Monthly Archives: July, 2007


The Guardian sent a photographer round this evening – they’re likely to run an article about Ndiyo later this week. John Robertson turned out to be a fun guy to work with; he has just the temperament you would need to do this kind of thing late at night on your supposed day off and keep both yourself and others cheerful.

He obviously really enjoys his work – and he has a fabulous portfolio on his website. I like this one and this one, for example, but there’s a wide variety of styles. Worth watching all the way through.

So I was quite flattered that he was photographing me. We had fun coming up with ways to try and make interesting pictures of yours truly holding a circuit board, in an office. Not the most naturally inspiring subject matter. I wonder how it’ll work out…

The new Executive Washroom?

HP 3000 seriesIn this week’s Economist, HP have a full-page ad – which can’t be cheap – extolling one particular virtue of their CP3505 printer. It’s called Colour Access Control.

This lets you set up lists of people who are entitled to print in colour. The others only get black and white.

Now, I’m sure printing costs are an issue for some businesses, but I can’t help being somewhat bemused by this. I have visions of people wasting large amounts of time trying to find someone who can print a document for them. Of secretaries noticing that you can actually buy a colour laser printer for less than the cost of a set of toner refills, and ‘accidentally’ ordering the wrong thing. But mostly of annual performance reviews: “Now, Fred, you’ve done some outstanding work this year. I’m sorry that we can’t give you a pay rise, but we will put you on the Colour Access List”.


There’s a new Mini Clubman on the way next year!

Those of us with happy memories of these:

old mini clubman

may appreciate these:

New mini clubman

Interestingly, they call it a ‘five door’. Two of the doors are at the back:

Back of new mini clubman

So where are the other three? Three?

You can look at the photos to find out.

I’m honoured…

The guys at have used one of my photos as a banner for their site. It works very well: wish I’d though of it!

You can read more about the photo here.

The Traveller

A traveller met I, on an evening road
His struggle hard and long
And, though the end was now in sight,
Great danger lingered on!

I hope he reached his journey’s end
As I came safe to mine
His distance may be less by far;
His conquest? Far more fine!

The Traveller


Arty photo du jour…

Cotignac swimming pool

A Weekend in Provence

It’s just fabulous here.

Cotignac, Provence

See the world

I’m sitting at a departure gate at Stansted airport, where my flight is delayed “due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft”. I love the way they say that, as if it excuses everything. I couldn’t help laughing as RyanAir announced just now that another flight will have “an on-time departure”. Definitely worthy of announcement!

The best bit, though, was as I walked past another gate where the last remaining passenger was asked in no uncertain terms to “make himself known at gate 45 immediately”. A couple of people called out “I’m Spartacus!”, “No, I’m Spartacus”…


I’ve long been a fan of Garrison Keillor’s, and so was delighted to discover that the News from Lake Wobegon, a regular part of his Prairie Home Companion radio show, is now available as a podcast.

Wonderful stuff.

Sydney by night

In May I was in Sydney, and had dinner at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Centrepoint tower. The food was not bad. The view was spectacular. I took a few photos, some of which were a bit blurry and most of which had some reflections from inside the restaurant, but with the help of Photoshop I managed to blend three roughish images together to get this. It’s reasonably high resolution, if you want to click it and see the other sizes on Flickr.

Sydney Centrepoint night

Ndiyo and the 940UX

Michael and I got a couple of new toys for the Ndiyo office. We took them out of the box and plugged them in, ran some of our experimental software, and they just worked.

So we decided to point a camcorder at them and make a little movie

We’re biased, of course, but we think this is quite cool.

Forbidden pleasures

A little over a month ago I visited the Starbucks in the Forbidden City in Beijing. I was mildly embarrassed about doing so, but it was, a local friend had told me beforehand, ‘a godsend’. So I thought I could go proudly, celebrating the success of the free market over the surrounding communism… And so I paid standard global Starbucks prices for my cup of coffee. The following day, my friend and I had a delicious meal for two, with large Tsing Tao beers, at an (admittedly very primitive) back-street cafe, for substantially less than one of my cups of coffee. OK, I admit it – I had two. And they were, indeed, a godsend.

And now it’s gone. It was, actually, very discreet; I had a hard time finding it and I knew it was there. But even that was too much, apparently; everything in Beijing is being ‘tidied up’ in preparation for the Olympics and I guess this may have been a casualty.

But frankly, for any country, hosting the Olympics seems like a much bigger folly to me than hosting Starbucks…

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser