Tag Archives: computer

Thank … God?

Okay… there are a lot of links in this blog entry. They go some way to showing what is involved, and who is involved, in parts of the following tale…. It is quite a short write up, considering how deep I could take it… so please bear with me…

The Scene…

A lorry has a tyre blow out on a major busy road in a hilly area of the country.

The trailer slides across the Tarmac & hits a car.

The car is smashed off of the road and it ends up upside down at the roadside.

A little girl inside is seriously injured.

In seconds, the traffic has stopped & other road users are phoning in the accident. They use mobile phones that have been developed over time by countless thousands of engineers who can trace telephone technology back to people like Bell and Marconi – or in this case, Dr Martin Cooper of Motorola with the first mobile phone.

These engineers went to school, college & university to study. They were taught by countless more lecturers & teachers who spent their lives learning their vocational skills and also attending schools, colleges, universities etc to enable them to go on and educate others. The same is said of the people who trained these instructors and… well, it goes on and on. Thousands of people lead to the witnesses of the crash being able to phone emergency services.

Of course, the emergency services couldn’t be contacted if there was no telephone infrastructure in place, and also if there was no way to generate electricity to power the systems that allow for the phones to charge and for the entire grid of communications to operate.

Again we have engineers, scientists and the initial inventors to thank for harnessing the power of electricity, into making it possible to give all the houses & businesses the ability to power their equipment… and go in all of the cars, lorries, boats, aircraft and so on… that all need batteries to start/run their engines, motors & electrical systems. And again there are the instructors, lecturers etc that teach these skills to enable this resource to develop and operate safer & more reliably day after day…. and the people who taught the people to teach…

Thinking about it, those teachers need somewhere to teach… so we must remember architects, builders, plumbers (ooh, the Romans for their work on plumbing), electricians, carpenters, roofers etc… and all the people who taught them… and those that taught those that taught them… etc.

Oh Hell, mustn’t forget the workers (and those that died progressing their areas of employment, working to provide for our prior generations, and those to come) in foundries, mills, mines, quarries who supplied the materials to build the schools… And don’t forget the people who taught them…. and here we go again….

So far we have a witness calling for help over a mobile phone, and someone from the emergency services taking that call & passing it on the the relevant rescue services… and we have thousands and thousands of people who helped make that call take place…. So many people who are each owed something for what they brought to the table on this day, so to speak.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Rescue and emergency services head out to the crash site. The rescuers included countless Police to divert traffic & control the crash scene for starters. Then the ambulances & fire engines come along. Paramedics & firefighters to cut the victims from the wreck & give emergency aid to get them stable for the urgent ambulance helicopter flight to an airport so that the girl can be transferred to a faster aircraft to get to the hospital.

I've worked on this aircraft at GAMA - I'm part of this huge chain that helped.

Think of the technology, the training, the skills and dedication involved in all of this! Even down to the rescue services “Jaws of Life“… the hydraulic cutters used to remove the roofs off of cars to allow people to be removed from them safely…

Heck, we need to thank the ancient Greeks & Chinese for their initial work in hydraulics, and Blaise Pascal (1600’s) for his work in modern hydraulic principles, that eventually lead to generations of teachers training generations of engineers to eventually come up with, and make “The Jaws of Life”.

All of those emergency vehicles have engines that developed from steam engines to internal combustion engines… We owe Karl Benz for some of the first practical motor cars… Nikolaus Otto is to thank for coal/gas burning reciprocal engines.

Then there’s the gas turbine engine in the air ambulance helicopter… this goes back to Bernoulli and more practically, Sir Frank Whittle… Oh yeah, the helicopter goes back to Leonardo da Vinci… and the modem father is Igor Sikorsky.

The technology that went into making all of those car, lorry, helicopter systems etc… is owed to an impossible number of inventors, scientist, scholars, boffins…. teachers, foundry workers… and on and on….

Almost forgot Babbage & the calculating machine he created, or the first simple mechanical computer of Thomas Fowler in 1840! … or the many variations of the abacus… or the efforts at Bletchley Park with Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers… regarded as the fathers of modern computing… Without this line of thought & engineering, the computer reliant vehicles (ground and air) would not function… or be able to be designed…

Do I have to go into how many people have helped progress THIS side of technology! MILLIONS! Don’t forget all of those ancient mathematicians that developed theories, rules, formulas etc that allowed ANY engineering to take place… Archimedes, Aristotle, Pythagoras… some of maths many fathers…

So yeah… The little girl is cut from the car & her condition is stabilised. She is put in the helicopter & flown to the hospital (by trained pilots who have spent years training etc and so on… you know what I mean by now…).

She arrives at the trauma centre, which was an idea first established in the 1960’s by R Adams Cowley, and is rushed into surgery (developed from around the 1500’s by countless scientists and researchers in medicine)… and I think if you have half a brain cell, that you’ll know where this is heading….

Trained staff, technology, inventors, scientists, infrastructure, upper tier staff, lower tier staff, buildings, services…. allowing the paramedics, doctors, nurses & other specialists to save the little girls life, using equipment that has been developed over generations of medical and non medical research, by people whose names you can’t help but recognise, including the likes of Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Hannah Myrick, Louis Pasteur, Alexis Carrel and Henry Dakin, Joseph Lister…. the list is endless…. or at least it may as well be, because every branch of medicine or medical research was generated from a different branch, or developed into others…

Research has expanded and helped us… and with that expansion comes the need for more people to teach, to learn, to think, to progress…

Millions of people and their ancestors all helped

The above list doesn’t touch the surface of all of those that were involved in that one little girls life being saved, but as you can see, the human count in this pyramid that ends with that little girls life contains millions of unsung heroes. People who worked just to find answers. Some were imprisoned & forced to work. Some were slaves, some were kings & queens… All walks of life through the ages.

And then there’s the press who interview the parents after the girl has been saved…. and the parents… they turn to the camera and say into the microphone…

“Thank God our daughter survived…. We knew he was looking down on her all the time…”

No mention of the Doctors, the nurses, the pilots, the Police, the rescue and emergency services, the witnesses at the scene… let alone the millions in history that allowed it to all play out….

Even if you are religious, then sure, thank your God, but don’t forget the physical people who did all the hands on work.

If you do want to thank ‘God’….. Don’t forget one tiny little thing…

…Who do you think allowed the crash to happen in the first place?

Yes, you guessed it....

You live on the shoulders of millions who lived before you.

Don’t ever forget that.

Oh, and before you go and say “It’s all a test God has set us“… then please read THIS

The All New Blog Entry

Phew…. so much to catch up on….

Lots of new things have taken place since my last Blog entry (TWITTER GUIDE). To fill you all in, I shall quickly list what I will discuss today!!!

  • TWITTER GUIDE: Over 12,000 hits on my web blog in a day….
  • Resignation from My old job.
  • My New Job with Percival Aviation.
  • The death of PC’s grip on me…. the change to Apple Macs…

Twitter Guide

I use Twitter as you will probably know by now. When I first started tweeting I felt lost in this new world of micro-bloggery – but there were no real guides around. I wanted a simple “Bullet point” guide – nothing too complicated.

I figured a lot of stuff out on my own, and some with help from others. I began to share the knowledge with other users as they joined. People would ask me questions and I would answer.

There were two problems though – I was answering the same questions over and over – and it was hard to do with only 140 characters in a tweet entry. Obviously I needed to write something up for new users so I could point them at it.

I love to help folks, so I went about writing the guide. After writing it I got a lot of feedback (positive) on the guide – people saying it was what they really needed, people sharing the guide with other people, lots started calling me a Guru!! Well, I’m no Guru – I just wrote up the jumble of notes and shared it – not much guruing required – but hey!

With the positive feedback coming in from people who follow me on Twitter I decided that it must be a pretty good guide – and as such it needed a wider audience. After all – if people thought it was that useful, then surely I should try to get it out to as many people as possible.

Many people were sharing the guide – but I needed it to be shared by Twitter users who have HUGE followings…. so I asked Stephen Fry, Phillip Schofield, Robert Llewellyn and Jonathan Ross to spread the word.

Before asking these great friendly folk for help, this blog had a top day of 407 hits! WOW!!! I’m usually happy with 20 hits a day – after all, my blog isn’t really a focus group thing – it’s just the rantings of an everyday guy.

After asking for the guide word to be spread my site went mad…. the numbers went up in their hundreds every few minutes! Within no time I had peaked 500….1000….4000….8000….and by the end of the day I had over 12,000 people hit my site!

With no help from me the next day I had another 6000 hits. Since the initial flood I am now getting 300 to 500 hits a day every day….. I feel the pressure is on for me to really turn out the goods now!

Out of all of those many thousand people I only saw one slightly negative comment (ONLY ONE!!!). Someone simply said “I have passed this guide on to my friends, but I didn’t really understand it myself” – I thought that was great! Although they weren’t sure, they still thought it was worth sharing – so thanks!

If you want to see the reviews and retweets, then check HERE.

I’m so glad that the guide is helping people. I don’t earn anything from my Blog, so it is all done purely to help – The thanks I have been recieving has been payment enough! Thanks every one!

Onto my resignation….

I damaged my back and it took three months to get back to a stage where I was able to work fully again. I damaged it doing a job for my company whilst using a vehicle bought to do that very job. The sick time meant I had very low pay (£160 Per MONTH)… which lead us to a dark place.

The money hole meant I needed a better job with more pay to recover our finances. I also needed a job with better security – because I was feeling like I had been hung out to dry (whether I was is a different matter, but it felt that way). A new job came my way and I handed in my resignation – I feel it was a blessing really, as the company I worked for were making some redundancies.

My job was not one of the ones on the line – but hey, I’d rather work for a company that is hiring (and paying 22% more) in these climates, than one that isn’t. Like I said – the bad back was a blessing in disguise.

Sadly the project I had been working on was put on hold when I left. It was for a calibration laboratory. I had built it up from nothing and was only a few weeks away from getting it approved by UKAS. The project was put on hold when I left because I was to be head of the Lab. With no one directly to take my position, there was no way UKAS could certify the lab.

I felt a bit gutted, as it was a major project. The whole project feels hollow to me now. I did so much and left without that final completion. Even if it had been completed, it wouldn’t have been able to operate until my replacement was found. I would compare it to learning a language for a holiday you never take – You achieve something and nothing.

Had the back injury not happened, or had the money not been an issue, I would have happily stayed there, as the majority of the folks there were great to work with, and I learnt a lot from my immediate Boss.

Annoyingly for me on the financial front I had to work 4 weeks notice. I wanted out straight away – or at most 2 weeks. The bosses said I needed to train up one of the other guys with what I knew – so I had to do the full 4 weeks. I was lucky that the guy (already working with the company) had smarts and some experience – that made it easier.

On the last day I drove into work in our own car. The idea was that Chris would drive the company car in later to drop it at the factory, and we’d go back home in our own car. This would mean I could load up our car with my gear during the day, and simply swap cars at the end of the day…

Bit of a cock up though – The guy taking my car had to leave at half day…. with the car… which I wasn’t properly told about… so the day was cut short and felt rushed and I wanted to take my time and ensure everything was handed over smoothly.

A while after I left I hadn’t received my P45, so I called the wages department…. who weren’t aware that I had resigned…

Never mind, these things are sent to try us. None of us are perfict after all 🙂

Regardless of how I felt, I still point people towards that company for their metrology needs, as the team there do know what they are talking about.

I have no bad feelings for them now, although at the time I had some strong mixed emotions.

I am in a much better place now though, and although I would rather have arrived here without  all of that pain and worry, I wouldn’t have got to this point at all if things had just carried on ticking over. Infact with several hundred hits a day on this site I could advertise them here – but I’m not sure how they’d feel about that.

My New Job…

I now work for Percival Aviation as a Sales Executive. It’s not your typical sales type job, as that is only a very small part of the role. I have to put quotes out based on customer requirements for aircraft interior work. I also put all the job cards together with bills of materials (BOM’s).

Simply put – A customer wants a seat. I have to break that seat down (on paper) into its individual parts – the nuts, bolts, screws, glue, materials, etc… and then cost them all up. I have to work in whether we will build the sub components or whether sub-contractors will be used. I work out all the component costings and man hour costings by sending out for quotes from suppliers etc. I work out the build process and then with all of this information I can quote the customer. Once we get the order I can then write out the processes for the works card – which the shop floor team use to build the seat.

This is a very simplistic view of the job… It is very involved and to a very tight time schedule. I love it – the pressure is on, each job is different and already I have had praise and appreciation – both of which are very important in a job – but often overlooked.

There is a downside – I have to travel 52 miles to work, and 52 miles back again…. so I’m on the look out for an economical car… mind you, the increase in pay more than covers the fuel bill!

Bye Bye Company Car and Laptop

The Fiat Multipla went back to the company, as did my works laptop… which has left us with Chris’s old XP laptop and just the Citroén Berlingo. I have the car during the week for work – and Chris takes it for the weekend for her job. That leaves us at the mercy of the buses….which Alex loves – so it’s not a bad thing!

As for the computer front… we need to replace Chris’s laptop pretty soon as it is slow and very outdated. We’ve done all we can to try and have it keep up, but its time has come.

I bought an Apple MacBook after I was so impressed by the Apple iPhone. This is the computer that I am currently using. In a few months I shall give it to Chris (once I know how to use it fully!). I shall then get myself another MacBook.

I will not be buying a PC again, that’s for sure. The Mac is just so amazing!

I have had a few problems getting used to it. The biggest problem is due to the way I have used PC’s for so long.

The Mac is very intuitive – and so fast! If you look at the numbers that make up the Mac specs you would think it would be slow compared to a PC – but in reality the cheapest Mac (which isn’t that cheap) is far superior to even higher spec PC’s!

When buying a Mac, don’t compare Mac specs to PC specs in a like for like way – Mac uses its component parts far more efficiently than a PC, and as such a lower spec Mac will dance all over a PC. I’ve not used a PC as fast as this little MacBook – and this MacBook is the entry level one!!!

Once you realise that the price of a PC that can perform as fast as a Mac is going to be higher, you then see that the Mac isn’t so expensive after all…. especially as the software is cheaper (in my experience) and you don’t need to buy additional anti-virus.

This leaves one bug-bear then. That of the conversion from PC to Mac.

The PC is easy to use simply because we’ve all pretty much been brought up with them. The Mac on the other hand would be the easier one to use if you have never used a computer before. Everything is in the right place – it works as you would expect it to work. There is no fussing around. The trouble is getting used to doing things in this easy way once you have spent so many years doing things the hard way on a PC!!! Just stick with it and enjoy the benefit though!

Two stand out examples that got me were the search function on a Mac compared to that of a PC.

The Joy of Mac Search (Spotlight)

The Joy of Mac Search (Spotlight)

In a PC you can search files and folders for a keyword or name. You set it up to search, then go off and do other stuff as it looks through all of your systems files and folders. This can take some time.

On the Mac though, you type in the search requirement and instantly you have all of the files listed that contain the thing you were looking for. This includes any emails where the search phrase might have occurred – and it even gives a definition of the word – and when I say it is instant, I really mean INSTANT.

The other example is when uninstalling programs. On a PC you need to go into the settings and run an uninstall application or program. This then goes through the PC and resets and removes all (most) of the programs files.

On a Mac you just delete the icon (or drag it to the waste bin). That’s it – job done!

Simple, fast, intuitive and also just very pleasant to use.

I won’t go into the simplicity that is linked emails, calendars, browsing… oh the emails!!! Mac Mail has some awesome features…. ah Heck! It’s all awesome… go buy one!

I won’t be going back to a PC – I have only had the Mac for a week and I am already frustrated to Hell and back with the works PC I use…. Apple really know what they are doing.

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