Goodbye HPE

For the best part of the last six years, I have worked at HPE Software in Yehud. Last month I was made redundant. While my official last day as an HPE employee is tomorrow, today was my last day in the office. I cleared out my cube yesterday. Today I took part in what I would describe as a Treasure Hunt in reverse: to be officially signed out of work, with nothing left outstanding, I needed to return all my kit and have the various recipients (for my laptop, docking station, headphones, screens, desk phone, lunch card, and HPE security pass) sign a special form. That involved a trip around several locations and a bit of schlepping, but eventually it was all done. I exchanged the signed form for what I see as my release papers. Continue reading

A tale of two cemeteries


As part of my January trip to the UK, I popped up to Glasgow to see my brother, and do a cemetery visit. I went to Glenduffhill Cemetery on the morning after a short snowfall had turned the usually dreary place into something of a black and white postcard. It’s never a cheery place to visit, despite the efforts to make the gardens bloom and flourish, but the snow changed the atmosphere into something more stark, and more beautiful. Continue reading

Dodgers – Bill Beverly


East is the teenage team leader of a group of lookouts for a drug joint, acting as a warning mechanism against police raids. [Spoiler alert!] Somehow the lookouts are bypassed, and the drug joint falls to a police raid. Instead of being punished – though he may have done nothing wrong – East is sent on a road trip to kill someone, at the behest of the gang’s leader. He is accompanied by, among others, his somewhat enigmatic and problematic younger brother. (Apparently, thirteen year old kids in the USA do operate as hired guns. Hmmm.) And off they jolly well go. Continue reading

The secret story of the Jewish codebreakers who helped win the war

The Jewish Chronicle has a very interesting article on this topic by Robert Hannigan, the Director of GCHQ. As he says:

“I rarely write in public. But the death of Rolf Noskwith earlier this month, at the age of 97, prompts me to tell the story of our remarkable group of Jewish staff at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and the years that followed.”

Apart from the historical narrative, note the confirmation of the close connection between the British and Israel signals intelligence communities. Read it all here.

Power to the gamers


This week, Susan and I hosted Azriel, David, Gillian, Roslynn, and Sheer.

Azriel, Sheer, and Susan started by playing Suburbia. Sheer knows this game very well – another where knowledge of the pieces and their interactions is a big help – but he was kind enough to offer Susan some meaningful help and assistance. So much so that Susan won! Azriel did OK so far as I could see, but had lost ground in the closing stages.

However, poor Azriel had his revenge in the next game they played: Dominion: Intrigue. I do not know what the make up of the Action Cards was, but I do know that Azriel won. That was a shock since, with all due respect to Azriel, Susan and Sheer are excellent Dominion players. So Azriel’s play must have been fantastic.

Meantime, we (David, Gillian, Roslynn and I) tried out Power Grid: The Card Game for the first time. This is a cut down version of the bigger game, where the action focuses on the acquisition of power plants and resources. You do not have to deal with placing your pieces on a board. The first time I was the winner, but it was oh so close with everyone else a mere one point behind me. We played it again, and this time Gillian won. The second game was even closer, as Gillian needed the tie break for the victory, though given her good play it was a well deserved triumph. I quite liked it, because it’s a perfect one hour game, with enough decision making to be more than a light filler. Roslynn wasn’t that keen on it, but the others seemed to enjoy it.

Thanks to all who came along.

What’s a bit of bribery got to do with dignity?

He never lets on But I know 'cause he once told me He let me know a secret about the money in his kitty He's gonna buy a dinghy Gonna call her dignity

“He never lets on
But I know ’cause he once told me
He let me know a secret about the money in his kitty
He’s gonna buy a dinghy
Gonna call her dignity…”
Lyrics to Dignity by Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue
Image source: WikiMedia

From the You Could Not Make It Up department:

Bribe-taking ex-chief rabbi invited to speak on ‘Dignity of Rabbinate’
Despite pleading guilty to corruption charges on Tuesday, Yona Metzger was not disinvited to Thursday’s conference

Continue reading

Fire with Fire – Charles E Gannon


A hundred years in the future, Caine Riordan is snooping around, thinking he has discovered a conspiracy on the Moon. Secret governmental forces stick him in suspended animation for twelve years. When he is awoken, he has lost a hundred hours of his memory, and doesn’t know who to trust, and who not to trust. But he signs up to work for the very people who put him into deep freeze, and before you can say Really? Caine is actively engaged in a mission to, er, expose a conspiracy… Continue reading

Down and out in London


Susan and I are just back from a trip to the UK. On trips into London city center, I was struck by how many people were sleeping rough. I had seen that before, but never in such numbers. I don’t know what the reason for the change is, but it’s a human tragedy out there, and obvious to the world. I hope to hell somebody there is doing something about it. The sight of so many cardboard, newspaper, and rag hovels reminded me, again, about how fortunate I am.

I did think about documenting the situation with some pictures, but a modest dose of reflection led me to the conclusion I would be wallowing in other people’s misery. I also thought that the explanation given by some Londoners – immigration – sounded too pat. Further, it didn’t fit with the fact that those rough sleepers I heard speaking were decidedly native English speakers. Regardless, it’s horrible.