Saturday, 19 December 2009
It’s a film with a good cast that includes John Cusack (of the brilliant Grosse Pointe Blank), George Segal (a big name from the 70's) and Danny Glover (only two days from retirement). As mitigation I could suggest that they rose above the material but this would be to evade the truth. My work colleague described it as two and a half hours of her life wasted. I on the other hand will no doubt watch this ridiculous piece of rubbish again. Roland Emmerich flattens The White House once more and leaves my critical faculties in ruin. All I have to do now is enjoy James Cameron's Avatar and my journey to the dark side will be complete.
Friday, 4 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
I have a developer friend who was once tasked with consulting and updating reports for another department of his company. It was all for a good cause, to determine their internal efficiency. Unfortunately it turned out the department had been taking the term ‘internal’ all too literally and, as if unaware of the outside world, managed to cut the customer out of the equation. Imagine your job is to take data from a customer, manually process the data and then hand it back. Not surprisingly the company want to know how efficient that process is. But the department doesn’t have the tools to record the time taken for data coming in, processed and returned to the customer on the same day; it does however have a tool that records the amount of data waiting to be processed that came in on a specified day.
Oh dear. The department reasoned there was no cost to queuing data coming in and queuing data going out, no internal cost anyway. Hence there was no need to ask for any engineering resource. When the company asked how long it took to process an item they may have meant ‘how long until the customer gets their data back’, but what they got was an answer to an entirely different question. How many customers did they lose? We’ll never know; my friend doesn’t work there any more. Very few people do.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
It’s only a temporary residence too. Google Sites has its purpose but mine was to build a website. I’m a little hazy as to why I wanted to do that but I’m sure given time I’ll come up with a reason. Not surprisingly, I have a random approach to establishing a web presence. I start blogging and only later grasp on the idea of addressing it with my own domain. And I’m determined to use a ‘blog’ sub-domain. And if you’ve got a ‘blog’ sub-domain then you need to have a ‘www’ sub-domain too. Don’t ask me why, you just do. Google Sites was an accident but it serves a purpose in acting as a placeholder. For a while my blog distracted me with a little HTML play, and then I remembered how I’d wanted to understand the various pieces.
Ah yes, maybe that was the reason. So now I look to the ‘Build your own website for people who ought to already know’ books and hope that I really can. Maybe email a few former colleagues for advice. Maybe I’ll use a few technologies along the way... and maybe I’ll even learn something.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Some cynics may suggest the loss of a sales department is no big deal, it’s karma for a lack of investment in product, but one thing is definite; if you don’t have sales people then you don’t have anything to sell. I figured that one out myself. The other clue was when the boss said “we’re not selling that anymore”.
It’s safe to say the patient is on life support and with no hope of recovery. We think he stands a chance of making it into the New Year but the prognosis beyond then is certain. Meanwhile I’ve entered a bizarre alternate reality in which I genuinely like the sales people who survive. Me and sales; who’d have thought it possible?
Since I’m old enough to have seen it all before and wise enough (don’t laugh) to not take it personally, I get on with what work there is; though having said that, due to staff shortages I’m making very little progress. I’ll probably get fired for that. I blame it on my friend and ex-colleague, the artist wannabe, who up and quit work the other week to pursue something worthwhile, rather than wallow in a collective doom and see it through to our inevitable and bitter end. Fucking writers, eh?
Friday, 30 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
...a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike.
The thing with democracy is that ultimately it’s about allowing morons to vote.Plato’s ideal system, an aristocracy led by wise men that are (crucially) reluctant to lead, seems inherently dangerous given our understanding on the ability of power to warp the best of intentions - not to mention the scarcity of wise men. So unless we subscribe to this utopian vision or perhaps the benefits of a benign autocracy (and I’m surprised to find there are many that do) we are, for all its perceived limitations, left with democracy; though are these limitations really a weakness?
One might think so since the BBC have invited Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP and a holocaust denier, to appear on Question Time; their most prominent platform for political debate. However such people are a fact of life whatever the system; brushing repulsive individuals under the carpet not only disenfranchises, it’s counterproductive. Who can be persuaded the error of their ways by being denied the right to speak?
I can think of few people who deserve to be ridiculed more but a more constructive act might be to engage them in debate or, to use language his party would understand, debate the sh*t out of them. There are undoubtedly dangers; putting Griffin in a civilised environment may result in some believing the participant himself to be civilised. In addition I would hope the other panellists can avoid indulging in a game of “who hates the racist the most”; it’s a trap the BNP would be delighted to spring.
Yet despite these risks we must engage in debate; not necessarily because we hope to change minds, though occasionally we may, but because this is how a society grows. If unwilling to face up to its more unpleasant members then how can it be worth fighting for? An unchallenged society is doomed to failure.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
terrific blog on the spirit of scrum. I can’t say I know much about agile software development, let alone the scrum method, and in passing I wonder where or even if, rapid application development fits on the evolutionary path. Scrum would appear to exist beyond the confines of a software development methodology, though this is only part of its attraction. I suspect I should read more of Tobias’ blog, Agile Anarchy, before passing comment, but I will venture to say that what appeals is its... humanity. I could be way off the mark but I’ve read enough to want for more.
I will doubtless be plagued by the cynical voice that warns I’ll never experience it in practice. Perhaps not, but a good idea is a good idea and anyway, just this once I think I’ll aim high.
Monday, 5 October 2009
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Friday, 25 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
There was even a point where I found myself saying “no please… PLEASE DON’T do the BMW versus porcupine joke”... only my appeal was in vain. Michael Davis, the director and writer (so he has no excuse) of this entertainment was no doubt hoping to fool the audience, or at least those capable of rational thought, into thinking it’s a parody or perhaps some kind of ironic statement. I’m pretty sure it isn’t.
Monica Belluci; she’s lovely. But what’s not to love about a drug-free lactating prostitute with a heart of gold? Monica uses her considerable charm in the film’s only worthwhile sequence, which manages to show some originality in combining the obligatory sex scene with yet another preposterous shoot-out. Yes it’s true; I did find that bit funny. Also we should commend the film on its length. At 86 minutes it’s mercifully short, but then anything longer and I might have become quite negative.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
It’s usually enough to dent my entire evening though I ought to know better; experience, or advancing years if you prefer, has shown fresh eyes in the morning often does the trick. But I’ve always found it difficult to separate myself from work once separated from work, thankfully nature made yesterday evening an exception; I saw the most beautiful rainbow. I know that sounds ridiculous, it looks ridiculous written down but ‘beautiful’ is the only way I can describe it. Not dissimilar to this picture and possibly prettier, I could see both ends rooted to the ground and each clearly defined colour in the spectrum arcing over the motorway ahead of me. All I could think was to share the information with my daughter, knowing how excited she’d have been in the car with me, despite the appalling weather. I was on the M48 and it was wonderful. It’s not often you can say something like that.
…and my problem with LINQ? Sorted first thing this morning.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
There’s one of Mummy with long hair and one of you with black hair...You’ve got grey hair now, Daddy. You look like Granddad...
Friday, 24 July 2009
Speaking of improbabilities, I’d rather like to see the Moon this weekend but finances (I don’t have any) will probably dictate otherwise. I’ve some time off work in a few weeks; if I’m lucky it will run until then. There’s a pile of unwatched DVDs at home crying out for my attention. If I’m really lucky I’ll be allowed to watch those too.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Monday, 22 June 2009
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
"You’re listening to Five Live breakfast with Nicky Campbell and"
If I had another chance tonight
"It doesn’t hurt to give it a go does it? I spoke to Melanie about"
"Shelagh Fogarty. In the studio we have"
"Mum and she said she’s being very difficult. She won’t talk as it’s"
"Sheila to tell us about RBS. They’ve announced their quarterly figures which are"
I'd try to tell you that the things we had were right
"about Nana and you know what she’s like. She won’t acknowledge"
"a pre-tax loss of 44 million pounds which is round about"
"what the doctor says, or take her medicine when she’s supposed to. Which is just"
If I had another chance tonight
I'd try to tell you that the things we had were right
"…what we would have expected."
Or the tale of another
One other solitary soul
With an abstract goal
I don’t like this beautiful house
Yet the music shrouds me
And it’s not such a bad place to go.
Monday, 4 May 2009
We know that inequality is grounded not just in gender, race, disability, age and sexual orientation, but also by class.
Friday, 17 April 2009
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
- There are far too many middle aged men, or any men for that matter, who know the Macarena… stop it. Conversely there is nothing wrong with the YMCA. This dance personifies cool… as anyone who saw me can testify.
- The pastor may have thought it was love but personally I think its cheese and pineapple on a stick.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Thursday, 5 March 2009
There are would-be murderers, all around the world who want to kill you and me, and themselves, because they are motivated by what they think is the highest ideal.I'm agnostic. I believe the theory of evolution, that’s ‘theory’ in its scientific rather than popular sense. There’s a part of me that wonders why I should have to qualify myself, but the larger part thinks it easier that way.
Charles Darwin’s birth I somehow found myself reading a Richard Dawkins blog. This was in response to a colleague of mine who had read of a report showing an ‘alarming’ percentage of science teachers who didn’t believe in evolution. It later turned out that actually it was a percentage who weren’t convinced that evolution offered all the answers… then later again we agreed that not only did we not know the result of the survey but that, since we didn’t know the question asked, the previous discussion had been rather pointless… but still a lot of fun.
Regardless, I found myself reading Dawkins’ blog and it wasn’t long before I had this strange feeling of déjà-vu. If I remember correctly (I don’t care to go back because it was an ugly read) the discussion originated on correspondence between Dawkins and a journalist; in which the journalist had the temerity to infer that Richard Dawkins appropriation of Darwin’s significance was counter-productive to the teaching of evolutionary theory.
The journalist suggested that the teaching and acceptance of evolution was best served by keeping it separate from any debate on religious belief. Dawkins reply missed the point; he repeatedly commented that this was irrelevant as the science stands for itself. He either couldn’t, or wilfully refused, to entertain the idea that a person forced to choose between truth and love will sometimes choose love. Personally I think this rather wonderful; though Dawkins and his acolytes would doubtless roll their eyes at the very suggestion.
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and an atheist; like most of us he combines what he knows (which is considerable) with what he believes. This is perfectly natural and in Dawkins case it helps to shift a lot of books; but in presenting the two tenets of evolution and atheism as a package he undermines that with which we can all agree. I say this because I don’t know any Christians who disagree with the theory of evolution. If he were to separate the two then science as a whole would find it easier to educate, and sloppy ideas such as ‘intelligent design’ would lose their grip and slowly die away.
So why doesn’t he? Judging from the many contributors to his blog I found it difficult to escape the feeling that they enjoyed the conflict; the intellectual bullying of people considered their inferior. It was unpleasant but I can hardly blame the great man for his following. There’s a certain irony in this fundamentalist approach to following their highest ideal, for they fail to consider the possibility that it’s not so much religious belief that is the ‘root of all evil’ but religious intolerance; and in that respect they condemn themselves.