Ab Ovo

Well, I guess this is the answer to that hoary old question.


Or maybe it’s just a matter of ‘take me to your Leda’.

David Harley


Next-gen Ethical Hacking

This morning I was amused to find comment spam advertising the services of a hacker for hire for ‘ethical hacks, school upgrade, money transfer, blank a.t.m’s, clear your credit score’. Well, that’s an unexpected view of what constitutes ethical hacking. (If you’re not sure what I’m getting at, read the above as ‘falsify your grades’, ‘be tricked into buying an ATM card that’s supposed to allow you to fraudulently draw unlimited funds’, and so on.)

No, it wasn’t on this blog, but I bet if I put the word ‘hacker’ or ‘hacking’ into the title of this article, something similar will turn up. Of course, if it does, you’ll have to take my word for it, since I’m not going to approve it.

David Harley

Bored* of All I Survey

Dear Conference Organizers

If you want me to respond to a survey, it’s probably a good idea not to address me as ‘Dear madame’… I realize I’m not particularly famous, but I have spoken at your conference many times and I’m even on this year’s programme committee, so you should have some idea of my gender. (My connection with the programme committee also means that I have some idea of how well attended the conference is really likely to be, so let’s not big it up too much.)

Oh, and I don’t really need the email in triplicate.

Excuse me while I wipe the brick dust from my forehead before I consider whether there’s any point in answering your questions.

David Harley

*The quote I’m parodying from Cowper’s The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk is actually ‘I AM monarch of all I survey’, but it’s misquoted so often as ‘Lord of all I survey’ that I’m happy to go with the popular misconception on this occasion. Besides, I can’t think of a suitable word to rhyme with monarch.


More Flattening than Flattering

Jude finally found something useful to do with a couple of my author’s copies: specifically, two volumes of a very bulky, heavy and expensive book for which I wrote a couple of chapters a few years ago. That is, for flattening photographs that have spent the past few years rolled up in a cardboard tube.


However, she also put this up in my studio. I’m hoping she isn’t implying that I’m too loud and a bit dozy.


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