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2011-01-10 15:11:58Cobwebs

Well I know I have been neglecting my blog for the past 6 months. Life hasn't been kind to me recently. Rather than bore you with the details I just didn't blog.

I have decided that is going to change. I hereby swear that I will post at least one blog every week. I have a couple of projects I am working on, chiefly a WordPress powered blog for a friend of a friend. If it goes well I might consider porting my site over to it, the expanded functionality is very attractive.

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2010-05-25 17:12:32Orbital Mechanics

There has been a lot of talk in the past couple of years about rogue satellites and the dangers they pose to other spacecraft. Most recently Jonathan Amos' blog on the BBC News site talked about how a TV satellite is drifting into the volume of another satellite which delivers similar services to itself.

Why don't the major space agencies add a module to the ISS designed to capture, repair and release damaged or broken satellites? The cost of this service can be recovered by charging the owners of the satellites.

Hardware that is irreparable can be stored safely so as to not present a hazard to other spacecraft. Or if storage space is a premium, the satellites can be safely disposed of.

There is talk of flying Atlantis out to the ISS after the last official shuttle flight and leaving her parked at the ISS. This would give the astronauts the area to to work on the satellites, in the form of the shuttle's cargo hold, and a potential recovery vehicle.

Now if the risk to human life is too great, the capture spacecraft could use an automated vehicle based around the ESA's ATV which has already proved itself to be a safe and reliable platform. It could even even be flown remotely from a ground station or the ISS itself.

The cost of repairing a rogue satellite in-stiu has to be less than the cost of building a replacement and launching it into space, not to mention the cost of insurance and the loss of revenue when the services the satellite should be providing, isn't doing. This is the next logical step in the commercialisation of space.

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2010-05-10 17:01:12In other news...

I have a lot to say so I promise I'll do a full blog update soon!

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2010-05-10 16:56:48TV Show Recruiters

If another TV show recruiter sends me crap...

Seriously I get these things through almost weekly. They generally are for shows taking the piss out of Geeks which is something I am not willing to be party to.

So if you are a TV show recruiter, please note this blog post before contacting because otherwise I will just refer you here.

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2010-02-09 22:13:20A Full Day's Work

I have had builders stomping around the house today so I took my trusty laptop and spent all day applying for jobs while hiding out in a local cafe.

I spotted this cool blog the other day and decided to try the app on my laptop. the resulting images is my work, pixel pushing, from about 1000 GMT to 2030 GMT today.

Mouse Trails

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2010-01-28 17:26:25Useless Town Centres

I had to get my car's exhaust fixed today so I decided to take a peek at the new library and town centre in my local town of Urmston. Dear god! What a shocking state of affairs!

Firstly there are only about a 5th of the amount of books that it used to have, although from looking at the online catalogue it appears endemic across the borough.

Secondly, no free wifi. What sort of library in the 21st century doesn't have wifi? The lack of wifi leads me on to the third problem.

Thirdly, due to the lack of free wifi forced me to have to use the machines provided by the library. Nothing actually wrong with the machines from a technical standpoint. New dells running XP, however the problem lies with the software. They only have office 2000 (the one with the paperclip). I guess I could live with that, M$ licenses for large organisations are expensive, why upgrade if the software hasn't fundamentally changed? My biggest and most serious quibble is their choice of browser. They force you to use IE6!!! Horrendously buggy and no tabs! Have you tried browsing without tabs recently? It is impossible. It is incredibly difficult to keep track of multiple windows, especially when the Trafford library catalogue insists on opening in new windows all the time.

I was so disappointed. I don't trust IE at the best of times but IE6 is obsolete! If they don't want to provide a choice in browsers why can't they at least upgrade to IE8? I had to decamp to Costa Coffee. Which reminds me, why isn't there free wifi all over this new plaza? Maybe I am too entrenched in the "campus" idea. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

Had an interview today. Didn't get the job. Anyway I'll stop my whinge.

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2010-01-10 02:30:40New Year, New Decade, New Job?

I made a resolution that I would update this blog at least once a week, so far I am a week down... One of the problems is I only think of good things to blog about when I am away from the computer, when I get back to it I have usually totally forgotten what I wanted to say.

I trust you all had a lovely holiday season? It has been unbelievably cold here in the UK, on the news there have been reports of diesel freezing in the tanks of cars. That makes the outside temperature roughly -15C. More snow is forecast but I think we have seen the last of it in Manchester. This NASA image shows the coverage we are experiencing.

We are living in the future now, officially! The year is Twenty Ten, if anyone says two thousand and ten you are allowed to nail them to the wall.

Techwise 2010 looks like it will be the year of the tablet PC. Apple have one due out soon and Microsoft have been demoing Win7 on some tablets recently.

While I am on the subject of Windows 7, I feel I should mention the seriously crippling bug I have found. Simply: the task manager doesn't work. If a process crashes you cannot kill it at all, apparently the system is waiting for the process to say "I have finished what I was doing. You may now close me." which of course can't happen because the process has crashed. According to various blogs and forums it is a hangover from Vista. The only solution is to reboot. PLEASE FIX IT MICROSOFT!!!

After a disappointing latter half of 2009, I have sadly decided to widen my net with regards to job hunting. I am now applying for call centre and general office jobs instead of just IT jobs. As a result I have an interview for a customer service job next Friday.

Before I forget, how fantastic was the last episodes of Doctor Who? David Tennant gave a fantastic performance along side Timothy Dalton as a TimeLord! I won't say anymore in case you haven't seen it in your territory yet.

In closing I just want to say, are these the best daleks ever?

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2009-12-23 23:43:39Epic Snowman!

Spent the last few hours productively building a snowman.

Merry Christmas and have great New Year, everyone!

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2009-11-05 16:07:33Job Hunting

It is approaching 13 weeks of job hunting with not even a single bite. I am not entirely sure where I am going wrong. I suspect it has something to do with the global economic slowdown.

I am starting to get rejection emails. There isn't even any temp work available. It is difficult to remain upbeat when you get so much rejection, it makes you feel totally useless.

I have a meeting with the Job Centre tomorrow, they want to know why I don't yet have a job. Should be an interesting argument.

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2009-10-27 01:54:49Open Computing for Governments

With the release of the latest incarnation of Ubuntu just around the corner it got me thinking. How much could be saved of tax payers money by porting entire government or public agencies over to Ubuntu or another free Linux distro?

One of the primary costs of any modern organisation is IT and a huge proportion of the IT budget goes towards licensing fees of software. This would be reduced if a corporation moved over to Ubuntu machines for their desktops. Another consideration is that Ubuntu has been proven to run better on older machines than say XP, this would reduce the need for hardware to be upgraded as often as it currently is.

Of course one of the major downsides to moving to Linux would be the likelihood that any bespoke software written for the organisation would have to be ported from a Windows environment. There may also be additional training provided to the less capable members of staff.

It would be interesting to see how great the saving would be, should there be any.

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