Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pizza and Coke and Programmers

My post today is about programmers and pizza and Coke.

I just realized why programmers are  always eating pizza and drinking copious amounts of Coke-a-Cola.

It's not that we like pizza or Coke particularly. Although they are both very pleasant things.

Possibly not so good for the middle-aged waistline as for the young lad that I used to be, and living the married life my routine is dictated by children and wife.

I noticed that the morning session is by far the best for productivity. Come lunch-time living in Iberia we normally have a siesta. This is in part due to the large amount of carbs in the lunch time meal.

Quite often, when deadlines that time I have tried to work through this period.  Quite often with disastrous results - either I write terrible code,  or don't write anything at all.

So the family's been away for the last couple of weeks,  and I have to get used to living like a teenager again.

Now finally I see the benefit of the pizza and coke diet.  If I am constantly topping up on pizza and Coke I can work continuously through the day.

I better just watch that belly-line!

[This post was dictated out to the Chrome browser using https://speechpad.pw/ - best transcription I've found so far]

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The UK missed a trick with EU institutions way back

So I wanted to write a quick summary of where we are at with the Brexit situation.
I’m a committed European: my mother being Finnish and my father with his part-Irish (and Indian) heritage, I am an avid war-history reader and keen business person.  To me leaving the European Union is complete madness.  
Since attaining adulthood I have always been saddened by the United Kingdom's reticence to join the institutions of Europe with real vigour.
For example, I could not understand why London as the centre of global commerce would not to host the European Central Bank?  Similarly the United Kingdom with its long history of developing democracy and legislature not wish to be the home of the European Parliament or European Courts?
When these were suggested in the ‘70s and ‘80s, why didn’t we say “Hey great idea this 'Euro' - let’s have the ECB in London”, or “You know what, European Court of Human Rights? - yeah bring it on - we’ve got some lovely old buildings here in London.”  We could have reused the old GLC building across from Westminster Palace for the European Parliament.
If public institutions as these had been sited in London from the outset and Britain had been wholeheartedly committed to the European project then we could have moulded it in a way that we could never have done from the backseat always trying to make tweaks but not actually taking part.
I love the Schengen area which means we blast over the Spanish/French border on the péage at 130Km/hr - no queuing, and once there; the Euros in my pocket are just as valid as they were in Spain.
Anyway, we’ve Brexited - that’s it.
The UK never got it, so we’re out. Probably for the best now.
We need to make the best of it.  Younger people in the UK seem to have been positive -but didn’t vote in the required numbers to sway the vote: Understandably as general politics seems to have turned into “soundbites-only” and they will have felt disaffected.  This will have translated into in-action on the referendum poll.
British people never wanted open borders - happy to wait in line and show their passports, and also never wanted to share the currency - again at the mercy of currency traders and the uncertainty that brought.
Since the 2008 crisis Sterling tanked nearly 30% so inflation (and key housing inflation) ran wild.  I could feel it most keenly living in Europe during this period - but people back in the UK might not have noticed (apart from their houses leaping in “value” - whehey!)
Back to the problem:
England has always been a country of tolerance and pioneering ideas. Britain has accepted immigrants from all over the world, it was one of the leaders in championing the abolition of slavery and has maintained a policy global policy that has intervened for the growth democracy in Europe for many centuries; at great cost to itself and people.
So there was an English guy on BBC Panorama the other night: A local guy having six children who had previously worked in Industry; He was dreaming that now that the immigrants will be leaving he would a row he will be able to get a “good job” and be able to support his family.  I have to say that I think he is dreaming.  Who in their right mind expects to be able to support 6 children in today’s day and age (with all the associated costs), and secondly given the level of state support he currently gets - rented house - child benefit; how has the situation got so bad?  
It is incredible that a guy like that could vote for the ultra-far-right wingers of the fiscal policies who will have no truck with the bad-planning, laziness and sloth that he is exhibiting. These are the people that are now about to take power in England.
The best we can hope for is that England would negotiate trade deals with members of the Commonwealth such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand and maybe set up some form of free trade area between these. They do all seem a long way away however and the question has to be asked though with all the talk about immigrants - it will be impossible to have all free movement between these nations, and satisfy the baying of the Brexiteers.
The pound has once again tanked, and lots of business will be affected negatively.
Ultimately, however, England (after losing Scotland and N. Ireland) will probably emerge stronger - the EU or Immigrants cannot be blamed for any ills, and people will have to work longer and harder.   It may be able to act more in it’s “international-pivot” role it has played in more recent centuries again.
The EU too (as long as it can hold together in the short-term) can now march forward to the ultimate (unstated, but should have been) goal of the complete federation in the United States of Europe.