A passing of genius

Early on Friday morning a genius passed away.

For real tech heads and anyone who knows anything about the evolution of Vitual Reality, knows this guy.

As a small tribute, here is his final lecture. I would strongly recommend this video – even if you’re not a tech-head geek.

Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch 1960-2008

Published in: on 28 July, 2008 at 23:01  Leave a Comment  
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Honiton, dawn this Monday morning

This is the small town where I live.

 

 

 

 

twb-button

Published in: on 28 July, 2008 at 05:52  Comments (3)  
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So starteth the Carnage

So, I drive up to Birmingham on Friday night. I’m doing what we call a ‘Hub trip’, that is basically where we take all the Pallets from this area for the rest of the country and drop them at a central Hub, then reload with all the palettes for this area and return.

Knowing that this weekend is when ‘Silly Season’ really gets underway and armed with the knowledge that friends are traveling to the area from Sheffield, I was keeping a close eye on the transport situation.

South bound M5 was already getting busy at 4am and the Truck parking areas in different Motorway Services were pack solid with Caravans. While Caravans are allowed to park their, priority has to be given to Trucks to take their Tacho Breaks. So most trucks had to start parking on the Hard Shoulder of the Motorway itself as they couldn’t even get into the service areas due to the magnitude of caravans already there. I actually tried to stop at 3 places on my return and was unable to.

I have to be honest here; while I grumble at Caravans, tacho breaks are a serious issue, they keep people alive, they’re required by law and if something isn’t done about this – things will simply get worse.

Driving standards started out reasonably well, then of course things changed. It’s odd sitting and watching the passing traffic wondering which vehicles were heading for disaster.

At 6.45am the news came trough that there was already at least one person dead and many injured with the closure of all three southbound lanes at Exeter – it had started!!

After returning home and getting some sleep, I heard the news that several accidents across the UK and had left many people dead.

And you know what – I’m starting not to care!

Published in: on 27 July, 2008 at 21:52  Comments (3)  
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Silly Season

Be advised that this Friday is the official start of the summer ‘Silly Season’ on Britain’s roads and motorways.

I was talking on the phone with Fenny last night and we were talking about the so called spate of knife assaults going on – BUT!!!! lets do a little comparison here.

The number of people killed in road accidents was 2,943 in 2007.  There were 247,780 road casualties in Great Britain in 2007. Thats at least 8 people dead for every day of the year!!!!

Already 1836 people have lost their lives in 2008.

YET NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING

74 people were shot dead during the 2006 – 2007 period and this was far more highly published.

In London alone – over the May Bank Holiday weekend (27-29th May 06) – Police recorded over 50 knife attacks. Yet no one was shouting about knife crime then…

Yet 3000 people a year are slaughtered on our roads

Published in: on 15 July, 2008 at 11:21  Comments (3)  
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60 years of Land Rover

Why would I mention a motor company birthday?

Well, the ‘Land Rover’ in it’s original format (now called Defender) has quite an amazing history. It is reckoned that for over 2/3 of the world, the Land Rover was the vehicle they’d ever seen, and even more amazing is that 3/4 of all Land Rovers built are still running (excluding Range Rover, Discovery and Freelander).

In 1992 I became one of the very first people to qualify as Instructor for Land Rover and what followed this was some of the best experiences of my life. I’ve driven in just about every conceivable type of environment in the world because of this and the only places left are the North and South Poles.

The single real reason I went to work in Saudi Arabia was a complete excuse so that I could do more harsh desert driving and the reports I sent back to Land Rover had a direct impact on some of the upgrades and re-design of the present Range Rover.

But Land Rover are, and have pretty much always been a tight fisted bunch, they don’t give things away to ‘any old expedition’ or people. Heck, I didn’t get a thing for my input into the Mk3 Range Rover and that has gone on to being their best selling product. So unless you’re some top international show jumper or the like, forget approaching them.

So imagine my surprise when as a part of their anniversary they have donated 60 Vehicles to the Red Cross/Red Crescent organisations!

Finally, something good from this once great Marque.

This is great news

So the SG Franchise is back, and what a start!

While this Firday is a major day worldwide for fans of the franchise, you can already download the ‘straight to DVD’ SG Continuum and Episode one of the new series of SG Atlantis.

In Atlantis we see the wrapping up of the last season with an epic rescue and plenty of fireworks, concluding with Sam Carter being removed from command. Ironically as shes leaving Atlantis she talks about going to the event that sparks of the Continuum movie – nice touch.

The all new movie ‘Continuum’ is a complete work of art and frankly it’s amazing that they made it for under $10m – maybe something that the powers that be should take note of. It’s also the first time a real nuclear submarine is used in a movie and certainly the first movie shot on a Artic ice flow with the sub coming up through the ice next to the movies cast.

The cast and crew filmed this whole segment somewhere up at the North Pole, which in itself it pretty darn amazing.

All in all the whole thing is highly entertaining and worth the watch even if you’re not into SciFi.

Published in: on 9 July, 2008 at 12:20  Leave a Comment  
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A great f**king day to rock and roll…

During my formative years as a child, ok,ok – so I’m still forming – let me start again…

When I was a ‘younger’ I grew up on RAF Bases as my stepfather was serving. In 1975 we were posted from RAF Brize Norton to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Waddington was the senior of two sister bases, the other being RAF Scampton. This situation has always served the two bases well, from the bombing of the dams during WWII, when the Lancaster Bomber served there, to the ‘then’ (when we were there) present day of being Britain’s frontline airborne Nuclear Deterrent – The Vulcan Bomber.

The Vulcan, one of the original ‘Hooligans of the sky’ due to the complaint at Nellis AFB during RED FLAG by the local power company. The complaint was that a Vulcan Bomber flying at extremely low level had cut a 38 feet high power line – nothing unusual huh? Except it cut the power line with it’s tail while ascending! Not bad for a 27 ft high 80 ton bomber!

Shortly after the Falklands war the Vulcan was scrapped and while the RAF maintained one for display purposes – this too was soon destined for grounding.

There has been a society of ‘well wishers ‘ and enthusiasts (as well as former RAF crews and technicians) trying to get one such Vulcan back into service running a campaign called Vulcan To The Skys.

As of July 3rd 2008 Avro Vulcan Bomber XH558 has been given status and DISPLAY AUTHORITY.

Today, 15 years and 4 months after she left RAF Waddington, she finally returns to carry out her first public air display.

I wish I could be there but I can’t, so I wish all those  who have worked tirelessly for 15 years to make her air worthy and ready for this day – the very best of luck indeed.

Specifications (Vulcan B.2)

General characteristics
Crew: 5; Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator Plotter, Navigator Radar and Air Electronics Officer
Length: 99 ft 11 in (30.45 m)
Wingspan: 111 ft 0 in (33.83 m)
Height: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
Wing area: 3965 ft² (368.4 m²)
Empty weight: lb (kg)
Loaded weight: 199,585 lb (90,530 kg)
Useful load: 21,000 lb (9,550 kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 204,000 lb (92,500 kg)
Powerplant:

4× Rolls Royce Olympus 201/301 turbojets, 17,000 lbf/20,000 lbf (76 kN/355.9 kN) each

Performance:
Maximum speed: 645 mph (1,040 km/h)
Cruise speed: 625 mph (1,005 km/h)
Range: 2,300 mi (3,700 km)
Service ceiling: 62,300 ft (19,000 m)
Wing loading: 50 lb/ft² (246 kg/m²)

Armament:
1x Blue Steel cruise missile semi-recessed in the fuselage or 1x Yellow Sun Mk.2 nuclear bomb or 21x 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Aircraft participating in the Falklands war also carried 2x AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles under the wings.

Published in: on 5 July, 2008 at 04:41  Comments (5)  
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Beer Fest…. Chepstow

This weekend the Coach & Horses in Chepstow are having their annual Beer Festival :(
Sadly I can not go as tomorrow I’m in London. However, it turns out that if you read something related to this HERE, you can get a free pint.
The link is for (what will eventually be) the new C&H website/blog and you should soon be able to see dia foto’s of myself (TWB) and my bizarre group of Chepstow friends from time to time – as well as find out what is going on there.
Please note that it’s web address will be changing once we have it sorted out properly (if Nic and I ever get chance to sit down and work it out).
Now the Beer Fest also coincides with the Chepstow Folk Festival, for which I hope there will some representation to the Cambridge Folk Festival at some point in the future.
So if you feel like hitting Chepstow over the next few day, check out the link and claim your free beer.

Published in: on 4 July, 2008 at 19:47  Comments (1)  
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Stargate franchise has a man down

(from syfi portal)

Don S. Davis, best known to genre fans as Maj. Gen. George Hammond in the Stargate television and film franchise, died on Sunday. He was 65.

Davis was a co-star during the first seven years of “Stargate SG-1.” As a result of a medical condition, he cut back to making guest appearances on “SG-1” until the show rapped at the end of its 10th season.

He also brought Gen. Hammond to several episodes of “Stargate: Atlantis.”

His final franchise appearance will be in the upcoming direct-to-DVD film, “Stargate: Continuum,” scheduled for release on July 29.

He appeared in numerous films, including “Far Cry,” “Woodshop” and “Vipers,” all of which are in post-production.

He guest-starred on several television shows, such as “Supernatural,” “The Dead Zone” and “Flash Gordon.”

Davis met fellow Stargate star Richard Dean Anderson during work on “MacGyver” when Davis served as a stunt double for Dana Elcar.

He was born in Aurora, Mo., in 1942, and served in the U.S. Army. An accomplished artist as well as actor, Davis married Ruby Fleming-Davis in 2003. They were residents of British Columbia.

His family released a statement that said “so many of you have been touched by not only the work and art of Don S. Davis, but by the man himself, who always took the time to be with you at the appearances he loved, that it is with a tremendous sense of loss I must share with you that Don passed away from a massive heart attack on Sunday morning, June 29.

“On behalf of his family and wife, Ruby, we thank you for your prayers and condolences. A family memorial where Don’s ashes will be scattered in the ocean will take place in a few weeks, and should you wish to, please make a donation to the American Heart Association in Don’s memory.”

“Stargate: Atlantis” executive producer Joseph Mallozzi told reporters during a conference call July 1 that Davis would certainly be missed.

“He had a bigger heart and was even nicer than the Hammond character that he played,” Mallozzi said. Fans “would approach him in the sense that they were approaching Gen. Hammond. but once they got to know him, they got to know Don Davis, a very warm-hearted, incredibly self-deprecating man, who sadly will be incredibly missed by not just the fans, but anyone who worked with him.”

Donate for Don at the American Heart Association

 

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