Friday, 30 September 2016

Weeks 3-4 at QA Consulting: Enterprise Architecture, Lowry, Gnomes

"When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Before last week I didn't think I had inherited my dad's seemingly irrational hatred of garden gnomes, but now I'm starting to reconsider my position. There's something vaguely sinister about the little ceramic monstrosities, from their rosy cheeks to their bulging eyes to the way they seem to infest gardens all over the country like an invasive species. Surprisingly, though, the fact that the fictional company we've been dealing with in the past couple of weeks of training specialises in "gnomes, gnome accessories and garden ornaments" is far from the most worrying thing about it. Judging from the information we've been given, the company is almost certainly committing tax evasion, and may also be either a money laundering scheme for a drug cartel or some sort of neo-Nazi cult.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Making of a Cyborg #1: Artificial Limbs

DEKA Research's "Luke Arm". (Photo by DARPA)

It's a concept straight out of science fiction. From Star Wars to Robocop to Ghost in the Shell, countless stories have imagined how man and machine can be fused into something new -- a cyborg. But the technology presented in these stories might not be as far off as people think. In this series of blog posts, I will explore the ways in which current robotic and computer technology can augment or replace parts of the human body. This week, I will start with something that will immediately spring to most people's minds when they hear the word "cyborg": artificial limbs.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Weeks 1-2 at QA Consulting: Java, DevOps, Manchester

The view from my kitchen window. (Other television studios are available.)

From my kitchen window I can see both the BBC offices in the adjacent building and the ITV offices across the canal (the giant Coronation St. sign is quite hard to miss). There are two different museums less than ten minutes’ walking away, and a Costa right outside my front door. The nearby plaza is populated, in the mornings at least, by people walking determinedly while wearing lanyards. In the evening, these same people sip beer against a backdrop of city lights. It is my first week in Manchester’s MediaCityUK, the first time I’ve lived outside my home city of Nottingham and, more to the point, my first week of training at a new IT consultancy job.