A tale of a Scotsman living in SW london...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Glorious morning leading to a rainy looking afternoon.

What weather yesterday. We seemed to get off lightly, surrounding areas seem badly affected. We tried to get over to west London to visit the other halfs Mum who isn't so well at the moment, and abandoned after 20 minutes as we hadn't even got to the end of the road. Nothing was going anywhere fast.

So try again this afternoon, hopefully all will be well.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I was reading last night about this in Evo, and it made me think of a few comparisons.

A journalist was testing the new Audi A5, and commented that it was too nose heavy to be a proper competitor to the BMW 3 series couple as it is not dynamic enough to drive (the BMW is awesome nice to drive - and not just because I own one, but that's one of the reasons I did, not for the badge - if you know my car history it's full of good handling cars. Apart from my first car, a MK3 Ford Escort - awful).

Anyway, here is a picture of the A5:

Now, it looks great, aggressive and purposeful, and moving the wheels forward helps weight distribution. However the end result is that the layout needs to change under the covers, so the diff is between the engine and clutch, which allows the wheels to move forward. The steering rack is then connected to the front wheels by shorter, less flexible steering arms, also helping weight loss and a lower centre of gravity.

Want to know the real reason the wheels are there? Here's a quote:

Dr Horst Glaser, Audi’s dynamics chief, is clearly annoyed. ‘I agree with you,’(in reference to the nose heavy feel) he says, ‘but the marketing people insisted it was this way so the A5 would feel familiar to Audi buyers.’ What about those buyers Audi seeks to steal from BMW, then? ‘I hope we can change it gradually,’ Dr Glaser replies, ruefully.

My first reaction was one of why the marketing people were involved in the design?. But then my second reaction was that it's much like project managers removing key components of an architecture without understanding the implications of the actions. So a simple statement of "move the front wheels" actually means the whole design is compromised, and the Audi designers and engineers are left with a car that does the job, but fails to live up to expectations.

Which leads to my final thought - if you knew you were driving a car that the supplier knowingly made a botch of to make the car (let's say either for financial or ascetic reasons) would you buy another from them???

Driving hell

An uneventful drive yesterday, although it never ceases to amaze me that no matter what time you think you'll miss the traffic on the M25, you never do. It also never ceases to amaze me that one cause of the delays is the M3 junction. Last year (may even have been the year before - my life is a blur ;-) ) they widened the roads to be 4 lanes. At the M3 turn has 5 lanes, with two dedicated to the M3 (one into London, one southbound). It used to see terrible queues in the evening which caused delays to the M25 traffic, so you can understand why they would make it 2 lanes. However, now traffic flows so well down the slip, that people use it to undertake the queues on the M25 and cut back onto the M25 at the front of the two mile queue. The effect is that the people change lanes at the front, allowing people in (though most just pull in without indicating) and this in turn slows the traffic down. Cause and effect. Who'd have thought you can learn physics on the motorways....It's madness!

Slightly more seriously, I read that the driving age might be increased to 18. It can only be a good thing - the amount of young people who have no idea what the result of the actions they take behind the wheel is astonishing. They also suggested that if your 18 you would not be allowed to carry passengers at night. The quote I heard was from one teenager was "what's the point in driving then?" to which I found myself shouting at the radio - that's EXACTLY why the suggestion has been made you idiot.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


There are challenges on the project at the moment, some of which is aimed at us techys. Over dinner last night I discovered the meaning of the phrase "brave or stupid". One of the usual people we eat out with is part of management team and he joined us and was discussing some of the challenges and one of them was that a view was there were too many architects on the project. The rest of the diners on the table? 5 architects and the architects PM.

You can always tell someone thinking on their feet when the voice goes ;-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another weekday in Worcester, another game of squash. Decent game, we both played well but alas I lost. Not entirely sure how I managed to lose though as I was 2-1 games up.

Decent curry last night in my favourite local curry house. The food is always good, although the beer was a bit off last night. The staff recognise us now as well (or at least, pretend to - there are some of our number who are more memorable than others!)

Challenging days on the project, I seem to be jinxed when it comes to my projects here! Still, it was fun while it lasted! Looks as though I'm going to be working on supporting documentation which, while necessary and interesting in it's own right, is never as fun as solution design as it offers a different challenge. Not one to complain though - I continue to get to work with a great bunch of people on a really interesting project and continue to learn new skills - that is what it's all about for me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Will it blend?

Ah, the joys of doing something stupid to sell a product. "Will it blend?" has to be a marketing genius idea. It works like this - company has a blender to sell. You Tube is full of people blending/chopping/generally doing things your not supposed to. Get a good presenter with a slight air of the scientific and off you go! Next, what to blend? Well, veg etc is all well and good, but why not up the ante with an iPhone?


It's right up there with the mentos domino rally for stupid things.

Actually, the stupisest thing on the net is the person counting to a million. What's worse is that he works in IT. It's people like him who give the rest of us a bad name! (he says, writing on a blog, on a mobile phone, via wifi...)