Monday, September 27, 2010

To American colleagues and friends, can I commend to you the "Farewell Speech" of George Washington with special reference to the section warning of the dangers of parties..
"In 1792, George Washington was prepared to retire as the first President of the United States. To that end, Washington, with James Madison, wrote a farewell address to the public of the United States of America."

The relevant section warning of the dangers of parties reads: 
"20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pre-tirement or Pre-tardment?

Either way it is way more hectic than one can every imagine, let alone plan for!
(Aargh... I used that nasty four letter word again!)
I had so many things I was going to do when I pre-tired, or as Lord Erroll posited "pre-tarded", thanks for that Merlin!! (It only twinged because it had more than a smidgen of truth to it!).

I hit overload in April, or more correctly I recognised that I hit overload in April, from which time I have been frantically searching for ways to row backwards from the lip of my own equivalent to Niagara Falls.

The fact is, that I had been pushing far too many of my FUN TO-DO items into the period after I was pre-tired. This backlog was in fact a major cause of the overload. Then, to cap it all, my friends in the security world awarded me "Security Person of the Year", which has served to make the whirlwind spin ever faster! I cannot properly explain how pleased I was to have been nominated let alone be, given the award. Thank You Folks! I do know that I was sitting back, bow tie undone, jacket off, when the award was announced. Little did I know that at least two people on my table, who were actually on the Awards Panel, were itching to tell me to "get dressed"! A piece of good luck came from the fact that I was trying out a newly learned trick of wearing a false bow tie and then switching to a real one when it came to relaxing. I owe my godson Matthew a drink, however I am now resolved to practicing doing up a Bow Tie as easily as I can do my shoe laces, but I will do that when I retire properly. (Hmmm, I sense a new overload in the making)

Well, my body has now signalled enough, by allowing me to catch Man-Flu. There will be those uncharitable folks who will point out that the session at Stephens Restaurant, under the shadow of Big Ben, which involved a few too many bevvies, might just have lowered my bodies defences. The subsequent hazily remembered tube and train journey home then provided the surfeit of viruses for the coup de grace. As I said uncharitable...


I have started searching for technical solutions to my dilemma surely there's an iPhone App for this... Apparently there aren't, there are many that purport to be, but they all turn out to be very effective Procrastination Aids, NOT Prioritisation or Action Aids. I suspect the developers of such tools were, like me?, wanting something to take the guilt away, but didn't think through the fact that simply putting it in a Procrastination App doesn't get it done!! Doh!

Ideas any one?

Monday, February 01, 2010

What I really really want....

... is a standard Semantically enabled Wireless Home Piconet Area Network (HomePAN) technology with..
- a USB HomePAN device to connect it to my Mac/PC and the internet
- a Cloud based Data Capture, Storage, Display and Control App
(Of course it would need to be secure!)
- a series of devices that allow me to interact with and measure my Home
(each device would have their own PKI enabled identity and
security would also mediated by a trusted cloud based third party,
"Identity Service Provider".)

1) Max/Min Temperature recording/ reporting device
I would have at least 4; Greenhouse, Outside, Garage Freezer,
Indoors (near kitchen water pipes)
2) Infra Red Movement Detectors
I would have loads: Shed, Garage, entrance hall, key rooms.
They would be used for lighting control and security
(I wouldn't mind if the 1 & 2 were combined)
3) Power Switches Wall Mounted
These would in the main replace light switches, would be able to dim also
4) Power switches Plug Mounted
These would control power to devices
5) HomePan to Infra Red Transmitter
Would control entertainment devices
6) HomePan Hand Controller
Used to control everything
7) A HomePAN Dual purpose RFID / Laser scanner
I'd have one by the fridge / larder, and one by the bin,
It would have two buttons Stored and Consumed
8) HomePAN Electricity Consumption Monitor
9) HomePAN Water consumption monitor.
10) HomePAN Weighing Machine
11) HomePAN Exercise Bike
12) HomePAN Module in the car
13) HomePAN Module on my bike
14) HomePAN Pedometer
15) HomePAN Pet Monitor
16) HomePAN Excretion Monitor (Literally this would fit in the pan)
Though there would probably need to be a bum scanner to ensure identity of poorly person is known! Which would likely lead to weird forms of identity obfuscation!

17) HomePAN Health Watch, (on my wrist it would Monitor my vital signs)
18) HomePAN Entertainment Devices would be able to be controlled directly
from the Home PicoNet
19) HomePAN/Skype Video Devices
From: "Who is at the door?" to,
Chatting with remote relatives as if they were there.

and the list goes on!!!

Key would be that status would be always available from any
HomePan device (push and pull)

The neat trick would be the amount of money I would get paid each month for allowing Waitrose or Tesco's access to some of my data. My house insurance would be lower. My health insurance would be lower. And best I will be able to live in my own home into my dotage.

Finally I would have an uncountable number of "Apps for that" on my iPhone that would help me make effective use of all this data!


Yes I know X10 exists, I have loads of them, but status on X10 is very flaky, and ZWave looked like a possibility until you see what HomeSeer want to charge for a temperature device that won't monitor below 0C and no local Max Min storage. Then realise that most of the devices I want don't exist on ZWave. I could see ZWave being a part of the solution but we would need a shift in mindset on price and performance.
Till then it's manual data entry! And flaky statii of X10... wouldn't trust that for my dotage!!!


Oh and by the way did I mention all this needs to be secure?