James Miller


Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Nasty Fraud


A friend of mine got a phone call that he felt was a nasty little fraud.

If anyone gets a short (1 or 2 ring) call from this number 07061-784335, watch out - Do not call back. I got caught yesterday. All goes silent and a 4 second call cost me £2.00. I would love to get my hands on these scumbags.

My son also got a call that may be part of the same fraud.

Report them to Ofcom.

Tidying the Office


How many people like me have untidy offices?

Lots I suspect.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

HP Vectra RS/20


In its day this was one of the most powerful PCs. It had a speed of 25MHz and cost just £6,000.

HP Vectra RS/20

The weight of the beast is not obvious from this shot. But I can't lift the machine on my own. OK, so I'm a nine-stone weakling, who's sixty this year.

HP Vectra RS/20

Note that it has provision for both sizes of floopy disc.

At least though the software of those days had less bugs in it.

Switching Networks


When my wife changed from Vodafone to O2, Vodafone moved her number to Orange. It took us two weeks to find it and it was only due to someone at Orange, who wanted to sort out the orphan number, that we ever got it back.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Government IT


It’s always been a mess and it gets worse as systems get more complicated.

In the late 1970s and 80s, we were selling project planning systems all over the world, but rarely to Government and not just the British one. They have never developed a culture that believes in standards and systems that are compatible with each other, as civil servants are proud of the fact that they know little about technology.

As an example every police force in the UK uses a different system. Surely for many reasons, they should all use the same.

New Scottish Anthem


I was at Windsor races yesterday with a successful Welsh trainer yesterday. Rather embarrassingly for him he has Scotland the Brave on his phone.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mobile Phone Insurance


I have an eight year old mobile phone which I don’t insure. No-one would ever want to steal it.

It works well everywhere, does SMS messages, browses the Internet and everything I need. I even had it repaired a few months ago for £25.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Capital Connect


I used to travel up to London with them from Cambridge. Since they’ve brought in the new restrictions on travelling home, I now drive up to London as this means I can get back at a reasonable hour.

I thought trains were carbon friendly. They may be, but the companies aren’t.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Detection, Surgery and Drugs


There are three main ways of fighting disease; detection, surgery and drugs.

Are we in danger of spending so much on new and very expensive drugs, that the budgets for detection and surgery are being eroded? After all in some diseases like cancer, the drugs are secondary to very early detection and good surgery.

I myself am a coeliac, like 1 in 100 of the population. Very little is being done to detect this disease, despite the fact that if it is not detected it can lead to various cancers and other problems.

But the problem with coeliac disease is that it is cured not by drugs but by a gluten-free diet, so there’s nothing in it for the drug companies.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gap Years


We have a thoroughbred stud at Newmarket and we can always employ a responsible student for the summer and give them a proper wage too. What better place to work is there than the English countryside?

Gap years have their place, but there are some interesting jobs to do in this country too.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Beatles, Sergeant Pepper and Liverpool


To a certain generation, the Beatles are much more than a four piece beat combo, who could sing a bit. They and Sergeant Pepper in particular opened up a whole new vein of thought, that has made the world a better place.

I met my wife when we were both at Liverpool University in the mid 60’s and that time, that band and that city have left an indelible mark on our lives.

We got married with nothing and forty years on we’ve been successful in several fields. We owe a lot to all of the things that happened all those years ago, but especially to the Beatles and the spirit of the city where they grew up.

It’s such a terrible pity that John and George are not here for the anniversary.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Paranoid About Paedophiles


I can look back to my childhood just after the Second World War in the leafy suburbs of North London. I won’t say that paedophiles were everywhere, but all of us had stories of little shops, woods and places, where we warned each other not to go. We of course didn’t tell our parents, but we made sure that all the other kids knew.

I’ve discussed this with my now adult children and the man in the woods seemed to have disappeared when they were young. But like us, they knew of teachers who you never went near.

The fact is that child abuse was probably worse in the 1940s, 1950s and early-1960s, than it is now, but no statistics can prove this. What we can say is that murders of young children outside of the family have remained at a pretty low and similar level since records began. In fact in one year recently, there were no murders of this class.

But this level of murder is much less than those murdered by family members.

I collect and analyse spam and get about 6,000 messages a day. Only the odd one has anything to do with child porn and I report it immediately to the Internet Watch Foundation. But what worries me is that spammers are using deliberate methods to get people to view their unwanted web-sites. Despite all the high-grade protection I have, I’ve been duped to view sites that I don’t want to see.

What worries me is that someone inadvertently views a child porn site, gets it thoroughly infected in his computer, a virus starts rebroadcasting it to others and then the innocent party gets hauled before a court of law. I may be a little paranoid, but it will happen.

Try defending that one.

We need to be agile in our thinking, so that the evil of paedophilia is removed from our society.

Punishing everybody severely may appeal to the baser instincts of a large proportion of the population, but is this the right method in all cases?

Petition to Refloat the Cutty Sark


I received this from one of my on-line correspondents, Tim Trent.

Ever since I was a kid, very soon after the Cutty Sark was placed in her dry dock tomb, I have felt very strongly that this ship was wasted. She should be free, sailing the seas and with crews of our kids. She shoudl be a sail training vessel again. She was once, and was afloat until circa 1954.

Now she has been burnt down we can raise her again and relaunch her as a proud ship.

To this end I have started a petition to the Prime Minister, which, if you agree with, I would love you to sign, at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/TallShip/. You must be a British citizen or resident to sign the petition.

This is a very good idea and I've signed the petition.