Category Archives: Thoughts on the World

Fraud Prevention: Why Don’t Banks Do More?

Banks constantly tell us to do more to protect our financial details against online fraud, but we live in a world where there is often no alternative to exposing important financial information to potential misuse. The frustration is that there … Continue reading

Thursday, August 30, 2018 in Thoughts on the World

Is Theatre Killing Theatre?

Is the theatre its own worst enemy? Is it the engine of its own destruction? Let me explain what I mean. We love the cinema. We go most weeks, and most weeks we come away feeling well entertained, even inspired. … Continue reading

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 in Thoughts on the World

That Was Too easy…

There is an old plot device, which goes back to at least Homer, although the version which popped into my head this evening was Genesis of the Daleks, a 1970s Dr Who story. A group of warriors fight a short … Continue reading

Thursday, July 26, 2018 in Android, Thoughts on the World

Prediction Realised: The AlpinerX

In October last year I wrote an article celebrating the hybrid analogue/digital watch and offering some architecture and design observations from my collection of them. I ended up slightly sad about the style’s fall from fashion, but confidently predicting that … Continue reading

Friday, July 6, 2018 in Thoughts on the World, Watches

Panasonic G9. Close? Yes. Cigar? No.

This article was also published as a guest article on "The Online Photographer". My Panasonic GX8 arrived pretty much on the day of official availability and has been my primary camera for almost three years, including two major photographic trips, … Continue reading

Friday, June 8, 2018 in Micro Four Thirds, Photography, Thoughts on the World

OK Google, Here’s Another One…

Having established that there’s a real, valuable use case for Google’s phone-call-making AI (making outgoing calls which have to be routed via complex menus, lengthy queues, or security gatekeepers) I got thinking. When I was in my early 20s and … Continue reading

Thursday, May 24, 2018 in Thoughts on the World

They’re All Missing the Point

Since Google’s demo of an AI bot making a phone call a few weeks ago, the reaction I have read seems to be completely polarised. About half the reviewers are blown away, believing it to be unleashing AI wonders/horrors which … Continue reading

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in Thoughts on the World

How Hard Can It Possibly Be?

I really should have known better. In last week’s piece on random music player algorithms, I made the rather blasé statement "I can live with it for a while and I can probably resolve the issue by downloading another music … Continue reading

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 in Thoughts on the World

Inferring Algorithms: How Random is Your Music Player?

“You’re Inferring that I’m stupid.” “No, I’m implying that you’re stupid. You’re inferring it.” – Wilt, by Tom Sharpe My latest contract means spending some time on a bus at each end of the day. The movement of the bus … Continue reading

Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Code & Development, Thoughts on the World

To BD or Not to BD

Should I buy the Blu-Ray? So you have a collection of several hundred DVDs, you’ve finally managed to remove almost every VHS tape from the house, and you’ve bought a shiny new TV and disk player. Which, if any, of … Continue reading

Thursday, January 11, 2018 in Thoughts on the World

An Odd Omission

Let’s start with a common use case… "I have a television / hi-fi / home cinema system which has several components from different manufacturers. I would like to control all of them with a single remote control. I would like … Continue reading

Sunday, January 7, 2018 in Android, Thoughts on the World

The Decisive Moment

My old mum has recently moved from her house to a smaller retirement flat, and is still in the process of sorting out some of the accumulated lifetime’s possessions. On this visit, I was presented with a large carrier bag … Continue reading

Sunday, December 17, 2017 in Humour, Photography, Thoughts on the World

The Hut of Alleged Towels

The Crane Hotel, Barbados has a hut whose purpose is to take in used beach towels, and dispense fresh ones. It has no other purpose. It is staffed during daylight hours by a helpful young chap, but on our recent … Continue reading

Saturday, November 18, 2017 in Barbados, Humour, Thoughts on the World, Travel

Architecture Lessons from a Watch Collection

I recently started a watch collection. To be different, to control costs and to honour a style which I have long liked, all my watches are hybrid analogue/digital models. Within that constraint, they vary widely in age, cost, manufacturer and … Continue reading

Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World, Watches

Integration Or Incantation?

I was travelling recently with Virgin Atlantic. I went to check in online, typed in my booking code and selected both our names, clicked "Next", and got an odd error saying that I couldn’t check in. I wondered momentarily if … Continue reading

Sunday, October 29, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Thoughts on the World

Singing With Each Other

We went to see The Hollies at G Live in Guildford last night. While the words and melodies were those we loved,  and the instrumental performances were good, the trademark harmonies sounded, frankly, a bit flat, and I wondered if … Continue reading

Sunday, October 8, 2017 in Thoughts on the World

Collection, or Obsession?

I have decided to start another collection. Actually the real truth is that I’ve got a bit obsessive about something, and now I’m trying to put a bit of shape and control on it. I don’t generally have an addictive … Continue reading

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 in Thoughts on the World, Watches

Back to the Future

I’ve opined before about how Microsoft have made significant retrograde steps with recent versions of Office. However this morning they topped themselves when Office 2016 started complaining about not being activated, and the recommended, automated solution was to do a … Continue reading

Monday, August 7, 2017 in Thoughts on the World

Business Models

Here’s a business model: I’m a drug dealer. I sell you a crack cocaine pipe complete with a packet of wraps for £220. It’s a good pipe (assuming that such things exist) – burns clean and always hits the spot … Continue reading

Thursday, July 13, 2017 in Thoughts on the World

Liberation from the "Frightful Five"

There’s an interesting NY Times article on our dependency on "Tech’s Frightful Five", which includes a little interactive assessment of whether you could liberate yourself, and if so in which order. I thought it would be interesting to document my … Continue reading

Friday, May 12, 2017 in Thoughts on the World

What Are Your Waypoints?

How do you remember the waypoints and landmarks on a journey? What are the key features by which you can replay in your mind, or to someone else, where you went and what you did? Like any good Englishman, I … Continue reading

Saturday, April 22, 2017 in Humour, Thoughts on the World, Travel

Why I (Still) Do Programming

It’s an oddity that although I sell most of my time as a senior software architect, and can also afford to purchase software I need, I still spend a lot of time programming, writing code. Twenty-five years ago people a … Continue reading

Monday, March 6, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Code & Development, Thoughts on the World

Travel Blogging and Photo Editing

I’ve been asked a number of times recently how I manage to write my blog during the often hectic schedule of my trips. It is sometimes a challenge, but it’s something that I want to do, and so I make … Continue reading

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. I’m not sure who first explained this to me, but I’m pretty sure it was my school metalwork teacher, Mr Bickle. Physically and vocally he was a cross between Nigel Green and … Continue reading

Monday, February 27, 2017 in Agile & Architecture, Myanmar Travel Blog, Thoughts on the World, Travel

Myanmar Musings (What Worked and What Didn’t)

Well, I’m back! Apart from a mad dash the length of Bangkok airport which got us to our plane to the UK with only a couple of minutes to spare, the flights home were uneventful and timely. Here’s my traditional … Continue reading

Thursday, February 23, 2017 in Myanmar Travel Blog, Photography, Thoughts on the World, Travel

Enlightenment

I have to confess, this post is a conflation of two fairly separate topics, and I struggled to find a common theme, but I think I’ve just about pulled it off. Apologies if you disagree. I’m just working through some … Continue reading

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in Photography, Thoughts on the World

What Are We Losing?

We’ve been watching "The Man In The High Castle". Despite all the horrors of Fascism this depicts, I find the single most perturbing image to be that of a Supersonic Transport, recognisable The Concorde, with a swastika on the tail. … Continue reading

Friday, January 27, 2017 in Thoughts on the World

Dozy Android

I’ve just spent a good couple of hours sorting out a problem with my new phone, which has no good reason to exist. In fairness to Sony, it’s nothing to do with them: the issue sits squarely with Google and … Continue reading

Sunday, January 22, 2017 in Android, Thoughts on the World

Normal Service Of This Joke Will Be Resumed Shortly

When I was a lad, there was a joke. It went: "It must have been tough in the old days." "Why?" "They had to watch TV by candlelight." Last night we were just sitting down to dinner and our evening’s … Continue reading

Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Humour, Thoughts on the World

A catholic Taste in Films?

I’ve always wondered about the phrase "a catholic taste", meaning "broad". Surely the way in which the Catholic religion (like most others) prescribes and proscribes certain behaviours and materials acts to limit rather than broaden an individual’s tastes? Apparently the … Continue reading

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 in Reviews, Thoughts on the World