Archive for December, 2006

Celebrating a quarter century of jcm

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

25 years ago, on one of the coldest nights in recent UK history, I was born in York, England. A quarter century later, I’m living in the US and my life has changed quite dramatically from even just a few years ago. As I look back on the first 25 years of my life, there are a lot of things that come to mind – things I’d rather I hadn’t done, things I’m glad I did do, things I’m proud of, and many other emotions besides. But on the whole I’m glad to be alive and living the life that I have with the friends and family that I have to support me. That’s what it’s all about really – nothing else is actually important.

For the first time in my life, I’m heading toward being truly happy – sure there’s a lot wrong with the world, and I try to do my bit to help leave it in a better state then when I arrived – but happiness is what it’s all about. I love living in the United States, I can’t say that enough. I like the job that I have and the great people that I work with. And then there’s a special someone who I’d like to write reams about, but not here :-)

There’s a lot more I want to do with my life in future in order to look back in another 25 years and really feel I’ve achieved a lasting legacy, and by the grace of good providence I shall have time to do just that. Special thanks to those who have already sent me good wishes – I’ll try calling a few of you on Sunday, timezones permitting.


Heathrow security “compromised”

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

According to the BBC, London Heathrow is to begin trials of a new biometric security system. The system, like many others being tested/used worldwide is “voluntary” at the moment, and only in use for certain flights, but it’s part of a worrying trend towards 2-tier security that will (over time) degrade the security of the traveling public.

As Bruce Schneier has pointed out previously, when you introduce two different classes of security into the security theatre, you degrade overall security because now all the bad guys need to do is defeat a machine and they’ve overcome all your anal-probing, abbrasively annoying manual human inspection and any other security used for “regular people”. But the bad guys don’t know this, so we’re ok.

I’ve often thought Heathrow security was an annoying, humorless joke, and this just serves to back up my thoughts on the subject – closed source biometric security systems are not only a bad idea but they’re actively dangerous because people don’t see what could be wrong with them. But they’re digital! They use computers! They use words like biometric in their descriptions! How could they possibly be a bad idea? :-)


Boston Ballet – The Nutcracker

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

So we went to see The Nutcracker at the newly rennovated Boston Opera House last night. That was totally awesome – having never seen The Nutcracker before, I was looking forward to it. I had other reasons to enjoy seeing the ballet, but the performance itself was great. I need to see more performances in Boston. London can move over, even the Royal Albert Hall can’t really touch the Boston Opera House for style and class.

I’m debating going to see Handel’s Messiah performed by the Handel and Haydn Society as another cultural outlet, though I have suddenly realised that I could spend a million years in Boston and enjoy every minute of it.