Unpredictability - Good for your health

Our modern life is based on organising an environment free from the unexpected. The house needs to be as stable and reliable as possible. The job as safe as possible. Nothing should break down. Nothing but what we predict, should occur.
This is the life of the zoo animal. Let's explore the life of the Nomad. Let's live the life of the Nomad.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Microsoft 950 Phone and Continuum - Essential tools for the Nomad

The best way to travel is to be free of weight - for it is like this that we defy our gravity and ease our burdens.  In these times we need computation and we need communication, that is, both a phone and a computer.  I do not remember the make and model of the first mobile phone I ever used- but I do remember it was installed into a car and was the size of a pint of milk.  I do remember the make and model of the first computer I ever used.  This was an Apple 2 and if you included the monitor and the floppy disks and the keyboard - and if you wanted some mobility, you would have to place them on a trolley and wheel it all to wherever you desired to be.

Recently I purchased for myself Microsoft's latest phone - the 950.  I won't bore you with all the tech details but will say it is indeed revolutionary for to call it a phone is to mistake the intention.  It is a computer with an inbuilt phone and you can comfortably carry it around in your pocket.  Further, when you return to your van or whatever your base living quarters may be - this phone can be connected to Microsoft's display dock.  Microsoft call it continuum.  The display dock is a small cube the size of a packet of cigarettes and it connects to your TV or monitor.  Into the display dock you can also connect your keyboard and mouse and printer, etc.   And thus your phone is now your PC.  It does not get much geek cool better than that.

Microsoft 950 phone out of the box.

Microsoft display dock

Phone connected and workings as a PC - This is Continuum

Phone connected into TV and camera activated and pointed at TV - Infinity.

Peace To All

Friday, 11 March 2016

Birmingham - Classic cars and a shopping centre

Saturday morning and the waiting was a torture to be sure.  There would be a couple of hours driving along the motorways and we would be in Birmingham.  Then we would enter the National Exhibition Center and there would be many classic cars restored to their finest days.  This was to be the Practical Classics Car magazine's annual show.

First however was the waiting.  A man with little vanity can be ready in minutes.  Three ladies, my girlfriend and her two daughters, were taking a bit longer - the facial paint work and the clothing and all those womanly rituals needed taking care of first.  I wanted to get going quickly.  A couple of celebrities would be hosting a question and answer session at two that afternoon. Thankfully we were on our way before midday and the trip was congestion free and this is a rare thing while travelling along the M40.

The NEC was opened by the Queen in 1976 .  It has expanded since then and is now a very large complex indeed.  When originally built the display area covered 89,000 square meters of land.  Now it consists of 20 connected halls covering 2.5 square kilometers.  The car park itself can cater for 29,000 vehicles.

This was not my first visit to the NEC.  I have been to see several motorbike exhibitions and also a flight simulator show.  Car restoration is not a hobby or passion of mine and nor has it ever been so - however a show called Wheeler Dealers has piqued an interest.  This show has a simple format but is very interesting to view.  Mike Brewer is the dealer.  He hunts through the internet and the magazines for older cars that are in need of some restoration.  There is a budget and so he uses clever persuasion to pay as little as possible to the seller.  The old and dusty vehicle is then delivered to Ed China - a very tall mechanic whose wizardry with the spanners transforms the car into peak condition once more.  The restored vehicle is then returned to Mike Brewer who then sells the car at a profit.  I love this show and it was great to see these two in real life - even if it was from a distance.

Mike Brewer and Ed China

I was very impressed with this duo - two men with a passion for cars and a will to turn that passion into a show for the people.  As the interviewer correctly pointed out - many people there at that show had been inspired to take up car restoration as a result of the Wheeler Dealer show.

The halls were full of great cars.  Here are some pictures.

 A Meadows Frisky - British built and only 15 left.

For charity a trip in one or more of these classics could be purchased.

I really enjoyed this show and so did the the three ladies with me - but not quite so much as myself.  For the ladies we had a visit to a long standing friend and a trip to a shopping center.  The Grand Central is at the heart of Birmingham and is newly developed.  It is modern and stylish.  No significant purchases were made but it was a fine few hours spent in this retail environment.

We decided to do a hotel stay rather than travel back that day.  Between Birmingham and London there are 120 miles of motorway.  Such a journey is better done while rested and alert.  Two rooms were booked at the Holiday Inn near Birmingham International Airport.  The room had a green theme and was very comfortable and good value.  Such hotels cater for business during the week but are often very cheap to book for a Saturday night.  Some wall art grabbed my eye.  Several Nice biscuits sprayed white and assembled behind a glass frame.  It is a clever thing to have such an eye - to transform the mundane into something interesting and pleasing to view.

We were all very tired from this day of walking and travelling

Driving home on the Sunday along that great motorway I reflected on this marvel we call the automobile.  Far more than a means of transport - I can recall stages of my life by whatever vehicle we had.  I remember the Ford Falcon our Dad was proud to own.  The many trips to the wide white beaches in Adelaide.  The Valiant - a fine big brown car that almost looked sad when handed over to the dealership as part of a car exchange.  My first owned four wheeled vehicle - a white VW beetle.  I have never driven a car like it.  This car took care of my travels while at University.  The engine eventually gave way but I would really like to have that car with me now.  I cannot understand a reason for myself to purchase a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce - and I do not have the means in my bank account to purchase such a car. But indeed they are beautiful objects on wheels and a fine thing that others do have such means.

Peace to All and Happy Motoring