Star Wars Day 2020

May the Fourth be With You!

I realise that Disney / Lucasfilm is a gigantic corporate entity that has already sucked millions of dollars out of the global population for the Star Wars franchise alone, and that they do not need my help or anyone else’s help in perpetuating the presence of this cultural behemoth in the zeitgeist, but…

It really is a nice, fun thing in a World that is locked down and in fear of a virus that has re-written our understanding of epidemiology and our assessment of our own mortality. COVID-19 has changed the World, in a few short months and not in any way wanting to brush aside the seriousness of the situation, or the unmitigated tragedy of the deaths of which a good number may well have been prevented, Star Wars Day has been a pleasant distraction, and so I embrace it.

I posted on Facebook that I chose the young Captain Ackbar from the Clone Wars era (who would later go on to be the Flag Admiral of the Rebel Fleet at The Battle of Endor) to be my character totem for the day. The rich diversity of characters and the epic sweep of time that go together to make up the Skywalker Saga within the wider Star Wars Universe is a joy to contemplate, from the scum and villainy of the Bounty Hunters and Interstellar Pirates to the Clone Armies of the Republic and the Droid Armies of the Separatists to the Empire, the Rebellion, the First Order to the Resistance and the Dark Shadowy Sith, the canvas is vast.

Who would you be if you could insert yourself into the Universe for a day? What would you want to experience?

Would you visit the Night Sisters of Dathomire and witness the secret rites with which they held sway over their World? Would you quest for the Zilla Beast on Malister Prime? My choice for this year is in no small part chosen because of my fascination with underwater worlds, and Captain Ackbar is a resident of the watery Mon Calamari. During the Clone Wars (I forget exactly which season of the show) he fought side by side with the newly crowned King of the Mon Cala against the Separatists under the waves of his planet’s oceans.

These little imaginings go a long way to freeing me, and indeed us all, from the tyranny of reality, even if only for a moment or a few minutes of a daydream, but that is the joy of imagination.

So, Happy Star Wars Day – The Fourth will be with you, always…

Going Home…

As you may or may not know, dear reader, I have been experiencing a little turbulence in my career of late. A little over six weeks ago I gave my notice at Vivastreet after a year of highs and lows and a great deal of stress, a decision made when it became clear that I was not likely to be able to achieve the things that I set out to do by remaining there. In many ways it was a very difficult decision, in others it was very easy – is this not always the way – but by the time a day had passed I was quite certain that in terms of career and my personal happiness and health it was the right way to go.

Clearly this decision has led to a job search, and in fact the day after I handed in my notice I spied an interesting staff role at the BBC, which I applied for and promptly forgot about, as the deadline for applications was weeks away. To my genuine delight, about ten days later, I received an invitation to have a telephone interview, which I took and must have done quite well with as this led to a coding test and finally a face to face interview with three members of the senior engineering team on News. Despite the complexity and time cost of the process, which I would say is probably inevitable with an organisation of the BBC’s size, the entire process was challenging and fun, and as I left New Broadcasting House after the interview I was quietly hopeful that I had done and said the right kind of things and that there was a good chance that I would be offered the job.

Well, yesterday afternoon I verbally accepted and today I had written confirmation of the offer, which I have also formally accepted, and so now I am officially going back to the BBC. I have entitled this post “Going Home…” for a very specific reason; in all of my twelve years in software engineering, despite some other really excellent experiences, the only place that I have ever felt truly at home, truly in sync with the culture, the ethos and the goals of the organisation is the BBC. Now it is fair to say that I am a ridiculous fanboi for the BBC anyway, and while I am not unconditionally on their side, I have been known to fight their corner in a rather partisan manner, when the organisation has been criticised by others, long before I ever worked for them.

I can’t easily explain to you how much of a thrill I know it will be to walk into work at New Broadcasting House every day, to feel that I am contributing to the workings of an institution that is dear to my heart and feels, to me at least, to be one of the foundation stones of modern British life. I am not a very patriotic person, one might say I have a quiet love for my country; the kind of honest love that sees her faults and is not afraid to own them, but I do have a strong attachment to much of what I would call Anglicana. Tea, cricket, the Lake District, English Literature, the British Museum, Red buses and of course the BBC (to name but a few of the things that strike a chord with me in particular) – these are all things that matter to me, and they matter because they are the expression of the character of my country.

There is no question that today, now that I know where I am going to be working, I feel a lot less stressed than I did yesterday. Yesterday was filled with uncertainty, so much so that I fluffed a telephone interview with another large organisation that would in many ways have been a great opportunity, but today my mood is not just improved by the security of “I have a job”, my calm and happiness are magnified tenfold by “I (will soon) work at the BBC”.

Right, now to go and hang up the washing…

My 15 seconds of fame..?

Today I had a tweet of mine “recognised” by the originator of a hashtag meme, and ReTweeted to all of their followers.

This is not a particularly unusual turn of events, except for the fact that the originator in question was the official twitter account for Angry Birds and the ReTweet was received by nearly half a million follwers… *geekgasm*

Here’s the tweet in question…

(This post inspired by WordPress 3.4’s new feature allowing me to embed a Tweet 😉 )

“I laughed my balls off!”

Devotion to Duty - a Web Comic from

See? I bet you did too 😉


As pointed out by Kathryn…

I have photographed a Bizarre Magazine Covergirl! (To be COMPLETELY CLEAR, the cover shot below is NOT my photo, but the one following is. In other words “I have also photographed a Bizarre Magazine Covergirl”)

Exhibit A:
Bizarre Magazine Cover March 2010 featuring Ulorin Vex

Exhibit B:
Ulorin Vex - Dark Nudes

Go Me!

The Fog is Dead! Long Live The Fog!

The band that my brother was playing with / contributing to for the last three years or so and which he left in November when he moved to Belgium have unfortunately decided to hang it up.

This is the last video that they made – I have to say I think it’s great, but then I’m biased… Serious props to the guy (who I don’t know and haven’t met) that made this for them; it’s splendid.

Freezing Fog from Renegade Films on Vimeo.


Today I am mostly feeling like this…

XKCD Comic on the beauty of Lisp and the reality of Lisp - a sobering duality

That is all…

Wow, there is a lot of hate out there…

So the iPad; I never realised how much hate there is out there for Apple until this product launch…

Before anyone launches themselves down my throat in an attempt to immediately enforce the reality that Apple have finally bitten off more than they can chew and have doomed themselves to becoming a failing business once more with the release of the iPad, I have not made my mind up yet, and I won’t until I can actually get my hands on one. That having been said it is a beautiful looking device:

Apple iPad - Initial Marketing Image, copyright Apple Computer

(The image is also a link to the current iPad section of

So what are the naysayers all about?

#1 “The iTampon” – Seriously? The name is __clearly__ a reference to a pad of paper and a nod to PADDs from Star Trek. I mean, ok if you are eleven years old and have just found about menstruation, but otherwise, please get a clue.

#2 “There’s no camera!” – On a device of this form factor? Really? Or is it just that we have got to a place where every portable device that is ever created now HAS to have a camera built into it. If you really think that this is an omission that “kills” the product then you are not thinking about how and where this device is projected to be of use.

#3 “No multi-tasking!” – I have seen __several__ people bemoaning that they won’t be able to listen to music and read an eBook at the same time, but the iPad is running a “version” of iPhone / iTouch OS X, so the one thing that you will be able to do is listen to music AND carry out another task at the same time, JUST LIKE THE iPhone; idiots! Also, again in terms of the paradigm that the device represents, multi-tasking is not as important as you might think; it’s never stopped me fully utilising my iPhone as a connected device for productivity, entertainment and communication, so why would it be a show-stopper for this device?

Basically the iPad is supposed to be a better, more convenient, longer battery-life, smaller form-factor device designed to better attack the need that netbooks have been trying to fill for the last 18 months. Very few people out there are using netbooks as their main machine; they are a stop-gap device that is lighter to carry, allowing email, IM, Twitter, web-browsing and video consumption on the go without carrying a full-weight laptop, but if you need to run Photoshop or DreamWeaver, or Final Cut then just as a netbook would not be the correct device for the job, neither will the iPad be appropriate. For all the rest, for casual connected use and as a leisure device that could certainly be a good “while I’m traveling” business device as well, there is iPad. All the positives of a netbook with none of the annoyances.

Like I said I will wait to hold one before I __really__ make my mind up, but if the iBooks and eBook reading experience are good / easy on the eye I would want one just for that alone, so the ability to wordprocess (iWork, sold separately 😉 ), listen to music, watch a movie and a hundred other things including playing Geo-Defence on a 9″ screen…

And then there is the App-Store; almost 100% compatibility with existing apps and a new SDK for iPad specific development – this is going to be a really great year for those of us that are open to doing some of our computing a new way. In true Apple style, the iPad really is all about “Think Different”

I saw a hero of mine on the Tube last night…

…but I was “trapped” at the other end of the carriage and rather as expected he got off the train at the next stop (Westminster). Still it was nice to see him and to see someone of his stature using the Tube rather than insisting on a car and driver. So without further ado, Lord Ashdown, on the Jubillee Line:

Lord Ashdown on the Tube

Now, “Back to the accounts!”, so to speak…


It warms the cockles of my heart…