Welcome to my blog for all things related to business quality (processes, systems and ways of working), products and product quality, manufacturing and operations management.

This blog is a mixture of real-world experience, ideas, comments and observations that I hope you'll find interesting.



How to get 5.1 audio on Sky HD – updated

UPDATED – SEE BELOW! I have just installed a Sky HD system for a colleague and hit a really annoying problem. The Sky HD box puts out stereo digital audio onto its HDMI connector, and provides 5.1 (surround sound) digital audio on separate connectors. This is fine if you are just feeding a TV, but […]

Wireless technology recruitment in Cambridge

It’s great to see a real home-grown high-tech success story in the UK. Cambridge Broadband Networks, a company I know well, is just such a success. They’ve recently celebrated their tenth anniversary and are growing very quickly at the moment, in fact they are one of the top 50 technology hardware and equipment sector companies […]

The hard disk is dead!

Hard disks are surprisingly reliable. If you think about the technology – the head floats on a cushion of air thinner than a speck of dust, or even a fingerprint – it’s remarkable they work at all. And they keep working for ages… but not for ever. As with all man-made things, especially ones that […]

Leave my equipment alone!

I could get very fed up with big corporations messing up my equipment. It happens with my computers, and it happens with my Sky box. Every few weeks things start happening that shouldn’t, or things stop happening that should. Here’s a Sky example; a couple of over-the-air software updates ago my Sky box’s on/off switch […]

Wireless device chargers

About 4 years ago a Cambridge start-up called SplashPower was developing universal wireless chargers for mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAs and the like.  To charge your device you simply laid it on a flat charging pad that looked a bit like a mouse mat. Built into the pad was a clever array of inductive coils […]

Made by monkeys

This is a really good website brought to us by the Electronics Weekly team – http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/engineering-design-problems/ It’s a combination of some weird and wacky product ideas with other products that have a perfectly sound concept but have been implemented really badly. It’s a great reference point and a cautionary tale for entrepreneurs who have just […]

There’s a new OS in town

So Google are launching a new computer Operating System – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8139711.stm Great news! Competition in this area has got to be a good thing. Not only does it give us more choice but it keeps the current incumbents, Windows and Linux, on their toes. (Apple is a special case, of course, and has many lessons […]

Mouse tricks

I find that the mouse, not the keyboard, is my main interface with computers these days. I seem to type less and click more! I’m a big fan of Logitech mice – the ones with extra buttons that you can program to perform different functions – and for several years I have always used the […]

Why is PC software so bad?

I was praising the virtues of Vista 64 recently. I knew a lot of people who had been to hell and back with Vista when it first emerged, but my experience was the opposite – it was stable, it was fast, and when the odd ‘funny’ did happen it recovered and self-repaired amazingly well. But […]

Technological progress in reverse

I guess we are all familiar with the demise of Concorde and the apparent reversal of the normal forward progress of technology – we used to be able to fly to New York supersonically, but no longer. Air travel has become slower, albeit a lot cheaper. But less esoteric technologies also exhibit the same frustrating […]