The Anonymous Widower

The Queen’s First Computer System For Her Horses

In The Queen Was Well-Briefed, I mentioned a lunch with a Hewlett-Packard engineer and that he had done some work in Buckingham Palace.

This article on NBC is entitled When Did Queen Elizabeth II Last Visit San Francisco And The Bay Area?, where this is the first paragraph.

Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Bay Area included a serenade by Tony Bennett, a meal at Trader Vics in Emeryville and a dinner at the De Young Museum with President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady.

The visit was in 1983 and these two paragraphs describes her visit to Silicon Valley.

On March 3, 1983, the Queen visited Stanford University and the Hewlett Packard factory, the technology company based in Palo Alto.

At Stanford Queen Elizabeth dined at the Hoover House with university president Donald Kennedy.

Hewlett-Packard presented the Queen a HP 3000 computer on which to plan and organise the breeding of her race horses, to mark her visit to the company.

I should say, that the engineer, who I’ll call Bob, was well-known to me, as he’d been the engineer, who’d serviced my HP 21MX computer, when I was programming Artemis in the 1970s. He was very good at his job, but hadn’t expected his job to take this direction.

Hewlett-Packard had behaved very professionally and had obtained a licence for suitable software from the Aga Khan.

The installation of the computer in the basement of Buckingham Palace had gone well, with the user terminal being placed in the Queen’s apartment.

When everything was working, the Queen’s equerry, with whom he was dealing, announced they would be going to France to get the software from the Aga Khan’s stud at a chateau to the West of Paris.

The equerry arranged with the engineer to meet him at the VIP suite in the Queen’s Building at Heathrow in a few days time. He was also told he’d be staying one night in France.

So at the appointed time, he gingerly opened the door to the VIP suite and walked in. Almost immediately he bumped into Mrs. Thatcher, who was leaving. Luckily, he was spotted by the equerry, who beckoned him over.

He asked the equerry about the flight and was told that they would be flying in a Dominie of the Queen’s Flight to Beauvais.

I can remember him saying that that was the way to fly.

They were met by a limousine on arrival in France and taken to the chateau.

He was then shown to his room, which he described as an extravagant tart’s boudoir.

After a period of time, the equerry knocked on his door and announced the plan for the visit.

They would have dinner in half-an-hour with the Aga Khan and then in the morning his software guy would show you about the software and hand over a copy.

The engineer did admit to being a bit out of his depth, but the equerry just told him to copy him and he’d be alright.

Thirty minutes later the equerry collected the engineer and they were shown into a room, where the meeting would take place.

There was a curtain across the room, and as it drew back, all the flunkies prostrated themselves on the ground. The engineer was watching the equerry, who just stood there. So he copied him.

When the curtain finally revealed the Aga Khan, the engineer felt it best to just stand there.

However, the Aga Khan approached him and said. “Hello! You must be Bob!”

The rest of the visit went without incident and the software was duly collected.

 

September 10, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Birmingham Bull – 5th August 2022

The non-human star of the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was a mechanical bull.

This article on the BBC is entitled Commonwealth Games: Scots Creator Reveals Secrets Of Metal Bull.

These three introductory paragraphs give an overview of the design.

The secrets of the mechanical bull that wowed audiences during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games have been revealed by its Scottish creator.

The 10m high scrap metal sculpture was one of the stars of the celebration in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

Michael Dollar, of creative model makers Artem, said it took six people to operate the giant structure.

The BBC also revealed today, that the bull would be parked for a few days in Centenary Square outside the Library of Birmingham.

So as my day had fallen apart, I got on a Chiltern train to Birmingham and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The first picture has the The Library Of Birmingham in the background, with its lattice frontage and gold dome.
  2. The Bull seems to have been built on a loader chassis.
  3. There were a large crowd in Centenary Square looking at the Bull.

I have never seen a public work of art surrounded by such a crowd, most of whom were taking selfies or traditional pictures.

This article on the BBC is entitled Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Ceremony Bull To Stay.

The BBC article says this about the future of the bull.

A giant mechanical bull that became the star of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games opening ceremony it set to stay in the city.

The 10m sculpture is on display in Centenary Square after its debut last week, although its future has been less clear.

Largely made of foam, it was due to be dismantled at the end of the Games, sparking public outcry.

But Birmingham City Council has confirmed the bull has won a reprieve.

It will stay in the square until the end of September before being moved indoors.

This wonderful work of engineering art, is far too good and is now too well-loved to be scrapped.

As it needs to go inside, why not bring it inside High Speed Two’s new Curzon Street station, to greet passengers visiting Birmingham?

 

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A German View Of The Euro 2022 Final

This article on DW.COM is German View of the match.

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

A French Banker’s View Of The French Police

After the violence at the weekend in Paris, I am reminded of a meeting with a French banker.

 

Many years ago, I used to do business with a French banker; Andre, who lived and worked in Geneva.

Whether, there had been an excess of violence by French police at the time, I can’t remember, but in a restaurant in Geneva we got talking about the different between French police and other forces in Europe. Andre stated that if you join the French police, you immediately lose all your friends, as no-one wants a policeman as a friend, such is the distrust of the police.

Andre had worked all over Europe, and felt that only in France, is there this attitude to the police.

Does this closed society of the French police lead to them going over the top, as they regularly seem to do?

I’d love to know what the French police think of refugees! I wonder, if they see them as a supreme nuisance and feel the sooner, they have left French soil the better.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Sport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

Ukraine Crisis: Fifa And Uefa Suspend All Russian Clubs And National Teams

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This first paragraph says it all.

Russian football clubs and national teams have been suspended from all competitions by Fifa and Uefa after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It looks like it is a complete ban from both Fifa and Uefa.

Vlad the Invader/Mad/Poisoner (Delete as appropriate!), is reportedly not amused.

My father, who had something to do with the League of Nations, felt that we didn’t act soon enough over Hitler and Stalin and I could argue we should have acted with tough sanctions after Putin annexed Crimea in 2014.

February 28, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putin Loses A Decisive Poll!

The Times is asking if Russia should be banned from international sport on its web site.

This is a screen capture.

It appears that Putin can’t win them all!

February 25, 2022 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine Conflict: Champions League Final Moved from Russia To Paris

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

UEFA has done the right thing!

How will Putin get his own back on UEFA?

He could stage the Anti-Nazi World Cup by inviting Belarus, Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran, Kazakstan, Myanmar, Syria, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.

February 25, 2022 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , | 3 Comments

Russian Grand Prix Cancelled Following Invasion Of Ukraine

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

Formula One has done the right thing!

How will Putin get his own back on Formula One?

He could ban Formula One for ever from Russia, but then somewhere else like Ukraine, Poland or one of the Baltic States would happily stage a Grand Prix.

February 25, 2022 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Novac Djokovic Is Screwed, Glued And Tattooed By The BBC

This article on the BBC is entitled Novak Djokovic: Doubts Over Timing Of Covid Test.

This is the introductory paragraph.

BBC research has cast doubt on the timing of the positive Covid test Novak Djokovic used to enter Australia to try to compete in the Australian Open.

The BBC have done some impeccable research on the tests and their dates.

Read it, as nothing they did was difficult, once they had details of all the tests.

As my old company accountant would say.

Novac Djokovic Is Screwed, Glued And Tattooed.

But then the accountant had ways of making money and numbers talk and perform!

In my life, I’ve had three accountants as friends and all have shown me simple ways to detect fraud.

One even showed me how to dress up a spreadsheet, so that a banker would believe it. As he had been Chief Accountant of one the most famous names in British industry, I always wrote my software to his rules.

January 28, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Sport | , , , , | 8 Comments

Fortescue Buys Williams Engineering In Major Push Into High Performance Batteries

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renew Economy.

This is the opening paragraph.

Fortescue Future Industries has made its first major push into battery storage and high performance batteries with the $A310 million purchase of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the offshoot of the Formula 1 specialists Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Andrew Forrest certainly has a wide-ranging plan.

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Formula 1 Technology Company To Support Development Of Battery Train, was published later and gives more details.

This is the first paragraph.

Fortescue Metals Group’s green technology division Fortescue Future Industries is developing what it says is a ‘world leading’ battery electric train concept.

It will be interesting to see what technologies are at the heart of the ‘world leading’ concept.

If you are controlling a complex chemical or nuclear plant, you will often have a model of the plant inside the control system, so that the operating strategy can be consistently optimised.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see techniques like this and other advanced techniques be used to reduce the carbon footprint of rail transportation of iron ore and other minerals.

Perhaps, the ideal power for one of these heavy haul trains would consist of a master battery-electric locomotive up front with the crew, assisted by up to three hydrogen-, diesel- or battery-powered slaves.

  • All braking would be regenerative to battery.
  • Power would be called for from the slave locomotives as required.
  • Modelling would determine, if some sections needed electrification to charge the batteries.

I suspect there are opportunities to optimise round trips, as returning the empties will surely need less power.

 

 

 

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments