RIP Magenta

Sad to hear that Magenta Devine has died at what, to me, is the young age of 61. She co-presented an impressive series of Rough Guide travelogues on BBC television in the late 1980s. The woman had style and wit. She was also the neighbour of my best friend who was living in a London Mews at the the time. I’m sorry I never had the opportunity to meet her in real life, but I’d probably have been too tongue-tied and star-struck anyway.

Magenta Devine

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Microsoft Health – Life Support Withdrawn

I see that Microsoft has announced that it is pulling the plug on the Microsoft Health Dashboard applications and services. I can’t say I’m surprised; the writing has been on the wall ever since Microsoft dropped the Microsoft Band two years ago.

When the first version of the Microsoft Band was introduced in 2014, I thought that the most interesting thing was the backend services of Microsoft Health. The combination of Big Data and AI could have been game-changing, and as recently as a year ago Microsoft made a series of announcements to push this further.

It may well be that these cloud-based initiatives in conjunction with the medical industries will continue, and all that is now being killed off is the consumer-facing tier of products and services.

Still, I regret the demise of the Microsoft Band and its application services. Although the device was flawed physically (wristbands split all too easily and could not be replaced), the design of the functionality was very good. I eventually replaced my (third) Microsoft Band 2 with a FitBit Ionic smartwatch, and frankly, it’s not a patch on what the Band offered me.

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Just Dropping In…

We’ve noticed a new visitor in the field next to our house in the past few days; a Great Egret…


It’s probably looking for a mate, but I think it’s going to be out of luck around these parts.

Posted in Nature | 1 Comment

“A Special Place In Hell”

Donald Tusk hits the nail on the head. The Nigel Farages, Jacob Rees-Moggs and Boris Johnsons of this world deserve nothing less. It is they who have betrayed the British people, not the EU.

Posted in News and politics, Society | 1 Comment

“A Terrible Failure of Common Sense”

In recent years, the UK Home Office has increasingly seemed to be driven by checklists, rather than any understanding of the people they are dealing with.

Here’s just the latest example in a very long list: a man, 90 years old, is being told to fly to the US to get a visa so that he can stay in the UK with his wife.

Apparently, a Home Office spokesperson has said:

“All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available and in line with UK immigration rules.”

As a good friend of mine has said on many an occasion: “Just what is wrong with these people?”.


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Half and Half

Someone asked me last night how long I had been living here in the Netherlands, and I replied: “35 years”.

“So, for half your life?” he asked. And up until that moment I had not thought about it, but he’s right: for the first 35 years of my life, I lived in the UK (even though, technically speaking, the country of my birth, the Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and not part of the UK) and now I’ve been living for 35 years in the Netherlands.

It gave me pause.

Posted in Family, Society | 2 Comments

Seder Masochism

Nina Paley has finished her magnum opus and released it to the world.


Deceptively simple, yet raises uncomfortable questions. Worth watching.

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