Virgin Atlantic - New Seats So Close I Can't Work

Flew from Gatwick to Las Vegas on Flight VS43 in economy yesterday and was delighted to see new seats to replace the crappy the old ones. Got a bit excited at the new entertainment system and started to think the trip might be OK.

It took about 10 minutes before I realised how much closer the seats are together. Gut feel is that they are 5cm closer together. I am average height at 175cm tall , and my knees were right up against the chair in front. Then the person in front put their chair back and it was right in my face. Really, I measured it with my ruler, 10 inches from seat back to my face (or just a bit more than one iPad wide).

I could not open my laptop. I could not work. 

I look forward to the time on the plane to think and work on special projects. If I can’t work, the travel time is wasted time.

I could not easily read my iPad with the table up or down or see the TV properly. 

When I put my chair back to get some space, I am looking at the ceiling and can’t see the TV screen properly.

I could have used the time to catch up on reading & research. I could have made use of the quiet time to think but wasn’t able to open my notebook and use a pen because of the angle of the seat in front or because I was reclined so far.

The food on Virgin Atlantic is much worse in recent years and, effectively, inedible. I no longer eat on long haul flights, I buy sandwiches and snacks from the airport instead.

I will ignore the fact that the audio jack in my seat didn't work properly. That happens.


The burdens of air travel are getting worse for me.

The cost of Airport parking and car travel have risen to about  20% of plane ticket ( £100 return in car costs, £100 per week to park. A return flight to SFO is ~£1000)

Airports are giant shopping malls that crush my soul and I loathe being there. Lets not talk about healthy food and clean air.

Flying has become such a miserable experience that:

  1. I'm going to stay at home and do less air travel so I can use my time efficiently.
  2. I'm going to use the Internet for business and replace travelling to events as much as possible. It is cheaper, I have more work time.
  3. I'm going to try other airlines when I fly next and see if seats are workable.


Elon Musk On Fundamental Knowledge

Saw this on the Reddit AMA with Elon Musk today and he is talking about the value of understanding fundamentals before you become an expert.


[–]ElonMuskOfficial[S] 5103 pointsx2

I do kinda feel like my head is full! My context switching penalty is high and my process isolation is not what it used to be.

Frankly, though, I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.

One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.

Set the Bar Low, Be A Winner


A motivational poster to cope with technology vendors.


Size of Doughnut Holes

Science people. Conservation of mass and energy.

Did the doughnut hole get smaller or did “scientists” put the hole inside the doughnut ring ?


Boring note: bakers probably learned more about making dough fluffy and look bigger. That’s why I believe that the hole is inside the ring.




WTF Twitter Bio



New Year Resolutions I Learned From My Cats

I never wanted to have cats but my loving wife insisted. Cats are nice. It turns out that they are good companions for someone who sits at a desk for long hours. I’m still not sure how much they like me. I’m not entirely sure that I like them.

So I have no idea where I realised that there are life lessons to be learned from watching cat behaviour.

    1. Sleep More.
    2. Sleep wherever you are. Priorities matter.
    3. You can make people guilty by sitting on their lap and staring at them
    4. When you walk away from a situation make sure that never, ever, ever look back. You own it, you mastered it, you did it. It will there when you need it later
    5. Keep yourself clean.
    6. Be Chill. Things happen but you can keep your cool by staring casually at them to make things insignificant.
    7. Look the other way when confronted by people. Ignoring people makes them want you more and chase after you.
    8. Never sit in the same place twice. The other seat is always better than the one you have and needs to be checked out.
    9. Rubbing seductively against my wife’s legs when I’m hungry will get me dinner. (I'm definitely going to try this one)

Speaking of dinner, time to get my fluffy shirt on and rub my wife’s legs. Maybe it will work this time.

Quote: Achievement & Time

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” - Leonard Bernstein

VideoHow to Eat Chinese Takeout, Like a Boss

Packaging as plate = Efficiency. Lifehack.

via How to Eat Chinese Takeout, Like a Boss - YouTube.

The Golden Turd necklace » Design You Trust – Design Blog and Community

So much potential for this in the workplace……

The Golden Turd necklace

A witty and irreverent jewel, created by designer Marloes Duyker, founder of the brand Naked Design.

via The Golden Turd necklace » Design You Trust – Design Blog and Community.

LEAKED Official Apple iPhone 5 Picture your Life Better - Keynote 2012 - Youtube

Funny. Very funny spoof.

Review: Guardian Newsstand App for iPad (Newspaper)

I've been using the Guardian apps for the iPhone and iPad for a year or more. I've been reading the newspaper for much longer than that (I read papers on the left and right side of politics to in the hope of getting a somewhat balanced view - wishful thinking probably)

When the Guardian released their newsstand app for the iPad I was pleased to sign up and pay the subscription in Oct/Nov last year and support the business.

Today, I cancelled my subscription in frustration.

There are two primary reasons for this:

  1. Advertising.
  2. Crashing.


My first and major complaint is the display ads. I'm tired of having content shoved in my face and constantly distracting me from my task. The ads that show in iPad app are full screen and require a click through. Because the "hot spots" on the page that click out to a website are in the same place as the page turn, I find that Safari opens.

This is dishonest. Flat out, infuriatingly, steal my screen time, infest my eyeballs type of dishonest.

Finally, the Guardian app is constantly reporting back analytics to their servers. It's consuming precious bandwidth from my 3G allowance for zero benefit.

I have the view that I've paid for the privilege to have a copy of the Guardian content, it should not be further encumbered with advertising.


The final problem is that the app has started crashing regularly - starting from January. Most times on startup it will crash twice before staying open. When downloading the paper is will crash every second time during the download. And when reading the content it will also crash repeatedly.

As this is the only iPad app that crashes for me, I can only assume it is poor programming.

Summing Up

I could barely tolerate the ads in the early versions but the latest versions have many more ads and have spoiled the experience. When added to the app constantly crashing I'm cancelling my subscription and will stop reading newspaper altogether. I might buy the paper version occasionally, but I doubt it - it's doesn't work for my lifestyle anymore.

I don't have a better option than that.

66000 Guns in London

This guy is a documentary maker who explains how the documentary basically lies about its content, namely, that there are guns in London. But there aren’t and they aren’t being used more or less than the last ten years.

Review Movie "The Rum Diary"

Went to see the movie “The Rum Diary” on a whim today, because it was on at the right time, and had a couple of hours to wait for the children after school.

The whole point of the movie appears to have been a celebration of drinking, drinking to excess, adopting a drug addict lifestyle and living in poverty while being jealous of the rich. That’s all I got out of it.

Oh, and the “struggling writer” appears to have been inspired to tell some version of truth about the “bastards”. That’s important because the “struggling writer” needed to have some sort of redemptive quality, he sure wasn’t much of a character.

Nice pictures though. Storyline was a mess — couldn’t follow the plot. The girlie character was treat to look act. The implied rape scene wasn’t necessary.

In the final credits, the movie appears to have been related to “Hunter S. Thomson” who was, of course, a journalist who took drugs, was an alcoholic and somewhat psychotic.

My question: Why are we celebrating this type of loser ? Celebrate what he did maybe but not how he lived his life.

There is no value to yourself, or the society in which you live, in being drug addict. I like a drink and the odd bender, but not celebrating indulgence and excess.

Not recommended.

The Power of Doubt

I'm always impressed by Doubt. For me, it's that little voice that says "you'd better check that", "I wonder if something has changed", "is there a new feature", "does that feature exist"

I've realised that it might be a networking super power.

Doubt for Good

  • Doubt makes me review.
  • Doubt makes me check that my assumptions are correct.
  • Doubt ensures that I am more often right.
  • Doubt keeps me humble.
  • Doubt keeps me reviewing technology and operational data.

Doubt of Improvement

But Doubt has some interesting side effects.

  • Reviewing makes me relearn, even when I don't want.
  • Reviewing help me memorise.
  • Research shows me new things.
  • Checking unearths changes and new features.

Doubt as Evil

Doubt also has a negative side.

  • Too much doubt causes paralysis.
  • Questioning and uncertainty can lead to fear of change or fear of the unknown.
  • Review and research can waste time on topics and problems where the solutions are already know.

Morally Correct

Is it morally correct for carriers to oversubscribe bandwidth they sell you ?

In fact, is it morally correct to rent you a service that can’t be guaranteed ?

Bitter thought of the day.

In search of a biz monkey (why bother?)

In search of a biz monkey (why bother?): "The job of the smart business person isn't to fish in waters where coders are cheap. It's to have enough initiative and vision that the best coders in the world will realize that they'll do better with you than without you.

Business people add value when they make things happen, not when they seek to hire cheap."

(Via Seth's Blog.)

It's not Change I fear, but Change Management itself.

It’s not change that I fear, but the Change Management process itself.

Change Management is intended to reduce risk by encouraging responsibility and planning.

Change Management is often staffed by semi-retired technical types who know enough to be dangerous, and not enough to be wildly misinformed of anything new. A change reviewer has already seen the change hundred times before. A change creator is mired in a ton of pointless questions to create the simplest change. Big changes are so complex

In most organisations, Change Management just lets you know who to blame faster and more accurately.

Overcoming human nature is difficult. Overcoming the natural instinct to blame, or feel blamed, after a failed change requires a new approach to people management and team building that is rare. Really rare.

As a team leader, who has several executives who constantly speak trite phrases like

“risk is to be managed & accepted”, “we want to improve the process” “failure is not acceptable”, “we need to put resources into solving those problems”

When I face them down in a the blamestorming session after a major outage, they just want someone to victimise. They all know it isn’t going to fix anything. They all know that blaming a long serving employee who has taken years to develop those skills is counter productive.

And then refuse to sign off reasonable training budgets, practical lab environments, or professional learning time because Change Management has controlled the risk.

It’s not change that I fear, but the Change Management process itself.

Hugs Go here

Hugs go here 1

The Little Things Matter - TED Talk