Skip to main content
Stormy Weather

“You’ll have to find it yourself”, says I , referring to the number of Google searches pinging this website for the name of the Website I refer to in my Computer Weekly column today. To be perfectly honest, it’s not worth a visit unless you want to feel sick and ashamed of yourself and the human race and the depths we are prepared to plunge to in the name of so-called entertainment.

My wife just reminded me “There’s a ton of rain on its way”, a change from yesterday when I was frying on the hammock in the garden. To be fair, I’m rather glad of the poor weather today, although the humidity is a pain. Without it, I would have been tempted to leave my study for the sunshine and would not have managed to have run-up the first part of a very long and “exciting” PowerPoint presentation on NHS IT and procurement for Dublin in September.

On Saturday, I took my daughter, Charlotte, over to Le Touquet and the Aqualud water park for the day. I wonder how many children it can take before it collapses under its own weight? The French very obviously don’t have the same health and safety concerns as we do in England and the polished artificial surface in the water park echoes to the rhythmic thud of children and adults slipping on it every sixty second or so, with some very nasty impacts as a consequence.

Certainly, Aqualud had the longest lunch queue I have ever been in. Forty five minutes to buy a hot dog and fries for the two of us for fifteen euros. Next time I’ll eat in the town on the way down to the beach.

Le Touquet on Saturday morning was once again hidden by sea mist. The two of us refuelled at Lydd, taking advantage of the VAT and duty-free Avgas and then pointed the nose straight across the channel and the localiser for Le Touquet’s runway 14. The ATIS were announcing poor visibility and special VFR permission into the airfield, which was keeping a proportion of the regular Saturday traffic away and by mid channel I experienced a strange optical illusion where I couldn’t see any line between sea and sky. In fact, I pointed to three dots and said to Charlotte “Do you see the three other aircraft”, which in fact turned out to be ships. As used as I am to flying over the sea, this was really quite disorienting and I fell back on the instruments to tell me what was what.

Ten miles out, I started a slow descent from 3000 feet to intercept the runway localiser but at five miles and still above the cloud the tower decided to change the runway to the opposite direction, 34 but kept me coming-in for an overhead join. At around 1,500 feet I aimed for the thinnest lump of cloud and continued the descent, “Cool”, said Charlotte not realising that at around 800 feet, I was starting to wonder where the cloud would end. In fact, we found ourselves clear at 550 rather lower than I’d like before joining the circuit to land.

No shortage of bicycles to hire for 10 euros and we cycled through the forest on the fifteen minute trip into town, just in time for the sun to break through. What followed then was three hours of madness in the water park and some quick wine shopping on the way back before starting-up the aircraft for an almost perfect trip back to Kent which seemed even warmer than Le-Touquet.

The Sunday Times reports that more and more Britains are buying-up property around Le Touquet and the Normandy Cote Opale and to be honest, I’m very tempted to move across myself. Take a visit one summer’s day and maybe you’ll understand why.


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…
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 …