Ghost Writers in the Sky

Facebook is suggesting that I allow James Patterson to teach me writing. (Well, I suppose he has sold a lot more books than I have.) Apparently I can learn every part of his book writing process.

I wonder if that includes finding a co-author to do the actual writing?

I suppose I shouldn’t be snide about this: it’s obviously working posthumously for Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. Thank heavens it never occurred to Barbara Cartland.

David Harley


The Fake Conference Season Opens

Even the fake conference crowd are trying to drag me back into testing (again). Yes, ‘Making sense of comparative anti-malware testing’ sounds like a perfect fit for the World Gene Convention. Not. I’d have been more impressed if they’d picked up on my long-gone and rather peripheral connection with the Human Genome Project.

At least the repeated invitations to a dodgy forensics conference have some theoretical relevance to what I do now.

But seems that the Gene Genie has just picked up an article I wrote of Elsevier in 2009. Or, more probably, just the abstract.

F minus for effort. F double minus for ‘would you please respond to our earlier spam?’

David Harley 

Travelling Hopefully…*

Ralph Waldo Emerson is often credited with saying that ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’ though I’ve also seen it attributed to the Buddha. Which suggests that an article is long overdue about the flakiness of sites about who said what. Right now, though, I’m wondering why so much marketing takes the quote so literally.

Perhaps it’s me, but I can’t imagine that many people plan their holidays or business trips so as to stay in a specific hotel or – even weirder – use a specific shuttle service from/to the airport. So why do I get so much marketing mail that assumes I do? Do people really go to specific places so that they can stay in a specific airport hotel? (But yes, I do understand that you might want to use a specific hotel or shuttle service if it does happen to fit with your travel plans.)

By the way, Emerson certainly said ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.’ He forgot to mention copy editors. But that’s probably another rant for another day.

*To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive – Robert Louis Stephenson, in ‘El Dorado

David Harley

Kicking the Bucket

So barely have I finished grumping about the Railcard people wanting me to jump out of planes and climb trees – Seniors for the High Jump  – but I get email from British Airways making suggestions for my bucket list. Though it doesn’t actually suggest that I jump from one of BA’s planes.

Nonetheless, I look forward to the reminders that I don’t have much time left to take advantage of these generous offers…

David Harley

Pushing the Envelope

Changing address has brought its usual complement of hassles including an avalanche of change-of-address forms.

But if you’re going to send a DL reply envelope in a C5 envelope, wouldn’t you fold the form to be returned to fit the DL envelope (i.e. an A4 document folded twice) rather than the C5? But no, every time the form comes as A4 folded just once approximately in the middle…

David Harley

‘Tis the season. Apparently.

The National Trust wants me to give a gift to our coast before Winter arrives. I was thinking about a scarf, but that’s an awful lot of knitting.

west bay

I am, in fact, an NT member, but I get very tired of appeals from charities I already support, wanting me to give more. There really is such a thing as compassion fatigue (I might come back to that), and even my fabulous riches are not unlimited.

David Harley