Monday, 23 May 2011

Get over yourselves

We just watched the incredible documentary about the John Radcliffe's Craniofacial surgery unit on the iPlayer. Episode 3 "Rogue Gene" is available on the BBC iPlayer for another three days.

This particular episode hit very close to home for me. We have become very familiar with the John Radcliffe over the last six months, and this episode concentrates on Apert's syndrome which is caused by a "spelling mistake" on the FGFR2 gene. The mechanism is very similar to that which causes Achondroplasia (which effects the FGFR3 gene). Watching "the science bit" was like replaying our consultation with the genetics department.

But that's not the point.

Today, all of Twitter (in the UK at least) has been falling over itself to show how clever we all are at knowing that a certain footballer shagged around a bit.

A Footballer. Paid millions to kick a ball round a pitch.

The exceptions have been the Lawyers on Twitter wringing their hands, and telling us how we should all respect an out-of-touch Judge's rulings on an unwelcome foreign law which is clearly unenforceable. They have actually been defending this man's right to threaten with prison ANYONE caught telling the truth.


There are men in a Hospital in Oxford dismantling and reassembling children's skulls so that their brains can grow properly. These men do not seek celebrity, nor do they seek sexual partners from reality TV shows. So get over yourselves, step away from the nonsense on twitter for an hour and watch them in action. They deserve our utmost respect and admiration.

- Blogged from my iPad

Sunday, 22 May 2011


This photo by Snæbjörn Guðbjörnsson was lifted via Google images from This Site

It just so happens I have the next few days off, and I appear to have been volunteered by PRGeek as the go-to blog for information on the latest volcanic eruption in Iceland. Seeing as I got a week off work last year while half an Icelandic Mountain was floating above us, this blog is the least I can do.

I'm not entirely sure what's happening at the moment, but it's early days. It appears that Grimsvotn is larger and more powerful than Eyyafyallayokull, and is also under a Glacier. It was the glacial ice falling into the magma that sent the plumes of ash into the sky last year. But the magma is a different consistency or temperature (or something- I haven't looked hard at the geology), so the ash particles are not as fine and not staying suspended in the air for as long as last year. The weather system is also currently very different, with higher winds and more likelihood of rain which will wash the particles out of the air.

The upshot is that the ash cloud this year is likely to effect air traffic much less than last year. I suspect that there is also political pressure on the regulatory body that will prevent all out closure across Europe.

What people are after though is up to date information on what's happening, so to help with that, here are some useful links, and some people and hashtags to follow on twitter.





Twitter hashtags to look for are:

For news from the European Air Traffic Control Centre, Eurocontrol, look Here

And the latest news from the UK Met Office is Here
And for charts giving the shape of the ash cloud look Here and Here

A great blog from @hjortur : Important informaiton: How Will The Grimsvotn Eruption Affect Air Traffic? Here

And another from @eruptionsblog with information about the Composition of the ash.

The latest Update I saw was that the ash plume is at 15-17km height, and the winds are winds N to NW, (ie blowing vaguely towards Scotland) and Keflavik airport is closed. No Airspace closures are expected in Europe today or tomorrow except in Iceland.

I will try to add to the list and update information as the week goes on, but also check the twitter list that I have just set up:

- Blogged from my iPad

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Telegraph App -alling

The Daily Telegraph App was one of my most used iPad apps until last Thursday. I used to download the highlights of the newspaper as I left the house at 3am before the print version hit the shops, and I could carry the content with me to read at my leisure during the day.

Just before I went to vote on Thursday I spotted a tweet saying that the new version had gone live. I was hoping that it would be an upgrade to the previously excellent app, maybe allowing me to tweet links to the articles. The update blurb promised extra content and interactivity, so I hit the update button. To my dismay, AND WITH NO WARNING the app now demands £1.19 per day for a download, (or a £9.99 monthly subscription). As I understand it, the paid for content is not even ad-free!

The new subscription rules are even hidden on the app store details, unless you click to read "more" where you also discover in a wall of text that you can extend any subscription period by handing over your personal details and the soul of your firstborn*. Cheeky bastards. You have advertised your app as "free" when it is subscription based, hidden the details of the subscription on the app description, and expect me to trust you with my personal details?

Bizarrely, ALL of the content is available for free on the Telegraph website. I can still cache it all to read later using instapaper or similar (but it will be more of a faff at 3am).

I learned about two major news stories on Twitter. Bin Laden's death, and the Japanese Tsunami. Both stories were promulgated worldwide in minutes, and yet here is a newspaper peddling yesterday's news at inflated prices- I just don't understand why anyone would consider paying for old news anymore.

I don't understand why a newspaper would choose to alienate its online readership in this way. Lost readers more than ever represent lost influence and lost relevance to a newspaper. The Telegraph has an old and stuffy demographic, and as a result I would guess a limited future. It needs to be courting its younger (by which I mean under 50) readers, but despite my politics, I am being pushed towards the Grauniad for news on my iPad.

This situation has now been compounded by Apple, who have chosen to promote the Telegraph as App of the Week. It isn't often that a promoted app gets a barrage of angry reviews and the 1-star ratings currently outnumber the 5 stars planted by Telegraph employees by more than 10-1 (so far).

If you were a Telegraph app user before, all is not lost. Delete the app quickly, before you synch with iTunes. The old version of the app will still be there, and it still works at the moment (although it's full of ads for the new version).

If you have already updated the version in iTunes, delete that too, and you should be able to rescue the old Telegraph.ipa file from your recycle bin.

Unfortunately this will mean you have to manually manage your updates and are stuck with an "update available" badge on your app store icon which is intensely annoying.

(*ok, I made the soul thing up)

- Blogged from my iPad