Tag Archives: General

Memories of Hendrefoilan School in the 70s and 80s

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 Memories of Hendrefoilan School in the 70s and 80s

The Smoking Litter Police

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 The Smoking Litter Police

Towards the Perfect Gadget

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 Towards the Perfect Gadget


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 RFID Café

Commuter Alarm Clock

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 Commuter Alarm Clock