Monthly Archives: January 2008

Single Retail Banana: How does that work then?

“How does that work then?” is one of those phrases like “What’s that all about, then?” used by stand-up comedians to punctuate their observations about life and “that”.

One of the curses (and blessings) of my personality type is that I probably can tell you how “that” works, or have a very good guess at synthesising an answer. This ability derives from my encyclopaedic knowledge of how stuff does actually work, built up from lifelong study driven by unending curiosity.

Knowing how stuff works is very useful, but sometimes of course, the curosity can lead one into strange directions.

And so to the Single Retail Banana (SRB), which I have now observed in various motorway service areas, and wondered on how it came to be.

The Traditional Bunch Banana (TBB) is quite a good product with its own fully recyclable packaging, in multipack format (i.e., hands/bunches). The SRB is however an interesting development – somebody has managed to get bananas to grow as singletons, rather than in bunches with a little vestigial stalk, rather than the full monty torn off a bunch (see the picture below)
Comparing Banana Stalks

The SRB could of course be a variety of banana that just grows that way, but my guess is they stick a little band/ring on the stalk to restrict total growth and make the fruit drop off (just like farmers do with lambs tails)

So, imagine the excitement as the group of fruit design consultants and edible plant engineers got together and realised that they could make a banana that saves money by picking itself, requires no processing to tear the bunches and with less stalk, costs less to transport. What a thrill!

Sir John Harvey-Jones: Unsung Technology Hero?

It would be a shame to pass by the death of Sir John Harvey-Jones without mentioning that he is possibly an unsung hero of Information Technology.

He will probably be more likely remembered for many other things, but I recall (dimly) that he experimented with building a live Company Board Operations Centre (akin to that of air traffic control, or military “war room”) with real-time information feeds and graphics displays to display business intelligence on the state of health of ICI, and so direct the business.

Unfornately, the technology of the day was unlikely to be a match for the soaring ambition, and it was a step too far for the management too, so it came to nothing.

Now, with Xbox 360 and PS3 power, just think what you could build today…

…Died in a Blogging Accident: Who could be at Risk?

Until I read XKCD this morning, I had never thought that blogging could in anyway be a risk to my or anybody else’s life. But then I thought further, if it was true, who might be at risk, and what might make one more succumb when blogging?

Well, I don’t know any better this evening than this morning, but a quick glimpse at the QDOS top 20 bloggers makes an interesting checklist…