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February 2006
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March 2006

Whoops - wrong airport

When travelling, I always have this slight worry that I'll end up at the wrong place.  It seems that this risk is increased with Ryanair - the pilot on one of their flights got confused and landed at the wrong airport.

It's difficult for passengers to get on the wrong plane, but I suppose no-one checks the pilot's ticket or passport.  A few years ago I was sitting onboard a Virgin 747 at Heathrow waiting for the plane to leave for Hong Kong.  Then the pilot and co-pilot emerged from the cockpit in something of a hurry.  Apparently they had got on the wrong plane by mistake.  Ooops.

Even less interestingly, I was once on a bus in London that went the wrong way.  The passengers noticed very quickly, but it's not easy to do a 3-point turn in a double-decker bus...


Gotta be better than TVB Pearl

According to The Guardian, the BBC is testing testing a commercial version of their Interactive Media Player, which makes it possible to download BBC programmes to a computer in the seven days after they are broadcast.  This service is available free of charge in the UK, but the rest of us will have to pay for it

I'll go for that.


Only one winner

The fourth series of The Apprentice has been notable for the number of times that Donald Trump has broken the rules, so it was not really a surprise that he considered hiring two people. It had been obvious for a long time that he was going to choose Randal unless he did something really stupid, and so perhaps the only way to inject some tension into the proceedings was to have the possibility of two winners.

Continue reading "Only one winner" »


212 runs

This week I am mainly...watching a DVD of the last Ashes series - to celebrate England winning a Test Match in India for the first time in 21 years.  In case you missed the news, England beat India by 212 runs.

As I refuse to pay HK$168 a month for the cricket channel, I am reduced to following it on the Internet, where The Guardian sits someone in front of a TV and gets them to write about what they are watching (and what the commentators are saying).  Which is better than nothing, I suppose.


Thanks

It's a simple word, but what does it mean?  We should be happy when someone writes "thanks", shouldn't we?  Except that it is often used in emails to mean that someone expects you to do something, rather than expressing gratitude for a job well done.

I suppose it has grown out of the weasel phrase "thanks in anticipation", which is supposed to look polite but really isn't.  Shorten it and you have "thanks" as an instruction.  Yeuch.

An exclamation mark can help to convert it from an instruction back to its original meaning, but who uses punctuation these days?


Char Sui Bau

#2 in the Dim Sum series is Char Siu Bau 叉燒包, and please don't tell me I've romanized it incorrectly* because I don't want to know.

Char_sui_bauIt's a fluffy white bun filled with BBQ pork (i.e. pork in a barbecue sauce) and, as you will see from the picture, you normally get three in a basket.  It's a popular little Dim Sum and very widely available (I'd say it was ubiquitous if I knew how to spell it).

In my early Dim Sum days it was quite a favourite of mine, but now I find the bun a bit too, well, fluffy, and the BBQ sauce too sweet, so I'll eat it if it is offered, but I wouldn't order it and I wouldn't fight anyone for the last one.

*If you spell it Cha Xiu Bao (which is Pinyin, I think) it's also the name of a blog about food.


Designed by a genius

If you do nothing for a few minutes and then try to log off from H**C's Internet Banking, you get this marvellous message:

Please log on before you access our Internet banking service.

So I have to log on so that I can log off?  Brilliant...


All Washed Up

It seems to be a well-established tradition in Hong Kong that when you sit down at the table in a restaurant you use hot tea to wash the cups, bowls and chopsticks. The theory is that the water has been boiled, so it is safe.

Well, maybe, but what about the people who wash the bowls? Did they clean their hands first?

And if you can't trust the restaurant to provide you with clean bowls, what about the kitchen? Is it safe to eat the food?

All seems like nonsense to me.


Third time lucky?

Seeing the announcement about the new Intel/Microsoft Origami handheld PCs I feel overwhelmed by a sense of deja vu.  About 4 or 5 years ago, I bought a Samsung Nexio, which claimed to be a PC that you could hold in your hand.  It ran a version of Windows and you were supposed to be able to use it with your desktop PC. 

Like so many gadgets, it didn't quite work as well as it might have done. 

  • The battery life was horrible (and carrying a power adapter rather compromises its portability).
  • Yes, you could work with Word and Excel documents, but the formatting got messed up if you tried to transfer a document back to the desktop PC.
  • The keyboard was too small and the keys too thin for typing properly.

I could go on, but it would only depress me.  It wasn't a total waste of money, but had I known its limitations I don't think I'd have bought one. 

So I wasn't surprised to see Samsung are having another go, and I hope this time they get it right.