I spent last weekend up in Cambridge, taking a look at the fourth years’ new houses and generally catching up with everyone. It was my first trip back to Cambridge since I graduated, but this visit was really more about the people than the university or the town. Indeed the location was completely unfamiliar with their houses being far off north of the town proper, once it becomes residential and real people start to exist. Fortunately the Citi7 bus travels all the way from the station to such uncharted reasons so it wasn’t too difficult to navigate.
The housewarming was in a house predominantly inhabited by the ex-K lot from last year, most of whom had also been down for my birthday in August. The house was pretty packed with Angie keeping food flowing, Rav and Sparkie rewiring the house, and Adam (whose not-very-surprised birthday party was also being celebrated) showing off his Guitar Heroics while laughing maniacally at everyone else’s attempts. Everything as normal, really.
The following morning I was up early, gorging myself on a breakfast of bacon sandwiches following by a lunch of freshly cooked mini-doughnuts — with such hospitality I’ll certainly be back soon! After helping with a little tidying I headed over the medics’ fancy new abode. TomTom and I charged through several levels of Halo 3 (getting dirty looks from Cat) before being more sociable on the arrival of Lyds’ guests. I headed home in the early evening which was fortunate given the inevitable rail works. I would have liked to spend longer, but I’m sure there will be plenty more trips to come. I also expect everyone down in London to see the flat before long, though possibly not at the same time what with it not being a house. As for the photos, larger versions may appear here soon but I’m still getting used to the 400D and its ridiculous ISO settings (up to 1600 which is great for low light blog photos but obviously very grainy at full size).
I have also received a some of Philips’ great new amBX gaming gear (apparently worth just over £200) which conceptually is a fantastic extension of the ambilight which first featured in their TVs. I would absolutely love to write you a review except that there are no 64-bit Vista-compatible drivers yet. This is disappointing given that supposed cutting edge technology like this is most likely to be adopted by people running the latest OS. They promise new drivers are on the way, so stay tuned…
I am aware that, when I posted a link to the Philips Aurea mini-site before, it was down for maintenance. It’s now up again so you can all bask in its truly beautiful glow. Only unveiled recently, I had chance to see one in person at John Lewis recently and it really is stunning. When it’s on, at least. Unfortunately for the light effects to filter through the front of the panel (rather than side/rear projection with their earlier Ambilight screens) it has to be white. So when it’s switched off you have a gigantic glossy white monstrosity sat in your living room. If your life is Apple-styled then it’s probably not an issue, but if you have taste then it may be difficult to fit comfortably into your living room.
Such foibles aside (why would you leave such a gorgeous device off after all?) the link is worth checking out just to see There Is Only One Sun, the stunning film directed by Wong Kar Wei as a demonstration. Make sure to click the link for the entire film (around eight minutes) rather than the shorter version. Part film, part study in light and colour, it’s easily as good as any of the recent Bravia ads minus the gimmick. It’s light on content, of course, but oh so pretty. Apparently these days TV ads for TVs are where it’s at.
The first day of a new month seemed like an appropriate time for a return to active duty. The flat is now really taking shape with just a few major additions left — the rest will be purely cosmetic. The living room is everything I had hoped with the Sony Bravia KDL-40W2000 taking centre stage. I have been stalking that screen from a distance for over a year, and it was with no small sense of accomplishment that I finally switched it on. The delivery man enviously described these screens as looking “like water” and he’s not wrong. This level of stunning television construction is approaching an affordable price at last (although the truly extravagant can still easily drop three grand on the new Philips Aurea — you know a launch is special when it requires Wong Kar Wei direct a short film). The only downside is that while the Xbox plays divinely and upscales DVDs with aplomb, it has proved stubbornly unwilling to communicate with wirelessly connected PC. Trailing a dozen metres of ethernet cabling between rooms is not really a solution so this needs to be investigated further.
You have probably gathered that we now have internet access from the flat, which also makes work decidedly easier since BPP conveniently make most of their resources available externally. Thus I can continue to keep unsociable student hours rather than restricting my work to the hours that librarians keep (the hours they are paid to keep at any rate). It’s no secret that I am a technophile but, while I wouldn’t characterise myself as dependant, I admit I was surprised by just how comfortable I instantly felt once the dual combination or the internet and TV were sorted out. In honesty I barely watched broadcast TV in the past few years, but I still needed my DVD and Xbox fix, particularly with the release of Halo 3. Yes, I have been playing it avidly, but I feel it probably deserves its own post shortly.
Given my absence there are obviously all manner of things I could ramble on about at length but I’d like to keep posts a bit more focused in order to ensure you retain a steady stream rather than the occasional deluge. Rest assured that regular service has now been resumed.