Wednesday, February 28, 2007
GF declared that it was time to leave the office. We all dispersed to our Worcester Hotels and then met up in an Austrian Pub for a beer, before changing continents and trying out a Mexican restaurant (Amigos) that we hadn't tried before. Very pleasant evening, but worrying when a bunch of geeks refer to someone else as a geek... that must make him an uber-geek.
GF was contemplating this fact as he spent the morning juggling priority calls, to do lists, and meetings.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
He must now return to the 367 unread eamils that he received in the two days he wasn't at work.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
The Silver Vixen's mobile phone needed an upgrade. Th battery life was shortening, the clock wouldn't keep time, and it had no features such as Bluetooth, Picture Messaging, or even a camera. (All of which seem de riguer for the modern cellphone).
GF headed to Worthing and parked overlooking the old Lido. On a grey winter's morning it looked a bit quiet. No band in the bandstand, no kids on the rides, even the tide seemed lazy as the waves slumped lugubriously upon the sands.
The first stop was the Carphone Warehouse where a helpful young lady guided the GF (as if he was senile) through the features of the phone he had selected. It was only on completion of this diatribe that she thought to check the stock and found that she didn't have said device. (Helpfully she checked the stock at Bognor, Hove and Brighton and found they all had some).
Before heading across Sussex to another outlet GF decided to try the O2 store. What can only be described as a parrot came up to him (his comb arrayed in several vibranmt colours) and asked:
"Can I help you, Sir"
GF replied, "Yes, I wish to buy a parrot, I mean a Motorola XYZ"
"Oh no Sir, that is an old phone" squawked the parrot. "It must be 2 years old now"
"Do I look as if I give a damn?" questioned the GF. "The phone was chosen because it was simple, inexpensive, and had the minimum features that we require".
"I see Sir. Well we don't have that model." he sidled over to the left, looked in a little mirror, and then sidled back to the right. "We do however have its replacement, the Motorola SXYZ. Would you like to take that?"
Gorse Fox wondered briefly if birdcages had ringtones nowadays, or still relied on the trusty bell. (Obviously the little ladder would have been outlawed by Health & Safety). He summoned a withering look. "Let me just check, you are suggesting that I subtitute the phone I had selected, priced at £49 on your network by your competitor over the road, for a newer substitute, costing £279?"
"Errr, well if you put it like that it's probably not such a good deal" the parrot concluded.
Gorse Fox left the shop chuckling to himself, and making a mental note to return with some birdseed and cuttlefish.
A trip to Bognor resolved the matter, and Silver Vixen now has a sparly new phone.
Friday, February 23, 2007
He finishes with a lovely sequence of volleys:
When future historians come to judge the Blair project, the slaughter in Iraq and the loss of more than 100 British soldiers - for what? - will be at the top of the debit column: an eternal liability that will crush Blair's reputation.
Further down will be the annihilation of a once coherent and fully funded corporate pensions system. Its destruction began in 1997, when Mr Brown ended tax relief on pension fund dividends, costing private schemes about £100 billion over 10 years. It was not the only contributing factor to the unravelling of our occupational pensions, but it was the biggest.
Today, about two thirds of all British companies have closed their final-salary schemes to new members, and replaced them with much less generous alternatives. Even state-owned Royal Mail threw in the towel this month.
By stark contrast, thanks to a shabby deal done by Alan Johnson when he was at the DWP, most of Britain's 5.9 million public-sector workers continue to enjoy the benefit of index-linked, final-salary schemes and a retirement age of 60. In effect, he created a system of pensions apartheid: the haves; the have-nots.
As for ministers, they have voted themselves gold-plated, diamond-encrusted, fur-lined, leather-upholstered, deluxe retirement schemes, all paid for by taxpayers who have no such benefits and face the prospect of working to 67 in order to make ends meet.
Makes you wonder why we voted for them... oh yes, that's right, most of us didn't.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
GF likes many of the shop names and store fronts. "Vegetarian Shoe Shop" caught his eye, as did this body piercing parlour "Penetrations"
Leaving Momma Cherri's the girls posed briefly for the paparazzi, before hurrying off to the shops to work off some calories with punishing retail-workout.
Lunch was booked at "Momma Cherris Soul Food Shack" and we dutifully sloshed through the rain the 50 yards from Cousteau-cub's front door to The Shack.
The place has quite a reputation, and has been featured by Gordon Ramsay twice in his programmes on swearing. Fortunately, for our delicate ears, all was quiet and genteel.
The food was what GF would call "good peasant food" - like going to a good Mexican restaurant. It would never be haute cuisine, but is great value for money and very satisfying. You can imagine that in the evenings it's probably buzzing.
We decided to go for their "Soul in a Bowl" - whereby the chef basically prepares something for you, without you having to select. Today that meant a starter of; corn bread, hot wings, salad, and sweet potatoes. The main course was: suckatash (ratatouille with okra), coleslaw, southern fried chicken drumsticks, macaroni cheese, barbecued ribs, and jambalaya.
Well we've just heard that a SWAT team was sent to a car park in Angmering. After some reconnaissance they managed to recover the stolen dog-bin and return it. It is not clear whether the contents were intact. The perpetrator of this villainy has not yet been identified, but GF is assured that the county's finest are leading the investigation.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The assistant looked up "Really?" she said.
"Yep, It's taken nearly three hours, but's worth it... trouble is they're always cold by the time I get back".
She looked up. She saw the grin on the Gorse Fox's face. "Oh, get off with you".
GF is always amazed at how people are willing to take outrageous statements at face value.
Well that's all right then. If Tony has said it, it must be true.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
His attendance was planned to provide answers to any technical questions or issues that might have arisen, but as it happens there was little to address. He did manage to catch up with Uncle Fester and Boston, however.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
- functionality - the word functions perfectly as function
- methodology - the word is method
- productisation - oh, for goodness sake!
- electronification - GF has no idea
- physicalisation - building, creation, eixistence
- utilize - the word use is enough
- irregardless - regardless of the fact that regardless is the word
Saturday, February 17, 2007
The Gorse Fox's sister and family have been here on the South Coast. After a sumptuous feast prepared by the Silver Vixen it was necessary to take the air and walk off a few calories.
The sun was going down as we got down as far as the beach. The tide was out and it was clear that the winter storms had scoured the tidal reaches clear of sand and revealed the underling chalk and flint.
According to the Heritage Trail
Opening some 10 months later on 12th April 1862 Worthing Pier consisted simply of a 960ft (291m) long by 15ft (4.6m) wide promenade deck, with a landing stage at the seaward end. Although very popular from the start, both with locals and visitors, entertainment wasn't considered until 1874 when a 9-piece orchestra was engaged to play for three hours a day 'weather permitting'. Some years later, in 1881, a German band from the Rhine was contracted to play daily and conditions were improved for the audience and band alike with the construction of two shelters.
This week, permissions in place, the Gorse Fox arrived at the tyre centre and dropped off the car for them to do their bit. GF headed off for a stroll in the early mrning sunshine.
Friday, February 16, 2007
"Where are you?" she said.
"In reception" he replied.
"Of which building?" she queried
Another senior moment.
This photo was taken after the meeting as GF headed past the back of Westminster Abbey towards Whitehall.
Today, the Gorse fox will be following the Up-line to the very heart of the democratic process to consult with those who occupy Whitehall. These trips are required occasionally just to reload his natural cynicism.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
It just sits there.
When pulled in one direction it closes.
In the the other it opens.
However, when a zip gets stuck it becomes a major problem.
Last night, GF suffered a wardrobe malfunction (fortunately it did not involve glitter, tassles and national TV). A zip that was to be opened decided to jam. Talking nicely to it had no effect. Digital dexterity had no effect. For a while, brute force had no effect. Eventually brute force (fuelled by a degree of desperation) did the trick and the zip leapt the tracks and really screwed up with the two sides no longer aligned and the closed bit being open and the open bit being closed.
Once free of the zipped item, GF was in a position to try and perform maintenance on said mechanical fastening. All appears to be well again, and this morning he is dressed properly. He will, however, continue to check his modesty throughout the day!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
As he crossed the Cotswolds, a flock of starlings filled the sky. It swooped, whirled, climbed, dived, split and reformed. A stunning display of acrobatics unfolded and made the heart soar.
Monday, February 12, 2007
We selected a super bistro-styled restaurant called "The House", which is only about 50 yards from C-c's front door.
GF highly recommends said establishment. Having never eaten there before, he did rather underestimate the portions and so having started with a good helping of calamari, he chose this calzone as his main course. Then he thought (always a bad move) how peckish he was, so ordered a side salad and some french fries. When the waitresses struggled in, carrying the plate between them (apparently the trolley they usually use had collapsed under the weight) he realized that they served mighty fine portions.
Boston would love it.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
It was interesting how widely varied the prices and conditions were, and how important it was to read the
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Given that most Government departments eschew open source, and have fallen hook, line and sinker for anything that comes out of Microsoft Gorse Fox would assert that we are, once more, paying a Windows tax.
As Taxpayers we are funding the expensive, resource-hungry software, and lining the pockest of the richest man in the world. The upshot of this Windows tax is:
- HMG uses a resource hungry, buggy, operating system,
- Requiring ever higher specification computers
- In order to run an inflated browser full of security flaws
- A word processor
- A spreadsheet, and
- A presentation generator
BUT if GF was spending other peoples' money he would be less profligate, and be looking at flavours of LINUX as an operating system supporting thin clients and providing predominantly open source software (like Open Office, or MySQL).
A great new site has been put together by some individuals providing Talk TV and debate: 18 Doughty Street
One of their latest offerings is this video:
As they say:
This video - campaigning against Britain's record and wasteful burden of tax - is the first of 18DoughtyStreet.com's weekly political adverts.
Through these ads, which will be designed and chosen by 18DoughtyStreet.com viewers, we aim to challenge Britain's grey political consensus.
However, reading some of the help information he decided to try another method that he's not used before.
Therefore, by way of an experiment here is a photo of the GF's sister. (Obviously and early example of the use of photography, and probably worthy of a place in a museum).
Friday, February 09, 2007
As it happens this weird picture had GF stumped. It was by the side of the River Ouse in Buckingham.
Silver Vixen has gone to meet with her coven. As we speak, she and her cohorts are sweeping through the skies to Worthing and probably harassing any poor sould not carrying a cross or neclace of garlic.
Huge cauldrons of herbal infusions (tea) will be brewed, and no doubt there'll be a great deal of cackling, and a little sewing.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
It appears that a dog bin has been sited near an entrance to the beach. It was carefully sited to ensure it could be seen by dog walkers; it could not be seen from nearby houses; and it did not impact access for maintenance to the fence of nearby houses.
In addition it was placed to stop people cutting across a corner rather than using a designated path.
Within a day or two a neighbour had moved it because it cut off the corner, a few days later it had been knocked over, it has subsequently disappeared.
Who'd have believed life could be so interesting? Who'd have believed there a market for stolen dog bins? Should the council put RFID tags on the bins?
The sun has been streaming in all day, but now that it's set the temperature is dropping quickly. The Silver Vixen spent much of the day with Urban-cub but should be arriving home soon clutching a fine armful of fish 'n' chips.
GF has a Council meeting tonight.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
What is happening is that a frontal system is moving up from the southwest, and it is going to meet cold air and produce snow as it moves across England and Wales.
Gorse Fox did not fancy driving back through the Cotswolds in 5 inches of snow.
A quick change of plans, and GF is now back in Sussex to avoid travel tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Dinner was taken at our favoured Chinese Restaurant. Seven of us did significant damage to the menu and their selection of bottled beers. Discussions revolved around work, technology, and the meaning of life (well, maybe not the meaning of life).
The story came out about the power cut.
Worcester was hit with a power cut yesterday. Lights, computers, microwaves, kaput. After a few hours the National Grid was re-routed, lights came back on, the Tannoy spluttered into life "Please delay switching on your computers" ... and then again "Please refrain from using kettles until the power is fully restored".
Needless to say Starfleet was pilloried for not having a generator in front of the servers. Actually, the client never had a generator when they ran the system, and would not pay for the a DR service whne Starfleet took over.. but it's still Starfleet's fault.
Monday, February 05, 2007
But today they resorted to type.
Spangles was out and about interviewing people near the farm for the Six o'Clock News.
"What do you think about the outbreak?" she simpered to anyone daft enough to be nearby... and as they all responded with satements to the effect "No problem." or "No worries", the story started to slip away so she whined:
"But aren't you a bit worried that it could spread to humans?"
That's right, as there's no sign of concern, let's try to whip up a little hysteria. There are times that the Gorse Fox thinks BBC journalists have a PhD in Stupid... or worse still, they think we have.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
It was chilly, and maybe that was the reason there was almost nobody out and about. The clean air was soon relieving the effects of the cats and GF soon turned and headed back.
GF's allergy to cats renders him no friend of the feline monsters.
GF was beginning to suffer from the proximity of the indiginous cats. He was starting to feel a little breathless, his eyes were streaming and he was feeling less that tip-top. He made his excuses, and took the opportunity to take a stroll in the cool feline-free air.
Down by the River Ouse he wandered towards the Town Centre, and stood mesmerized by the whorls, eddies, and ripples by the weir.
Shortly, more of the strange inhabitants of Buckingham started to turn up... Big Al, Steve, Bidge & the Belly Dancer... and so on. Then the Silver Vixen's bother arrived with his better half. It was a nice collection of folk and we had a very pleasant day.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
The statistics sid we had;
- covered 11.7 miles
- climbed 1380 feet
- reach a high point of 629 feet
- and a low point of 103 feet.
We'd talked ourselves and walked ourselves to a halt. It had been fun, and Gorse Fox would like to thank young James for his company
Hang gliders were hurling themselves off the Downs and soaring effortlessly in the winter sky.
GF kept explaining to James that there was only about a mile to go... but he suspect he wasn't believed after the third or fourth time!
Looking back the way we had come the hills rolled away into the distance. The field we had just left was a muddy where we enterd we sank into thick slimy mud. After about 50 yards it began to become firm again, but our boots were coated in a green wet slime. This is not good. The fact that the slime was green, implies that it contained "processed" grass... and the only thing in that field that processes grass was a herd of cows. GF thinks these boots will need hosing down.
The field was again inhabited by killer cows. In fact there were some young calves getting quite frisky. This agitated the damme and she headed threateningly towards us. Gorse Fox checked his back pack and could find no pepper sauce or mustard, so decided that discretion was called for and we diverted around them.
And there was nother climb coming up.
(*) GF would add that he does not love cows either, but he sees them as two tons of prime steak that delivers itself, and come wrapped in a fine leather jacket.
No problem, he had a spare set of batteries. That was only useful if the re-chargeable batteries were actually charged up. So he then dug out another set... and they weren't charged up either. So GF could take no further photos.
Fortunately, as he explained before, James had his camera... and then GF remembered he had his phone, so he could take a few more (even if they weren't quite so controllable).
For some reason James had been given instructions to take pictures of rust or rusting items. (GF tried to stay out of his eyeline)
We also debated the climate change hysteria, and the skewed reporting of scientific conjecture and rigid suppression of any scientific counter-claims. But, of course, there's money to be made out of hysteria. Governments can tax more, councils can claim their cuts in service are to encourage better re-cycling, and papers and TV can make an infinite number of documentaries for the gullible and the terminally stupid. (GF is not questioning Climate Change, that's what climate does! He is questioning why only one side of the anthropogenic argument is ever publicised).
It had been fairly level up to ths point, but rejoing our planned route we were soon heading for our first descent and subsequent climb.
You will already have got the theme. Again the walk was a story of Sussex bottoms, whatever they are called they have a gentle, almost sensuous appeal.
Conversation was still dealing with the issues of the day, work, contracting, blogging, and the sleaze that is our current government.
Decisions needed to be made:
- Should I use manual focus?
- Should I use autofocus?
- It's so bright can't see anything... or is it the sunglasses?
It turned out to be the sunglasses... and we moved on.
James had brought his camera with him... which turned out to be a good job (but more about that later).
Today's walk (the first of any significance this year) saw the Gorse Fox and young James headed to eastern side of Brighton to set out on the day's stroll.
The walk started a a car park on the left-most point on this map, at the junction of Drove Road and Falmer Road near Woodingdean. The route followed an anti-clockwise direction over the Bostle towards Saltdean, but turning east at Balsdean Cottages, past Highdole Hill, Breaky Bottom and Mill Hill where we picked up the South Downs Way and turn bak towards the west and the car.
A gentle afternoon stroll that will stick in the memory with the phrase "are we nearly there, yet?".
(He can't stand the begging and the weeping over the phone - and after all, he's spoken for!).
Friday, February 02, 2007
At this point the new install started to work... and the (somewhat pranoid) GF is fully protected again.
- clash between Softphone and Skype (easy to sort out... disable the BT Softphone)
- Installation of the Symantec Anti-virus... over GF's previous Anti-virus. That is taking a lot of unpicking.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
He missed a turning en route to the railway station, adding a couple of minutes to his journey. As a result he just missed his train, only to find the next two trains were cancelled.