Skip to main content
Breakfast @ Beanos

Sunday morning and it's threatening rain. There's a huge black nimbus cloud towering above the tip of North Kent and it's telling me not to bother flying my aircraft this morning. Not if 'm sensible anyway.

Walk into the village and buy my Sunday paper with a stop at Beano's cafe on the way home for a 'Beano's Breakfast', £3.40, the full Dr Atkins diet with fried bread and a mug of tea included.

Beano's appears to be run by an army of young Turks who are busy trying to satisfy David Blunkett's test of contemporary Englishness. It's actually a rather comfortable environment in a strange kind of way. It's where you find all Thanet's Police on any given morning, having their breakfast or the refuse collectors and jobbing builders, reading their copies of the Daily Star.

Smoking is compulsory once you have finished your meal and if you don't smoke, then you had better learn. I don't normally smoke my favourite small Cohiba cigars for breakfast but on this occasion I made a special effort and blended in quite nicely I thought.

There's a kind of 'Rive Gauche' feel about the place. It's not quite the left-bank of the Seine and I don't see any artists but there are no pretensions here. The young Turk behind the cash register calls me 'Boss' and I call him 'Mate' and there's a comfortable working-class feel to the transaction.

So now it's back to a partially decorated house and my partly functional laptop to write a security case study. With luck, I'll manage to have some work finished before driving back to London this evening to prepare for an eight O'clock in the morning flight to Nice tomorrow.

Doesn't everyone work on Sunday? It can't be just me but when we sold our souls in exchange for Moore's Law of computing, that's what we received in return. It's why I'm 'Downshifting' at Xmas. Goodbye London, I'm moving permanently to the seaside where the quality of life is better and three hours sitting on a closed M25 on Friday night convinced me that life in the city is no loner what it used to me.

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

Thus said the diarist Samuel Johnson but in the 21st century it may no longer be as true as it might have been in the 18th century.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…

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 …

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…