Sunday, 1 March 2009

Any guesses?

A) An aborted attempt at creating the Union flag with plasticine string..?
B) A fiendish puzzle for some doomed character to try and solve in the next Saw installment..?
C) A rather inaccurate depiction of the human blood supply system..?
D) A working implementation of patch panel cabling somewhere I cannot begin to mention..?

A brand new cloud to the first correct answer..


A stunningly exciting event transpired as I was driving along a rather busy and misty A38 recently.. Truth be told, I had been preparing myself mentally for this monumental occurence for a couple of weeks, and the preparation had involved calculations, machinations, and other 'ations' which cannot be alluded to here in case I overexcite any reader, and cause, through some transference of excitement, like those molecules in a microwave oven, to frazzle the mind!!

This event, ladies and gentleman, was, the passing of 100,000 MILES in my trusty Ford Escort Finesse 16v!! I hasten to add, only 9000 of those miles were due to my foot weighted on the accelerator, but I feel priviliged to have witnessed at first hand what is my virgin 'Revolution' Of course I gained pictorial evidence of this. Fellow drivers must have thought I was an ardent/insane 'Twitterer', or ardent/insane checker of 'Facebook updates' whilst I poked my phone camera at the speedo and took the picture at 70mph.. Despite my appreciation of the moment, I was still acutely aware that it was a touch dangerous, but my journalistic urges compelled me.. Hence, even as nobody is reading this, I share the news..

A 'brand new' 1998 Ford Escort Finesse 16v anyone?

Sunday, 8 February 2009

T2 hair-action

A quick post tonight, but i wanted to share my glee at the interesting hairstyles in seminal 90's sci-flick Terminator 2 (incidentally one of my all-time faves). 1) Eddie Furlong's pre-emo uber fringe, which has an almost feminine urge to hang over Eddie's eyes whilst he looks into the distance at some rapidly dismantling future machine. 2) Would-be aid to Furlong 'Roddy Piper' look-a-like's mullet (allied to lovely vest-top) 3) Last but not least, ginger mullet'ed buddy of Master Furlong, who seems to be a walking advert for the southern US stereotype, involving stone-washed denim, unfashionable hair, and a dubious legal background.. Despite the fact this movies is getting on for fifteen years old, a cheeky snipe at the fashions of the time could not be resisted...

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snow.. Cold.. Ice.. Twice.. Nice

Twice this week I have been 'forced' not to attend my usual work location, Exeter, due to rather unusual cold and icy conditions in the normally temperate southwest. The last week has been a veritable paradise for children and salt vendors, whilst the rest of us have attempted valiantly to make the trek to work, facing wrecked cars, jack-knifing articulates, errant gritting vehicles and other wintry joys. I had some car trouble during the first dumping of white stuff; my car battery died. Possibly due to my leaving the lights on but I blamed the cold/snow/moon anyway. I was able to limp home, but spent the following day in the flat waiting for a nice man to replace my battery, which he did at 3pm (I believe some folk operate a mysterious 'time lag' when booking appointments to visit, as this chap operated a four hour time lag having told me he would arrive at 11am..)

Secondly, today, I woke to find a part of the only true main road in Devon (at least east of Exeter) blocked by cars abandoned by those caught up in a blizzard the previous night. No blame here, as I travelled that part of the A38 only two hours prior to its snowy onslaught - in fact I rather precariously took a pic whilst driving through some early flakes (above - apologies for the poor quality folks).
There have been complaints from some quarters which alluded to a lack of preparation (on the part of local authorities), lack of salt, and a lack of equipment to cope with this 'once in twenty years' event. For my two cents, I have been impressed with the response from the local services, and the local residents of places hit by this event.
It would be folly to pay for equipment to deal with huge amounts of snow, when this equipment would hardly be used. The economic hit of a few days snow is not going to scupper the world's business upturn i'll wager? So all credit to Devon council - ooh it hurts to praise a council - for getting the big yellow gritters out, and keeping the majority of Devon running through a tricky patch - at least my part of Devon..

I spent today in the Plymouth office, where I was ably taken care of by the redoubtable Marg, who provided me with a delightful tray of goodness, which I share with you above.. Joy..

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Bite me

Today has been an interesting day for the convenience food industry and my decision to invest in the nutritional benefits of their product. Firstly I learned via a survey performed by (the excitingly named) Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services, the not unwholly unknown fact that Britain's favourite post-brew foodstuff, the Doner kebab, is a hive of lard, sodium, and rather unfortunately for those who enjoy a chow down on what is necessarily a halal treat, several pitta pleasures contained unholy swine-meat. The full report can be found here, and a less dry version here on the BBC. Three facts stood out for me :

1) Out of the 494 sample kebabs submitted for testing, in the 'Meat Species' identification check, 8.7% (43) kebabs resulted in a 'No Result' findings. Given as other results came back as one or a mixture of lamb/mutton, chicken, turkey, beef and pork, this doesn't leave a lot of customarily eaten 'Meat Species' to consider...

2) Several vendors provided a kebab that weighed over six-hundred grams - Hmmm

3) This survey was conducted without possibly the most salty/fatty and tasty of additions - sauce

Tonight, based on this evidence, I resisted the urge to procure one of the southwest's own kebabs, and opted for a rather less meaty option, an inviting tin of Co-op Ravioli, of which, on inspecting the label, am convinced would need thorough investigations of it's own to even find a morsel of meat capable of testing. Of what additional 'meat species' does this advertised 2% derive from I wonder?

"Hello, is that the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services?..."

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Googling the Devon megapolis

I spotted one of the somewhat mercurial Google Streetview cars on the A38 just outside Ashburton this morning. My surprise, and the tantalising possibility that i may soon be appearing splashed on the search pages of millions of world Streetview aficionados, was tempered by the realisation that the 'all-seeing eye camera' plonked on the Googlecar's roof was wrapped in a heavy duty black tarpaulin.

I also discovered that my 1998 Ford Escort Finesse, despite a recent service, was quite unable to keep up with the Googledriver, whose speedy needs obviously suffered not from the less than dynamic form of his modified Vauxhall Astra, and I soon lost sight somewhere near Exeter

Google have been spluttering on about the advent of Streetview in the UK for a while now, whilst generating the sort of public outcry that the Daily Mail is keen on focusing. Another website, utilising some form of digital trickery to avoid identification of Joe Public walking the streets,, have covered central London quite effectively, although the might of Google is more able to speed down to the rural backwaters such as Ivybridge and Plympton, something lesser mortals would find challenging and economically unviable.

I can't wait to see StreetviewUK, both for the chance to see my little street in the world view, and not least for the numerous chances to see drug deals, public urination, burglary and nudity..

Thursday, 8 January 2009

select 'SQL' from 'Neal'

I have a perverse liking for SQL, particularly Microsoft's 2005 version. Calling me a novice would be a complete insult to all complete beginners of this art, but I am determined to persist and reap the benefits (although it is presently unclear what these might be yet)

I love the simple elegance of querying, which to someone such as myself, with a limited grasp of logic, is hard to resist looking into.
Given my many years using Windows products, and having recently moved onto Linux, specifically SLED 10, this has given me more chance to compare MySQL and SQL Server. The appeal of a GUI can not be underestimated, by MySQL does seem to do exactly what it should, without a smart shiny graphical frontage. Plus it does have a rather large cost benefit over SQL2005 Standard Edition, which having just checked, costs £1650 with five CALS