New Anime Series Thunderbolt Fantasy

I don’t tend to do my anime reviews any more, mainly due to lack of time but also that they don’t really add much to the internet, however this one I just felt I had to flag up, it’s called Thunderbolt Fantasy and it’s a puppet show done in the style of an anime, I am aware of the long history of puppet shows in many cultures, but the action puppet show as a TV format was first really introduced with Thunderbirds by Gery Anderson and culminated as far as I was concerned with the creation of Star Fleet X-bomber (a Japanese show by Go Nagai) which I ADORED!!

Now Thunderbolt Fantasy is an updated form of that kind of Series, It is a mix of puppets and CGI special effects feeling more like a movie or a classic epic tale than an anime. it is fascinating to watch, the plot line is totally feudal power rangers with an epic music score [1]I’m not sure it will beat Brian May’s opening theme music but its going to give it a run for its money, the puppets them selves and the sets are works of art so much so that I have had to watch each episode more than once as the first time I’m too busy staring to read the subtitles.

Obviously effects have come on a lot since the 80s and it still has that charming puppet feel, but you don’t just see the top half of the puppets, full body shots and foot shots are common and mixed flawlessly with things like fire and magic.

I’m just praying its going to be at least a 24 episode series.




1 I’m not sure it will beat Brian May’s opening theme music but its going to give it a run for its money

A.B.D. News letter 2016 End of Trip

Hi Guys on our way home we went up to Whitby, and stayed on a certified location about 3 miles outside of town with a sea view (but very sloping) Keith and John came down on 3 days which we spent eating and fishing. We caught 1 fish it was a joint effort, it was on my line, but Wendy and I had gone off to fetch fish and chips and Keith pulled it in. It was a very good few days with the boys.

To Find The Perfect Office

I find with offices that I am more than a little picky, you think that all you want are a few simple basics but it turns out that none of the shared or small office providers want to provide what you want in the way you want it

I tried most of the leading communal office companies as a truly private office would be too expensive, and I would go stir-crazy, but every time there would be something fundamentally wrong with them. Faults ranged from one office advertising itself as a “dynamic shared environment” which turned out to be a lobby coffee shop >:( [1]Meaning I couldn’t leave my laptop unattended therefore had to take it with me every time I went to the toilet through to places that were so keen to get you in that it felt like you had hired yet another project manager to be on your case. This happened four or five times, but I was determined to find a good work base [2]I could not really use home as my work place as I need to meet with clients and clients of companies I am sub-contracting for. LDC Via work together a lot as well and frankly I start to lose … Continue reading, and my perfect office turned out to be a place called Purple Patch.

Within a day of trailing in to the building fresh from an outrage at a previous office provider, I determined to settle there like an ugly toad under a rock. If you want the low-down I recommend you go and look at their web site

Let’s walk through my must-haves:

24-hour access: This is a big thing for me, in fact THE big thing. Most shared offices close at 6pm, and you’re waiting at the door at 8am to be let in. However Purple Patch is really 24 hour access. They give you a bunch of keys and security fobs after checking your background, and then you can come in at any time, day or night. Perfect for those late night deadlines.

Impresses Clients: The place must look and feel good: a lot of shared offices have a slightly tired feel about them, a bit like airport lounges. At Purple Patch everything is bright and clean, and I thought at first it was because the place was new—but no, it’s been there for 15 years and simply has regular revamps. This means that you can bring clients on-site with a sense of pride, and its excellent location means that there are tons of great places to eat and drink within idle wandering distance.

Hard Lines: I know that everyone just lives on wifi, but not me. Wifi is fine and everything but I want a good speed, I want to go like the clappers, and so each desk has a network port in it that gives you 100Meg down, and the same up. This means that only individual clients’ VPN speeds slow me down.

Layout: I like open-plan, but not OPEN PLAN. Again, Purple Patch scores: the building itself is like a cheerful Gormenghast (or as Ben Poole said, “an eclectic second hand book shop”). Desks are grouped into bays and natural nooks, you don’t feel isolated, but similarly you are not forced to endure every word of a nearby loudmouth’s day.

Humanity: My office provider must be human. One of the Purple Patch clients has a small dog she sometimes brings in, and no-one howls (sorry) about rules. Parents bring in kids and I have never been disturbed by them (the layout helps with this and the fact there is a chill-out area with table-top football that gives kids something to do). No-one brings in jaguars and what can and can’t be done is decided on a case-by-case bases to keep everyone happy, rather than by following a soulless set of rules.

Now the little things:

Nice toilet roll holders: Don’t look at me like that. How many times have you been at a clients or any kind of office and had to deal with a toilet roll holder that looks straight out of Parkhurst prison? Something that does not allow more than 2 sheets to be pulled off before it jams and rips and you end up having a little tantrum, reaching in and ripping the offending roll out which is less than professional. It turns out that Purple Patch agrees and has proper toilet roll holders that hold multiple roles and that don’t damn well jam.

Proper coffee in proper places Purple Patch have different coffee in different places in the building (yes, yes tea as well!) If you want to wait at a machine while it goes “pluck pluck pluck” then fine there’s one of those. Personally I like the old style filter coffee pots and they are always kept topped-up to ensure optimal coding hyperactivity. I have watched Ben Poole consume his entire body weight in coffee within approximately ten minutes of arriving at the office.

… and that’s it. Really I am just relieved to have found an office I like and can do business in 🙂

(BTW: I’m not getting paid or anything for this review!)

This is where I skulk. Your desk is static and you get a locking cupboard (there are personal lockers as well)

Lots of little drop-in meeting nooks

Coffee, COFFEE!!! (kept topped-up by the lovely lovely staff)

You would not believe that the meeting rooms are actually cheaper than horrible scabby chain franchise ones

A nice shower at an office, there’s an idea

Even LDC Via can enjoy a meeting there (and maybe the pub afterwards)


1 Meaning I couldn’t leave my laptop unattended therefore had to take it with me every time I went to the toilet
2 I could not really use home as my work place as I need to meet with clients and clients of companies I am sub-contracting for. LDC Via work together a lot as well and frankly I start to lose productivity if I work from home more than around one day every two weeks.

A Little Thing Done Right

Last week the ‘swag’ from being an IBM champion arrived and to my utter surprise it was just perfect, yes I had picked it from a catalogue and knew at least one of the items was from a brand I knew but that did not detract from the fact it represents something to me a bit deeper than just a give away to keep some evangelists sweet.

Branded stuff like this is really supposed to be used where clients can see it (on site idealy) but recent IBM marketing stuff has been of very poor quality, just somewhere to slap the logo on and hope for the best, the best example of this is the backpacks that were given away at recent IBM Connect events, they were not even worth taking home where as the 2005 and 2003 editions were still in use and treated as a fine vintage, who ever looked at the bags and decided to skip them for this year’s event was a wise person. Anyway the swag that just arrived represents in my opinion just what IBM is aiming at with their champions

  • High quality outsourcing: IBM obviously did not do it them selves but the picking and delivery for me was a simple and flawless exercise.
  • Best of breed: The backpack is Wenger, the notebooks were Moleskin, the t-shirt was Nike. Good competent brands, not too flash, but not some no name knock off that falls to bits.
  • To be seen in public: I am already using my stuff on site and with the same pride I would a MongoDB t-shirt or a LDCVia power pack.

I expect I am reading too much into this and it’s simply the result of a single individual doing their job very well, but even if that’s the case it’s a good example of a rejuvenating IBM