Posts Tagged ‘off-topic’

16 November, 2017

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a technology that was exciting me: what3words. Since then, I have been giving this matter a lot of thought. As I have gone about my usual business – traveling for work, leisure activities, photography-related engagements – I have constantly stumbled across situations where what3words could have made my life a bit easier. I would like to share some of these ideas … Read the rest of this entry »


9 November, 2017

I have long been of the opinion that anyone with the last name Adams is a genius. It started with the late [great] Douglas Adams, but, nowadays, I am likely to be talking about Scott Adams [author of Dilbert cartoons]. He seems to have a constant stream of interesting ideas. Some are rather off the wall; others just make sense. An example of the latter is his assertion: “Fairness is a concept that was invented so kids and idiots could participate in debates.” … Read the rest of this entry »

26 October, 2017

Away from my work, I have many interests, but one that consumes a lot of my time is photography – a topic that I have written about here from time to time. I have been doing photography all of my life, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. In years gone by, I worked in a darkroom, which was interesting. More recently, of course, processing of images takes place on the computer. Even though I have 20+ years Photoshop experience and really like Lightroom, it is actually getting the pictures that interests me most.

I think that capturing images is a process that is undergoing rapid change and I have given a lot of thought to how I go about it … Read the rest of this entry »

19 October, 2017

I have always enjoyed music and have quite a wide taste. In this latest episode of my occasional series, where I present six of my favorites in some category or other, I want to talk about some of my early influences. One hears musicians talk about who influenced them, but I think listening to music gets guided in a similar way … Read the rest of this entry »

12 October, 2017

I have always liked the concept of disruptive technologies – technological advances that change the way things work in a drastic way. The effect of disruptive technologies is to break the “rules” by which business operates. A company may be producing a product, marketing and selling it successfully. They can continue to develop that product enthusiastically and competently. Then, one day, someone develops a new technology that complete revolutionizes the market in which they operated and they eat their lunch.

An example is computer mass storage devices. At the high level, these progressed from cards and paper tape, to drums and magnetic tape, to magnetic disks, and now we have solid state drives [SSDs]. Within this progress, the dominant manufacturers of hard drives changed several times, as different technologies were developed. Consumers are often blissfully unaware of huge changes resulting from disruptive technologies, but, in other cases, they are affected very tangibly … Read the rest of this entry »


5 October, 2017

From time to time, I like to review my favorite things in some specific category. I have looked at quite a few favorites in the past, including foods, beers, fiction books and OS X features. Today, I am going to talk about my favorite tools. In my experience, most men like to have the right tools [and this is, I observe, a largely male trait, but I am sure that there are many women who like tools or who have similar tendencies]. It is hard to resist browsing in tool shops or looking at market stalls. I have heard certain catalogs and websites referred to as “tool porn”… Read the rest of this entry »

21 September, 2017

I am very familiar with “the look”. It is the expression on Libby’s face – the response to me talking about something about which I have become rather enthused. This might be a book I am reading, a scientific discovery, some new software, an exciting technology or just an idea that I have had. Such enthusiasms do not last that long, but I suppose I can become slightly obsessed for a period of time. One way to take the heat off of Libby is to write about my interest for a wider audience, which is what I am doing today.

Sometimes someone comes up with an idea that is so simple and so easy to explain that it is hard to see why it was not there before. I find such a discovery very exciting. Today it is about answering the question “Where are you?” … Read the rest of this entry »


14 September, 2017

Mac apps

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Although it has been a while, from time to time, I have written about the apps that I use on my iPad [and iPhone]. There are so many to choose from that I am always pleased to get recommendations and advice. This is a topic that I will revisit before long, but today I am thinking about my Mac. It is now a little over two years since I made the switch away from Windows. I have never looked back.

My way of using the computers has gradually evolved. There is no right way to get the best from a Mac, but I happy with my approach. I thought that I might review what I have found to be useful … Read the rest of this entry »

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7 September, 2017

I enjoy reading and I always have a book on the go [at least one]. Currently I am reading a book about mathematics and its applicability in everyday life [details here, if you are interested]. The key concept is that mathematics [or most of it anyway] is really just common sense, but it is codified to make it reusable and reliable. So, frequently one can see a solution to a problem, without doing [or maybe with being able to do] the mathematical analysis to derive it. The book addresses various aspects of the topic, which are illustrated with stories.

One story particularly stuck in my mind, so I thought that I would share it … Read the rest of this entry »

31 August, 2017

Party on

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The idea started to hatch a couple of years ago. Libby and I realized that 2017 was going to be a special year for us. This year we both turned 60, we both had children and we have a daughter-in-law all of whom turned [or will turn] 30, we had been together for 10 years and married for 5 years. So much to celebrate! This called for a serious party.

We started the real planning about a year ago and gradually the event took shape and seemed to have a life of its own … Read the rest of this entry »

24 August, 2017

It was all over the news earlier in the week. Even though I was nowhere near the path of totality, I was very aware that a total eclipse of the sun was due on Monday. Many people that I know were excited. Some taking the day off and/or traveling to an optimum viewing location. I had no good excuse to be in the US, so I was not amongst them.

This got me thinking about eclipses and their significance … Read the rest of this entry »

3 August, 2017

I often marvel at the fact that I now live in a science fiction world. At least, a lot of things that are now everyday occurrences would have seemed very futuristic just a few years ago. This phenomenon is manifest wherever I look. Just staring at the screen, as I write this text, is an obvious example. But communication is the most amazing area of advancement. With a little box in my pocket, I can talk to just about anyone on the planet, [almost] regardless of where I and they are located. This is straight out of Star Trek.

So, with all this technology, communication should be smoother and just generally better nowadays. But that is not the whole story … Read the rest of this entry »

27 July, 2017

Music festivals were very big back in the 1960s, though I was too young to have much awareness. Of course, Woodstock is the most well known, but there were certainly quite a few on my side of the pond. I do not really know why they died out; I am sure there were some in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, but they were not so high profile. I equally do not know what stimulated their revival in the early years of this century, but they are certainly a big thing nowadays. Modern technology is part of the answer – the idea of a shared experience is becoming part of normal culture, both virtually and in real life.

I guess that everyone has their own reasons for going to festivals – I have a few … Read the rest of this entry »

13 July, 2017

Like all modern consumers, I have a love/hate relationship with many suppliers, which can be largely driven by their products or their customer service [or, sometimes, both]. Mostly, I am aware from being on the “other side”, customers happiness is largely driven by managing their expectations, then delivering on them.

In recent days, I have had slightly irritating experiences with two very different companies, both of whom had the opportunity to have a totally satisfied customer, but failed to take it … Read the rest of this entry »

6 July, 2017


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I have an enduring interest in the English language. I am constantly fascinated by the immense power of this communications tool. I am not a subscriber to the view that English should be carefully preserved; I feel strongly that one of its great virtues is the ability to evolve to meet the needs of the time. A language is a living thing and must be allowed its freedom.

Sometimes, however, things go a little awry or get confusing … Read the rest of this entry »

29 June, 2017

Last week, we were on vacation. We went to a place in the North of mainland Greece. Although we have been to the island of Kefalonia a few times, which we enjoy, we had never been to the mainland. A friend recommended a particular area and we thought that we would give it a try. Last year, we used a Greece-based travel company and I was very impressed by their local knowledge, attention to detail and overall customer service. As they offered an appropriate package, I booked with them.

Although I would definitely say that we had a good vacation, I did learn an interesting lesson … Read the rest of this entry »

15 June, 2017

I am not an aviation geek, but, as I travel on planes quite a lot [and I am an engineer], I do take an interest in the features and operation of aircraft. As I have a daughter who works for an airline, my wife often rolls her eyes when listening to our aviation-oriented conversations. [She also takes exception with the first few words of this post – she was reading over my shoulder. 🙂 ]

Last week I had a new experience: I got to ride on an Airbus A380 … Read the rest of this entry »

8 June, 2017

There is a well-know cartoonist, who is very intelligent, observant and outspoken. On many occasions, I have seen his writing, in which he talks about financial matters. He generally wraps up with a warning about the foolishness of taking financial advice from a cartoonist. I might suggest similar caution when listening to an embedded software engineer … Read the rest of this entry »

25 May, 2017

As in all walks of life, the high-tech world has its icons – key people who have been pivotal in getting us where we are today. It is easy to list some of the big names: Tim Berners-Lee, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs … the list goes on. Then there is Marc Andreessen. Who? I hear you ask – as I did myself when I stumbled across an interview with him. It would appear that, without Mr. A, the world might be different from the way it is … Read the rest of this entry »


18 May, 2017

If I think back to my childhood, back in the 1960s, and my expectations for the future, there have been some disappointments. That was the time of the race to get to the Moon and I feel very privileged to have been able to witness – albeit on a fuzzy black and white TV – these historic events. But I expected more. Whatever happened to the flying cars? … Read the rest of this entry »

11 May, 2017

I work from my home office – when I am not on an airplane going someplace – and the house is often empty. So I spend quite a lot of time alone. As I am an introvert by nature, that is mostly OK. I usually try to leave the house at some point, in order to interact with other members the Human race, and we have an active, evening social life, so the solitude is just part of the picture.

A side-effect of being alone is that I talk to myself … Read the rest of this entry »

4 May, 2017

A while ago, my wife told me about a concept – a way of looking at the world – that she had come across. The concept provides a useful tool for evaluating decisions in many aspects of life. Over the last few weeks we have been using it to rationalize various aspects of our lives. The more that I consider and internalize the idea, the more applications I find for it … Read the rest of this entry »

27 April, 2017

Sometimes I niggle about the small things of life. At other times, I think big thoughts and ponder the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. On yet other occasions, I find myself thinking about nothing in particular and a sudden thought, insight or understanding comes out of nowhere. Just such an event occurred this week … Read the rest of this entry »

20 April, 2017

Notwithstanding all the politics, dogma and downright ignorance, it is clear to me that mankind’s attitude to energy production and consumption needs to change and to change fast. It hardly matters whether we directly caused climate change. This change is happening and it is only sensible to minimize any contribution we make to alterations in the climate… Read the rest of this entry »

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