Web versus Android

Android

With the help of a colleague, I compiled a list of the top 50 android applications and roughly which API they required to function.

The Web application specification (offline file access) with device APIs can do what these Android applications can do. Otherwise I do not see any compelling grounds for ‘innovation’ that the Androids Java SDK could provide over the Web… Most of the Android entries look pretty lame and unexciting to me.

Sadly rumour has it that Gears won’t be on the first versions of Android. Well it isn’t that surprisingly as I was practically begging for Gears on Android four months ago.

Sidenote: I am also concerned when operators will start to do Internet data “freely” on their PAYG plans, to facilitate the Web on mobiles. I’m following developments on SMStextNews in the UK… and its disheartening. Maybe data on mobile will be ubiquitous in the UK in 5 years? Rest of the World… who knows?

4 rules for travelling Kazakhstan

Some advice I’ve randomly found from my travel diaries. Badly translated from Russian:

  1. Be like a “King Arthur”.
  2. Don’t drink too much in places you don’t know.
  3. Have a good guide who knows which company you should spend your time with.
  4. Guide must be a man. Man knows girls.

Also I learnt one should never mix sheep fat and cold water.

Discover your daily electricity cost

Electricity bill

Unit price aka price per kiloWatt hour pence

Quantity Wattage (average) Time (minutes) Cost
GBP

After Geekyoto I was trying to figure out how much I spend on electricity. I believe people will change their habits once they know the cost.

Then after receiving my electricity bill I couldn’t actually work out how much my ‘50W spot light’ costs me a day in electricity!

The first problem is that I paid my bill with a fixed direct debit. So I really had no idea how much electricity I was really spending per month. I called up and changed that to variable direct debit.

The next problem I had, was understanding the notion of standard energy unit and discounted energy unit blocks. I won’t go into this as it is quite complex. Call up your supplier to give you a simpler fixed unit price which is somewhere in the middle. With a fixed price you now have a chance to calculate out your electricity cost.

Geek Pension

My first grey hair

I’ve long been annoyed by large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers. I believe in a world of small businesses and this is why I’ve already invested a large proportion of my efforts in Free software & the (open) Web.

However it comes to a point in one’s life (I’m 30 now) where one needs to aggressively save money. Save for a car, save for a house, save for the future. In England tax-free cash ISAs are just 3600GBP a year. That sum makes it very difficult to get a mortgage for a house in England. Though, the UK government also offers tax-free share based ISA savings.

That means you need to invest in a public limited company on the stock exchange. I.e. you need to give your money to those “large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers”. Not cool.

Recently the company I work for set me up with a Scottish Widows plan. Personally I’d rather have the extra money, but once again the powers that be force me to put some of my money into “large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers”. Grumble.

Scottish Widows however does allow you to make (token) choices. You have very little to go on, except for the name of the funds. You really haven’t got a clue where the money goes. :(

I chose the following funds with the advice from my pension adviser:
* Property 15%
* European 15%
* SW Newton Managed 20%
* SW MM UK Eq Growth 10%
* Corporate bond 15%
* Fixed Interest 10%
* SW Art UK Sm Cos 15%

I tried to invest in EU small businesses, as I believe in a strong economic European union. I wanted to invest mostly in property as I argued to myself that property would be safe, low risk, long term and didn’t involve the short term interests of “large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers”.

Unfortunately 15% is the maximum you can spend in property.

My dad later commented that investing in typical pension property schemes like shopping centres isn’t going to work with “E-commerce”. That had me again about the future. Where natural resources & food will probably rise and travelling gets harder and the Web’s reach will probably span wider.

Now I can understand how those VCs at Minibar London get all their money!

Ideally I could take that share ISA allocation and the money going into that aforementioned pension plan and put it into my own Web kiosk company. It might be risky, but I think it has a good future and a future I can control. That’s piece of mind for my principles and beliefs.