Skip to main content
No Peace for the Wicked in Westgate

The annoying thud of base music on the fringes of the Costa Del Margate. It’s carnival afternoon and there’s no chance of peace and quiet as the floats assemble across the road from my house on the Royal Esplanade. I can see bunches of coloured balloons blowing past my window, escaping towards the Thames Estuary.

Yesterday, was a kind of fiesta day on Margate seafront. Music and the Sealed-Knot staging a mock battle on the beach. In the sixties I used to watch real battles between hundreds of ‘Rockers’ and ‘Mods’ from my vantage point on the cliff top but they didn’t have muskets, only flick-knives and bottles.

In fact the fiesta was a predictable disappointment, from my perspective at least. Margate isn’t Spain, even if they are trying to pretend it’s civilised by sticking the Turner Gallery there and billing the locals for the privilege. Charlotte and I cycled over for a look, pausing only briefly while I stopped to rescue a drowning refugee child but was beaten to the water by another member of the public. The Nayland Rock hotel was famous once as a grand hotel. Now it’s famous as a refugee centre and the seafront is a strange mix of races as one might expect. This is the new Britain and there’s certainly very little culture or good taste in evidence among the lager cans. I’m reminded of the classic Blackadder quip, “For you Baldric, the Renaissance was something that happened to other people”.

Read the Sunday papers and get depressed as usual. Six hundred thousand new civil servants since the government came to power; they call it gerrymandering elsewhere and Britain a sanctuary for bombers and 'muti', demon worshipping African sects that sacrifice small children. But they, the former, have rights too, for religious expression in our society, under the Human Rights Act, even if their small victims don’t.

I’m suddenly reminded that I have a column to write for Computer Weekly this evening, which is a shame as the weather is far too good. Following this morning’s 25-mile mountain bike ride along the sea wall and long into the countryside, I ache and needed to take some Neurofen. It’s only six years since I tried the same thing across the Sinai Desert from Suez to Eilat, via Mount Sinai but time takes its toll.

Aircraft still in bits but with luck, everything possible wrong with its engine will have been resolved by the end of the coming week and I can get airborne again before the summer ends.


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…