Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazon Kindle - Our Silk is on Fire!

     No, I didn't say that Amazon's sex is on fire. I said Silk. Amazon Silk is their latest and greatest in the Amazon innovation in cloud computing and it is coming soon on the Kindle Fire. Which, to me, looks pretty sexy!

     Amazon has pulled no punches with a letter to its customers boldly positioned on its home page today. They practically call out the high priced iPad and the like and have thrown down the gauntlet less than a week before Apple's latest news of their iPhone 5 Launch. Read it for yourself (the links won't work since it is a photo but I will post those in the caption area.

Kindle $75 - Kindle Touch $99 - Kindle Touch 3G $149 - Kindle Fire $199
     The video mentioned at the end is all about Amazon Silk and how it is going to revolutionize virtual products and features. The cloud has never seemed so close... I can almost touch it now!

     I would love to get my hands on one of these things. The hype over the iPad is killing me and I have yet to jump on that band wagon. I do love Apple products and even own a massive Beast Master of an iMac but I have to say, Apple cannot corner all technology and if there is one thing that Amazon has done right ever since its inception, is books. Now it is just offering yet another way to get that content to us knowing that we are now, and have been, in the Digital age.

     A few facts about the Kindle Fire (I keep wanting to type the Amazon Fire though):
  • Display: 7" multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors. 
  • Storage: 8GB internal. That's enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.
    • Free cloud storage for all Amazon content 
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content 
     I have to say that all sounds quite impressive.They mention a Dual Core processor but do not actually give the specifics of the power it has. However, the battery life on a touch screen of this capacity and the anti-reflective treatment is something I would definitely like to see in action. I love the basic Kindle for its E Ink technology and the fact that I can read it in any bright light condition just like a book. However, I love snaz and snap of color. Getting to watch whole movies AND, get this, if you have an Amazon Prime account you have access to over 10,000 streaming movies for FREE. It isn't much right now, but it was something I didn't realize I would get when I signed up for it. BONUS!

     I am really thinking about preordering one of these babies, but I am not really a first adopter. I tend to stay on the sidelines and hear the Yays and Boos of the crowds as the new tech rolls out. If it is what they say it is though, I think that Amazon's Cloud technology might just boost the playing field for Apple to get their iCloud facility humpin' and pumpin' faster!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FFS Facebook, you are DRIVING me to Google+

     I logged into my Facebook today as many people did and found all these crazy changes. Firstly, I received no email explaining these changes (as this would be nice to in effect tour the new look). I found myself scrolling down the page with this strange window following me on the right. I thought it was a glitch in my browser. It creeps me out to have a window follow me down the page like that.. like OMG FRAMES. But still I digress...

     I can tell you what I have been reading from quite a few of my friends' statuses:
FFS Facebook...will you stop messing around with facebook layout...I cant find anything!!!
     And
wth???????? Facebook I don't like this, I see twitter becoming my new bff
     And more of this here. But really, what goes on behind the minds of the creators and layout specialists they go to? I see this strange window that scrolls down the page as I scroll down it, but it is the exact same news feed as what I am looking at. Really? What is that good for? I am not complaining, I just want to know!

     I recently joined Google+ and found quite a bit of potential but also one huge limitation... none of my friends had access unless I sent them an invitation. Yesterday the Google+ team finally fixed that issue and quite a few others and opened the enrollment YAY!


     So I say to all of you that are frustrated with the complexity that Facebook is now suffering from, and you liked the simplicity that it used to have, give Google+ a shot. Create some Circles... throw up some Sparks to peruse. Who knows, you may even be able to join a few really cool Huddles (a feature I haven't quite had a chance to view yet).

     What is there to lose? Not much for me because Facebook has already stolen it. So sit back with me. Read a few articles. Make sure you +1 what you like and comment where you want! It is a roller coaster on Facebook, so lets hit the lazy river and enjoy ourselves and keep a bit of our sanity!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Knock Castle - Stag's View Restaurant Review

It was a beautiful, crisp, August afternoon. There was a bright sky in Scotland the day me and my fiance had lunch at the Stag's View Restaurant at the Knock Castle. This wee place is snuggled in the hills of the town Crieff in Perthshire, Scotland. We were both excited to be able to experience the majestic views from the outdoor seating and have a lovely lunch in one of the finer establishments in the town.

We were greeted by the front desk agent who walked us upstairs to the Stag's View and the barman there seated us outside after he took our drink orders. Chrissy chose an alcoholic ginger beer called Crabby's and I had a Bacardi and Diet. We sat and took a few photos of the view while we sipped and pondered over the menu.

We were getting the 2 course meal with a certificate that Chrissy had gotten through her work. The local taxi service Crieff Taxi, had received some free meals to allow for their employees to experience the Knock restaurant and in turn be able to promote it to their passengers. So we made our selections from the menu.

The starters all sounded lovely, but we were in the mood for a good desert. We decided on the Rib-eye steak both cooked Medium with the Potato Fondant and braised red cabbage. There was also some delightful small carrots and zucchini. Our pudding was the classic Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce and a side of home made ice cream.

The server/barman was very attentive and made us feel very comfortable when our food was ready to be served as he led us inside to our table. The service was splendid through out. However, the steaks really failed to impress.

The presentation of the food was almost off-putting. It looked like they just piled everything on top of itself.. which they actually did. Mind you, the food looked delicious, I just had to move everything around on my plate so that I could get to the potatoes and veggies underneath.

Expecting a nice juicy pink middle on our steaks, we cut into our meat. Brown, yes done all the way through. The steaks were not even near Medium anything on the scales. We would have sent them back if we were paying for the meal and if we weren't so hungry from waiting and anticipating the meal. They were juicy but not very tender. Large lines of gristle ran through mine and not marbling like a rib-eye should have.

The potatoes were cooked in a cylinder/puck shape. I am not fussy about the shape but they were very dry and had very little flavor to them. I have never had Potato Fondant before, so I have nothing to compare them to. I normally love potatoes but this was not one of those times.

The red cabbage along with the zucchini and baby carrots were seriously tasty! There was a vinaigrette sweetness to the cabbage and a real light almond or macadamia nut flavor to the carrots. The two flavors were a nice balance to each other. The zucchini was small but sliced down the center with a lovely buttery flavor. Chrissy had never really tried it before and for someone who is not up for things she THINKS she dislikes (or is anaphylactic as she puts it lol) the zucchini won her over. She was a fan of all the veggies as was I.

On to the dessert, or the pudding as they say in Scotland. Sticky Toffee Pudding is a dark spongy cake with a toffee glaze and sauce poured over it. It is served warm and usually with a side of ice cream. Their Sticky Toffee Pudding, although maybe a wee bit dry on the cake, did not disappoint in the flavor. The ice cream was a bit bland and was really drowned out by the sweet toffee of the sauce. I might have enjoyed that more with some nice fresh berries and a bit of meringue by itself, but not with a heavy Sticky Toffee Pudding. A full flavored vanilla would have been better than the light cream of the home made ice cream.

Our lunch would have normally cost us £25 and if we were paying for this meal, we would have definitely sent the steaks back. Well, I say that but again, we were very hungry and not that fussy of eaters. But, we know a good steak from a so-so steak.

All in all, the views were gorgeous, the staff was superb, the decor was cozy, the castle was amazing, the food ... not worth the price.

For a more interesting meal with amazing atmosphere and not too tight on your pocketbook, try out The Lounge located on the High Street near the town center in Crieff. All the feel of a French Cafe, nuzzled into a cozy little corner in Scotland. Bon App├ętit!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Creiff Scotland, Tartans, Indians, and Chiefs - Oh My!

Here is a wee bit of Scottish History for you all. This awesome man at the Crieff Visitor Center gave us a bit of insight as to the link between Native American Indians and the historical Scottish Clan Chieftains. ENJOY! *Transcript to follow video*






Historian: Hi! um as i was saying there are lots of similarities between the north american indians and the Scots and a great affinity between them. And in fact if you look at the history, ah the more modern history of North American Indians, you'll find many Scottish Cheifs. 
Me: Really? 
Historian: [that are] also Indian Chiefs. 
Me: Wow 
Historian: Which is difficult to believe but true. When I say many, probably about three or four. I'm exaggerating for effect.  
Chrissy: So actually, Tony and Michelle are well matched then even though the Scots have a castle and she's got a tipi. 
Historian: So after you think about how they operated, North American Indian and Scottish Highlander are amongst the most romantic historical figures ever.  
Um, the interesting thing between the two is that the indians collected scalps, the scots collected heads. 
Chrissy: Oh 
Me: giggling 
Historian: The indians were wiser, less to carry, took the scalp home. But the, but the Scots.. 
Chrissy: The Scots were a wee bitty greedy. 
Historian: ... they had to have the head. 
Me: For effect. 
Chrissy: That's very interesting. 
Historian: But the egalitarian attitude which the scots extended towards the North American Indians also endeared them with them because they asked if they could take the land. Not all of them, but as a whole. Whereas the English went in and took it. Well, English and other, other um, nations went in and took it.  
Chrissy: Heh, the English, pfft. 
Me: Mhm. 
Historian: So there's some very interesting parallels there. 
Me: Well there you go! 
Chrissy: Thank you very much!


Contact the Scottish Tartan's Authority for more information:
Brian Wilton, DirectorScottish Tartans AuthorityMuthill Road,Crieff, Perthshire, PH7 4HOWebsite: http://www.tartansauthority.com/


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