East is West

Boris Bikes, originally uploaded by kdt.

Cycling in a big city can be exciting. London is pretty calm compared with Beijing and Shanghai the traffic is slow and generally respects bikes and the road rules. Perhaps, the hardest thing isn’t the environment around you but the inner compass.

We had plans to cycle to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was “close” and Boris Bikes were just around the corner from our hotel. After some very slow credit card transactions we got ourselves a 7 day pass and got our first bikes from the racks.

We arrived at our first turn, we had a choice of going left or right at the Strand. I was convinced that right was right and Helen was convinced that left was right. I’ve been known to be disoriented in cities before, so we followed Helen’s conviction.

We cycled along the Strand and took some turns in the “correct” general direction. I could see any signs or monuments, but Helen was convinced. As we cycled along she said “Look St James we must be getting close”. All I can say is that St James is quite popular. We kept going. I was feeling increasingly out of the way. Finally I demanded the iPhone and noticed that we had gone the wrong direction!!

Right was Right.

We ended up cycling past Kings Cross, along Euston Road, then down Bloomsbury Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Picadilly Circus, Pall Mall.

We then arrived in front of Buckingham Palace. There seemed to be 10 million people there. Asking a local bobby we found out that it was changing of the guard. Here is a random holiday tip. The best time to cycle around Buckingham Palace is at about 11:00. No traffic!

Oh, btw, we did manage to the V&A eventually.

Foodie report…

St John, originally uploaded by Helen K.

Went to St John Restaurant last night!

The restaurant was quite noisy with a couple of large parties. Service was generally good, with a few long waits tarnishing the experience a bit. The food however is absolutely wonderful. It is a clean, minimal and traditional. Nothing over complicated. It highlights the best of British food.

He had potted pork with pickled cabbage, saddle of rabbit with courgettes with sides of spring vegetables and potatoes. Followed by shared Chocloate Cake and course of freshly backed Madeleines (awesome!!). She had brown shrimp and cabbage salad, pigeon and radishses.

I’d recommend everyone visit. It is a good contrast to the more complicated French food and it shows that the British traditions certainly have much to offer.

The Saturday morning technology report!

Technology!!, originally uploaded by kdt.

Well every holiday seems to involve a series of compromises in relation to the technology required to take photos and blog. This time we’ve ditched the hacked Dell Mini running Mac OS X and external hard drive. We have replaced it with two iPads, a photo back-up (Sanho iPad Hyperdrive), wireless router (for fixed internet in hotel rooms). Don’t forget three cameras!!

Well for those contemplating this setup I can provide some advice. The iPads work wonderfully well. Flickr Stackr is a great App fro managing your Flickr account (You can’t use all of the Flickr online functions on iPad’s Safari), Photoshop Express is great for a quick crop, rotate and touch-up. I can not be so glowing about WordPress application for blogging, it seems to have unexplained problems uploading sometimes. I find Flickr’s blog to WordPress function the easiest way to get a photo onto the blog.

The biggest problem is that a typical holiday could involved 40gb of photos, no iPad can handle that. The largest available is 64gb and with Apps and Music that is cutting it fine. So here steps in the Sanho iPad Hyperdrive. It is a portable, battery powered hardrive. It pretends to be a camera card so it can upload photos to the iPad. It also offers incremental backups. Sounds great? It did, we bought one. It has, in my opinion, very flakey operating software. I have had to format the harddrive twice and it seems to have problems with incremental back-ups. In no way would I recommend it someone for a road-trip.

So what gives? Well Apple has made a great platform with the the iPad, but Apple either needs to release a larger iPad (128gb or 256gb would be nice) or it needs to offer a better way of having external storage. Until that time it is a bit of a hassle for a long-road trip. I also hope that the next version of iOS makes it easier to delete events or photo albums on the iPad, currently it seems you can only delete a photo at a time! Ickkk that could cause RSI!

Your on the road technical advisor!