TripIt is ... er ... Really Good

I grumbled to the nice folks at TripIt because I wasn’t eligible for their referral competition, so they sent me a T-shirt instead. So I think it’s only fair that I put in a good word for them:

  1. Try it. If you travel a lot it’s invaluable.

  2. It’s free.

  3. It’s better than Dopplr.

  4. Er… that’s it.

BAA Break-up

I’m kinda undecided on the BAA break-up. The FT thinks it should definitely go ahead. But as a fairly strict libertarian, and therefore keen on economic freedom, I’ve always had a problem with monopoly break-up except in the most extreme of cases (and I’m not sure this qualifies).

Nevertheless, as my job now takes me onto an aeroplane more than I before, I’m curious and so I read the summary from the Competition Commission’s provisional report. I’m not sure I’m any the wiser, but there were some interesting facts and statistics embedded within:

  • Gatwick’s proportion of business travellers is a mere 18%, far lower than I would imagine (I know it’s not strong on the transfer front, but normally appears to have many terminating flights to useful places, from what I’ve seen). By comparison, Heathrow’s is 40%.

  • From the set of BAA-owned airports, only Heathrow and Aberdeen have above 20% of transferring passengers, with 34% and 21% respectively. Heathrow’s reputation as a hub is clearly deserved.

  • BAA’s airports account for 60% of UK air passengers, but 90% in south-east England, and 84% in Scotland. Maybe there could be a local monopoly at work here, at least?

It’s interesting that the Competition Commission makes lots of slights about poor service, lack of responsiveness to the market, high prices, and so on. This seems a bit unfair. I’ve often wondered how one can gauge the degree of monopoly exploitation fairly, partly there’s rarely an accurate enough free-market alternative implementation to compare it to. The theory does dictate that a monopoly might happen, given some of the stats above, but saying that there is one is a much bigger stretch. This does make me think that perhaps a bit more laissez-faire might go a long way in keeping things market fair - although, as I think they hint at, a bit less regulation would help even things out too.

Not-so-Jubbly Line

I’m beginning to enjoy transport in London almost as much as Richard. Got to Waterloo this morning to find that once again, the Jubilee line entrance was closed - this happened last Monday too. Not being a fan of taking replacement buses and braving the crowds with two large bags half-way across London, I copped out and got a taxi.

But what’s going on here? And why are TfL incapable of communicating with me when it does?

Fullscreen Video Flicker on T61 Thinkpad

Until recently, I was having problems with fullscreen video in Windows on my new T61 Thinkpad, which uses an NVidia Quadro NVS 140M display adapter. Video would regularly flicker when fullscreen was enabled in a variety of players, including Windows Media Player and various embedded Flash players, and had to be taken out of fullscreen and put back - sometimes as many as 10 times - before the image was stable.

After doing a bit of hunting around yesterday, and noticing that at least one other person had the same problem, I came to the conclusion that it was power-saving based - my suspicion is that the refresh rate is reduced under some power-saving circumstances.

The following set of steps seems to remove the problem (or, to be more exact, I haven’t seen the problem return since following them):

  • Open the NVIDIA control panel (from the Start Menu or the system tray).

  • Navigate to Mobile / Change PowerMizer settings.

  • Select Not manage my power consumption (Disable PowerMizer).

Hope this helps someone else.

New Delicious - For Mobile Once Again

Used to be, I employed a cunning trick I found on the web to create a quick ‘n’ dirty homepage for my browser on my mobile - all the delicious bookmarks I’d tagged with mtag.

Then delicious went and released a new version and this trick broke.

After a bit of fiddling, I’ve found a reasonable alternative. feed.informer will take any RSS feed and turn it into fairly plain HTML. So take your RSS feed, which might look something like this:

http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/andrewferrier/mtag?count=100

(the _count _increases the maximum number of items in the feed to 100)

Now plug it into feed.informer, and edit the options to make the result look how you want (hint: I modify the template, and set the Per-Item Template to <a href="%URL%">%TITLE%</a><br />, leaving the rest of the template blank - this prints one bookmark per line). You’ll also need to sign up and create a feed.informer account whilst you’re doing this (assuming you don’t already have one).

Once done, just view the ‘HTML’ version of the digest you created, and set that as your mobile homepage. Bingo.

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