I know I have neglected this blog and website for some time, but now is probably an opportunity to use this page to explain myself in more than 140 characters.
Four years ago I was a moderately disgruntled Senior Lecturer at Ravensbourne College, I was referred to speak to a head hunter by a friend on the basis of my broad experience and knowledge. As a result of two interviews I was able to obtain the position of Chief Technologist at Humax Electronics in the UK. Humax is one of the top five manufacturers of set-top boxes in the world and the UK’s top manufacturer of digital television recorders. This role has seen me drink a great deal, socialise a great deal and most importantly it has seen me gain a great deal of knowledge about a sector which I had very little experience of; in addition it is perhaps worth saying that as a broadcast engineer by training I had very little appreciation for this industry which I now see differently. I have a better understanding of commercial issues as a result of my work with my colleagues and most especially my boss, Graham North, who is among one of the most respected people in the business.
Now, four years have passed and it is time to move on. It is not for me to explain here the motivations for my moving on, but I have opportunities that I can follow. I hope I can reveal further details about my mysterious new employer once I have started but for now I must concentrate on doing the best for Humax until I leave.
I will miss my colleagues, I will miss my work and the opportunities that it brings to meet new and interesting people. But as one door closes another one opens and I have little doubt that I will meet many of those that I know again because this is a small business.
There is a theme running through the questions that I have been asked lately about some aspects of technology and that is the questions as to if a new technology will “dominate”. Now, I’m not talking new tech of the class like “the mobile phone”, but I am talking about some new gizmo, new software structure, or new web-based service. In this article I want to comment on this phenomena and what I think of it:
Continue reading “Giant Killers in Technology”
So, in the news today was the fact that the e-Borders “RING OF STEEL” cost £1.2bn to set-up and has resulted in:
- 2,000 arrests
- 48,682 alerts
- 1,000 refused entry
- 14,000 intelligence reports
So, lets put this in context. this security mechanism designed to protect us has cost us £600,000 per arrest to date. Now, I appreciate that the initial start up costs don’t reflect the future of the system, but lets assume it takes 5 years to achieve Return on Investment (most IT systems are budgeted this way) well we have now achieved a cost of £120,000 per arrest. Bargain!
So, what will £1.2bn buy you?
I will leave you to decide what value the e-Borders scheme has to you, does it make you feel more safe to know this?
Despite not being Greek myself I have very personal connections and commitments there and I was recently asked what I would do to ease the situation further (because Germany is not happy with the proposals so far). Of course I have no real influence on Greek politics but were I to be able to dictate here are my views. Warning, this is the brutal truth as I see it, it doesn’t mean I don’t like Greece but this is what I see as stopping Greece from being great again.
Personally I feel that the Greek people have let themselves get into trouble because of the way they conduct their politics. I am told that in the main the politicians are corrupt on a grand scale but as long as they do nothing that overtly and obviously affects the daily lives of the population the people won’t do anything. The people of Greece value individual liberties even if that is at the sacrifice of the common good and for all their protestations as to having been the originators of democracy they have forgotten that the cost of democracy is collective responsibility.
The unions and the people will strike because they are getting affected by the obviously unpopular cutbacks. The most notable issue is the fact that the public sector is massively bloated with probably 20-30% of people who are completely superfluous. In addition they spend huge amounts on academic research but believe that co-operating with business to commercialise efforts would taint academia. It seems that half the café workers in Greece seem to have a post-graduate degree and most of the workers seem to be regularly practising some form of tax evasion.
I love Greece but it just needs to wake up to a little self-sacrifice and the people need to take some responsibility (not just the politicians). My interim measures would be:
- Tell every government department to cut at least 1 in 4 jobs over the next two to four years. At the same time offer amnesty to non-permanent staff and let departments decide who they actually need (many good staff are on short-term contracts many lazy people have permanent contracts).
- Cap redundancy payments to limit the expense and begin a separate “back to work” scheme for those who are made redundant by the cuts.
- Don’t pay those who go on strike and let them face the responsibility of not going to work (hold firm).
- Ask politicians (local and national) to take half-pay for the next year and/or audit all expenses for the past two years.
- Force all academic institutions to fund part of their budget each year from external (non-academic) activities or cut their budgets proportionally. Starting at 5% and adding 5% each year until 20-25%.
- Modernise the power generation system to avoid dependency on ancient dirty/inefficient power stations.
- Reduce bureaucracy and paperwork by 30%.
- Cancel all non-maintenance spending on national defence (Reduce defence spending to <=3% GDP?). (Turkey isn’t really going to invade any more and they don’t need new submarines).
Just my observations over the past five years of being involved with Greece. Perhaps I am too harsh, but it is tough love. Greece lords itself for being one of the greatest countries in the history of the world, but that is history. The Greeks must look forward with a unified vision to what they want to be and have the ambition to execute that without sacrificing the things that already make Greece great (family, social life, community spirit).
Just my two Euro-cents.
I know that winter comes as a surprise to so many people, one moment it is sunny and the next it’s really quite cold. Then all of a sudden strange white stuff falls from the sky: what a surprise! Who would of thought that in the UK the temperature could drop bellow zero in winter?! I am sure it didn’t used to happen like that.
An open and sarcastic letter to my council, but it might easily refer to any other from what I have seen…
Continue reading “Asking Surrey Council for help”
Apparently Global Language Monitor has declared that “Web 2.0” is the English Language’s millionth word.
But this doesn’t seem to have impressed British academics according to the Guardian:
Professor David Crystal, professor of linguistics at Bangor University, called the idea “the biggest load of rubbish I’ve heard in years”. He said: “It is total nonsense. English reached 1 million words years ago. It’s like someone standing by the side of the road counting cars, and when they get to 1 million pronouncing that to be the millionth car in the world. It’s extraordinary.”
And the Daily Mail also achieved this excellent quote:
However John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said: ‘We find it curious that Web 2.0, a term that was coined in 1999 and has been in broad use since 2004, is being regarded as a new entrant to the language.”
So overall, measurement of entomology with high precision seems to have its flaws and is more about publicity than useful fact. I am proud of the balanced journalism by both these media groups in the reporting.
I saw someone on DigitalSpy advocating the use of SpinRite for fixing a damaged HDD. I had to point out that Spinrite is a steaming pile of something but I wanted to use J.Navas’ website GRCSucks.com to do that. However I note that the site is now off-line and so I recovered the details from the internet archive and will post them here until I am instructed to remove them:
Taken from http://groups.google.com/group/comp.dcom.xdsl/msg/9aeee32323c2978e Continue reading “SpinWrong mourning the passing of GRCSucks.com”