Friday, January 24, 2014

A typical work exchange

Boss: "I've had an email from China"

Me: "It's spam. We get them regularly"

Boss: "But I was thinking, do we need a Chinese domain name? How important is the Chinese market going to be to us in the future?"

Me: "It will be important. They're changing various laws at the moment in response to events in the west."

Boss: "So do we need a Chinese domain name?"

Me: "I think our priority should be to sort out our UK site for now."

Me thinking "Your priority ought to be sorting out those figures that I need so I can finish the annual report. Why are you pi&&ing about with Chinese spam?"

Boss: "But wouldn't it be more impressive."

Me: "They are being influenced by what goes on in the west. If we had a working website here we could always add a couple of Chinese pages to it in the future."

Me thinking: "Which bit of that didn't you get in the first place... influenced by the west....."

Boss: "So we don't need one."

Me: "Maybe if we had an office in China it would be different."

Boss: silly laugh

Me: "If we ever need something in China we can ask our academic partner if we can hitch some pages onto their site. They have a Chinese office."

Boss: "Oh yes. Good idea.

Me: "And the first thing we could ask them is whether to put it in Mandarin or Cantonese."

Boss: "Interesting. It's good to have your perspective on the importance of overseas domain names."

Me: (Thinking) "Just shut up and go away."
Based on an actual event

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday extracts: Haggis time!

Saturday (January 25) is Burns Night, when tradition (in Scotland at least) demands you should eat haggis and drink whisky. And to do things properly the haggis should be carried into the room to the sound of bagpipes and somebody has to address it with a poem by Robert Burns.

To save you having to look it up:

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Driving to work in January

Skeletal trees loom through morning fog: sinews of mist entwine their bones, intangible yet impenetrable by the starveling dawn light. Rows of headlights make Death's head grins. And we crawl towards our destinations.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Thursday extracts: 2014 from 50 years ago

Extracts from an article written by science fiction author Isaac Asimov, describing his dream of 2014 from the 1964 World's Fair.

Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica (shown in chill splendor as part of the '64 General Motors exhibit).

As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. In fact, one popular exhibit at the 2014 World's Fair will be such a 3-D TV, built life-size, in which ballet performances will be seen. The cube will slowly revolve for viewing from all angles.

Although technology will still keep up with population through 2014, it will be only through a supreme effort and with but partial success. Not all the world's population will enjoy the gadgety world of the future to the full. A larger portion than today will be deprived and although they may be better off, materially, than today, they will be further behind when compared with the advanced portions of the world. They will have moved backward, relatively.

Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be "farms" turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The 2014 fair will feature an Algae Bar at which "mock-turkey" and "pseudosteak" will be served. It won't be bad at all (if you can dig up those premium prices), but there will be considerable psychological resistance to such an innovation.


For the full text click here.