Greg's Occasional News & Views

23 September 2018

Well, it wasn’t quite 27C on Tuesday as predicted by one of our Pilates classmates last week but it was decidedly balmy. We had the remnants of tropical storm Ali busting its way through the British Isles with a fair bit of rain and strong winds drawing in warm weather from the south – warm, wet and windy, in other words, rather like a toddler in nappies.

We finally had to say “good-bye” to the last of our summer visitors. Penny’s sister J left on Wednesday to fly back to Toronto and it’s now “back to normal,” whatever that is. J is a splendid houseguest and it’s always a delight to accommodate her visits and sad to see her go. We’re already looking forward to the next time.

The first walk of the season of Penelope’s Walking Group took place on Saturday and was very well attended. Either people have been missing the semi-regular perambulations or, as I suspect is more accurate, the inclusion in the plan of a pub lunch afterwards is what really draws the crowds. The walk was lovely if a wee bit wet and windy; the lunch at the Red Lion in Culworth was splendid.

Last weekend saw the presentation of the Ig Nobel Awards, the collection of wacky and wonderful scientific studies. There were so many excellent papers but one in particular caught my eye – the 2018 Ig Nobel prize for Literature, entitled, “Life is Too Short to RTFM”

This paper addresses two common problems that users of various products and interfaces encounter—over-featured interfaces and product documentation. Over-featured interfaces are seen as a problem as they can confuse and over-complicate everyday interactions. Researchers also often claim that users do not read product documentation, although they are often exhorted to ‘RTFM’ (read the field manual).

When I was working in ICT whenever someone phoned with an issue which was addressed in the manual (or was simply common sense) we used to suggest, under our breath, of course, that they might like to RTFM, which in our jargon meant “Read the F**king Manual.”

An article in the Huffington Post pondering Just how bad is Brexit going to be for farmers?

The ever-excellent “Farmer’s Weekly” magazine is furious after Defra released a glitzy social media video about British farming’s glorious post-Brexit future … featuring footage of farms in, erm Germany and Slovenia.

(Interestingly, when I went to try and watch the video it was “Unavailable.” As of Friday, it seems, it had been hastily replaced with an edited version removing most, but not all, of the EU images.)

Don’t know to what extent our readers in the States will be aware of Theresa May’s latest humiliation over Brexit. She presented her case to the leaders of the EU earlier this week and her plan was universally and comprehensively slapped down. As always, John Crace, the political sketch writer for the Guardian, had an excellent summary.

Love to you all,




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