!" and he's like "Oh, but it's not even double the height of your three story house, what is the point of that?" and then you become all sad and introverted, ashamed that you took such pride in something so insignificant.  Life just isn't as bright as it once was, food doesn't taste as good, even the crypt can't cheer you up.

But then imagine you had a 6 story spire with a three story house!  It's a difference scene entirely, your friend comes over and is like "What the hell is that in your back yard?" and you casually reply "Oh that?  That's my spire, yeah, got that put in special."  See the difference?

The problem is though, when is a spire a viable replacement for a spa?  Because the thing with a spa is you can come home feeling all tired from work, go and sit in the spa and feel better.  You can spend hours there each day of the week, you can bring friends to join you, have a spa party!  But I don't feel an ordinary spire quite meets that requirement.  It's a one off thing, you invite a friend over and they are like "Wow, that's cool!" and that's really the end of it.  You may admire it from time to time, but you know you'd occasionally feel a bit disappointed that you went with the spire instead of the spa.

I'm thinking 600 meters is the cut over point.

It's a bit of a large gradient, but that seems to me the sweet spot, where you go home and you just look at your spire and that is actually your entertainment for the evening.  You sit there on a deck chair with a cigar and just admire it.  600 meters is where your friends come over and start to think to themselves "If we could just set up some rigging, we could base jump off that thing!"  it's actually something to be a bit proud of.  You can invite friends over to just kind of check it out and be like "Wow, that's a big spire.  Where'd you get it?" and you can be all cool and suave like "What?  You don't have a 600 meter spire in your backyard?  Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't realise.  Eww, don't touch me with your peasant hands!"

From there the sky is literally the limit, only it isn't because lets be honest here - space spire!

At this point we really need to work out a gradient scale of awesome house features.
1) Spire > 600m
2) Spa
3) Crypt
4) Spire < 600m
5) Waterfall
6) Pool
7) Generic spire

I hope that helps you in your house hunting as much as I know it will help me.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Icebergs Are Awesome!

So I saw this picture of an iceberg:

I didn't get time to pay attention to the words, because - iceberg!
How badass is that iceberg?  On a scale of 1 to badass, that iceberg is a deep fried bacon burger riding a flaming tank that fires swords!  It makes me think "Why don't I have an iceberg?"  I feel this is a deep and intrinsic problem with contemporary society - a dearth of worthy goals.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying an iceberg is an "end" per say, nor even a means to an end.  The having of an iceberg is merely a representation that an end has been met and that end is awesomeness.

Let's just get right into this.  Look at that picture again.  Why do you not own one of these?  Where are you right now?  I'm in front of my computer in a room downstairs in a house I am renting.  It's a nice house with a nice view, it is not mine though and I see no iceberg.  For that matter I don't see a moose or a caribou either, and this saddens me.  Where did we - you and me both - go wrong that we have neither a caribou nor an iceberg?

Picture it, Saint Oluf, 1942.  No wait, that's the Golden Girls.

Picture it.  That is your iceberg, perched upon its peak is a castle of stone and marble, your castle.  Sitting in the conservatory gazing across the vast ocean, pipe in hand, sword in the other.  Not intended as a euphemism.  Why a sword?  If you need to ask, you don't belong in this fantasy!  Nested in the depths of your iceberg castle (note than in my world, iceberg is an adjective), vast catacombs replete with indoor pool and golf course.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.  But planning to fail is also planning to fail.  And planning that doesn't involve an iceberg castle conservatory in your near future is clearly planning to fail!

Thus let it be said for posterity.  I soon, shall own an iceberg.  And a caribou.  So it is written, so shall it be!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Utterly Biased iPhone 5 Review

I am highly qualified as a reviewer of mobile phones and Internet devices, having used hundre... doze... many... some over the last 10 or so years.

Okay, I chose iPhone 5 over a Galaxy S III because I didn't want to lose my beloved dictionaries and the hand full of Androids I've used (including fiddling with an S III) all seem to have this tiny lag when using the touch screen that burns my soul.  Not exactly a careful, scientific study of the scene but probably more in line with the average consumer choice.

So ignoring that there may be better or more feature filled phones than the iPhone out there, how is the iPhone 5, from an iPhone owner's viewpoint?

My first smartphone was an iPhone 3G.  Before then I couldn't stand anything but the most basic kind of phone.  Why?  Because all the "features" on so called "feature phones" sucked.  My first mobile phone was a Nokia 3210 and as far as I was concerned, despite several free "upgrades" (on contract) since then, it was the best of all the phones I had pre-iPhone.

The problem with all the other phones at the time was that any extra feature they had was poorly designed, and the interface lagged.  Now I can't speak for everyone else, but for me an eternity passes in those hundredths of a second I wait for a button I press to have an effect.  If I press a menu button and the menu isn't instantly there, I mentally travel across the universe, have a coffee and cake, bash a wall down with a sledge hammer, come back, contemplate the meaning of life and then rue the day I ever got a phone that has a poor input response time.  So using those laggy phones after the instant response of the 3210 was unbearable for me.

Then the iPhone 3G came out.  It was still more laggy than the 3210, but it was as good or better than whatever toy I had at the time.  And it played music, well.  Apparently my old phone played music too, but you had to recalibrate the warp cells and align the left ventricle every time you wanted to play one of the three tunes that would fit on it, so that was a moot point.

And that is ALL I could use the iPhone 3G for.  Apparently it had Internet access, but I can't really vouch for this.  Okay, truth be told I did once use it to book a last minute airline ticket, but I almost died of old age in the process.  I am an impatient man.

Regardless, that made it a good purchase as far as I was concerned.  I finally had a phone that played music well so I could ditch my old iPod.  And I put some dictionaries on it.

Then when the iPhone 4 came out (about 2 weeks after my contract ended), I upgraded.  Now I finally had an actual smart phone.  Immediately I started using the Internet endlessly on it, connected my emails, got a satnav program, I could actually use the features of the phone!

And now we have the iPhone 5 and another contract renewal/new phone.  So, how is the iPhone 5?

Bad points:
All phone cameras are awful and this is no exception.  Unless you carry a portable star to light the room you are in, you won't be able to take a decent photo.  Outdoors on a sunny day it is passable.  But all the talk about good camera phones is ostensibly nonsense.

Also the new dock connector, the plus point is that it plugs in both ways, which is nice.  But why a new port unless they are going to make it USB3 and thus faster?  Evil!

4G.  4G is really fast, at least in terms of how quickly it eats battery life.  On my first day with the phone I was up at 6:30am and on 40% by 10:30am, with admittedly reasonably heavy use.  Turn off 4G and the various system location service thingies and its on par with the 4.

Good points:
It's fast!!  Finally a smart phone that actually works as fast as a 10 (15?) year old Nokia 3210.  Frankly I don't care about much else, I touch the screen, an app is open.  I go to contacts, contacts opens.  This is magic to me and enough to enable my forgiveness of just about anything.

An interesting thing I noticed about the improved speed over the 4 is that webpages load vastly quicker even on 3G, so it appears if you have a decent 3G network (I'm with Telstra) browsing speed is more benefited by a faster processor than by moving up to 4G.  I've also noticed that the random dropouts of the data connection that often happened on my 4 don't occur on the 5.

Also the bigger screen is real purdy like.

That pretty much covers every aspect of the phone that is important to me.  So was it worth the upgrade?  I'd have to say yes based on the fact that I'd hate going back to using a slow iPhone 4 with a smaller screen.  Though I expect if I'd had a 4S I'd probably have said the upgrade is a waste.

Overall I'm happy with the 5.  Here endeth the review.