My tweets

  • Sat, 18:24: It’s interesting to note how Microsoft’s ideolect has changed: it used to be “reach across” divisions, now it’s “up and down layers”.
  • Sat, 18:25: The old hard unyielding Microsoft silos are now soft layer cake.
  • Sat, 19:37: Recent Reads: Europe in Autumn. Dave Hutchinson's fractured Europe wraps new secrets: a hidden war between hidden peoples. Maps make worlds.
  • Sat, 19:38: Europe in Autumn is highly recommended. A fascinating book doing intriguing things with genre, an SF-tinged metropolitan fantasy.
  • Sun, 01:09: Accidental street fair!
  • Sun, 05:12: RT @Bballforeverfb: Meanwhile at the Bellagio... #MayPac http://t.co/nH4W03M0jR

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My tweets

  • Fri, 19:55: Hmm. Is TweetDeck no longer downloadable? I really don't want to have to use it in a browser...
  • Fri, 21:15: Decided to go straight to Office 2016 on this HP Spectre. Still toying with a name for it, currently calling it Gyrocopter.
  • Fri, 21:16: Gyrocopter is the nearest thing I can think of to a James Bond-themed flying car. Because SPECTRE.
  • Fri, 21:19: Win32 apps get to do interactive and adaptive toasts in Windows 10. Sample will be on MSDN.
  • Fri, 22:35: (eeeeeeeeeeee!)
  • Fri, 22:55: Anyone written a Markdown Office app for Word yet?
  • Fri, 22:55: RT @VisualStudio: So many new things, so little time. Here's the GitHub Integration in Developer Assistant news: http://t.co/Yizvy6zHNz htt…
  • Fri, 23:03: And that’s a wrap. #Build2015 Off to Samovar for tea now...

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A sign of the times.

Days since last Hugo "withdrawn from your consideration" 8 0.

IGMS this time.

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  • Fri, 21:37: Recent Reads: Spheres of Influence. Ryk Spoor delivers EE Doc Smith-influenced space opera in a galaxy-sized artifact. A player of games.
  • Fri, 21:38: The Grand Central Arena is not a Big Dumb Object. It's a Big Inscrutably Smart Object With An Agenda.
  • Fri, 21:40: Discovered my rental car is Lumia ready: got an Avis Preferred upgrade, and it's a Camry with a built in Qi charging pad.
  • Fri, 21:41: Visited our Silicon Valley maiolbox. Huzzah! My @malki Sea Lions T-shirt has arrived. So today my options are Seahawks and Sea Lions.
  • Fri, 21:57: This is what it is like to have chosen to live in England and to adopt Englishness. Also, the wasps. This. http://t.co/bPVWjWPZBQ
  • Fri, 22:21: Writing an Actor explainer. Keep wanting to end each sentence "And that's how we learned to code at RADA, darling."
  • Fri, 22:30: Suddenly had a flash of a Schultz/Bixby crossover: "It's A Good Life, Charlie Brown!" in which it is revealed that Marcie is an evil mutant.
  • Fri, 22:46: Started Europe In Autumn. Instant flashback to the Russian restaurant where we at a table between Georgian and Ukranian mafia heavies...
  • Fri, 23:11: Is the Build 2015 app using last year's schedule as a placeholder?
  • Fri, 23:19: So let me get this straight. BT lets spam calls on its network, wants to sell me a call bocking box to deal with spam calls. Double dipping?
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  • Wed, 14:52: Caffeinating http://t.co/dcLxWRCm97
  • Wed, 15:49: (online check-in time)
  • Wed, 15:57: Just had my desk covered in maker devices, doing photography for a 3500 word IoT feature. I didn't know I had quite so many maker boards.
  • Wed, 17:10: Wearing a @msonenote T-shirt out shopping, met a chap in the car park who asked if I worked on it, as he loved it so much. #onenotefans
  • Wed, 21:23: Pre-summer hairtrim done. Down to a No. 8 on top and a No. 3 on the back.
  • Wed, 21:37: (reactivating my US mobile account)
  • Wed, 21:41: RT @ron_miller: Box Announces New Developer Edition http://t.co/kZnqel9dZr Can build apps that take advantage of Box services -- by @alex a…
  • Wed, 21:49: After an online support call with a US company I'm all "Mellow greetings. Be well citizen." I still don't get the three shells though.
  • Wed, 23:58: Think I'll wait to upgrade my 10 test boxes to the new build when I get to CA tomorrow._
  • Thu, 08:48: PSA: High volume phishing attack going on at the moment. Disguised as an Amazon refund notice, but with a malware payload.
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My tweets

  • Tue, 14:01: So the rumours were almost true. KJ Parker is Tom Holt, not his wife as many of us had thought...
  • Tue, 14:14: (Also Tom Holt as "humourist"? Has no one else read his Greek and Roman classical historical novels? Tragedies, the lot of them.)
  • Tue, 14:28: RT @DeliaOnline: Today's Recipe of the Day is Buttered Jersey Royals with Parsley, Mint and Chives http://t.co/tL6q3lTEpQ http://t.co/EyQ
  • Tue, 14:37: RT @jeremiahtolbert: I am in awe of the productivity of Tom Holt right now.
  • Tue, 15:30: Think I need to get T-shirts designed for The Legion Of The Odd. Motto, "We can't even". It'll be like printing money.
  • Tue, 20:50: If you've installed Lightroom CC as an upgrade to Lightroom 5.7 and it won't start up, log out of Creative Cloud and then log back in.
  • Tue, 20:51: RT @marypcbuk: Signs that you live near many building sites http://t.co/vZ9HKXtNRm
  • Tue, 23:12: Hmm. @TweetiumWindows just logged me out of Twitter on all my devices. Wonder if it's related to a 10 Phone install failing on "restoring"

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My tweets

  • Mon, 12:06: (Oof. This news story is at 800 words and rising. Will it be done in time?)
  • Mon, 12:16: (Rapidly approaching the magic 1000. I never could write 350 word news pieces. Sorry @iainthomson and @Karen_Friar, I know you tried!)
  • Mon, 12:25: Boat! http://t.co/lBGmIJx4V7
  • Mon, 13:08: With this weekend's Office 2016 update I'm seriously considering switching to it on my Surface Pro 3.
  • Mon, 13:54: RT @monkchips: so ship.io - seems like a pretty sensible packaging exercise. CI for mobile, integrates with crashylitics etc
  • Mon, 14:05: Big news from the Azure team: http://t.co/GIM3xqyj1n
  • Mon, 14:55: (and registered for Ignite)
  • Mon, 14:59: Think I'm going to do a 2015 Hugo reccomendations list. The more the merrier, eh?
  • Mon, 15:01: (Strange reader comment that doesn't seem to like my old hairstyle. Maybe I need to update my @zdnet bio shot. That was 15 years ago...)
  • Mon, 15:06: 1/ For background to the underlying programming model in today's Azure announcement read these recent articles of mine.
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Two islands: a parable.

There once were two islands, one big and one small. The big island had a village, farms, people, even a parliament. The small island had a big house.

The big island was very pretty, and tourists came all summer on boats. They ate food, drank tea and beer, slept in the hotels, and bought crafts. Life was good on the big island, even when the storms came in winter and there were no boats.

Two billionaires bought the big house on the small island, and turned it into a castle. They wanted their own island with their own laws, but found that the big island's laws still applied to the small island, and there was a bigger island (and a bigger island yet) that ruled the big island.

So they lobbied and fought to change one old, old law, and they won. And that was good, because it was a bad law that made some people more equal than others.

"What now?" the billionaires asked.

And then they lobbied and fought to change the way the bigger island elected its parliament. And that was good, because it had been a parliament of land owners, not of people.

"What now?" the billionaires asked.

And they bought all the businesses on the big island and staffed them with their people, and they paid the island's people's wages.

"What now?" the billionaires asked.

And there was an election.

So the billionaires put up a slate of candidates for all the seats in the parliament. And the people of the island didn't like it, and many of them stood for the same seats.

"Vote for our people!" said the billionaires. "Or bad things will happen," they whispered.

And when the votes were counted just one or two of the billionaires' candidates were elected, and many of the islanders had seats in the new parliament.

The billionaires were not happy, and they closed all their businesses. The shops were closed, the hotels were closed, the pubs were closed.

But summer came, and with it came the tourists and their money. And the billionaires loved money more than loved the idea of ruling the island, and they opened all their shops again.

The moral of this story?

Sometimes a determined community can overcome the undemocratic nature of a slate.

Oh and this isn't really a parable. It's a true story.

My tweets

  • Sun, 12:02: Hello. Sunday morning and a new build of Office 2016. This time it's 16.0.3930.1004. That's just a week since the last push...
  • Sun, 12:09: (Not entirely sure i like the way Office 16 silently updates on startup. Currently looks like a frozen Outlook boot...)
  • Sun, 12:10: RT @MaxCRoser: How far does the #London Underground travel each day? Via: http://t.co/EoAIqZaqzj http://t.co/XolYVgeDTg
  • Sun, 12:19: New glasses showing me just how knackered my old lenses were. Suddenly my left eye isn't straining to do the work of two.
  • Sun, 12:20: "Yes, No, Don't Know". I really want a "Meh, Don't Care" option in surveys.
  • Sun, 12:48: Nto finding any significant changes in today's Office 2016 update. Outlook seems sprightlier at least...
  • Sun, 13:27: RT @MarkXA: So tempted to buy a catering pack of googly eyes and go round sticking them to all the election posters. Would cheer the place …
  • Sun, 16:43: New Office 2016 build seems to no longer have the "pauses" in Outlook. Bug fixes?
  • Sun, 17:08: RT @PaulGAllen: .@Microsoft gave me custom keyboards for new @surface 3 w/ @Seahawks theme, maybe should make more? (thx Panay/Elop) http:/…
  • Sun, 19:38: Recent Reads: Wolfhound Century. Peter Higgins’ metropolitan fantasy is a Russia built on fallen angels, while forests take back a future.
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  • Wed, 12:04: Amazon providing data protection tools for EU data outside the EU, certified tools. So can replicate outside of EU regions. #AWSSummit
  • Wed, 12:06: RT @tomwarren: "The Guardian get up to 85% of their traffic directly,” says Google. Interesting that it has so much insight into traffic st…
  • Wed, 12:07: Splunk services now on AWS. #AWSSummit
  • Wed, 12:13: RT @jkendrick: SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone and iPad Review | ZDNet http://t.co/1Fps0PclUm via @ZDNet & @marypcbuk
  • Wed, 14:18: Room allocations at #AWSSummit badly managed. All the developer sessions full very quickly, lots of people left outside the rooms.
  • Wed, 14:41: Yay! I got into a session I wanted to get into by dint of getting there 30 minutes early. Also: seat!
  • Wed, 14:43: (today’s English phrase for resume: "by dint of", meaning “as a result of”)
  • Wed, 14:46: RT @coreyspowell: Mind-opening graphic: This is how much of our galaxy we've begun to explore for other worlds. http://t.co/27IwrAHoEj http…
  • Wed, 14:48: Tempting title for this session at #AWSSummit “Infrastructure as code”. Wonder how much of it will be in the column I submitted yesterday...
  • Wed, 14:50: Cloud, containers, thin host OSes. We’re building a Library OS world on Azure and AWS. IaaS becoming PaaS, orchestrated actors.
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  • Tue, 15:00: Fascinating lunch with the Chef folk (as usual). Today, micro services, actors, Chilean automation, and Scrivener as devops for novelists.
  • Tue, 15:13: Finding the weekend update to Office 2016 a considerable stability improvement; especially in Word.
  • Tue, 15:24: Missed that there is a Planetary Resources test satellite going up with the latest Dragon. Now that’s an interesting space start-up.
  • Tue, 15:49: RT @maxgladstone: LAST FIRST SNOW, my next book, got a starred review in @PublishersWkly! http://t.co/BOCAfPniXs
  • Tue, 16:07: Oooh, you don’t see many of those: latest device in the coffeeshop is a Sony Vaio Windows 8 slider tablet, the one with the N-Trig pen.
  • Tue, 16:16: Using Word 2016 on my Mac. Where’s my Backstage?
  • Tue, 16:56: Am I a masochist for wanting to make a Spotify playlist of nothing but covers of All Along The Watchtower?
  • Tue, 19:31: Whoa! Flotsam!
  • Tue, 19:40: The Amazon man cometh. Yay! Books! http://t.co/VCLDfePACY
  • Tue, 19:59: And now a trade offer. There's still life in the old Floating City...
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Apr. 14th, 2015

So a Dragon just launched, heading to the ISS. Luckily for us in the UK, we're in a period of bright ISS passes - and that means we were able to see Dragon and its Falcon second stage pass over the UK shortly after lift-off. Not only that but the solar panel shrouds had just been released as Dragon came over, so there not one, not two but four bright objects in a tight cluster.

Putney is not the best place in the world for astronomical photography, but I figured it was worth a try. So I went up on the roof with my DSLR and a 300mm lens manually focused on infinity. Sadly there was a lot of atmospheric lensing, it having been the hottest day of the year so far here in London - so I wasn't able to take any good photos. With a bit of Lightroom processing, here's my best shot:

Dragon Over London

The two fainter dots above and below the capsule and booster pair are the solar panel covers.

Low Earth Orbit and Putney, London
April 2015

My tweets

  • Mon, 14:55: (heads down finishing a big IoT feature)
  • Mon, 15:12: Watching The (Hovering) Watchers https://t.co/c46o1n6ehV
  • Mon, 16:45: (it occurs to me that George Michael singing Belle and Sebastian, Hue and Cry, and Everything But The Girl would be an excellent album)
  • Mon, 16:46: Such good music. The 1960s channeled through the 2010s. http://t.co/eDHE8QUtJA
  • Mon, 16:49: Welcome To The League Of The Odd. Motto: "We can't even".
  • Mon, 17:51: RT @the_pc_doc: Sorry PR folks, but if I responded to every PR email I got (even with just a 'no thanks') that would then be my full-time j…
  • Mon, 18:07: (TTIP petition at the door. Chap most surprised that I knew what he was talking about...)
  • Mon, 18:12: Remember that you're all part of the Legion Of The Odd. Because there's going to be something on the internet you can't even.
  • Mon, 19:29: "Rewritten by machine on new technology." The Buggles predict the cloud...
  • Mon, 19:30: ("Pictures came and broke your heart, put the blame on node.js")
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My tweets

  • Sun, 12:51: If Trevor Horn's stint as Yes' vocalist had been taken by Freddy Mercury, would Yes have been a Drama Queen?
  • Sun, 14:00: Interesting: drilling down into the Windows 10 Mobile TP, and I see that among the Lumia extras is a Joyn agent. Phone as IoT endpoint.
  • Sun, 15:51: Bluetooth keyboard support in the 8.1 Update 2 release on my 930. Tweeting with a Wedge.
  • Sun, 16:58: Thinking about @ramez's question about SF and art, and finding it hard to not find art in all the art I read...

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  • Sat, 12:15: Seeing significant differences in perf between Windows 10 TP on a 1GB phone vs 512GB, especially in the new mail/calendar apps.
  • Sat, 12:19: (and I can't pin a mailbox or a mail folder to the start screen?)
  • Sat, 15:09: One aspect of the "new" Microsoft people miss is how influential MIX was on its design culture. So "Design by Sketch" is a key principle.
  • Sat, 15:19: Disappointed to see that "Destined for Doon" is not a book about wine. @RandallGrahm
  • Sat, 17:23: The helicopters are lining up for the start of the 2015 Thames TV camera helicopter race...
  • Sat, 18:12: It looks like the BBC beat the Met Police in the 2015 Thames TV camera helicopter race. Also Oxford rowed faster than Cambridge.
  • Sat, 20:02: A fly through of a 3D-scan of a section of the now closed Royal Mail underground railway in London. https://t.co/zxD6r1MYIX
  • Sat, 20:13: BASE Jumper. Up on the roof this afternoon, I caught a pigeon about to fly, leaping from a roof, wings closed. https://t.co/k4VVXbZ6DK
  • Sat, 20:16: Childhood's End gets a teaser trailer. http://t.co/VPKKYGU0EG
  • Sat, 22:02: (I do feel quite enititled to complain about the effects of slates on the Hugos, as you can see everything I read here and on LibraryThing)

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