Author Archive | Ian Robinson

The Water Margin

I really loved the Japanese television adaptation of the traditional Chinese stories of the Outlaws of the Marsh at Liang Shan Po. Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon! 🙂 Completely by accident I had the TV on the new UK ITV4 station last saturday and what was just starting? Yep. Episode 1 of The Water Margin in all its grainy glory. No digital enhancement done on this. Doesn’t need it. It’s a wonderful story. Think I might have to invest in the DVDs.

“The Water Margin – Complete” (Fremantle Home Entertainment)

I used to have the 7-inch vinyl of the theme song with an English version on one side and a Japanese or Chinese version on the other. Don’t know where it is now though. Must see if i can track a copy down somewhere. If anyone reading this has a copy let me know.

More on Aerial

I’ve been listening to Aerial almost continuously since I got it yesterday. For about 80% of the time I’ve been playing the 2nd disk, A Sky of Honey. It’s brilliant. The singling is incredible. I’ve said it before, but what a voice. The instrumentation and arrangements are good as well. Who said concept albums were dead? good to hear Rolf Harris on there as well. Still have to get into the A Sea of Honey disk but that’s okay. It’ll be like getting another new Kate Bush album next week when I listen to that in detail.

I’m really happy. After 12 years this could have been a disaster, but it’s not. It’s bloody marvelous 🙂

Aerial – Kate Bush

Well. It’s finally here. Aerial from Kate Bush. Picked up a copy in Tesco at lunchtime. When I was going through the express checkouts one of the till operators and few checkouts away saw my copy and said to one of her colleagues, “That new Kate Bush CD has sold loads this morning”. So thats all good then. I haven’t really had a chance to listen to it from start to finish yet.

It’s split over two CDs. The first is called A Sea of Honey and the second is called A Sky of Honey. I have listened to the second disk more, both in the car and at home tonight. I really like it. There is a track called Sunset that is very, very good indeed. And Nocturn is also excellent. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about this over the next while, but first impressions are good 🙂

Microsoft Certified Architect certification

Microsoft have introduced a few new certifications. They are outlined at the certification page. The Microsoft Certified Architect one looks quite rigorous. There are currently 2 tracks; Solutions Architect, which looks developer orientated, and Infrastructure Architect, which looks to be more more platform focused on servers, networks and delivery. it also looks like these new certifications will be hard to get. Good. The last thing we need is another raft of certifications that give us architectural equivalents of the famous paper MCSE’s.

The Q&A section at the Microsoft Certified Architect certification website is interesting reading. Looks like only about 25% of the required knowledge will be based on Microsoft technologies. From the web site:

Q. Does the certification cover only Microsoft Technologies?
Q. What competencies will the program address?
A. t the present time, it is expected that only about a quarter of the emphasis of a candidate’s knowledge will be on Microsoft-related architecture technologies; the rest will relate to general architecture principles and best practices that aren’t Microsoft specific. A candidate for the program will have to have a broad-based knowledge that extends well beyond Microsoft technologies. In addition, the non-technical skills domain that candidates will face throughout the process will be broad, including such knowledge areas as project management, decision-making, strategic thinking, and oral and verbal communication.

That looks very encouraging. Hopefully this’ll be a worthwhile programme that helps raise the level of professionalism in the IT industry.

The Snow – Adam Roberts

I really like the books I’ve read by Adam Roberts. I’ve just finished his book called The Snow. The basic premise of this book is simple enough. It starts to snow. It continues to snow. Everywhere on Earth. For a long time. This continues until the snow is several kilometers deep and everyone except for about 150,000 people are dead. The survivors were mainly related to the military and their bases, are snow experts who were skiing in The Alps (for example), or have been dug out of buildings under the deep snow by the new Food Miners who dig down to get resources.

The story is told from the perspective of 2 main characters whose paths cross a few times, and also by the device of government memos and reports. Early in the book there is an explanation of how it is possible for so much snow to fall. I don’t want to say anything more about that as it’d be a spoiler for anyone who wants to read the book. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting from the early and middle sections of the book. If you like character driven sci-fi you should check this out.

BTW Adam Roberts also writes comedy books under the pseudonym A. R. R. R. Roberts. For example The Soddit.