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November 06, 2009

and so another day begins

Its been a long time coming but here at last you can feel the onset of winter. This morning on the way into work it was cold, misty and there was a just a hint of frost – fantastic! I love sharp mornings.

early morning near Shustoke, Warks

and so another day begins


November 04, 2009

Costly – I dont think so

Follow-up to Toyota Blues from 353 Rant and Rave

For information, the Toyota F1 budget was estimated to be around $300 million. This accounts for about 0.1% of their revenue, hardly a significant amount in the context of the Worlds largest automaker. As a proportion of their losses it amounts to about 6% so a bit more of a cost but now they aren’t able to suggest in any way that they have a racing pedigree, and they wont get any television advertisng – Oh how Honda must be crying in their beer this year – will we say the same about Toyota next year?

Toyota = DULL DULL DULL is that what they want to say?

FI is it Costly – I dont think so


Toyota Blues

So, the inevitable has happened and Toyota F1 have left the room.

Only this morning I was writing some lecture notes on the subject of cultural transformation and lean and added a slide with Toyota F1 as the subject.

The Toyota F1 team failed to win a single race in 139 attempts (or rather just under 278 given that there are two cars in a team) – pathetic.

Why? why with all the money they spent, having hired designers with a good track record and with half-decent drivers, did they fail so badly?

Where is their long-term commitment? They started in 2001 so that is only 8 years – small beer compared to their much promoted long-term outlook in other aspects of their business. On the same day GM have announced that they won’t sell-off the Opel and Vauxhall operations after all, Toyota follow Honda down the road of surrender (unlike them surely).

Could it be that the Toyota Way just isn’t the way to achieve success in F1? And if so, why did Toyota start down this path in the first place? Could they not see that F1 is a dynamic, innovative and individualistic enterprise. The formula is always changing, from year to year there are changes in what you can and cannot do. Could they not see that their culture is not suited to F1. Were they so naive as to not recognise this at the outset or did they think that their methods were so superior that success was inevitable?

I’m sad that Toyota have succumbed to short-term pressures. This puts into doubt much of what observers say is special about them. I hope that the team get saved because there is a base on which to build. I’m sad that Toyota haven’t been able to learn how to win in F1, I expected more of them. I wonder what is going to happen to Kobayashi who seems a worthy contender.

Having said this, a little part of me is shouting Yes Yes Yes. There is a place still for the enthusiastic amateur, the passionate entreprenuer, the techno/political genius who is prepared to do the whacky thing and make it work. The small guy who just wants to race.

Lastly though I am left with a feeling of disappointment, a feeling of Toyota Blues.


April 30, 2008

Harmonisation

Apparently the University is planning to harmonise something. I don’t know what is being harmonised but think this may be it….

...I think we are all going to be given special discounts on Jaguar motor cars and as a test of this Porters have been allocated ‘S’ class Jaguars to replace their existing vans – good luck to them but I would’ve thought that a more environmentally sensitive solution would be for senior officers to be given vans.

Spotted today on Library Rd today:

First park your car

and in the window


January 10, 2008

It really isn't rocket science

Two rants:
1)
  • Gina McKee! Learn to speak English!
  • C4, if you are going to make a serious programme about the end of the World (1983: The Brink Of Apocalypse January 5 2008, at 7.30pm.) then employ a narrator who can pronounce the word nuclear and not someone who says “nucular”.
  • “New Clear”, its not difficult.

2)
Mathematics Dept. I thought you were brainy types. Why then, in seminar room MS.B3.03, is the data lecturn on the left side of the room and the data projector on the right side (a good 10m away)?

It really isn’t rocket science.


December 13, 2007

UK Student VISAs

Follow-up to Its Balls Ed but not as we know it from 353 Rant and Rave

Its not a rumour, its true.

See the guidance notes published by Her Majestry’s Government at
http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/VAF3Guidance-10Dec07.pdf

However, I’m not absolutely sure about the number of existing Visa Application Centres (VAC) in China will be providing the biometric scanning. The most recent information I could find was:

  1. Beijing,
  2. Shenyang,
  3. Jinan,
  4. Wuhan,
  5. Shanghai,
  6. Hangzhou,
  7. Nanjing,
  8. Guangzhou,
  9. Shenzhen,
  10. Fuzhou,
  11. Chongqing and
  12. Chengdu.

So perhaps it wont be quite so bad – it will still be a nightmare though.


December 11, 2007

Its Balls Ed but not as we know it

Rave of the day are the images of noctilucent clouds that were referred to on the BBC News website today. I chose one as my new desktop wallpaper and its looks pretty neat. I never get tired of just looking at nature.

Rant of the day is really rant of the last few days (well, just one of them if the truth be told – I really am getting to be a grumpy old git). From rumours I’ve heard it seems the government is doing its best to destroy the University system in the UK by making it difficult for overseas students to come here. Now, no doubt they will say that it has something to do with Homeland Security but if so are they over-reacting, has the knee jerked a bit too far? Will we partly secure ourselves from a limited threat whilst at the same time undermining the nation’s place in the World.

Are we cutting off our nose to spite our face

The gist of what I’ve heard is that:
  1. Student Visas will only be granted for unconditional offers
  2. Visa applicants will need to be fingerprinted
The problems:
  1. Unconditional offers can only be made after exam results are known so this means visa applications can only start then. ... so, the Immigration officials will have to process pretty much all the students in an 8 week period just when they are all taking holidays – Brilliiant!
  2. Fingerprinting can only take place in a very limited number of places – fine if you live in Singapore but crap if you live in China where students may need to travel hundreds of miles to get a print before completing their application and probably finding that the queues stretch to … Singapore.

Back to my original point…Due to chronic underfunding, the University system here in the UK depends on the income generated by overseas students. China is far and away the biggest source of these students. We really have a problem with ‘anti-social’ behaviour from China don’t we? We can really do without them can’t we? Can we? We really don’t need a healthy higher education system (where will provide all these teachers Masters courses that Ed Speaks Balls – his Lakota Sioux name- is on about? China perhaps – ooops thats another rant).

Oh well, here’s sock of the day.
Sock5
Its Balls Ed but not as we know it.


November 24, 2007

Blood and no Bollocks

Movie image
Title:
Beowulf
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Before going I really wasn’t sure that I’d like this animated movie. I remember seeing an animated version of Lord of the Rings years ago and wasn’t impressed, hence my reserve.

Another reason for being uncertain was that I’d also heard the Beowulf story at a proper adult story telling at one of the MAC adult storytelling evenings a few years ago and really enjoyed it. So, I wondered whether this movie would live up to my hopes.

I needn’t have worried, the movie works well – it is after all a bloody good story that has lasted over 1,000 years.

Its a 12A rated film and I wouldn’t recommend that any younger children see it as there is blood and gore in abundance, limbs being ripped off, bodies torn in half, heads chewed, eyes stabbed and a heart ripped pulsing from the chest of a dragon.

Beowulf likes getting his kit off but, like Kenny Everett: “Its all done in the best possible taste” : just as the ‘camera’ scans down his naked body Wiglaf walks into shot and hides the money shot. Beowulf is THE archetypal Alpha Male but also a big show off and the film portrays this well. There is some wenching and bawdy songs are sung.

At only 114 minutes Beowulf is quite short but the advantage is that there aren’t any boring sub-plots or irrelevant diversions.

If you are after laughs then this isn’t for you but if like many you didn’t read English at Oxford and have only really heard of Beowulf as a name then go and see it.

Summary:Action, adventure, myth, blood and no bollocks.


A big glass of mead for Beowulf.

Its all death and destruction today I’m afraid. I’ve just returned home from watching Beowulf and am now writing this entry and rewatching House of Flying Daggers (drinking a bottle of Tsingtao – my favourite Chinese beer – seems appropriate and later I will drink some mead in honour of Beowulf).

I managed to last 3 hours shopping today. Thats a record for me I think but bargains were had. I was after some new jeans and jeans are always a problem for me because I have long but skinny legs. I was after Rush style jeans from Lee but they didn’t have any in Slaters, nor in House of Fraser but I did eventually find some not-half-bad ones in GAP. The plus point of this is that a friend who we met in the shop by chance gave us a 30% off voucher – RESULT!

This wasn’t the end of the bargains, however, as I needed some new shirts and Lewins was just around the corner. What luck! it was Lewins ‘birthday’ and for the small price of an e-mail address they were selling £50 shirts for only £25, ties for 15 and, if you spent over £60, giving away £50 cufflinks – for free! So I saved approximately £135.

3 in 1 outdoor jackets were the last bargain at 20% off RRP. A very snazzy Berghaus Trojan Jacket for me (the liner makes me look like a character from Space 1999) and a North Face for MDW.

Total ‘saving’ for the day=£218.

So this evening… went to see Beowulf for which I have written a short review. Summary: surprisingly good.

Before I post SotD I must go and pour myself a big glass of mead for Beowulf.

Sock5


November 19, 2007

Snow was deep and crisp and even

I’ve been lazy and haven’t been keeping up to date with SotD so here it is before i forget.
Sock2

We had planned going for a walk yesterday but the weather was miserable so stayed in instead. In the evening went to visit some friends to see their new baby and surprise surprise when we came out it had been snowing like there was no tomorrow, real blizzard conditions – I nearly missed a T junction on the way back it was so thick. Even this morning after overnight rain the snow was deep and crisp and even.


November 15, 2007

Rather plain ones with holes in

A busy day and one that started with deep frost on the car and fog on the road, Winter is really giving sign of being just around the corner.
I managed to get to grips with some software in preparation for teaching next week but there is still a lot to do. It looks like I will be busy working this weekend.
I went to the library and checked out a book that looked quite promising – at least from its title – but when I got down to scanning it properly realised that is wasn’t very informative. In fact it was downright staid. Rather than being visionary it has nothing to recommend it – anyone with a slight appreciation of the internet could have written it. So don’t waste your time on Roadmap to the e-Factory by Beavers (2001). Instead, have a nice drink (I made a very nice Dry Martini when I got home) curl up on the sofa, close your eyes and think – you will learn more.

Very discomforting news item about the way disabled children in Serbia are treated. You’d have thought they might have learned from the Romanian orphanage stories a few years back. Tried to watch Pan’s Labyrinth but it was too much like hard work after a long day so saw instead the best item on the telly : Hugh Fearnly-Whittingwahtchumie’s Gone Fishing programme and had a bottle of Leffe Brune.

Finally, rather plain ones with holes in:
Sock4


November 14, 2007

Whats so bad about the iPhone camera?

Driving in to work at this time of year I often see fantastic sunrises. This may not be the most spectular but it is nice all the same. At least I could take it: I usually don’t have my camera on me and only I then get to experience it.
Sunrise 14/11/07
So what is so bad about the iPhone camera?

evening edit: SoTD
Sock5


November 13, 2007

From my iPhone

Via a Graduate hotspot.
Sock8


November 07, 2007

trying and failing

So, a quick catch up on SoTD for yesterday before we come to today…
Sock1

The season has really changed now, dull gray and cold this morning as I walked in from Westwood and the leaves no longer crisp and scuffy but pasty and rotten. I did a bit more learning/development with GoldSim, saw a potential project student and drank too much Coffee-Choco hybrid from the machine. I really don’t like it that much but have fallen into a habit with it; it doesn’t even give me much of a caffeine kick.

I drove up to Stoke-on-Trent for a meeting, had it and drove back – really could’ve done this by phone or video conference. On the way back I decided to count phone boxes (don’t ask). Between Stoke and Birmingham via the A51 there are 3 phone boxes visible from the road – thats one about every 15 miles – I hadn’t realised what an endangered species they are.

Got home and have been trying to write lecture notes, trying and failing.
SoTD:
Sock5


It makes me wriggle

Title:
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Okay, so this isn’t new (2002) but as I am about to buy my first iPod-type device and will be deciding which of my music collection to burn I thought of this – I love it.

Why? Because I really like the mellowness of the sound, the slightly techno voice which has a bit of a Yes-like, Geddy Lee quality, the vocals are a bit melancholic and spacey. It’s Sci-fi music and it just makes me wriggle.

Favourite tracks:
Flight Test
Do you Realize??
In the Morning of the Magicians
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt1
Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell


November 05, 2007

Colourful No?

I cant believe this.... Blogbuilder just trashed my entry!!! I'll try and remember the main points:

Rocket Man by Elton John being played on all the radio channels. Seems its the anthem for Guy Fawkes, better than Candle in the bloody Wind.

After lecturing and seeing some project students I had a surprise message on my phone which spurred me into action. Ispent the rest of the day learning some new software (GoldSim) and making calls, eventually getting through to someone I'd wanted to talk to for a seeming age - at last!

Evening spent watching people put their lives on the line for us in Afghanistan. It confirms in my mind the almost unbelievable adaptability and resilience that we have.

Finally, sock of the day:

Sock8

Colourful no?


November 04, 2007

Books I read this Summer 07

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

I was reminded by Lee that I hadn’t reviewed any books lately. This is partly because I haven’t read many but one I can recommend is this book by Sergei Lukyanenko.

Night Watch is the first of 4 books translated from Russian and tells the story of the suppressed conflict between the forces of light and dark from the perspective of the ‘police’ who monitor the vampires and other creatures of the dark who live amongst us. It is a supernatural thriller but doesn’t come across as silly. It may not be art but it is a good read. I’ve never read this type of stuff before but enjoyed it and will read the next ones as they come out in paperback. The next in the series is The Day Watch, then The Twilight Watch, then The Last Patrol.

Night Watch was made into a film in 2004 more… and Day Watch has just finished production, I think.


The fog rolled in,

I made the right decision this morning and set off westwards into Shropshire. The fog gradually lifted as I drove along Wenlock Edge and by mid-day I was looking out from the top of a hill over a picture postcard view of this part of England. Fog lay like a white sea in some of the valleys to the south. To the East, Clee Hill appeared framed in clouds like some disembodied head, to the West the hill of Caer Caradoc reflected back the low Autumn sun and in the valley below cows farted and sheep pee’d themselves and ran away.

Sock of The Day will be seeing some new appearances after I tidied another drawer and found some socks that were making a bid for freedom but by then I had already put these on:
Sock6 I know, these should have been retired and they will be.

This evening was spent enjoying fireworks in our neighbors back garden with their young children and some of their family. They even managed to get 2 of the 3 Catherine Wheels to spin properly then the fog rolled in.


November 03, 2007

Why is this so rare?

Jay is right, I have been less than honest, economical with the actualite, I have been posting sock of the day late and today is no different. I’m watching Match of The Day on Saturday (Arsenal vs. Man (cheating starbards!) Utd.) and here is Sock of the Day for Friday.
Sock2

Todays socks are long blue woolly ones and not worthy of SotD status.

Anyhow… I have to Rave today about Bonfire Night – okay its not actually Nov 5th but in practice this is the night. It has dawned on me that this is one of the few events that brings communities in Britain together these days. As I drove home from the Bonfire Night at my archery club – where I was in charge or the fireworks (fortunately nothing went wrong, I won’t be featured on UTube) – the streets were full of people walking to or from bonfire parties, in good spirits, smoke drifting everywhere and bangs, whistles and screeches coming from all directions. For me it is like general election evenings with people walking to the polling stations and New Year or Christmas Eve but without the drunkenness. Why is this so rare?


November 01, 2007

A new old sock

Busy day, into work first thing then off to Stoke-on-Trent. I checked the traffic report before leaving but still ran into the queue from a traffic accident at Spaghetti Junction. I did what I hate: drove up the outside lane when most other people had already merged across but I was late and I needed to have my meeting.

I met with Rob at Stafford services for a quick catch-up on the main issues then on to Stoke. Meeting a success -although I have committed to some modelling that will be a challenge. I’ll need to buy some special software but the project budget can take it.

Straight back to Warwick afterwards and yet again a hold up on the M6 due to an accident. Can’t people keep their bloody vehicles out of the back of each other!!!

Did a couple of lectures and by 6 I was ready to head back home. Opened a bottle of Rose – very nice – strawberries.

Sock of the Day? Found at the back of my sock drawer this morning – A new old sock.
Sock7