Dear Readers,

I know I have neglected this blog and website for some time, but now is probably an opportunity to use this page to explain myself in more than 140 characters.

Four years ago I was a moderately disgruntled Senior Lecturer at Ravensbourne College, I was referred to speak to a head hunter by a friend on the basis of my broad experience and knowledge. As a result of two interviews I was able to obtain the position of Chief Technologist at Humax Electronics in the UK. Humax is one of the top five manufacturers of set-top boxes in the world and the UK’s top manufacturer of digital television recorders. This role has seen me drink a great deal, socialise a great deal and most importantly it has seen me gain a great deal of knowledge about a sector which I had very little experience of; in addition it is perhaps worth saying that as a broadcast engineer by training I had very little appreciation for this industry which I now see differently. I have a better understanding of commercial issues as a result of my work with my colleagues and most especially my boss, Graham North, who is among one of the most respected people in the business.

Now, four years have passed and it is time to move on. It is not for me to explain here the motivations for my moving on, but I have opportunities that I can follow. I hope I can reveal further details about my mysterious new employer once I have started but for now I must concentrate on doing the best for Humax until I leave.

I will miss my colleagues, I will miss my work and the opportunities that it brings to meet new and interesting people. But as one door closes another one opens and I have little doubt that I will meet many of those that I know again because this is a small business.

Yours,

Bob

Yesterday I was looking at the O2 Joggler device and thinking how, despite the environmental concerns, I wouldn’t mind a UMPC as a digital sign in the lounge giving information such as weather, travel status, internet connection status and domestic energy consumption. However the Joggler is locked from customisation and the Hack the Joggler website seems to be offline at the moment.

But I was stumbling around the net as I usually do and I found that DealExtreme (those fab people in China who sell cheap stuff to the world) are selling a little but potentially powerful UMPC called the Smart Q5, this little devil runs ARM Ubuntu, has a 667MHz Samsung S3C6410 SoC chip, 1GB of flash and a modest 128MB of RAM. Now the 128MB of RAM is a little on the short side but it is workable and the fact that the chip has some video acceleration could be an advantage. The big hesitation for me with this product was the fact that it only has a 4.3in display and that isn’t very big compared to my HTC Touch HD mobile phone. This brings me to find the Smart Q7 which has the same specification but with a larger 7in screen.

Overall they are fun little devices and not without their flaws, but they have potential to make a big impact, especially if they had a little extra RAM. With this in mind I have purchased one for ‘testing’ purposes and will report back my findings.

Venice is a nice place to be for 2 to max 3 days. I don’t know if I would like to live there. The cold penetrates you to the bone and personally I had troubles to sleep because of the horrible pain to my body’s joints caused from the humid. I also got back with a terrible cold which still exhausts me one week later. I know that you may think that it can’t be that bad, how can one nag when being in one of the most romantic places in Europe! Indeed it is an exciting place which combines the unpreserved matured beauty with the modern facilities and luxury. While approaching the island you have the feeling of entering an industrial zone or a shipyard. Once sailing slowly down the Grand Canal, penetrating the island you begin sensing the blows of the city’s charm.

Amazing buildings, great Venetian architecture, arched windows supported on double roman columns, soft pastel colours, decayed walls, green with moss entrances emerging from the sea level, grandiose heavy double wooden doors, geraniums hanging off the windows reflecting their beauty into the still sparkling murano crystal window-screens formed by hundreds of little glassware circles bonded together. But the best is yet to come…

As the dark falls the town is dressed in its heavy black velvet cloak, covers its face in a golden Venetian mask and strolls into the narrow allays or sails in the dank canals. If you are lucky enough, you may find her in one of those little bars offering you a glass of deep red fruity wine, drinking with you and telling you amazing stories for ghosts and secret lovers. This is Venice. A town stopped in time but never forgotten.