James Miller


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amy Winehouse


I know I only watched her on television last night, but it was the first time I’d seen her and I wasn’t impressed, as her performance seemed tired and lacklustre.

On Friday night I’d seen Jools Holland live at Newmarket Racecourse and that WAS a performance.

Is Celia Watching?


On Friday, I went racing at Newmarket. I have a members badge so I ought to use it. But also the racing wasn't too bad for a Friday night and Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra was the entertainment after racing.

As Celia and I, always used to do, I did the Tote PlacePot. I missed by one race, where I had the third and fourth in a seven-horse race. If there had been the eight runners when I placed my bets, I'd have had a nice return.

Celia was an ace for the PlacePots and got them up more often than she didn't.

One thing that annoyed me was that two people I know well, seemed to avoid me. Perhaps they never saw me, but it is no excuse, when others do their best to make my life a bit happier. Not that I'm that depressed or unhappy at the moment, but I'm still rather lonely.

Still Jools cheered me up and I went home a lot happier than I went.

On Saturday, I had an article about bereavement published in the East Anglian Daily Times. I had already had a positive report from Helen about what I had written and an old friend, Tanji, said the same. At least I'm doing something right!

I also got the PlacePot right too. Did Celia help? She would have approved of my methods though.

But too many others got it right and I made a profit of four pounds.

Still as they say in many sports, a win is a win

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Discrimination in Employment


I’ve employed people for years.

In all that time, I’ve actually never had two candidates who were equally good. Usually you get one candidate who stands out from the others. Sometimes, you don’t actually get anybody at all.

But if I did have two exceptional candidates, then I’d probably bend over backwards to try to employ both. That actually happened to my son and he was the second candidate, who his prospective employer took on because they felt he would benefit the firm. He’s still there after six years. I believe that most good employers would attempt to do that.

If you had two poor and equally unsuitable candidates, you’d probably readvertise. Could that be a problem, as say you’d turned down two black women and then employed an exceptional white male six months later? I would hope not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New iPhone


I’m still using a Nokia 6310i. I also have a spare for when it dies, but you can get them rebuilt in London.

I was purchasing a new radio for my nineteen year old Lotus Elan and were testing the Bluetooth link in Halfords and the twenty-year-old or so, thought my battered phone was really cool. Perhaps times are changing.

As to cameras for YouTube, I use a Fuji S5700, which cost £125 or so. Put everything on a 16GB SD-HC card which gives four hours of video and then modify the .avi files with Windows Movie Maker. Very simple and ideal for small videos for a web site, where you just link to YouTube.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008



If the guy worked for Intelligence how come he left the papers on the train?

As he wasn’t intelligent, he should be fired. But he’ll probably been promoted.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Leaving the Car at Home


I can’t really leave the car at home as I live in the country and am 15 miles or so from the main station in Cambridge.

However, there is a little local station at Dullingham, five miles away, and as the local service to Cambridge is very reliable if a bit cramped, when I go to London, I now park there. I buy a ticket on the train and get paper and coffee in Cambridge when I change trains. All very civilised.

What really persuaded me to change my behaviour was not the Congestion Charge in London, but the fact that I turned sixty and now get a discount on all rail fares and the parking is free at Dullingham.

So perhaps what we need to do, is reduce train fares and provide free parking! It would also need more and longer trains and trams and they should be paid for by increased fuel and congestion charges.

One point to note is that the increase in VAT take, because of the fuel price rises has been upwards of two to three billion pounds. So perhaps we should spend that on public transport for a start? But what is the government doing? It is reducing the money it is giving Network Rail.

Sounds typical mixed-up thinking from a bankrupt government.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Portmeirion Potteries Ltd.


Celia and I used Portmeirion Pottery for years.

Some were in a bad state probably due to misuse in an AGA. So I pointed this out to the company and they asked me to return one.

I was most surprised to get two new ones.

But it does show that treating customers well, can only have positive effects. I shall be buying more in the future.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Most Useful Things I've Learned


Several things really.

My wife of nearly forty years died in December and it’s been tough. What has brought me through it has been all of my widowed friends. Bereavement is ignored by the media, but the compassion of widows and widowers has been superb. Sometimes, you are at a low ebb, but there will be one on-line, who will cheer you up, with a dose of dark and black humour.

And should I say downright and very overt flirting.

I’ve also learned that you don’t do all those things that make your life easier in case one of you dies. Take photos, plan your partner’s future, tell friends of that, teach them to cook, make sure you keep your finances documented. Etc. etc.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

42 Days


I am not in favour of detention of suspects for 42 days, as it is only one step before Detention Without Trial and we all know that methods like that when used in Ulster, were the best Recruiting Sergeant the IRA ever had.

It is often said by those in favour, that cases are getting more complex and this time limit is needed to break computer codes and unscramble networks. As someone, who has been involved in computing for well over forty years, this is a fallacious argument as computer methods and power have improved many times in recent years. Perhaps, they really aren’t using the best people, hardware and software methods.

Has anybody from an external agency ever audited the computing of the Security Services and the Police?

42 days is just pandering to those who feel that any method is justified when fighting terrorism and that includes torture, unlimited detention and expulsion back to where suspects have never lived.

We must if anything reduce the 30 days back to the average of the civilised world and try to understand what creates terrorists, rather than aid their recruitment.

My biggest worry is that technology is moving on. When I travel, I don’t carry a laptop as I don’t normally have a need. In future I might well copy a my complete PC on to a thumbnail-sized 16Gb SD-HC card and all I would need to do to run it, is just pop it into any suitable PC. No trace of my Internet access or my work would be left on the machine. This technology means that examining hard discs becomes irrelevant and if you want to erase the SD-HC card, you just put it in a microwave.

What measures do the Security Services have to combat this and other methods that could on the one hand be used for convenience by any traveller and on the other for nefarious purposes by criminals and terrorists?

Choosing an Airline Seat


Why does anybody pay the extra for speeding boarding?

On Ryanair or easyJet I always board a few from the end. That way as I travel light and now alone, as my wife died in December, it means I’m away quickly at the other end. I also get the luxury of choosing who I sit next to, so would generally ignore a fat, smelly, tattooed bloke in favour of a beautiful slim young lady.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rules, Rules and More Rules


One problem with the Police is all the petty rules. Remove a lot and we’d get a much more efficient and visible service.

Take yesterday. I have been plagued for the last few days, by nuisance calls on my mobile phone. Nothing serious, but a lot of noise, like a party, from a hidden number lasting for six or so seconds. I suspected it could be a boiler room trying to sell me dodgy shares.

So I phoned my mobile phone company and asked them to act. They said they needed a complaint number from the Police, which I got quickly from Suffolk Constabulary with no problem. The mobile phone company, then said they couldn’t find out who was sending the calls and it was up to the Police. Privacy laws? Data Protection Act?

I didn’t bother to waste the Police’s time on this rather trivial matter. But surely we need simple procedures for everything, so that one call sorts it. Not endless toing and froing from one agency to another.

Internet based methods for the reporting of many matters would make things a lot easy for most people and the Police, but they’d probably ruin the crime statistics.