Tag Archives: The INQUIRER

There’s an A&E crisis in North West London

Dr Helen SainsburyOver the last four to five weeks I’ve visited the Central Middlesex Hospital and Northwick Park hospital, in Harrow, several times. I haven’t visited Ealing because although that is part of the same trust, it is a step too far.

I haven’t been ill myself – I’ve been Nurse Mike, unlikely though that seems. I’ve had some problems with soft furnishings – but that’s a very different story.

I know Northwick Park hospital only too well. After I had my “heart event” I spent weeks in there – got to know the nurses pretty well, so well, in fact that they were prepared to issue me a nurses outfit so I could go to the social club where the lasses and lads drink.

My, how things have changed. The North West London hospital “trust” has decided to amalgamate every single accident and emergency case at Northwick Park, although the infrastructure to support such a move doesn’t seem to exist.

Let me explain. I was working at a magazine I started called The Register at the time, and on my way back to work after a rather shortened sabbatical, I realised that I was having what people call “a heart attack”. After letting two or three Metropolitan lines go, I took myself down to West Harrow tube station and said hey guys, can you call an ambulance?  That might not happen in the future. West Harrow doesn’t seem to have any staff any more. It is all automated.

Within minutes, the ambulance tipped up and delivered me to Northwick Park A&E, where the lovely quacks and quackettes confirmed my self diagnosis.

I won’t dilate on this, but the fact I was at West Harrow tube station, a mere 10 minutes from Northwick Park saved my life.

So, picture this.

You live in Ealing, Harlesden and points east, south, west and north of the area and you are diagnosed with a stroke or a heart event. The ambulance tips up in, say, Ealing, and by the time you get to Mega A&E Northwick Park, your heart/brain has stopped. Well, then, you are dead, and Soylent Green material.

So yesterday, we tipped up at Northwick Party and there was “road rage” because gazillions of people and probably relatives were tipping up at the brand spanking new A&E department at Northwick Park which has, let’s face it, rather a narrow entrance because it was built in the swinging sixties or whenever.

Except it isn’t a brand spanking new A&E department. It looks just like it did when I had my heart attack in 2001 when I worked for The Rogister and stayed there for weeks upon weeks until Harefield Hospital rescued me.

Surely, given a general election in a few weeks time, mainstream politicians should be thinking hard about this? In between times, in the last four to five weeks, I have discovered such disaffection amongst senior to junior NHS staff that I fear for others. Like all of us. The doctors seem confuzzled, the nurses seem confused, the poor bloody infantry haven’t a clue either.  So, politicos, what are answers to this North West London Hospital Trust conundrum? 

Lord Leveson lets us boggers off the hook

HIS REVERENCE the Lord O’Leveson of QEII Hall delivered four volumes to the Great British Public last week and in passing mentioned the internet – he devoted about a page to the subject far as we can tell.

2,000 print wallahs in the UK are scrabbling like there is no tomorrow to come up with a voluntary scheme just in case the Muvva of all Parliaments has to pass a law to force them to cooperate.

Naturally, that ignores the dilemma that faces any print publisher, and which we highlighted in the case of the Oxford Mail last time we tapped on this particular keyboard. Print publishers are in denial, and have been since the early 1990s.

Internet publishing has its own challenges, of course; since the convergence of devices few have loyalties to any particular online publication. Heck, we can’t remember the last time we looked at The Rogister or TheINQUIRER.  Our smartphone seems to be a tad more discriminating.





The INQUIRER goes all funny

MY OLD VEHICLE, the Inquirer, appears to be going through some changes.

There’s hardly any stories on it, and there’s a picture of a humming bird which points to a UK Press Gazette story about redundancies at Incisive Media ensconced in Castle Despair. Picture of the day was always an unsupported feature, but is there some strange mojo working here?

PCW is – or now was –  an ancient tech magazine, originally founded by one Felix Dennis. A bit of a flagship.

I did try to buy the INQ back about nine months ago, but was told by B in no uncertain terms, FOAD™ – which is nothing to do with Fuad or Fudo. It is actually quite rude. I leave you to guess what it means but the last two letters stand for “and die”.

Ah well. Vehicles do need to be replaced from time to time.

Intel recalls the days of Alpha, PA-RISC and Itanium

TO THE CHARLOTTE STREET HOTEL, in Fitzrovia, to listen to what Intel had to say about its Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) launch and to customer testimonials.

I stayed at Myhotel Bloomsbury, next to a pub, and which used to be a cop shop. I bumped into Paul Hales and Sylvie Barak from Register Two, who were there, too.

Gathered in front of an assembly of British hackdom was Tom Kilroy, from Intel Stateside, who described the launch of the 5500 series as the most important launch since the Pentium Pro.

Ah! The Pentium Pro! I still somewhere have a keyring with a Pentium Pro and cache attached. Intel was forced, as I recall, to re-engineer this chip because there was a problem with the cache. Think someone from Compaq tipped me off on that, all those years ago.

This set me thinking quite a lot. Kilroy wheeled in people from the London Stock Exchange, from Thomson Reuters, and naturally its customers such as Dell and HP – curiously not Big Blue – gave their sales pitches too.

Kilroy was here (left)

Kilroy was here (left)

And as I thought of the implications of what Kilroy said – I couldn’t help wondering, of course, about the Itanium, a question formed in my mind, from whence it came, no one knows.

After showing us various benchmarks, which appeared to suggest that this was the best microprocessor Intel had ever fabricated, we had to start wondering about the Alpha chip “good until 2025” – said Richard George when he worked for DEC, and the PA-RISC chip. Because Intel seemed to be suggesting that this truly was a “mission critical CPU”. Why else would Mark Reece from the London Stock Exchange be there, otherwise?

The Hidden Agenda

The Hidden Agenda

After Kilroy told us that this was part of the “tick tock”  Captain Hook style Intel cadence,  we Brithacks sat patiently, waiting for the Q&A which never seemed to come.

The master of ceremonies eventually allowed a brief Q&A and pointed at me, Mikus Interruptus, saying: “Tom, would you now like to answer Mike’s question about the Itanium?”

Unfortunately my mind had moved on by then and I thought that perhaps a better question was how the financial meltdown had affected Intel’s business.

Said Kilroy: “Certainly there’s been an impact on demand”. The MC said: “Mike, we’re in our quiet period right now.”  Too late!

We finally got a chance to ask our question about whether “Nehalem” was a better chip than the Itanium, but phrased it whether it was a better chip than the PA-RISC chip – obviously with the Power 6 from IBM in mind. IBM was not, officially, represented at this gig.

Mr Kilroy said that the question didn’t really compute, because the Itanium offered stuff like RAS and you couldn’t compare a chip like the Nehalem with the Itanium.

Later, we had a chance to speak to a friend close to Hewlett Packard who told us it had told its customers last September the game was over for PA-RISC. But, we asked, it would have to support customers like the US government on both the PA-RISC chip and the DEC Alpha chip?  Yes, he admitted, that was true. The customers had the latest roadmap.

Do not forget, of course, that Carly Fiorina and the then CEO of Compaq, Mike Capellas, transacted an agreement that meant that, er, er, all things federal about microprocessors – apart from IBM – would belong to HP.

We bumped into a guy called Hugh Jenkins, who now works for the Great Satan of Hardware (Dell Inc). He said that of course Dell still uses AMD microprocessors for some of its server business. Er, BT seems to be an Intel only place, as far as we could tell.

Funny old business this, isn’t it? Intel served bucks fizz (mimosa) at the end. We’d already made our excuses and exeunted stage left before that was served.   

* Spotted from  other Magee spawned websites: Sylvie Barak (INQster), Chris Mellor (Rogister).

INQUIRER gets redesigned

A READER stumbled across the fact that the INQ  – you remember, I started it, has a cool new redesign.

It is here, right now.  It’s certainly slightly different from the old design, but bears some resemblance to Ye Rogister.  Not that the INQ ever bore any resemblance to the Rogister, oh no.  

Examiner to compete with INQster, Rogister@Intel

I FRY OUT of Ole Bengaluru tomorrow, via Singapore, to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) which is being held next week at the Moscone, a beggar of a place.

It will be a long fright, but I am up against the challenge to end all challenges. I will be competing with three or possibly four hacks from the INQster to bring news from IDF to our global readership.

Goodness knows how many Rogister people will be there. That rag is now, thankfully,  a very distant memory of 14 years ago. The INQ has whitewashed me out of existence. So has the Rogister. I don’t mind, ‘cos Wikipedia continues to tell its own version of history.

I sold my shares in the Reg back to an adsales geezer, flogged the INQster to VNU, and seem to have generated loads of jobs in the process. It was something of a coup hiring Paul Hales at the INQster to work for VNU again, we’re sure you will agree.

In America, I will be 11 and a half hours behind Ole Bengaluru. My loyal team of hacks in India will no doubt pick up the slack and deliver stories to the world that the INQster and the ROGster can only dream about, the little bunnies that they both are.

Lest you think I am in the slightest bit bitter about the Register and the INQUIRER, I’m not. Far from it.  I am satisfied at a good job well done. And I am looking forward to challenging them both at IDF! 

Inquirer and the Rogister turn into Tweedledum and Weedledee

OH THE NAVEL GAZING that’s going on between folk at the titles I founded now better known as the INQster and the Roojester.

On the one hand we have the ineffable Lester Haines, here, deciding to have a go at the INQster possibly for the reason it’s a slow news day. On the other hand, we have this one from the INQster, a long letter from the Editor to his reader.

You wait. August will get worse. Until it gets better. In September.  I’m off to Bangalore again tomorrow and all points east. God bless the Inquirer! God bless the Rogister! May they rull the wabes!  

Smokeasy discovered in Old Soho

 THE LEAVING GIG for Martin Veitch and myself was great fun with plenty of people turning up and Paul Hales, the master of ceremonies, only being 90 minutes late.

Some readers from the Kave tipped up, with Tigger taking the trouble to come all the way from Ultima Thule – that is to say Birmingham.

The Bulgarian correspondent of the INQ, Nick Farrell, showed up too, and here he is pictured (right) with the man who stole my Dr Spinola and Pete Sherriff names, and my bottle of Talisker from the Rogister, Andrew Thomas.


Debonair Martin “Veitchmeister” Veitch is pictured below in the centre, holding a pint of beer and relating the story of the Blaydon Races to a spellbound audience of spinners.


And here is a special celebration t-shirt given to Magee as part of a leaving present which included a hip flask engraved “Hack Extraordinaire”. I promptly gave away the t-shirt to Kave reader Uri Gagarin. I’ll be needing the hip flask, I expect.


A small hard core of hacks and spinners left when the bell tolled at the Blue Posts, and found themselves in one of the fabled “Smokeasies” of Old Soho. Smoking in pubs was banned last year but illegal dens have opened up where you can have a beer and if you’re a smoker, a fag. The beer is a little pricier than in the already expensive legal dens of Soho, but prices are negotiable.

The only places you are allowed to smoke inside legally in Blighty are in hotel rooms, the Palaces of Westminster, submarines and, er, Her Majesty’s prisons. Oh, and at home, although there’s a movement to ban that too.

Just like the fabled “Speakieses” of the US Prohibition days, there is a little hatch which opens when you tip up in case its the British thought police. Actually it was a geezer who stood at the top of the stairs and checked you out before you could proceed.

This picture below – captured by the Spinola crew – shows the back of Nick Farrell’s head and we guess you were probably expecting this. ♥