Not a great fan, but sometimes he says some interesting things… if you have time, I recommend you watch it all
Sunday and I’m back in Bletchley Park… and what a complete difference to just a few days previously!!
There was so much more going on, more things open, the weather was great and furthermore blog commenter Fenny was with me as we pottered about the place.
Now… there was something else going on too… a book launch and signing by old Bletchley inmate and illustrious author and life peer Baron Asa Briggs…
As such there really was a full house at the Manor and after being there only a few minutes I came face to face with Lord Heseltine, former Secretary of State for Defense under Margaret Thatcher and Deputy Prime Minister with John Major. We both gave a polite nod, and he went over to Lord Briggs to say his goodbyes.
Now, one of my kewl friends was also there, but sadly I missed her, this of course would be Dr. Sue Black. Sue is the most rocking evangelist of all things Bletchley Park, it’s kinda how we met and have gone on to share tons of information.
The one thing I totally adore and respect in Sue is her willingness to share, encourage and inspire the want and will to learn and do better in everyone no matter of their personal intellect or social status.
She has also been an outstanding Ambassador for Bletchley Park and the United Kingdom when traveling and promoting Bletchley around the world – hey, this is not to mention what she does and has done for promoting Women in IT…
She has roped in a great many people, appeared on the BBC News and worked tirelessly for years to get Bletchley the recognition it deserves.
So, while pottering about on the web today I ended up reading her BLOG, and there, right there…. They and she have completed the initial goal… In a meeting with Simon Greenish of Bletchley Park she asked him where they were with regards saving the site… the answer?? Bletchley Park has now, with the help of so many and Google…….
Now all that remains is the not so simple task of rebuilding the entire site, and believe me – they now need to raise a lot of money!!
Please, I don’t mind if you don’t like my blog, I’m not offended if you wish to never return here, but before you go – PLEASE give this post by Dr Sue Black a read HERE.
As a final note : Be Advised… Tea and Coffee in the Bletchley Park cafe is pretty rancid……….
The other cool bit of Bletchley…. The Home Of Loud…
Now, on my way back I had to pop by a place close to my heart, a place where customer service rules supreme and while the first users of this company’s products had the names Townsend and Hendrix. I am of course talking about…
I first communicated with Marshall back in 2000 and frankly they’re the most helpful people ever…
Back then I was invited to visit the factory, it took a long time but eventually I did. While there I met a great many people, toured the place and looked at the most historic collection of amps I could have imagined, nothing prepared me for the Who’s Who wall of photo’s running down the corridor wall towards the service centre.
When I left, I did so with arms laden with shirts, mugs and all manner of merchandise.
So why would I go past on a Sunday when the place is shut you ask (or not) am I “that” sad??
Well actually no, I stopped by because of a follower, commenter, poster on this blog and thief of 1 x Marshall Hoodie and lover of anything SO loud, it could wake the dead – mentioning no names….
So here are some pics of the this hallowed ground of Rock just for her :-)
So, the temporary settling in has begun…
All my gear is here, got net, been looking around – but more importantly, I have a new dentist who appears to be very good and has already gone a long way to cure me of my pain…. New crowns are on their way, so all will be good in that department soon enough and I can’t wait to get it all sorted and be able to sink my teeth into the great food I love and miss.
Blast from the pasts have already been happening; I received a text from WKD, emails from Dave across the road and good buddy and friend Chris Allen who phoned me the other day to see if all was well with the world..
What is REALLY new is that planning is in full swing to move T.W.Brit from a blog to a website… and boy does this stuff take some planning lol… Obviously there are issues such as the format and appearance, revenue stream, hosting, e-commerce, content and more importantly, sectional content to name but a few…
But, and purely thinking in terms of “In a perfect world” which means with the greatest intentions, not all the ideas will happen all at once..
So with that, I hope there will be still a blog section and hopefully some interesting guest posts, both known and anonymous. There will be recommendations and product rating or approval for quality – not gain… The various sectional content will be written by people who know their field, but all will have a typical TWBrit twist and satirical element. For want of a better phrase – Facts with a Smile.
Politically non-partisan, not frightened to say if the new fashions of the world WILL make you look stupid if you wear them, that will berate Celebrity culture in a humorous way, but more so the silly people who are addicted to it – yet pat on the back those Celeb’s that have cornered their corner of the market best.
It WILL take the proverbial p**s, yet only do so when we think it needs doing, the site will bring you honest facts and hopefully vital resources and information.
While we will take advertising and sponsors, there will be no soul selling – just a purely fun everyday read along with great sections of information and resources. Yes, if someone needs telling they’re a cock – this site as always will be happy to suggest it and the ever happy HUAward is never too far away.
There will be more in-depth coverage of issues close to my heart, and from my last post it’s fair to say that Bletchley Park will be one of them. As too, US UK relations, friends around the world and we will expect fun commentary from the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
Indeed, from rural England, to the City of London many subjects will be covered and hopefully there will be a little something for everyone.
At the end of every week there will be a guest look back at the events of that week and an editorial from me.
This will of course mean the deletion of most previous content and permissions etc will need to be sort for use of images etc – more rigorously anyway…
So, I’m kinda busy I guess…
I’ve something to say about “Spies R Us”… aka Bletchley Park, home of the Hackers, Crackers and Code Breakers
In 1989 I worked for British Telecom (BT)… the role I was initially recruited for was as an underground heavy cabler… As such we had to learn about various skills and dangers and bits and pieces of how to winch, pull, rod, rope and turn cables over huge distances through underground ducting, across bridges, in lakes, dams, coal mines, remote hill top locations and down your street.
As such there were only a few places in the entire world where you could learn this skill and one of them was British Telecom’s Technical College Bletchley Park…
What happened at Bletchley apart from learning a new set of skills of hauling optical fibre and copper cables up to 4800 pair, meeting trainees from the USA, Canada, Asia etc – was finding a fascination with the place…
There wasn’t anything really there to tell you of its history, but for the most part the ornate gardens, grounds and buildings were all operational and well looked after.
So… What is Bletchley really?
Yes it’s where the code breakers worked… yes, later the code breakers for the US worked there and then began a much deeper US/UK relationship which has continued to at a similar level ever since.
But the most significant thing is what you’re looking at to read this article!! The Computer.. (I say that because you may be from a country that was not involved in WWII)
This issue knows no patriotism, it, while once a technology of utmost secrecy, is now a technology where you and I, the end users, roam about the ether without a visa, at the speed of light and in the realms of the internet are all most members of a reasonably governmentless new world…
Whether we use the computer for work, shopping or simply for communication, it does not take long to understand its pitfalls, gain friends globally and learn it’s abilities and more importantly its strengths…
Now add this to the following information:
Bletchley Park was the home of the world’s first programmable computer (Colossus).
The work carried out there by the Code Breakers, by intellect and by computer is known to have shortened WWII by a minimum of 2 yrs, most likely 6 yrs.
There is actual reason to assume now that without the work of Bletchley, the war would have ended in a stalemate!!
While initially a British only thing, the information was soon shared with our Allies and very quickly the USA came on board and later expanded the work considerably with over 300 US intelligence staff working at Bletchley Park at one point.
What does that mean in real terms…
Well if WWII lasted 6 yrs at the loss of around 84,000,000 lives – shortening the war by any length of time saved a hell of a lot of lives… So many lives in fact that had it have not done its work, some of you reading this would have simply never existed in the first place!!
So in real terms on a pro-rata basis in saving lives =
2 yrs = 28,000,000
3 yrs = 42,000,000
4 yrs = 56,000,000
5 yrs = 70,000,000
6 yrs = 84,000,000
But what we do know about Bletchley Park and only more recently seem to realize is that while its work on the war effort was one thing, huge infact – the relevance to our lives today is immense…
You see, the old cliché of “The first casualty of war is the truth” is very real… and with every single industrial revolution of modern history – we forget the true roots of it all..
Yes, from the work that has become legend of modern pioneers like Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Bill Gates and so many others – little homage has been paid to where it all truly started.
And Bletchley Park isn’t the only site to have made a significant break through in history – and these places need preserving also. But what of Bletchley today and more over – what are the multi billion dollar companies doing to preserve this level of modern history?
Bletchley today is open to the public, its assets decimated by BT when it relinquished control of the site with the shameful selling off of assets in the most disgusting example of cut-n-run you’re likely to ever see and something they should be made to do something about or at least be held accountable for.
It is run mainly by volunteers with an affinity with the place, but in order to keep its doors open it has almost reached the point of soul selling – and that isn’t pretty!!
The displays are based on what they can afford and that isn’t much. Even the gift shop is a sad cry for sell anything if people will buy it!!
To me it is not in anyway a family site, it is historic geekdom… Infact talk to several people who have been, other than the odd item to do with the code breaking and the worlds first programmable computer – the rest can strike boredom even in the most intellectual of minds! Frankly, while that remark pains me to even hear it – it is nonetheless a point of view given to me… However, talk to someone else and they said their entire family went and loved it to bits… So it really is up to you to make your mind up.
Bletchley Park IS NOT and should not be a WWII theme park, it is and should be only about Code Breaking, its impact, what was achieved there, what was innovated and where the world is today because of computers and how they came into being.
Can it be improved – YES!!! But that’d take cash and a lot of it – and a real road map to what should be there…
It should on the outside look just like it did in the days it was operational… but underneath it should be an advanced learning centre… yes the introduction to the Enigma, yes, learn about the code-breakers and what they did…
But then it needs to turn uber geek and have a tech centre built in a secluded spot whereby the entire history of computing can be shown – but NOT as a set of static displays… unused computer equipment is simply static junk – it all needs to work and have a degree of “hands-on” ability. But when you drive up to the gate, you should see guards dressed and armed as they were back in the day, and the windows should be taped etc. The public should feel as they’ve genuinely walked into another world, the world of the Code Breakers themselves.
It is here where real networking started, where the computer made it’s first leap forward and it’s here where there should be the greatest collection of this industrial revolution!!
Not piles of old junk, not modernising a site to modern health and safety laws – but a real living breathing reproduction of its heyday.
Don’t get me wrong here, I back anyone who did it for themselves, I respect their innovation and guts to do all they have achieved… But when is enough money enough??
Yup, all these CEO’s can enjoy their earned lifestyles etc – but to not honour in any way the thing that ultimately made them their money??? It’s a bit like the baby who has just been born jumping up and head butting it’s mother in the face.
Bletchley Park should to all intents and purposes be made a UN World Heritage Site, it has to be restored, protected and also become the ultimate learning resource… the site needs innovation, conceptual design that is hidden away. It needs to be hands on and have enough money to pay its staff.
It needs the greater industry to donate 50% of one day’s bank interest from their fortunes so that this site can be honoured developed and set its history in stone..
No, there are no national and BS patriotic issues here, it needs its greedy fat assed off spring to stand up and be counted, to stand with some level of courage, commitment and more over – the self respect to step up to the plate.
It needs physical help too!! Yes from the companies who have staff who worked or developed modern super computers to be on-site to show the world what they did, how they took and industry forward through their own innovation.
IBM, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Adobe, Samsung, Texas Instruments – and this list could go on and on…. But Bletchley should be the home of not only the Code Breakers – but the site of a global industry show case and meeting point.
A place of collaboration, innovation and a place the entire world can see where it came from and marvel at the concepts of where it’ll go.
I’m ashamed of the lack of investment, the lack of enterprise and more over the complete and utter lack of organization and imagination of industry into the place, a place I actually like! The people at Bletchley Park, well they’re working hard, but with hands tied behind there backs. As for the overall real vision, cutting the wheat from the chaff and remaining focussed, I don’t know – it’s hard to achieve as much that needs to be done with little more than a shoe string.
I will say that NOTHING makes me more appalled than the gutless blind eye turned to an industries roots and birthplace – by the very industry itself and one I’ve worked in most of my life.
So, if the industry has ANY level of self-respect, has ANY balls…. Feel free to apply yourselves, offer 50% of – or better still, a whole days company bank interest, – use this as an opportunity of show casing yourselves…
The hard work and dedication of the team at Bletchley and Dr Sue Black is a testament to how important this work truly is… these people have my respect and their hard work, enthusiasm is, while outstanding, an immense wake up call of people striving to do something, to work against impossible odds for the benefit of us all.
So… is there anything “we” can do? Yes be there for the weekend of the 21-22 May to show your support…
One final note:
Contrary to the Bletchley Park website image below…. the cost of an adult visit is NOT 10 pounds – it is 12… and while I have now scrolled about to find the parking fee – there is one and it’s 3 pounds
To be clear about this, this is the first Bletchley Park Google result link… the Site has been updated and you should (until previous cache’s have been cleared) go through the website main portal to gain the latest information in order to prevent confusion and possible frustration: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/. Clicking HERE or on the image below will take you to the present prices page and the most accurate information at the time of writing.