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Archive for June, 2006

Long Time No Blog!

June 29th, 2006 1 comment

I’ve just realised that I haven’t blogged anything in ages!

It’s mostly down to the fact that I have been so bloody busy recently that I haven’t had time to even think about anything other that work!

To cut a long story short, my company are sending me to Australia. I have a lot of work to do in the time between now and when they were going to send me. So far, as well as two 37 and a half weeks, I’ve clocked up another 23 hours of overtime.

I’ve just found out that the date I leave on could be up to two weeks later than we originally expected. That’s good, as it gives me more time to prepare, and means that I can take some time off on flexi-time so that I can catch up on some sleep! It is bad though because they could have told me sooner, and it means that I could have raced at the Kingston Regatta next weekend! Damn them!

Never mind, I still get a trip to Australia out of it!

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London to Brighton Bike Ride

June 19th, 2006 No comments

Hooray!

Along with another 26999 people (of which, 7 others were from my company), yesterday I successfully completed the London to Brighton Bike Ride!

We managed to cycle the 55 miles from Clapham Common to Madeira Drive in Brighton in about eight and a half hours, and I’ve personally managed a pleasing £150 in sponsorship for the British Heart Foundation!

Despite the fact that I ache like a bastard this morning, I’m definitely going to do it next year, and hopefully raise even more!

I was quite surprised how much I’ve actually enjoyed it, and how brilliant the whole atmosphere was. I was expecting it to be just people cycling, and cycling, and cycling, and …, but it wasn’t really. The best bit was realising people were cycling down towing loudspeakers attached to an iPod and playing out their CD collections – that really cheered me up! And a big thank you must go out to the kids that lined the streets and soaked me with their water pistols – it was welcome relief in the heat!

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A Step Too Far

June 12th, 2006 1 comment

I’ve noticed recently a worrying problem.

Manufacturers have started to get better with their technology, and have started producing cars which do automatic braking.

If you can’t understand me, imagine this. You’re driving your car on a motorway, and are following the car in front. The car in front suddenly pulls an emergency stop. In this situation, a computer can react faster than you can, so an onboard computer applies the brake pedal quicker and stronger than you can, and so slows the car to an immediate stop. For a video showing this in action, check out this Gizmodo page

This technology is currently in development with some manufacturers, but Mercedes Benz have recently released the technology on the new S Class.

Now this sounds all fine and dandy, except something worries me. I’m worried that people will become to used to the technology – that they will rely on the computer to do their work for them, and not on their own senses and intuition. I’m worried people will get into the mentality of “Oh, it’s OK to drive really close to the car in front, the computer will take care of the braking”. I drive a lot everyday (it’s more than a 60 mile round trip to work and back), and I see people do the most stupid things (I’m not saying that I have never done anything stupid myself) just because they weren’t thinking. To relax the brain even more is just asking for trouble.

This worries me because driving is a very analogue, random process. There is no fixed solution for a situation, no simple rules to follow when something occurs. Computers follow rules, humans can deliberately break those rules because, through experience, they know better.

Take for example the new Mercedes S-Class. This takes the braking thing one step further, and can actually follow the car in front. This means it will brake when it needs to, and accelerate when it needs to, and always maintain a safe braking distance. Now this is fine for motorway travel, where you can just put the car in gear and cruise, but imagine what would happen if you came up to a roundabout. The car would follow the car in front, so approaching the roundabout, it would slow as the car in front approached the line. If the car then leaves the line quickly to fit into a space, your car would then follow, and potentially smash into the side of another car.

Not a good plan.

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Bitty!

June 9th, 2006 No comments

In another prime example of someone not checking out a product name overseas, we’re now subjected to a small web in web product called “Bitty“.

Those of you who have seen the second series of Little Britain will have a different connotation of that word….

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Where Did May Go?

June 1st, 2006 No comments

Several revelations have just hit me. For starters, where the hell did April and May go? I’ve “lost” months before, but never two in a row, without even realising it!

Secondly, I haven’t blogged that much in those months, guess I’m too busy or something. Compare the number of posts in the archive from May 2006 to January 2005, and you realise how little I’ve done!

Finally, I’ve now done over 300 posts. I managed it the other day without even realising it. Fortunately, number 300 was a good one, Dancing Like a White Boy!

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