James Miller


Sunday, August 31, 2003


Clive Stafford Smith

Tonight, the BBC showed a documentary about the work of Clive Stafford Smith in defending death-row prisoners in the United States.

He is to be thoroughly applauded for what he does in fighting the totally unjustified and outdated system of capital punishment, so beloved of the Axis of Evil; USA, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Burma etc.

Just be sure when you buy something you know the history of the country.

I never buy anything from the Axis of Evil where there is an alternative from a country which embraces justice. I haven't been to the United States for some years and will not go for pleasure until they abandon the death penalty. (Call me a hypocrite, but I'll go if they want to pay me money for the things I do!)

How does Blair sleep well at night knowing that he takes tea and more with the Texacutioner?


Ipswich 1 West Ham 2

They should have won this. Two defensive lapses and David James.

Friday, August 29, 2003


Britain's Canals and Waterways

There is an interesting letter in yesterday's Times describing the renaissance of Britain's canals under British Waterways.

It shows yet again how good news gets buried and never sees the light of day!

Perhaps now is the time to have that canal cruising holiday? Not for me though! All that water is just too much!


Powerhouse and Extended Guarantees

An electrical goods chain, Powerhouse, goes bust and guess what idiots have paid out for extended guarantees which are now worthless.

I've never bothered with extended guarantees and touch wood have never had a problem. Although, I've had a couple of products go bang in the first year, when you don't need the extended guarantee at all!

The only possible exception to this rule are modems. I've lost so many to thunderstorms that I'm glad now that I use a satellite connection.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


Thoughts on Dr. David Kelly

This sad case illustrates two things; the lengths to which politicians will go to make us believe what they want and the general distrust there is for scientists.

Type 'David Kelly Murder' into Google and you will find that many people believe that Dr. Kelly was murdered by person or persons, known or unknown.

I do not believe this for one good reason. If say he had been murdered by a secretive Government Agency, then as with all such 'conspiracies', someone would be pricked by conscience or money to tell the truth. What would the Daily Mail pay for a story to bring the Government down?

The E-Mails and other messages that went round Government about Dr. Kelly show how they wanted to discredit him and also how they wanted to create a bullet-proof case for war with Iraq.

I think the fact that we have not found any Weapons of Mass Distruction in Iraq shows how flimsy the evidence was. After all if we can't find it now, how could we have found it with no access to the country.

I believe that it was this discrediting of scientific evidence in general and the way he was treated by politicians and his bosses, that drove Dr. Kelly to take his own life.

I am an engineer/scientist and I know how badly I take it, when my good carefully worked out advice is trashed by those who have no scientific training at all and want me to prove their crackpot theories.

If you employ an expert then listen to what he or she says!

But this treatment of Dr. Kelly is very typical of the way we treat a lot of our good science.

Put forward a crackpot theory that babies conceived in a hammock have better 3-D awareness and it will be published all over the newspapers. Suggest to a smoker that cigarettes are not good for anybody and ask them to put it out and you will get a very abrasive response.

Perhaps we get a society we deserve. Until we treat knowledge and the people who create and nurture it properly, we will always have a society that will be run by the biggest bully or the man with the largest megaphone.


New Trains for GNER

It's funny how long it takes for a good news story about the UK's trains to reach the mainstream media.

I read in Modern Railways about three months ago, that GNER were going to refurbish all of their trains between London and Edinburgh.

Today it was shown on the BBC local news.

No wonder no-one ever thinks the trains are any good!

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Wigan 1 Ipswich 0

It gets worse!



So the steeplechase was won by a former Kenyan running for Qatar.

Not right! And how can they do it anyway! My country is much too dear to me!

Still Kelly Holmes did us proud!


Five Legged Grasshopper

Whilst reading the FT this evening I found a five-legged grasshopper on the paper. One of his long back ones was missing. He seemed OK otherwise!


Sunday, August 24, 2003


Myanmar at World Athletics Championships


Still some nations don't believe that killing people after a flawed judicial process is wrong!

I do!

But then as I believe there is nothing after this life at all, then what right do we have to take anybody else's life away completely!

It's not funny but the more religious (sic!) people are the more they seem to believe in the death penalty!


Ipswich 1 Coventry 1

It keeps going on!

Luckily I went racing with Celia!

Friday, August 22, 2003


Peace Keeping Troops in Iraq

I’ve just done a back of the envelope calculation about the number of peace keeping troops in Iraq.

Compared to Ulster (Northern Ireland), Iraq has a population of 22,000,000 instead of about 1,500,000!

At the peak of the troubles there were something like 15,000 troops and 10,000 police enforcing law and order in the province.

So on a pro-rata basis we would need about 360,000 troops and police to enforce the peace in Iraq. According to USA Today the US has about 140,000 troops there and the British have about 20,000!

No wonder they have problems!

Surely as the coalition forces don’t speak the local languages, you’d actually think they’d need more. Also, isn’t Iraq a bit less compact and well-known than Ulster!

As I said yesterday to a friend of my age! ‘We’ll both be long dead before all coalition troops are out of Iraq!’

Thursday, August 21, 2003


England 3 Croatia 1

The critics were a bit scathing about the game, but it was a wonderful experience. Only a few arrests too!

Sven gets stick for the number of substitutes, but most fans will argue that he has to do that to examine combinations. If he hadn't used substitues we wouldn't have seen two Suffolk-born players, Matthew Upson and Kieron Dyer.

You wonder though as Portman Road has now proved it can handle a full International, that now if they have a tricky and possibly explosive game like Turkey, they might use the stadium again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


England-Croatia at Portman Road, Ipswich

Today is a big day for Suffolk with Portman Road hosting the home full International football match, with Beckham, Owen et. al.

Not bad really for a small town like Ipswich of just 100,000 souls!

Let's hope that all goes well!

Monday, August 18, 2003


Tony's Wife's Crony

Why is the new head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Ken Macdonald from Cherie Blair's chambers?

As I said in the last post, the blessed Tony doesn't live in the real world and can't see why one of his friends shouldn't be the new head! Or is it that all of those who aren't his friends, can't be trusted?


Wot No Hosepipe Bans!

According to Water UK it is unlikely we are to have any hosepipe bans this summer. This is reported on the BBC.

I am surprised the blessed Tony hasn't claimed credit or does he live such an insulated life that he doesn't know what goes on in the real world.


Crewe 1 Ipswich 0

Didn't go, but my neighbour did!

He wasn't hopeful when he left! He was right!

Friday, August 15, 2003


Southern Softies

The North always says that the problem with England is that the people of the South are soft and take too much of the cake.

After the trouble of the last Test Match against South Africa, we have been doing much better due to three 'Southern Softies', Mark Butcher, Nasser Hussein and Ed Smith!

It's about time too, that the North started creating some hi-tech jobs instead of wingeing about the loss of their filthy coal mines.

You have to remember too, that East Anglia has the same GDP as Scotland, exports more and has much lower employment. And we don't get any subsidy either! We just subsidise others!


US Power Failure

It was just one failure and look what happened.

I hope everybody learns the lesson and makes sure that all systems they are responsible for, have workable backup procedures.

Thursday, August 14, 2003


Yellow Hammers

In most parts of the country it is said that yellow hammers are rare. Not on our stud they aren't!

But this is typical of the Newmarket area, where the post and rail fences and hedges make an ideal habitat.

This year too, sparrows have returned to the stud.


Ipswich 1 Kidderminster 0

Ipswich had to work hard for this one!

They had a hatful of chances, but it wasn't until extra time when Dean Bowditch scored his first goal for Ipswich. He took it well and Dean certainly looks the part.



In a strange way one of the most uplifting pieces of news from last week, was an article on BBC Radio 4, which talked about stand-up comedy and satire in Ghana.

Apparently, the scene is thriving as are phone-ins on Ghanain radio. Criticism of the government is allowed too!

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


Oswald Mosley's Widow

The death has been announced today of Diana Mosley, the widow of the infamous British Fascist, Oswald Mosley.

Not really worth a mention, except to say that my father was always proud that he was there, when the people of the East End of London stopped Mosley and his racist followers from marching.

Search Google for Oswald Mosley Cable Street for more information.

One point to make is that my father had Jewish ancestry and voted Tory all of his life. He said that everyone was there of all shades of political opinion and religion.

I just wish he'd told me more.


Daisy 2003 Status

I mentioned a few posts ago about the problems of debugging Visual Basic.

This has now grown into a full free program called Daisy 2003 Status.

Visit the Daisy 2003 Status Web Site!

Full source and a test program is included with the program itself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003


Electricity Shortages in the UK

According to Monday's Financial Times there are starting to be electricity shortages in the UK, due to both the hot weather and plant shutdowns in the summer.

No matter in the next few years we'll have all of that wonderful wind power on line to take the strain!

But then over this hot period we have had hardly any wind at all!

Surely the Government knows better than a humble engineer, scientist and statistician like me!

Monday, August 11, 2003



The horse came forth!

It was a classic failure in that the field split and she won her race by several lengths!


Tip for Today

If you know me, you'll know that my wife breeds racehorses and we both have horses in training.

I had a strong tip today for a horse called Dami in the 3:00 at Folkestone.

As the price is forecast to be about 8-1, don't forget to have the saving each-way bet if you have one. And don't bet more than you can afford to lose!


External Debug.Print for Visual Basic

It is a real pain that when a Visual Basic program aborts, sometimes it leaves no message or trace as to what happens. There is also the need to be able to read the Debug.Print in a compiled .exe.

I have written a little program called Daisy 2003 Status, which you can call from any other program to get a status window.

Using it is very simple. Add the compiled program to the references and define an object that is a 'Daisy2003Status'.

Then use AddMessage with an appropriate message instead of Debug.Print. Other methods and properties control the caption, icon and position.

The source is available as a zipped project.

If you have a problem send me an E-Mail.

I suspect that this program would work with any other program that can use Active X!

Sunday, August 10, 2003


North Norfolk

It was not the best trip to the north.

We had decided to arrive about 3:30 at Brancaster and sit on the beach with the Sunday papers and the dogs.

But, it was foggy!

Yes it had rolled in about three and we were presented with the surreal images of people prancing in swimsuits in the fog.

Only in Britain!

So we came home and had supper after four hours in the car!



In a letter in Saturday's Financial Times, Clive Gilchrist is critical about the teaching of calculus in schools. Like him I was taught it in the fifth or it may even have been the fourth form. Now they are talking of taking it out of A level.

It was taught well and I can still do all the integration and differentiation forty years later.

And the Government says that education is not dumbing down!


The Heat Goes On!

It's still hot here.

Off to North Norfolk today for the beach and dinner. The dogs like it too. Well I think so!

Saturday, August 09, 2003


Ipswich 1 Reading 1

Not the best result, but I suspect that at the end of the season Reading will be in the shake-up for moving up to the Premiership.

Things would probably have been a lot different, if Tommy Miller's chance in the first half had gone in instead of being stopped on the line.

I reckon though it's the first time, I've worn shorts to a football match since I was 10 or so! It was that hot!


The Season Starts Here!

Football on a day like this. I kid you not!

Off to Ipswich this afternoon to see the Town play Reading.



I drove to Bedford yesterday to see a possible client.

There is ragwort everywhere. Isn't it about time that councils started doing something about this yellow plant which is so dangerous to animals, such as cattle and horses, if they eat it.

Thursday, August 07, 2003



So he wants to be Governor of California.



Sunshine on Me

The New Scientist today pours a certain amount of scientific correctness on all those Skin Cancer Faschists, who believe that the great atomic power station is always bad.

I am old enough to remember pictures in science books of children gathered round a UV lamp getting their dose of vitamin D. Which is like it has always been! Good for you! (Vitamin D that is!)

It does seem now that a few minutes in the sun each day can prevent other cancers. I would also add that it makes you feel better and less likely to be suicidal.

Has anybody ever thought that there is no money in promoting a few minutes of sunshine, but masses to be made from companies advocating sun screen!


Bali Bombing

So the Bali bomber is to die by firing squad.

How civilised!

Why don't we use the old punishment of 'hung, drawn and quartered'?

Because we must always claim the moral high ground. Am I so naive and old-fashioned to believe that the taking of any life is wrong?


Bad Driving

Yesterday, I was coming out of Cambridge when I saw one of the worst examples of 'plonkish' driving in years.

I was slowly following a tractor and trailer of straw because it was going to turn right. Some idiot in a silver Peugeot 106 XR (N 310 *GV) decided it was a sensible place to overtake. As the tractor turned he ended up on the grass, with the tractor driver waving at him furiously.

He's almost good enough for a Darwin Award!


The Start

Welcome to my blog!