I prefer operating systems that aren’t named after beaches. Or ice cream.

I’ve decided the other day that computer operating system names and numbers have lost something since the early eighties. Back then, Microsoft were producing a thing called ‘DOS’, which stood for ‘Disk Operating System’ and was sensibly issued in successive versions – 1, 2, 3 and so on. I think the last one I saw … More I prefer operating systems that aren’t named after beaches. Or ice cream.

Where did the commercial Christmas zombie frenzy start?

One of my pet irritations about Christmas is the zombie mall frenzy, when shoppers go into a kind of trance amidst the glitz and glitter of the mall and start shelling out cash for chintzy consumer items made of cheap plastic. Most of these gee-gaws break 28 seconds after being unwrapped, and by 29 December … More Where did the commercial Christmas zombie frenzy start?

Big brother is watching us because we asked for it – Huxley style

I have to admit to a certain cynicism about the age of big data – the age of online convenience where we can shop from home, buy stuff with the click of a button, and have it sent to us. Books, among other things. But there’s a down-side. ‘They’ know what you bought – and … More Big brother is watching us because we asked for it – Huxley style

Shakespeare – the amazing, fun and immortally rude bard

Years ago, my high school English teacher had a fantastic talent for rendering Shakespeare so painfully dull that we used to hang out for maths classes or death or a revolution or something. I’m not sure how he managed it, but he did. If the teacher had said: ‘Shakespeare’s stuff is filled with really, really … More Shakespeare – the amazing, fun and immortally rude bard

Why ships are more than just steel and lists of statistics

There’s a vigorous naval enthusiast community out there. And it’s always intrigued me how often their discussions devolve to bitterly personalised argument, often infused with a kind of nationalist machismo in which paper statistics become weapons for invalidating the personal worth of the other party. Setting aside the point that this is basically dick-waving, using … More Why ships are more than just steel and lists of statistics