Skip to main content
Tiger Tiger

Spring has arrived in earnest and with it, Bumble Bees the size of small helicopters.

Still working from my house by the coast, I took a couple of hours this morning to fly over to Headcorn to pick up some oil.

My wife caught speeding again.

Between Canterbury and Ashford it was still quite foggy, so I positioned myself over the Channel Tunnel Terminal at Ashford and then followed the railway line and my GPS for a ‘straight-in’ approach to Headcorn’s runway 29, looking out for the inevitable lycra-coloured parachutists on the way.

Headcorn is always a busy airfield. Hordes of skydivers and lots of light aircraft of all makes. It’s probably best known as the home of the ‘Tiger Club’, as in the vintage Tiger Moth aircraft they fly and its where I learned to fly ‘tail wheel’ on a Piper Cub.

If like me, you happen to be a passing pilot, you’ll have discovered that the landing fee can be waived if you buy half a lamb. I don’t eat lamb and couldn’t really imagine trying to cram the corpse of one into my Cessna either but there’s obviously no shortage of them and a lot more on the way, looking at the little wooly things skipping about the fields around Kent.

So, a cup of coffee and a chat at the Tiger Club and six litres of W80 Oil stuffed into my small luggage space for the trip back to Maypole Farm.

From above, Canterbury is still rather murky and there’s no radar information service available from Manston but the Cathedral can be seen for miles even if other aircraft can’t. Fly-on until the Sturry lakes appear and then it’s turn left, pull-back the power, lights-on, flaps down and ease back into the farm strip which is very easy to miss, even when you know where it is.

There’s an almost dream-like quality to flying sometimes. Richard Bach captures the surreal world of pilots in his book ‘Illusions’, which I should read again one day.

Back to earth and back to work on email and the Data Protection Act.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…