James Miller


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Six Mile Bottom


This sleepy place in Suffolk, just south of Newmarket was mentioned on the traffic reports this morning.

It is a quaint name but easily explained.

Six Mile Bottom is so-called because it was at the bottom or start of the six mile racecourse at Newmarket.

It is also the place where they used to test out the full speed capabilities of Vincent motorbikes. Ah Vincent!

Leeds on the Brink


Go on give them a final push.

It's a pity it's Leeds, but football would be given a service by a club going bankrupt. It might just stop some of the scandals we've had in the last few years.

Stansted Expansion


Global warming is a problem, but the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign is basically a middle-class group that has their standard of living and wants to stop others getting a similar one. If flights go up in cost because of a lack of capacity they will be able to afford it.

No-one is making the point that if Stansted is expanded many of us in the East, will actually use a local airport, rather than drive another hundred miles to get to Heathrow or Gatwick.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Quack Science


The trouble is that there is so much quack science about that no-one believes the truth.

People will believe some wacky expert, who say believes that being fat is healthy, rather than look at the statistics which show that fat people will get diabetes, are more likely to get cancer and inevitably die younger.

Politicians and especially Blair and his lying hoard are to blame, as they have so besmirched the truth in all things, that when they get up and say what is good for us then we just raise two fingers.

Incidentally, I’m a coeliac. When I was diagnosed at 56, I switched to a gluten free diet immediately and felt better within a week. I know others, who have ignored the diagnosis and tried all sorts of quack remedies. None have worked.

So listen to and understand those with the real knowledge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Severn Barrage


In the early 1970s I worked for a firm of consulting engineers who were proposing a much more advanced barrage for the River Severn.

Their plan involved a spine down the middle of the river, with a high lake on one side and a low lake on the other. The turbines would have been located in the spine and could also be reversed to pump water from the low to the high lake to store excess electricity.

But the plan didn’t stop there :-

1. As it ran south-west to north-east, the spine would have been ideal for a large airport, due to the direction of prevailing winds.
2. The airport would be well away from land and noise nuisance would be reduced.
Brunel’s Great Western which is dead straight for most of the way would be used to move passengers to London in about an hour.
3. Cardiff and Bristol airports would be closed.
4. Large energy users of electricity such as aluminium smelting could also be placed on the spine.
5. The barrage would provide a quick route between Cardiff and the South West.
6. The spine could be built in part from landfill and broken bottles.

It was a grandious plan and I think that today with a need for clean energy and the need to store the output of wind farms, that its time has come.

Mobile Phone Rip-Off


I still use an old handset, as it does everything I want, so that smug git who emphasised free handsets does nothing for me.

The simplest thing to do is to separate handset sales from phone charges and make it illegal for the same company to sell both.

When I buy a car, I don’t have to buy the petrol from a particular garage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Grammar Schools


In 1958, both my wife and I went to very good grammar schools in North London. Incidentally, Simon Mayo’s father taught me geography.

We both had a superb education and it enabled both of us to go on to University at Liverpool, where we met, despite living only two miles apart in London. As neither of us came from particularly rich families, we got full grants at University and have since gone on to be relative successes in engineering and the law.


I don’t believe that grammar schools are the solutions to today’s problems.

What is needed is large numbers of dedicated teachers, who give us the same strong grounding that we got all those years ago. We also need to replace a system that sinks many heavily in debt when they leave University.

I doubt that neither my wife nor myself could have afforded to have gone to University in today’s climate.

The system created mainly by Blair/Brown that we have today needs to be changed drastically, if we are to get a more varied and better workforce.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Scouse Bias


As a Londoner who met his wife at Liverpool University in the 1960s, (Her tutor was a certain Kilroy.), I feel that I’m adequately placed to judge this.

But then I’m an Ipswich supporter and as we took a few scousers with us to Moscow, then it’s only right that they get the support. After all Chelski have only bought success for themselves.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In Defence of Judges


I know several judges as my wife is a barrister. Most are pretty good on the Internet and actually get special courses on how to use e-mail and surf the Internet.

I once bought a PC in a well-known store for a judge. When the salesman went into his usual spiel about unnecessary insurance, I said this lady didn’t need it. He said why? I said she’s a judge and she knows her rights.

She salesman slunk away.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nahum Vaskevitch


I've just found the document of the 20th January 1984, where we agreed the contract with Merrill Lynch for them to try and sell Metier Management Systems.

The document is signed by Nahum Vaskevitch.

I wonder what happened to him.

HP 21MX Series Microprogramming Form


Just found one of these still in its original plastic wrap.

A gem for all collectors of ephemera.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Old Manuals


I've finally got round to sorting out all of the my filing. A lot has gone in the bin, but I've also found a lot of old manuals from long since dead computers.

For instance for Time Sharing Limited of Great Portland Street, I've got two PERT7 manuals (I wrote the program for that) and a host of manuals for their other products like ORACLE.

I've also got manuals for all sorts of HP kit, like 21MX computers and 2621 terminals. Then there is a manual for a Textronix 4114.

Lastly, in this box there is an ASL manual. That is my program SPEED in a skin.

Scientology and Panorama


John Sweeney had every right to lose his temper.

I’ve never been involved with any religion, cult or otherwise, but I’ve been under stress in the past in similar situations to John, when dealing with people who won’t listen to what I think is a perfectly sensible point of view and I’ve lost it.

It is better to lose your temper and shout than resort to violence.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Child Safety


My heart goes out to the McCann family.

You ask if we would have left our children. When they were under three we were so broke that we couldn't afford a holiday.

At the time we were living in a fourth-floor walk up flat with a rudimentary fire escape.

One night though, when our middle son was about five, he climbed onto a stool, then onto the work surface in the kitchen and got the matches we used to light the gas cooker from the wall cabinet. He then started playing with them and set fire to a duvet.

Luckily we smelt the smoke in the next room and I was able to stop a large fire before it started.

So things happen even if your children are being supervised.

You have to remember that between 300 and 500 people die in fires in their own homes every year.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Glory that was Leeds


What a mess!

Over the last few days, I've talked to several of my friends from Yorkshire. To a man and woman, none of them have any sympathy. Leeds seems to have done something in the past to upset all those other people from Yorkshire.

It is also interesting to read the history of Leeds City. They were the forerunners of Leeds United and like United they played at Elland Road.

They ended up being disbanded after a football scandal in 1919. At the time their manager was the great Herbert Chapman, who later found fame at Huddersfield and Arsenal.

So are Leed United going to suffer a similar fate to Leeds City? I'm no expert, but there is a feeling that as they owe HMRC (Revenue and Customs) over five million pounds there may be objections to the restructuring and Leeds United might be pushed into the abyss to teach other clubs, with similar intentions of avoiding their debts, a lesson.

Part of me hopes this will happen, as I've had enough of their and their fans arrogance. On the other hand it would leave a large part of Yorkshire without a major football team. To make matters worse Bradford, their nearest geographical rivals, are now in Division 4.

Scot Nats 47 - Labour 46


Or that's what it is in Scotland.

So the Scot Nats form the government. But what happens if a legal challenge make it Labour 47 - Scot Nats 46?

We get all change. And then if appeal makes it change again.

The only fair thing to do would be to have a new vote.

In the last election we had a judge in Birmingham say that some of the postal vote fraud would shame a banana republic.

Has anything changed?

Cockney Rebel Stuffs Them


Yesterday in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, it wasn't the big battalions of the Irish and the Arabs that took the race, but a 30,000 guineas puchase trained by Geoff Huffer.

Now, Mr. Huffer hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with the Authorities and has had rather a chequered history, but he has obviously got a good horse in Cockney Rebel.

Steve Harley, who is the lead singer in the band, Cockney Rebel, tipped the horse on Radio 5 Live in the morning and it will be interesting to hear him next week on the Eamonn Holmes show.

Today, Luke Harvey has tipped Arch Swing, trained by John Oxx for the 1000 Guineas. This was another cheap purchase.

So perhaps, with Speciosa and Sir Percy last year, we are now seeing that racehorses can't always be brted by putting the best to the best. You just need that Mellors factor.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Brewery and Piss Up


These words come to mind when it comes to the organisation of the Scottish Elections.

According to the BBC, there appear to be over 100,000 spoiled ballots.

I am not in favour of any voting system, as they all have their faults, but it does seem that the major problems seemed to have been caused by using three different voting systems on the same day.

At least they got a chance to vote. I didn't as the current councillor was returned unopposed.

70's, 80's or 90's


BBC Radio Five Live is having a poll and debate to see which of the three decadess; 70's, 80's and 90's is best.

They're wrong as the sixties was without doubt the decade that shaped our country today. We threw off the stuffy cloak of conservatism and miserableness that had enveloped the country for years.

And it was all down to one group from Liverpool; the Beatles.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Technology in the Police and the MI5


I've been writing computer software for 40 years and know a lot of people who have or are involved in selling computer systems to the Police and MI5 in this country and to other organisations worldwide.

Most government agencies make the wrong decisions when they buy systems. For instance, we had the Soham murders, which might not have happened, if the UK Police had joined up computer systems.

In this case, MI5 is being criticised for not telling Yorkshire Special Branch, that they had followed two bombers from Leeds, who might be connected to the fertiliser plot.

If they had had compatible computer systems, then there would have been no need.

There is no Government agency that lays down standards that must be followed. So we get cock-up after cock-up in the NHS, CSA, Police and more.

This latest one cost the lives of those in the London bombings.

Those at the top in Government must be called to account.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Being Gay in Business


I deal a lot with lawyers as I write web sites for them. The proportion of gay lawyers that I meet is surprisingly high and most are completely open about it. No one bothers.

I suspect that Lord Browne's problem, is that he was dealing on an international scale and not every country is as open with respect to someone's sexuality as we are in the UK.