I name my child: netgear

A colleague of mine has recently moved home, and was roaming the streets earlier in the week hunting for a free, unsecure wireless signal. He used his phone as the network detector, before settling down to do some work, leroy being his network of choice.

But most of the networks stumbled upon were called netgear, linksys and default. However none of these features in the top hundred babies’ names. Strange that.

The BBC’s news prioritisation

The world has gone a bit mad. Or at least the BBC has.

Yesterday, BBC News’ lead article was the suspension of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, with the 160 victims of the Pakistani earthquake playing second fiddle.

Today, Ross’s three month suspension from Radio 2 leads, with the "concern[s] for tens of thousands of people" in DR Congo being deemed less significant.

BBC priorities

While the two presenters’ behaviour was indeed wrong and inexcusable, the stage that this story has been given is way too elevated, and the barracking that the two presenters have received is at odds with the offence they committed.

The BBC has an obligation to include stories in which it is intrinsically involved; but sometimes I feel they elevate such stories higher than their significance warrants. And no doubt, the BBC is reacting strongly to this story largely as a result of Channel 4’s unwillingness to do the same following the racism incidents in 2007’s Celebrity Big Brother.

The Elizabeth Line

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Queen, as a contribution back to all us taxpayers, provided the voice of the London Underground?

Mind the Gap. This train will be terminating at Willesden. The next station is Green Park; alight here to see my house.

Come on Lizzie. It’ll be fun!


I’m not a fan at all of the BBC’s US08 elections logo.


They appear to have used an O (the letter) as opposed to a zero (the number), albeit in a smaller font weight than its alphabetic predecessors. I’ve never seen such an elongated zero before now. A typesetting horror that grates upon at least two eyes.

Better the devil you know

This afternoon my daughter got hold of the home phone. When I grabbed it from her, she’d dialed 666. This, coupled with her penchant for launching help from my laptop. Cause for concern?

Microsoft? Who are they?

"Competition, even stiff competition from Microsoft, doesn’t bother us because it will either make the internet as a whole better or it will be irrelevant to making it better."

What beautiful arrogance from Sam Schillace, head of Google Docs, in response to Microsoft’s forays into cloud computing, quoted in the BBC’s article on the subject.

This is the world in which the killer applications will be kings. Facial recognition incorporated with photos, even videos; offering Office to the online world without a discernible difference to the desktop equivalent; and bringing file and document management through straightforward interfaces.

Underpinning all of this, the need for a near-flawless security model to give customers confidence in the safety of their data, and similarly impressive levels of resilience to allow those customers uninterrupted access.

Google, Microsoft and Amazon are well-placed to exploit the potential rewards that getting this right can bring. Others, like IBM, could join the party given their size. But they aren’t sufficiently fleet of foot nor visionary to get it right. Let’s see how it all pans out.


We were inundated with entries to the competition to name the artist from the following clue:

There exists 55i perpendicular to all w.

After sorting through all responses (another mathematical puzzle: how many ways are there of ordering zero items), none contained the correct response. So here’s a further clue.


Anyone? Bueller?

I stumbled upon this slightly contrived puzzle in Germany in 1993, lying on a mattress in Simon Barnett’s flat in Cologne, with a Matisse picture on the wall at the head of the mattress. Reading the capitalised artist’s name upside down gave a slightly bizarre mathematical statement.

Harrison’s Child

My daughter loves watching Peppa Pig, so much so that my wife bought her a few DVDs of it. She also likes playing with the DVD player, with a particular penchant for the stand by button.

These two activities don’t sit particularly well together. Midway through watching, she’ll shuffle across to the DVD player and hit the stand by button and the episode will stop.

Over time, I expect her to learn the correlation between the button-pressing and the ensuing disappointment, a phenomenon I will be writing up and submitting to a science journal, one I will name Harrison’s Child.

After all, I don’t think anyone else has discovered this.

It’s a car. No really, it is

I was amused by today’s BBC article about Andy Green’s future attempt to beat his own land speed record by taking a "car", known as Bloodhound, over the 1,000mph mark.

It was the sentence below that tickled me.

Known as Bloodhound, the new car will be powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine.

I don’t think I’d be keen to get in myself.

Google converter gone bad

Today I Googled "euro pound exchange rate". Google converter offered me "1 Euro pound = 0.584862002 kg U.S. Dollars"

I have no idea what this means.

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