Tag Archives: death

Before you blame…

I’m a Quality Professional – a Chartered Quality Engineer working on the most advanced airliners flying.

One of the tools we use helps us find why problems occur. It is this tool that I think more people should understand when dealing with any problems in life. Such as why the dinner is cold, why the TV won’t turn on, why your countries industries are failing, why a group of people have been gunned down in a night club. That sort of thing. Anything.

The tool should be used before you go off spouting fixes for problems, when in reality you don’t know what the real problem is. Your fixes are simply sticking plasters over some of the results of the problem, and not fixing the problem itself.

Sometimes the parts we make have faults, and have to be scrapped because they’re not fit for flight.

Scrapped parts mean lost money, time, labour and materials, plus all the overhead costs and facilities required to make the part.

When a part is scrapped we carry out Root Cause Analysis (RCA), because obviously we don’t want to make scrap!

It’s fundamentally a simple process of figuring out the fault, then listing out some of the main causes of the fault, and then figuring out the main causes of those causes, and so on, until you reach the real root cause of the problem.

A simple example would be why the cup of tea (or coffee) you’ve just made is cold.

The water didn’t heat up. WHY?
The kettle didn’t work. WHY?
Was it turned on?
Yes…
Did the switch click?
Yes…
Did the light come on?
Yes…
Did it boil?
Ah… I wasn’t there, but it was left on and when I returned to it and poured my drink, it was cold… So obviously the kettle doesn’t work.
Maybe the heater element failed.
Maybe the fuse blew when you left the kitchen.
Maybe there was a power cut.
Maybe you didn’t click the switch fully.
Maybe someone came in and nicked your hot water for their drink, refilled the kettle and didn’t turn it on again.
Let’s say the switch is faulty… Problem solved.
Nope…
Why was it faulty?
Poor maintenance?
Damaged?
Not made correctly at the factory?
Let’s say it was damaged…
We could ask why you didn’t fix it, but that’s not part of the cause.
Why did it get damaged?
I knocked it off the counter a few weeks ago. WHY?
It was close to the edge. WHY?
The cord won’t reach the socket if it’s moved back.
Okay… Apart from not looking where your going, it appears that had the power cord been longer, the kettle could have been positioned away from the worktop edge and the kettle wouldn’t have been damaged.

That’s a long root cause for something that most people would’ve just stopped at ‘The kettle’s bust… Better get a new one…’

Sure, and in a week, a month, a year, the same thing will happen again because you didn’t fix the real problem… but next time it might have boiled, and your kid runs past and knocks it as it’s close to the edge…

What is my point?

The recent shootings in America have many people calling for tighter controls on guns.

Now whilst America does have very relaxed gun laws, the gun really isn’t the cause, it’s just a step in the root cause. Much like the broken switch… It doesn’t stop there.

Had there been no gun, a homemade bomb could’ve been used, a knife, gas, drive a truck into the crowd… So clearly restrictions on guns would not have stopped this from happening.

The question shouldn’t be HOW he carried out the attack, but WHY?

At the moment the news points to the person having said it was done in the name of ISIS & Islam.

Why was he so adamant on his actions?
What caused him to become this extreme?
Was it his upbringing?
Was it his education?
Was it how he was taught to behave?
Was it how he was taught to believe?

What enabled this to happen?

In this case it is the interpretation of a religion.

Maybe people are looking at restricting the wrong things.

You can take away some of the enablers, but without acting on fixing the root cause, the massacre would still have happened, just by different means.

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99% Success is rubbish

‘99% success rate!’

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

You’d probably buy something that has that promise. It sounds really good!

Put into real life though, it’s pretty crap.

A car has around 30,000 parts.

If each part was only 99% good, then you are looking at 900 parts failing out of those 30,000 parts.

Put it another way…

A large airliner, such as an A380 Airbus has around 3 million parts.

That 99% good is terrible as it allows 30,000 parts to fail.

That’s every part of a car failing. Not just a switch, but the spring, washer, fulcrum, each electrical connector, the plastic button itself, the bulb, every part of that switch would fail.

Literally everything on the car failing. Each wheel nut, every tyre, every single component on the stereo, even the cup holder and each section of upholstery… A bit like a British car from the 1970’s.

Would you feel okay flying in an aircraft that boasts it’s parts are 99% fail free? ‘Only 30,000 parts likely to fail!!!’

Even 99.9% fail free still allows for 3,000 parts going wrong in that aircraft. Still not great.

500,000 open heart surgeries are carried out a year. That’s not all heart operations – that’s just full cut open and hands in wet work. 99% success would accept 5000 of those to die.

International air transport saw 3 billion people flying around this year. Just standard passenger flights – not including any other flights.

3,000,000,000 people a year. If 99% of those people survived their flights, that would accept 30 million deaths per year… 99.9% survival would accept just 3 million deaths a year, so that’s okay…?

2014 has been a terrible year in civil aviation. Due to several airliner losses (including shoot downs/missing), 761 lives were lost. Usually this number is much lower. In 2013 it was just 265 lives lost out of around 3,000,000,000 that flew commercially.

That’s more than 99.99999% surviving their flights – and we’re still driving that number
down because even one loss is not acceptable.

That’s why automotive, aviation and medicine etc. work to much, much higher quality standards than a terrible low target of just 99%.


Falling off of the Wagon with Robin Williams

The ‘Band Wagon’ that is.

We are a weird lot.

A man funny man with depression dies: The World and an ape go nuts in mourning.

20,000 children die of malnutrition/starvation each day and we post selfies, Instagrams of our restaurant meals or moan about the fucking weather.

For a second I was suckered in to the Williams/Ape story.

I got angry that they even made the ape sad by telling it about his death.

‘WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!? THE APE DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW!!! WHAT POSSIBLE GOOD DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?!?!’

Then I wondered if they were worried that the ape might find out anyway via Twitter or a passing chimp or something, so thought it best to tell the ape straight. Avoid the awkward ‘Oook! Ooook! When were you planning on telling me this pivotal news about the loss of this dude?!? Ooook’.

But then I snapped out of it, because an ape being unnecessarily sad over the death of a show biz celebrity just isn’t news, considering everything else going on.

One person stands out in his views of how ridiculous our priorities are. His wit & social comedic commentary in his stand up acts focused on this quite a lot.

He’d be rolling his fucking eyes at all of this right now.

I imagine he’d word it a little like this:

‘… and in a world where in one continent 20,000 kids die each day from starvation, and in another continent they have kids armed with AK47’s fighting wars against each other because one side dislikes dicks in turtleneck sweaters, we find a big monkey being upset by the untimely death of an alcoholic comic is the big news story… And they think I had a problem?’

Rest in peace, funny man. May many more people discover your stand-up and realise how fucked up we really are.

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Evocative Faceslap

I was listening to Adagio for Strings, Op.11 whilst I was going through news sites on line.

I watched some footage of both the Boston bomb & the Texas explosion… and the haunting violin music played on…

….and wondered why Fox News hadn’t already done this… Just slowed the video footage down & played Adagio for Strings over the top of it, pulling focus & then panning the scene, going in tight on a scared child’s face… You know, just to really pander to America’s heart strings. They seem that sort of a news network.

In fact, even a slow motion video of a big dog crapping becomes an epic emotional event when Adagio for Strings is played over it.

I expect Fox will realise this soon & use it in every news item they air.

…. AND THEN…. I go to look for a clip of the music to add to this blog entry for those who don’t know it, and I straight away find it … played over pictures of the 9/11 attacks…

Unbelievable.


Goodbye, Turbo Chicken

Turbo Chicken is no more.

She may as well have been called Superleggera, for she was fast and light. It was her slightness that didn’t help in the end.

Although stable and happy, she just couldn’t recover from her recent weakened condition.

We took the decision to have her put down before she started suffering any further.

Compared to most ex-battery hens, her last days did not include being flung in a shredder, but sat in front of the TV on a comfy armchair, being fed good food, watching The Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer (good reactions from her), and James Bond – The World is not Enough (she wasn’t too impressed).

I’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond…


Share this & save a life… REALLY.

Oh crap…. He’s on one!

Actually, by sharing this, you ARE more likely to help save a life, or protect an endangered species, or stop someone getting car jacked, or help raise money for truly needy charities and programs…

Money scams, charity requests, sick kids, murderers, stalkers of women drivers, dead soldiers, freebies, Facebook charges….. and OMG LOOK WHAT THIS GIRL WAS CAUGHT DOING BY HER DAD…….

Rather than fuelling the crap, why not check the validity of it at somewhere like snopes.com first?

I know you mean well…. but…… ARGH!!!!

You see, every time I see a scam ‘Share this to help raise money for this child with cancer‘ story in my Facebook feed, or a tweet… even if it is well meaning… a little bit of me dies.

Okay, so technically a little piece of all of us is dying all the time, as cells die and new ones regenerate… but that’s beside the point…

Very sad, but you're not helping THIS child... or anyone else.

Most of the stories are scams and falsehoods (verily).

They are contrived rubbish DESIGNED to make people want to spread them around.

Yes…. People are arseholes who prey on other people.

At best, all these continuous ‘PLEASE SHARE THIS!!! URGENT‘ etcetera stories just numb people, and eventually, like the kid who cried……

WOLF!!!! OH SHITOSHITOSHIT

…….people just ignore them, they become blasé …. and in doing so, the REAL stories… the REAL advice… the REAL charities…. that GOOD stuff gets ignored too.

A High Horse, Yesterday

Whilst I’m way up here on this high (but extremely valid) horse,  please….please…. don’t say things like;

Well, maybe the one legged child didn’t save the leprous old woman, but it’s a lovely story about human nature…

…because it isn’t. You’ve just made more people ignore REAL messages. You’ve just killed a rain forest and let more people die from an illness that NEEDED real help. Moron.

You’ll most likely find the messages, status updates, tweets etcetera, are variations of old emails that were written to make people spread the sad tales around, whilst actually spreading an attached virus that you didn’t know about.

Same goes for the emails, texts and messages that say:

Send this to 5 friends right now or an elephant will shit on your car and your first born will be born terminally stupid“.

Then people say “What harm can it do to share it? Ho ho!!!“… apart from the virus it may carry… or the fact that people will just end up ignoring relevant information you send them because they are so used to the bogus stuff you send out…. well…. no harm at all… Although are you really that crazed to think forwarding on this pap will actually get you some good luck… or do you really fear the bad things that might happen if you don’t forward it on?

Are you really from the Middle Ages?

Look, just extinguish that witch you are burning and stop worrying that the sky is falling and CHECK YOUR FACTS FIRST….

If you want to share something, it’s not better to be safe than sorry… it’s better TO BE RIGHT.

Less fictional, poorly researched crap means people take note of the real news, the real information…. I’m sure I’ve said that enough now….

So you see… by sharing THIS blog entry, and getting people to check sites such as snopes.com first before blindly sharing and posting bogus information, well…. you could save a life…. because the less cries of wolf there are, the more likely it is that people will take notice of the real stories again… and then those people might help the child, donate to charity, stop the internet virus…

Search Snopes.com FIRST

So, next time you see some repeated repeated repeated status update, tweet, message, email etc…. then share this blog entry with that person….

http://bit.ly/scamandspam

….and relax……


Playstation PS3 YLOD recovery & Hard Drive upgrade.

We purchased our PS3 on release date around 6 years ago.

It has been faultless. 100% faultless….. Until the other day.

I took it from its rack to upgrade the hard drive (HDD) to 640GB as the original 60GB was full, so carried out my first ever FULL data back up, then swapped in the new drive.

To do this:

  • Carry out a system update on your PS3.
  • Back up your PS3 onto a removable hard drive or memory stick.
  • Remove the old hard drive.
  • Put in the new hard drive.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions and format the new drive.
  • Restore from the back up you made.

You can even buy a case for the removed drive and use it as a stand alone storage drive.

This was no problem…. but…

… a day later and ‘BEEP BEEP BEEP‘… power off. Nothing to do with the new hard drive, but I was lucky to have carried out the back up!

To be honest, I was expecting this to happen at some point. Maybe my moving it around to swap the hard drive didn’t help – but either way, it’s 6 years old and this early model fault was waiting to happen.

It suffered the fate of quite a few other ‘fat‘ PS3’s….Yellow Light of Death (the yellow light only blinks very quickly on then off).

What generally happens is over time the paste that joins the cooling part of the PS3 to the ‘brain’ goes hard over time and the two parts lose contact causing the brain to over heat.

This can cause a problem anyway, and the PS3 will shut down to save itself. The thing is, when the connection between the cooling and the brain (actually two processing units… not really a brain) starts to separate, it puts some strain on tiny soldered connections, and one or more might disconnect…. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

This problem occurs mostly with people who move their PS3’s around a lot, as the continued joggling accelerates the problem.

Anyway, the solution to the problem is to either:

  1. Pay Sony to repair it – and that generally means they just send you a refurbished unit and you lose all of your data – and it takes weeks.
  2. You could give it to someone else to repair – and pay them upwards of £40 (from what I have seen)
  3. You could buy a new PS3….
  4. You could fix it yourself…. OH NO!!! DIFFICULT!!!

Actually… fixing it yourself is really very easy. Just stay calm, have enough room to lay all the bits out, buy or borrow a heat gun (get one for about £15 on Amazon) and buy some Arctic Silver 5 3.5g Thermal Paste from Amazon.

Simply put: Take PS3 apart. Clean old paste off. Heat up board*. Put on new paste. Put PS3 back together.

*The heating of the board 're-flows' the solder and fixes the broken contacts.

A search on YouTube came up with some great tutorials, but by far the best one that I found was by a guy called DAX79. His video was instructive, not preachy, and not over complicated. As an engineer myself (not electronics!), and having written manuals, I know the importance of making something as simple as possible – and this guy does a fantastic job.

After watching the video through once, I then put it back to the start and slowly worked through the process. There are some top tips to help you out:

  • Use the correct tools. Anything else can cause you problems.
  • Take your time.
  • Lay all the parts out neatly as you take it apart. You’ll appreciate this when it comes to reassembly!
  • Don’t Panic.
  • Try and keep all of the screws you take out in a bag or tub along with the bit that they secured to the PS3.
  • Don’t Panic.
  • When you heat the board, keep the heat gun moving. Do it for about 10 minutes. Let it cool for a good 30 minutes before even trying to move it. I recommend repeating this operation as some people find that one heating doesn’t work. So… Heat for 10 minutes, cool for at least 30 minutes, heat for another 10 minutes, let cool for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make sure you clean the old paste off thoroughly.
  • Don’t Panic.
  • Once working, make sure you update your PS3 and fully back it up as soon as possible. Some people say the repair might only hold for a month, two months… a year…. Either way, you almost lost EVERYTHING… so DO A BACK UP this time…. It might not go wrong again… but you’ve just had a lucky break and saved all of your data – and you might not be so lucky next time.

Caustic Podcast

Although my friend “technology” tried its best to slam me into the ground, Tech Mike from Caustic Soda pulled my voice from the burning wreckage, & with the Caustic Soda team the podcast flew.

http://www.causticsodapodcast.com/2010/07/26/air-disasters/

I’m not one to call myself an expert, but you really can’t call yourself an air disaster enthusiast now, can you?

I had a lot of air accident knowledge & history rub off on me, & I took a great deal of interest in it, so if anything I’m just a more focused layman than expert… but hey, the podcast was fun to do – even with the Canada/UK web faults, my audio equipment problems & the fact it was after midnight for me. I’m just glad the team managed to salvage a podcast out of the wreckage!

If there is a next time, I’ll be flying with better sound equipment at the UK end…


The end of a decade…

Happy New Year…. New Decade EVERYONE!

This last one was like a shower with a mixer tap that just can’t make its mind up if it is hot or cold.

The worst of times, the best of times – all in the last ten years. I haven’t had a ten year stretch that has had such extremes.

Ryan – who was nearer a brother to me than a friend, died. – I got married.  – My Dad passed away.  – Alex was born.  – We lost house deal after house deal, money hand over fist, before we finally settled. – We gained 3 cats but lost one. –  I had to leave a job due to medical conditions (now cleared up).  – Met new friends, great friends –  Left another job after a works injury was shrugged off and left us on the edge of losing the house….and then landed in the great job I am in now. – I started shooting and got the highest awarded proficiency the NSRA give, won a few competitons… then had to quit shooting due to the works injury.  – I lost the last family member from my Dad’s family tree that had grown up with him and who had all the missing answers.  – Boilers failed leaving the house below freezing, water tanks ruptured flooding the loft!  – The family car was written off… Too much other stuff went down and up and up and down to mention – but it was a roller coaster.

Things I wouldn’t change for the world – and things I would do anything to change…

Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.

Things have settled down – One day at a time.

Here’s hoping the plumbing is sorted for the next ten years – it would be good to have a bit of middle ground for once.


Fairytale of New York

Okay, X-Factor was knocked to the number 2 UK chart position for the Christmas number 1 single… beaten by a social networking pushed project – Rage Against The Machine took the number 1 spot as people stood up to the Cowell lead X-Factor machine.

The thing is it needed to be done – but no-one will argue that RATM’s song isn’t exactly “Christmassy”….

As such, just before Christmas I decided to push for a Christmas number 1 that is Christmassy…. and what could be better than “Fairytale of New York”….

FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK XMAS No.1 2010 and @FairytaleNY2010

Fairytale of New York has never been number 1 in the UK, yet is often voted as the best Christmas song out – so I figured it was about time we got it to number 1…

Added to this, it is the 10th anniversary of the sad and tragic death of Kirtsy MacColl, when she was hit by a speed boat in dive restricted waters whilst on holiday. This tragedy has never been properly resolved – and after 9 years of fighting for justice the case has finally run out of anywhere to go as the authorities have closed the door on it.

The day people will need to buy Fairytale of New York to make it count for a Christmas chart release is the day after the 10th anniversary of this untimely passing of Kirsty – so getting Fairytale of New York to number 1 will be a tribute, a return to a Christmassy song for Christmas, and another kick in the teeth to those that set up TV shows to force a manufactured number one.

Fairytale of New York is not a manufactured number one – Sure we will be pushing to get it there, but for over a decade it has been in the Christmas charts and it is a well loved song. It hasn’t just been made up to grab money for Simon Cowell…

This project is still in the initial stages, but much like RATM, we will be making sure Fairytale of New York does good. As such there will be a charity donation system set up. This will all be sorted as the project progresses.

I have contacted various people within The Pogues camp, and also to Kirsty MacColl’s mother. I would like them to be involved as this would be very important to the project.

There is a Facebook page set up : FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK XMAS No.1 2010

I won’t be able to do this on my own, so FTONY isn’t an “I” thing… it is a “WE” project – and I am currently being ably assisted by Phil Karn (met thanks to Twitter). There may be more people called in to help – and we’ll be grateful for any help!

I have started this group early as I want to build up the numbers of followers throughout the year. For most of the year the group will be a little quiet – just general chat and news – I don’t want people to burn out too soon!

As the time to buy draws near come November/December 2010 I shall then kick the group into action with group emails to ramp up the drive to get that number one spot.

You can also follow via Twitter with @FairytaleNY2010

If you want to get involved, you can email me at fairytale@sometimespace.com

Please spread the word!

Let’s get a Christmas song to Christmas number one – a song that has not been there before… and we can all remember Kirsty MacColl at the same time!

Thank you!



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