Monday 30 November 2015

Tower Bridge Chimney

The Tower Bridge Chimney is one of Tower Bridge's most overlooked feature as it is most easily missed when walking by. It's been painted over as to blend in with the colour of the bridge but can be distinguished from the lamps by being much thicker than the lamps with no visible light source atop.

It used to be a former chimney to the Royal Fusilier's Room used by the guards as they stood on duty. It is believed that the use of it ceased when the London Clean Air Act was introduced in Britain in 1956.

Friday 27 November 2015

St Pancras Church Garden

St Pancras Church Garden is a hidden and open garden located near to the City on Pancras Lane. The garden design was created by Studio Weave.
St Pancras Church used to reside on the very same spot in the 11th century before it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was continually used as a burial until 1853 and the church was not rebuilt. Remains of the old church can still be found under the modern churchyard.
In 1963, an excavation was carried out by the Guildhall Museum and it appeared that the burials were removed at that point. The site was left in a derelict condition until the City of London obtained the lease to it in 2010 to turn it into a public garden.

A design competition was held by the Street Scene of the City of London, where in which the winning design would be the finalised design of the garden. Studio Weave won the competition with designs that reflected the history of the site. The concept was to bring on Romanesque Architecture which resembled the past church as it raises from the ashes of the ground from where the church burnt down.
The benches were carved by the City and Guilds of London Art School students with references to the Romanesque carvings. The stone paving and wood carving follow the same designs as it takes an asymmetrical and layered design, arranged in a herringbone design. They are displayed among buildings and tall trees that brings in a lack of sunlight which adds to the atmosphere of the garden.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Tech Talk: Windows 8.1 - Lock Screen

The first screen to come when firing up the Windows 8.1 is the lock screen. The lock screen shows the background image with icons, time and date. The icons show the amount of battery charge left for the device and the internet network connection status and strength. Little thumbnails of apps can be added as notifications which pops up when something comes through for that particular app. It can be further customised to show features from apps such as the Calendar app which can show particular dates/events created in the Calendar to show up on the screen.
To access the customisation of the lock screen, you can open up the charms found on the right side of the screen, click on "Settings" and then "Change PC settings". From here, you can personalise Lock Screen, Account Picture and Password. From this page, click on "PC and devices" and then "Lock Screen" or alternatively click on the image for "Lock Screen" on the default page and this will take you to the page immediately. Also, there is an option to turn on camera from the lock screen with a simple swipe for quick access to it.
There are a number of options to head on to the next screen:
  • Desktop computer/laptop - press any key to unlock the screen and proceed either to the password screen or start screen/desktop
  • Touch-screen devices - Flick the screen upwards from the bottom or middle of the screen and proceed either to the password screen or start screen/desktop
Moreover, there are additional ways of logging in when prompted for the password:
  • Password - good ol' password login
  • Picture Password - using a picture you've chosen and signs in with a series of swipes
  • PIN - Sign in with a 4-digit number
  • Password policy - turn on or off password required to login from sleep
This can changed through the same way as before, open up "PC settings", head over to "Accounts" and choose "Sign-in options". Personally I use picture password as it never ceases to be a fun way to sign-in.

On the password screen, you can switch between password and the picture password/PIN, in case you have problems signing in with the latter options. On the password screen, you can access the Ease of Access functions for those who require special requirements. This also the page where you can shutdown, restart or put your system to sleepy, which I have no real for at the moment but it helps to have it as a precaution!

Monday 23 November 2015

Ommatidium - Samuel Wilkinson and Beau Lotto

The Ommatidium is a permanent art installation created by designer Samuel Wilkinson and Beau Lotto, which is homed on Old Street at the Hoxton and Shoreditch end. It is partnered with the “immersive messaging” app Traces and celebrates the tech city that is London playing between the physical and the digital.
The installation is made up of 1,500 glass crystal prisms which refracts sunlight creating a prismatic effect of the colours of the rainbow as light passes through. At night, it is lit by low energy LED lights. It makes use of the “geosocial platform” Traces app which, instead of sending to a person, sends messages and information to a location, and in this case, the Ommatidium. 


Tuesday 17 November 2015

Tech Talk: Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

Welcome to Tech Talk which will be a space for me to talk tech. So I will be starting it off by looking back at Windows 8 and its improvement in Windows 8.1. The operating system was launched three years after the success of Windows 7 and in many ways 8 succeeded the predecessor, but it did not quite translate it over to the users, while others found solace when using devices with a touch screen. 
Windows 8 opened a whole new world to tablets/hybrids and computers with touch screen as the operating system added in new functions and capabilities for such devices making it more universally adaptable to a variety of devices. The touch reaches the very edges of the screen. It also works well with the traditional manoeuvres of a keyboard and mouse.

It is also the first operating system that allows it to be used on processors other than ones by Intel or AMD (x86 architecture) as it employs the use of ARM processors. ARM is used in many smartphones and mobile devices, which offer simplistic design using power at a low-level.

The minimum system specifications required to run the operating system are as follows:
  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 10 or higher driver
Windows 8 is much faster in performance as it was designed to be much more slimmer and sleeker than its processor allowing it to work on a wide range of devices. The core processor is much higher in Windows 8 than Windows 7, which gave it a faster start up and shutdown.

With a new design and faster response comes a plethora of new features and enhanced capabilities of the old. These new changes include:
  • New lock screen
  • New ways to login i.e. PIN or picture password
  • Start screen
  • Windows Stores and Apps
  • Microsoft account integration
Some embraced the new changes that Windows 8 brought but a lot did not take to it with some actually preferring Windows 7 over 8. Microsoft aimed to address this much further down the line by sticking to it firmly and adding new changes which will soon become known as Windows 8.1. This changes aimed to even out the playing field on all levels. The changes include adding in a start button to bring a sense of nostalgia for people missing it and using the same background for both the start screen and desktop. Improvements were added to existing features such as a new facelift for thru Windows Store, able to change the size of tiles, boot directly to the desktop and new additional touch gestures.

I'm going to do a full run of Windows 8.1 of the new features and capabilities. Of course, I will also do a full run through Windows 10 and the hark back it does in bringing together the best of both worlds.


Monday 16 November 2015

Plantation Lane

In one of London’s oldest parts is Plantation Lane and now features an art installation, which was installed in 2005.
Scrawled against the floor is texts that run across history making use of light, language and space. It is brought together through a collaborative project between Arup Associates and Simon Patterson.
The art installation features laser-cut letterings as it lines up along paving slits which forms a journey conjoining the texts of history as it flows and curves. The work also features a light installation of a wall of the moon surface measuring 41 metres long and 6 metres high. The work to different points of history from the Battle of Hastings to the London Blitz.

Monday 2 November 2015

Philpot Lane Mice

Do you see it? No? Take a closer look… it’s there in the middle… Its London’s smallest sculpture as it resides on Philpopt Lane as the Philpot Lane Mice. The sculpture features mice fighting over a piece of cheese.

The story behind it is said to honour a 19th century worker who was working atop the soaring heights of the Monument. Found that his lunch was missing, he blamed it on another worker which resulted in a fisticuff between them. Unfortunately, both workers tragically fell to their deaths. Further mysterious disappearances of lunches resulted in the unveiling of the true culprits, which were found to be mice!

It’s really hard to find so putting on your eagle eyes are most definitely a must. Another thing worth checking out next door is the Sky Garden on the top level of the Walkie-Talkie building which is required to be pre-booked and is free to access as well as the alleyway Plantation Lane.