Not stepping on the lines in the infant playground. Girls drawing hopscotch numbers on the paving stones and singing “who stole my watch and chain”. Wondering why the girls never wanted to play war. Lining up when the whistle went before classes. The day The Whistle was replaced by The Bell. Learning the golden rule: DONT PLAY ON THE RAMP. The concrete steps being installed between the middle and the top yard. The view. Continue reading
Modern mobile devices (phones, PDAs, laptops, etc) could deter theft by all but the most hardened criminal, and it would only require the simplest of modifications to the firmware in many of the devices already on sale. Continue reading
Today at lunchtime I was alerted by a colleague, to an uncommon sight: a uniformed officer of the law, smoking. A smoking plod is probably just as likely as a smoking anybody, but I can’t remember ever seeing an officer smoking in uniform. This one wore little blue epaulettes and a bright yellow arm band that suggested that he was a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) rather than a Police Constable (PC). He had his hat off, so perhaps he was on a break, but it was a strange sight nonetheless. Continue reading
I’m buying donuts for software engineers to enjoy. Tests prove that donuts increase productivity in geeks by up to 3.147 percent. If you know a computing professional, buy them donuts today and enjoy better software tomorrow. Continue reading
Imagine a scene in the not-too distant future… after a frenzied period of leaks, rumours, claims and counter-claims, interspersed with no-comments, denials, and increasingly reliable and suggestive evidence emerging from component and sub-assembly manufacturers, Apple Inc announce the imminent release of The Perfect Gadget.
The mainstream press attend press conferences and briefings where Apple proclaim that their Perfect Gadget does everything up to, and maybe even including, ordering sliced bread from the online grocer at the precise thickness that it knows you will prefer (a fact derived from a semantic analyses of how you use said gadget).
Socially driven news sites will go utterly berserk.
So how long must we wait until Apple actually makes this announcement? Perhaps we’re only five or ten years away from The Perfect Gadget 1.0. Continue reading
I couldn’t help but marvel at the efficiency of our local station café recently, as I watched the staff pipeline their customer orders. The busy morning rush was so great that they’d streamlined the operations; one person greeted customers, took orders from several of us at once, and processed the payments. This freed the second member of staff to focus on juggling the coffee and tea machines: getting the maximum throughput from the two staff, and the machines. Continue reading
On a recent train journey I overheard a conversation about someone who’d enjoyed the first class wine so much on a recent intercity journey that they had difficulty staying awake so as not to miss their destination. Staying awake is a problem for many commuters and for those whose destination is not the terminating station, it can be both costly and time consuming. An alarm clock is the obvious tool of choice, to solve the problem, but they’re not convenient to carry. Helpfully some phones include alarm clock applications, but aside from the fact that they can ring a bell at a predefined time, they’re not very useful because what’s important is getting off at the right station, not at a specific time. Continue reading
Break out your hankerchiefs, put on your best woollen knitwear and prepare to sob like a baby. We are about to witness the demise of a British institution.
On Jan 1st 2006 the UK postal market will be opened up to European competition. If that competition has any kind of a clue regarding customer service, then the Royal Mail will be justifiably stuffed.
So belay the handkerchief retrieval and alert the vineyards of the Champagne region instead. Continue reading
At 11:44:51 today this site served it’s 100,000th page. That’s 100,000 pages served to real people. In fact, many more pages have actually been served, but the recipients of this additional output are search engine spiders and spam merchants. Continue reading
The Metropolitan Police just confirmed six explosions this morning. This is being treated as a major incident and police have have asked that people do not use the telephone service, and use broadcast media to keep abreast of the situation. Continue reading
I’m well known for enjoying tea in superhuman quantities. When working at home I often nip to the kitchen and make a pot of tea, then add milk and sugar directly to the pot, before snugly refitting the tea-cosy and resuming work: this gives me approximately 120 minutes of mind-focusing brain juice. This is one of the reasons for the inclusion of a picture of a teapot on many of the original pages of this site, the other reason is more technical. Continue reading
Does the potential for human reanimation render the death penalty impotent? Continue reading
BBC News just reported that Richard Whiteley, the presenter of Countdown*, has died of a heart attack at the age of 61. Continue reading
During the storms of Friday AM, Portsmouth got off very lightly. The only damage I’m aware of is in my house. My network failed at precisely the moment that we had an overhead flash and bang. So now, having those nice fitted carpets, and the fitted and recessed cable, is a real pain. Wireless would be good right now. I’ll be taking the opportunity to upgrade from Cat-5e cable to Cat-6, which will make it all seem worthwhile.
We just had 3 jet aircraft, each around the size of an 80 seater commercial airliner, flying over our house, very low, probably below the 2000ft floor, flying due west. Continue reading
Britain is once again graced by three months of watching self obsessed people making themselves look stupid merely by their very existence, with little hope of achieving anything other than profit for the production and broadcast companies involved. Why is Big Brother such a terribly wasted opportunity? Continue reading
If you fancy having a butler for the day, or your house needs painting, or if you require a gorilla; read on! Continue reading
Richard Gross at JPL has modeled the coseismic effect on the Earth’s rotation of the December 26 earthquake in Indonesia by using the PREM model for the elastic properties of the Earth and the Harvard centroid-moment tensor solution for the source properties of the earthquake. Continue reading
I just learned that Bebe’s husband, Mike, passed away last week. Continue reading
What kind of pirate am I? Continue reading
rdfx (the x being the same x as in x rays – i.e. unknown) may be going down the road shelly and danny discuss. for the uninitiated, it was born out of an attempt to use rdf as part of a larger ubiquitous information service browser which would combine data retrieved from disparate sources. Continue reading
i’ve coded on many systems over many years, starting on the ZX81 in 1981. it’s surprising how over the last 10 years or so, code highlighting has become the norm – i take it for for granted. times have changed since those days on the sinclair and acorn machines where blocky white capitals glared fuzzily out of a black television screen. Continue reading