IBM Connect 2014 session

Last week the session that Matt White and I submitted for Connect 2014 was announced as one of the first wave of approved sessions.

This will be the first session that Matt and I have ever presented together, mainly due to our massively disparate methods of both preparing and presenting (he is the ultimate professional with proper preparation, practice and finishes everything well in time to step back and take an objective view of the session, as for me….I do all that as well but compact it into the two hours before I’m due to present 🙂 )

However given the opportunity of doing a f**king awesome session around a certain idea that seemed to have merit (which we thought of during a shared curry) we decided to work together (the decision might have been aided by the beers that went with the curry).

Well thank goodness the session got approved, and got approved EARLY as we now have s**t loads to get ready before we can even get to doing the 200+ slides for a “Show ‘n’ Tell”, Matt has to write a fully featured Notes app that will serve as a suitable base, not a noddy app either, one that you could see working in real life, while I build us a Domino and Connections demo environment, populate it with data and write the native connections app to go with the Notes db, this has got to be done to perfect standards as we have used the word ‘proper’ in the title and in our green and pleasant land that MEANS something, only then can we settle down and actually code and write the presentation, then Matt is going to make us practice it again and again till it’s perfect …. Wailll

Matt can’t we just go back to the curry house and do it later?

New Anime Series: Kyoukai No Kanata

First Episode(s) Review for: Kyoukai No Kanata

A nice and understanding lad who helps others whenever he can but is a half demon is brutally stabbed but a nice and shy girl who happens to be a cursed demon slayer, despite this tricky start they are thrown together and try to get on while dealing with a whole truckload of emotional baggage (and demons)


Another example of my favourite type of soft tone anime, as if everything is filmed on a summer afternoon.

Plot Potential:

Plenty of meat here, they have used a lot of rich settings and good characters, so lots to work with, looking forward to see if the main bad guy is as interesting as the good guys.


Just like a serious high school “soap” anime but with fight scenes

Reminds me of:

Errr well, imagine if Akane from Ranma 1/2 became a demon hunter in the setting of K-On! and you are nearly there


I nice little series, Gripping enough to require your attention with good visuals and likable characters, thoroughly enjoying it and save for PG viewers.




Disclaimer: These are mini reviews of anime’s that are fresh out in Japan and are not licensed in the UK, buy them once they have been licensed or at the very least buy the merchandise, remember if the anime makers make a loss, THEY WILL STOP MAKING ANIME!!

Best USB Cable

The years of dealing with hundreds of different cables is past, and now nearly everything is USB port Type-A to Micro-B which is USB2 speed and also works on USB3 devices, this is mainly due to the common EPS agreement and ignoring bloody Apple means you can use the same cable for everything from charging batteries to data transfer.

But not all cables are created equal as we have all discovered when we open something shiny and beautiful and discover at the bottom of the packaging a stunted inflexible thing that looks as if it came out of a Christmas cracker. Now there are lots of posh cables out there costing a sodding fortune, flat ones, retractable ones, gold plugs etc etc. but really all I want from a good cable is:

  • Small heads so it fits all devices (even if you have a case on the device)
  • Able to take 10Watt (5v x 2amp) load safely
  • Flexible with a good metal shielding inside against interference
  • USB2 speed and a good low resistance (some of the tablets can be really picky about this)
  • Ideally a repeatable order so they are all the same size (Its nice and neat if they are all the same)

Turns out that reliable cables with these specs have been kicking around forever and you can still get them for about £2, its the old Nokia ones back when Nokia was king of the Hill, to search for it you want to look for CA-101 a 120cm (47inch) cable with its own attached tidy clip and the CA-101D (a 19cm (7.5inch) version with no clip) these cables have served me well and consistently on a variety of devices when other more expensive ones have let me down, recommended

The reason I do not suggest the newer Nokia CA-179, is that I have heard that it wont charge at the the higher amps i.e. more than 500ma

Oh, all the ones I have ordered have been a bit stiff then they arrived but have soon softened up with a but of use





The Perfect Consultant

Two of the things you discover when you set out on a change of career, is how many friends you have got and how much real use you are after your years of effort.

Well I’m still working my way though the discovery of the latter (although initial work loads are looking good) but as far as the former goes it turns out that I am a very rich man,

Along that line a shout out goes to Mike Smith of the Turtle Partnership who took the time out when I was on site at their offices to pass on some tips that he has from his years of experience in running a consultancy / business.

With the tips came a book called The Perfect Consultant which made for interesting if slightly eye popping reading, a short book (barely more than a pamphlet), every page contained stuff I should not only know but act upon, think of it as an expanded and professional version of Working from Home by the Oatmeal, From finding Work and clients to behaviour and dealing with harsh decisions, this book seem to deal with it all.

This book looks like it will live up to is boast of “All you need to get it right first time” so thanks again Mike



First Tuesday Club November 2013

We had all been missing the first Tuesday club by Information Security Solutions during its couple of months hiatus so were really pleased when it announced this month’s event would be going ahead.

There was a new sponsor in Arxan who did a fine job doing active tours and trying to talk to everyone without a sales pitch, particular credit goes to their tech (I have his card but am not publishing his name, it is a security meet up after all) who worked his socks off handling the huge variety of questions that were fired at him while only drinking water 🙁 , on a side note I had not even heard of Arxan before this meet up despite coming into contact with both their clients products and having mobile security issues which they could have really helped with, this was defiantly a “Ooooo” moment and exactly what the 1st Tuesday is for (I spent the trip home reading their web site)

As normal conversations varied wildly from the minutiae of users rights to privacy on a corporate network in various different countries through to Gandhi’s life and achievements (especially comparing his self sacrifice compared to modern leaders), though that makes it sound far more high brow than it was,

I had a great time as normal and this was an excellent night for learning new stuff and meeting one of the serious players in the mobile security.

(Yes I always take a picture when people are facing away)



New Anime Series: Blaz Blue Alter Memory

First Episode(s) Review for: Blaz Blue Alter Memory

Based of the computer game series BlazBlue, a lone fighter is being slowly overtaking by the great power he possesses, all the while being hunted by those who wish that power for them selves.


Very detailed backgrounds with slightly flat cell characters over the top, perhaps this is done to to make the battle scenes easier to draw as they are very very fast and involved.

Plot Potential:

I’m assuming you must have played the game to know what the hell is going (so much so that I went to see if this was the first series or a continuation), but it has settled down into the standard “haunted anti hero in a timeless cycle of battles” theme, I reckon by the 3rd episode it will become a background Anime, but it is fun and the fight scenes are very well done.


Not up to the visuals

Reminds me of:

A light hearted Devil May Cry


A good blood stirring series, Makes me want to go play the computer game…. Oh sod…. I HAVE this computer game, got it at an convention because I wondered what everyone was getting so excited about, so when today’s work is finished I will go and give it another try




Disclaimer: These are mini reviews of anime’s that are fresh out in Japan and are not licensed in the UK, buy them once they have been licensed or at the very least buy the merchandise, remember if the anime makers make a loss, THEY WILL STOP MAKING ANIME!!

Poem from a project manager

After helping a client Project manager with a cheap long term “snapshot” style of backup involving some western digital Green Hard drives, some Rsync commands and the very nice anti static drive cases by Wiebetech I find this email in my in-box

On my desk this morning that was hardly clean,
The miraculous hard drive fairy has been,
And in the middle of the night,
Left a gift of tera bytes.
How thoughtful of the kind fairy to think,
Of the need to use the superb rsync,
To provide the back-up strategy I craved,
Means all my data will now be saved.

Sometimes even PM’s can be cool

New Anime Series: Aika Zero

First Episode(s) Review for: Aika Zero

Somewhere someone decided it would be a good idea to do an Anime where all camera angels would be based on the floor and all characters would be young women with very very very short skirts and thus was “Aika Zero” Born, they have put aliens in there as well as secret agent and spy stuff so I suppose that is all right. If you are from England and a certain age, I will just say James bond merged with The Benny Hill Show and you will get the point


Not bad at all, a lot of attending to skin tone and body shape.

Plot Potential:

Err yes, there must be a plot, but as about 10% of the screen estate at any one time is devoted to white panties, I cant read the subtitles.


bouncy 70’s tunes, quite jolly really

Reminds me of:

There is nothing like it except the original Agent Aika


Fun, but fan service level is such that even though it is mild for Japan, it really is bordering on a 18+ for most countries. (no my screen caps don’t reflect this)




Disclaimer: These are mini reviews of anime’s that are fresh out in Japan and are not licensed in the UK, buy them once they have been licensed or at the very least buy the merchandise, remember if the anime makers make a loss, THEY WILL STOP MAKING ANIME!!

Reinsurance Book Review

My God you are still reading even after a title like that, well let me explain further.

After you have been a tech for 5 to 10 years, you start to realise that is is not quite enough, yes you have experience, yes you have seen it all and know the root of many technologies so the new stuff that comes out is mearly variations that don’t take long to learn, but you are starting to look a bit long in the tooth to the upstarts graduates, there are lots of ways of dealing with this, from the odious PM to Manager route (Spits!), to the serious tech head (time to grow a beard that you can keep squirrels in), I chose the architect route, now that means I have to be bloody good at a certain line of business as well as the tech that supports it.

I chose Insurance, it’s not the most glamours or the highest paying ( good Insurance business knowledge adds £100 – £150 to your daily rate vs the £200 – £300 for investment banking) but it is far less stressful and I have found the people to be very friendly (something that matters to me)

But even insurance has its levels, from the simple hi-lo (high volume – low value) types such a car and personal liability which fit on one sheet on paper to the very serious “International Property” and “International Marine” (Blue water) which take days or even weeks to do one policy with the help of serious computing power, at the top end of these complicated polices is the joy of Reinsurance which is basically a way of split a large risk amongst lots of companies.

From an IT point of view its hard to get a business grip on this and see it as the brokers and underwriters do even if you deal with the tech side of it every day, and lets face it, its not something you just chat about in the average pub, but there is a book on it to help, well there are quite a few books on it but many of them are out of date. this one however is considered one of the best AND has just been updated

Its Called Reinsurance: the Nuts & Bolts written by Keith Riley and I have to say it’s bloody brilliant, I don’t just mean on its coverage of a complex subject or on the fact the author has produced a technical book on insurance that does not have you slitting your wrists ever 5 mins, I mean that every couple of pages I had a “oh so that’s why the data looks like that”, it gives real insight in a friendly manner and helps you distinguish yourself for other Techs when it comes to dealing with the business. Format wise it feels very much like a “for dummies” book back when such books addressed tricky subjects. Very definitely well worth the investment