Author Archives: Elmer

Why the Written Word Is so Important


Writing is the key method of getting information out there into the world and of influencing the progression of a society. Whether it’s a novel written to speak to the heart, a technical piece of writing designed to instruct, or an article encouraging others to join a cause, it is important that writers keep doing what they do best so that a community doesn’t just stand still and that it actually keeps growing and moving with the times.
woman thinking what to write, laptop, pen, apple on desk
Writing is everywhere in our society, and it is easy to overlook, but it is essential that we make the effort to read and interpret the messages that writers are sending to us every day.

When something is written down it can be explained in much more clarity and detail than a speaker could portray. Say, for instance, you had an interest in playing online casino games. Would someone speaking to you be able to go into as much detail about the best casino sites or would it be more prudent to read the information on a website such as TopCasinoSites. It would be very difficult, even for an experienced speaker to retain enough information about each site to be able to explain to you in detail which sites might be best for you. Write it down, however, and all the information is presented in a clear and coherent way for you to take exactly what you need from it.

Speech is an important tool when it comes to convincing people of an argument. If you honestly think about it though, how many times have you listened to a good speech, agreed with the points
raised but then gone home and forgotten all about what was said?

When an argument is written down we can digest it in our own time, we can reflect fully on the points that are being made and
really engage with the topic. It is in this reflection that growth occurs, we can take one person’s point of view and mix it with our own to create new thoughts that we can pass on, either through talking to others or better still through writing it down ourselves. It is the written word that really helps a community to grow and flourish.

Writing is also permanent. Speech can be recorded and played back at a later date but writing is more often readily available, thanks to institutions such as libraries, publishing houses and the rise of the e-book. It can be there for all time, inspiring, instructing, persuading, or delighting the reader. Writing should always be at the heart of a nation and individual communities and we must always ensure that we protect this art form.
mechanical typewriter, finger pushing a key, writing, typing

E-Readers to Undergo a Tech Evolution


E-readers are categorised by having a single core purpose; allowing for the reading of digital books in a simple, convenient fashion. As such, since the devices released to the public around 10 years ago, there have been no major design breakthroughs or leaps. Essentially, the highly popular Kindle that first released in 2007 is more or less unchanged, but for a few minor tweaks and adjustments.
New E-Readers set to change the way we read
But it looks like this is all set to change. Major design adjustments are being introduced to the world of e-readers, all but changing how the devices will be used on an every day basis. Some of the advancements are certainly impressive, but critics are already asking if the advancements are necessary, or just an excuse to add bells and whistles to devices that functioned perfectly well. After all, will anybody really be buying an e-reader hoping to use apps that are clearly better suited for a tablet?

E-Ink Dual Screens Incoming

One of the most talked about new e-reader direction is the dual screen approach. Entourage Edge was an early attempt to have two screens, thus resembling a physical book. The devices did not achieve mainstream success. At least not yet.

E-Ink has recently debuted a new dual screen prototype, notable for two outstanding features. The first is the impressive 10-inch size of the screen, offering vastly more space than other models. The second is that the screen actually opens and closes, not only resembling a book, but also offering storage space convenience. Unnecessary and gimmicky some have said, but perhaps a new avenue for e-readers to take.

Notebook and E-Reader Combo

The Intel Tiger Rapid prototype also features a dual screen design. One screen will function as a book reader offering a full HD LCD display, while the other will be used as a touch sensitive note-taking space. In this way a user can read on one screen, while taking quick notes on the other. An especially smart design choice for students that wish to take notes while reading textbooks in a far more technologically advanced way.

The second screen can be drawn upon with a specialised digital pen, with a special focus on capturing hand drawn input accurately. Since many are quick to declare that they still prefer taking notes by hand as opposed to typing on notoriously inaccurate touchscreen keyboards, this design choice seems to have a place.
The Kindle in action


Meanwhile Storytel, a Nordic based company has released a new device that is based entirely around a subscription service. The device offers e-book and audio book functionality, and is reasonably priced. However, the device functions only with a paid subscription. If the subscription to the exclusive Storytel service lapses, the device itself becomes about as useful as a paperweight. Which is to say; it offers literally no other uses beyond reading and listening to books.

As it stands, Storytel are looking to expand beyond Europe into the United States. As to how much success they find remains to be seen, especially since the e-reader market is once again heating up.

Back in Time: Here Is How to Enjoy a Long Weekend in Historic London


For those looking for the perfect way to while away a long weekend, the vast and fascinating history that London has to offer is hard to beat. From ancient relics in its numerous museums to crumbling Roman ruins and glamorous boutique hotels to the oldest pub you’re likely to find, the capital has it all.
London. Photo by vgallova.Photo: vgallova / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Roman Temple of Mithras

When it comes to sightseeing in London it makes sense to begin chronologically, with the oldest building in the capital. Discovered in 1954 by a team of builders in the heart of the City, the Roman Temple of Mithras is a second-century AD ruin. It was originally built in honour of the Roman God Mithras and was situated on the banks of one of London’s long lost rivers, the Walbrook.

Not too long ago, this ruin was showcased on the top of a multi-storey car park! However the relocation to its original home has certainly been a great success. The ruins of the temple can now be found underneath the ultra-modern Bloomberg Building, alongside a number of notable roman artefacts. With new low level lighting, eerie mist and an atmospheric soundscape, a visit to The Mithraeum is truly like taking a step back in time.
The Mithraeum in London.  Photo by Allan Harris.Travel back in time at the London Mithraeum. Photo: Allan Harris / CC BY-ND 2.0.

Lunch at the Jamaica Winehouse

Just a stones-throw from the Mithraeum is The Jamaica Winehouse. Even though the name might not suggest it, this place is actually famous for being the home of the oldest coffee shop in London, which opened in 1652.

The walk here is a pleasant stroll through winding alleyways and courtyards dating from the middle ages. The façade of the Jamaican Winehouse is charming – now a characterful red sandstone building designed in the Art Nouveau style, the coffee shop has been reborn.

Although Samuel Pepys no longer makes such frequent calls, ‘The Jampot’ as known by locals, is still definitely worth making time to visit. One can now find mainly city workers in the downstairs snug, enjoying the atmosphere and incredible fine dining of Todd’s wine bar. The ground floor is home to a traditional and cosy London pub, with dark wood panelling, serving real ale and simple food.

Lates at the Natural History Museum

It may seem like an obvious choice, and in a sense it is, but have you ever visited a museum after dark? ‘Lates’ at the Natural History Museum run on the last Friday of each month from 18:00 until 22:00 and whilst free, give you the option to pay for perks such as tours of the behind the scenes collections. A fascinating and awe inspiring museum during the day, the museum becomes truly special after dark. Luckily, ‘Lates’ are just for grown-ups, so you can enjoy a tour of the Hintze Hall with a drink in hand.

If a race to the oldest is what you’re hoping for, then the Paleobotany collection at the Natural History Museum is the indisputable winner. In fact, one particular fossil takes that honour. Discovered in 1993, but dating from 3.5 billion years ago, the imprint of cyanobacteria is one of the Earth’s earliest life forms, almost three quarters of the age of the planet itself. It doesn’t get a great deal older than that!
Natural History Museum in London. Photo:  Kathryn Wright.Explore the magnificent Natural History Museum after dark. Photo: Kathryn Wright/ CC BY-ND 2.0

Opulence at Blake’s Hotel

After a first day full of culture, a good night’s sleep is essential. Many of the capital’s hotel buildings are steeped in rich history, so why not choose the most luxury option for your three days in London? Blake’s Hotel is a truly lavish place to spend the night.

Established in 1978 by Anouska Hempel, this timeless design classic was arguably the birth of the ‘couture’ hotel. Constantly updating and changing, but never leaving behind its elegance, a night spent here is luxury in the extreme. Chinoiserie and Western elegance collide in the interiors of the bedrooms – rich drapes and lacquered furniture can be found alongside canopied beds and lustrous gilt finishes. Understated is not what Blake’s aims for.

With day one completed, it’s likely that you’ll have begun to find your bearings around the centre of the city. One of the best parts of any trip is finding little places you stumble upon and there are so many around London’s winding streets it would be impossible to plan for them all. A list of notable places to spend the remainder of your visit can be found below; including plenty of iconic photo opportunities! Take time to pick and choose, part of the joy of travelling are the places we discover when we’re a little lost!

The Geffrye Museum – Meticulously Restored 18th Century Almshouses
Westminster Abbey – 700 year old Coronation Church of England
Lambeth Palace – Residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Dr Johnson’s House – Home of Samuel Johnson, composer of the English Dictionary
Sir John Soane’s Museum – Home of 19th Century Architect John Soane