Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmastide greetings to all. May you have fabulous times with friends and family over the festive period.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brothel ad mistaken for poem

I think this is worthy of a double snigger.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Ultimate Answer

Yes, I'm 42 today. Happy Birthday to me.

It's off out this evening to celebrate at the  pub.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Howl, wail, whimper

And another of the blogging greats retires. Farewell, Kim du Toit. But I hope to see him over here in 2012 for the Olympics.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So don't bring the children!

Grrr... Apparently a 400 year old ceremony is being cancelled because it might scare the children. Does it not occur to these silly parents to not bring children who will be scared? Does it not occur to the Deputy Mayor to perhaps forewarn potential visitors that children might get scared?

Score one for the gun-fearing weenies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Kim du Toit is 54 today. Happy birthday, mate!

But vastly more importantly (sorry, Kim), my niece is two. Happy birthday, Georgina.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bother! Said Quartz

As his current contract is not expected to be renewed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Busy, busy

I'm back in work. It's not very well paid, but at least it is paid work.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Prince William to be a SAR pilot

BBC story here. He's utterly nuts and very brave. Good for you, your Highness.

F1 Monza

Top race. Plenty of thrills and spills while only one crash - very good indeed. Lots of battles and overtaking. A perfect performance by Vettel; Hamilton almost rescued it but was let down by poor tyre choice.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

F1: Spa

I could not resist a snigger at Hamilton. What a twonk! But well done Vettel.

It should be a great race tomorrow. I wonder if Hamilton will try the three-stop strategy that almost worked the last time he was so badly placed?

Not good news.

My father had a stroke yesterday morning. I got there just in time to follow the ambulance to hospital. Fortunately, it appears to be a minor stroke and not a precursor to a serious one.

Fingers thoroughly crossed!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Useful computer info

Corsair have put up a page of really useful info. Hat tip to Fudzilla for this.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You're stranded on a Desert Island

1. What one person would you wish was stranded there with you?

Someone who's really good at telling tales. Like Misty or Kim.

2. What one tool would you want to have?

A machete.

3. Of which one food do you wish you would have an unlimited supply?

This depends upon what's actually available on the island, but top contenders would be eggs and milk. Or a good red Burgundy.

4. What one luxury item would you wish for?

I suppose a solar powered PC with an unlimited internet connection is asking too much? Oh well, in that case, I'll have a solar powered icemaker.

5. What one book would you want to have with you to read and re-read?

The complete works of Shakespeare.

6. You have one piece of paper, a pencil and one bottle - to whom is the message going to be written?

My brother - to tell him and his family how much I love them.

7. What skill would serve you best while on the island? A close one here: being idle versus cooking.

8. How long do you think you could last before needing rescue?

No idea.

9. What one island animal would become your pet?

Hopefully there's a goat or two that I can milk.

10. Your island is unknown to you, and you need to give it a name - what would it be?

I'll let it remain unnamed.

11. What would you do to pass the weeks, days, and hours?

Gaze at the stars. Not a lot else to do at night, anyway.

12. You've been rescued! What is the first thing you're going to do when you get back home?

Put the kettle on!

Looking backwards to predict Windows 7.

A lot of people are hoping that Windows 7 will be a revolutionary product, much like the Mac OS/X was. However, I don't think so. Microsoft has a history of spit-and-polish when it comes to OSs. There was Windows 3.0 then Windows 3.1. Then there was Windows 95 followed by Windows 98, and Window NT 3 followed by NT 4. Then there was Windows 2000 followed by Windows XP. And now we have Vista, which I expect to be followed by Windows 7, with the revolutionary product to follow 3 or so years later.

A comparison might be drawn with Intel, who have a similar policy with their CPUs: an inital release followed by a die-shrink.

So, Windows 7 will be a polish of Vista. What can we expect to see? A significant reform of Aero and UAC - making them much faster, for a start. With the introduction of Windows Home Server, I see an opportunity for MS to rationalise the SKUs. Instead of the plethora of products we have to day, I hope we'll return to just the one, Windows Workstation. Connect it to a Home Server and it becomes a home client; connect it to an Active Directory and it becomes a Business Client. There will be extra polish with DX 11 and physics, of course.

With Windows 7, matters are complicated further because Vista is a transition product for moving from 32 bit to 64 bit, and ISVs aren't following suit. As yet, there's no 64 bit Flash, no 64 bit Acrobat Reader. Indeed, 64 bit utilities are only just beginning to appear. I'd like to see Windows 7 being purely 64 bit - it would save Microsoft a lot of work to ditch the 32 bit versions - but with the amount of 32 bit software around, I just don't see that happenning, and the 32 bit / 64 bit dichotomy will confuse many users.

More later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I'm now seeking gainful employment in IT. A team leader or junior management role by preference. I've 20 years experience of Microsoft - client and server - support, from DOS to Vista. So gissajob!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Duke Nukem 3D

Steven den Beste reminisces about Duke Nukem 3D. I have many happy memories of that game, particularly of the multiplayer modes. Lying in wait with a pipebomb, zooming around with the jetpack and the rocket launcher or the devastator. It was fun! And there was fun within the game itself. These days, they all take themselves so seriously: not so Duke.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nature can be so cruel

A child that's lost its mother is always distressing. And whales are usually such gentle giants - to humans, that is.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Quantum Porn

This made me laugh.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The ideal platform for Google Earth

Microsoft should sell this as a simple single-function appliance.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's the 'Complete the title' game

I know I've got one or two readers, so here's a game for you to join: provide a link and complete the title!

Senior ministers get behind Brown... to better stab him in the back.

Unexpected fall in puffin numbers... improved fitness to blame.

Have at it!

Friday, July 25, 2008


I dropped a partially-full filing cabinet on my foot yesterday. It took very much less than a second to realise that I was not wearing my safety boots...

Learn from my mistake: don't try toting heavy stuff without them.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A quick rant about computer suppliers

This means you, Novatech, ebuyer, Scan, etc.

Go to the computer supplier of your choice and quickly find all motherboards that can support an Intel Quad Core, 8 GB of RAM, Crossfire (or SLI), and are micro-ATX. Can't do it.

How about computer cases? Sure I can search by size, but quickly find all micro-ATX cases that have 2 120mm fans. Can't do it.

Guys, for some product types, you need to be able to search by feature.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blessed be Broline

So I've got an eye infection and it doth suck mightily. But 15 mins after a dose of Broline and the relief is wonderful.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Portable Grab & Go Bag

I missed this article when Kim posted it, but I'd like to suggest that those who replied are missing a fundamental point: you have to prepare for two scenarios here, not one. The first is what if you are in close proximity to and directly affected by the incident; the second is what if you aren't. The events of 7/7 are still fresh in my mind.

With regard to the first, you simply need to survive to get yourself into the hands of the emergency services ASAP. Multitool, whistle, torch, mask, and water are a bare minimum here. I like the idea of the goggles but I think a ski visor would be better, simply because it's easier to put on - less likely to get tangled in something else - and more comfortable. Let the emergency services take care of you after that.

With regard to the second, while you still may need those items from the first scenario, home may not be reachable, but mass transit will only be stopped for a day or two. People often commute long distances, so having friends nearby who can put you up is good. At a pinch, sleep at the office. People should also be aware of secondary functions of items. When you can't make a telephone call, texting may still work. My phone will operate as a radio, so I'll be able to hear news broadcasts.

With regard to the water, freeze it! It will keep you cool in the hot tube as it melts.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


We've received the grant of the Court of Protection and my aunt will be safe from those who would do her ill. We're now a year behind schedule getting her home. Soon...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You can't have too many USB ports

Or, I want wireless!

Attached to this computer via USB are keyboard and trackball (via KVM), printer, card reader, mobile phone, floppy drive (sometimes), hard drive (well, actually three but only one at a time), joystick, wheel, drawing pad, and a UPS. And then there's the power cables, the KVM cables, the sound cables, etc. And after that there's the other computer...

Oh yes, there's a memory stick or two around as well.

My mobile's already Bluetooth-aware, but I reckon the computer itself, trackball, keyboard, joystick, wheel, UPS, and drawing pad could be added to that list.

Of course, then I'd be moaning about batteries. I can't win.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Formula 1 Monaco

What a race! Thrills and spills from start to finish. Hamilton did a really good job, turning a near-disaster into victory, but the racer of the day was probably Sutil, so cruelly robbed of his race. Alonso was most unimpressive.

Next up, it's Canada, which both Hamilton and Kubica will remember very well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Well done Hamilton

Coming second in an inferior car was no mean feat. Had there been another incident that warranted the safety car, he might well have done it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


So, the Mail on Sunday has been caught using a blogger's work without paying for it again.

This blog is copyright me. If you want to use an article, please email me to discuss terms.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I failed my latest MCP exam. Only just, though, which means I did a hell of a lot better than I expected, especially as I have a major block over one subject, but it was another subject which did me in - I completely blanked on it.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Royal Marines 1, Yobs 0

The son of a neighbour of my parents is a Royal Marine. A short while ago he and another Royal Marine who was just back from the Middle East went to a local pub for a quiet pint. Another patron told them that somehow they had drawn the ire of a group of yobs in another corner of the pub and that the two of them would be attacked when they left. When the two of them left, the yobs were waiting for them. Big mistake: the two RMs switched into combat mode and sent the pack of them running: "I'm a Royal Marine, I'm just back from ****, and I'm going to rip your throats out." (I imagine the language was rather more colourful). And then they just walked home.

That's class. Well done, sirs!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Osborne: I got a reply

It wasn't quite a standard form reply, so my email was read.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Bother" said Q

I'm supposed to be in Birmingham for the launch of Windows Server 2008. But the thieving bastards at the railway station wanted £107 for the ticket. So bollocks to that. And I wasn't going to try Birmingham City Centre at rush hour.

At least I got a good long walk out of it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well done Hamilton!

It was a blinder of a race this morning. Hamilton did very well to win it, though all the interesting stuff happenned behind him. It looks like it's going to be a most interesting season.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So I wrote to George Osborne...

I'm writing to you in your capacity as Shadow Chancellor.

I saw your response to the budget and while your points on inheritance tax, fuel, and drink were well made, I cannot help but feel that all parties have somewhat lost the plot on taxation. You're too busy papering over the cracks to see the gaping hole. Taxation only works if people are earning money, and all too many taxes get in the way of that.

The more people earn, the more the government can tax them. This was amply shown by Reagan and Thatcher. The current taxation regime stops people earning.

Consider the fuel duty: a few years ago I was spending what would be today £2000 per year on commuting, and over 75% of that was duty. To add insult to injury, that £2000 is after tax, so I'd have to earn over £3000 just to afford the petrol. Cut fuel duty and you improve the flexibility and profitability of the workforce.

Consider the minimum wage: people earning the minimum wage pay tax. But if it's the minimum wage, isn't that a contradiction? And they still have to pay hugely to get to work. So raise the tax-free allowance enormously to £8000, which is about the minimum wage for a 40-week working year.

Benefits: benefits cost money. It costs more than £1 to dispense £1 in benefits. There's a huge, baroquely complex, infrastructure, not to mention fraud. Why not raise the tax-free allowance to the minimum wage so more people don't have to be paid benefits?

Children and family: it is no secret that Britain faces a demographic time-bomb. Children are currently very expensive for people not on benefits. And caring for older relatives is also expensive. I have a suggestion to cope with this: give everyone, from birth to death, the full tax-free allowance, and let this allowance be transferrable to those family members within the bounds of consanguinuity or civil partnership. This will help the mother stay at home to look after the children, and allow granny to come and stay to help or be helped.

Inheritance tax: this was introduced to break up the great estates. An estate of £1M, great though that may seem, is not a great estate. Please raise that figure to £10M or even more.

I hope you find some of these ideas of interest.

Monday, March 10, 2008

United Guilds Service: I got to sit in the Quire

An excellent service, and I got to sit in the Quire - that's the bit between the choir and the altar. I was almost directly opposite the Lord Mayor himself and had an excellent view of all the pomp and pageantry.

But the bench was ever so hard!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Windows Home Server

Why is the bloody backup failing at 35% every time? This has also been bugging me all week.

Friday, February 29, 2008

This past week

I have been investigating Windows Home Server, which seems very nice, and Vista's network performance, which is absolutely abysmal. The latter has taken the bulk of the week for very little result.

Plug 'Vista network slow' into your favourite search engine and you'll see that I'm far from alone and you'll see all the things I've tried.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Book Thing

Shamelessly stolen from Kim du Toit.

Which [type of] book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Philosophy. I simply find it extremely hard going. Plus Plato's Republic in the original Greek was not exactly the ideal introduction.

If you could bring three [fictional] characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Thraxas, Gandalf, and Granny Weatherwax.

You are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Atlas Shrugged: I just cannot get into it.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

None. Like Kim, however, there are books which I've only read in translation when I could have (at the time) read them in the original.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

Again, none. That said, there are books which I've re-read and seen in an entirely different light. Most recently, the Harry Potter books after it was revealed as a Christian cycle. Additionally, there are books which I wish I had the intellect to understand better, like Sun Tzu's Art of War.

You’ve been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP.

Sun Tsu's Art of War. It's just so deep, but it's short and will set them thinking.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

I'm really torn here: part of me says Latin so I can reread everything I read at school and more; the other part says Chinese - there's a whole mountain of literature there.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Dead easy: Tolkein's Lord of the Rings

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Whatever else it is, it's circular with a ladder that can go round.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Deep fun.

Having been ill over Christmas, I'm trying to get my old job back and wrestling with migrating my email - all 250,000 items - from PMMail 2000 to Pocomail. On th former, I'm waiting for people to get back from holiday; on the latter, we shall see.