On test: serving huge Nikon D800 photos on the web

Nikon's new D800 SLR camera is the new leader in the autofocus class of SLRs.

It shoots enormous 36.3 megapixel images of 4912 width by 7360 pixels height (total 36,152,320 pixels).

So how does such a monster JPEG look when served on a web page? This test uses Sirv, which sliced the image into 914 tiles (256px square images) for fast serving.

Click up to 3 times to zoom:

The original image was 32,087kb, after conversion from RAW to JPEG format with maximum quality.

This photo was taken with the Nikon D800E, which gives slightly higher sharpness and resolution than the D800. The lens used was a Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZF.2 with focal length of 50mm, CCD width of 35.9, exposure 1/320, ISO 400.


Children are our best hope for growth

The IMF thinks cutting interest rates and VAT will grow the UK economy.

Not in the long term.

VAT is one of the better taxes because it acts as a break on consumption – the root of our greatest problems. It also generates the revenue needed for the state to pay back our debt mountain.

Cutting VAT will only channel money that would have been used to pay back public sector debt to paying back private sector debt. The IMF advice to cut VAT and encourage greater consumption fails to tackle the root cause of the issue.

True growth comes from invention, creativity, working smarter, getting more out for putting less in. Growth comes from using our brains to make things better, faster, easier, more efficient.

We must find ways to foster that. Fixing the root causes of our problems – being patient and investing in the future.

Children are the future.

Why does Britain have such high youth unemployment? Children are sponges. They are dynamos. They are imaginative. They have incredible potential. We invest billions in education yet millions of children are leaving school unable to find work or start a business. Their parents have failed them. Our system has failed them. This must end.

Every child from the age of 6 to 16 should learn about business. Business is fun. It's creative. It's rewarding. It gives people the feeling they are doing something useful, productive and valuable. Which they are.

By providing children with the experience of running their own enterprise, no matter how small or simple it may be, we will be nurturing millions of little growth-engines of the future and empowering every child to choose their destiny.

We must develop the belief in every child that they can do whatever they want with their life. That the world is there to be changed, by them.

Business can do that. Business does do that. It is not exclusive to a minority – everyone can change the world. Whether it is profit making business or a non-profit, our economies were grown through enterprise, yet we shield our children from it until the age of 16, 18 or even 21.

We've wasted precious years, providing little or no exposure to children in something empowering, something magical, something of lifelong personal, social and economic value. We should have been exposing them from an early age, feeding their natural hunger for creativity, experimentation and trade.

By the age of 13, every child should have started at least one enterprise. They could sell lemonade, wash cars, build iPhone apps, service bikes, shoot stock photography or one of a million other things. It doesn't matter what they do or how they do it, because it is an age of experimentation.

Children have nothing to lose, everything to gain. They have time on their side, they are not stuck in a comfort zone or tied down by mortgages or children like many adults are. Their enterprise may not even be trying to make money, the purpose is to let them create something of their own and experience the basics of enterprise.

Children are young, energetic, fearless and hungry to take on the world. When you let them loose at 16, 18, 21 or whenever, with the experience and knowledge they will have gained from their many childhood enterprises, they will be well equipped to make positive change in the world and do a lot better than our generation did.

That means growth. Lots of it. And I expect it to be good growth too – disruptive, creative, ground-breaking, environment-fixing, peace-making growth.

Here's Cameron Herold sharing his experiences on childhood entrepreneurship:


Paying back our debt

In response to this Guardian story on the economy:

Question: Is now the time to pay off our debt?

Answer: Now is ALWAYS the time to pay off our debt.

It is too late for Keynesian economics. Gordon Brown spent it all during the boom. We are too indebted to borrow and spend our way out of this recession (rather, depression).

We must pay our debt back: public debt and personal debt. Our economy, currency, pride and reputation will be stronger in the long run.

Lets get on with it. Take the pain ourselves, not pass it on to our children. Let the recession hit. Don't be afraid, be creative. Find ways to cut your costs where you need to. Find ways to be more productive in your work. Train yourself. Learn new skills. Work hard. Work smart. Enjoy the free things in life.

And we must learn our lessons:

  1. Debt is bad.
  2. Nothing is too big to fail. Especially banks.
  3. Soaring house prices always end in a collapse. Keep house prices affordable.


Squirrel massage

Someone had too much time on their hands with this animated GIF…

Squirrel massage

Not bad with only 256 unique colours to work with!


Car of the future is now in production

The internal combustion engine is dead.

The car of the future is electric.

The new breed in motor transport has overtaken a disused Toyota factory in Fremont, California to build 20,000 new Tesla Model S cars each year.

Tesla Model S - new factory

Fast, spacious, stunningly good looking and 100% electric. Order yours now.

If you can't wait for the future to arrive, it's actually already here, in a smaller, even faster variety. The Tesla Roadster.

Tesla Roadster

0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Range of 245 miles.

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5 ways to reduce your global warming contribution

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and this years' topic is Climate Change.

Eco BallsWe all contribute to global warming through our daily activities, so here are 5 ways to reduce your impact:

  1. Shower faster – you will use less hot water. Heating water is one of the the most energy intensive activities in your home.
  2. Use EcoBalls – stop using washing detergent, start using these hi-tech ecoballs instead! We've used them for 3 months and they work well for us.
  3. Turn down your heating 2 degrees – you can save a massive amount of CO2 (and lots of money) by heating your house to a lower temperature.
  4. Turn off your computer – or at least, put it into standby. Obvious, but it is easy to fall into bad habits.
  5. Switch to Ecotricity – the UK's first 100% renewable energy company. Great customer service and they genuinely care about the environment. All their power comes from wind turbines.

Read my Blog Action Day 2008 post: Help nurture entrepreneurs in poor countries.

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How do you measure water filter efficiency?

Water filterI'd like to buy a highly efficient water filter to make healthy, potable, odourless drinking water in my home. The tricky thing is, how do you measure efficiency?

There is a debate going on at MetaEfficient about what constitutes efficiency. The reverse osmosis water filtration process is put forward as a solution even though it consumes electricity and outputs more waste water than it outputs drinkable water. Does that sound efficient to you? Me neither. The meta-efficiency is measured as follows:

"When assessing a product, we consider not only its energy efficiency but also its embodied energy, toxicity, affordability, and usability."

That's sensible, but you can't roll all these things into one score because they are measured by different means. Furthermore, people have different perceptions of what is important. $100 might be a lot of money to me but it could be cheap to you. Environmental impact might be important to you but it might be critical to me.

The solution would be to rate products on separate factors and provide multiple scores, e.g.

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): taking all environmental impact into consideration, measured in a unit such as joules. Incredibly hard to do accurately.
  • Usability: gauging how well it does the job and how easy it is to use. Scored out of 100.
  • Retail price: in £/$/€
  • Running cost: in £/$/€

Only when you separate the important aspects of a product and measure each one in an standard unit can you compare products effectively.

It takes a true geek to do such in depth research and comparison for water filtration systems. It will happen eventually – the internet's global reach makes in-depth comparison a viable business proposition. But in the meantime, can anyone point me in the direction of a highly efficient household water filter, regardless of cost?


Robin Grey – a great hidden treasure

Robin GreyJust been listening to Robin Grey's latest track: Younger Looking Skin.

And I love it.

It's one of those tracks that gets your foot tapping involuntarily. At 5min 30sec it's longer than most of his previous tracks yet it leaves you wanting more, more, more. No wonder Fensepost says he's "truly one of the greatest hidden treasures in the European underground" and that that he is "at the top of his game".

Join his mailing list to receive dates of his gigs in London and new song releases.

Here's the video of Younger Looking Skin:


Use Google Health to manage your medical history

Track your medical recordsI look forward to the day Google Health launches in the UK with the same services it offers US users. Features like "Import medical records" and "Explore health services" are for US users only, but Google Health is still useful for the rest of us.

They've just added a new feature to let you upload scanned paper documents. I think its the sort of system the NHS is gradually adopting. My GP typed notes into her computer during my last visit. It's a giant leap forward from paper, but to benefit fully from digitised patient records, the patient should be able to access and contribute to their records. Nobody cares more about their health than themselves and perhaps their immediate family. Letting people fill in the gaps will lead to better care and greater involvement by the patient. It is also a step towards self-diagnosis, a faster, more accurate and cheaper solution than going to a doctor.

I'm using Google Health to keep track of my daughters' immunisations. I've shared the profile with my wife so that she can contribute too. When our daughter is old enough, she can take over managing her health records and she'll have a full history without gaps.


Government regulation of Google

Google logoA top executive has argued that government regulation may be required over the position of search results in Google.

Bad idea.

Government regulation is the absolute last resort. It might start with good intentions and the Government might have a light touch, but it would open the floodgates. Regulation only becomes more onerous and cumbersome over time. It stifles businesses ability to innovate, it slows progress and it takes some of the fun out of business.

In the free market, if Google screws up, we can go to Yahoo or Bing or another search engine. If they all screw up, a new competitor will rise. It is a self regulating system.

I trust an honest company (such as Google) more than any government, sadly.

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