Sunday, November 15, 2009


So, Belle De Jour turns out to be a research scientist from Bristol. Techcrunch this morning speculates this unveiling may not be entirely of her own volition. Dr Magnanti went to massive lengths to protect herself including setting up shell companies to handle the proceeds from her book and TV transactions. But it seems there may have been an ex with an agenda and thus we find her in the papers on her own terms rather than on someone elses.

Secrets are difficult to keep in the internet age, but at least all Belle has to endure is some annoying newspaper articles and a few sideways looks in restaurants. I once knew a man who infiltrated the IRA. The penalty for discovery was death. His RUC handler had this aphorism for his continued survival as a spy: Never even tell your best friend. For your best friend has a best friend.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time Out Country Walks Book 1 Number 6

From Hampshire091109
Just the right time of year for a walk down in Hampshire, the train to Pirbright and then a tramp across the county border to Haslemere in Surrey. Really quiet, the rain stayed away, nobody around and the leaves all turning. Steak and Chips in the pub, the Red Lion in Fernhurst. Good friends on the nine mile trek. A perfect day in a beautiful part of the country.

Top iphone Apps

I thought I'd make a list of the things I'm impressed by on the iphone at the moment. Blackberry and Palm Pre users please look away now. All these things are free, and I heard about them on tech head sites like Wirefresh and Gizmodo.

- Tweetdeck. I'm an unashamed twitterholic and this newly updated widget makes it all so easy. And if you set up an account it syncs with the version on your desktop. .

-Sky News. It makes me grit my teeth to say this but their app works brilliantly. But they should incorporate their bloggers to make it rule utterly.

- NY Times. Their net offering works better on the iphone than it does on the web. Authoritative US journalism delivered to your phone.

- I'm also trying out Zen News which is an original graphic take on the world's headlines. Not convinced by it yet though. .

- TV Guide. The UK TV listings at your fingertips. Very handy when you need to sort your reality viewing.

- The Trainline. Tried this rail timetable tool out while we were walking down in Sussex at the beginning of the week and needed some train times from Haslemere. Simple to use and worked brilliantly...and it's free unlike its competitor, National Rail Enquiries, which was still £4.99 when I checked this morning.

- Currency. Handy little thing for working out how much the bill is in Sterling when you're travelling. Quietly pops onto the net to find out how the pound is doing so it's always up to date.

- Kayak. Its designers say this finds the cheapest flights from wherever you are to wherever you need to go. Looks on a number of sites, including that of Easyjet apparently. And it has an option to book a car and a hotel at the other end. I'm quite impressed but I think I'd still feel happier doing that sort of high cost operation on my PC.

- Rightmove. Watching houseprices rise and fall is my guilty pleasure.

- Speedtest. A bit nerdy this. Basically it's a handy little program which measures the speed of your net connection. It's also available on the web which is handy when lambasting your ISP over low bandwidth.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


To my friend Rikki's house to take pictures of his guide dog Russ for a guidedoggy publication. It takes raw courage for even sighted people to take on London's transport system and Rikki used to do it armed only with a stick. These days Russ is his right hand dog.

There have been few mishaps, although Russ did once walk Rikki into an overhanging refrigerator lorry door. There again, there was all the excitement of an ambulance ride afterwards!