It’s better than TV

BeboI was listening to Radio  Five Live on the BBC this morning.

There was a story about AOL buying Bebo for USD850m.  The story focussed however on Balderton Capital – the only institutional investor in Bebo.  Balderton provided first-round financing of USD15m to acquire a 15.7% stake in May 2006.  They will now make a return of 9 times that on their investment.

The story carried an interview with Barry Maloney, one of the partners of Balderton and a director of Bebo since the investment in May 2006.  When the interviewer asked him what led him to think about investing in Bebo he recounted how his daughters had stopped fighting with him for the TV remote control and he went to see what they were doing instead.  What a great story!  I wonder if they’ll be getting some pretty damn nice ponies on birthdays to come.

6 days until the A380

A380Being quite a geeky person when it comes to some things I just wanted to let you all know that in 6 days I am going on the inaugural  A380 Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to London.  And I’m really looking forward to it!

There are some things I really like about living in Singapore and one that comes close to the top of the list is having every opportunity to fly on Singapore Airlines (or ‘SQ’ as us locals refer to it). 

Not only will I be on the new plane sampling what promises to be the best (by a long way) economy  class in the world, but I shall be departing from  Singapore Changi Airport’s new T3.   It’s so typically ‘Singapore’ that we have all beeen using Changi Airport’s T1 and T2 thinking how comfortable and pleasant they are (I’ve never queued for more than about 5 minutes for any part of the security / check in / immigration process) when they decide to build a spanking new T3. 

I shall no doubt be wishing to be back in Changi when I arrive at Heathrow.  Given the persistent creaking and straining of every part of Heathrow’s processes, I’m wondering how prepared they are for a really big plane with lots of people getting off at the same time.  It suddenly just occurred to me as I write this that maybe we’ll all arrive at Heathrow’s T5.  I just checked and, of course, as I realize I knew already, T5 at Heathrow will be exclusively for British Airways passengers. 

Anyway, check back here for an exclusive on the A380 experience.  On the flight back I have used airmiles to upgrade to Business Class. 

I can’t wait!

Carl at home….. with a woman…

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A friend and colleague sent me (and some of our other colleagues) an email the other day.  The subject header was:

   

‘Carl at home… with a woman…’

And it was just the cartoon image that you see on the left.

I think he was what psychologists would call – ‘Projecting’

….Psychology …..To externalize and attribute (an emotion or motive,
for example) unconsciously to someone or something else in order to
avoid anxiety.

Call of Duty 4 is Incredible

Cod4_x360_thetaI recently finished playing Call of Duty 4.  I’ve played Games on Computers and consoles for years – my earliest memories being catching falling arrows in a little green line drawing truck on a BBC computer, the tennis paddle game on a TV at a friend’s house and also  Manic Miner.

But I have never been really into them and my playing has come in fits and starts depending on who’s been around and other external factors.  There was a time 5/6 years ago when I played a lot of Pro Evolution Soccer on the PS2 with my brother, Edward in South West London.

So, basically – on and off for a long long time with a pretty good idea of what’s around based on my general fascination for all things techy rather than as an active participant.  And, I suppose, with games like COD4 I am interested in them for their immersive qualities as part of my broader interest in what it takes to get someone immersed in an experience. 

I have been playing Halo 3 on and off since I got my xBox 360 and I suppose it’s pretty good.  The graphics are beautiful and all the other stuff is great….. it’s just that, well, I find the whole futuristic setting detracts from my experience.  There’s something about immersing myself in an environment I can relate to (if I can relate to modern warfare at all) that I find hugely appealing. 

The sniper mission in the game was just awesome.  Crouching in the long grass as a patrol (including tanks) passes by just inches from your position was incredible.  Visually it was comparatively ordinary compared to some of the other episodes in the game but from an immersion point of view the experience was very powerful.Sniper_escape

The game continued to surprise and delight me.  I really enjoyed the lack of a puzzle element.   I remember playing games where  it was a real pig to find your way and then you had to remember a series of confusing turns to get back.  I’m not interested in this.  COD4 makes it extremely simple to find your way and progress to the next episode.  This leaves someone like me able to concentrate on becoming part of the  incredible experience.  I will be looking to repeat  this kind of experience with other games.  A couple of people on the xBox forums  have suggested BioShock although I’m wondering about that futuristic element again.

And then again, there’s always a Wii and Super Mario Galaxy

Thai Express are fantastic (at least at Junction 8)

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Something completely non-techy and nothing to do with anything really.  But I just wanted to say ‘well done’ to people who deserve it.

I just sent this email to Thai Express (a cheap and fast Thai food restaurant chain here in Singapore where I get take out sometimes)

Hi

A few months ago I moved to Bishan and often end up walking home via Junction 8

I
started calling in at your restaurant there and am now a regular
customer for take out – once every week or two.  The reason I am
regular is that the friendliness and the service of the staff is
excellent.  I am a foreigner here (although a Permanent Resident) and,
in a country not known for its excellent service, your staff at that
particular restaurant are always extremely friendly and efficient and
it’s both a treat and delight for me to make a quick visit to grab my
take out food after a long day at work.

The Prime Minister I know is very keen to bring Singapore up in
terms of a country ranking for customer service.  If every F&B and
retail outlet in Singapore was half as good as your restaurant at
Junction 8 it would make Mr Lee a very happy and proud man!

I am a very happy customer and would like you to take note of this
comment and pass on my thanks to your great team at Junction 8.