Category Archives: Travel

Crossing things off the bucket list

At last! Today, I finally managed to leave the ranks of those who have never commuted to work on an electric unicycle.

Not sure I’ll make a habit of this mode of transport, especially since, as John points out, it is technically illegal here, but it’s a thing one should have done at some point in one’s life, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sending satnav locations from your iPhone/iPad to a BMW navigation system

One of those ‘in case you’re Googling for it’ posts! This will probably be of little interest to anyone who doesn’t own both an iOS device and a BMW, but might be useful if you own both.

Also available on Vimeo if preferred.

Last orders

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Tilting at windmills

I love this understated phrase from the ‘Information for visiting pilots’ on the website of Caernarfon Airport:

Runway 02/20 at Caernarfon is now permanently unlicensed due to the installation of two 152’ amsl wind turbines approximately half way down the runway.

Conjures up some wonderful mental images.

“Go on Bob, time it just right… Oh, and roll as you go through…”

Freedom

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Scene spotted at Aldeburgh last weekend. I have a feeling I should try selling this to a biking magazine…

Cyrillic pronunciation guide

Looking back through some old photos from a visit to Russia about 11 years ago, I came across one that I took as a guide to the pronunciation of all those unfamiliar characters…

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Transport and housing, Italian style

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What I like about this image is that, though it could come from various parts of the world, it very clearly is not in a British suburb.

After the rain

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The view from our balcony just now. And yes, it really did look like this…

Time travel

My friend Mike Flynn has been working for some years on very fast routing algorithms — routing as in maps, that is — and his primary demonstration of this is TimeToAnywhere – a system which can work out how long it takes to drive from one location to everywhere else on the map.

So you can say, for example, “There’s been an accident here. Which ambulances could reach it in less than 15 mins?” Or, “I work in Dry Drayton. Where could I live, and still have less than a half-hour commute?”

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Each coloured boundary represents 10 minutes’ driving.

This is pretty, but those of you with a computing background may also realise that, using most of the standard algorithms, this is also a very time-consuming problem when you try do it across this number of points. Mike, however, measures the time taken by his system in microseconds.

He’s recently set up a demo server which, if it doesn’t get too swamped, is fun to play with to get a feel for the speed! You can find it at TimeToAnywhere.com, and if you want to know how to get the most out of it, watch Mike’s short video.

Pie charts

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Well, that’s what they reminded me of! Crooked Lake, Michigan.

To every day turn, turn, turn

From our ‘Things we could patent but probably won’t’ department…

Here’s something I’d like, which should not be too hard to create: a satellite navigation system that understood, when it gave you a direction, the consequences of your failing to do so.

If it’s telling me to take a motorway exit which, if I miss it, will involve driving 10 miles further on before I can even turn round, I’d like it to notify me of that in no uncertain terms. It can flash red and yell at me if necessary, especially if I don’t seem to be slowing down and changing lane. It can do so even if I normally have the audio turned off. And it can do so if the route it previously suggested is no longer appropriate, because there’s been an accident resulting in a three-mile tailback.

If, on the other hand, it wants me to turn left but there are several other left turns ahead, any of which will do, and none of which will add more than a minute or two to my journey, then it can inform me in a much more relaxed way.

What do you think? Am I on to something here?

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Images from Eltham

We visited Eltham Palace, in London, today. An enjoyable outing. Henry VIII grew up here, though he wasn’t a great fan of Art Deco, so that was added more recently.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser