Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: I Wished I Was ... in Iceland

    Birthdays are usually celebrated with a day off work, perhaps a trip to a garden centre, or just a lazy afternoon with a good book. However, as the milestone 60 loomed it was decided for me that I was going to have a week's vacation and go somewhere exciting. Somewhere that really had that "Wish you...
  • Blog Post: Is Digital Analogous to Analogue?

    It seems that, contrary to expectations, the few remaining record stores still selling old-fashioned vinyl LPs and singles are flourishing here in England. At first you might think this is only because old codgers like me just have an old record player, and we spend our days looking for rare copies of...
  • Blog Post: Monkeying Around

    So I finally managed to grab a week away, and spent a restful few days disconnected from both Windows Azure and the Internet. Other than a frustrating sat-un-navigation experience, it was a refreshing change and a chance to see some more of our wonderful English countryside - with the direction and destination...
  • Blog Post: You Don't Need Fourpence to Make the Internet Disappear

    So I just found out this week why Automobile Association patrolmen didn't need to carry four one-penny coins around at all times. According to an item on the program "QI", in the early days of Britain's acquisition of a nuclear attack capability they worried how they would contact the Prime Minister...
  • Blog Post: A Relentless Paper Chase (aka Painting Windows Azure)

    Here in Britain we always used to refer to a job that was never-ending as "like painting the Forth Bridge." It came about because the people who paint the huge and magnificent railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in Scotland reportedly start at one end and it takes so long that, when they reach the...
  • Blog Post: Brian Saved Four Hundred Pounds!

    There's an advertisement on the radio at the moment that explains how a guy named Brian saved four hundred pounds (in money, not weight) on his car insurance by using some price comparison website. Most people I know only pay around half that amount in premiums, so is this a realistic claim? Perhaps...
  • Blog Post: A Bluetooth Headset on Wheels

    While my car was in the dealer's workshop having its annual checkup last week I did the usual nerdy thing of sneaking into the showroom to play with the toys in the new models. OK, so my car has some nifty electronics built in, including satnav with traffic updates and a connection for my phone. But...
  • Blog Post: Prequally Empirical Numeric Confusion

    Our son went to the cinema this week to see Star Wars Part 1 in 3D, and I was tempted to go with him. I can remember seeing the original Star Wars movie when it was released in 1977, and I thought it would be fun to see it again. Except that it seems I'm out of touch with the way movies work these days...
  • Blog Post: Optimistic Euphemisms

    Buried in a recent issue of my newspaper the other day, squashed into a corner between an advert for luxury cruise holidays and a delightful close-up photo of some newly-discovered bacterium, was a short item about a recall by a major UK-based motor manufacturer. It said that in some circumstances the...
  • Blog Post: In the Land of the Monochrome Car Owner

    Britain's roads are, they say, becoming a monochrome and sadly boring reflection of the past. It seems that some 90% of cars on the road today are black, grey, silver, or white. Yes there are some very dark blues out there as well, but overall it does seem to be true. My wife's most recent choice of...
  • Blog Post: A Risky Business...

    Have you ever wondered what insurance companies do with all the money you pay them every month? It seems that one UK-based insurance company decided that a good way to use up some of the spare cash was to discover that, every day, people in the UK are carrying around over 2,000 tons of redundant keys...
  • Blog Post: Invoking the Dark Side (using a cassette player)

    I previously thought that the reason you used to see miles of cassette taped entwined in the bushes at the side of motorways was because the driver discovered that his or her Mother had accidently put a "James Last Plays Christmas Carols" tape back in the driver's Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd cassette...
  • Blog Post: Why Doesn't Stuff Go Bang Any More?

    We had one of those disastrous spells here at chez Derbyshire a couple of weeks back. It started with trying to switch our mobile phone contracts from one supplier to another, and ended with what seems like half of the hi-tech equipment in our house deciding it had, with disappointing lack of excitement...
  • Blog Post: How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket

    I was reading a story (a.k.a. urban myth) this week about an eminent quantum physicist who was stopped for speeding in his car. When told by the traffic cop that he was doing 63 miles per hour, he responded by asking if this was an accurate measurement. Being told that it was he explained that, therefore...
  • Blog Post: Drowning in Vagueness, Maybe

    Life was a lot more positive when my grandfather was alive. If he felt ill, he simply had to pop into the local pharmacy, explain his symptoms, and they would sell him a bottle of liquid or a box of pills that were guaranteed to cure him. No prevarication or hint of doubt. The bottle or box would say...
  • Blog Post: Elf and Safety...

    One of the joys of living in England is the plentiful opportunities for amusement (and sometimes even amazement) due to the proliferation of daft laws and rules emanating from our near-expired Government. According to an article in last week's newspaper, it's now illegal to sell a grey squirrel. It's...
  • Blog Post: Unit Protesting

    Before we start, I want to make it clear that - although I often use US spelling in stuff I write - I refuse to accept that "tire" is a way of spelling the round black things that you put on a car. I'm English, and tired (sorry) of seeing that weird spelling, so from here on in we'll be using the proper...
  • Blog Post: Easter Bonnets and Adverse Automation

    A couple of initially unconnected events last week conspired to nudge my brain into some kind of half-awake state where it combined them into a surreal view of "automatic" stuff. One of the events was the return from Tina, our editor and proof-reader, of my article about the Team System Management Model...
  • Blog Post: So, I Just Bought a Car from a Lady Prison Officer...

    You know when you go to a car dealer and they say the one particular car you're looking at has "had only one careful lady owner", what they really mean is it's been owned by five boy racers, a bus driver, and a DIY freak who rewired it for a bet. In fact the last car I bought was described as a "demonstrator...
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