April 30th, 2011

Buns and random

1. Discovered, which was kind of obvious when I saw a photo of him, that Ben Aaronovitch of Rivers Of London fame is the brother of David Aaronovitch (and they have another brother, an actor of whom I have never heard). I wonder what lunchtime conversations in that family are like? Doctor Who or Marxism-Leninism and 'how I was wrong about Iraq'?

2. Rivers Of London really is rather good, found myself rereading it. Better than the sequel though.

3. It was the ceremonial bun throwing today. Failed to catch any buns, we were much too far back. Slightly strange as the town hall is covered in scaffolding. The Mayor, who is about three, was up there with his mayoral chain. The year before last he came along for the glamorous post-marathon buffet for marshals and other helpers in the bar of the running track, when he was deputy mayor. Will he and the glorious one-party rule of the town council survive the local elections I wonder? The coverage on YouTube is frankly better than the 30 seconds on the ITV website, though the ITV guy was up in the window of one of the coffee shops in the market square. A BBC guy was wandering round with a microphone, not sure whether he was live or doing a recording. (Some of you may remember that one of my colleagues used to work in BBC Local Radio, but said that he had done one outside broadcast from a village fete too many, so gave it up to work in software - I heard from him this week, he is now working for gaming company in Gibraltar (I assume 'gaming' in the 'poker' sense - he says half the companies there are gaming and the other half dodgy off-shore banking)).

4. The 'new' car, though lacking a DAB radio has quite a good FM radio, so I can pick up BBC London or whatever they are calling it these days. The slightly inexplicable Robert Elms seems to be on an implausibly large percentage of the time - perhaps it should be renamed Robert Elms 24. I seem to remember they used to rather overwork people, I think at one point Gideon Coe and Fi Glover were doing the breakfast show 6 days a week until finally Fi Glover disappeared. FM is much more forgiving than DAB in terms of signal, and I think being able to get BBC London in the car has improved my mood somewhat overall. The equivalent DAB signal barely makes it to the M25.

5. Still not convinced by this Kindle thing, notably the inability to lend people books.

6. The transition to Windows 7 on both my work PC and my home PC has caused a certain amount of low level irk. The main thing to be honest is the fact that the new work PC has Access 2007. I had 2003 on my old PC but mainly used 2000, as one of the irksome bugs I have to work round had been fixed in 2003 but that didn't seem worth the effort of migrating. 2007 has the wretched ribbon bar thing, and seems to have most of the misfeatures that 2000 has, notably a debugger which will only show the first 250 odd characters of strings. It is not like string characters are rare and valuable commodities any more. Mutter mutter. I suppose the good thing, on some level, is that the increased number of keystrokes etc. required to do various things may drive me to automate some semi-automated processes I have been merrily running every few months for years.

7. Somewhat boggled by the fact that 3000 odd Symbian staff are transferring to Accenture from Nokia, and that Nokia are closing their whole Farnborough office (as far as I can make out). Mind you, when I worked in Farnborough it were all fields...
I cannot comprehend what it is like to work on a bit of software with 3000 people working on it. Though perhaps that was their problem. And what will Accenture do with them? I suppose the idea is that they work on it and gradually get redeployed / thrown out.
Along with Andrew Orlowski, who is the only person apart from me who I have seen made this point, I am struck that this is the only significant European platform going down in flames, and despite fantasies of a friction-free world, this sort of thing does seem to matter, and it would be nice if the happy world of European social democracies with decent welfare states looks like it could sustain some toehold in the technology world.
[And people still seem to be developing software using Qt, now owned by Nokia, Microsoft's new bestest buddies. That seems to me like [slightly distasteful simile redacted]].
I suppose I will have to learn to love the O.S. owned by the creepy ad broking firm. Though there is a fine commercial for it in Korea, anyway, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZyYSiAUyC4

8. Talking of ad campaigns, why did the Yes2AV campaign not run something like the 'I'll AV a beer' ad?