Archive | July, 2007

new tygerland header-image

31 Jul

Don’t worry, the original Robert Bateman painting isn’t gone, I’m just ready for a holiday and this manipulated photo of Tallinn is making me all warm inside (far too busy with work to be allowed to go with Mrs. tyger to Tallinn in two-weeks). Give me a day or so and the Siberian Tiger will be back.

(some browsers may have the old image in their buffer anyway)

new site design

31 Jul


What do we think? Based on a modified Joomlashack template. Using Joomla! will really free me up to experiment and also offer better SEO.

PS. tygerland will remain my main blog.

UPDATE: should that be “navibar” or “navbar”? Hmmmm.

the irregular quote of the day

31 Jul

Mike Power responds to Tim Worstall: –

…for many people out there work means long hours on piss-poor wages (the sort of workers who look after 103 year-old Esme, for instance) and the idea that they are in a position during their working lives to save for their old age and should only receive welfare support after reaching 70 or 75 is, frankly, unrealistic.

Go read.

blogroll update

31 Jul

A few blogs have been deleted (some because they seem to have expired, others, well, I have my reasons), a couple added, and a promotion to the hallowed Gentleman and Players roll.

Always happy to discover and plug new blogs, so if you think I’d like your blog and you’d like me to link to you, let me know in the comments or drop me an email.

Pssst! Some interesting points are raised here (warning: meta blogging stuff).

the irregular photo of the day

30 Jul


Source: Guardian Unlimited Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty (my CC licence)

“You can smile all you want Gordon, but Tony would never have let me lose.”

sunday afternoon pottering

29 Jul

Just been playing with Beryl desktop effects on Ubuntu. Wonderful what you can get from 3-year-old hardware if you use an efficient operating system. For all the brouhaha about desktop effects on Vista, you’d think Microsoft had invented the wheel. Linux could breath life into many of the second-hand systems you see for peanuts in the newspaper.

Also been playing with my other site, but nothing ready to rock and roll yet.

Right, must get back to that copy…

tech review: toshiba tecra a8

29 Jul

I suppose I should write a disclaimer first. I have been asked by TalkToshiba to write a short review of the Toshiba Tecra A8 laptop. No money changed hands, although TalkToshiba handled the courier costs. I had the laptop for a week. Okay?

First things first: I’m not a Windows user. I have used Apple Mac notebooks for years, and even my desktop runs Linux rather than Windows. So, since leaving accountancy, I have had little desire to return to a Windows OS. The A8 runs Windows XP, so already it’s at a disadvantage with this reviewer. However I am open minded, so I’m prepared to overlook the ropey OS and review the laptop on its technical merits, and at £800 (ex VAT), the A8 faces some serious competition.

Pushed along by an Intel Core Duo 2 CPU (2Ghz), the machine is quick. A gig of RAM also ensures that there is enough memory to go around (as long as you’re not running particularly hungry programmes such as Photoshop). Having downloaded Firefox 2 (there isn’t a hope in hell I’m going to go back to Internet Explorer), I was impressed by the speed in which the browser launched. I was on the web in seconds – a vast improvement on my ageing iBook (G4 1.2Ghz, 256mb RAM, OSX (I know, I know I need more RAM, but I’m only a writer!)), which seems to get confused whenever I ask it to do anything.

It’s a business machine primarily, and having used Tosh laptops (as well as Dell) in my previous life, I can say that they’re stable and well-built. The A8 even locks the hard drive in place if it senses that the device has been dropped or knocked. It must be said that Macs have had this facility for a while, even going back to the PowerPC days, but nonetheless it’s a useful feature in a laptop that’s going to travel.

Mrs. tyger was keen to have a go, too. She runs an Apple PowerBook, so she has exacting standards and is used to speed and style. It’s fair to say she wasn’t bowled over by the Tecra’s functional looks (see the photos on Davide Simmonetti’s in-depth review), but she did say that the 15.3″ screen was sharper than her PowerBook (she has the very latest version prior to the switch to Intel), so that’s something.

The battery life was around two and a half hours, which considering the chip-set isn’t half-bad. The Wi-Fi was trouble-free and robust. The speakers are comparatively good. And the keyboard was excellent – something that will please business users no end. And that really is the point: it’s a business machine.

The Tecra would make an excellent workhorse for the travelling businessman: it’s quick, durable, and reliable. For the average web/DTP user it would be hard to recommend one over the entry-level MacBook (also packed with a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo and a Gig of RAM, although a smaller screen), but for someone who needs Microsoft Exchange email and a decent version of Excel, it would make a good choice. Although if you shop around you can find some scorching deals.

One of the main disappointments was the touchpad. It did have a page-scroll facility, but it was a little small and I really expect it to be near-flush with the keyboard at this price (not recessed).

The laptop market is red-hot, so Tosh will have to keep an eye on the price of its Tecra range. You can pick up a HP 510 (Centrino 2.13 Ghz, 512mb RAM, 60Gb HDD) for under £400, and Dell do some excellent Core 2 Duo deals, so already the Tecra could be on the pricey side. It’s a tough market, but that said, the well-built Tosh is extremely tough itself.