Sunday, 31 August 2014

I can cook!

And the end result

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Migraine trigger?

No migraine for nearly a week! What changed?

I thought it very strange that for several days I got a migraine around 7am.

Well, I have a clue. I realised I had woken early with a cracked lip and used some of this blistex relief cream.

It contains Stong Ammonia. Googling Ammonia and Migraines suggests there may in fact be a link.

I am a little reluctant to do a positive test, but having stopped using this I have not had a migraine since.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

I've got your six

The rate of change of technology over the last few decades seems to be even faster than any time before. It is not that surprising, and it is clearly an interesting time in which to be alive.

I recall a conversation when I was younger with someone explaining that there was (of course) a time before traffic lights when busy junctions had a policeman directing traffic. It is interesting seeing old films that show that, and some horse drawn vehicles.

What I find especially interesting is technologies that are vanishing from the face of the earth so completely that anyone younger than a certain age has no clue what the hell you are talking about.

Things like the "Phone box" are vanishing quickly. The rotary dial telephone is so unusual there is a whole generation that would have a had time recognising it as a phone, let alone using it. And an audio cassette tape would baffle them. I have heard people very confused by the concept of paper maps even!

It is especially interesting when you have technology that was new when I was younger and has now almost completely vanished in just a few short decades - like the "CD".

Watch Back to The Future II - it amusing how they assume CD and video disks will be with us so much in 2015 and still have phone boxes! The barcode number plate is especially amusing - realising that a machine readable ID is needed in the future but not realising that computers will be able to read letters or more likely that cars will all have real time wireless location reporting as a normal feature some day.

I was today trying to clarify some artwork for an engraving job, and got the very sensible answer: "The notch goes at 9 o'clock". But it struck me, I am not sure my kids would know what was meant by that phrase. A "traditional" analogue clock face is getting rarer and rarer these days. It won't be long before phrases like "I've got your six" lose all original meaning and become one of those strange quirks of English (or possibly American) language.

As I say, an interesting time in which to live.

When does the taste not matter?

I have some nice whisky from the Scottish Malt Whisky Society.

I am actually quite pleased that I joined - previously whisky did not hold much appeal - it was always a bit rough and after a few shots you started not to notice.

Then I was given a bottle of G7.4 which was, well, just really really nice. I have tried several of their whiskies since. I don't like the peaty once, and prefer those that are slightly sweeter.

These are not cheap bottles, but they last a while and are quite strong (sometimes up to 60% ABV).

I got some bottles for various friends once I joined, and I am told by Simon that we spoiled him and his dad for drinking normal whisky for weeks.

I was however making the joke that someone told me about not drinking any whisky aged less that you are yourself, and realised that a 50+ aged whisky would be pretty rare and expensive. Someone pointed out Glenfiddich Glenfiddich 50 Year Old at a mere £19,995.00 (plus £5.95 shipping). Now clearly that is crazy.

I did look on the society list and did not find any 50 years aged, but I did find an interesting bottle (pictured) 35.101 which is £280, aged 39 years, and looks nice. The clincher was that it was distilled on my 10th birthday, so I decided to order a bottle. Just the one :-)

The problem is, at that price, it is £10 per 25ml shot of whisky FFS! OK, I am pretty sure I have been in bars that charge nearly that before, but still, this is an expensive bottle.

So, I'll find a special occasion to drink it I think. Alex suggested "Friday" constituted such a "special occasion", but I am unconvinced. I just hope it does taste nice. I do think an occasion to try and share it with some people that will appreciate it will be sensible. Maybe I should do a garage warming party...

But you have to wonder - at what point is it simply too expensive to drink. A £20k bottle clearly is never expected to be opened. At that price, it could be vinegar for all you know as nobody will ever be able to afford to try it, or to risk that having tried it they did not like it!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Scottish Broadband?

We don't currently offer services to people in other countries. We are simply not set up to do that.

If Scotland did become a separate country, what would that mean?

From a simple engineering point of view, we would not expect much to change. I am sure BT would continue to offer services in Scotland, or set up a separate company to do so, and would still provide the same sort of backhaul to allow us to offer services. The engineering is likely to be simple - good!

But trading with a different county has a lot of possible implications.
  • We may have to be VAT registered in that country, and collect and pay VAT to their VAT office.
  • We may have to pay corporation tax to that county.
  • We may have to do currency exchange on payments.
  • We may have to pay surcharges on international bank payments even if in same currency.
  • The legal implications if someone did not pay, and how we would sue them, could get a lot more complex.
  • We may have to be part of that countries ADR scheme.
  • We may have to deal with their telecoms regulator.
  • Shipping routers may cost a lot more and may involve customs.
Broadband is not a high margin business at the best of times, and all of this extra burden is a cost that may mean it is simply not viable for a small ISP to bother.

Obviously we can't say for sure what would happen - nobody knows the details, assuming Scotland even votes for a split, but it sounds like hassle to me.

So I wonder how many ISPs and other service businesses based in England would simply cut off Scotland, just because of simple commercial common sense.

One also wonders on impact for the likes of BT. The currently have a universal service obligation so the considerable extra costs of serving some Scottish islands are aggregated over the whole business. With no OFCOM, they may be able to charge Scots the actual cost of serving those communities. That may, of course, mean we have to pay a lot more for tails in Scotland too.

Monday, 25 August 2014


A couple of years ago I had my first ever migraine, and it was scary as fuck.

For the first time ever my vision was broken, I could not see properly on one side, and the effect was growing. Lasted half an hour or so, and then I had a "thick head" for a while and was generally not feeling well. A second incident a week later and I went and got my head examined (nice MRI images) and told "tough" it was a migraine.

I have had a handful since, but the last few weeks they are way worse. Several days running. On top of which I am getting migraine-like cluster headaches (with no aura) after a bit too much drink. The latest migraine was after two days not drinking (I had orange juice at the school reunion even) so there is more at play than just one trigger here.

The only clue is my blood pressure may have started to get high, so I'll be on pills for that soon. Let's hope that is it.

This afternoon I had a migraine again, so decided that I may as well have a few drinks this evening - we'll see what the hell happens.

Update: Well I did not get a headache all night which was great news, sadly I got a migraine with aura at 7am, but those are way less hassle as I can just go back to sleep for a couple of hours. And now (10am) I feel fine.

Photo sniping?

Well, we know what photobombing is but I was not sure if there was a word for another practice with photography.

It is a bit rude, but it is somehwat showing off and so hard to avoid if you have a nice camera.

You see someone at an event, and they have a group of people posing for a shot. They are trying to take a picture with some compact or, more often these days, a camera phone. Even more amusing if the person taking the picture has not used the camera/phone before so has no clue what button to press. Even so, they take an age to frame the shot, and get it to focus, and then delay on shutter button, maybe even a double flash to kill red-eye (by ensuring everyone has blinked and closed their eyes, or whatever).

Anyway, in the time they have composed the shot you have rattled off half a dozen shots, different angles, close up, wide angle, portrait, landscape, all done at a nice low f/2 or some such giving the background some blur with no shutter delay, near instant focus, and 18+ mega pixels. All before they have managed to work out which button to press.

I found myself doing it a couple of times at the school reunion this weekend where I was sort of unofficial photographer. Sorry.

It is clearly a bit mean. But what do we call it, apart from just "being a prick"?