Friday, April 30, 2010

Section names at Waterstones

That really shouldn't be

1. Painful Lives

2. Paranormal Romance

Sunday, April 25, 2010

#Blair #Peach, decades later

Reading the "about to be released" stories on the Blair Peach file.

I have a particular interest in this as a late 70's readthrough of my late Uncle's University of Wellington (NZ) Student Papers showed that he and Blair were contemporaries at Wellington, and were on student union bodies together.

Well, the point is, at the time of the inquest and public evidence i clearly remember evidence of an unnatural thinning of Peach's skull at the point of impact that led to his death, and as such although the blow that was struck may have killed him, it may not have had any fatal intentions. I've no judgement on that information as not much evidence seems to be out there (unless you know otherwise), but...

Nothing about this appears in the papers. Wonder why...

Updated same day: to remove unintended (and possibly offensive to the family) pun

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Broken Britain - the need for the return of trust

Whilst Broken Britain is a good shorthand I think there's a stronger thing there. Trust.

The world used to run on trust, you'd leave doors unlocked, employ people on their word, make contracts by shaking hands, let children walk to school.

Now that trust has gone, government assumes we're guilty, traders assume we're cheating, we assume traders are ripping us off, all adults are a risk to children. None of these "untrusting" assumptions actually makes things any better.
A more complex regulatory regime is imposed, or people trust other people less and so we are able to enjoy our world less.

If the Conservatives win back power and set to work to mend Britain, then trust is the thing to promote. If society can earn back trust from itself then we'd be a long way towards being unbroken. But by doing that we expose ourselves to the untrustworthy. They will have to be dealt with more severely; and effectively. They abuse trust, and that diminishes our world.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

#UKTechdays - day 5

[blog]: Simon Singh delighted as BCA drop case
can winmo7 today tell us what's in wp7 for the business/pro world; all i see is consumer...
#uktechdays #wp7 "variation in winmo phones diluted product". not been a problem in server/destop world. #greeneyes #iPhone
@eileenb you keep popping up on demo win7phone here at #uktechdays , those AdWord payments paid off :-)
#uktechdays could be me, but has Charlie demonstrated that this winmo7 phone can make phone calls?
#uktechdays if I'm quick and write a #wp7 app to make calls, reckon i can make any money?
#uktechdays @ckindel plays Pink Floyd briefly but quietly :-(, this place does have a PRS licence doesn't it...?
#uktechdays we were supposed to have windows for toasters, but @ckindel just demonstrated toasters for windows (phone)
@uktechdays @ckindel i thought you'd dropped the "Series" from the product name. is it back? 'cos it's on the slides
#uktechdays wot? No VB.Phone?
RT @happygeek: #leadersdebate Best new sitcom to appear on ITV for years! <- like all the best, few episodes
#uktechdays @ckindel How do internal devs get inhouse apps onto #wp7
#uktechdays so, if I build an app for internal use that's commercially sensitive, i have to let rivals see and download it? #fail #wp7
RT @markwilsonit: Still seems clear though that Windows Phone 7 is very much a v1.0 prod<--but isn't late in day for 1.0 prod? #uktechdays
@mbullock @markwilsonit but i want *one* phone to ring them all and in the darkness bind them #uktechdays #wp7
@ActionLamb ah, Steve, replays conv in head. rabbitted sorry - getting used to sitn
@markwilsonit guess we'll understand more on Ent phone when we see what Exch2010 gets to manage nextgen
If you find @MTuckerNo10 or @DianaInHeaven then don't promote by complaining to them (they RT) or to your followers. Fools!
RT @richardfrisch: clients dont appreciate how much effort to save their files they haven't backed up <;-u need to chg them more cc: @edbott
My last tweet was somewhat compromised by the absence of the words "rude or offensive". been a long week. i said it in my head :-)
RT @mbullock: @markwilsonit you saying a new OCS global telephony company on its way :-)

#UKTechdays - day 4

RT @bletchleypark: @dr_black oh yes how right you are! :)) <;-bloody knew it
RT @ruskin147: Awake to Easyjet email warning of volcanic ash plume from Iceland reaching the north of England<;-one hell of an alarmclock
@bletchleypark @Dr_Black you got away in the nick of time
[blog]: I remember when this were all
RT @drpaulolding: coincidence or is the world's tectonic activity rather rampant at the moment? <;-coincidence, some1 blogged stats few days
"Anyone here doing anything with SQL Azure?" Is 'ignoring it' a valid answer? :-) #uktechdays
Erm Microsoft... ( @uktechdays ) why are your slides copyright 2008? #uktechdays
time 4 #uktechdays bingo again. Globalization (sp!), leverage, compliance, digitised, risk management, agility, cost efficiency HOUSE!
Empowered, pervasive, intelligent, scalable, industry-leading, BC, pervasive NATIONAL HOUSE CALL #uktechdays #bingo
As we tweet, Pierce Brosnan is driving his SUV into the mine #ashtag
Yasmin Ahmed & Mark Whitehorn, now this is the sort of presentation i like proteomics, BIG BI stuff #uktechdays
RT @schofieldkevin "Volcanic eruption causes chaos across UK". Had GB just seen the latest polls?
Is Iceland showing it's a Gene Hunt fan? #ashtag
If you're not doing BI on your data, then you should Mark Whitehorn (slightly adapted) #uktechdays
RT @exitthelemming: Remarkable pictures of the Icelandic volcano: <;-you have to look at these!
RT @jackofkent: BREAKING NEWS #SinghBCA BCA has given in - Notice of Discontinuance served: <;-let joy be unconfined!
RT @tarpara: Why people think #powerpivot is dangerous. These ppl are dumb (cont)
Excellent sense of theme and day's definition today from SQL 2008 R2 team #uktechdays
RT @jackofkent: Looking forward to the BCA press release. <;- *snorts*
RT @Gileskenningham More fiction from our Supreme Leader: "I am the first PM who agreed to TV debate." Wrong. Major agreed but Blair ducked
Am I alone in waiting for a Jeremy Clarkson "powwweeerrrr" soundbite at PowerPivot at #uktechdays ?
PowerPivot is addin for Excel 2010, does *not* require SQL Server 2008 R2
"One person's report is another's data source" goal attained. SQL 2008 R2 #uktechdays
I know this sounds fanbois ish, but PowerPivot demo was probably best (in all respects) since Excel 3.0 launched at the Astoria #uktechday
Hey Iceland, send what you like, we still want our Icesave money back! #ashtag
Hey, #Unite & BA Cabin crew, maybe this afternoon's a good time for a strike #ashtag
[blog]: Regional emblems #uktechdays
@marcholmes nope, effective use of break time :-)
RT @iaindale: next to Richard Schiff. Am completely starstruck. Trying not to sound pathetically fan-like & failing.<;-so switched to Twitter
RT @PaulOckenden: One of the nicest Guy Kewney tributes I've seen: <;-hear hear
@paulc_t if she's needs painkiller just repeat "2-1 COYS"
RT @SLSingh: Hats off to the BCA for helping raise awareness of need 4 radical #libelreform <;-comment, not assertion of fact
RT @NoMoreBeatbox: it's usually cricket that brings the UK to a halt due to ashes.
@uktechdays 'fort so, but still intrigued
[blog]: Hmmm, sysprep for SQL Server
@marcholmes waiting for the Welsh to complain about racist stereotyping with the sheep
"Virtualisation has changed the game" #uktechdays , so is that "well done, #VMware ?"
@uktechdays is there a new version of Report Viewer for this? #uktechdays
"Sql server may be harmful ifc swallowed" #uktechdays
@francispledger hows the security provision to prevent inadequately validated guests d/l music?
Twitter have retargetted 3 dedicated servers from UK to US to support @dr_black 's #mw2010 campaign
@Dr_Black a) don't think the sponsorship covered crusing b) does your travel insurance ?
@RichardGiles backupmytweets will do that for you
RT @channel4news: RT @eddieizzard: I support Labour & why <;-& why I thought u wrong
@RichardGiles hmm thought it got the lot - it has for me &lt;-oops accidental delete
RT @keithshering: RT @jemimakiss: cool! RT @WilHarris: Wow. Volcanic eruption *and* the Northern Lights. in ONE photo
RT @nbarnwell: I need a spare battery for my phone :( #uktechdays <;-or a proporta 3400mAh backup bttery(with about 12 different connectors)
@CriticalAction interesting, did. you use convertor? or use vmm to do it?
If it rains, will it be raining volcanic filtered Evian? #ashtag
@suziperry i think TGV and eurostar could be your friend...
@uktechdays q for dr keith. IP range - implies secuity concerns. and b) pls discuss WinMo connectivty for phone apps c) MS access VBA access
@uktechdays any plans to dev t-sql cmds to connect?
@uktechdays any secure luggage store facilities tomorrow at FB?
@sbisson nofly - cloud radar can't detect (no H20) so fly straight into it... and molten glass in engines, ash in cabin, early landing ;-)
@sbisson and the ash falling down. some bets are mon evening before skies open
RT @bobbyllew: server dooberry to join the wires and splooj the dongles :-) &lt;-your grip on tech is uncanny
@Dr_Black no it's dinner time, colonial time doesn't count if you have a British passport
@CriticalAction sounds nice, may consider...
Is Brown wearing Hotter shoes, or lifts? #leadersdebate
Who's going to be beamed back up to the Enterprise 1st? #leadersdebate
RT @filce: Saw this on a t-shirt today: 'C:\DOS - C:\DOS\RUN - RUN\DOS\RUN' ... made me laugh, anyway :-) &lt;-me too
@filce mind you not as funny as "Apple Crumble and Fish"
@iaindale next week someone needs to cut DC's tie in half with 30s to go!

#UKTechdays - day 3

Well that was fun. 22:52, phone responds to re-ordering tabs by partially wiping. full reset, relink to Exch/MyPhone & all back except...
...the photos i took and embedded directly in OneNote Mobile. seems they are just links to DCIM folder on encrypted SD card, which for...
...capacity reasons on MyPhone are not uploaded. as the card is encrypted... there but not readable. Bugger
Are devs more twitter aware than it pro's? Looks like it from #uktechdays
RT @johnkoetsier: I am starting to wonder if DMs are a complete waste of time. <;-why?
@timanderson yr VS2010 try the uktechdays hashtag - will hit quite a few devs in Fulham VUE :-)
At itpro #uktechdays, is the colour scheme for the slides a subliminal Vote Conservative message?
RT @KurtAPeterson: polishing off keynote slides for #uktechdays. trying to cut out marketing fluff - easier said than done<;--kill the fluff
Use MS Expression Web 3 Superview (free!) to compare and contrast ie6 ie8 rendering of websites #uktechdays
@Dr_Black got all iPad orders to bring back? 1 each for Bombe team, 1 each for @tnmoc, 1 for each #bpark guide. @bletchleypark 's got budget
RT @markwilsonit: Is it just me who finds it ironic that @appcompatguy isn't sure why his PowerPoint is slow ;-) #uktechdays <;-no!!
Why did Richard Smith not deploy the "please WAIK up" gag for session 3? #uktechdays @uktechdays
@Dr_Black you've got to buy your own I'm afraid, budget ran out
RT @henrymacrory: LEST WE FORGET (8) Gun crime has gone up 89% in a decade #lwf <;-handgun ban worked then :-(
I be liking the "name and approve" option for WDS #uktechdays
@hairyhatfield i like being anonymous, like the painting, and can be baccurate descfiption at 2am problem time :-)
RT @jonhoneyball: &, dear oracle store, putting T&C's in a flash object is just plain unhelpful <;-& ??? legal if you cannot print & keep
RT @glynmoody: HTC is stewing on brewing an OS - great: exactly the wrong thing to do #htc #android <;--oops
RT @jonhoneyball: nonsense on oracle online shop - can't find where to d/l the thing i have just bought. Scream. <;-i have an avatar for that
RT @jonhoneyball: client is considering it instead of office 2010 <;-even after that experience?!
'ello all. Anyone out there got 2k3 srvr & xp boxes not liking silverlight & .NET patches refusing due to missing original temp srce dirs?
Ah, just realised with @Dr_Black & @bletchleypark at #mw2010 I'm going to wake up to a full twitter feed :-)
@Dr_Black iPads, what have i started...?
death by ppt now replaced by death by wma #uktechdays
[blog]: Not what I was taught in Biology O-Level #uktechdays
[blog]: Not what I was taught in Biology O-Level #uktechdays
no emp ms UK 963
RT @markwilsonit: ..move seats @ #uktechdays to "join in event" but I'm geek... I like solitude ;-) <;-& people don't want to sit next to you
Would it add to say i find creating games for the XBox a bit juvenile? :-) #uktechdays
I think we may soon see Indiana Jones and the Fatal Exception Error #uktechdays (after hours)
@Ninaberry you got your lens back though surely?
RT @markwilsonit: Have to say that the Fulham cinema theatre is sooooooo much better than Shepherd's Bush #uktechdays <;- devs 1-0 it pros
RT @markwilsonit: Quoting @pjbryant "When I had Lego it was just wheels" #uktechdays <;-no I stopped when they added wheels to the blocks!
@MSSpringboard #tags (see what i did there?!) use 'em for tweetups and such and Microsoft #uktechdays
@hairyhatfield oops u meant background, not avatar :-). the st george was in an encyclopedia when i was 7 or so, & i liked the raf roundels
@hairyhatfield ps, how did you come to view it? Like you i really like it, dramatic memory from learning lots when v young
Described hotel this week as WYSIWYG. Thinks... how old do you have to be to know&remember what that was & how big a deal?
@hairyhatfield that's odd... thinking on, yes at 2am when knotty prob fixed, i do feel like that! thank you for making me realise it!
RT @markwilsonit: @pjbryant Actually, it was death by WMV ;-) #uktechdays #pedantry <;-problem was pedestrian not pedantic twittering
RT @brit_battleaxe: Bloomin'heck - Zeberdee says come to bed...... <;--better spring to it then
RT @murkee: Peter Hain arguing that people should vote Labour for electoral reform. They advocated that in 97. #ge10 #ge97AndStillNotDoneIt
[blog]: VAT on food
[blog]: To sleep, perchance to dream?
@hairyhatfield Someone @khouryt possibly, rt'd you &lt;--cheers!
[blog]: Whilst I'm thinking of money matters
RT @markwilsonit: @westleyl @pjbryant suggested that charge VAT on processed food &lt;-just blogged!

#UKTechdays - Day 2

#uktechdays "today is a day of Technology"... oh i do hope so :-)
RT @brettrigby: Think the lady directing seats is using the wrong terminology for a bunch geeks: suggest trying 'defrag' #uktechdays
@jonoble restore option on sql "leave closed for further log restores" taken?
@jonoble if using backupexec 3 options: finish, leave ready for more log rstores and ??leave down??
BPM Maturity - now we're getting hardcore :-) #uktechdays
RT @henrymacrory: Hmmmm. D Miliband (in Washington at taxpayers' expense) blogging about 'hitting the campaign trail for Labour' in America
@jonoble bet there's a default tick box in advanced options :-)
Office 2010 - Outlook Social Connector - IT can block unwanted Networks #uktechdays
RT @tarpara: "People spend on average 400minutes in #Outlook, that's more than most people spend with their spouse!" #uktechdays
Microsoft "don't want customers to have to go & buy photo or video editing tools..." #uktechdays (cynical to think "...until we have 1"?)
Can we please find another word to replace folksonomy. It's foul. #uktechdays
Microsoft claiming a lot of performance improvements in Office 2010, thus implying RTM code...
Office 2010 is "next few days" RTM #uktechdays
#uktechdays Shepherds Bush - Oi, who just tweaked the projector? Bring it back into focus, now!
RT @marypcbuk: but so is the concept ;-) ontology For The Win RT another word to replace folksonomy. It's foul. <;-concept: aye, that's true
"Insights" replaces "Business Intelligence" in Sharepoint 2010. The linguist in me thinks that's a downgrade. #uktechdays
@sbisson crema catalanya for dinner. Highly rec. "El Pintor" . Los Caracoles for open kitchen exp
you can suck and see the new sharepoint 2010 interface (and go back!) #uktechdays
BPA built into SharePoint 2010 and you can inspect/chg/add rules used #uktechdays
Now that is good. Recover Sharepoint data from unattached SQL backup #uktechdays
[blog]: Not so yummy mummies
RT @pisseddev: #uktechdays [Penny Coventry's] runthrough of SP2010 is nicely arranged and paced - yesterday's presenters could learn a lot
Nice, duration of a Project 2010 can be "speak to Bob", although remembering Microsoft Bob... #uktechdays
@jonoble how's restore going ?
RT @stack72: Word of the day c#ness #uktechdays <;-just outside Gloucester
@uktechdays #uktechdays erm, can someone *please* focus the projector in Shepherds Bush
RT @mbullock: @markwilsonit Ben is ex-MS 'old skool' so he's bound to be good ;) <;- a) he was, b) thought i recognised him!
If the improvement in #uktechdays is linear, Friday's going to be a stonker at the winphone7 devday
That picture yesterday of Brown in front of the field just made me think "putting Brown out to grass". #GE2010
Why is it you never overhear an interesting conversation?
RT @bennuk: Google are clearly making a statement in this particular ReCaptcha - <;--Oh Yes - lovely!
@jonoble :-( if you find out why...
RT @markwilsonit: OMG @pjbryant just made me blush (which is pretty tough)... <;-my work is done here
Don't forget boys and girls, other search engines are available #uktechdays
RT @DotNetWill: Bugs are just change requests with a high priority - love it #uktechdays
Approaching start of day in Seattle, still chance to announce Office 2010 RTM at #uktechdays
This is where you realise that the breaks between sessions at Tech*Ed (#TEE09 / #TEE10) are critical. Lets your mind reset. #uktechdays
@MSSpringboard #TEE10 (europe) -that'll be me.
[blog]: A really bad windows crash!
If you cannot surf after the 5th of May...
@chrishalebarnes RSOD remote debug hack demo'd at fringe mtg for #uktechdays, I *think* i could repro :-)
@Dr_Black @bletchleypark will you be tweeting updates on #mw2010 at all? Appreciate you're a bit new to all this twitter mullarky. ;-)

#UKTechdays - Day 1

I attended last week's UK TechDays in London, and spent a bit of time on twitter :-)

So I thought I'd put them up here, day at a time to act as a record of the event, and a sort of review. You'll see the frequency of tweets relates to my boredom with the event !

So, is the hashtag #uktechdays @markwilsonit ?
@markwilsonit: Or you could get an Acer 1810 which will run for 8hrs with wifi... #uktechdays & #wsug
#uktechdays Hmm, first slot is a Marketing Solutions Director, does not augur well for a *tech* day - #uktechdays keyword bingo - "leverage"
RT @channel4news: Don't forget Jon Snow will be interviewing PM later today. Fire him your q's @jonsnowC4 #ge2010 <;- *fire him* works for me
#uktechdays bingo "elastic computing"
@StevenCamsell yes, playing bingo now :-)
#uktechdays "things i didn't know before" Lancashire Constabulary is based in Lancashire
#uktechdays bingo "tremendous uplift" - #uktechdays keyword bingo - "leverage"
@uktechdays are we only going to have ppt today? Dev have already had some real stuff. Tech is not best pitched by ppt #uktechdays - #uktechdays keyword bingo - "ROI" *and* "TCO"
@mbullock not if a) bingo lang, b) ppt. Tech*Ed does in 75 mins, VMworld does it in 50. trouble is we're getting Mktg Motherhood & Apple Pie
@mbullock & spkrs shd remember this is tech audience, not pitch Microsoft goodthinkfullness. Seems MS has become marketing MS, not product
#uktechdays are we in a cinema because the slides are so busy they need a 40 foot screen to be legible?
RT @jupitusphillip: Latin rage. Only on Twitter... <;--QED
@uktechdays coding - haven't seen any yet - am at the virt session
@thebeebs no, not in a tech event
RT @markjo: I wanted to use a cinema as I want to hook my xbox up tonight secretly ;) #uktechdays <;-I'd LOL but I'm in a cinema
#uktechdays $%$# me "demo"
#uktechdays spoke too soon, demo was of stuff working, not *HOW* it was made to work. still mktg fluff. wish i was at vs2010 day
@channel4news Hague, although concept of "good BK" defeats me
Are Microsoft so self absorbed that they beleive their own marketing and just pitch themselves now?
@uktechdays #uktechdaysshepherdsbush and #uktechdaysfulhambroadway probably not good...
@markparris you bet, i was so full of hope this morning.
@markparris trouble is there are gems in there but 1 in every 20 sentences leads to zzzzzz
#uktechdays at last a gem, RDS shared session virtualisation, bet it costs more in licencing
@uktechdays go on, you're thinking about them
RT @EddLeicester: #uktechdays No free software? Disappointing :( <;-hope you're not expectingv win7Phone on Friday :-)
@owenblacker you can get 8 hrs from acer 1810, (wife's) is great - dual core 64 bit, 3gb, 160gb, dual touch pad, £500 inc 3 yrs C&R. great
@owenblacker PS no affilliation to Acer at all
RT @uktechdays: A quick look at VDI (with RemoteApp) - live demo with Matt McSpirit #uktechdays <;-most compelling thing so far, cheers Matt
#uktechdays Oi! McSpirit deceitful graph, 63 is NOT nearly 3x54, but damned lie, as you based the graph at 52. Truth is 13%, not 300%
RT @bryony_gordon: Nobody tell ryanair where I live <;-you're safe wherever you are, they'll turn up 30m away
RT @LDN: Saving 76 Dean Street - remember that fire last summer? (via @lucyinglis) #76DeanStreet
RT @bennuk: RT @marcholmes: Windows 3.1: The Future of Computing // This is brilliant!
@owenblacker i was staggered used it myself for 8 hour tech day at TVP, wifi for 50%, 66% battery left
@owenblacker albeit lunch and coffee breask
RT @jon_thompson_uk: minister 4 Digital Britain thinks "IP Address" stands for "Intellectual Property": <;-debill2
Aroma oriental buffet, lower rates for kids under 4'7". Is that height or girth?
@BTCare and that's the issue - you changed policy on that and did not inform customer.
@owenblacker mind you wonder if batt life calcs in machine are straight line or right hand half of hyperbola :-)
and we're back with ppt and motherhood and apple pie, no real added value being here #uktechdays
@uktechdays we need a new hastag #ukPPTdays #fail. Other days in the week better be better
Oh FFS so you bought another company, so what, bet beforehand you'd denigrate the need it fulfills #uktechdays
@WilliamJHague bet you got someone to check the spelling of that before hitting send !
@markwilsonit on advice from AB skipping the party, will come back for last one :-)
RT @ruskin147: Labour manifesto promises "broadband service of at least two megabytes per second by 2012". Techies amongst you will spot a b
@markwilsonit is that just to wind me up???!!!
am reliably informed that Wed and Thu will definitely be more tech than ppt. Tue is really Off2k10 launch-ish #ukTECHdays
@markwilsonit proporta 3400mAh batter about 30 quid and 15 tips (even iPod)
@markwilsonit informed says 80/20 in favour of tech
RT @bennuk: OK, now THIS is cool. Although by thinking that, I may well not be... Win95 on an iPad! (via @billgibbon)
So Microsoft Pink phones formally called Kin. Opening book on Win7Phones being called Kith.
@BParkDirector @BletchleyPark now that's going to confuse - same Avatar :-)
RT @johnkoetsier: Very nice -&gt; Google updates Google Docs <;-more evidence Office 2010 RTM's tom @ #UKTechDays ?
RT @jonhoneyball: or "another 'kin ms phone..." <;-LOL, not good in a presentation :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Simon Singh delighted as BCA drop case

From the newsletter of

The BCA have dropped their case against Simon Singh! A delighted Simon says:

It still staggers me that the British Chiropractic Association and half the chiropractors in the UK were making unsubstantiated claims. It still baffles me that the BCA then dared to sue me for libel and put me through two years of hell before I was vindicated.  And it still makes me angry that our libel laws not only tolerate but also encourage such ludicrous libel suits. My victory does not mean that our libel laws are okay, because I won despite the libel laws. We still have the most notoriously anti-free speech libel laws in the free world.

And in other news…

The Libel Reform Campaign has just hit the 50,000 signature mark!

And yesterday, libel reform made it in the Conservative, the Labour and the Liberal Democrat party manifestos.

Please continue to back us. Your support got us this far. But the work we do in the next few months will make all the difference.

Thanks from everyone at the Libel Reform Campaign:

Mike and Sile

PS – make sure everyone you know has signed our petition at:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hmmm, sysprep for SQL Server

2008 R2 only, obviously.
Clearly for rapid provisioning in a virtual world

Wonder how long before VMware vCentre can support it?

Regional emblems #uktechdays

Wales: daffodil, rugby ball, sheep

Scotland: Celtic cross, welcome to Scotland road sign, kilted bagpiper

North England: Angel of the North, Millennium bridge, Durham Cathedral (or York Minster?)

London: bus, Big Ben's clock tower, guardsman, cricketer, Nelson's column

England: stonehenge

What else?

I remember when this were all

Back to back houses, bomb craters and working docks & dockers.

Whilst I'm thinking of money matters

Of years gone by...

When I had my first Saturday job (Currys) Hire Purchase was the only way to borrow money to buy things. It was called a debt.

Then came plastic and it was called a CREDIT card.

Headology as the great Sir Terry Pratchett would call it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To sleep, perchance to dream?

Not the first night in an hotel. Check.

Neighbouring room not having birthday party starting midnight. Check.

Mobile phone not spontaneously reverted to factory settings and needing full recovery. Check.

Mobile phone backed up after rebuild. Check.

Photos on phone in RAM so backed up. Check.


VAT on food

When I was a kid Purchase Tax was replaced by VAT. VAT was sold to the public as a tax on luxuries. It was also a much more complicated regime (more Customs & Excise jobs there!)

Many years later (at election time), there are rumours of VAT on food. This would be wrong for all sorts of reasons. But...

How about VAT on processed food? It's generally true that if you cook from raw ingredients then the food is both better for your body and wallet. You just need to find a bit of time. So VAT on processed food would:
* tax what is, in most respects, a luxury
* encourage people to cook food again
* improve diet
* raise money
* allow taxpayers to make an *informed* choice to buy a luxury and pay some tax to help our parlous finances.

Comments here please
(although apologies for moderation - been spammed by Chinese font comments)

Not what I was taught in Biology O-Level #uktechdays

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A really bad windows crash!

Not so yummy mummies

Sat in Wagamama having a quick bite before returning to the Office 2010 pseudo launch day at Microsoft's UK Techdays ( I'm not impressed.

There's a couple of Notting Hill YM types sat at the next table. One with young daughter (2?) and one without. Fashion accessories of which I DON'T approve:
* 2 yr old daughter wearing gold court shoes with 3/4" to 1" heel on them. She's 2!!
* Daughterless YM thinks a small gold pistol on a chain at her neck is an attractive feature.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

UK #TechDays - I'm ready :-)

Mrs Corylus remains at home and is unable to enjoy the delights of London this week.

It's a great view here from the top of the hotel. Good choice, and hopefully this high above the street, no traffic noise.

With Ibis, you know what you're going to get.

Friday, April 09, 2010

EU VAT reclaims - great news if you do not already know it

Something I really have to share :-)

For any of you out there who are VAT registered business then you can now much more easily reclaim EU VAT. Now, I’m no tax expert, so please ensure that this meets your situation – I’ll not be liable for what you do with the information (but I’d like 10% of any rebate please!).

When you do and don’t pay EU VAT (perhaps that should read should and shouldn't!):
You do: When you travel into the EU for work (say a conference like Microsoft Tech*Ed or VMworld), you end up paying for several things with VAT on them at the local rate (conference fee, hotel etc). HMRC do not repay this money in your VAT return, as this is locally paid VAT. This is because the services or good have been provided in the country of origin, and not the UK.
You don't: If you buy goods or services that are provided in the UK from another EU country, then (provided you supply your VAT number at the time of purchase) they should be invoiced to you without VAT on the paperwork (e.g. Microsoft TechNet+ subscription)

Old method of repayment:
Until this year, in order to get the EU paid VAT back you had to submit paperwork to the HMRC equivalent in that country, and generally that was a lot of hard work, and there were firms out there to do it for you (and take 15% or more off the top).  And the paperwork was in the local language.

New method of repayment:
Now, (and the reference document is Refunds of VAT in the European Community for EC and non-EC business ) you can add a “VAT EU Refunds” service to your online HMRC services.

To get this working:
• Logon to your online HMRC VAT services account
• When the list of services shows up, scroll down and look for “VAT EU Refunds”
• Click on apply for service
• You will have to enter the following: your VAT no, date you registered for VAT, postcode, last month of latest VAT return, value of box 5 on that return
• You’ll be told an activation PIN will be sent to you.
• When the PIN arrives, complete the registration.

Other points:
• Claim period is calendar year not tax year.
• Minimum claim is €400 for part of a year, of €50 for the whole or remainder of a year
• You may need to check which claim items are valid for VAT refund (some countries have disallowed items)
• You may need to submit electronic copies of the invoices above certain thresholds (€1000, or €250 for fuel)
• The online forms are in English
• Rebates can be made in £ sterling to your bank account (less charges for the transaction – you’ll need to check)
• You must claim by 30th September of the year after the calendar year for which the claim is being made
• There may be % to apply to claims - you will need to check this out before claiming

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Generations of drunks

Push the image of the ON setting instead of putting therir hands underneath

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Why Is Exchange 2010 a problem upgrade for me?

Microsoft have a bit of a reputation of providing good products every other version.  With Exchange that'd normally be 5.5, 2003, and 2010.  That may well be true, but there's an innovation in 2010 that really bugs me because it's so close to being good, but is, in fact, useless to me (and a few clients I can think of as well).

It's ignore conversation.

In demos Microsoft really sell this one - you find a conversation thread in your email that you are included on the "Reply All" stream that no longer applies (or is of no interest to you).  Right Click, Ignore Conversation, and it's gone.  Never to return.  It's in the deleted items folder.

Frankly I think this is half-arsed and ill thought out.  The need to stay out of the loop on all the rubbish conversation is unchallengeable.  But to delete the messages is too extreme.  In many organisations, and for many people, retaining email is important (I'll ignore formal auditing and discovery tools out of this) in a non-legal sense.

If Exchange 2010 would allow the user to configure an "Ignored Conversation" folder in the outlook tree instead of the deleted items then I think this would be a far better solution.  This would allow the user to move all the rubbish (or so they think) from their inbox, but still retian the email for their own historical archive purposes.

In an ideal world I'd have 2 options:
  • Ignore Conversation
  • Delete Conversation
This would be far more explicit, and less likely to cause unwittingly lost emails.

Secondly, unless someone can correct me, the process can capture non related emails with the same subject and similar content (if anyone confirms or rejects this I'll update here). I asked the question about this at Tech*Ed last year in Berlin and I got a 'still in beta' type response. I have sought further clarification in Microsoft and got a pretty positive answer, but not a definite one - maybe that will come with Outlook 2010 RTM.

I'll grant you - large organisations with proper archiving and discovery systems in place are unlikely to be troubled, but I bet a lot of not so large organisations will get bitten one day.

From @SLSingh - why we need #libelreform, so sign up at

Message from Simon Singh: "A big step for me, a small step for libel reform, and what you can do to help today."
Dear Friends
Sorry for the silence, but it has been a ridiculously hectic (and happy) time since last week's victory at the Court of Appeal. However, I urgently wanted to get in touch to update you on the status of my case, the latest news on libel reform and what you can do today to push libel reform up the political agenda.

BCA v Singh

April Fool's Day 2010 was a day to remember. The Court of Appeal gave a ruling in my libel case with the British Chiropractic Association. The ruling strongly backs my arguments and puts me in a much stronger position when my trial eventually takes place. At last, after two years of defending my article and my right to free speech, I seem to have the upper hand and can breathe a small sigh of relief.

Moreover, the judges made it clear that they did not want to see scientists and science journalists being hauled through the High Court. In particular, they endorsed the view that a so-called comment defence should be adequate for scientific and other articles on matters of public interest. As well as the legal technicalities, the three wise, charming and handsome judges quoted Milton on the persecution of Galileo and directed that the High Court should not become an "Orwellian Ministry of Truth".

Libel Reform Campaign

This is a small step forward for libel reform, but there is still a huge battle to be fought over the issues of costs, libel tourism, public interest defence, balancing the burden of proof, restricting the ability of powerful corporations to bully individuals (e.g., bloggers, journalists, scientists) and so on.

The General Election was called yesterday and the manifestos will be published in the next week, so we need one last push to persuade the major parties to commit to libel reform. Although we have already achieved a huge amount (from editorials in all last week's broadsheets to the Commons Select Committee recommending libel reform), we must keep up the pressure!

Both the Labour and Conservative parties have made encouraging sounds about libel reform, but now is the time for them to make commitments in their manifestos.

What you can do today to pressure politicians

I have spent over a million minutes and £100,000 defending my article and my right to free speech, so I am asking you to spend just one minute and no money at all persuading others to sign the petition for libel reform at;

The last time I made this request, we doubled the number of signatories from 17,000 to 35,000. Can we now double the number from almost 50,000 to 100,000?!

You could ask parents, siblings, colleagues or friends to sign up. You could email everyone in your address book. You could blog about it, mention it to your Facebook friends and twitter about it. In fact, I have pasted some possible tweets at the end of this email – it would be great if you could twitter one, some or all of them.

You could forward all or part of this email to people or just steer them to . Or you could persuade people that English libel law needs radical reform by using some of the reasons listed at the end of this email.

Remember, we welcome signatories from around the world because English libel law has a damaging impact globally.

Please, please, please apply maximum pressure to the politicians by encouraging as many new signatories as possible. Please do not take my victory last week as a sign that the battle is over. My case is still ongoing and the campaign for libel reform is only just starting.

Thanks for all your support – it has been incredibly important for the campaign and a real morale booster personally over the last two years.

Simon Singh.

 PS. Please spread the word by sending out one, some or all of the following tweets

Pls RT English libel law silences debate, says UN Human Rights Committee. Sign up at & #libelreform

Pls RT English libel costs 140x more than Europe. We can't afford to defend our words. Sign up at & back #libelreform

Pls RT Two ongoing libel cases involving health. The law should not crush scientific debate. Sign up at & back #libelreform

Pls RT London is notorious for attracting libel tourists who come to UK to silence critics. Sign up at & back #libelreform

PPS. Reasons why we need radical libel reform:

(a) English libel laws have been condemned by the UN Human Rights Committee.

(b) These laws gag scientists, bloggers and journalists who want to discuss matters of genuine public interest (including public health!).

(c) Our laws give rise to libel tourism, whereby the rich and the powerful (Saudi billionaires, Russian oligarchs and overseas corporations) come to London to sue writers because English libel laws are so hostile to responsible journalism. (Again, it is exactly because English libel laws have this global impact that we welcome signatories to the petition from around the world.)

(d) Vested interests can use their resources to bully and intimidate those who seek to question them. The cost of a libel trial in England is 100 times more expensive than the European average and typically runs to over £1 million.

(e) Two separate ongoing libel cases involve myself and Peter Wilmshurst, and we are both raising concerns about medical treatments. We face losing £1 million each. In future, why would anyone else raise similar concerns when our libel laws are so brutal and expensive? Our libel laws mean that serious health matters are not necessarily reported, which means that the public is put at risk.

PPPS. I know that I will leave people out of this list, but I owe a huge thanks to:

1. The 10,000 people who joined the Facebook group "For Simon Singh and Free Speech - Against the BCA Libel Claim", particularly those who joined when the rest of the world ignored the issue of libel.

2. The 300 people who packed Penderel's Oak in May 2009 and who helped launch the Keep Libel Out of Science campaign, particularly the speakers: Nick Cohen, Dave Gorman, Evan Harris MP, Professor Brian Cox, Chris French, Tracey Brown (Sense About Science), Robert Dougans (Bryan Cave) and David Allen Green.

3. The 20,000 people who then joined the Keep Libel Out of Science campaign.

4. Jack of Kent and every other blogger who ranted and raved about libel reform when the mainstream media was turning a blind eye.

5. Everyone in the mainstream media who is now covering the various libel cases and the issue of libel reform.

6. Sense About Science, Index on Censorship and English PEN, who formed the Coalition for Libel Reform. And thanks to everyone who has contributed pro bono to the campaign in terms of design, technical support, chivvying support for the EDM and more.

7. The 46,000 people (i.e. you) who have signed the petition for libel reform, particularly those who have cajoled others to sign up at

8. All the big names who have spoken out in favour of libel reform, from Professor Richard Dawkins to Derren Brown, from the Astronomer Royal to the Poet Laureate, from the Amazing Randi to Ricky Gervais. Particular thanks go to Dara O Briain, Stephen Fry, Tim Minchin and Robin Ince, who have gone out of their way to step up to the plate when the campaign has needed them. Immense thanks also to the 100+ big names who were the first to sign the petition to keep libel out of science and highlighted the need for libel reform.

9. Everyone who has emailed and twittered and told me in person that I am not going crazy, and who reassured me that I am doing the right thing by defending my article.

10. Thanks to Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems, for promising to put libel reform in his manifesto. And thanks in advance to Jack Straw (Justice Secretary) and Dominic Grieve (Shadow Justice Secretary), because I know that the Labour and Conservative parties are going to commit to libel law reform. I cannot believe that they will allow more scientists, serious journalists, bloggers, biographers, human rights activists and others to go through the same hell that I have had to endure for last two years.

Exchange 2007 problem licked (I hope!)

I've had a number of occasions when my test lab Exchange 2007 servers (a Mailbox and a HubCas box) start up and then give me errors on a number of service and fail to start. This is normally because I've taken action to stop all my VM's copy some datastores and then start up again. It's usually a weekend activity, but due to power fluctuations and some hassle, it happened this afternoon.

Usually some brute force stop/start activity (it is a test lab!) fixes it, but over a period of time, and today was no exception. However trouble struck again tonight, and for some reason I decided enough was enough. The events (amongst others) are 2114 on DS Access, and a whole bunch on Topology checks

I hit the usual options (Google, Microsoft knowledgebase, and and came up with a bunch of links that I looked at, a couple interested me (for different reasons!)
Microsoft Knowledgebase  (note how this one is nicely for Exchange 2003/2000 and not 2007!)

Event id’s page came up with a whole host of options, but in this case the words
“A possible root cause is an additional DNS A record for a DC in the Exchange Servers Site, record that happens to be for an interface for which the Exchange Server has no connectivity.
In our case, all of our servers have a secondary NIC that is used for tape backup traffic. This interface has no routing to the real network that AD and Exchange live on. So here's what, even though DNS registration is disabled on this secondary NIC, it still registers itself. If a system has DNS installed, each time the DNS Server starts or a zone is reloaded, it registers all interfaces that are configured to answer DNS queries. To determine if the Exchange server (or any member server or client) has resolved an IP for a DC, use nltest /dsgetdc:"domain". See M275554 for additional information”
Piqued my interest.

This was because the main DC in my network (originally the workhorse that ran my entire business 6 years ago) does have a bunch of IP’s on it:
• My main network’s IP
• A IP from a second subnet for connecting to other kit
• 2 NIC’s from VMware Server (which is hosting a single “off my ESX kit” VirtualCentre VM for management purposes*)

So I wondered – were the Exchange boxes selecting a bad IP to use for AD Topology Discovery and getting confused.

So, I:
• Disabled the VMware NIC’s (not strictly necessary in my setup)
• Removed the second subnet from the ‘proper’ NIC
• Removed the (now invalid) A records from my internal DNS servers
• IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS on the exchange boxes (just in case)

On restart of the exchange services everything came up trumps!

Time for bed methinks.

*The reason for this is that if I hose the ESX setup, I can still manage it – VMware (and I) recommend in a proper production setup , self hosting the VirtualCentre box

Updated: a few minutes later...
As a full test of "does this work", I've restarted all the Exchange boxes, and it works a treat.  Services came up really fast this time (normally I just leave running and come back after a cuppa), but no, this time almost as soon as I had logged onto the servers, the services were running.  Nice!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Shock at an old slide...

We visited my parents yesterday, and I took a few boxes of slides i'd found recently as my mother has a new super dooper scanner that can make short work of scanning 4 slides at a time.

So i copied them to my ocmputer today, and the gave them the once over.  I was stunned to see this. A photo of a cross channel ferry called the Free Enterprise taken in August 1974, sailing with the bow door open.  This is almost a exact match for the disaster in 1987 which killed 193 people.  I was gobsmacked.

However a quick Wikipedia lookup checked the facts. The ship that sunk killing 193 was a new ship commissioned in the late 70's, so this was not it Wikipedia entry on the disaster

I then found a Ferry Site that shows all sorts of details of the various (8!) vessels of the same name. The link takes you to the 7th of the name, which would appear to be this one. It survived under various names until 2000.  It's proof positive that there's all sorts out there on the net!

The photo was actually taken from Calais harbour on a trip across the Channel in a small yacht with my Dad, sister and some friends of dad (to provide the sailing expertise!).

Still, seeing the name still gave me a momentary shock before I did the research.

Verdict on 30+ year old Slides

I found a few boxes of slides at teh weekend.  I only took photos on slides for a short period as they were a bit cheaper at the time, and as a kid, money was tight.

So, (more later), I'm going to transfer to digital scnaning to preserve, but in the meantime a verdict on longevity and clarity.

First Prize: Agfa colour.

Colour is pretty good, and there are few artefacts on the image, also the plastic mounts lasted well, the writing on them is good, but a date print would have been good.  I only know they are from 1979 because of posting address label, and some deduction

Second Prize: Boots slides

Some fading, and a few artifacts.  This is a typical example

Last Prize: Kodacolor

Whilst the colours are OK, there are quite a few artifacts, and this is a heavily compensated image, despite teh evident fading (although is shows better when compressed as here)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Oh yes! Spitfire memorial

Cop this. Planned memorial to RJ Mitchell and the Spitfire for Southampton.

A funding campaign for £2m starts this summer and a quick google didn't find a website for the organisers (yet), but I certainly want to to be part of this.

Wonder if they'll get James May involved...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Britain's shortest cycle lane

Nice one Cardiff Council, glad to see taxpayers' money being put to good use. "Somewhere safe to stop before turning". Yeah, right.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

#ICM Market Research #FAIL #TPS

Dear ICM,

I am registered with the telephone preference service. This means I do not want to have calls at any time of the day or night from people who I have not given my number to, and from whom I do not wish to receive calls.
So when your market survey caller protests that you are not covered by the TPS, and talks over my protestations that I do not want calls like this, he is not likely to get any co-operation from me.

Having made it damn clear I do not want such a call, he then asks me if he can ask me some market survey questions. To which my response is, "why do you think I registered with the TPS?"

At this point your caller finally gets the message that his call is not welcome. About 2 minutes too late.

This obviously does not even take into account the fact I'm ex-directory.


I was going to do a #Microsoft #Apple #iPhone #WP7S joke...

for April fool and had planned a full pseudo Microsoft Press Release with images of a 3GS with the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 applications running on it. I'd even mentioned the idea to 2 leading Microsoft tech journalists earlier this week, and it raised a laugh! So I thought I was onto a good thing :-)

My plan was to "grab" the Microsoft page as if I'd seen it, tweak the URL displayed and show a PDF image of it and everything. I also wanted to speculate on it being a Microsoft April Fool pulled at the last minute by legal. I thought it was going to be quite a wheeze.

But I think I might have been closer to the truth than I imagined, because I'm not going to be able to do it.

I hope to explain more later...