Koningsdam Arise

The newest HAL ship is under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. Here are a couple of photos from a colleague in the shipyard.


Above: the bow of the Koningsdam


Above: the bow of the Koningsdam with one of the massive shipyard cranes in the foreground. 


Above: the stern of the Koningsdam and a pretty good view of the substructure that supports the ship until the water takes over.


Above: the two large azipods which will pull the ship through the water. 


Above: a view of the new two-story Lido restaurant. 

dear scotland

I have to admit that I'm a little late to the game on this topic - I haven't been watching as much news as I normally do having replaced it with "news" apps such as Flipboard. In fact, it only came to my attention after I read an article on the Globe and Mail entitled "Dear Scotland: An open letter from your Canadian cousins".

Admittedly, I don't know the exact situation within Scotland but, as the Queen stated, she hopes "people will think very carefully about the future" when it comes to declaring their independence from the United Kingdom. If it's anything like the independence debate in Canada then I would tend to agree with the Globe and Mail's article and hope that the people of Scotland step back and let the passions simmer before jumping into it - the full ramifications can be devastating.

it's apple time

So it's that time again - the beginning of the September 9th Apple event is only minutes away from starting. As anyone watching knows, there were some significant streaming issues that resulted in some very unhappy people taking to twitter; you can bet someone is getting fired over that mess-up.

However, here is what I was able to discern between all the stream issues:

  • Two new phones: iPhone6 (4.7" @ 6.9mm thick) and iPhone Plus (5.5" @7.1mm thick).
  • New apps will be needed from developers to take advantage of the new sizes.
  • New processor - looks like they'll contain 64-bit processors in the new phones.
  • Demos of some of the new games look very impressive. Showing off the new GPU.
  • Apparently the battery life will be "equal or better" than the 5S.
  • New sensors will include altitude via a barometer; good for stair climbers.
  • Expanded LTE bands were announced; covering more than 200 carriers.
  • Phil Schiller announced voice over LTE and WiFi Calling if carriers support it.
  • The camera in the new iPhones are using phase detection autofocus.
  • An improved gyroscope will help make the panorama shots much better.
  • New video mode can shoot 240fps at 720p - great slow motion shots.
  • iPhone6 16GB with contract retails for $199
  • iPhone6+ 16GB with contract retails for $299
  • This means the top of the line models unlocked will be over a grand each.
  • As predicted they will start shipping Sept. 19th and pre-orders start Sept. 12th.

With regards to iOS 8 here's what was unveiled:

  • Looks to be available to the general public Sept 17th.
  • Sounds like Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake in all their ads.
  • New service: wallet replacement... sounds like Apple may own a bank soon.
  • The new service name is called "Apple Pay"; no PIN, all TouchID.
  • Using a new secure chip specifically for your Apple Pay data.
  • Seem to be able to use the camera to add new cards to passbook.
  • These new measures are way more secure than even a chip card.
  • Alex Lindsay: "This is what kills cash".
  • They support the major credit card players; but what about Canada?
  • Apple Pay supports online payment - sounds like a jab at Amazon and PayPal.

But we're not quite finished... the iconic "One More Thing..."

  • The Apple Watch - based on the video only it looks like it's quite thick.
  • It's some kind of atomic watch; accurate to +/- 50ms.
  • The UI looks pretty cluttered upon first viewing.
  • The crown (or digital crown in this case) is the new innovation... used for zooming, and, it seems, just about all of the input on the Apple Watch.
  • It includes pressure sensitivity so it can tell the difference between a tap and a press.
  • Sensors for pulse on the back of the watch.
  • Charger seems to be wireless as it doesn't require alignment for charging.
  • Interchangeable straps, makes it useful for a variety of activities.
  • Sport Collection: Aluminium Case
  • Edition Collection: Gold 18k
  • iPhone is required with Apple Watch.
  • It's 38mm x 41mm; so it's pretty small.
  • It can be used to control iTunes on your phone, iPad, or laptop.
  • Notifications using less of a vibration and more like a gentle tap on the wrist.
  • The quick response actions to text messages looks impressive.
  • You can also dictate to the watch for responses... nice.
  • Siri has been built into apple watch, this has potential...
  • Photos marked as favourites automatically show up on your Apple Watch.
  • The maps integration is pretty sweet; it can indicate turns with taptic feedback so you don't even need to look at the watch.
  • Initially I said that the UI looks a little cluttered but after seeing a demo, it looks like it could work.
  • W hotels will allow you to tap to unlock your room's door.
  • Apple Pay will work with Apple Watch

One more: Health and Fitness.

  • Two new apps: Fitness and Workout.
  • Fitness monitors all activity and Workout is specifically for working out.

The Apple Watch will be compatible with the iPhone5 through the iPhone6+ with a price starting at $349 and should be available early 2015.


i used to be a warlock

Those of you who have known me for a while will know that I used to be a pretty big World of Warcraft fan a few years ago but I kind of lost interest and stopped playing. Recently I discovered Twitch, a service that allows people to broadcast their video gaming. I know, I know but trust me, it's way more interesting than it sounds.

Originally I tuned in to watch people playing Hearthstone to pick up some strategies but honestly, so many of the broadcasters that I watched just didn't have any real charisma. That is, until I came across this guy streaming World of Warcraft who goes by the handle Ducksauce. This guy has that broadcaster charisma which is mainly because he's an actor based out of New York. His real name is Matthew Rhode.

Anyway, I digress. Having watched him for a few days over the last couple of weeks I can safely say that if I was going to be staying on land for a significant amount of time I would probably get back into playing WoW. So, I suppose that's a plus for going out to sea!