I call this a diary rather than a blog. It's the page where I add or link to new stuff with content arranged in date order, rather than where I regularly write short pieces on what I'm doing … although some of this does read rather like a blog.

Books I've read

I began listing the books I had read in January 2006, just before a friend and I started a new book club. After almost 13 years, I've finally got around to putting the list online.

Radio phone-in

I often listen to James O'Brien on LBC but I have to do it in the evening on catch-up because I'm at work in the day. Yesterday I was listenting to LBC live for a change and decided to call in.

Beyond measure

Britain has been brought low by the most shameless, amoral, xenophobic and corrupt government in our modern history. In one of the latest attempts to distract the populus from its behaviour, the government is running a consulation on bringing back imperial measures. I wish this were a joke.

A much loved aunt

A confident and beautiful young woman, turned slightly to the side, is looking straight at you with a knowing look

The last of her generation. As much a defining part of my life as my parents, siblings and children. Farewell and thank you. The photograph here shows a nearly 18 year old Marion Girton, taken 21 August 1949 by my father, Roy Archer.

Christmas readings

Two videos produced by Nick Lansley for the GS1 office Christmas party 2021 (held virtually). Working with Nick and our colleague Christine Hutchinson on these was a lot of fun.

My presentation to an IEEE workshop on identifers and resolvers

I give talks all the time so I don't bother to record them all here, but this one was special and, since it was given as a video, I'm pleased to be able to include it here.

Signed by the author, or was it?

It's noticeable that publishers increasingly offer first editions of books signed by the author. It's true that an author signature can add signifiant value to a book and, first edition or not, can make a book special. But it's not always as simple as that.

Privacy, tracking and QR codes

There are many legitimate concerns around privacy on the Web. It's a serious issue to be sure. But don't blame the humble QR code.

My walk on part in the 2021 Vaccination Programme

For the last 4 months I have been stretching the definition of 'flexible working' to support the local COVID-19 vaccination programme. It's not my job, but it is one of the best things I have ever done.

Sports News

It is no exaggeration to say that sports news is really important to billions of people all over the world. I wish I were one of them.

New Year Reflections

A piece I wrote for the local newsletter as 2020 ends and we all hope fervently for better things in 2021.

Science Fiction

I was recently asked what I felt was 'good science-fiction.' Hmm … it probably boils down to "I'm not sure how I'd define it but I know it when I read it" but let me try and jot down a few more specific ideas.

Emotionally stateless

Many aspects of this Christmas Eve were the same as usual. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge (albeit recorded without a congregation due to Covid-19), while I prepared vegetables for the next day. But in what looked like a massive case of 'take out the trash' but wasn't, there was an announcement from Downing Street and the Berlaymont.

Had a good weekend?

This weekend has been so good, it's worth writing about

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party.

An upside to awful daily news – I’m reading more than ever

Cover of Alastair Reynolds' Bone Silence

The news is worse than ever. I am genuinely depressed by the ongoing Brexit/Trump phenomenon. I need an escape …

A lesson from Twitter

Twitter is a really bad place to have a discussion about diversity in standrds writing. Especially when you're unwittingly on the wrong side of the argument.

Narrated Power Point

A sea otter and her young - very cute

It's easier than ever to make videos and share them these days, but an alternative is to make a Power Point presentation and record your voice track. I've found it very useful at work in recent months so I thought I'd make a narrated Power Point presentation to show you how to make a narrated Power Point presentation.

While we're at it - how about including some visual interest as well?

No flag waving for me

My parents and grandparents' generations sacrificed a lot in two world wars. How come I'm not waving a flag today?

Tackling scam email & defeating the trackers

Some of my colleagues are frustrated by my insistence on using plain text email. Here's why I do it …

Not all standards are equal

Having worked in and around standards for 20 years, I dare to think I know what a standard actually is by now.

I want to be able to enjoy Tito's in Hadleigh in future

The outside of Tito's Restaurante - part of a terraced building about 200 years old.

If you want local businesses to survive the effects of the Coronavirus, please support them.

Let's not burn books

Pages of a book burning in a small fire

Most people recognise the value of old books — it's how humanity passes information on from one generation to the next. In my own field, preserving digital documents is just as essential and useful as preserving physical objects.

GS1 Digital Link — a lot of old ideas

The aim of my work at GS1 is to connect our system of identifiers for products, shipments and more, to the Web. It's about combining two very mature technology stacks. Despite that maturity, 'GS1 Digital Link' is seen as 'new' and 'innovative.' Well, yes, it is innovative, but it's not new and no one involved in the project invented any of it.

Despair and loathing

The European Union flag

My work gives me the privilege of travel. With no more than a handful of exceptions, everyone I meet on those travels thinks the UK has taken leave of its senses in its decision to leave the European Union. They are right, and I am ashamed to be British.

A lifelong passion

As can be discerned elsewhere on this webiste, I have a lifelong passion for radio. As part of that, I've listened to BBC Radio 4 all my life (I'm just too young to remember it as the Home Service) and listen whenever I can, whether it's the news, a documentary, a play or a panel show. Earlier this month I turned that passion into an evening I've wanted to put on for many a year.