Skip to main content
Reluctant Tiger

I’ve just been trying to start a reluctant Tiger Moth. This one was built in 1939 and has been around the block a few times, Angola, Rhodesia and of course the sea wall at Clacton, where it last crashed before it was rebuilt from its various component pieces. This one, I’m assured is the only one flying with an engine of its size in its current configuration. All the others have crashed at one time or another, which is reassuring and I’m sure concentrates the pilot’s mind wonderfully.

That said, she’s a beautiful old aircraft, even if she doesn’t want to start. Of course, installing and electric starter like that in the replica Stampe which is now almost finished would be cheating. After all, they didn’t have electric starters in 1939, so you simply have to hang on to the propeller and keep pulling until the engine explodes into life or simply continues to sulk like a spoiled and temperamental old lady.

The Stampe – a cousin of the Tiger Moth – is almost ready for its maiden flight. It’s taken over a year to build and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a beautiful piece of engineering that anybody can admire regardless of whether they share my love of aviation or not.

Not much to see over Kent this afternoon, with a thick misty haze spoiling the view in stark contrast with yesterday, when Bob and I went searching for a village near rugby, to tow a banner around a wedding service. We had to be there at five O’clock on the dot and we were, finally spotting the tiny village church and the bride outside at five hundred feet, with a two hundred foot banner streaming a romantic message behind us. The funniest thing was dropping into a short farm strip at Rothwell to set-up the banner. Just in front of the McDonalds on the motorway, the airstrip is below the level of the road, so we must have filled the windscreens of the traffic as we dropped over the dual carriageway onto the grass. At which point we left the aircraft where it was and collected a chicken sandwich. Pity they didn’t have a drive thru!

It’s the Abingdon airshow next Sunday. This is a nice little event with displays, rides, stalls and much more, including an aerobatic display from Denny Dobson in his Extra 300. See you there I hope!


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…