Asimo is 10 today

October 31, 2010

Today is the 10th birthday of the Asimo from Honda.

I wonder if anyone considered the coincidence of the date and Halloween and the possible negative marketing / branding which could accompany it? Particularly if they ever did malfunction. (Which I personally doubt they ever will, but since everyone who reads my blog who I speak with irl seems to think I’m on the wrong track about robots in every house, I thought I’d mention it.)

My only issue today is that the Asimo is now in its 10th year and still not available on the open market.

I expect this is some kind of joke, but according to some thinkers (possibly the same ones who got us all in a pickle about the millenium Bug during the late 1990s):

Computers will stop working at 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038 because of the Y2K38 problem.

I’ll be into my 60s by then, so right now am not particularly bothered by this, I expect someone will figure out how to fix this by then – the Y2K bug didn’t actually do anything drastic, so I am struggling to raise myself up into a panic.

But, just in case, just so I am clear, if my Asimo breaks down on this day I will seek compensation from Honda!



Project Management for you

October 26, 2010

If you work in project management, or indeed need to manage any type of project either in your professional life or in one of your “other” lives then I happen to know an expert.

Her name is Elizibeth Harrin and her blog is called A Girls Guide to Project Management. If you happen to be a boy, you’ll probably find some tips you can use there too!

Elizabeth has also written a bookon Project Management,called Project Management in the Real World.

On top of all that, she also runs a business writing consultancy called OTOBOS, which stands for “on time, on budget, on scope”. Which is pretty important for any project manager imho.

A bit about OTOBOS from its website:

“The Otobos Group is set up to provide a professional but accessible type of business writing for corporate and trade blogs, newsletters, websites and magazines.  Your customers and employees expect to be treated with intelligence but not bored to death with news of your new widget.”

The OTOBOS website was also Shortlisted in the 2010 PCG Freelancing Award.

My publisher, Oktober Books, is currently seeking submissions for its 2011 list.

Any completed manuscript in any fiction genre or non-fiction subject will be considered.

If you have a book you would like Oktober Books to have a look at please send them the first three chapters along with a synopsis of the rest of the book to:

Assuming the Feet In Tariff (FIT) still exists the day after tomorrow, it is worth looking into whether you can save on your electric bill and make some money (ie pay for the loan, then eventually make a small annual profit).

Figures I have seen say a solar panel system costing £6,250 should save £200 in electric bills and earn £900 from FIT each year. In theory, thru reduced bill and income, paying for itself in five or so years.

Details from: (assuming this still exists the day after tomorrow…)


Kerouacs Dog

October 18, 2010

I am a big fan of Jack Kerouac.

I was only just 16 the first time I read On The Road, the beat classic which Jack apparently wrote in only 3 weeks in 1952 (I recall reading somewhere he spend five years living it, three weeks writing it and five more years getting it published).

The book remains one of my major literary (and life) influences. I have read some other Kerouac, notably The Subterraneans (which also made a pretty good movie imho, featuring George Peppard the year before he made Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although the Kerouac based film is under rated by critics I feel) and would advise you the most accessible of his work is On The Road, so start there if you are interested.

A friend of mine, Oli Johnson, sometimes referred to as Oli “Oranges” Johnson, altho I have no idea why, has also been influenced by Jack and his writing.

So influenced in fact, Oli is now launching a quarterly magazine covering new writing, design and photography, called Kerouac’s Dog Magazine. I haven’t seen my copy yet, but I have ordered one.

I hope Kerouac’s Dog does well. Good luck Oli.

Censorship or protection?

October 14, 2010

I am not good at accepting censorship. I wrote my university dissertation on American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis (researched while studying briefly at an American higher education establishment). The book uses murder and mutilation as a metaphor for the damage unchecked capitalism does to the poor. The main character is a Wall Street banker who by day manipulates money markets to his own advantage and by night stalks the streets of New York on a killing spree.

My book, The Joy of Ex, contains swear words (even the C word), sexual content, adult themes (altho their is an advisory warning printed on the  back cover) – so I am ok with edgie and adult content.

Right now in the USA, where almost 20 years ago, American Psycho caused proper uproar, there is an ongoing debate about children’s access to books.

Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mocking Bird and the Twilight saga are all being battled over at schools in the land of the free.

(This is a serious issue, the other day an episode of Private Practice (spin off from Grey’s Anatomy showing what the character of Addison Montgomery did next) on Living had a storyline about a young girl who got Hep B (or something similar) from a boy who had bitten her neck and had done it to other girls, even though he said he only loved her… or some such – the upshot of which was don’t bite your friends just cos you like Twilight.)

The main message I took from Catcher in the Rye when I read it as a teenager nearly 20 years ago, was don’t be a faker. (definitely not kill a rock star). While from Mockingbird (again, about 20 years since I opened it up), which is about lots of things, I particularly got the message we should not judge people (which always makes me wonder if Harper Lee meant the irony of having a court room drama with that message).

As for Twilight, I am way out of the target demographic and havent read any of it, altho the movie trailers seem to be about love and relationships. Maybe when my son is old enough to read it, I’ll dip in so I can discuss with him, but I think my vampire / human love story of choice is still Buffy / Spike. (apologies to Sookie and Bill and probably Cordy and Angel too)

I am sure the parents who are raising these issues about what books their children have access to in school libraries have genuine concerns, but I am not sure censorship is ever the answer.

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