Preston Watson – Dundee’s aviation pioneer

I was watching a documentary about the 100th centenary of the UK’s Royal Air Force today and in particular it looked at the early aircraft used in World War 1.

I was reminded that Dundee has a history of innovation in the early days of flight. Preston Albert Watson built and flew aircraft in and around Dundee, at times from a makeshift runway in Errol. There’s a lot of debate as to when he first flew, some records point to it happening prior to the Wright Brothers first powered flight, however this is largely held to be inaccurate.

Regardless though, Preston Watson is definitely another innovator from Dundee who should perhaps be a bit more widely known.

You can read a lot more about him on Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Watson

A Newscaster’s guide to alternative snow related neologisms

Newscasters! Are you tired of having only a limited choice of words to emphasise the strength or impact of severe snow-specific weather events? Don’t want to use the old chestnuts of “snowpocalypse”, “snowmageddon”, “snowtastrophe” or “snownami”? Then this handy list of alternative neologisms may* just be what you need!

  • Snowballistic
  • Snowfliction
  • Absnowmination
  • Snowlamity
  • Snowasco
  • Desnowlation
  • Snowlocaust
  • Snowgedy
  • Snowbacle
  • Snowmergency
  • Snowplexed
  • Snowcessity
  • Snowdicament
  • Snowlemma
  • Insnowferrable
  • Snowayitcanbethatbad
  • Snowmyfault

* Usefulness, accuracy and / or relevance of these alternative neologisms may vary, contents may have settled during transit, batteries not included.

Animated gif of XKCD’s Philae probe Comet Landing cartoon

XKCD’s daily cartoon covered the Rosetta / Philae comet landing that took place on 12 November 2014 with a great continously updating cartoon throughout the day.

As all of XKCD’s cartoons are available under a Creative Commons licence I thought it would be good to make an animated gif of all of the frames, so here it is:

XKCD 1446

You can also see all the frames over on xkcd1446.org where someone has made an interactive version where you can page through all the frames.

XKCD is licensed by Randall Munroe under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License so all original credit goes to him, I just thought it would be good to have an animation of it and that’s why Creative Commons licences are awesome!

Creative Dundee Mid Week Meets –

We’ve been a bit starved of late in Dundee for any kind of creative meetups so it’s good to see that Creative Dundee are starting up the Mid Week Meets again.

Wednesday October 2nd is the date, Caffe Borsa, Panmure Street, Dundee, DD1 1ED (across from McManus) is the venue, 7-9pm is the time.

Tickets are free but places are limited, go to the event page on Creative Dundee to register on Event Brite for your ticket.

R.I.P. BrowserLab

I wrote about BrowserLab here on Suburbia back when it launched in 2009, at the time it was one of very few web apps that let you preview websites in different browser / OS combinations. But things have moved on a lot since then with new services such as BrowserStack and Sauce which offer the much more compelling feature-set of being able to use live virtual machines accessed through your browser in order to use and test sites rather than just static screenshots.

BrowserLab has languished a bit for a while with very few desktop browser options and nothing to offer in the increasingly important areas of mobile and tablet device testing, in light of this Adobe seems to have decided that it’s better to kill it off instead of languish any further. Although some may be disappointed in this decision I had already ‘jumped ship’ and started using BrowserStack instead (as per my recent post) so it doesn’t affect my own workflow.

One bit of good news for those who enjoyed BrowserLab is that Sauce are offering a deal to BrowserLab users, for the next 30 days you can signup and get 10 free hours of testing, so go sign up for Sauce here and use ‘adobe’ as the promo code to get that offer.

I’ve just signed up for this myself and I’m going to try it out and see how it compares to BrowserStack, I can see a few differences between the two services already but I’m keen to see how the performance compares.

Apple Special Event – iMacs, iLife 08, iWork 08, Mac Mini, Airport Extreme updates, AVCHD iMovie support

So, Apple’s special event took place on Tuesday at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. There were plenty of interesting updates announced:

Picture of iMaciMacs: Shiny new aluminium and glass construction, it appears recycling was a priority in their construction. There’s no more 17" model, just 20" and 24" sizes, but amazingly the prices are very competitive, starting from £799 which is pretty amazing. I have to admit I am strongly considering selling my G5 Tower and getting one of these! Not so keen on the glossy screen but I think I would get used to it. There’s also a completely redesigned keyboard to accompany them too.

Picture of iLife 08iLife 08: Updates to the whole iLife suite, mostly incremental updates for iPhoto, iDVD and GarageBand. But there’s actually a completely new version of iMovie. Interestingly this now includes AVCHD support so now there’s an option inbetween either simply converting AVCHD footage using VoltaicHD or going the whole hog and using Final Cut Studio. Good news for Mac using Sony / Panasonic etc hard-disk based HD camera owners! Now you can edit AVCHD footage using iMovie!

Picture of iWork 08iWork 08: The main update for iWork 08 is a new application that rounds off the whole suite – a spreadsheet application called Numbers. Numbers basically does for spreadsheets what Keynote did for presentations. There’s a 30 day trial available too, I’ve given it a quick little spin and it looks pretty cool.

Along with those announcements there were also a few updates that weren’t announced:

There’s also a video stream of the Special Event available from the Apple site now too.

Now, anyone want to buy a G5 Tower? ;)

~Rick

Back online again!

Hi, I’m finally back online again after my hiatus without a computer at home. I actually got my new MacBook Pro a week or so ago but I’ve just been a bit preoccupied until now to post a blog entry.

I just dug out my little Blog posting Dashboard Widget that I’d made ages ago (before I even had Tiger! so I couldn’t check it worked without sending it to my friend Alyn!). Now that I’ve got that working again, albeit in a very basic form, I’m going to try and get posting blog entries a bit more frequently. I’m also going to do a revamp of the look of Suburbia too.

~Rick