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Around Britain

All the latest good news from around Britain, home countries. The latest news from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales.

Three months of BBC News in three minutes

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The shape of the news never changes, just the pictures.

Hats of to Ouchiko2 on Twitter for this YouTube of the BBC News homepage over three months. Because that’s what you do with a bundle of images from a timed screen capture program you forgot was still running… for three months!

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Let’s get Flex-ible with the new organiser from Filofax

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Can Filofax make their new system, Flex, as popular and useful as their long running ring binder organisers? We here at The Dust think they can.

Putting aside different paper sizes or fashionable covers, it’s been a long time since Fliofax has launched a product that’s genuinely new. Well, at the start of summer, Filofax did launch something new – Flex – and we here at The Daily Dust have this new organiser system to review.

The Filofax ring binder, or the classic idea of a Filofax as identified by the yuppies of the eighties, have been making a slow come back over the last five years, with a mix of smart products, advertising and a resurgence in paper planners. That rise of paper planner has also led to a new brand becoming the "must have" accessory, and the one that has been seen as the hipster icon du jour. The rise of Moleskine range of pocket notebooks will not have been missed. But how can the old standard reply to the young pretenders?

Flex is Filofax’s answer to Moleskine.

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The big difference between Flex and the classic folder is there are no rings to hold your paper in. Rather than holding in bundles of loose pages, the Flex binder holds a number of thin notebooks in its covers. With a number of flaps making up the binder, you can slide the covers of the different pads into place. You can have your notebook on either side of the cover, with the spine either in the centre (so it opens like a regular book), or on the outside edge so it opens up but still leaves the opposite side of the binder accessible – which might have another notebook, a scratch pad, diary, or other elements of the Flex system.

You can even move the pen holder around to have it inside or outside. Quirky, versatile, and all very nicely done with some basic engineering and no moving mechanical parts that are easily broken.

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Here’s how Filofax explain the system.

It’s this ability to customise what paper you can use that gives Flex the DNA of Filofax, while at the same time presenting a much less threatening image than that of the ring binder Filofaxes, bulging with pages, tabs, marker, ink, and history. There’s nothing wrong with the ring binder approach (it’s one I heavily favour), but it’s not for everybody.

The other consideration is price. You can’t look at this in a vacuum, The middle size, Slim (reviewed here) is £19, and you can get a basic Filofax Personal for about the same cost. But in context, you’re also picking up a 64 page notebook and jot pad with the binder. The list price for Moleskine notebook of the same size is £10, and the A5 notepad refill for the larger Flex binder, with 256 pages, is £7.50. Yes, there’s a higher install investment, but the ongoing costs are about the same, and there is more organisational ability in Flex.

You can also, whisper it now, slip your Moleskine into the binders, along with other off-the-rack notebooks. While this might seem a bit off-message, this openness, and dare I say hack-ability is actually a strength of the Flex system. The addition of a Field Notes book not only makes the system more personal to me, it actually builds the emotional bond to the Flex binder, which is a good thing for Filofax as a company.

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Let’s be honest, Flex is not targeted at people already comfortable using the Filofax ring binder system, it’s about attracting new customers with something that is not threatening or scary to them – one of the chief worries about starting on the Filofax binder system. They look smart, they work well, and even though you could look elsewhere, there’s recurring revenue for the company in the refills.

I’d recommend you take a look at Flex, and think of it as an extended notebook rather than an organiser. It’s a good product, it’s arguably British, and it’s going to get more useful the more you use it.

Flex is available direct from Filofax.co.uk, as well as a number of High Street Stores… and Amazon.

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Sing along to “The Rupert Murdoch Song”

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Our favourite folk-culture singer, Alan Smart, takes on the head of News International.

The lyrics might be NSFW, but we here at The Dust thinks this captures a  lot of the sentiment around at the moment. Try not to get caught singing "Forever in the Shit" on the bus home tonight!

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How many Tardis’ are there in London?

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Or is it the same Tardis, just travelling through time?

Londonist ask the question that every geek probably already knows the answer to. How many Tardis’ can you find in London?

The iconic time machine was based on the once-familiar police call boxes, from a more innocent time when the words ‘police’ and ‘phone’ weren’t used in the same sentences as ‘News of the World’ and ‘tapping’. For a fictional device, there are quite a few… about town.

More at Londonist.

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Man catches chickens

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Never say we don’t bring you the happiest news in the UK. Who needs phone hacking scandal when you have a man with four escaped chickens?

As "Friend of the Dust" Sean Murricane asks on his blog:

Ever watched an out-of-shape Scotsman in his 30s lollop around a garden trying to catch four loose chickens?

Love it – this is what puts a smile on the face of the UK!

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The Return of the Nor Loch to Edinburgh

Posted by in Around Britain, Featured Post, Scotland | 0 comments

A week of rain in three hours reshapes the Capital’s landscape.

Lots of pictures of the effect of the heavy rain in Scotland over the weekend (well, what did you expect, T in the Park was on!) but the one that really made us stop and go "ooh" was the one above, by David Lesault.

Princes Stret Gardens, at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, used to be a loch – the Nor Loch. And now it’s back, albeit temporary and a little shallower, but it’s there.

David’s picture is on Twitpic.

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