Category Archives: Uncategorized

Back to the Future Part II – What did they get right??


Despite everyone saying it was whatever day it is now, it’s actually the year 2015 that Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to in the second Back to the Future film.

All films set in the future make predictions of varying quality about the future, and Marty’s adventures are no exception! Let’s see how Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Steven Spielberg and a merry band of future experts did in their guessing of what the future would be like. And that.

1) Flying cars – WRONG although there are kind of flying trains, called planes

2) Michael J Fox’s children looking identical to Michael J Fox – WRONG although they do resemble him a bit

3) Black & Decker diversifying into food preparation – WRONG they mainly do drills and that

4) Gray’s Sports Almanac 1950-2000 is a book that is available to buy – WRONG nobody has made this book

5) Cafe 80s is a popular 1980s themed restaurant in Hill Valley – WRONG they actually went into liquidation in 2011.

So there you have it. Back the drawing board, back to the future ha ha ha ha

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The Year In Numbers

1 The number of days which I ran a half-marathon

150 was the number of minutes I spent waiting at Market Harborough station waiting for the train which I could have used in quiet prayer or personal development but instead used attempting to make ironic jokes on Twitter to try and amuse and impress people I have never met

4.2 The average number of nectar points I gained a week

1hr 57mins The amount of time I spent running a half-marathon

6 The number of people I know that don’t know I ran a half-marathon

14 The number of years until I will stop mentioning that I ran a half-marathon

2 The number of wheels on my bike

2014 The number of years since they started counting

0.5 The number of marathons I ran

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6 Things People Used To Have To Do In The Past Before Robots Did Them

The past is a long time ago. Remember the TV show Breaking Bad? That was in the past. So was I Love 1977. And also your mum; (though it is possible she is present too; I don’t know who you are)

But the past, as they say, is like a foreign country: they are racist there. And also they didn’t have robots to do loads of things that will literally blow your sector of the hivemind!

1) Control their own transport

Unbelievable though it may seem, once upon a time people used to have to control their own transport to go to places.

You could control your own transport (“car”), or, if you were rich or lazy, you could get another person (usually a man, because the past was sexist) to control the vehicle. Loads of people used to die because they made the transporters go really fast at each other by accident, so various countries made it harder by restricting what side of the roadway you could drive on.

Larger vehicles called trolleys were used to transport large amounts of stuff around. And you know those giant Control Centres that the super hive-mind used to watch us? They used to be used for horses.

2) Build Things

In the past, if an item didn’t exist, it had to be designed and then constructed by people! It makes sense of course: who else would do it? Horses (an animal people used for transport that I didn’t mention earlier; but I don’t really understand how you could control an animal without brainstem harvesting but whatever)???

Sometimes people would build them in small groups; sometimes in large groups. Eventually, they began to build big places to build small things to make big things out of.

3) Hunt/Gather

Before it became common for sustenance to be given to us via food pods, people used to have to find their own food by hunting animals (but not horses; they needed to go places on them) or gathering plants (but not trees; they were used to make things)

Whole economies and civilisations grew up with the express purpose of making this things easier; after a while people would catch the animals and breed them for strength and quality (much like we are bred!)

4) Plug things into the wall to charge them

Incredibly in the past mobile devices needed regular charging and this had to be done via a wall outlet. A cable and connector was usually provided from the manufacturers (see 2) to attach the device to the outlet, which was connected to a central power source. Try to imagine a reverse version of an excretion tube.

Incredibly, this central power source was usually created by burning carbon things! Of course humanity was unaware that burning carbon would have an adverse effect on the environment at first, and when they found out, they had become addicted to the wall sockets.

5) Partake in “beauty pageants”

Incredibly, in the past, people were obsessed by personal appearance! Because people had to find mates based on arbitrary criteria, it was decided that being well fit was better than intelligence or wit or being able to survive the silicon mines.

4) Not have to partake in the surprise Fight Arena for the amusement of our Cyborg Overlords.

Unbelievably, in the past, people were not forced to partake in the Fight Arenas, where our Cyborg Overlords are entertained by us slicing each other up.

While people in the past often used to kill each other for entertainment, it was usually a voluntary thing which was done by professionals and they were aided by transporters. They could live their whole lives without worrying about being called up at any time before their 30th birthday and forced to kill their friends!

There was also  very little risk of being conscripted to toil in the silicon mines of Mars. Hard to imagine, but without are might Cyborg Overlords, humanity did not fully understand the need for order and submission.

Hopefully this list has demonstrated how much better things are now!

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extract from my novel

“You’re so good looking” said his colleague, for no reason, “and really good at programming. I wish I was as good as you.”

“You just need to learn how to name your classes better. And then have extensive cosmetic surgery!” Miguel responded, quickly.

Everyone laughed heartily, including the Prime Minister, who was also there, because he could detect the awesome when he was walking past. “I wonder how I managed to get this job,” he said, “whilst you, so much more talented, are just a lowly software developer.”

“Hey. My job is vital to this country, Mr Prime Minister,” Miguel turned angry, “for the knowledge economy. And computers.”

“you might be just the man to help me in our quest to find the Ark of the Covenant; you see Hitler is…”

“Hitler? I thought he…”

“We might as well tell you now. He lived on following his defeat in Berlin in 1945… using technology which only you and your highly skilled team of developers know about…”

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Why PHP is actually an amazing language

Unlike more “sciencey” languages like C, Java or Welsh, PHP was not designed by a number of super-intelligent academic computer scientists. Instead, it was created by a bored Finnish-American computer science student so he could do a fancy Guestbook page on his “homepage”.

Of course, you’d think that the smart, computer guys would be the best at designing a language. They’ve spent all of their time learning through experiences and using words at each other to design a language that can create well-structured, clean code.

But who has the time to think like a super-intelligent academic computer scientists? I’ll tell you who – other super-intelligent academic computer scientists and that’s it. Everyone else wants to make the pretty colours come on the screen as soon as possible so they can get home for their dinner. Why define an abstract class when you can use the phpfs_print_under_f(true) function?

Who cares about syntax checking and security? Did the Pharoahs think about security when they built the pyramids? No they did not. Did Superman think about consistent variable order or type checking when he built the Empire State Building? No, he did not. He just read a couple of books, dug up some rocks and started building.

These are all development techniques designed to slow down the lazy developer, who must get as much done with minimal effort as possible.

Yeah, sure, in the long term you’ll want to make sure your code is well-written, logical and not in violation of every best-practice standard, but by that time you’ll be retired on your yacht or become head of IT and it’ll be someone else’s problem.

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Lazy Loading (not about lazy loading)

The main reason why I’ve started a blog – 10 years after they were fashionable, and about 5 after anyone last read one – is writing practice.  Mikeynet has been online in various forms for 15 years now, apart from a couple of years when I was at university and too, er, “busy” to remember to pay for hosting. I’ve always been a bit disappointed in myself about how little I put into it; I guess I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the fact that the Internet now gives us access to some absolutely hilarious and insightful funny writing at the touch of a button. I just don’t have that kind of ambition and feel crushed by it. Also I’m really lazy. 

Laziness is one of the things that’s drawn me into the world of computing. But wait a minute – aren’t computer people all really driven? Well, yeah, some of them are. Some of them are crazy-driven 18-hour-a-day loony mad psycho nutcrazies, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t lazy.

Steve Jobs famously described the computer as the “bicycle for the mind”, referring to the way that bikes are an incredibly efficient form of transport, but to the lazy person, they’re more like taxis for the mind – you give your instructions and they do it all for you.

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Why you should build a house out of CODE

Apparently, it’s the year of code, guys! I’ve decided based on science that as a man with a computer I am incredibly qualified to talk all about it and why it is important.

Here’s some reasons why you, too, should code:

1) Software developers are, on average, sexier and more intelligent than most of the population

2) Everything has a computer in it these days. Even your cat has a computer in it, if it eats one. You understand other things in your house, like chairs, or envelopes – why not computers?

3) Ever since Steve Jobs invented iProgramming with the release of the Mac in 1997, our economy has become increasing integrated with the virtual space.

4)  Bitcoin.

5) We defeated the nazis with Bletchley Park computers, which cracked codes, which I think is like kind of like fighting code with code. If the nazis ever return, which they definitely will, we will need better codes and computers than them.

6) Have you seen how rich those guys are. Seriously.

7) Men are all doing the computers, and are more likely to make evil robots because of testosterone. More coders will mean more equality in coding which will mean more things like computers for girls and less war.

8) The future is getting more and more computered. Since the past, when there were less computers, the amount of computers has increased by a factor of 100. Unless you can master them, they will master you.

9) Remember Sandra Bullock in “The Net”? Guys like that badguy hacker are everywhere, especially in China and Iran, and they want to steal our secrets and take our women.

10) The economy is becoming increasingly competitive. In South Asian countries they are so competitive that they literally have “code-offs” where coders face each other and say code at each other that “hacks” the “meatspace” (space where we meet). It’s true, and not even half the coders in our “Silicon Zones” can do this (Silicon Fens, Silicon Roundabout, Silicon Drive, Silicon Leeds)

11) The Internet is huge, nobody knows how it works and I’m scared. Really scared.

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