28 May 2010

Digital Photo Frames - What we need

digital photo frame
I've just had a 'genius' idea, so I'm going to smugly jot it down here, in order that everyone can see how 'genius' it is and how I got there first... unless someone else already has.

I've just been out on a fruitless shopping expedition, looking for a birthday present for my ancient mum.

It can't be a gadget because, not only has she never been good with technical things (the grandmotherly joys of email, Facebook, Skype, etc are denied her...and us), but also she is now developing alzheimers.

My sister bought her a digital photo frame last Christmas and that threw her a little. My sister has been switching it back on and adding images every time she visits, and I think now my mum is used to it and quite likes it.

So, here come the genius bit.

Why don't the digital frame manufacturers get together with the mobile phone networks and create a 'plug-in-and-forget' digital frame with a low end broadband modem and an extremely cheap, low-usage connection charge, so users (family, friends) can login to the frame and update it remotely.

It would be a perfect gift for someone like my mum. She wouldn't have to do anything, other than watch out for new photos (& video clips) appearing in her frame from her family (esp grandchildren) scattered all over the world.

It would want some good security to ensure that some shitty little script-kiddy in Eastern Europe doesn't post porn or spam on it, but other than that it should be pretty easy to design.

Addendum: Oh, and look what, by complete coincidence, I've just read.

According to industry research firm IDC, there are over 10 billion non-PC devices that connect to the Internet today and that number is expected to grow to almost 20 billion by 2014. Furthermore, these Internet connected devices often have little or no security built into them. Norton for Smart Devices brings Symantec embedded security and other services into non-PC internet connected media devices such as Blu-ray players, televisions and media streamers, smartphones, home security systems, digital cameras, picture frames and more. (Source: LeeHopkins.net 28/05/10)

20 May 2010

Stuff I didn't know... about covered bridges

Hartland covered bridge in New BrunswickI was doing some research yesterday about Maine, which got diverted for a while into covered bridges. Then, by coincidence today, KBC PR sent me some stuff about one of their clients, Atlantic Canada, which also had some stuff on covered bridges.

I've always been aware that there are covered bridges, mostly in North America. That they are...well, bridges, and they are covered(!).... they must be quite picturesque (or "picture-skew" as my dad used to say) because people seem to photograph them a lot, and Clint Eastwood made a movie that involved some in a place called Madison County.

That's it. That's all I knew.

Anyway, I know a bit more now, so I thought I'd share it with you.

  • Madison County, Iowa, is not at all renowned for its covered bridges (it has only 6 of them). Its twin claims to fame are that the book/movie was set there, and it was John Wayne's birthplace.

  • Top dogs in covered bridge ownership are Indiana 98, Quebec 100, Vermont 106 and Pennsylvania 200.

And why are all these bridges covered?

Well, most of our bridges were built in stone, or over the years we replaced wooden ones with stone. In the pioneering days of North America, wood was plentiful and quick to build with, but according to Wikipedia (which has a fair bit on covered bridges), it didn't last so long. They discovered they could extend the life of a bridge from almost a decade to 80 years if they put a roof on it to keep the rain off.

Personally, I reckon they also worked out that, like a box girder, it's much more structurally rigid.

It turns out there were a couple of supplemental benefits.

  • Herds of cattle were less skittish crossing rivers when they were boxed in.

  • Turn of the century lovers could achieve a lot of snogging, unseen by disapproving eyes, as they passed through on their buggies.

Cyclist pass thru covered bridgeSo, there you are. Don't you feel enriched from dropping by here for a few secs? :)

Next week... The lighthouses of Maine and New Brunswick


19 May 2010

Is this the face that launched a thousand articles?

On Monday (17 May) I tweeted that this up-n-coming news story was guaranteed to become a tabloid newspaper feeding frenzy.

Not hard to see why it works.

V pretty, young (22 ffs!), blonde + easy to understand story + big f**k-off mountain (scene of former Brit glory) + heroic achievement = wet dream for tabloid newspaper editors.

...but I underestimated.

Not only have the temperate Guardian & BBC have enthusiastically run with it...it's already gone worldwide. Even China's Epoch Times and Vietnam's VT News have gobbled up the female mountaineer climbs Everest story.

Don't get me wrong. I think think she's done great, but that's not really my point.

Expect more..... lots more.

(And now, I'm using that photo, groan.)