Thursday, December 31, 2009

North West

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen will be heading north-west to join Betty and Barney Rubble to see in the New Year. Plans include a visit to the moving picture palace to see Avatar 3D before returning to their country pile for the festivities.

Meanwhile GF has taken a call regarding the new project and is set up, it would appear, for a busy year ahead with a very large deal to be won. Next year will evidently start with a rush of activity; there'll be no easing one's way into this one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

As 2009 splutters and coughs to an asthmatic close the Gorse Fox has been living life in the fast lane with a trip to Sainsbury's to replenish supplies and a trip to the BP filling station to get some diesel. Sometimes the excitement is hard to contain.

The Gorse Fox is staying clear of the Silver Vixen at this moment as she has discovered the boxing feature on the Wii and is now in training for a few rounds with Joe Calzaghe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Playing a round

The Gorse Fox is not one to exert too much time on the links... and given today's weather a few rounds of Wii Frisbee Golf with the Silver Vixen seemed like a much more sensible idea.
The Urban-cub returned to work first thing. Rain poured down along the coast and it remained dark and grey enough that we had to keep the lights on much of the day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Family

Yesterday's outing to see the latest adventures of Mr Sherlock Holmes and his trusted companion Dr Watson was a most pleasant affair. There was little traffic to delay our journey and we settled into the commodious seats in plenty of time for the show. The show itself was a ripping yarn displaying the talents of such actors as Mr Robert Downey Jr. (an American gentleman) and Mr Jude Law (a fine English Thespian). The story itself strayed from the canon of adventures first recorded by Mr Arthur Conan Doyle, but this did not detract from the experience.

One the striking features of the moving picture show was the depiction of Victorian London. The Gorse Fox found this very credible - particularly some of the scenes that showed the docks. The Gorse Fox remembers the areas around the docks - with the huge warehouses, alleys, and narrow streets. It had a menace and imparted a sense of foreboding about it even when he was young. What it must have been like when Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria was on the throne, can only be imagined.

Today is an altogether different affair which sees us headed across the wastelands of Surrey to the dense metropolitan areas of Berkshire in order to spend some time with the Gorse Fox's sister and her family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

221b

The Gorse Fox, whilst in search of the great literary classics (see yesterday's homage to education: St Trinian's) has decided that today should feature the great sleuth of 221b Baker Street and proposes a trip to the moving picture theatre to see a depiction of the latest escapades of Mr Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

BMI

The Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and Urban-cub have had a quiet day being bullied by Wii Fit Plus. This electronic dominatrix has insulted, cajoled, and teased as we tried one workout after another.

After the torture was complete we settled down in front of one of the great classics. A Christmas Carol? No. Miracle on 34th Street? No. In fact it was St Trinian's!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Complete

Possibly the greatest machine on the planet is the telecommunications network. This allowed the Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and Urban-cub to connect to Cousteau-cub on an Island in the Andaman Sea. Somehow Christmas was finally complete... whilst the family was not physically together we had at least had a chance to chat.

Crisis averted

Cistern now functioning correctly.

Central heating boiler opened, examined, poked, twisted, turned, and prodded. Pilot light re-ignited. Heating now working again.

Happy Christmas... oh no!

With a monotonous regularity domestic disasters seem to befall the household at Christmas time. A couple of years back it was the TV, last year the central heating failed and the drains backed up... so it was with a degree of trepidation that the Gorse Fox rose from his bed this morning.

He was right to have worried - the cistern in the loo is overflowing and the central heating has, once more, packed up.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scraping by

The Gorse Fox notes that the Disney chief exec, Robert Iger,  is having to get by on a 28% reduction in his compensation - leaving a meagre $23M to get by on.

You have to wonder how some people manage?

Log on/off

The problem with the delivery of a 2000 metric tonnes(*) of logs for the fire is the sheer effort required to move them from the driveway round to the back of the house and to stack them neatly where they will be sheltered from the rain. This pleasure has occupied the last two lunch hours as the Gorse Fox traipsed back and forth with logs in hand neatly creating 5 stack of logs about 10 metres high and 50 metres long(**). Fortunately Urban-cub finished work early today and helped out with the last few tonnes.

(*) This may be a slight exaggeration.
(**) This may also have been exaggerated to some small degree

Ping

"Ping" went the laptop. The Gorse Fox received an alert from a colleague and after a 10 minute follow-up call the Gorse Fox suddenly had an avalanche of documents to read and a team to help put together and a solution to dream up for a client who is expecting to spend over £100m for this.

As you will understand - this has therefore not been a gentle wind down into Christmas, but a frantic attempt to try and understand the 70+ documents that have been released.

All very exciting and it looks like a busy year coming up.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Unprecedented

The Gorse Fox would like to bring the following to your attention (sent to him by email):
US Weather Bureau Report

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
Oh yes, did he mention that this was published on 2nd November 1922 and was apparently reported by AP and the Washington Post.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gravity

Late in the afternoon there was knock on the door. By this point in the day it was dark and the temperature was dropping once more. "Logs" said the visitor. We had been waiting a couple of weeks but the time had arrived and nestling in the back of tipper truck was a full load of logs. Cars were moved and few moments later the back of the truck was lifting and gravity took over.

We have discussed before the fact that gravity can be a bit of a devil. When it came to the logs it was benign... when, however, it was the Urban-cub carrying her fresh chilli con carne across the light beige carpet it takes on a certain malevolence. Only time will tell whether chilli and beige are sufficiently close on the colour wheel not to matter.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Slush

The temperature rose overnight and by mid-morning it was raining along the south coast. The snow slowly disappeared and a degree of normality returned. (Meanwhile there were reports of significant snowfall near Basingstoke - and traffic reports were dire).

The Gorse Fox had a Council planning meeting early in the evening, but it was soon finished and GF could return to peace and quiet of home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

and Even

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed out into the cold. Thick ice replaced yesterday's tire tracks, vestiges of snow crunched beneath our boots as we trudged to the car and headed out onto the Queen's highways.  As we headed west we soon passed the snow line and continued on past Chichester and into Hampshire. Before long we reached the home of our elderly friends Betty and Barney Rubble where we spent a pleasant few hours and had a satisfying meal at a local hostelry. The hostelry was hampered by its lack of efficient heating in the restaurant area so this merry bunch of chums made a hasty exit as soon as the repast was complete and coin of the realm had changed hands.

Due to the inclemency of the weather we chose to leave before the sun dropped below the horizon and made our way back to the coast.

Soon after our return the phone rang and Beloved Aunt was at the other end, calling from the colonies. It was lovely to hear from her and catch up with all of the news from our distant cousins

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Summing up COP15

A commenter on the Telegraph blog summed up the bun-fight as:
"Something that was never going to happen because it does not need to happen hasn’t happened. What a surprise."
Let us just remind ourselves that these eco-warriors have burnt the equivalent of 41,000 tonnes of CO2 at the conference - more than the whole country of Malawi.

Crisp

The overnight temperature remained sub-zero but there was no further snowfall here by the coast. The Gorse Fox had to take Urban-cub to the railway station so spent an inordinate amount of time clearing the frozen snow from his car windows. Never mind, the CO2 from the exhaust will help warm things up a bit ! The side roads were treacherous with huge sheets of black ice, but once on the primary roads it was fairly clear.

According to the forecast it's unlikely to rise above -3C today and drop to -7C overnight (though a Finnish friend revealed it was -24C in Oulu yesterday). At least it's bright and sunny.

GF was delighted that Copenhagen ended up as a damp squib. Unfortunately there are now so many vested interests that the chance of real open debate on the differences between correlation, cause, measurements, adjustments, and fraud are unlikely to take place.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Glaciation

After yesterday evening's lovely evening with Madam Chairman and the Councillors (no, not a popular beat combo) we made our way home through light snow. This morning we woke up to about 3in of the white stuff covering everything and more still falling. Within an hour or so the leaden clouds had disappeared and normal service was resumed with wall to wall sunshine - though it remained bitterly cold. The snow became crisp and refused to melt and as the sun went down the temperature followed.

The Silver Vixen had to go out during the day and GF was pleased that she has a RAV4 to negotiate the back roads (though the main roads are clear).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate and Causality

As the Gorse Fox was answering some emails for Starfleet he was struck by a thought. We are told by "true believers" that despite the temperature going down for the last 9 years the last decade is one of the warmest on record. Much of this warming is blamed on CO2 because they couldn't account for any other reason.

The Gorse Fox thinks he has the answer... the Labour Party has been in Government now since 1997. Coincidence? He thinks not! Twelve years... to destroy the planet. This means that despite his reservations GF has to conclude that it is man-made.

Interglacial

The coast has just emerged into an interglacial period, the sky has cleared and the sun is shining

Spirit

Madam Chairman has invited us all to a little Christmas soiree. That should be a bit of fun... and it will be nice to meet the other Councillors outside of our formal duties.

Irony

As the climate continues to warm the snow has started falling over the south coast.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HRH

The Gorse Fox was delighted to hear yesterday's comments from Prince Charles on Climate Change... if ever anything was going to convince the Gorse Fox he is right to be sceptical - it is HRH taking the opposing the view.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Returns

The Gorse Fox had to head to one of Starfleet's country houses for a meeting. It was time to compare his staff assessments with those of other teams... and make sure we were fair and consistent. The meeting was long, and the Gorse Fox's assessments went well.

Leaving the country house GF stopped off at a gadget shop to return a power-pack that he didn't need. He timed this to perfection following a chap  into "Customer Services" who clutched a large plastic bag. Arriving at the counter first he emptied the contents of the bag on the counter. The ink cartridges formed a small avalanche as the chap pulled out a sheaf of receipts and asked for a refund. This meant that the assistant had to work through the avalanche cartridge by cartridge checking them off against the receipts. As the Gorse Fox's beard started to grow longer, and his patience got shorter he watched the glacial progress as they were sorted and checked. Eventually it was over and GF got to return his power-pack... a process that only took about 60 seconds.

Stopping by Starfleet HQ he returned last year's laptop and grabbed some lunch before heading back to his study.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Balanced BBC

The Gorse Fox had to write a note of complaint to the BBC over a lopsided report on "The One Show". He has no doubt the comment will be moderated out (i.e. not published) so in essence this was the draft... (though the final version was a bit longer but he forgot to copy it before hitting send).
What a travesty. How can the One Show give such a one-sided poorly researched piece on Climate Change. Ben Goldacre should be ashamed of his position. I don't know any climate "deniers".
I do, however, know a lot of sceptics. They have a perfectly valid right to question why $42 Trillion dollars (yes that is the estimated cost) is being wagered on a scientific hypothesis that is not proven nor "settled". Even one of the coordinating lead authors of the IPCC report has said "In the Fourth Assessment, the summary was quietly replaced several months after it was first published because some scientists who were involved complained of misrepresentation." I do notice that as more and more sceptics are examining the science and finding flaws in the data gathering, in the data, in the mathematics and in the shoddy and dishonest way in which it has been published that the "True believers" are becoming more and more vituperous, and unable to backup their position with reliable facts.
There are significant lists of scientists who refute the infantile claims made by Ben Goldacre, and it was a shame that the BBC were too cowardly, or too wedded to their biased position to allow the other side of the debate to be voiced.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Games

According to the BBC web site today there is a new arcade game that is proving immensely popular... "Whack a banker"...

With news that a March election may be in the offing, the Gorse Fox wondered if this was a spoonerism for Labour's election slogan?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

MAD - Mob Affective Disorder

In a superb piece today entitled "Beyond Debate?" we see this question raised by Martin Cohen
Is belief in global-warming science another example of the "madness of crowds"? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible "authority". Could it indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality? After all, how rational is it to pass laws banning one kind of light bulb (and insisting on their replacement by ones filled with poisonous mercury vapour) in order to "save electricity", while ploughing money into schemes to run cars on ... electricity? How rational is it to pay the Russians once for fossil fuels, and a second time for permission (via carbon credits) to burn them (see box page 36)? And how rational is it to suppose that the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere take between 200 and 1,000 years to be felt, but that solutions can take effect almost instantaneously?
The Gorse Fox suggests that he is right on the money and that what we are seeing is a form of mob hysteria.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Age gap

The Gorse Fox got a call from the Silver Vixen. "I've got a problem with the laptop, can you help?".

The Gorse Fox leapt to his feet and headed into her study. He looked at the screen an immediately saw the problem. This would be easy to fix, he thought. It wasn't quite that easy though. The cursor was not responding to the Gorse Fox's administrations.

It was at that point that the Silver Vixen pointed out that GF was clutching her spectacles case, not the mouse!

It is clear that time is catching up!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coercion

As the climate debate starts to get down and dirty we find that 1700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the “professional integrity” of global warming research, according to The Times.
It then goes on to admit:
One scientist said that he felt under pressure to sign the circular or risk losing work. The Met Office admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change.
We will soon see this 1700 number quoted without clarification - though the 3000+ scientists who signed the opposing view last year are always questioned as to their "climate" credentials.

And we also find that in Australia, one sceptical newspaper reporter's kids have been targeted with mail villifying their dad.

What really troubles the Gorse Fox is that this is only necessary because there is doubt and these tactics are reminiscent of schoolchildren having tantrums because some disagrees with them.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Loose change

45Trillion dollars.

That's the UN estimate of how much agreement at Copenhage will cost. Just thought you should know...

Teaching

There is a rolling headline on the BBC today "Some state schools in England use underhand tactics to attract the most desirable pupils"... the Gorse Fox wondered what these might be: limousines to and from school, designer uniforms, school trips to the Bahamas.

Or maybe just teaching well and imposing some discipline!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Symphonic

The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day transferring some of his Excel skills to Symphony. This has not been without its little challenges but everything seems ok at present.

The nice man from DHL turned up mid-afternoon. The Gorse Fox is always impressed by the way these big delivery organisations work. He saw the records showing the pick-up from the warehouse, the transfer to the main distribution warehouse, the subsequent transfer to Brighton depot... and knew it was en route by the local delivery agent.

It reminds him that on TV last night they had a clip that showed how Ocado manage their distribution. Most impressive.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Freedom of Speech - cyber warfare

The Gorse Fox has always been troubled by the bad manners of people who shout down people who are giving their opinion (however daft). he sees that as bullying.

Over the weekend he was enjoying an online debate regarding Climate Change. There was a good exchange of views and it remained polite, reasoned and informed. Suddenly we saw retrospective edits being made, links and clips being vandalised, and non-standard views being clobbered. Another participant caught someone in the act and they exchanged messages. It would appear that the vandal has been paid to vandalise and "Waves" that discuss AGW until Copenhagen is finished.

Somehow this seems so appropriate - at a time when the leaked emails show the attempts made to suppress contrary views and data - we find a paid effort to suppress contrary views and data.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dimanche

Another pleasant day... nothing too stressful. The Gorse Fox did manage to get through to Cousteau-cub on the phone. Things are obviously getting busy there (in fact tomorrow she has 3 separate dives scheduled). We have also been talking of going out to see her, so started to look for flight costs to get an idea what we need to save.

GF also played around with his WAMP setup, and in a stroke of genius managed to lock his phpMyAdmin out of the underlying mySql database... that'll be something to sort out during the week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Gordon Brown and Climategate

It is funny to see that it is reported "Gordon Brown: [believes] climate-change sceptics are 'flat-earthers'. What a relief. He's been so right about everything else, after all!!!

In praise of our Government (?)

In praise of our Government.

Or, what has New Labour done for us.
  • Robbed the UK of its private pensions by raiding the pension schemes - whilst maintaining the pension scheme for MPs
  • Lied to us over Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Sent our armed forces into Iraq after being informed it had no legal basis
  • Hounded Dr. Kelly to his death because he would not follow the party line on Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Sent the armed forces into Iraq and Afghanistan, but forgot to equip them
  • Brought us Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, the Dark Lord Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, and John Prescott
  • Sold our gold reserves at the bottom of the market
  • Presided over the massive recession and drove the country into debt that will last a generation to pay for it 
  • Gave away our sovereignty as of 1st December 2009 when the Lisbon Treaty came into force
  • Made the President of Europe our head of state
  • Put our Prime Minister in a position where he is now obliged to promote the aims and objectives of the European Union over and above those of the United Kingdom
  • Gave control of our financial institutions to (French) EU Regulators.
  • Signed up to the Human Rights act without realising the real beneficiaries are solicitors and criminals
  • Promised a referendum on the EU Constitution then reneged when it was renamed
  • Neutered the House of Lords so there are no checks and balances on their legislation
  • Disenfranchised thousands of children from university places by setting quotas that selected candidates based on background not education
  • Charged students for the University education that previous generations had for free and thus plunged them into years of debt
  • Set up secret "courts" to dispose of the assets of elderly patients
  • Imposed unelected regional assemblies, after a referendum on the subject voted against them
  • Presided over a greater erosion of the UK's Industrial Base than any previous Government (yes even more than Mrs Thatcher's).

And they created a country where:
  • A country where you can be followed home and reported to social services for chastising your child in public.
  • You are watched by CCTV cameras everywhere you go
  • You can be prosecuted for speaking freely
  • Council snoopers can wander round your house
  • You can be taxed for improving your house without any warrant or judicial intervention
  • You can be taxed for you view
  • The Civil Service are rewarded for spending their annual budget - not saving it.
  • Political correctness forms a destructive cancer at the heart of our society:
Political Correctness (def.) - a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
(with acknowledgements to the original author - whoever that was)

  • The police can take your DNA for any reason (even a simple traffic stop) and store it for up to 6 years even if you are entirely innocent of any wrong-doing.
  • If you ever see a child (or expect that you might see a child - even in the distance) you must have criminal checks.
  • You get Government TV adverts about reducing CO2 presented as a series of facts - which are unproven

But hey, don't forget:
  • You can sue other people for your own stupidity or clumsiness
  • You can be given a flat or house for getting pregnant
  • There's no need to work for a living
  • You can suppress scientific opinion with libel laws

Friday, December 04, 2009

Just Waving

Another day of calls and reviews. Nothing too riveting.

What has been interesting though is the ongoing debate on climate change that has been going on across a number of web sites and Google Wave. GF has participated in the Wave discussion "Climategate - REFUSE TO BE FOOLED!-" - trying to bring a little sense and critical thinking to the process. Always amusing to see the polarisation of views.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shredder

As Starfleet prepares to shred lose many of its more experienced designers and architects due to its treachery over pensions, the Gorse Fox has spent much of today looking at the new crop. These individuals need to be nurtured, encouraged, guided and seeded into the opportunities that help them grow their experience. It's been good hearing about these rising stars... but the Gorse Fox is concerned that we have a few rocky months ahead.

You may wonder if the Gorse Fox is one of those about to jump ship. Well, the answer is no. There's still too many problems that he wants to go out and solve, and he still wakes up every morning relishing the challenges the day will bring.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More smelling salts please

News at Ten have finally reacted to "Climategate" and started to report (several days behind the curve) on what's going on. Obviously the noise from the blogs around the world, the number of written comments, and the upswelling of comments from politicians around the world made the BBC increasingly isolated in ignoring the incident.

Please pass the smelling salts, the Gorse Fox feels quite faint!

Work

Busy day today. Project work, appraisals, telecons etc. Not much to see here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bring the Smelling Salts

BBC News has just admitted that 55% of people do not believe in Anthropogenic causes of Global Warming (or at least that it is not proven). They didn't give that any air time... but they have at least admitted it.

Gravity

The Gorse Fox has said it before - Gravity can be a bit of a bugger. The Silver Vixen went out to do some Christmas Shopping and whilst she was out she was attacked by gravity,. There she was walking past "Past Times" when gravity charged out of the pavement and mugged her. She has come home, having twisted her ankle, after succumbing to the attack.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ignore CO2

Interesting quote just extracted from a German scientific report "Falsi cation Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics":
The main strategy of modern CO2-greenhouse gas defenders seems to hide themselves behind more and more pseudo-explanations, which are not part of the academic education or even of the physics training. A good example are the radiation transport calculations, which are probably not known by many. Another example are the so-called feedback mechanisms, which are introduced to amplify an effect which is not marginal but does not exist at all. Evidently, the defenders of the CO2-greenhouse thesis refuse to accept any reproducible calculation as an explanation and have resorted to unreproducible ones. A theoretical physicist must complain about a lack of transparency here, and he also has to complain about the style of the scienti c discussion, where advocators of the greenhouse thesis claim that the discussion is closed, and others are discrediting justifi ed arguments as a discussion of "questions of yesterday and the day before yesterday"
The paper is good reading (but contains lots of maths).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Naming Climategate

The Gorse Fox was amused by this entry in James Delingpole's blog in the Telegraph:
Climaquiddick, they’re calling it now. Why? Because the liberal media aren’t reporting it with the glee and enthusiasm and foaming self-righteousness they accorded Watergate. Instead, they’re giving it the grudging, embarrassed non-coverage the libtard MSM invariably does to a story they’d rather, ahem, drown.

Climategate

As the US Media, the Telegraph, and the Mail start to acknowledge the ramifications of the revelations from the Climate Research Unit - it is interesting to watch the frantic rush by the BBC and other debate-suppressors to release as many "Climate Change" stories as possible this week to divert the focus.

It was also interesting to see the University of East Anglia recognise the damage that has been done to its reputation and the announcement that it will release all of the data as soon as possible... strangely enough that's all that people wanted to start with. You see when a massive political and media hype-machine kicks into gear people automatically get suspicious. When scientists won't release their data - people suspect they are hiding something. When every climatic event is put down to man made CO2, and when every possible worst case scenario is spouted as fact, people switch off. Put all of these together and you have a perfect storm of distrust. Lay out all the data, describe the facts and show how they are incontrovertibly supported by the data and you will get consensus and support.

It reminds the Gorse Fox of Starfleet (and for that matter, many large corporations). They get a good idea, and they "brand" it. Because it's a good idea the brand is suddenly extended to a mishmash of ideas or products - not realising that this actually dilutes the brand rather than reinforcing it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Empty

The Gorse Fox has enjoyed the day. The Silver Vixen was away with her coven, Urban-cub was feeling a bit rough so GF spent a day at the keyboard tidying up one of his websites and considering the best approach for moving another one.

It was also an opportunity to show support for Empty Shops Radio and so the Gorse Fox made his way into town and popped in to see how the inestimable Mr Vobes was getting on. It is clear that the venture is taking off and the venue was really quite busy. GF was introduced to a couple of people - both of whom he found he had an affinity with - the first being a radio engineer for a well known broadcaster (with whom the Gorse Fox has worked); and the other being a specialist on local pubs and their history. (Ok, whilst the Gorse Fox is not a specialist in the history of local pubs, he feels a moral affinity with anyone who has dedicated so much effort to such an arcane branch of knowledge).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Keyboards bashing

Deadline for the staff appraisals approaches so the morning was spent trying to tie them down - needless to say there are still a couple of inputs outstanding. By lunchtime the subject had changed and the Gorse Fox was considering designs for continuity of processing when core networks were not available - much more interesting, if a little ethereal.

When work drew to a close he was back to the family websites trying to complete the transfer (and partial redesign) of pages across to his new host. Only one sub-domain left to handle now.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wales?

Gavin and Stacey, followed by QI with Rob Brydon, followed by the News with Huw Edwards. The Gorse Fox is concerned that some Welsh people are actually escaping and being quite public about it.
(They've probably come over here to steal some of our vowels)

Spy vs Spy

The Gorse Fox was recently invited, as a result of some discussion regarding climate, to join an "invite only" website. At first flattered, he became concerned when he entered and read some of the material. Some was naive, and some made him feel uneasy.

Sleeping on it, he resolved to voice his concerns... and so at seven o'clock this morning he was writing a note to MI5 !!!

All change, for the day

The Gorse Fox had received intelligence that one of his staff was hosting a meeting at a nearby Starfleet office. As GF had a small award for him he decided to gate-crash the meeting under some false pretence and then surprise him in front of his colleagues. This meant driving up through Surrey and into the northernmost reaches of Hampshire first thing. The whole plan came together rather well, and GF enjoyed springing the surprise.

Back in his home office the afternoon was overtaken by calls, appraisals, more calls, and telecons. GF is in danger of picking up some work that will involve some travel to Glasgow - he quite looks forward to this as the work in question looks very interesting and may fill in some of the time lost to delays on the bid he was working on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pass along

A quiet day again, not a lot to see here.

The Gorse Fox has had an interesting day trying to reconcile various spreadsheets with his master sheet. This took longer than expected and was followed by a return to staff appraisals.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Service

The Gorse Fox's motor is having a quiet day at the garage, being serviced. The Gorse Fox is having a quiet day at home working on staff appraisals. The Silver Vixen was out, so the car will have remain at the garage ovenight as it is too wet and too late to collect it now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Next they'll come for the Gorse Fox

The Gorse Fox has written to his MP.
 Dear xxxxxx

I am sure that you have been made aware of the recent incident where data was leaked from the Climate Research Unit. This appears to have confirmed that some of the facts for which we are told scientists have a consensus are not what they seem. It is clear that models have been developed with little of no traceability, data is stored and managed in a haphazard fashion, and the scientists have obfuscated at every turn. The emails show they have stifled reasoned debate and used their high-level contacts to discredit or remove critics from their review panels. We are patronisingly told that some of the information is being taken out of context, and that some is too complex - well I'm sorry, but when I am paying for this research (as a taxpayer) I want to understand how they came to their conclusions.

Let me nail my colours to the mast. 
Do I believe there is Climate Change? Absolutely. Climate is a dynamic system - it is constantly changing.
Is it caused by man's emissions of greenhouse gases? No.
Do man's emissions contribute? Possibly.
Should we reduce pollution? Yes - it's good housekeeping.
Should we conserve resources? Yes of course - we are only custodians of the planet for future generations.
Should we worry about the increase on CO2? Not really. It has only increase from 280 to 380 parts per million in the past 100 years.

Reasoned debate has been stifled in the wider community also. The Government propaganda machine runs TV adverts regarding CO2, the BBC admits that it will not permit critical views to be aired, the Guardian suppresses or deletes forum comments that are not "on message" and our discredited Prime Minister is leading us headlong to the precipice of that is the Copenhagen Climate summit. Even today the BBC's website was showing the totally discredited "hockey stick" graph. I am fed up with being told the science is settled, when it clearly is not. 


It is time that we there was a free and open discussion of these matters and that the Government stopped relying on hysteria and propaganda, and the BBC were forced to show even-handed coverage of the topic. (For goodness sake, they allow the BNP more air time than climate debate). Reading the degree of comments that have added to the various blogs and fora that have exposed this latest leak, it is quite clear that I am far from being in the minority in wanting genuine debate, open access to data, and peer reviews of the science. The scientific method has nothing to do with consensus - it is about creating an hypothesis that can then be tested and critically analysed.

Is it just coincidence, I wonder, that scientists have said today the "Global Warming May Stop until 2015" (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthcomment/charlesclover/3341068/Global-warming-may-stop-scientists-predict.html).

Sir, it is time that the silent majority were heard. I would like to think that you would raise this with Mr Cameron and in Parliament, and will not be satisfied with platitudes about consensus.

Yours Sincerely,
The Gorse Fox
The Gorse Fox is sure a nice warm concentration camp awaits. Resistance cannot be tolerated by the climate taliban. GF just wishes more people would write to their MPs about this... it is high time that the tide was turned.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Storms

Storms again hammered the coast during the morning but by lunchtime there was some respite. Being the last day of the Gorse Fox's vacation it seemed like a good opportunity to do something different. It is a long time since a visit to the cinema registered on our agenda.

We headed for Chichester and settled in for the afternoon performance of 2012 (the latest disaster movie). It was a great yarn and featured reference to both the Mayan calendar and the research of Charles Hapgood - the latter being of great interest as the Gorse Fox remembers reading an excellent novel (The Hab Theory, by Allan W. Eckert) and counts it among the best he has read.

The film was an excellent way to spend a grey and wet afternoon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Warming

It is a warming feeling to realise, whilst reading the comments on the news sites regarding the release of the leaked emails and files from CRU that the Gorse Fox is not alone. It appears that many thinking individuals conclude that

  1. climate change is occuring - it always has
  2. man may contribute, but is not the cause
  3. politicians have created a gravy-train for scientists
  4. scientists are censoring debate
  5. media such as the BBC and The Guardian are trying to suppress debate
  6. research has been fraudulently represented
  7. politicians are using it to raise money
  8. the silent majority is waking up
  9. some of the media are waking up - but they will be vilified by the gliterati, the BBC, and politicians
  10. the counter-spin is already beginning in the halls of Westminster and Broadcasting House

Happy Birthday

Today is the Silver Vixen's birthday. The anniversary of her arrival among us... and hence a great day for humanity.

Swan Upping

Yesterday evening the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed inland to meet up with his sister and brother-in-law in Chiddingfold. Of late these meetings have been at the Mulberry, but a recent change in the menu meant that the choices were quite limited.

This time we headed for the Swan Inn. We had had eaten there once about 8 or 9 years ago but had read that it was under new management. What a choice this turned out to be. The place had been seriously refurbished inside and they had put significant thought into the menu (for both restaurant and brasserie). The service was attentive and chirpy and the food could not be faulted. Lovely place, and certainly worthy of a return trip.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reflecting on Global Warming

The Gorse Fox has been reflecting on the various revelations we have seen of late regarding the fraudulent adaptation of data - and must conclude that a degree of Global Warming is indeed man-made. Man-made by the discredited (but still worshipped by the BBC) scientists.

Global fraud

So we learn from Devil's Kitchen (click link in title) and Bishop Hill that the University of East Anglia's systems have been hacked and their files and emails made public on the web. What they appear to show is that the numbers and predictions that the Global-Warming-fundamentalists have been using are fraudulent.

Are we surprised? Not at all.

Will we hear this part of the story on the BBC or the main news media? Not a chance.

Are we still being conned? Absolutely.

Fluid

Plans for today were fluid. We had to hang around during the morning to await the Ocado delivery... and this gave the Gorse Fox a chance to write his annual appraisal while the weather was still somewhat hostile. We decided to see how things went. Well for Ocado they didn't go well. Their delivery van was involved in a road accident and we had to await a replacement van. This pushed us past the point where we could go to the cinema and still be hope in time to go out for the evening with the Gorse Fox's sister and brother-in-law.

And so it is that we are having a quiet afternoon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relief

What a relief... the EU decided not to select the execrable Tony Blair as President. That honour has been given to the Belgian Herman van Rompuy

Gunwharf

Thursday saw a trip westwards. Perhaps not and exciting trip, but a simple trip to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to meet up with friends, have a something to eat and do some retail therapy. We were lucky to be travelling west as a breakdown on the eastbound carriageway had caused several miles of tailbacks.

Meeting up with Betty and Barney Rubble we stopped for coffee before strolling along the Loch Fyne restaurant for a splendid lunch. After that we wandered around the shops and picked up odds and ends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh Drear

Having left the charms and delights of Rye the Gorse Fox decided to take an alternative route back to the West. He headed towards the coast at Hastings with a view to following the road through Bexhill and Polegate.

What an eye-opener that was. This area was like a Victorian version of Beirut without the charm. The Gorse Fox knows there was a battle at Hastings, but you would have thought they could have spruced it up a bit by now.

Mermaid St

Possible the most photographed street in Rye is Mermaid Street. We had stopped for lunch in a bar down by the river... the sound system leaked Coldplay into the room and slowly diners lost the will to live and asked for strychnine chasers or razor blades for their wrists as Chris Martin droned on and on. We couldn't wait to escape, but left the number of the Samaritans on the table - just in case.

We then headed back into the town and up Mermaid Street. This is delightful and the houses are wittily named "The House with Two Front Doors", "The House with the Seat", "The House Opposite", "The First House" and so forth. As you can see we had the place to ourselves and wandered to and fro' to make sure we saw all there was to see.

Rye is well worth the visit.
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A Pocketful

Despite seriously inclement weather in the North (where it's meant to be) it was still 15C and dry down in Sussex - though to be fair it was very grey. The question that we struggled with was where the day would take us. An early favourite was Chichester, but that seemed too easy and too close.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed out to the east again. Since the wall came down between East and West Sussex neighbours from the west have become regular visitors to the east to see how our fellow county-men used to live under earlier regimes. Our destination was Rye.

Rye was one of the Cinque Ports and an important town in the early middle ages. Now many miles inland, it used to be on the coast until serious storms in the 13th century silted up a huge area and left the town, quite literally, high and dry.

Rye has been well served by its council and has been cleverly preserved such that it it still functions perfectly as an old style town and a torist attraction whilst accommodating gradual and sympathetic change. We made the most of this strolling back and forth through the lanes and streets and delighting in the lack of "High Street names".
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Critics

The Gorse Fox found it a little disconcerting. We had stopped for a coffee and enjoyed a lobster sandwich. A trip to the rest room seemed to be in order, prior to the journey home. As he walked into the Gentleman's convenience he was aware of some framed newspaper article on the walls, and thought little more of it. When comfortable again he glanced up to find the article in front of him finished with a quarter page advert with a srtap line shouting "Endowment Shortfall"

In his defence he would point out that there was a very cold wind and he had been wearing lightweight trousers.

Beachy Head

A trip to this part of the downs is not complete without looking down on the Beachy Head Lighthouse. There was a stiff wind blowing as the Gorse Fox edged toward the cliff to get this photo - he couldn't help but wonder what it must have been like on Saturday with a full-blooded storm battering the cliff tops and the storm-driven waves crashing against the lighthouse.

GF found the trip somwhat nostalgic as he remembers coming to Eastbourne on holiday as a young teenager. AT the time the family would stay at the Imperial Hotel, and it always seemed to be sunny! He also remember one year (1966) rushing home to North London in time to watch the World Cup Final.
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Seven Sisters

The week's vacation continues. The Silver Vixen was due at the hospital, but once the appointment was over we headed east along the coast. deliberately sticking to the coast road. We passed Brighton Marina, Roedean, Rottingdean and Saltdean before climbing over Telscombe and dropping through Peaqcehaven to Newhaven. Thus far, one community had pretty much merged into the next and there was little to distinguish between them except the road signs.

From Newhaven we climber through Seaford and then burst into open downland. Wetsdean, Friston and East Dean revealed their quaint churches as we turned south and headed for Birling Gap and then east again to Beachy Head.

As you can see, we had the downs almost to ourselves as we looked west past the Belle Toute lighthouse along the Seven Sisters
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Sinking

It was around this time (as we continued our walk around Rottingdean) that the Gorse Fox got that sinking feeling. You know how it is. Someone (in this case the Silver Vixen) says something quite innocuous like "Let's get a cup of tea and a snack". You think, "Good idea" and autonomically your hands move to you pockets.

The sinking feeling began. Trouser pockets did not contain a bulging wallet. Check jacket, he thinks. Side pockets, breast pockets, inside pocket... all conspicuous by their absence of the bulging wallet. Check inner fleece jacket. Side pockets, inside pockets all empty.

Mental checklist started - where was it last time it was seen (on desk in study, when GF picked it up to come out). No jackets on at time... must be in trousers. Trouser pockets re-checked. Nada.

What was in it? Cash (but not a lot), credit cards, debit cards, train pass, Tottenham Hostspur membership card, National Trust Membership card, stamps... this was going to take a lot of sorting out. Despite the Silver Vixen offering to pay for the tea - the Gorse Fox was sufficiently concerned to spurn the offer of a snack and we headed back home. It was evident that there would be many calls to make.

Arriving home he went straight to the study... and there, sitting nonchalontly on the desk, smirking mischievously at him, lay the absent wallet. The Gorse Fox gave it a stern talking to and suspects it won't have the affrontery to try that trick again.
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Pond Life

Continuing our walk we passed the church and ended up outside the museum, looking across the village pond. This serene setting would once have been the heart of the village and the source of drinking water for both the villagers and their animals.

We went into the museum for a nosey about - the Silver Vixen finding an exhibition of Threads, the Gorse Fox one on Kipling (who once lived in the village).

The village really was a most charming spot - and yet was only a couple of miles east of the hub-bub that is Brighton.
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Rottingdean

The early morning winds had dropped and the torrential downpours that plagued the rush hour were over. It seemed like an opportunity to take a run out with the Silver Vixen and see some of the Sussex villages. She had visited Rottingdean during the summer and suggested we start there as the Gorse Fox had not been there before.

Parking down by the front - getting a bit of a shock as we saw an ex son-in-law wander by - we put on our coats and prepared to stroll around the village. Ex son-in-law wandered back past the car. GF looked very carefully - it was not him after all, just a doppelganger.

We wandered through the lanes and found our way to this superb (but private) courtyard. It was too pretty to ignore. Despite its apparent age, it is only some 80 years old and was built as an hotel. It was billetted by Canadian soldiers during the war, and has now been split into individual dwellings.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sussex vernacular

The Gorse Fox doesn't know if this is a Sussex vernacular style of architecture - or just a gorgeous old cottage. It was charming, nestling in West Street opposite the church.
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Ditchling

The Silver Vixen had a not in her diary about a show in the Village Hall at Ditchling. We had commented that it was strange to have an event on a Sunday & Monday... but checking on the website we confirmed the dayes.

We headed out in the low winter sun and made our way past the Jack & Jill windmills at Clayton and on into Ditchling. We managed to find a parking spot behind the Village Hall and then made outr way to the entrance. It was closed. In fact all of the entrances were closed. There was no sign of the event, no people, no posters, nothing.

Rather than waste the trip we took a stroll around the quaint little village.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Matchwood

The storm continues. The Gorse Fox has just run an errand of mercy to Worthing (The Silver Vixen was out of Jasmine Tea) and even in the time he was out the fury of the storm has wreaked havoc. A squall line turned the sky black and dumped huge amounts of water as the wind intensified. Struggling to hold the car door he headed back from his sortie passing bins, hoarding, trees, and shrubs blown and blowing across the roads. Armour would not have been out of place as he tried to avoid flying debris.

Along the beach front at West Worthing several beach huts had been damaged, one was lying on its back and several others had been turned to matchwood. Even here on the Gorse there's debris near the pond blocking half of the road.

What is all the Fuzz About?

We read today in the BBC headlines:
The growing number of private security companies policing UK streets is a worrying development, senior police figures say.
Well the Gorse Fox would suggest that there is an easy remedy for their concern, achieved through a number of simple steps:

  1. Spend more time on patrol
  2. Spend more time on your feet instead in cars
  3. Accept new technology to reduce paper-work
  4. Ignore targets - just do what is right (not what is politically expedient)
  5. Stop relying on cameras and CCTV to do your job for you
  6. Be polite
  7. Cuff hooligans round the ear
  8. Target known/suspected criminals
  9. Make the lives of suspected troublemakers and pushers intolerable

Then people wouldn't need private security patrols. Seemples!

High Tide

Well, strictly speaking, the Gorse Fox missed High Tide by about 40 minutes, but the storm was still pounding the beach. Spume was being driven like kamikaze bubble bath across the shingle and slammed into the Gorse Fox and his camera several times.

A few hearty dog walkers braved the elements, hanging on to their dogs in case they decided to do kite impressions.
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Zephyr

The fury of the overnight winds has not yet abated. Trees are wildly thrashing from side to side as rain smashes against the house. The forecast says it will get worse during the day, before blowing itself out this evening. GF may have to put on some waterproofs and stroll down to the beach as high tide approaches. There is something  elemental about the fury of a big storm at the coast.

Friday, November 13, 2009

All change

As the Gorse Fox starts a week's holiday he has embarked on some change. After 10 years with his current web host he has decided that there are more cost effective hosts available. The process has now begun to move his web sites and domain registrations to the new host. He suspects that this will not go smoothly!

Wind

Strong winds are buffeting the coast. It looks as if a neighbour has lost a large tree (well, not exactly lost it - the Gorse Fox suspects he knows exactly where it is as it overhangs his driveway).

This is just the precursor to the 70mph+ winds that are forecast for Saturday. Definitely a case of battening down the hatches.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Council

The Gorse Fox can barely contain his excitement as the time approaches for another riveting Parish Council meeting. Probably needs to take a paper bag with him in case he hyper-ventilates.

Recovery

One of the features of many Microsoft office tools is their uncanny ability to crash at the most inopportune moments. Having said that they are quite good at finding the crash files and offering them to the user to examine, rename and continue. In general this works well and recovers most (if all) of the work.

The exception to this is when you select the wrong file, and throw away the alternatives... then distribute it to your colleagues.

Afternoon has been spent re-writing the file. Ho hum!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Propaganda Minister

According to the article linked to in the title line, Lord Mandelson is to become a modern day Joseph Goebbels as he becomes the Minister for Information. He could also make history as the first minister to make weekly televised briefings. They would be broadcast direct through the Downing Street website.

At this stage they are not mandatory viewing and are not being beamed on all channels, internet streams, cinemas, sports stadia, and billboards simultaneously. One would guess that it will come as the Government gets ever more desperate. (Probably at about the same time they start filling in the voting papers for us).

Shhhh

It's been a quiet day in the home of the Gorse Fox. He has been working on a number of bits and pieces related to the (hopefully) upcoming project. Various governance, project, and configuration aspects... ready for calls tomorrow. There was a flurry of phone calls late in the day - but the rest was quiet.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What fun

GF has spent the last hour transcribing questionnaires into the computer - it would appear that filling in an online questionnaire is just to difficult for many. Understandable in the case of the more elderly... but not the rest.

Bad start

The Gorse Fox has not had a good start... he has spent the last hour working on the development of a project plan for a sub-project... and the software has just crashed, and the file is corrupt... so GF has to start again.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Death throws

The Gorse Fox notices that Rupert Murdoch is threatening to block Google from indexing his newspaper sites. Sounds like the the death throws of dead tree media that has been unable to adapt to the new world of the internet.
Smatterings of the recording industry and movie industry.

Plans

The Gorse Fox has had a busy day reviewing project plans and developing additional detail for aspects of the project. Unfortunately it looks as if the decision regarding the project is being delayed. Given some of the deadlines that the project faces - delays at this stage are not helpful - and it may mean that Starfleet are not going to be chosen to do it.

Once finished, plans continued to feature in his activities as he reviewed various plans in preparation for this week's Parish Council planning meeting on Thursday.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Content

It has been a most pleasant day with friends.

Waiting

As a gentle rain washes the south coast, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen await the arrival of Betty and Barney Rubble. A pleasant day is planned with lunch at the Thai restaurant in Rustington.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Continuing a theme

Continuing the theme that Gorse Fox started earlier today he has just read Clarkson's latest missive. Pure genius. GF only wishes he was as eloquent and reached as many readers.

He finishes:
I see no reason to be miserable. Yes, Britain now is worse than it’s been for decades, but the lunatics who’ve made it so ghastly are on their way out. Soon, they will be back in Hackney with their South African nuclear-free peace polenta. And instead the show will be run by a bloke whose dad has a wallpaper shop and possibly, terrifyingly, a twerp in Belgium whose fruitless game of hunt-the-WMD has netted him £15m on the lecture circuit.

Ah, maybe not

The Silver Vixen pointed out that it was bonfire night and that the barrage that had been going on for the last hour or two wasn't the Estate Defense Force snapping into action... but just neighbours having a parties.

Protection

Obviously the recent debate over security gates for the Estate has left some concerns over protection. Tonight the Gorse Fox has witnessed what seems like a scene from the first few days of the invasion of Baghdad. Rockets and various incendiaries rent the night sky as neighbours tried to get the range of some hidden intruders. Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) patrolled the skies over the estate looking for targets as the next barrage of missile was fired into the neighbours. Evidently there were some casualties as you could hear whoops of excitement across the gardens. (We have put the flak-jacket on the cat).

We take Estate security seriously here.

Upgrade

Whilst the Silver Vixen has been out with her coven, the Gorse Fox has made the most of the time and upgraded her laptop to Windows 7. Being and Acer, like GF's desktop, the driver disk he received yesterday was equipped with all of the relevant code. All went remarkably smoothly... and the long standing printer sharing problem we had experienced with Vista has melted away.

Research

Research published this week showed that when the sick give up hope they actually feel better. The Gorse Fox wondered to himself if that was the Government's strategy for the next election. Finally reduce the population to utter despair, hope that they give up - and then feeling better they vote again for the government that:

  • Destroyed the nation's pensions
  • Gave away its sovereignty
  • Sold its gold reserves at the low point of market
  • Presided over the biggest recession in living memory
  • Took us to war
  • Made us the most watched in the world
  • Added nearly 4000 new laws to the statute book
  • Promised a referendum in their manifesto - and refused to go to the country

and if the Gorse Fox could be bothered he could probably add several thousand more items to the list.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Reboot

The Gorse Fox was pleased when his nice Mr Postman dropped and envelope through the door containing the Windows 7 disks for his new computer. He was well prepared. Backups were done, spare drives spinning and hot (in case they were needed) and various articles reviewed to ensure there would be no unpleasant surprises.

CDs were duly inserted and the process began. Some 2 hours later it was over. Everything seems to work that worked before... and some things that were giving trouble - still give trouble (namely printing across the home network). Initial impressions are that Windows 7 is a lot faster than Vista.

Most satisfactory.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Response

The Gorse Fox responded to the invitation.

Dear xxxxx
I am indeed thrilled to be enrolled in the course identified below. I have studiously reviewed the attachments regarding the course and its logistics, but find no mention of any time-travel or time-travel enabled device. As the course was held three week ago, I will find attendance difficult without bending the space-time continuum (not currently in my research portfolio). I must therefore respectfully decline the offer to attend this course, and assume that as this was more than 14 days ago I will not be liable for the penalty charge.

Timetravel

Starfleet is an extraordinary organisation; perhaps the greatest technology company on the planet. There are times, however, that its mastery of technology defies the Gorse Fox. This very morning he has received a notification:

Your enrollment in TLMC4GB - Technical Leadership Communications Master Class has been approved, and you are confirmed, unless you are on the waitlist. If you are on the waitlist, you will receive a notification if your enrollment status changes. Your manager has been informed of your enrollment. 
Please add this offering to your calendar.  Please check for an attachment below regarding logistics.  If an attachment is included, it will contain important instructions that you must read. 
Is this so strange? Well as the course was scheduled and took place several weeks ago, the Gorse Fox can only assume that there is some new Wellsian means of transport available that GF hasn't yet come across. Maybe that is part of the reference to the logistics in the attachments

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Misread

The Gorse Fox misread the headline "Sinn Fein MPs should still be allowed to claim hotel expenses when in London"... thought it said explosives.

Ooops.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Nearly done

The Silver Vixen has been spending every spare minute for the last week or two trying to get one of her quilts finished. She's on the final leg as she completes the binding. The Gorse Fox has seem may quilts over the last few years - both close up and in photos. This one is a real masterpiece and whilst it has been time consuming and filled many months it is looking superb.

Town again

The Gorse Fox was back in London today. It was an interesting day - should we continue with the work, or should we call a halt. The pros and cons started to fill the slides, the sums started to stack one way, the reality of the project was on the brink. Recommendations were made - and now we wait.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Legend of Sleepy Hellhole

The Gorse Fox had to make his way to "The Department" today. This was his first meeting with them for many, many months. With a spring in his step he bounded from the train and skipped away from Victoria heading for one of many indistinguishable government buildings. Despite yesterday's rain it was bright and sunny and a pleasure to be out and about.

He sprung, cat-like, into the Square and entered the building.

It was at this point that a pall of depression descended. Whilst awaiting his escort for the building, he watched as faceless, humourless zombies shuffled in and out of the airlocks, sneaking outside for a cigarette or wandering off to some meaningless meeting in some remote building or office. The Teddy Bear arrived to escort the Gorse Fox to his meeting room. The recently refurbished offices were chaotic and untidy. More of the Zombies sat there staring at the glowing screens in front of them. Their hands clattered occasionally against the keyboards. Propaganda was hanging from the pin boards and walls. Lighting was reminiscent of a Tromso back street in mid-winter. It was good to be back at the heart of Government, knowing that their collective finger was firmly on the pulse.

The meeting revealed much that the Gorse Fox chooses not the share at this time. He would say, however, that as he left he heaved a huge sigh of relief.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Free speech

Not with this Government. If the science doesn't fit the political method then silence the scientists. That's what has happened to the Government drugs advisor. Disgraceful.

Contact

Delighted to have made contact with Cousteau-cub for the first time in weeks. Evidently they are working hard (with long hours) and have just moved into their own place closer to the dive shop.

Spelled G.N.U.

The Gorse Fox faced several problems during the on-going saga of Microsoft Money and personal finance software. (To recap - the files that MS Money creates on one machine do not work on the new machine - with exactly the same version of the MS Money software, and files it exports from old machine will not import into the new machine).
  • How would he structure the Spreadsheet to prove a single input sheet for transactions that automatically summarised them against separate account sheets?
  • How would he import OFX and QIF files into OOCalc?
The first issue was soon resolved with some judicious use of MATCH and OFFSET functions and GF was pleased to see the automatic population of individual account sheets from the input sheet. A test run of 1100 transactions was applied in the blink of an eye.

The second problem was more intractable. GF found a routine online that purported to meet the bill - but on examination of the detail it seemed to fail and just ignore certain transactions. Plan B might be to rewrite that code - but not wishing to gain a long-term maintenance load, GF decided to review once more the product he examined yesterday.

Eventually he downloaded the open source GnuCash. It immediately was able to consume all the files that Microsoft had barfed on and in about 3 minutes GF had a working personal finance system again. The underlying paradigm is a little different and will take some acclimatisation, but so far it looks pretty good. He'll stick with it for now and keep the OOCalc sheet as Plan C!

If it can...

As November starts with a vengeful blast of torrential rain and high winds - the Gorse Fox reflects on the fact that Urban-cub was meant to be accompanying a friend of hers to an external photo shoot. He suspects this falls under one of Murphy's many Laws.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Obviously

Today, being Hallowe'en is obviously one of the busiest days of the year for the Silver Vixen and her coven. Appropriately they have had an Open Day at the local centre - though they had the advantage they didn't have to do anything out of the ordinary in terms of dressing up. Their normal wear for these occasions was more than adequate.

Money

The Gorse Fox used to manage his personal finances with Quicken... until the Y2K changes and their eventaul withdrawal for UK finances. He then converted to MS Money which he found counter intuitive (little joke there for the cognoscenti) and at times obtuse. Now MS have said they are withdrawing support from 2011 - and GF is having major difficulties moving his existing data to his new computer.

In fact it is these migration difficulties that are the primary frustration that makes him think that this could well be the time to convert to a new personal finance manager suite. Well it would if there was an obvious alternative! GF has spent the last few hours looking at various programs but does not feel an overwhelming gravitational pull to any of them. He has now spent 15 minutes on the whiteboard and sketched out a data model and set of functional requirements and is trying to resist the urge to write one from scratch... or even to create a spreadsheet solution.

Tragedy?

The Gorse Fox notices the headline "Coyotes Kill Canadian Folk Singer".

Whilst not underestimating the sorrow this must bring on her family, he would observe that some forms of music should be limited to small groups of consenting adults - far from the tender ears of other human beings and wildlife. Folk music, Country music, and C&W music all fall into this category. He would assert that had these coyotes not taken matters into their own hands jaws, a call to the Canadian RSPCA or Humane Society would have been warranted.

He suspects the real tragedy here is that in this day and age, Folk, Country and C&W music are still practised and not consigned to the pages of history - like other medieval forms of torture.

Friday, October 30, 2009

AGM

Well the Gorse Fox should report back on last night's AGM. He would report that the expectation of fireworks was not realised and at best it may be considered that the masterful eloquence of the chairman headed off the crisis and left us with a (thankfully) damp squib.
The Gorse Fox was immensely pleased that the re-election of Directors saw no change in the current Board. They work so hard on our behalf and get little thanks for their efforts so it was good that the majority recognised this and voted them back in.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hail to the Chief

The EU - whose accounts have not been ratified for years and seems to be riddled with dubious practices and expenses has been told by Gordon Brown (one of our parliamentarians who has had trouble with expenses) has that Tony Blair (who's idea of the truth is whatever the audience want to hear) would make and ideal President.

Well lets just say they all deserve each other...

The problem is we don't deserve them... why should we be punished.

Disconcert

The Gorse Fox was somewhat disconcerted as he walked into his meeting. There was nobody in attendance that he had ever met before. Despite this one Starfleet member said, as he shook hands,  "Ahh, the Gorse Fox!". That's not what it says on the id badge he wears, and he thought he travelled incognito (or sometimes by train)... but he he was recognised. Evidently infamy spreads like H1N1.

Lakes

The Gorse Fox finds himself in offices overlooking a wildlife reserve and some lakes. Most scenic. (He was also delighted that the journey was so trouble-free given that it involved a long section of M25).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Smack down

The Gorse Fox attended a seminar at Starfleet's headquarters. The subject was the proposed changes to the pension scheme and the meeting was intriguing, following the pattern of so many similar sessions:

  • Attendees spread themselves out across the auditorium
  • The presentation started and question were asked. The people at the back asked for the questions to repeated as they couldn't hear - good practise for the presenters, but they kept forgetting. The people at the back kept complaining, but were evidently unable to move forward to an empty seat closer. (The room was only half full).
  • Every statement made was forensically examined and attempts were made to pick holes with hypothetical cases and situations. (It reminded the Gorse Fox of sitting in class watching the clever boys trying to catch out the teacher). There was a degree of satisfaction when they failed to find a case that hadn't been thought through already.
  • The meeting over ran
But unlike most meetings - no mobile phones interrupted and nobody was tapping away at their laptops. The Gorse Fox would guess that people were actually interested in their pension provision. He expects to see a lot of very good colleagues leaving over the next few months.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teleport or avatar

The Gorse Fox wishes that someone would hurry up and develop a teleporter. He has spent several hours on a teleconference which linked him in with a workshop being conducted in West London. It soon became clear that those present were spread out and would walk as far away from the phone as possible whenever they had something to say... the whole call seemed like a series of mutterings with occasional bursts of lucidity (mmm, sounds a bit like the Gorse Fox himself). A teleporter would have been useful, enabling him to dissociate his atoms and reassemble them in the workshop - or better still have a virtual holographic presence that could attend on GF's behalf and bring back the significant notes, actions, and messages.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Telegraph states the obvious

The headline in the linked story "Modern man had sex with Neanderthals" explains so much. It would appear that there must still be plenty of opportunity judging by some the sights that are seen on Friday nights around the country.

Battle Lines

This week sees the AGM for the owners of the Estate.

It is clear that battle lines are being drawn. Cheerleaders(*) for one faction turned up at the door checking the level of support that could be expected. The Gorse Fox answered truthfully that he felt fairly neutral on the subject. He expects, however, that this is going to be a fractious debate on Thursday - should we declare independence, build a wall and become a protectorate with biometric access controls(**) through electronic gates, or just carry on as we are with security guards?

(*) no pom-poms or batons were involved in this exchange.
(**) ok, the walls, the protectorate and the biometrics were an exaggeration

Leaves

The advantage of working at home is that you can be on hand to deal with any minor domestic emergencies. The call went up from the kitchen "The sink isn't emptying".

A cursory examination led the Gorse Fox outside where it was clear that the drain wasn't emptying either. A few minutes digging about with a long stick showed some improvement. It was not however the cure.

Opening the inspection hatch showed the problem to be further "downstream". Out came the stick again. A great wedge of leaves was dragged from the end of the pipe and within a second or two the problem cleared.

Emergency over, crisis averted.

Hyperbole

As the Gorse Fox prepares for another scintillating week he reflected on the news reports of previous few days. It occurs to him that if we are to believe what we read (which we perhaps we shouldn't) people have lost their sense of proportion. It would appear that in the papers:
  • Irritation regarding some event or action is designated ANGER or occasionally OUTRAGE
  • Disagreement over a principle is always FURY
  • A difference of opinion among colleagues is a REVOLT
  • The imposition of a regulation is a CRACK DOWN
  • A few letters of complaint make an OUTCRY or STORM
  • Speaking in public against some person or organisation is an ATTACK
  • Embarrassment over some misdemeanour or peccadillo is SHAME
  • Mild surprise is obviously described as SHOCK
  • A change of mind is an HUMILIATING U-TURN
Makes you wonder how people survive with such extreme emotions being vented all the time. The Gorse Fox would love to read a headline: "Opposition Expresses Irritation at the Government's Stance".

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall back

The Gorse Fox had trouble making use of the extra hour afforded by the overnight (ridiculous) clock change. He's not good at staying in bed and needs to get up as soon as he wakes.

The morning was spent doing Parish Council stuff - reading planning applications and preparing the answers from our questionnaires for printing. It was a lazy day with bits of admin, some football, and some cooking. Unfortunately the clock change did change GFs perception of time and by the time he remembered to call Cousteau-cub it was too late. She is now seven hours ahead and a call at 16:30 our time would not be appreciated on Koh Lanta.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Venta Bulgarum


Rain washed the southern counties as the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed westwards. Traffic was slow, and the journey round the Noviomagus Reginorum was intolerable. The 90 minutes the Gorse Fox had allowed to get to Venta was evidently going to be insufficient. He was just considering suggesting a call when the phone rang. It was the Silver Vixen's sister and her cohort. They we having equal trouble in traffic around Bicester and it was evident we would arrive late.

In the scheme of things GF and the SV arrived first and made our way to the courtyard cafe behind the Tourist Information office. It was clear they were having a bad day. Whilst awaiting our coffee two or three people returned to the counter to complain... thoughts of having lunch there were quickly dispelled. The Buckingham cohort arrived and after a brief conversation we decided to eat first in the hope that the weather would break. We selected a Chinese on the roundabout by the King Alfred statue. It was empty and easily accommodated the rag tag party. The food was adequate but not great - but at least the company was fun.

Leaving there we strolled up the High Street for some window shopping. The Gorse Fox remained outside as there were various sorties into one shop or other. GF was more intrigued watching Hermiones, Jocastas, Jameses, Charleses, and Henrys as they wandered back and forth discussing the relative merits of Winchester fashion (tweed or twill and brogues).

We continued but it was soon clear that certain unnamed members of the party were already craving their next fix of tea. Rolling round by the Cathedral we stopped in their courtyard cafe for tea. Before we knew it our time was expiring at the car parks and it was time to say goodbye and get back on the road
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Stone Age

It's been a strange week.

This is the week where we have heard more about the explosive growth of the world population and the challenge of feeding them... and that same week where the liberal elite have railed against GM crops and from their comfy homes near Waitrose would happily condemn the poor of the world to starvation rather than allow "scientists" to improve yields, improve disease resistance, and improve drought tolerance through genetic engineering.

This is the week where there was furore over the BBC (of whom the Gorse Fox is no fan) giving an elected politician a seat on "Question Time" and whilst our soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan to bring democracy and free speech - there were demonstrations and attempts to prevent him speaking here. The Gorse Fox utterly and unequivocally condemns what Nick Griffin stands for - but he has the right to his perverse opinion and he was elected based on that opinion. This peculiar exercise is in danger of turning him from a pariah to a victim.

This was a week where Starfleet is encouraging us all to improve our "Market Value Skills" and giving us a list of courses that may help. This is also a week when they have cancelled all training for the 4th quarter.

This is a week when Starfleet is talking about diversity and complaining there are insufficient numbers of women in top jobs. This is also the week they admit that only 9% of applicants are women, and and we have an 18% attrition rate among female staff.

This a week when Windows 7 is launched. This is also the wek the Gorse Fox finally feels he has got to grips with Vista, and it isn't that bad.

This is a week when satire could write itself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ASA

Gorse Fox just lost it. He remembered a TV advert that he saw on Tuesday, and he lost it. He decided to write to the Advertising Standards Authority...
The advert was from Action on CO2

The Advert shows an adult reading a bedtime story to a young girl. The story is written as a frightening fairy story and talks of huge floods and destruction and boldly claims that "scientists" believe etc... 
I would assert that at best "some" scientists believe that human produced CO2 is contributing to global warming. Similarly there are many scientists that don't agree... and recently it has been shown that the data upon which much of this supposition is based has been shown to be fraudulent.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A34

The Gorse Fox had a meeting in Warwick. He likes Warwick, but from home it is an unpleasant drive invoolving the A27, M27, M3, A34 and M40 and given that the meeting was scheduled for midday, meant leaving home at the peak of the rush hour.

The journey was made bearable by the company of the Silver Vixen who GF would drop off at Bicester for some shopping - other than that it was a catalogue of roadworks, tailbacks, and trucks playing leapfrog. Depsite everything SV was dropped off in time, and GF arrived at Starfleet's Warwick facility in plenty of time for the meeting.

Whilst there he bumped into several old friends - each seriously shafted by the pension changes (each being a few years younger than GF). It is a sorry state of affairs when the promises made, and repeated year after year are suddenly turned to dust and the future you had planned is ripped away in the name of credit crunch, of affordability, and of "good business sense". The Gorse Fox should point out that Starfleet is still making significant amounts of money and is significantly out-performing the market and the industry. GF feels so sorry for these colleagues and is thankful that because of his age he is not so badly affected. Evidently all of the trite phrases regarding ethics and moral responsibility don't apply to the company's treatment of the staff on their expectations of the staff.

The meeting went well and GF was back on the road by mid-afternoon. The Silver Vixen was collected and we headed home. Nearly seven hours in the car, all told, for a 2 hour meeting.

Working at home tomorrow. Not expecting too much traffic in the kitchen or the hall on the way to the study.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Text

The Gorse Fox knows that the youngsters (anyone less than 40) have the art of sending text messages from mobile phones down to a fine art. Human evolution will probably develop another mutation over the next few generations with even longer and stronger thumbs and the inability of the mouth to form vowel sounds. It is with this in mind that GF noticed the efforts to which the Silver Vixen was going in order to respond to a text message.

Ripping off his disguise in a handy phone booth he swooped to her aid and set up her Skype account to handle external calls and collaterally SMS messages. It always seems so much easier to type on a real keyboard than fiddle about with a mobile phone for text applications.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pottering

A quiet day of pottering through reviews and software catalogues looking for the best solution for the bid... meanwhile waiting to hear about another chunk of work whilst trying not to get committed to anything long-term in the interim.

GF ordered Windows 7 today. It comes a free upgrade to his new PC, so he put the request in and it should be dispatched on or after 22/10.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Twitter

Twitter is so interesting... it truncates messages to 140 characters and by the time you have a URL within the text you get some intriguing headlines. An example is one that just popped up from the BBC News site:
A date has been given when Wales' first minister will find out whether the public want more powers for the ass...
Seems somehow appropriate.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Admin

The day was spent buried in administrivia. The high spot was when the Silver Vixen posed a problem regarding the scaling up of a diagram for use as a pattern on her quilt. This got the little grey cells working furiously to try and find a suitable way of redrawing the pattern (which was like a two-dimensional double helix of wide ribbon) on the computer such that it could be scaled.

Inkscape was duly installed and fired up, but GF hasn't used for a year or so (in fact since the last challenge of the same type - though different shape). He fiddled about for a bit... and then thought "what about scanning it and then just scaling the scanned image" - the simple solutions are often best. And so it was that the scanner consumed the image and it was stretched to required size and printed.

Job done.

Good Evans

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen met up, as planned, with his sister and brother-in-law. The Mulberry, now that the kitchens have be restored after the fire, was a welcoming as ever. The food excellent, the service attentive, and the ambience perfect for an evening out.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Surf's Up

Well that's exciting. The Gorse Fox got his invite to join Google Wave (thanks to M4tt). He is not quite sure how useful it will be until friends, colleagues, family and collaborators are also on board... but it does look interesting.

Day was spent looking at various software distribution strategies. Just research... but amazed how complex people make it.

Planning to meet up with GF's sister and brother-in-law for dinner. This means heading up north as soon as GF finishes work as we are to meet and eat at Mulberry Grill up in the distant tundra of mid-Surrey.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sport

The Gorse Fox notices that the Daily Mail is featuring the 50 greatest sporting photos of all time. What interests him is the photo of Maradonna's handball in the World Cup.
That is not a sporting photo.
That is a photo of cheating - not sport.

More peace

It has been another quiet, though busy day. Not a day filled with excitement and wonder, nor travel and awe. Just quiet research, reviews and write-ups.

At the end of the working day the Gorse Fox also had the opportunity to play with Wordpress on his private "meta-"blog on his new machine. This had been fine, but lacked the final touches that allowed GF to extract these blog entries and deposit them into the aforementioned meta-blog. He had trouble installing the Zend Framework and once that was sorted, he found a bug in Zend's Gdata app which provided the link to Google's blogger. Once that was sorted everything burst into life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Not a day that would rate as interesting, but certainly busy. Now a quiet evening in front of the England-Belarus game.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quiet (-ish)

The Gorse Fox had a day's vacation. The Silver Vixen had an appointment at the hospital and GF was determined he would accompany her. Being first thing, this meant an early start but also meant that all was over and done with by mid morning. GF was very impressed with the local hospital at Goring Hall - it was his first visit there and he was surprised by its size and the friendliness of the staff.

The Silver Vixen was heartened by the visit, and spent a quiet afternoon with her fabrics. The Gorse Fox returned to his keyboard. He thought he should look at producing a paper version of this blog. He had written some suitable extraction and formatting code a few months back so decided to give it a whirl. He extracted the entries for 2005 - and then opened them up in Open Office to edit them.

This is where he found two things:

  1. He really should proof-read what he writes - there were far too many typos and spelling errors.
  2. Maybe he shouldn't print it after all. (2005 would have run to 421 pages of A4). Maybe he'll just keep the pdf !