Chris Croft's Personal Blog

December 22, 2011

Reading – what’s on my list?

Filed under: Books and Culture — chriscroft @ 5:41 pm

I want to do more reading, (just finished and greatly enjoyed “Mutant Message Down Under”) and also I’ve been feeling a bit stressed that there are books all over my house that I want to read some time.  So I have moved them all onto one shelf, and there are quite a few!  But for your amusement, here are some of the ones on the pile:

(and does anyone think I shouldn’t bother with any of them??)

  • The Code Book by Simon Singh
  • Alan Clark’s diaries
  • Sharon Osbourne:  Extreme
  • The Mission Song – John Le Carre
  • John McEnroe: Serious
  • First Among Equals – How to Manage a Group of Professionals
  • The Seven Sins of Memory – How the mind forgets and remembers
  • The difficulty of being a dog – Roger Grenier
  • Just Six Numbers – Martin Rees
  • The Dice Man – Luke Reinhart (read it ages ago, know I loved it, can’t remembr the details, must re-read)
  • Michael Lewis – Liars’ Poker
  • Nancy Mitford – The Pursuit of Love
  • Back from the Brink (Coping with stress) – Nick Leeson
  • Roger Penrose – The Emperor’s New Mind
  • Predictions – 30 great minds on the future
  • Potter on Gamesmanship
  • Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance (another re-read)
  • Impro – Keith Johnstone (my brother’s favourite book of all time, so I think I’d better read it)
  • Why do buses come in threes? – the hidden maths of everyday life
  • The inside story of Viz – Chris Donald
  • The Slap

Third collection of PSs from tips of the month

Filed under: Computer tips, Customer Care, Gadgets, Music, Random stuff - uncategorisable — chriscroft @ 5:39 pm
    1. PS – Saw a hummingbird hawk moth in the garden yesterday.  My favourite insect – worth looking out for!  View pictures of them on google…

    PPS – An exciting new DIY product that I have only recently discovered:  self -amalgamating tape.  Weird, and brilliant.  How on earth does it work?  Bodges almost anything.

    PPPS – I’m continuing to discover things about google.  On the google toolbar there’s a thing called Auto-Fill which is marvellous – it fills in your name and address etc automatically when you buy things on-line….

    If there’s anyone out there who uses autofill, self amalgamating tape, and has seen an HHM in the last week, then I ought to award you the “Similar to Chris” prize.  But you don’t want that!

    PS – it’s getting cold and autumnal all of a sudden (apologies to my African and Australian readers!) and the positive thinkers just have to find something good in it.  Personally I am quite looking forward to foraging for mushrooms in the forest, maybe finding a hedgehog mushroom or parasol mushroom.  But don’t try this unless you REALLY know what you’re doing!

    PPS – MBA news: we now have our first ever person enrolled in an MBA following doing a DMS course (Diploma in Management) with me.  She is just starting at London Met, where she has to do one final year of their MBA, having got exemption from the first 2 years of their course.  Sunderland have also agreed a (distance learning) MBA final year.  Kingston have not agreed to it – we thought they might.  Details on the forum, or email me.

    PPPS – “British Airways:  Britain’s favourite airline”.  Well maybe, but not mine!  When stranded at Newcastle and needing to change a flight at the last minute, from Newcastle-Gatwick to Newcastle-Heathrow, they quoted me £190 even though both flights had spaces on them and the original ticket was only £50.  “Because it’s a last minute booking”.  Thanks guys – good to know you really care!

    PPPPS – greatly enjoying a book called “Watching the English” by Kate Fox – fascinating.  What an odd bunch we are!

    PPS – just saw Garage World from the M6 near Crewe.

    PPPS – Tour de France on ITV – marvellous!

    PS – listening to Blue Six “We had a thing” as I write this.  Mmm, nice.

    PPS – Thanks to Pete B for this hilarious and brilliant nightmare vision of the future!  It’s great to have all your customer’s details at your fingertips when they call, but you can go too far:

    PPPS  Being the renaissance trainer that I am, I have a sensitive side behind my rugged exterior.

    I have therefore been investigating poetry, and, as a person with the Hurry Up driver, it HAS to he Haikus.  Only three lines – brilliant!

    The official rules of Haiku are very strict (Seventeen syllables written in three lines divided into 5-7-5., must mention the weather etc) and I would like to propose ‘The Modern Haiku’ where you can write about anything you like, and the three lines have to be short but not exactly 29 syllables, as long as they ‘scan’ in some way.  It just has to “feel” right.  I also think we should try to keep the rule that there has to be a twist or clever observation or “aha” moment to the Haiku.

    I’ve put some of my efforts on the forum – but what I really would like is for readers to send theirs in, ideally to the forum but replying to this email would be OK too, and I’ll upload them to the forum – anonymously if you like.

    PPPPS – now listening to Audioslave – Sound of a gun.  Chunky!

    PS  thanks to Ben for this website:  Ever wanted to send a large file (e.g. a video, a Photoshop file) to a colleague but your server won’t allow it because the file is too big? Fear not. The website allows you to upload files of up to 100 MB (in the free version) to its server, which it will store until your recipient downloads it. The website even sends an email to your recipient telling them that they have a file waiting for them. (There is a professional upgrade which allows files of up to 2 GB to be uploaded but this costs $29.99 per month). It’s very handy if you work with large visual and/or audio documents.
    PPPS –  Open House London is this coming weekend.  A chance to have a look at all sorts of interesting buildings, which are opened to the public, for free, one weekend a year.  The gherkin is fully booked already, but lots of others, modern and historic, are worth seeing.  There are guided walks too, which are great if you want to know how and why things got built.  I went last year and I’m going again this year.   Sad or interesting? –  you decide!

  1. PPS – this weeks stupidest website has to be – if you want to see a 6 foot twix or a malteser that’s bigger than a football…

Faulty arguments

Filed under: News and Politics, Selling and Influencing — chriscroft @ 10:01 am

Interesting to see the arguments the press are using to defend their outrageous harassment of victims over the years:

– “newspapers have always done it” (doesn’t make it OK!)

– “it’s not as bad as it used to be” (doesn’t make it OK!)

– “celebs are stupid if they don’t realise what they’re getting into ” (this is only one up from “She got raped but what did she expect, wearing that short shirt?”) (doesn’t make it OK!)

I also heard: “Some celebs WANT the press attention” – maybe true, but doens’t make it OK to harrass ALL of them, and certainly not OK to harrass the unsuspecting members of the ordinary public who find themselves on the end of a press story and certainly don’t want the hassle.  It would be easy to have laws where you can give the press permission to camp outside your house if you really want that, or you can give the press permission to photograph you with long lenses through the windows of your home, but if no permission then its illegal.

So we await Leveson’s verdict, and I personally hope he really makes a difference this time.  Enough “self regulation” – it clearly doesn’t work.





December 10, 2011

Vietnam and Cambodia

Filed under: Uncategorized — chriscroft @ 9:35 am

Just back from 2 weeks cycling, organised (excellently as always) by Explore

As always I’m thinking “Was it a good holiday?”  “What did I want to get from it, and did I get it?” etc

So here’s a summary that may amuse:


Did I like the countries? – Yes

Did I like the people? – Yes – much more than I expected in fact

Would I go there again? – no, been there and done it – it didn’t have the (very rare) India Factor of “Fallen in love with it, Must go back”

Did it all go to plan? Yes, long flight was no hassle, no accidents, didn’t get ill etc

Did I like the other people on the trip – Yes

Will I see them again? – Probably not, though if they lived near then certainly I would like to

Do I now feel refreshed and relaxed? – No, more like knackered and well behind on my emails!

Am I feeling super fit from the cycling? – Not really, though it must have been good for me

Have I learned a bit more about the world – Certainly yes, I knew embarrassingly little about these two countries.  I was really impressed by both.  The Vietnamese were tough and organised and friendly if you approached them, while the Cambodians were friendly and charming, amazing considering what they’ve been through.

Was I gobsmacked by Angkor Wat, one of the wonders of the world? – Not really.  The other temples were better.  I think Tikal was better.  But the other temples in the Angkor area were a real treat – remote, beautiful, spooky, intricately carved, peaceful etc

Was it worth going – certainly

Will I lounge on a beach for my next holiday? – Probably!  But then I always say that….





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