Posts Tagged ‘London’

 About a month a go I noticed a post on Google+ where UK Game retailer, GAME was asking those in the UK what their opinion was of E-Sports after linking an article from the Guardian about the Blizzard World Championships. An interesting (in my opinion) discussion arose and the impression that I got from them is that they are genuinely interested in E-Sports and developing E-Sports in the United Kingdom. Low and behold today the good folks from GAME sent me some new on Google+ that for the next few weeks they will be hosting an amateur Starcraft 2 tournament.

Read below for the information from their Facebook page. (TLDR? Non-professional Starcraft 2 player? Fancy a tournament? Carry on reading)

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Now normally I don’t post on technology news and it’s extremely rare that I post two posts in a single day, but a tweet caught my eye that I think deserved acknowledgement.

 There I was just reading Tweetdeck when I caught the following tweet from O2.

We’re proud to be part of a landmark deal to turn London into Europe’s largest free wifi zone with O2 Wifi: j.mp/xcuBBi

This is part of O2’s long-term plans to make the majority of the UK a free WiFi zone. It’ll start in the London boroughs of Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster and will slowly roll out across the country from what I can make out. So what’s the catch? To use the WiFi, none. It is a completely free service being offered by O2 and is open to anyone on any network. If you think about it, this could potentially be great for businesses and tourists who would be able to use the WiFi and not have to worry about the obscene roaming charges that mobile companies charge.

I just hope that the company can quickly strike up deals and contracts with other council’s and companies around the country to get this free WiFi-zone operational in more areas.

Below is the full article from the O2 News Centre

Landmark deal creates Europe’s largest free wifi zone
Visitors to and residents in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea are to enjoy free wifi access on their mobile phones, laptops and tablet devices, following a landmark deal between Westminster City Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and network operator, O2. The deal will result in the largest free wireless hub in Europe, making free wifi available to millions of residents and visitors.

The deal, which will run at no cost to the councils or the taxpayer, is part of both councils’ plans to ensure that the millions of visitors that come to the city have the best experience possible and can make the most of what London has to offer Рparticularly given the double celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Olympic Games taking place this year Рwhilst delivering longer term benefits to businesses.

Free wifi access will be available throughout Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea once the Metro wireless network is installed on the street furniture. It will initially be rolled out in a limited number of areas and then throughout the boroughs over the longer term. O2 will begin installing the network in January 2012. O2 Wifi launched in January 2011 with the ambition to rollout free, fast and open wifi, via strategic partnerships, across the UK.

Cllr Philippa Roe, Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance at Westminster City Council said:

‚ÄúThis is a landmark achievement for Westminster; Westminster welcomes over a million tourists a day, is home to 250,000 residents, employs over half a million people and sees 4,000 business starts-ups each year. Next summer‚Äôs Olympic Games mean that London will be putting on the biggest show on earth and as Westminster has a starring role, visitors to London will easily be able to share their pictures and updates of the Olympic events across social networking sites.‚ÄĚ

Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: ‚ÄúI am very pleased that we have been able to come to this agreement and we look forward to working with O2. Residents and visitors having free access to the latest mobile technology will help us to continue to offer value for money for residents.‚ÄĚ

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer for O2 said, “This ground-breaking deal Рthe first of its kind in the UK Рwill see us deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012. Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 Wifi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most.

‚ÄúOur ¬£500m annual network investment programme is focussed on integrating new layers of technology into the existing network to enable a seamless and sustained customer experience. We are driven entirely by our customers‚Äô needs and believe that services should be delivered in the best possible way, across multiple networks and supported by different technologies.‚ÄĚ

 

London Baby!

On Wednesday myself and my girlfriend travelled down to London. Now I know a lot of you will be thinking “well that’s nothing special” and normally we’d agree, considering that we’ve both spent considerable time down there ourselves over recent years. The difference this time was we got to travel down there on first class! Her brother had¬†won tickets and decided he didn’t want them, so he offered them to us for ¬£20. It was an offer way too good to turn down so naturally we grabbed them with both hands.

The alarms went off (I use the plural there as we both set our alarms as we knew we’d be tired), and our minds were going “oh my god! We get to go to London today! FIRST CLASS!”, but our bodies were going “oh hey bed. You’re incredibly comfy. Goodnight!” After a short battle our minds prevailed and we got up, ready and headed off to the train station.

Waiting for the bus it was a pretty chilly morning. Nickie tends to feel the cold more than I do and bless her she was shivering. I did my best to keep to her warm, but thankfully the bus arrived dead on time (the bus service where she lives is absolutely atrocious and I will be covering that in a later blog). The bus took us to the city centre and then we had a short walk to Derby Railway Station. The first thing we did when we got there was head over to Upper Crust, and got ourselves some breakfast. I was quite surprised by their selection of sandwiches as they had no vegetarian option. I felt sorry for Nickie here as with her being a vegetarian it didn’t really leave much of a choice. After we chose something to eat we then heading over to platform 3 to wait for our train, and this is where our first class adventure began.

We arrived at the platform with some 40 minutes to go before our train was due to arrive and so we decided to walk into the first class lounge. We had never been in one of these before and I must say it was very nice! The best way to describe it, is that it’s like a mini hotel lounge. The place even has its own receptionist who you have to show your first class tickets too. In there was two sofa’s and ¬†number of tables and chairs that you could sit on. On the wall was a TV playing Sky News. Two sides of the room were just glass windows looking out on to the platforms and on the back of the wall was a little place that had tea, coffee, fruit juices and a selection of biscuits that you could help yourself to. Nickie had a couple of cups of coffee, and even though I should have followed suit, I decided to go with the fruit juices. It was pleasant experience, made all the more pleasing by the fact that they had Wi-Fi in there that you were allowed to connect too.

9:20 came and our train arrived. From Derby the direct service is provided by “East Midlands Trains” which takes you in to London St. Pancras. We boarded the train and proceeded to walk into the first class area. The one thing that immediately grabbed my attention was the amount of room you had compared to the standard class¬†carriages. The seats were wider and taller, and the backs were slightly curved. We had a table in front of us, and on that table were 2 glasses, 2 cups and various items such as brown and white sugar and stirrer. We sat down and almost immediately a lady came round to check our tickets. Shortly after that ¬†they came through the carriage again with a free newspaper for everyone. It was the Independent but still allowed a good chunk of the journey to be killed. Next came the caf√© trolley where we could have tea, coffee, juice or water at no extra expense as it’s all part of paying extra for first class. I must say that both the coffee and the juice was extremely fresh and Nickie who doesn’t normally like too much juice, thoroughly enjoyed the apple juice they had on offer. The final part of the first class service was of course, the on board WiFi, which enabled us to quite happily use our mobile devices (me with my Bold 9700 and Nickie with her Bold 9780 and her Playbook).

The journey itself was smooth enough. The train stopped at a number of stations in the East Midland area (Long Eaton, East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough and Leicester) before heading straight down to London St. Pancras. All in all it probably took the train around 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from Derby to London which wasn’t too bad at all :).

We arrived at our destination around 11:05 and that is when our day began…

So I’ve been struggling to think of a topic to write about for a while now. I’m still drawing blanks and the only thing I can think of right now, is a post about well, myself. This blog post is going to be all over the place, as a pre-warning.

It’s been an interesting few months shall we say. I’m still recovering from the operation I had on June 1st. It’s got to a stage now where I can lie on my back and do virtually anything without being impeded although there are times when I do have to shuffle about as it gets a bit uncomfortable. I still have to wear a pad over the wound, but I don’t think that will be the case for too much longer. The fact that I can lie on my back is a huge plus for me as the last time I was able to do that was way back in November. Some 10 months ago. Thankfully during the recovery process, my wonderful girlfriend kept me company when she had time off work, which really helped me through what would’ve been really dark and tedious times otherwise.

On a different note, I’m still with the girlfriend and have just came back from a week at hers. That was fantastic, and I must admit that since I got back yesterday, I’ve been extremely down in the dumps.

Due to various reasons (not all to do with the above) i didn’t sleep much at all last night (think about 2 hours) and all I’ve had to eat today is one ham roll and one dairylea sandwich, to go with the one packet of Quavers I had yesterday. I know that’s not enough but right now I really don’t feel like eating much at all. I’ve had two cups of coffee and about 1 litre of water since 6pm yesterday (23 hours ago at time at writing). It’s a horrible feeling and something I’ve experienced before. Hell I haven’t really got off my bed for the majority of today, haven’t seen the point. I’m not looking for sympathy here just couldn’t think of anything else to write about.

On Friday, myself and my other half went to London for the day. The tickets were expensive but it was well worth it. The weather was gorgeous, scorchingly hot and it was a nice day out. We didn’t really visit any landmarks as such, but thoroughly enjoyed the day. It rekindled my love for the city which I had last year, and I’m sure I’ll be down there again soon visiting. I wish that I had the finances to move down there on a permanent basis, as that would be something that I would seriously consider. Sure the quality of life would be a bit lower, I’d probably have to move into a small house due to costs, but with everything easily accessible I do believe that reason alone far outweighs the negatives. Will it happen? Who knows what the future might bring. If anyone is interested you can read more about the day London over at Palmetto_Rose’s blog

What else can I jabber on about. I also got myself a new laptop about 3-4 weeks ago. It’s a Dell Inspiron 17r I picked up for ¬£360 from the Dell Outlet store. It was meant to be “Scratch and Dent” but I haven’t been able to find a single blemish on it. Which is fantastic. 17″ screen, 6gb ram, 640gb HDD, i5 Processor. The only thing that lets it down is the graphics card as it’s only a 525m, but for ¬£360 I couldn’t really complain and so far the usual games I play on a computer haven’t struggled at all on it. So yes, I’m very happy with the¬†acquisition.

As for gaming? I haven’t really done much of that recently, occasionally I’ll log onto my new¬†discipline¬†priest over on the World of Warcraft US servers but other wise I haven’t really got much interest in gaming at this very second. It’s a strange feeling, but I’m sure it wont last long.

Anyway I hope I haven’t bored you all with this quick blog post. Like I said I wanted to write something and this was the only thing I could think of. Thank you all for your time