May, 2015

Hot Battery

Note: This post is only likely to be of interest to some Sony Xperia Z3 users. I’m writing it as much as anything in case solutions should surface via Google.

I’m having some fun and games at the moment with my Sony Xperia Z3 compact. It’s only a few months old, and I bought it because it was said to have exceptional battery life. And it does… sometimes.

I seem to hammer mobile batteries. Perhaps it’s my unique mix of apps, but I’ve been through a few phones over the last 18 months and pretty much kill batteries on all of them.

Sony has recently rolled out Lollipop on the phone and I’m not sure if that’s partially at the root of my problems. While I’m on 5.02, Google is just now rolling out 5.1.1. Some of these bug fixes may be battery related – I’m not too sure.

My current problem is curious. I have the phone on charge all night using a Sony charger, but the phone is pretty warm come the morning. Then it dissipates power – and heat – quickly. I might loose 10% of charge within the few minutes of me waking up and leaving the house.

I tend to use the phone to listen to music or podcasts on the way to work, and the charge is lost more slowly. The phone cools. As I type this now, we’re midway through the afternoon, and the phone is cool to the touch, and the battery life sits at 51%. That should get me through the rest of the day fairly comfortably. Although had it not lost power so quickly at the start of the day, I’d be in an even healthier position.

I’m using WiFi, and check the phone regularly at work.

But there’s obviously some process that’s happening at the start of the day that’s draining battery power. It lessens over time, and the phone regains its power.

All very peculiar.

The Power of Newspapers… Or Lack Thereof

It's_The_Sun_Wot_Won_It

After the 1992 election when John Major defeated Neil Kinnock, The Sun published a now famous headline: “It’s The Sun Wot Won It.” I suspect that this is now a standard text that pupils examine in their GCSE Politics courses. Did The Sun really win it? Or were they just reading the runes and backing the winners?

Of course there’s no question. Murdoch has only ever wanted to back a winner. You don’t sell more papers than anybody else by ignoring your readers.

But whatever the extent of The Sun’s impact on that election, more than thirty years ago now, it’s all frankly rather quaint that we’re still talking about the importance of UK newspapers in this election in 2015.

I love newspapers as I’ve often expressed on this website. I still buy an actual paper copy every day. But they’ve long been in decline in their paper format. Here’s a chart I’ve lifted from The Media Briefing (Sadly, ABC figures are not easy to source historically if you’re not a subscriber). It’s a year or so old, but it shows how far we’ve come.

uknewspaper2001-2014

Yes, there is an internet readership for most of these titles, but there’s much less loyalty – search or social media is as likely to drive a reader to your site as any kind of brand loyalty. Do you really think that people who browse the Mail Online’s sidebar of shame at work in their lunch-hour really care what the editorial line of the print paper is?

So I believe that it’s only fair to conclude that with fewer people reading paper copies, they have less influence than ever.

Which I think makes it almost endearing that so many people have such an interest in which way papers suggest we should vote. Newspapers are actually pretty lucky that television and radio are bound by impartiality rules in the UK, unlike the US. With the BBC and ITV playing a straight bat with news, it’s down to newspaper to add opinion, and partisan politics. And to make coverage interesting, broadcasters turn to print to get a sniff of some of that opinion. Hence “Newspaper Reviews” on the news channels. (You never see a newspaper paying as much interest to Panorama or Dispatches.)

The vast majority of our national press is right wing. But then so are their older readers. The young don’t buy newspapers. The best they might do is pick up Metro in the morning. And nobody really cares about Metro’s editorial line.

I rather think we’ve reached a turning point now and that frankly newspapers can say whatever they like – even if in the case of The Independent that seems to go against everything their readers believe. In a double-Lebedev-whammy, the London Evening Standard came out for the Tories today, when in fact they’re likely to lose a decent number of seats in the capital to Labour.

But simply put, newspapers won’t affect the outcome of this election. So stop frothing about it on Twitter. The Sun might be reprinting an old photo of Ed Miliband, but I’m only seeing it because left-leaning people on Twitter are getting angry about it. I care no more than if it had been another Royal baby photo.

There’s a lot of hysteria on front pages at the moment. Yet is there a single buyer of the Daily Mail who’s going to vote Labour? They’re simply preaching to the choir… The Independent notwithstanding.

Why should we care what the papers say any more than what Buzzfeed says? Or Zoella? Or the Lad Bible? Or Mumsnet? Or Digital Spy? Frankly, those people and sites might have more sway were they to express an opinion.

Tour de Yorkshire 2015

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I spent a couple of days of the Bank Holiday weekend up in Yorkshire watching the cycling. This was the first outing of the Tour de Yorkshire, and you can only see it improving – at least if Yorkshire is willing to go on funding it (they’ve signed a 10 year deal with ASO). A slight lack of World Tour Teams was more than made up for by some really tough courses that broke things up quite a lot.

I’d missed the first stage into Scarborough on Friday, when a potential bunch sprint was really only contested by a handful of riders with the short, sharp, lumps and bumps of the British countryside breaking up the peleton. Lars Petter Nordhaug had won for Team Sky after their leader, Ben Swift, had crashed out.

Stage two was to be much flatter, and I arrived in York, on my Brompton, in good time for the women’s road race which started at 10:30. Like the men’s race, the women’s race could have had some bigger teams. They were competing on four 20km circuits around York (the men would end their race with two circuits). What is safe to say is that even first thing in the morning, the crowds were good.

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I then headed to a cafe to get a bite to each, and to see what I could of Alex Dowsett’s successful hour attempt over in Manchester using Sky Go. Amazing effort.

Back out on the course and it was time to watch the men come through. As this was expected to be a sprint stage, the racing was perhaps not as exciting with a breakaway established but always being controlled by the peleton. Lotton Jumbo got their first win of the season as Sky successfully protected Nordhaug’s lead.

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At the race’s conclusion, I headed to the station to catch a train to Leeds for the following day’s stage which would finish there. Despite the entertainment on offer in Leeds city centre on a Saturday night – police in plentiful evidence – I got an early start on Sunday to explore the area. Torrential rain was the story of the morning, but it had stopped by the time the race was underway.

I’d decided to head out to the Côte de Chevin – or the Chevin Road as it’s known locally. I took a train out to Guiseley, and then it was a longish climb upwards onto the moors. I was doing this on my Brompton. But I must confess I walked it with some locals for a way – particularly as Google Maps had led me along a muddy bridlepath for some of it. Side Note: too many cycle planners assume all bikes can go on all paths. Some are really only suitable for mountain bikes.

When the bridle path met the York Gate road, I got back on my bike and immediately got attention from roadies who were amazed a three geared Brompton could be up here. The road was still climbing, but it was a flatter gradient, and I could cope.

As with the Tour last year, thousands were coming out – many cycling clubs, but also lots of locals. It was going to be busy. I found myself a decent spot about 200m from the top of the climb, but just as the race was arriving, the heavens opened and everyone was drenched as the riders came through. It made the pictures more spectacular though.

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Afterwards, I decided to ride back to Leeds since it was mostly downhill, routing around Leeds-Bradford Airport and then following a canal path back into Leeds. A lovely – and dry – way to end the afternoon.

Finally a train down to London where I technically breached the terms of my advance ticket when I realised that by getting off at Stevenage and catching a local train, I could be home thirty minutes quicker than going into London and waiting for a train out. I bought another ticket for local stretch, but strictly speaking, you’re not allowed to cut short an advance ticket! Nobody was there at 9pm on a Sunday to stop me however.

Loads more photos on Flickr.