Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 29/05/2012

Thistle Do!


Flower, originally uploaded by http://andrewskelton.net.

Ooh that’s new… oh,sorry Dear Reader, you can’t see what I can see, can you? What… you can? I hope you’ve not been hacking my machine (I didn’t realise you used to be a Journalist!). As mentioned before, I use Google Docs (now renamed Google Drive) in place of a traditional word processor and file server allowing me access from anywhere and everywhere I can get an internet connection (the middle of the Masai Mara might be interesting to try… in less than three weeks time!). As with any of Google’s services, it’s continually upgraded and expanded, and today a new research tool option has appeared on one side of the screen integrating their standard search facility straight into the word process so you don’t have to switch tabs. This is a huge improvement for me as I always have multiple tabs/web pages open as I’m writing my blog, whether it be to check a spelling, look up a fact, or use a thesaurus – not having to leave the page means not loosing that train of thought which is so often derailed when swapping between pages (it doesn’t take much – the wrong type of leaves, snow, in fact anything can derail me).

I bemoaned the fact in a previous blog how the number of accounts I have on the wide number of websites I inhabit have become untenable without the aid of some password management solution, and that ideally a cloud based X500 or LDAP solution would be just the job to have one identity to rule them all (and in the darkness bind them). Reading the computer press today (well, it beats reading about the antics of various overpaid (and over here) soccer stars) it looks like Microsoft are going to be providing just such a service, Windows Azure Active Directory. At the moment this solution is only used by three of their own services but it’s a start and it’s also available to third-party developers allowing them centralised Single Sign-On (login in once, access many) for their own cloud based services. Huzzah!

There have been numerous articles on the TV and radio about the increase in the cultivation of Oilseed Rape (or Brassica napus) by farmers throughout the UK (for non-UK people it’s similar to Canola, which is a slightly different cultivar). Fields of the crop add dramatic colour to the landscape, with their luminescent yellow flowers seemingly providing any daylight needed, should the inclement weather transcend upon us at this time of year. That’s not what caught my attention, neither was it the fiscal information how it can provide a modest profit for farmers should they grow it – it was how the journalist referred to the plant. We’re used to all the similes, metaphors and hyperbole however I found today’s a little exasperating; the interviewer, having picked part of the plant to show the flowers said that they looked like buttercups only in clumps. Granted, unlike the buttercup, the plants’ flowers are gathered together in groups but there the comparison ends.. anyone can easily see there are five petals on a buttercup and only four on one of the oilseed rape flowers! Tsk… journalists!


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