Archives for category: Geeking

Cross shire journeying today. Following the immense success of yesterday’s haircut, and when I say success, I don’t necessarily mean on my part, but it was a success for the barber insofar as there was hair and he cut it…. until there was hardly any hair left.  I think he got carried away with the discussion the room in general was having about Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa.  Such are the ways of Barber shops and not a quartet in sight I noted.  The remains of my hair make me look rather extremely right wing. I’m not as bald as a Chelsea fan πŸ™‚ but I’d be alright in the army.  I have it on good authority that it will grow back.
There was also a general failing on the part of Maplin. Very disappointing as they are usually such good value for money, and almost always have what I’m looking for in the way of geeky electronikery. On this particular occasion it was a replacement Bluetooth earpiece for the iPhone.  I wouldn’t ordinarily condone the idea of an earpiece, and they’re certainly not to be used in an office environment, (they just make you look self important and therefore stupid). However, when it comes to driving anywhere, you need a decent hands free solution, and of course you would never make an outgoing call. I’ve had a perfectly good one up until now (which I do use in my home office – where no-one can see me looking stupid until we all start using “Facetime” properly) but the “hook” that goes behind the ear has finally given up the ghost and fallen off. Hence the need for a replacement.
The rule here appears to be don’t skimp on the price, because the audio quality will show it’s cheap.  Sure enough, 15 quid doesn’t do it.

It might look great, but it sounded awful.  The badman has once again come to my rescue though, as he has the exact same model as I had previously that he never uses.  I imagine that’s because even with a headset in his ear, he wouldn’t be able to hear a damn word above the volume of the throbbing diesel engine of his off-roader, or the roar of his vespa.  Or perhaps like me he thinks they make you look like a bit of a tit.
In other news….
Daughter is going to be away for a few days, off down south until Friday.  Missing her already. She just needs to keep away from the Lions.
L’s father passed away on Friday, which while expected is still deeply sad, and I hear the G-B’s mother has also passed away, so yet more sadness there.
Talk of G-B reminded me to get accomodation organised for the AGS 5th Anniversary do in August.  It being on the bank holiday weekend, and so close to Mrs G’s birthday, I’ve had to tread carefully. The long and the short of that means that Triple B and I will not be in the same hotel as the rest of the lads because it’s fully booked. On the plus side, we’re in a much better hotel that’s centrally located and almost double the price. Well, you can’t have everything, but I have no doubt it’ll be a great time – as is always the case when we get together.
And with that, I’m away to the northern edges of the shires.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Seems the only time I get to blog at the moment is when I’m sat on the train. I do normally make time for it. Those of you that read this drivel will know it’s where I exercise (or exorcise) my demons. Its good for my mental health and a bit of a chuckle for the rest of you who can hide and point and think “I’m glad that’s not me”. All this means that not blogging creates a mental block which serves to stifle my creativity. … Or for those of you in the cheap seats with a degree in amateur psychology … Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and dare I say blah. If nothing else it serves to fill a paragraph.

No heating or electricity supply in coach D this morning. The passengers are huddled together like partially frozen mice that you’d find under the floorboards of an old shed in deep winter. It’s early spring though, so I suppose were still due some cold snaps at least for another four weeks until the clocks go forward. There’s no excuse offered for the lack of power. Broken hamster wheel maybe? Or perhaps someone forgot to take the peg off it which is used to stop the hamster squeaking it all night while the driver is trying to sleep. Who knows?

Sat next to a nerd this time who I’m glad to say is worse than even I for gadgets. Should point out that I have nothing against nerds, because I am one afterall. They’re listening to some House-Martins (pre The Beautiful South) on their iPhone, so I approve of that, and writing blackberry email (something to do with training). I’m trying not to look but it’s cold and they’re practically sat on top of me. I’m hugging the window – think “Shaun of the Dead” poster.

Now they’ve got their kindle out and are reading Mark Twain. It’s a Free title on the Kindle store. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great read, but I’m now judging this person based on the fact they can splash out on a bunch of kit (300 quid iPhone, 120 quid kindle, blackberry; probably corporate) but can’t be added to pay for any content. I’m no berating myself for judging. Poor person’s probably only started reading since they got a gadget to show off with… There I go again. Ahhhh well. Look!! There’s the Horlicks factory out the window.

Today’s visit to the big city is all about a project definition workshop which might require some input from me. It’s all a bit woolly, as is the nature of such things and I’m only on this job for another week before I get released to go and do my real job again. In truth this means I’m doing what needs to be done in a mechanical nuts and bolts sort of way. I’m half enjoying it, but only because it’s easy. The new stuff is much more challenging, as a couple of my readers are all to aware right now. I’m particularly enjoying the challenge one of them has set me. I never thought I’d say that.

The more calendar aware among you will see that it’s Thursday and this means WTC. A problem for me as getting out of LDN and back to the countryshire in time is going to be a struggle. I am in need of some social therapy having missed last week and the golfing due to the back strain. Incidentally the back has vastly improved. Lots of keeping it straight and bending the knees seems to be working wonders on it. Still being careful, but definitely moving again.

Daughter’s arm is fully fixed which is a result. She’s been in full fixing mode aswell. She’s fixed her job (by getting a new one), fixed her boyfriend (by getting rid of the old one) and is fixing to have her 21st birthday in 3 or 4 weeks time. Me & Mrs G are all abit broken. Me – the back (improving) and Mrs G is having slightly higher than average blood pressue.  The problem here is all about age.  We have reached that point where these things become important.  The repercusions of this will I’m sure be the sad waving goodbye to the four main food groups, namely Beef, Butter, Eggs and Chocolate and hello to Muselie, Fruit (whatever that is) and cholestoral reducing spreads.If you haven’t hit 40 yet, you have this to look forward to.

Well, that’s my ramble for today. All a bit odd.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Well that’s almost week one of 2011 done. So far so good.  Of course as far as the Starfleet stuff is concerned it’s very early days and I find myself reading and reading and reading and just for kicks doing a bit more reading.  There’s no denying I’m very well read.  Luckily that suits me just fine. A gentle run into it is far better for my well being than dropping from a great height.

It also gives me the opportunity to keep up to date with some of the more interesting tech news. For instance yesterday saw the launch of the Mac App Store. If you’re not a Mac user, feel free to look away now. Having said that, you should really be saving up your pennies to become a Mac user. Let me just evangalise for a moment, oh and before I get going, there is no personal benefit to me should you be buying Apple, Microsoft or any other manufacturers product for that matter. I’m not actually trying to sell anything here.

<sales pitch/lecture mode ON>
Let’s be very very clear. I’m NOT a fan boy, although I have become a fan. IMHO for home use, there’s nothing better than OSX for the time being.

…And no I’m not biased either – I was an MS man through and through from way back when MS-DOS arrived all the way up through Windows 2, 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, 98, 98SE, NT, NT3.51, NT4.0, 2000, and XP.. Finally when Vista landed I’d had enough. Constant patching, blue screening, hanging, locking and replacing drivers was all just getting too much like hard work.. I’m even a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (lapsed now) but the point is I really do know what I’m talking about.

I was a Unix/Linux system admin from the early 1990’s and I still turn my hand to some of it from time to time. But it’s always when someone has a problem with it and it needs fixing.  Why does it need fixing!??

I hear good stories about Windows 7 and I like nix/nux platforms, but I converted almost two years ago, and I’m not going back.

Where I’m at things just work. They might have dropped that from the advertising, but it’s still very much the truth. So, I’ve told you what I know, what you choose to do with that information is your choice. 
<sales pitch/lecture mode OFF> 

Now where was I?  Oh yes. The App Store.

So what is it? Well, if you’re familiar with an iPhone or an iPod touch or an iPad then the App Store on those devices is exactly the same thing except for being on your Macbook or iMac. What’s more, once you’ve bought an application once, you can re-install on any system that uses your iTunes ID. Not only that, but the products are of much lower cost than if you went out and bought them on CD. Furthermore, once you have them, they’re updated automagically (or at least when you tell them to check for updates).

This change to the way that software is bought and managed isn’t exactly new. Microsoft have been doing something similar with their “Windows Update” service for quite some time, but the runaway success of the app store in the mobile world is likely to be repeated on your desktop or laptop for shear convenience if nothing else.

It seems to me that we’re heading towards a world in which what we buy as consumers (music, video, software, books etc etc) is stored online for us to access when we need it. In other words, good old CLOUD again. 

In the old days this was the mainframe model. Nothing was local other than a screen and keyboard (the terminal) and everything was off in a data center somewhere. PC’s changed all that and everyone started having “Fat Clients”, where everything you wanted was on your desk. This is a nightmare to manage though and while there are some fairly successful methods for doing so, the technology has in recent years been leading us full circle and back to “Thin Clients”

It’s not exactly the same model of course, more of a hybrid, but CLOUD has definetly been the buzzword of the last two years with the likes of Google trying to lead the way. I think with the launch of the App Store that Apple are attempting to get to a similar destination via a slightly different route and I fully expect to see some sort of Audio streaming coming from them in the near future and probably followed up with video. The apple TV is already their thin client of choice for the living room after all.

The issue is the same issue it’s always been though. Connectivity. While the Internet is pervasive, that is only in the more well connected parts of the planet. We keep coming up with ingenious ways to provide connectivity, but so far it doesn’t have the reach of air or sunlight for example. Hell, we can’t even get fresh water everywhere, so acess to the internet should be the least of our worries. 

It’s a strange world that we live in when you see highly connected sheds in the outer reaches of Africa yet your phone signal will routinely drop in the center of any of the metropoli (is that the plural of metropolis?) that you care to think of. It maybe getting cloudy, but it’s not overcast yet.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Let’s talk about Firesheep (see what I did there?).

See and download the full gallery on posterous

There’s a gentleman who goes by the moniker of @codebulter or Eric Butler (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). Last weekend he published a very interesting article on his blog entitled “Firesheep” which eloquently describes the problems of logging into social websites such as Facebook or Twitter whole being connected to public WiFi hotspots.
I’ve been blathering on about it on Twitter and mentioned it to a few folks at Starfleet. Noone seems that bothered though and that is particularly disturbing.With more and more mobile devices readily available, this method of connection is fast becoming the de-facto standard for keeping in touch with your social network. But what Eric has done here, is highlight just how dangerous a practice that is….
Long and the short of it, if you haven’t read this and the followup stuff, and you’re prone to logging on at your local coffee shop or pub… get on it:
What I’ve yet to find a satisfactory answer to yet is how this can be prevented on smart phones. Obviously the same sort of fixes can be applied and running a VPN, while a bit of a hassle isn’t all that difficult. Equally, you could switch of your WiFi altogether, but that rather defeats the purpose.  Surely, there should be an “app for that” πŸ™‚
Be warned, using any of these on an open network means there’s every possibility that your personal data that’s stored with them will be hacked. Gowalla
Basecamp Hacker News Harvest
Cisco Windows Live
CNET New York Times
Dropbox Pivotal Tracker
Enom ToorCon: San Diego
Evernote Slicehost: SliceManager
Flickr Twitter
Foursquare WordPress
GitHub Yahoo
Google Yelp

You’ve been warned.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Ooooooo….  that’s interesting…  loads of stuff happening with double O’s in their names.  I doubt it’s a sign of anything though.  A quick run through then:


Facebook announcements. Last night saw (the now slightly more famous because there’s a film about him) Mark Zuckerberg, referred to as Zuck in the IT press, announce some new bits and pieces over at Facebook. And finally it looks like they might actually be trying to get something right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting I suddenly feel the need to trust them with anything, but they are making the right noises, al be it slowly.  There’s a full summary of what Zuck terms “Giving You More Control” over here on the Facebook Blog, but the two key elements that stood out for me are 1) The ability to download your data and take it somewhere else and 2) A new way of handling groups.

Downloading your data may not seem like a big deal, but it’s got to be useful if you decide you want out, but want to keep a copy of your facebook life. AS usual with any new large-ish change at Facebook though, it’s not available in the UK yet. When it is, you’ll just nip into your “Account Settings” and near the bottom of the page there’s a “Download” option which will generate a file on their servers and send you an email when it’s ready for you to collect.. Quite a neat way of dealing with it I think. Now all we need is a really secure, new, facebook-like site, that works the way it should, to be able to import this downloaded file πŸ™‚

Facebook groups are long overdue a fix.  They’ve had a sort of groups system for sometime, but it’s been a headache to manage and doesn’t really work in a way that reflects the real world. Now they have this:  I’m still not 100% certain it solves all the problems, but I’ll give it a go first before I write them off. 10 out of 10 for effort at least.


HootSuite. This is an interesting toolset that I’ve yet to make proper use of but I like the look of. They’ve announced some very confusing changes to their pricing structure. Anyone with a team on Twitter should probably be using it though. Can anyone figure out which bits are free and which bits you pay for??


Flook. Here’s an idea. Take a picture of a useful, interesting or secret place and post it with geographical refrences online so that other people can find out about it.  Sort of like a do-it-yourself yellow pages but looking like post-cards. it’s a nice interface and has clearly been thought about, much like Gowalla is growing on me over Foursquare (but that’s another story). I’m not sure it’s going to meet it’s goals, which have been described as “Geo-Google”, but it’s fun trying and actually has some really neat little elements to it. While it began life as purely an iPhone app, it is now available via a web browser, so theoretically across any Internet enabled mobile device. Even plays nicely with Twitter & Facebook. Give it a go.


Google TV @ Logitech. We’re no seeing signs of Google TV actually arriving soon, although still no news about a UK launch. Logitech have announced the pricing for their set top box (STB) to be $299.99. It’s called the Logitech Revue. Read all about it over here:

Two other O apps for the Mac that I want to mention, but not doubles this time…

See and download the full gallery on posterous

AppOmater, which can be found here: helps you develop iPhone applications without any programming knowledge. In my book, this is the lazy way, but then again, there are thousands of p[eople out there with ideas for applications that may never get realised without something like this.  

It’s not a freebie mind you. It is free to sign up and download and start using their application, but if you have something you  want to get published, you have to pay $50 to register with their service and then an ongoing fee for hosting the application you’ve developed. They also get a cut of any profits you make from the App Store, but it’s still entirely possible for you to make a small fortune with next to no development skills.

I’ve not heard of anyone else offering this kind of service yet, so it might be just what you’re looking for. Give them a go.

The other one is CronniX. This is just a tiny little freebie app to help you manage the cron. If you don’t know what that is, then you probably don’t need it. To be perfectly honest, if if you do know what that is, you don’t necessarily need it. After all, the cron is just a text file full for your Mac (or Unix box).

Imagine it’s your systems TODO list. It just helps it manage whats in it’s diary. When things need to get done, that weren’t already being done somewhere else. It’s a time-based job-scheduler. Anyway, if you want a GUI front end to your Mac cron, it’s here:

Enough geekery, back to work….  These pencils won’t push themselves you know. oooooO


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

“Enough whinging and moaning.  Time to get off me harris and do something about it!!” , is what I said last week to myself during a particularly strong bout of taking myself to one side and having a serious word in my shell-like. There was some whirring and clicking and things sort of fell into place which led me to finding this path that I now find myself upon and I’m trudging forward along it to see where it takes me.

As employees within Starfleet we are very lucky to be able to move around to differing roles within the business without too much risk to your career in the longer term. Of course it’s never quite as straight forward as that, but in theory it’s pretty simple.  The long and the short of this means that sometime in the next 3 months I will probably be doing something different. But I won’t hold my breath just yet.

OK – that’s enough work talk – Let’s see what else is going on…

Scobi’s looking for some guidance for his Home Theatre setup and managing his media, so I figured I’d share a short write up on the way I’ve been doing it for the past few years. Any questions, drop me a note or post a comment.

What’s the goal? To begin with, the goals were simple:

  • Listen to different music in different rooms
  • Watch different movies in different rooms
  • Watch family photo albums on a big screen

Back in the day when I was a believer of Microsoft, before I moved to the Mac world, the answer for me was Microsoft XP Media Center Edition (MCE). I had a smallish tower PC with a TV card in it that would capture my analogue signal. The MCE front end with associated remote was a nice way to watch, pause and rewind live TV as well as being able to watch DVD’s (via the DVD ROM), my own videos from the HDD, listen to MP3 music, and view photos. This after all is what you want your media center to do.

However, back then, the support was patchy, drivers and codecs were a headache and believe me there is nothing quite like a “General Protection Fault” or the “Blue Screen Of Death” during the recording of Coronation Street if you really want to feel the wrath of a woman scorned. On top of this, although it was possible to get it running with Sky, satellite TV could only be view via the analogue port due to tuner constraints meaning is was out of step with HD TV by the time that arrived on our shores.

It was these problems that led me away from the Microsoft solution and into the world of Apple TV. A shame, because there were two killer features, that I haven’t been able to replace as yet which I’ll come to in a moment.

This is the current setup.  

Sky+HD for the main TV in the living room. This takes care of the Corrie recording issue and allows for some decent HD content. There’s also a PS3 to provide Blue Ray content. 

The media Library sits across 2 Terabyte hard drives (1 Internal and 1 external) on the back of an iMac running iTunes – tucked away in the office. This is the core of the network and stores all of the data. Media that arrives at home get’s converted (the geeky phrase is “ripped”) to a suitable digital format and imported into an iTunes library. This is then available to Apple TV which sits silently and unobtrusively in the living room connected to the WiFi Network.

All of this is rigged to a wall mounted HD LCD and Dolby 5.1 Surround system which the Apple TV supports nicely.

Other rooms in the house have TV’s with iPod/iPhone connectors or the iPod/iPhone Composite AV Cable attached to them. This means that it’s possible to stream movies or music from the iMac to a remote iPod/iPhone (should point out we’re talking about “iPod touch” in this context, which has WiFi connectivity) and use a TV or other docking station for output. Furthermore if you want to move from room to room, well that just works because you’re on the WiFi Network and you can even sit outside with it if the mood takes you and the turbulent weather has subsided. The key to it all, is having the library central and available on the Network – it’s that simple.

This all works like a dream at the moment, but I have concerns. The downsides (which are only slight) are thus:

  • No true (1080p) Hi-Def support in the Library (Apple TV does 720, but my source is only as good as DVD)
  • No Skype in the living room
  • No Social media in the living room
  • Live TV still provided via Sky

Now, I can hear you saying the HD support is a bit of a bind, but not a problem. Skype & Social Media in the living room!!?@!?  What are you on Golfy?

Well, I’m not just running a Home theatre here, this is cutting edge stuff. In the Old MCE world, I have a small camera mounted above the TV and Video Sky calls could be neatly integrated because the whole thing was running on XP. I also had a wireless keyboard and could use MS Messenger for chat while watching the TV.  

In the future we’ll have something to fix that, be it Google TV, or Apple TV with Apps on it (which I think is highly likely), or something else altogether. But the key piece of technology there is the Internet, and so Internet connectivity to your TV in your living room (at least!) is a must have for future-proofing (or at least attempting to).  There are TV’s out today with some Internet connectivity already, but this is the new frontier for living room dominance and not (I repeat NOT) 3D-TV. But that’s another story.

Any other stuff to get off my chest?

X-Factor!  Seriously, What the feck is going on there ??  I’m done with it now that it’s been clearly shown up as an advertising campaign thinly disguised as a telent show. Just in case you were wondering where my logic comes from. It’s really down to last nights show that selects the final 12. The first seven minutes of this contained nothing but the previous days show. And when I say nothing I mean nothing save one very short voice over to say this would be when we find out who the final 12 are. Other than that it was Saturday nights show in 7 minutes. And this is what really galls me – they then went into an ad break!!!  7 minutes of old TV and an ad break! I’m sorry but you lost me right there.  

As I’m sure you’ve heard me say before it’s car crash TV (meaning you don’t want to look but you can’t take your eyes off it) so I allowed my rubber necking to continue to see who had actually been selected. In short, the judges decisions were simply appalling. And the most blatant of these is the selection of Katie Waissal who it transpires, already had a recording contract which Mr Cowell bought her out of just prior to the start of the series…. Goodnight X-Factor. Info here:

And finally, finally….  What a game of Golf that was!!!  Damn close in the end even after all that.  Without doubt the Ryder Cup is my favourite competition in the golfing world.  Europe v’s America is just great fun. Well done all involved and of course Graeme MacDowell for finishing it off.

Ta ra.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

In the fight for Social Geolocation supremacy, how many more applications can we take ?  It’s getting out of hand and pretty soon we’ll have more GPS tracking apps than we’ll know what to do with.  This year they’ve rocketed. But where’s it all heading and where will it end ?

Let’s see if I can summarise where we’re at.  These are the big players (alphabetically) in the market so far.

iPhone App Android App Blackberry App Virtual Rewards Real World Rewards
Foursquare Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Facebook Yes Yes Not Yet No No
Geomium Yes Not Yet Not Yet No Some
Google Latitude Web Web Web No No
Gowalla Yes Yes Not Yet Yes No
Twitter Yes Yes Yes No No

As you can see they all have differing levels of functionality even if they are trying to do basically the same sort of thing.  Foursquare and Twitter tend to stand out because they’re readily available across all of the main mobile platforms.  Google Latitude isn’t far behind with a clean web interface, but there’s no checkin-in with Latitude. It’s on or off.

So are any of these actually any use to the users aside from being a bit of fun?

Well, there are some “Real World Rewards” available from Foursquare and Geomium highlights local deals to your current position, but ultimately they are a bit “gamey”. There’s not really any killer functionality that makes them a must have app.  I’m not suggesting they’re a complete waste of time, they just haven’t found their place yet. I still think they will.

One of the largest inhibitors is not knowing who you’re sharing your location information with and this feeds a basic level of paranoia among many people. In some cases rightly so.  You only have to have followed the news concerning to understand how this stuff can get out of hand. If you missed it, you can go back in time here.

Obvioulsy the answer is like anything else. Be aware of what you’re doing.  You don’t go to some strange city in the middle of the night and hand out pieces of paper with your bank details on do you ?  So why would you go online and tell complete strangers where you are at this precise moment ?  Share with your friends by all means. But if you’re an idiot, you’ll still get yourself into trouble at some point. You only have to have read a handfull of pages to know that.

I could foresee a time when these guys all end up merge into one big social network (probably called SocNet, or worse still – “Blue Banana” – or something equally inane) where we have bits of Facebook, geo-locationary statuses and micro-blogging all in one clean application that works on every platform. You’ll even be able to neatly segregate colleagues, celebs, family, friends, romans, countrymen… lend me your e- … sorry. Got carried away there. But you get the point. Each of these groups will be able to be kept separate in the Blue Banana world, to save you from yourself.

Will it ever happen?  Not this month.  Ask again in November. That’s how quickly it changes.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Back to the grindstone today and catching up with the wad of eMails in my inbox. Not as many as usual, but then I have been actively trying to manage my email numbers downwards. eMail really is the spawn of the devil and is completely misused in today’s business environment. For example, I was out for 7 business days and in that time received 114 emails (an average of 16.28 messages per day). Of these, 70 were instantly deletable, things like:

  • meeting invites for last week
  • machine generated notifications
  • cc’s on things that don’t really concern me
  • announcements which are summarised into a single weekly message (meaning I actually get these twice!!)
  • one long joke thread.  

This means that 61% of my email is rubbish. 

There’s a long way to go before I can consider switching eMail off altogether, but I still think I can get it to a slimmer point yet, and that has become a goal. I still have 30 that are worthy of some attention, although of these, so far I’ve seen 5 that I’m likely to respond to. Just for the sake of completeness – 5 eMails!! = 4%!!. Tells a story doesn’t it. 

I have a feeling the answer to this problem lies in Social media.  The likes of Twitter & Facebook make for a far more direct method of contact, and you’re far more likely to get in touch, if you NEED to get in touch. I wish I’d thought of it, but I can’t take the credit for it. The most eloquent and driven proponent of this thinking that I’ve found so far, has to be Luis Suarez. Have a read of this and see if you don’t agree.

I’ll write more on this later in the year as my inbox shrinks.

Freebie time now….

First of all, I have 5 invites for Tweasier…  first come first served if you drop me an email or DM with your email address in.  Eh?   Hang on. What’s Tweasier ??  It’s a Twitter analysis tool (sort of).  I’m still trying it out so I’m not 100% certain what I think of it yet, but if you want to learn a bit more about it, here’s the video:

Tweasier – The Walk through video from Tweasier on Vimeo.

And then secondly of all…  a free listen of a brand new Album from 3DiCD. I’m sure you remember me blathering on about Howard Jone’s release of Ordinary Hero’s. Well, today see’s the launch of Syd Barrett’s forthcoming release “An Introduction to…”  For those of you who don’t know, Syd Barrett was of course the original front man from Pink Floyd. There’s everything you ever wanted to know just a click away, here:

Do me a favour and turn it down just a tad….  I’m trying to read a ridiculous amount of eMail here! πŸ˜‰

This post originally appeared here: Posterous
A very long but very interesting day all told. Text messaging with Malaria. Virtual Organic Farms (Servers not pigs, sheep & crops). Computational Fluid Dynamics. Embarrassingly parallel codes. Nano fibre. DNA Transistors. Nano this and nano that. SKA (radio astronomy) data storage. Fuel management solutions.

It takes get togethers like this to reinforce how great Starfleet really are. And on that subject, I think it’s time I came clean about the true identity of them.

You may recall that I chose to refer to my employer as Starfleet to protect their identity and mine, but having given this some deeper thought of late, I’ve reached the conclusion that this really doesn’t matter. In fact, if anything, it makes me less believable from your point of view. So, to reassure you that I am a real person with a real job in a large technology company in the early 21st century and shall reveal my employers identity.

In the mean time feel free to have a guess in the comments…..

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Ahhhh. Now it’s 06:07 08/09/10

Last month, the Americans were making a big fuss about it being 8/9/10, but of course it wasn’t. Duhh… Why on earth do they think that dates shouldn’t go in size order ? Interestingly there are only five countries in the world that use the same format as the United States:

  • Belize
  • Canada
  • the Federated States of Micronesia
  • Palau
  • the Philippines

That’s really not that many. In fact in terms of numbers thats about 6% of the world’s population using the wrong date format. Here’s a graphical representation:

Map showing what countries primarily use which calendar date format:

   dd-mm-yyyy and yyyy-mm-dd
   dd-mm-yyyy, mm-dd-yyyy, and yyyy-mm-dd
   mm-dd-yyyy and dd-mm-yyyy

Sort it out then….  Bizarrely, Central Africa don’t have a clue what the date is according to this map ?  That’s Wikipedia for you. Actually, I’ve long been a proponent of the machine sortable date format (which many can attest to). Specifically this means putting the year first, then the month, then the date, and if you need to the time.  This way the generated number simply ascends or descends correctly in date order…

20100908 – 8th of September, 2010
20100907 – 7th of September, 2010
20100906 – 6th of September, 2010 etc.

Next interesting date is next month actually.  Already looking forward to 10:10 on the 10th of October 2010…. or 10:10 10/10/10

Fun times