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Jon's Ramblings
So Microsoft releases seadragon for iphone -- its the infinite zoom stuff which balances client side and server side processing.

Nice, neat, useful. But not the real deal in terms of building those 3D photoscapes.

Amusingly enough, there is no Windows Mobile version of seadragon. Why? Cos the graphics on Windows Mobile devices sucks giraffes through a straw. And the iPhone has killer 3D and 2D graphics -- just look at the 3D apps like Molecules or XPlane

Current Location: lab
Current Mood: perplexed
Current Music: rickie lee jones -- the magazine

So everyone was apparantly waiting for Ballmer to launch something called Zune Phones at CES.

And he didnt.

Ah well. Windows Smartphones are things I have a love/hate relationship with. Mostly hate, it has to be said:


I like the straightforward and mostly complete OS
The dev tools are excellent
Remote management is excellent from Exchange Server


The OS sucks. Yes, I know this clashes with the first in the list above. But I dont need a Start button on a phone. The phone UI suffers from "if we shrink Windows it will be just fine" and it isnt.

The physical keyboards are just horrible
The touchscreen soft keyboard with toothpick is even nastier

And now the two Really Nasty things:

I usually cannot upgrade a device to the new OS. This is simple unacceptable. Buy a Windows phone today, and it might well be out of date and not updatable in 6 months time. Sorry, but thats a complete killer.

There is no unified store from which to buy apps. And I cannot buy and install over the air, at least I couldnt last time I tried.

I was interviewed recently for Swiss TV and they asked me about the pros and cons of the Apple iPhone AppStore versus the MS route:

Advantages of Appstore:
One place to look -- windows apps are spread across the internet with no catalogue -- a huge mistake by Microsoft
One place to update -- see above -- a huge mistake by Microsoft
Cheap dev tools --  a draw for MS
No review process by end users of store vendor, and then rating process by end users -- a huge mistake by Microsoft
Seed-corn VC finance for startups funded by Apple to tune of 100 million dollars

Advantages of the MS approach
No store lock-in. But no QC either

Errr, ummm, err, thats about it.

Microsoft has tried to do its usual waffly "build a community" arm waving. And has singularly failed. Along comes Apple, and does the opposite to ms in just about every area. And is hugely successful, with many one-bedroom developers having made hundreds of thousands of dollars already.

How could Microsoft have gotten it so wrong?

Current Location: lab
Current Mood: perplexed
Current Music: robyn -- with every heartbeat


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Sometimes tech is just great. Today I am at the roundhouse in Camden for the national youth orchestra concert tonight. One of the top five orchestras in the world. Am helping my old chum tony Faulkner with the recording.

20 years ago this would have been a major endevour today I turned up with my r4pro, took a single canon lead aes ebu digital feed and pressed record. No levels to set, cos tony is doing the stereo mix.

Imagine if this had been open reel tape. 14" reels at 30ips. Nightmare. Today I have 78 hours left on the hard disc. Joy!

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Whilst shopping at that dreadful place, PCWorld in Colchester (which now appears to have more flat screen TVs than computers -- and they dont stock 250g Canon photo paper any more in A4 size -- like durrr....) I decided to treat myself to the TomTom 940T, the new top of the range model.

Fab piece of kit. But whats this? Yes, over-the-internet updates of the software. Nothing new there, I hear you cry.

How about nearly FIVE GIGABYTES worth?

Yup, new software plus new maps for europe and new maps for usa...


Current Location: lab
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

computing in bed requires, shall we say, "specialist tools"

The Mac Mini makes a great small computer for TV PVR, Web etc work. But you need a keyboard and mouse

The excellent tiny bluetooth keyboard from Apple is fine for typing. But we need a mouse.

I have used a Kensington trackball for a while, but this requires a usb cable draped over the bedclothes.

Now Logitech have come up with just the ticket -- a device which is a laser mouse when it is placed on a surface, and a full 3D gyroscopic mouse when you lift it off the table top (or bedsheets)

You need some time to get used to its ballistics. But it is really very good once you are acquainted with its acceleration and so forth. Highly recommended. 



The Bentley 6.75 litre turbocharged engine is a thing of beauty.

if you dont believe me, check out http://gallery.me.com/jonhoneyball#100164&sel=50 which is the interior of my Bentley RT engine during the operation required to change the head gaskets wot I had blown.

The bill was a cracker:

23 December  2008                                                                 Invoice No. 001680
Jonathon Honeyball

Re: Bentley Turbo  RT – Reg. No R667 OGN – Chassis No VCH 66140 - @ 65,613   miles.
To invoice for:
Vehicle delivered by transporter. Assess engine for potential head gasket failure.  Misfire noted cold. Engine run up to normal temperature. As soon as the cooling system pressurised, significant steam was noted from the exhaust.  Confirmed head gasket failure.
Engine dismantled to replace cylinder head gaskets. All components washed and cleaned in solvent and blown dry with compressed air. Engine washed down to remove significant dirt and oil deposits.
Engine reassembled with new head gaskets as required.  (See photographs)
Additional work carried out.
1. Brake pumps shroud seals disturbed on head gasket replacement. Shroud seals removed and new seals fitted.
2. Top of engine found to be extremely oily and dirty. Engine washed down with solvent cleaner prior to engine head assembly.
3. B bank air injection pipe broke on removal due to severely corroded union. Replacement pipe fitted.
4. Cylinder heads fly-cut to ensure they were totally flat prior to engine assembly.  Cylinder block and cylinder heads wiped down with solvent cleaner to ensure there were no greasy marks prior to the installation of the new gaskets and fitting of the cylinder heads.
5. Thermostat inspected and joggle valve found to be missing. New thermostat supplied and fitted.
6. New engine coolant temperature senders fitted for the dashboard gauge and the engine ECU coolant temperature sensors.
7. Front of engine volute casing dismantled. Water gallery O rings , sausage seal and gasket discarded. New top gasket fitted. New volute casing O rings installed, new sausage seal installed with additional sealant to the corner joints.
8. Exhaust system turbo charger waste gate vacuum cover removed as part of the overall job. On removal of the pipe banjo union, the thread in the cover came out on the banjo union. New replacement waste gate cover fitted as required. New wills ring installed when the A bank exhaust manifold was refitted.
9. During head gasket replacement, the pistons and cylinder heads were de-carboned.
10. Corrosion noted to the cylinder heads injector port orifices. Injector port orifices cleaned. Injectors cleaned prior to refitting.
11. New PAS reservoir feed to pump and return hoses fitted during engine reassembly.
12. All new engine driven V belts fitted during engine assembly.
13. Hydraulic systems bled including brakes to expel air after assembly.
Engine commissioned with new coolant and inhibitor. Cooling system pressure bled to ensure full circulation including separate charge cooling circuit.  Vehicle road tested and returned to workshop of inspection. All levels checked. Engine checked for oil and coolant tightness. Engine covers refitted.
Vehicle road tested and returned to workshop for re-inspection.  Valet carried out. HMSL removed to clean glass.

(click to see the gory details)

However, you might be interested in this:


Head of Bentley engineering giving a lecture on the V8 at the Institute of Mech Engineers.

Current Location: lab
Current Mood: poor

Thanks to my mate Alan Fleming for pointing this out to me:

Click on the Titles combo at https://www.roh.org.uk/myroyaloperahouse/register.aspx

You get the following (snatched from the page source and parsed in Excel):




Duke of

Earl of
Group Captain
H R H the Duchess of
H R H the Duke of

H R H The Princess
HE Senora
HE The French Ambassador M
His Highness
His Hon

His Hon Judge
Hon Ambassador
Hon Dr
Hon Lady
Hon Mrs

HRH Sultan Shah
HRH The Prince
HRH The Princess
HSH Princess

HSH The Prince
Lord and Lady

Lord Justice
Lt Cdr
Lt Col

Maj Gen
Marchioness of

Marquess of
Mr and Mrs

Mr and The Hon Mrs

Prof  Emeritus
Prof Dame

Rev Canon
Rev Dr
Rev Mgr
Rev Preb
Reverend Father

Right Rev
Rt Hon
Rt Hon Baroness
Rt Hon Lord
Rt Hon Sir
Rt Hon The Earl

Rt Hon Viscount
The Baroness

The Countess
The Countess of
The Dowager Marchioness of
The Duchess
The Duchess of
The Duke of

The Earl of
The Hon
The Hon Mr
The Hon Mrs
The Hon Ms
The Hon Sir

The Lady
The Lord
The Marchioness of
The Princess
The Reverend
The Rt Hon

The Rt Hon Lord
The Rt Hon Sir
The Rt Hon The Lord
The Rt Hon the Viscount
The Rt Hon Viscount
The Venerable

The Very Rev Dr
Very Reverend
Viscount and Viscountess

W Baron

Good to see that standards at The House havent slipped.

Current Location: lab
Current Mood: amused amused

So Mike Nash posts this to the Windows 7 blog:
"We learned a lot about using 5.1 for XP and how that helped developers with version checking for API compatibility.  We also had the lesson reinforced when we applied the version number in the Windows Vista code as Windows 6.0-- that changing basic version numbers can cause application compatibility issues. "


Sorry, but wrong. I am getting sick and tired of this bend over backwards nonsense that runs through the whole Windows platform, time and time again.

The reality is that there are a lot of shit apps out there, badly coded and dumb, stupid crap that should never have been released. Pandering to them is not the answer.

Windows 7 should have a hard compatibility barrier, and app vendors (especially the games companies, who have been living in La-La Land for too many years) should pull their fingers out and fix things properly.

Windows now has an almost insane amount of work-around code to pander to incompetence. This is not the way forward.



Current Location: lab
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

From issue 43...  early 1998... my first ever Epilog column. Apple got SO excited by it that Guy Kawasaki emailed me and asked if he could reprint it out to his Apple Evangelist list... And it doesnt seem to have aged at all in the last 10 years.  Wierd.


With my consultant’s hat on, I often get asked to recommend hardware for evaluation by businesses and corporates. And its true to say that no-one got fired for buying Compaq, IBM or HP. Sometimes some Gateways or Dells escape into the offices of users and do sterling service. But there is one name that is often strangely missing. So I went on a hunt to see what they were up to, to see whether they could offer a solution for real-world desktop operation in a connected, wired office space.

I have this beast sat in front of me right now. It’s fast, very fast. It is easy to use. It runs Office 98. In fact, I’m typing this into Word 98. It runs FrontPage. And there’s Microsoft Outlook for connection to my Exchange Server email backbone, and I can see my inbox just fine. It has Internet Explorer 4 on it, and Netscape 4 as well. And a big suite of Adobe tools like PageMaker, PhotoShop and so forth. In fact, in terms of software, it has everything you need. It has an Ethernet network connection, peer networking, a nice 17” monitor, full Internet connectivity. Stereo sound too, and a microphone. And a CDRom drive, and a big hard disc. And a very sensible floppy disc arrangement too. The keyboard isn’t bad, and the mouse is perfectly nice.

It is, indeed, the very essence of a modern multimedia computer for home or office. It runs all the sensible software that I want and need to work with, and works with all the other machines around it in the office. The price/performance is competitive too. So it should be on my Recommendable List.

And yet you are not buying it.

It has plug and play that works, far better than the PC to its left. Hardware expansion is no problem – it has room for plenty of storage, and the internal PCI bus takes name-brand industry standard cards. You can plug in several monitors at once, and get a desktop that spans all of them. It doesn’t suffer from stupid limitations like 16 IRQs, and being unable to use a modem on a port near a mouse.

And yet you are not buying it.

This machine has more name-brand current-version software dripping out of its hard disc than you can shake a stick at. Its from a company that has arguably done more over the last fifteen years to further desktop computing than all of the mainstream PC vendors put together.

And yet you are not buying it.

And I look at it, and to be honest, I’m scratching my head. This is a product with a staggeringly bright future, whose operating system today, although a bit creaky in places, is very competent at performing the business and home tasks that you care to throw at it. It runs all that software and integrates with your Novell or NT network, so what’s the problem? And the next major release of its operating system, due months before Windows NT 5.0, will bring back into the fold some fabulous, tried and tested work that was initiated nearly ten years ago. Best of all, this new OS will run on the native hardware, and there is a complete Intel build of the OS too. But if you want to stick with Microsoft OS’s, there’s a runtime for NT and Win95 too so you can run the apps there.

And yet you are not buying it.

If I worked for this company, I would be tearing my hair out. You, dear reader, are quite happy to buy hardware that is appallingly backward, where “prehistoric” doesn’t even begin to do justice to some of its more 1960’s let alone 1970’s thinking – when was the last time you thought rationally about that parallel printer plug, for example? How can we justify column inches and learned discussion about the pros and cons of Intel’s Slot One for the Pentium II processor, when the surrounding machine architecture is so full of utter rubbish, and bitter, twisted nonsensical design? The parallel plug, a keyboard bus that requires a separate mouse port, shared IRQs for the serial ports, the AT bus, base port addresses – the list is endless! Hardware configuration and BIOS’s that look byzantine in their complexity – just what is a “post-refresh burst rate delay” anyway and do I want one, two or four of them? “Plug & Pray” speaks for itself, and is often a bigger headache in the corporate support world than the problem it was attempting to solve.

We’ve still have ISA. EISA failed, PCI64 has gone nowhere. Limited, if none, hot plugging or fault tolerance in mainstream machines. Where is the industry push for good technology like Firewire or even USB? And look at the operating systems – one wrong configuration, and you’re stuffed. “Have you tried reinstalling the OS?” is a statement that brings tears to the eyes of an IT manager. PC 98 spec is a decent enough step, but why is this specification PC98 anyway – why wasn’t it PC90, or even PC87 when the 386 shipped?

In the PC marketplace, whether it be SOHO or corporate desktop, this is just yet more “me too” so-called engineering wrapped up in “all tinsel and no Christmas tree” bullshit. A lowest common denominator “it’ll do” illness, and a cost cutting frenzy par excellence, pervades most everything that most vendors do. No wonder PCs are so expensive to maintain, when the ingredients are this bad. Ask yourself why TCO is such an issue now – when was the last time you thought about TCO on your phone system? Or a fridge?

And you wilfully part with your money for this stuff.

Maybe there was a reason in the past not to buy into the computer that I’m referring to, but I am hard pushed to find one today. My mother wanted a computer to “browse that Internet thing”. She now has one of this brand I’m referring to, and mum@woodleyside.co.uk (please be gentle!) is now a live email address. She browses the web with gay abandon, and is reassured by the happy smiley “system ok” face she sees when she turns the machine on.

Now I will accept that this company has done some stupid things in the past. But that was then. They are now making money. I accept that there were good reasons for corporates not to buy into this platform in the past. But that was then. Maybe, just maybe, its time for a fresh look?

I have a brain. I have an Apple Macintosh. What’s your excuse?"

Tags: ,
Current Location: lab
Current Mood: amused amused