Monday, December 25, 2006

A Christmas Tale

From Paul Cornell

Deep and dreamless sleep

(Just hope the link is static!)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

To all my blog readers, yes, both of you!

Here's to festive cheer and a happy new year.

May this next year be better than 2006.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Surveilance Society

With all the current crap about our .gov creating mammoth databases holding all our private and personal info, and grabbing info from banks about us, sending our info illegally to America, setting up more and more CCTV etc.

I rather liked this cartoon!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Can't get motivated today

I have a huge list of things to do, and I can't bring myself to do them.

Not helped by the fact I have to pack up my life and move out, soon.

8 years of marriage, down the drain! Not a Happy Bunny.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Well Done Son

My little boy, my angel, my nemesis! (only kidding) won the fancy dress competition last night at the school disco! Admittedly because there where only 2 entries, but still, he wanted to dress up so he deserved it.

Bit of a last minute thing bin bags stapled together, nowhere near as good as his Dalek from last year (mental note, post Dalek pics)

Here he is with his prize. I'll post some more pics when I have cleaned them up!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A rash of problems!

I seem to have developed a touch of psoriasis, probably the stress of everything at the moment, so one quick trip to the doctors and I now have some cream to get rid of it (hopefully)

Reading the acompanying leaflet, I find there are side effects! one of which is that the cream may cause a rash!

Question is HOW DO I TELL!!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Worried about my dad!

He came to baby sit, loyal father that he is.

Only when he was leaving did he tell me that the other morning when he woke up he couldn't sit up in bed coz he was feeling dizzy. he tried to get out of bed and fell over on the floor.

Only reason he metioned it to me was because as he was going he mentioned he was still feeling dizzy, so I got the story out of him while I walked up to his house.

Feeling very alone right now.

Friday, November 24, 2006

POLICE ALERT!!!

Police are urging visitors to the city centre to be especially vigilant
for a new gang operating a slick routine that is aimed at stealing from
unwary persons.


They say that the gang usually comprises of four members.



While the three younger ones, all appearing to be cute and innocent,

divert their "mark" (or intended target) with a show of friendliness and fun,

the fourth the eldest of this gang of criminals - sneaks in from behind the
person's back to expertly rifle undetected through their pockets and
bags for any valuables being carried.



The attached picture taken from CCTV operating in the inner city shows
the gang in operation

















(I feel I must give credit to TanyaJane from mumszone for finding this one for me!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What to do!

What to do indeed!

I am not a happy bunny at the moment, personal stuff, suffice to say I might well be single again after Christmas.

I don't see any alternative, I really don't.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hmmm Windows Vista is on sale soon, it will be appearing on a computer near you any time now, so whats new?

well a lot of the features microsoft wanted to put in to it have been lost along the way, they couldn't get them to work, so all Vista is really is an update of XP with a pretty skin and a lot more Digital Rights Management stuff, which will make it more difficult for people to use their own purchased music and video. There is also a little clause in the EULA that specifically stops you from transferign Vista to a new PC as well!

Maybe this new version of Vista will suffer the same lingering death as Sony's mini disks, I still remember sony's DRM stoppig a friend of mine copying the video he took of a friends wedding as it claimed it was copyrighted.

Reason for this little rant was this cartoon at Userfriendly which sums it all up nicely.

Me, I will stick with Linux, no DRM in Linux so I can play what I want! no copyrigth issues so I can install my copy on whatever I want, and mmore security, more robustness and a faster operating system.

Some little niggles, but I am quite happy to put up with them knowing my computer is MINE not Mr Gates! far better to have little niggles than to suddenly find MS decided my operating system is illegal and shutting me down!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saw this today













And I just wondered, does he? does he really?

Friday, October 13, 2006

I mentioned before about global climate change

And George Monbiots book I had read.

Well I mentioned Gordon Browns report about how much climate change would cost the economy compared to the cost of sorting out the problem, it's not out yet, but both Shell and Firends of the Earth have published today.

there is a report from the Guardian here about it, don't be put off when you read Friends of the Earth, as the article goes on to mention Shells report about how big a market there is for tackling the problems.

to quote

Shell's chairman, James Smith, said: "We do have to tackle climate change and that's a matter for government, companies and individuals as well, because the costs in the coming years from rising sea levels, from floods and extremes of climate will be too high.

"The cost-benefit equation of action to tackle climate change is favourable. That's true not just for the UK but internationally as well," he said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.


If an oil company like Shell is taking the matter seriously then you cannot deny we have hard times coming if we don't tackle the problem.

As Creedance Clearwater Revival put it in bad moon rising!

"I see hurricanes a blowing I know the end is coming soon
I fear rivers overflowing I hear the voice of rage and ruin"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Torchwood & Robin Hood

Robin Hood


Not sure about the new Robin Hood series, it looks nice, it looks good, but it's missing something in the atmosphere, for me anyway. Maybe it will get better, maybe it needs music by Clannad, in fact that is the problem, it's not "Robin of Sherwood"

I will be watching next week though, because I'm certain it will grow on me.

Torchwood



Found this site

Torchwoood, love the title of the page, but for me it's very, well, Black!

I guess it's a coming soon thing.

There is of course the old

Visit Torchwood site with it's little flash animation game, but that's been about for ages.

And finally, credit to Siouxsie who spotted what I hadn't, that TORCHWOOD is an anagram of DOCTOR WHO

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Climate Change

I have just read Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning by George Monbiot.

An essential read in my opinion, he very carefully points out the facts about climate change, proves that the "scientists" claiming there is doubt in the figures are paid schills of the big oil companies, then chapter by chapter explains what we can do about it.

This is connection with the study Gordon Brown is about to publish which shows how many trillions climate change will cost the global economy if NOT dealt with might finally wake up people to the need to do something.

If you have any doubts read this book, the guardian published three extracts all worth reading

Pundits who contest climate change should tell us who is paying them is a definate first stop, and theye are all archived to his web site anyway which is a better place to go read them as he has the space to include all his sources and references.

I'm off to try to work out how to insulate the back porch now, it lets far to much heat out as it's only one layer of breeze block with single glazing.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Hamster

I doubt if anyone reading this hasn't heard about TopGear and Braniac presenter Richard Hammonds serious accident.

However, a number of busybodies are calling for TopGear to be axed citing that it encourages people to drive to fast etc.

1. I don't beleive it does

2. It's a great show, I love it even though I'm not really a car person.

So I have signed this online petition to keep TopGear on television. If you agree that TopGear should stay on TV, please sign it as well.

In other news, fans of the show have so far raised nearly 75,000 quid towards the Yorkshire Air Ambulance appeal, a fantastic amount in so short a time. See for yourself.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding throught the glen!

I've just heard from writer Paul Cornell's blog that the new Robin Hood series is to start airing on the 7th October.

I've been looking forward to this as it seems to be getting the same treatment as Doctor Who, updating everything for the 00's

I will always have a soft spot though for the excellent and beautiffuly shot "Robin of Sherwood" series, such a shame it never got finished.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We're skint

So to cut back we will be using these value cards for every occasion!

http://www.code-d.com/tesco-cards/index.php

I've seen the images floating about before on the internet, but this is the motherlode, PDF files to download and keep, just print out one every time you need it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'll bite, I'll go for it.

I think the person who did this cartoon was aiming for it to be splashed across blogs worldwide, and who am I to argue, I found it funny!

Off The Mark Cartoons

Saturday, September 09, 2006

An open letter to Our Glorious Leaders

e.g. Bush and Blair, both of whom profess to be religious sorts full of piety.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Not my words, but the words of St. James

I thought however that the words of a saint from the actual bible you profess to respect might just hit home where my words could not.

James 5:1-6

Thursday, September 07, 2006

If ever you're in dire need

This is where you get them from!

Monday, August 28, 2006

This is cool

I don't really like dogs, but this is cool.



Of course a cat would never do anything quite so undignified! (honest)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Same story, different media!

Here's the BBC about waste disposal and calls to charge by weight!

It includes the claim that bugs are being installed in bins to measure how much you throw away!

Here's the Gruniads take on the same subject!

And finally, the winner for most xenophobic headline designed to work up people to a frothing fit!

The Mail on Sunday, who make it out to be a big German plot!

I mean really, just how stupid does the Mail on Sunday think people are? I love the comments in the Mail, typical kneejerk reactions!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

We've got cats

Finally our little family has been extended, we just got two little kittens (6 months old so not that little)

We did only intend to take on, but they looked so sweet together, and we couldn't bring ourselves to split them up!

So may I introduce to you Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Thunder and Lightning!




Saturday, August 19, 2006

I have to admit to blatantly stealing this from Joe at Woolamaloo but it's so good I have to post it for you



I also was interested to learn about the chemical properties of the explosives that everyone has been saying the "terrorists" were planning to use in the recent "plot"

As you can see in this article it would be farcical to imagine this particular plot working!

And to lend credence to my point about it being overhyped, apparently the contents of all confiscated liquids are being dumped in big buckets, now if the "terrorists" really were planning to mix two liquids together to get a big bang doesn't this practice strike you as somewhat short sighted?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Well I missed it

In all the excitement yesterday, poeple flapping about a plot which, by all accounts wasn't ready (I saw one report which said the suspects were alledegly going to do a "dry run" in two days) buried deep in the news and drowned out by the hue and cry. Israel escalated its offensive into the Lebanon.

I wonder what other bad news was buried conveniently under a barrage of interviews with people stranded at airports, "experts" telling us how nasty men want to hurt us etc.

Excuse me for being overly cynical but there have been too many false alarms recently for me to take this very seriously.

According to this article on El. Reg the Americans don't seem to think it's worth much of a fuss!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What an amazing co-incedence

So the day after John Reid tells us we have underestimated the terrorist threat, and that we must be prepared to relinquish more of our freedoms in the "war against terror" there is suddenly a massive terrorist threat which effectively closes down all our airports and causes havoc.

Excuse me for being cynical, but this is very convenient. I would not like to suggest that there is no threat, but if the situation is so bad, why are airports operating at all? if I were a terrorist determined to cause havoc I would have a plan B, if I can't get my bomb on a plane I would set it off in the crowds in the airport. (this is not a new idea, I've seen it bandied about in several places before)

So either our security forces have

A. Nobbled the whole attack
B. Over-stated the threat to cause panic

I really think it might just be B as we know the best way to get unpopular security policies through is to pass them on the back of such events, think of the PATRIOT act in the USA for example.

As Herman Goering, Hitlers right hand man once said.

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

So I suppose we have to ask the question now, what are our glorious leaders planning next? war? more restrictions? ID cards at any cost, even if they don't work! Watch out Iran, I think our leaders might be planning something.

I'm scared, not of being blown up by terrorists, but of this country of mine sinking further towards an oppressive Police State! And the biggest problem, neither the Tories all the Lib Dems can bring themselves to question matters, because they know they will be accused of undermining our countries security, they will be accused of being "un-patriotic"!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Freedoms must be curbed!

John Reid (home secretary) has said in a speech today to think tank Demos This worries me, what freedoms does he plan to curb, our right to a fair trial, our right to freedom of movement, our right to protest, our right to speak out like I am doing right now?

Let me see, right to a fair trial. Our .gov is already trying to pass laws to restrict this, by various approaches. Stopping juries being used in fraud cases, ASBO's (which are decided by magistrates I believe) and trying to bring in 90 days secret imprisonment for suspected terrorist. (on the basis that someone senior, the local police chief for instance, has suspicion)

Right to freedom of movement, well the miners strikes of the 80's proved we have not had that for a long time, plenty of innocent people where surprised to find that the police had the power to turn them round on public highways and send them home simply on suspicion that they might be going to support a strike.

Right to protest, this is restricted to "approved protests" around the area of the houses of parliament already, and they are trying to bring in laws similar to the good 'ole US of A where protesters are restricted to "freedom zones" well away from the people who are supposed to see the firkin protest.

Right to free speech, depends who is talking really, think of the 80 year old man bundled out of the labor Party conference for heckling the leaders! Held on "terrorism" charges for a while, terrorism charges for simply heckling!

Stop, Think, Speak out, write to your MP, you can find out who that is here on theyowrkforyou.com if you are not sure.

Let's summarise

You cannot protest outside the leaders of this countries meeting place unless it's an approved protest

You cannot move freely about the country

You can be imprisoned for 28 days with no legal recourse (they wanted 90 days, the Police wanted even more)

You can be arrested as a terrorist if you speak out.

Sounds like we've already lost a lot of freedoms, what's next? Oh yes ID cards, then the STATE can POLICE us completely. Doesn't sound like the Great Britain I was brought up to believe in.

I'm already worried, and I don't even have a tinfoil hat yet.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Star Trek does Monty Python

May I offer, for your delectation and delight, the original Star Trek cast doing the Camelot scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

Star Trek does Monty Python

Enjoy

Saturday, August 05, 2006

ID Cards - How easy are they to copy?

According to this article on El. Reg the new US Biometric Passports are so insecure that anyone could easily copy one, with commercially available bits n pieces.

Now our wonderful new ID card is based on exactly the same RFID * technology, except that a passport closes, a card doesn't (the US passport will have a "tin foil" ** cover) so our cards will be remotely readable, and easily copied.

So now we have a very expensive (billions) system, which most people think will work just as well as any other .gov sponsored IT project like the passport office or the CSA, which will be very easy to get round, and will lead to an explosion of identity theft as soon as criminals realise that having your ID card means they can open bank accounts, claim bebefits etc. all in your name.

So do any of my dear readers (both of you) still want an expensive piece of plastic attached to a failing IT system which can easily be copied and will be compulsary by 2010!

* oh and don't call it RFID, the home office doesn't like that name, they call it something else.

** I'm not joking, when the US .gov found out these RFID chips could be read up to 10 metres away they designed a foil mesh into the cover of the passport so it could only be read when the passport was open.

Game of the week

One for all you Top Gear fans out there

Caravan Tossing, My best so far 279.12

Post your best scores in comments!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

David Gemmell, one of my all time favourite fantasy authors has sadly passed away at the age of 57, he wrote 30 novels set in a wonderfully detailed world.

His stories were great tales of heroism but with a great eye for how war affects people, and although he dealt in heroism, he never shirked from showing the bloody side of war and how it affects people either.

If you don't know his works start with

Legend : the tale of an old warrior, Druss the Legend drawn back into war reluctantly.

And I think you will be drawn in to his world.

He will be sadly missed.

The Donkey

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried
piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be
covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all
grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the
donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to
everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He
was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his
back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and
take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the
animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone
was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and
happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to
getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of
our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells
just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.
2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.
3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less





NOW --------
Enough of that crap . . .
The donkey later came back, and bit the shit out of the farmer who had
tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer
eventually died in agony from septic shock.

MORAL FROM TODAY'S LESSON:
When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes
back to bite you.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Torn

OK, so this has been around for a while, I think I "missed the meme" when it was being splatted round everybody, but I'm posting it here simply because it's so cool.

Natalie Umberalla's Torn done in "sign" language.

Well funny.

The person doing it is David Armand from The Hollow Men.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Privatisation and Outsourcing

I've moaned on here about the problems and pitfalls of privatising and outsourcing everything possible, how it runs up costs and in some cases increases risks

Things are really coming to a head though when even a conservative council decides it's a bad idea!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sad news

Peter Hawkins, the original voice of the Daleks has died aged 82

He was also remembered as the voice of Bill and Ben (for whom he invented the flobadob language) and the voice-over for Super Ted, Captain Pugwash, Zippy in Rainbow* and the Martian robots in the 1970s Cadbury's Smash ads.

RIP

You wouldn't believe it!

Due to popular demand (well someone asked for it, here's the link to the gruniad article about Channel 4's latest offering.

Leave it at that I think!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Doctor Who - Altenative Ending

Borrowed shamelessly from Paul Cornall's blog, here's the alternate ending to the last episode, where Rose "dies"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Button injured in horrific F1 accident

Terrible news I know, only just heard about it, they do think there is a chance of a complete recovery though!

There is a pic, but it's not for the faint hearted, only click to view if you have a strong stomach.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's been a while

Since I last posted, a lot has happened.

Family Camp with the Scouts was fun, first time in a long time since I have slept under canvass, DS really enjoyed the tent, to the point of almost pushing me out so he could sleep in it on his own (not for long, I joined him for the night later) DW chickened out and opted for comfy beds indoors.

The camp was one long weekend of assault courses, climbing walls, go karts, survival courses, archery, treasure hunts and more, took over 140 pics which will form an article on the Church web site very soon, I'll post a link when it's ready.

In other news Paul Cornell, the writer of the Dr Who episode "fathers day" amongst other things, has put out a request for friends on MySpace, you can find his page here

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Broadband

Step 1 : Re-boot set top box (or cable modem)
Step 2 : Allow to start
Step 3 : Kick myself for not trying this before

Now on 4MB cable broadband, and wondering why I didn't think to try a re-boot of the cable box before this, after all re-boot to fix it should have been the first thing a techie thought of. How long could I have had 4MB? at the most a month, depends when they upgraded.

And yes, it is a hellufa lot faster, OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 (latest version) a 120MB file, downloaded at over 440KB/s in under 5 minutes.

In other news:-

Those of you wanting to read more about the BOFH can check out the lates stories here on the Reg earlier stories will be available here on the authors home page again soon, but he has more important things to worry about at the moment as you will see when you follow through the link.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Something silly

This is indeed a very old site, one I found many years ago in fact and just re-discovered today. May I present for your amusment The Evil Overlord List. 100 things I will NEVER do when I become an evil overlord.

Vinyl Addiction

I know you'll all want one of these record players. With the USB connection it it's ideal for ripping all those crackly old LP's you have stashed away in the attic. Of course, for sheer convenience there is always this.

I can't find a UK supplier though.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Revised opinion of Doctors

Just been to my own GP, he took one look at all the tablets I'd been given (which I hadn't started taking till I saw him) and threw them all out. He checked my BP and it was only slightly higher than normal, so he's going to work with me on diet and lifestyle for a few months to reduce BP and chlorestrol levels. So I like Doctors again, or at least, I like my Doctor.

Guess I'll be stopping smoking again, which is a Good Thing.

So apart from a stressful night in hospital it looks like a few simple changes in lifestyle and I'm home free.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Doctors arrgh!

That was fun! NOT

Sudden chest pains and a feeling of pressure/headache led to a call to NHS direct, which led to a recommendation of a trip to casualty. I'm thinking it's just indigestion and overblown so was taken much by surprise when it's announced, we're keeping you in overnight for observation.

One horrible night in hospital (a place I hate anyway) and numerous blood tests later which have left my arms looking like a junkies, it's announced that yes it was just indigestion, no heart attack go home (great relief)

But, my blood pressure was high, which doesn't surprise me considering where I was, and that every time they measured it they'd just stuck me with needles! And my chlorestrol is high. So they are stuffing me full of tablets which I really don't like the look of, some of the side effects look like they'll kill me before my heart gives out.

Last time I ever complain of chest pains!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Treehouses

I always always wanted a tree house, and still do, especially when they look like these ones

Just a little better then a shed at the bottom of the garden, don't you think?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Google Earth

Well there's now a new version of google earth out, and this one features mapping of graphics on to the 3D buildings, there are not many done yet, but what there is is imprressive, check it out here. Better for me is that there is also now a Linux version (who hoo)

You can create your own 3D buildings as well, which is nice, you need google sketchup to do it though. Who will be first to do the Station?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Which Doctor are you?

Joe over at Woolamaloo put me on to this, apparently I'm the ninth doctor. But then you knew that from my profile pic (G)



You scored as The Ninth Doctor (Christoper Eccleston). You liked the Ninth Doctor the most. You may be new to Dr Who, but you like what you've seen so far. Hoorah for Russell T Davies!

The Ninth Doctor (Christoper Eccleston)

81%

The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)

75%

The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davidson)

69%

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)

63%

The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

56%

The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)

56%

The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)

56%

The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

50%

The First Doctor (William Hartnell)

31%

Which Doctor Who are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Kids bite back at Mosquito

Mosquito is a device which emits a high pitched noise beyond the hearing range of most adults, but well within the hearing range of children. It was designed to get kids to "move along" from places where grouchy adults wanted them to "get orf my lawn" as a cheaper alternative to actually giving them a decent space to go to like a local park etc.

Anyway, the kids aren't thick, and the sound got sampled, then turned into a ringtone. So now, they have a ringtone inaudible to most adults, but which they can hear.

Cunning stunt I say.

Friday, June 09, 2006

An odd couple

Nothing much to write so here's a couple of "odd things" from the wonderful WWW

First up a little game. Americans call this a Rube Goldberg device, what we would call a Heath Robinson machine over here (not sure who came first, their birthdays make Robinson older, but only by a few years). Heath Robinson illustrated the wonderful Professor Branestawm books which I loved as a kid, sadly, they don't seem to still be in print.

The other thing is a truly wonderful optical illusion just read the instructions first. This site was featured on fark, so it may be unavailable temporally if the guy's had his bandwidth splattered again. He has a couple of similar illusions scattered across his site.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bank Holiday Week

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, it's been hectic with having the children on holiday. To make up for it here's a picture filled feast for you. I have indicated with (Pic) which links go to more pictures rather than links which go to external web sites.

Bank Holiday Monday
Was mixed weather, with as they say on the forecasts "occasional showers". With typical planning and foresight we decided to go to Golden Acre Park for a walk, by more luck than management we managed to be indoors whenever it rained, while we where there we saw the ducks (Pic) and ducklings on the lake side. We fed both the ducks and the geese while we were there. We ducked into the cafe for the first rain shower, and made our way round to the greenhouse garden (Pic) just in time to take cover in there for the next shower. You can see the rain lashing the windows behind us.

Wednesday - Beaver Scouts Trip
Wednesday saw DS and myself taking a trip out with the Beaver Scouts to Hebden Bridge by train followed by a short (but steep) walk up to Heptonstall. We picnicked in an old ruined church before heading back down to the river for a chance to feed the ducks and pigeons before going down to the park for a play and catching the train (Pic)
back to Leeds. Hebden Bridge is a marvelous old station (Pic) retaining almost all the old cast iron signs it would have had many years ago. It was a great day out with seven other children from the pack joining us.

Friday - Kirkstall Abbey
We had watched them renovating Kirkstall Abbey last year, and thought we'd better go and see what had been done, they have a new web site to show off the renovations and fill you in on the history. DS and DD had discovered the railway last year, and were Keen (Pic) to explore it again. DS especially likes the rickety old bridge (Pic) which we crossed with care. He also insisted I include this picture of the river (Pic), as he liked the island.
As we wandered back to the car I took this rather spooky picture (Pic) which shows the abbey lit up from within, a trick of the light, but still effective. We played in the park playground for a while before getting stuck in the rush hour on the way home (I'd forgotten that not everyone was on holiday, oops).

Saturday - BBC Springwatch
BBC springwatch came to Temple Newsam on Saturday so we really had to go. DD rushed off early for a Birthday party leaving DS and I to take in the falconry (Pic) display where they flew several birds. This hawk (Pic) got close up for us to have a better look. DS would like to point out that he saw his teacher up there, but we didn't manage to say hello.
There was a great atmosphere and we saw lots of interesting things like a section of beehive (complete with real live bees) which worried DS, and to finished of they had Joe the Storyteller who regaled us with some marvelous tales, and the fire jugglers.
who took me from the audience at "gun" point and stood me in the amphitheatre while they spun blazing sticks within inches of my face, such a shame DS took no pics of this (phew) as they dressed me in Blues Brothers style hat, shades and jacket. I also got the chance to squirt the audience with a water pistol, which was nice, and appreciated by most of them as it was a burning hot day.

Sunday - Killingbeck Police Station
Lets spin a little tale here, DS found a badger (Pic), which if found in the wild and killed or captured could get him in trouble. To add to his problems he was involved in burning a car (Pick) and it wasn't long before the Police (Pic) took an interest, bundled him into the back of their van (Pic) and took him away to the cells.

Yes it was the Police open day, and DS enjoyed it, but maybe not so much the walk down and back, we found plenty to occupy a couple of hours while DD was at yet another birthday party (she sure is popular this weekend).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Linux rescues Microsoft

That might be a slight overstatement, but as I've pointed out before, MS has been delaying Vista for ages, and my opinion was that security, or an inability to make Vista secure, was the problem.

Now according to this and this article, they have got an extra layer in Vista called Address Space Layout Randomization (ALSR) which protects against the infamous buffer over run exploits so common in MS products. (Michael Howard is not the same MH as was leader of the tory party, he is in fact Microsoft's senior security program manager)

So Microsoft really can't write proper security, as they always do, they have had to "borrow" it from somewhere else, in this case Linux! It's not the first time it's happened either, when Hotmail was under a "denial of service" attack a while ago they had to hide the Windows servers behind a Linux firewall.

You couldn't make it up.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Periodic Table

And by that I mean a real table, this guy has built a proper table with boxes set into the top, each box has the element name and details, and inside, where he can get a sample, is stored a piece of that element.

The Periodic Table web site has to be see to be believed!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Open Source vs Microsoft

One of the points Microsoft always likes to make about open source software verus their operating system is that, as a commercial company, Microsoft have a vested interest in bringing new products to market, and respond to the market need quickly.

This article jogged my memory about just how long we have been waiting for MS Vista (Microsofts "new" operating system), I installed Linux on my computer as the sole operating system 2 years ago, I have updated through 3 new versions since, each with more and more improved features and useability, yet Bill Gates and his crew have consistantly failed to deliver their new product.

I know what is slowing them down, security, security and security! or at least, their inability to make security work properly.

Also they are trying to make sure that MS Vista is no longer "your" computer, but, in fact, it will belong to the media industries who are so keen to stop you ripping off their material. This will have the NASTY side effect of restricting what you do with your own stuff, and what you do to make life easier with your MP3 players etc. Basically MS Vista will be useless to anybody but the extremem numpty who just wants to surf the web and send e-mails that it will be (hopefully) shunned by anyone with any common sense.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Go Finland

That is all

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nuclear Power

Tony Blair has just announced that nuclear power is "back on the agenda with a vengeance". I think most people who know me know I'm against this for a number of reasons, the main one being that we have an atrocious record over only a few decades of keeping nuclear material safe, see here for the obvious one, or here for my rant about Cookridge hospital's disaster. If in only a few decades of having nuclear power we can't manage to safely transport and store nuclear waste, who on earth trust any government to safely store waste for the (approximately) 10,000 years it takes before this stuff presents no danger? I'll guarantee not many people spotted this little piece about a leak at Sellafield (sorry Windscale) which went un-noticed for months. Also gung ho American firms want to take over running Windscale which is (sarcasm warning) fantastic, if that happened we'd have a foreign firm storing nuclear waste in a country they had no allegiance to, and from whom they could escape the law by merit of being "american".

George Monbiot, who is a respected environmentalist who writes for the guardian has a lot to say about the true cost of nuclear power stations inthis article showing the "true" cost.

All I can think is that Tony wants new work on Nuclear Power stations as he intends for Britain to flaunt the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by developing a new generation of British nuclear weapons, and he needs a nuclear power industry to help make that job easier and cheaper, as the costs will be hidden in subsidies to the nuclear power industries.

The carbon costs alone of mining and transporting Uranium, Processing it, and building a "safe" power station actually means that WITHOUT taking in to account disposal of waste, a nuclear plant emits more CO2 than a conventional coal or gas powered station. In fact, buried in this economist article even American economists think that once debt write-offs, government subsidies and externalities are accounted for, the true cost of a Nuclear power plant is something close to double what "official" sources tell us.

I've remained loyal to Labour ONLY because my local MP George Mudie is "old labour" and a decent chap, and a rebel when it takes him, but that loyalty is wearing thin fast. (he failed me on identity cards, but that's another story)

So if you are against nuclear power, and a new generation of nuclear weapons, speak out now, and speak out loudly, you might think no-one will hear, but if you don't speak out, who will? you want to rely on me?

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Affair of the Lone Banana

Bananas are becoming extinct, this is fairly old news, I read about the imminent demise of the humble Banana in New Scientist 3 years ago. The problem being bananas are sterile, you only get new banana trees by cultivating cutting, so they are genetically the same plant, this plant is threatened by various diseases, and it is hard to develop hybrids from cuttings.

The banana we eat today is not the same variety as we used to buy years ago, that species became extinct for the same reasons.

But now, mainly blamed on rampant deforestation, the Banana may well vanish without some serious work as wild and lesser know varieties are being lost rapidly.

Apparently there is a possible lifesaver, one lone banana tree in the botanical gardens of Calcutta.

Maybe Chimpy McBush should invade Calcutta and save this tree for 'murika (assuming they don't blow up the wrong building and destroy it forever)

Here's a linky

Saturday, May 13, 2006

class VolcanoEruptApp { public static void main(String[] args) { System.out.println("Volcano about to erupt");}}

Sorry, my inner geek made me do it.

Can't claim credit though, that must go to the submitter on Fark.com

I didn't see nothing!

I shouldn't admit to having seen this.

I will start posting again soon, it's just been a strange week, which does of course mean I should have lots to blog about, but it's personal.

TTFN

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Feeling brave?

If you are, and you have 300 odd bucks going spare, why not pick up this haunted teddy available on e-bay

The whole sorry story is quite a tale, not for the fainthearted.

Bank Holiday Weekend

With this post I am trying an experiment to reduce load time by linking to some pictures rather than having them on display.

Only 6 days late, but still, last weekend we went along to Golden Acre Park for a walk out and to feed the ducks and geese, they seem a lot tamer and hungrier than the Roundhay ones, and definitely friendlier than Temple Newsam ducks, who seem distinctly uninterested in bread. Here's the family feeding the ducks:

Me slightly nervous about being surrounded by hungry geese, and the (new?) greenhouse, like a mini tropical world.

On the Monday we went to Middleton Railway which is the oldest commercial railway in the world, established in 1758. The railway has been closed for over a year for major refurbishments and so the city council could build a new bridge over it, and only re-opened a few weeks ago, the new reception building is a welcome new edition giving a spacious area for the cafe and exhibits. Our train was pulled by a Bagnall 0-4-0ST called Matthew Murray built 1943. This is a great picture of everyone (except of course me, who has a frown because I'm trying to work out if the auto feature has triggered.)

And finally a nice shot looking back up the platform with our train waiting to pull out.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New world record

Approximately 3738 women attempt to break the world record for the most sucking babies. Previous record holders Manchester United unavailable for comment.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"The Prisoner" Returns

"I am not a number, I am a freeman"

Sky One are planning a big budget re-make of Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner" and it is rumoured that Christopher Eccleston might be involved.

Now I'm not to sure about this, Doctor Who returned for a new series, but this looks more like a re-make of the old series, what's up Sky? Run out of ideas? For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the ending was "open" for a new series, so there is no reason why they couldn't continue where it left off. If they just try to re-make the old programs with : to quote "a pacy, high concept six-part drama" they will just be turning out something mediocre.

Have to wait and see I guess, I could be wrong, it has been known.

Of fonts and bandits

Just been reading Paul Cornell's blog and thought I'd pass on these rather nice little titbits, firstly, the BBC has now set up a Robin Hood website in anticipation of the new series, filming has only been going on for a month so don't hold your breath. Nice bit of trivia, the actor playing Much is Sam Troughton, the grandson of Patrick Troughton who everyone knows as the second Dr. Who.

Also Paul has a link to a lovely Dalek font, which I just had to download.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Faster, faster, faster, yes

Well by the end of June NTL are planning to roll out faster speeds to us mere mortals, according to this article, they are dropping the 75GB monthly cap on the 10MB service, increasing the 2MB to 4MB and all for the same price. I just hope it all works better than the wanadoo problems with their speed upgrade. Still, apart from having to wait for a new set top box, the last NTL speed upgrade went without a hitch, so fingers crossed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More Who strangeness

If you have been watching Dr. Who you will probably have found these sites already, but for those who haven't:

Torchwood House which has a little flash game in it, and:

Deffry Vale High School which has an aptitude test which DS and I haven't beaten yet, but then, most of Sunday is spent in a small haze of beer. (not too much, but enough to befuddle my spatial senses in a game like this)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I think this is such a wonderful example of british wit, the Judge in the Da Vinci Code case included in his 71 page ruling on the case an acrostic which was spotted and broken to reveal an obscure reference. read more here

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nice little game

I just had to post this, I know some of you will have seen it before.

The norwegian catapult.

Instructions are in "foreign" so here's a brief explanation.

Hold down the space bar and an arrow wagles back and forth for the amount the rope is pulled back. Release the space bar at the point you want.

Do the same for the angle of the stopper bar of the catapult.

Once in flight, use the <- and -> arrow keys to stop yourself from tumbling (it gets worse as you begin to slow down)

If you see a pink starry cloud press the ^ up arrow to get a boost (you have to do this in the cloud)

When you get close to the ground press the space bar again to open your parachute (it won't open if you're tumbling to much or too close to the ground!)

And finally, try to beat my best score so far of 1,223,224 metres, post your highest scores here.

Have fun.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Crap Day

Well it was, I buried my great Uncle Jack (he would have been 96 and we cremated him actually) and funerals always get me down.

We tried to boost morale by doing the quiz at our local, and lost out by one measly point, and we should have known the answers to the two we got wrong, we just weren't co-ordinated enough in the thinking dept. for obvious reasons, see above.

I knew my uncle well, but not well enough, he was always a figure in the main fanily picture, I knew he had lead an interesting life, but it was only during hs eulogy that I discovered that, for example, he had been seconded for top secret work in WWII creating and printing maps on silk for clandestine use. So much I'd forgotten about him, and so many memories lost now forever.

I wish I'd known him better, and I knew him well enough that I will miss him.

John (Jack) Regan, Requiescat In Pace Domini

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Bleedin' Obvious

OK, please, someone out there must know. How the fark do I get on the gravy train doing stupid research? I mean some one got funding to prove that people get more drunk at the weekends!. I'm sorry, but I want a piece of the money pie that funds these stupid things, I welcome suggestions as to which obvious questions I can answer? Maybe "is the sky blue" nope been done.

Come on people, give me some ideas as to what to study, and tell me how I can get thousands of pounds to research it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Online comics

Saw this on woolamaloo and thought it was worth repeating here. The Vortex Chronicles is shaping up as quite an interesting read, the author Christopher Cocking has done a few strips already, and promises regular (weekly, Mondays) updates.

Each strip is accompanied by a short paragraph or two, and it paints an interesting picture of a future where corporations effectively rule the world and have established a rigid caste system so everyone "knows their place". I won't say anymore, I'll just let you read it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New development in Laser Eye Surgery

Having worked in the optical industry a few times, and of course being very short sighted, I have always been interested in and considered the possibility of Laser eye surgery, but it was expensive! Now, thanks to these guys at Lasik @ Home it looks like I could afford it.

In fact it looks so cheap I wonder if they need a UK distributor?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Childish and Puerile

So now I have your attention

This park, in America has such a great silly name, please also note the address listed on the right hand side of the page.

Well I laughed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The "new look" Roundhay Park

A little bird (PB) told me Roundhay Park had been done up with new features etc. so we had to go see.

Sure enough, there's now a fountain in the little lake, which was impressive, although it was so windy it was sometime being blown almost flat!

Believe it or not this photo was taken in full daylight, but into the sun for quite a dramatic effect.





Further round, the gorge which used to be an overgrown mess has been neatened up, and new paths and a bridge built to make a pleasant walk, the paths split, but pick the right one and you end up at the castle.







Just a view looking back up the gorge. They had the decency to keep it looking a bit wild.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Very odd

These two web sites are a bit odd, Especially the "Planning a Visit" page of the lifeboat museum.

Millingdale Ice Cream

Leamington Spa Lifeboat Museum

update 18-4-06
Some people havn't click yet as to why I posted these two sites, read the disclaimer if you missed the point, then go read them again, it's all I'm saying for now.

Money for Old Rope really.

Nuclear Power, No Thanks

I know, i'm using a very old slogan, more than 20 years old for sure, but then, there are still sheep farmers in Wales who are restricted from selling their sheep to market because of the Chernobyl disaster. At the time I was actually living in North Wales, and an activist friend of mine told me his school had had all the geiger counters confiscated by the authorities, he also claimed he had managed to get hold of one and tested the radiation levels on the highlands and found significantly higher radiation than the .gov wanted to admit to.

Anyway, I ramble, but if you want more in depth info about the sheep farmers who STILL can't sell their sheep because of radiation, click here.

And when some one asks you if you want nuclear power, JUST SAY NO!

Tags

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vampire slaying

I don't know how long e-bay leave up bought items, but this Vampire Slaying kit just sold for $1000. It might have been removed if you come to this entry a little late.

There is a possibility though that it might not be a genuine kit, but actually a 1920's fake similar to the one mentioned in this blurb about the Mercer Museum.

Still, it's worth taking a look, and the descriptive text is quite interesting as well. (Update, I grab a couple of pics before they get removed.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

I survived

After, perhaps foolishly, volunteering to be a reader at Church I have had my debut. Passion Sunday no less which involved doing the Gospel as a three parter with the Parish Priest and another reader.

I was told afterwards I looked a little nervous, I felt worse I think, and, very nicely, I was told by one friend that he would never have guessed it was my first ever go at doing the readings.

I get the feeling un-volunteering will be a little more difficult, but once a month is not such a bad thing, it looks like I will always be paired with someone, and at least, unlike the quiz, I have everything written down already for me.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Don't cry for me, Windows users! Security will never be yours.

This I had to comment on, apparently, one of Microsoft's Security people has gone whining to the press about how hard it is to clean up infected windows boxen. (more here as well)

Perhaps if they'd bothered more about security in the first place and not on "new features" and trying to deliberately embed things like MSN, Media Player and IE into the windows kernel so they cannot be removed, it wouldn't be so hard.

It's hard to feel sorry for the company which has by policy for so many years ignored decent security measures and which has systematically, and on occasion illegally, stomped on any innovative competition. Oh and I love the way he tries to blame user error for the majority of infections, he's right, but for the wrong reasons.

I'll stick with *nux, it's not invulnerable, but it IS more secure, and implements a better security model, even straight out of the box. (with the possible exception of a couple of tweaked distro's that will remain nameless)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'm in the Guardian

I e-mailed Leo Hickman who writes the "Ethical Living" column on Tuesdays with some comments about shaving, as he'd said he was writing about it this week. To my suprise he has decided to use some of what I said in his article "How Should I ... Shave". I assume this will be in the print version as well. I'm now wondering if I should go buy a copy just "because" or would that be ego tripping to much? Having said that, what is more ego tripping than writing a blog and assuming people want to read my witterings? <G>

The Doctor sings, and other news

I think I've told a few people about this, but it bears writing down for posterity, some enterprising person has taken samples of Tom Bakers voice (from BT's voice text service?) and put them together to music. The Doctor Sings is worth a listen.

I think I mentioned some time ago that the BBC are making a new Robin Hood series, there is an update here about it, I think it looks like it'll be worth a watch. One of the writers is Paul Cornell who wrote the excellent Father's Day episode of Doctor Who.

Speaking of which, this is older news but I haven't mentioned it so far, there are trailers and a "Tardisode" available on-line to view on the BBC's Doctor Who site, assuming you havn't already seen the trailers on the BBC yet. The "Tardisode" I don't think has been broadcast, or at least I havn't seen it yet!

And finally, The Simpsons Movie has finally been comfirmed for release next year, although I do get the feeling whoever wrote that article has never seen the show!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Doctor's back


Starting with "New Earth" Doctor Who returns to our screens on Saturday 15th April. (alledgedly)

Me I can't wait!

"I'm soniced up me, I'm soniced to the hilt"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

An enigma, wrapped in an auction, wrapped in a brown paper parcel.

You too could own a piece of history, they claim this is an original enigma machine up for auction on e-bay.

Slightly out of my price range already, and with only one bid! 5 + days to go if you fancy your chances.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Privatising the NHS! Oy, Tony, No

It's been a while since my last post, admittedly, but I'm back

I talked about privatisation a while ago, in a bit of a rant...

I continue, we hear today in the news that our "Health System" (note as they privatise it bit by bit it stops being a "Health Service") is failing the elderly. Again, lack of funds, and private companies conspire to lead us rapidly to the bottom in the search for "cost efficiency" and "profit".

I read with horror this tale of elderly patients simply being turfed out on to "skid row". Admittedly, this didn't happen here in the UK, but prizes for guessing (before you read the article) which country it did happen in?

If you answered the Good Ole' US of A you'd be spot on, yes one of the richest countries in the world has become so uncaring about it's elderly poor, that they are just dumped by the nearest sally army mission or similar.

They always say what happens in America now will happen here in a few years, this is something we MUST not let happen in Britain, we're better than that, or we should be.

I intend to contact my MP, George Mudie, about this, just to point out the direction we seem to be sliding towards, if you feel concerned write to your MP, you can find out who it is (if you don't already know) by entering your postcode on this site, and you can also keep an eye on what they've been voting for or against. Useful to know.

For the sake of saving a little cash, do we really want our health service system to be privatised piece by piece till we have nothing left but private health care as in America? the NHS has always been jealously look upon by other countries as the BEST there is, and to waste it by worrying about cost effiency is just plain short sited, we all get ill from time to time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't want a "choice" of hospitals, and I don't want to find I can't be treated because it's not "cost efficient" I just want to be made better if I'm ill, after all, I pay enough in taxes for it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Good Grief

I've been meaning to blog about this site for a while, but now it's suddenly relevant!

Geofftech is a personal web site which, amongst other things he uses to talk about his passion, The Tube. He holds the world record for getting round every station in the shortest time, I'd look it up on his web site, but here's the stupid catch.

Lawyers for TfL have forced him to shut down a non profit, personal, and extremely favourable (to TfL) web site "as it infringes copyright"

Although I agree that copyright is important, surely the sensible, and for them very positive publicity wise, thing would have been to raise the issue, then give him some sort of license at peppercorn rates (or free as a special case) and anyway, aren't these "derivative works" therefore copyright of the creator of the alatered map rather than TfL.

If you want to see the maps while you can, and they are worth looking at, you can find a mirror here and here, there's also a flickr set of maps and I'm sure more will appear. I'm doing my bit by posting my favourite (and most appropriate map) here.



You can also download all the maps in handy zip file format here.

and if you want to read the full story and post supportive comments, geoff's blog is here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Graph Paper

I meant to blog this a while ago, there is a web site that alows you to specify your graph paper needs, e.g. paper size, cell size, distibution etc. Then it goes away and thinks for a little while, and serves you up with a PDF file of the graph paper you wanted.

"So why is that useful?" I hear you ask, well most of the time, it's probably the last thing on your mind, but I certainly have found myself wanting a sheet of e.g. tessalating hexagons, and realised that the only way to get some is to junket into town, by a whole pad of the stuff, use one or two sheets, then wonder how I'm going to remember, if ever I need the same paper again, one: if I bought any, and two: where I put it!

So for your graph paper pleasure I present:-

Incompetech.com - ugly website - brilliant content

Including graph paper types such as :
  • Multi Width
  • Dots
  • Axometric Perspective
  • Equilateral Triangle (Isometric)
  • Hexagonal
And much much more.

Don't care if no-one else uses it, I just wanted to tell you all about it. One day you'll need a single sheet of "Semi-bisected Trapezoid" paper, and you'll remember you read about a website that supplied it, will you remember you read it here, somehow I doubt it, will you find it again, that's up to you I suppose! Still if it helps a little then my work is done <G>

IE vs Opera (or at a push, firefox)

I've been working on trying to tell people how "out of date" Internet Explorer is, so I set my MySpace page up as a demo, using a modern standards compliant browser you should get a really cool effect, using IE it will look a bit sCRAPPY.

Incidentally, the standards I'm using are at least 8 (EIGHT) years old, so Microsoft have no excuse appart from laziness or incompetance for not implementing them, after all they have signed up as part of the standards body that designed the standard!

So, look here:-

MySpace

and if you have to either download the Opera Browser or the slightly inferior (cough) Mozilla Firefox you will find that the frosted glass panes effect work! scrolling up and down the page will make you a convert to the better browser, and make you realise why web designers hate Microsoft for not letting us use these cool effects in IE.

Monday, March 13, 2006

blogjill

I am including this as it is part of a campaign by the Committee to Protect Bloggers to raise awareness about journalist Jill Carroll, spread the word, this is worthwhile :-

Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter working for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, was kidnapped in Baghdad over two months ago. All indications are that she is still alive. The Monitor has started a campaign, using Iraqi television, to distribute a video asking for Iraqis to help find and free Jill.

Jill is not a blogger but she's got that spirit. She's an independent intellect who is fascinated by the world and has a desire to speak what she sees. So let's not leave it up to the newspapers and television stations. She's ours as much as theirs.

So, I would like to ask every blogger who gives a damn about individual human life and the individual human voice, to post a link to this video on their blog, to blog about Jill and to pass along our concern to friends, family and other bloggers. Of greatest import are Iraqi blogs and blogs in the Arabic and Muslim worlds that may be read by people in a position to do good for Jill.

Here's a link to the Jill Carroll video.

Let's tag these posts "blogjill."

Technorati Tags: ,

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cory Doctorow

I was chatting the other day about Cory Doctorow and I promised to blog it so people could read his books.

This is the guy who writes books for a living, but publishes them simultaneously in dead tree and electronic versions, obviously he makes money from his dead tree versions, but the electronic books are available for free on his web site. He feels that he can, and does, make money publishing this way, and it means you can read his work to get a feel for it, then choose if you want to buy the book or not.

He says he thinks that he has reached a wider audience this way, and that giving his work away like this actually increases his sales. His latest work Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town also has a very unusual extra bit to his license, where he allows people from countries not on the World Banks list of high-income countries to do more than just download and copy his book. You need to read the license to grasp what he means, but basically if someone from a developing world country wanted to make a commercial movie of his book, they could, they would owe him nothing, and they could possibly get quite rich from it.

I think it's cool, now all I need to do is write a novel.

It was a long dark night, and the man watching the house shuffled...

Nah, maybe later <G>

Snow

It's been a while since we had enough snow for a snowman, so sure enough, now we have so here it is. The light was failing when I took the pictures which is my excuse for why they are a bit poor.



Saturday, March 11, 2006

The REAL Simpsons

For all you Simpsons fans out there, the opening titles have been re-shot for Sky One using real actors. It actually works quite well.

Holy Moly web site

Spot the deliberate mistake!

In other news

I, and others it seems, were finding the line seperating my posts and the comments section confusing, it really looked like the posted by, time date and comments belonged at the TOP of the previous article rather than, as it should have been, the bottom of the article it was associated with. Therefore, I have fiddled, and now, the dividing line appears BELOW the complete post plus posting details and comments.

To me this is far more intuitive, what do you think? (didn't notice a difference IS an option <G>)

Bug Me Not

Tonight we were discussing web site registrations, and how they are becoming more invasive, and open you up to a world of spam.

There is the old idea of getting your own domain then giving each site a unique email address to contact you with, for example if I sign up with www.Tesco.com they get an e-mail address from me of tesco@{mydomain name}. There are two advantages to this, one is any e-mail you want from them gets through, and two, if you get spam to that e-mail address one of two things has happened, either they have sold on your address to a spammer, or their security has been hacked, and your address has been stolen. Either way, it gives you a LOT of leverage with their tech support and publicity machines when you complain!

I pay 15 quid a year to have an account to manage this with an ISP, plys something like 7 quid every two years for a UK domain name, I also get web space and other cool toys built in to this price. Whanadoo or le-free-swerve, britains biggest french ISP , are also good according to Jonny.

there is also Bug Me Not which has a database of logins submitted by people who either don't care, or have already submitted false details to, these sites. I find it gets me through probably 8 out of 10 web sites.

Of course bugmenot.com is careful, and you don't find user names and passwords for pay sites or secure sites on there, or at least, I haven't yet.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Car fun (part II) the sequel

well it's over a week since we put gunk in the car, and the water level has remained constant in all that time, so fingers crossed, touch wood etc. (although it IS bad luck to be superstitious) maybe the gunk has worked!

we'll carry on driving it till something else breaks now I guess.

Or until we find something else, preferably an estate this time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Oh dear

So days after the NHS pricing authority gave the go ahead to prescribe magnetic bandages, even thought they have no proven effect, the Office of Fair Trading launches court action specifically at the manufacturers to stop them saying their product works without stumping up any proof!

Good to see two Gov. organisations working in such harmony (yes I know they are both quangos)

Maybe this will stop people sticking to fridges as they try to recover from serious illnesses! and let them get on with getting better!

So what celeb do you look like?



Using this pic I'm almost Orlando Bloom, at least acording to the face recognition stuff on this web site.

My heritage

It must be the eyes.

Having said that, Neil comes out as 64% Jay Leno!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Magnets

There's been a lot of talk about Magnet Therapy Bandages now being on the NHS approved items list, and the company making them is crowing big style about how if the NHS has it on their prescribe list it must be "proven to work".

Unfortunately they are wrong, the list is simply produced by the pricing authority, it has NOTHING to do with proper clincal evidence done through proper clinical trials.

Ben Goldacre who writes the Bad Science column in the Gruniad was bemoaning the fact that, because magnets stick to things, you can't do a proper "blind test as those who don't have magnets in their bandages will notice when their bandage fails to stick to fridges etc.

I posted a suggestion on his Bad Science web site, scroll down to post 50 to see it, and I think he liked it (see post 55)

My suggestion is re-printed here, along with his comment, he re-quoted me, which is why my sugestion is in italics :

Ben Goldacre said,
March 6, 2006 at 5:31 pm

I think, having read the comments, I may have spotted a way to blind test magnetic bandages, in keyrawn’s post about the patent information, I quote

“the treatment of skin ulcers when the negative pole (sic) is placed adjacent a user’s flesh”

So the blind trial consists of two sets of bandages, where, to quote Doctor Who, you “Reverse the polarity” of the second set. According to the patent, these should not work, but the magnets will still stick to fridges etc.


pete, that is absolute bloody genius.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Who's this then?

Something found in the family archives by my dad, circa 1967-8.



Was I cute? you decide!

(waits for the inevitable "which one's you then?" comments)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Icicles

Well not exactly, but a leaky pipe on the abattoir roof has produced a spectacular ice sheet on the roof which in turn has caused these ice drips down our wall.

The ice sheet on the roof must be two inches thick.

I think it was Keith earlier this week who commented that he hadn't seen icicles for years.



Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Car fun!

Well we had a disaster with our car, something called the Head Gasket went, now the part is not expensive, but to fix it costs a small fortune it is a big job to get in to it and replace it.

Our car man recomended something called Wondarweld which you put in the water cooling system to seal cracks and supposedly fix things like this, so with asistance from a friend or two we went through the rigmarole of flushing the water and antifreeze out then putting this stuff in. It might have doen some good, it's difficult to tell at the moment, so we'll just have to keep the car running and see if it seals things up properly.

As they say in the movies, watch this space!

Of course, now I can't get that Oasis song out of my head!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Strange Time Travel

Odd how my post below about Time Travel should end up being posted 4 days in the past, I wrote and posted it on Saturday 25th Feb and it has published as Wednesday 22nd Feb.

Go figure!

And I've just discovered that terroristic is a real word! Who let that happen? dubya, I'm lookin at you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

By His Bootstraps

Found this on-line, I guess it must be beyond copyright now, it's a short story by Robert A Heinlein called By His Bootstraps which I read years ago, an interesting little tale of time travel. Worth a read if you're into the genre, but if you are then the chances are you've already read it. It was first published in 1941 under the pseudonym Anson MacDonald. Enjoy

In other, related news I've been trying for years to remember a book and have struggled to find it online, searching for telepathy and space travel and twins returns a lot of hits.

Finally though this book, Time for the Stars is the one, the book I remember reading at school, and which I always thought could have been the inspiration for the Queen song '39

It's odd how you can return to a search after several false attempts and suddenly turn up what you want, even though you're "sure" you used those self same search criteria before.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I really don't get why everything HAS TO BE PRIVATISED

This is a classic example, the bid to move radioactive waste from Cookridge Hospital in Leeds to Windscale for reprocessing was given to the lowest bidder. They then failed to check, or even learn, the safety procedures properly and fired a lethal does of radiation down at the road for 130 miles, sheer luck it was pointing down, imagine if it was pointing backwards and you'd got stuck behind it in traffic!

So many cases of cost cutting by private companies causing serious harm, just to save a few pence. It really pisses me off. I'm sure people saw this story about privatised oxygen distribution which seems to have killed one poor elderly lady.

Just about every privatisation has caused things to get worse, and the ONLY people who benefit are the company owners, is it any suprise that the gap between richest and poorest in this country has shot up recently, and that social mobility has decreased significantly.

Sometimes I wish I could shake some decency into politicians, some sense of humanity and a little bit of caring for the little guy.

/rant off

The future is here

Here's a little gem for you, go to HM Revenue and Customs and do a search for "teleworking" something more and more people will be interested in, note the suggested alternative where it says

"Did you mean teleporting?"

Now then, I know the Gov likes to plan ahead (cough) but what exactly are the tax implications for teleporting, the site doesn't say?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Technology

Why is it that I constantly berate people for not grasping technology, and I live in a digital world quite happily at home with computers and blogs and Myspace, but still, when I'm out and about, I get people to write down their phone numbers when I have a perfectly servicable mobile phone in my pocket, which I end up transferring that number to when I get home anyway?

I mean SOMETIMES I remember, but most of the time... D'Oh

A Social Conscience?

Just spent 1/2 an hour blasting poor Keith's ear off about how employee's right have been eroded away over the last few years, at one point I seemed to hit a lucid theme, but now I can't remember what I said. (who, me, pissed? nah), When I do I will post it here.

My MySpace account is proving handy, I can fill it up with crap about what I like and things I would like people to know which if I blogged about it would drift away in the course of time. Of course I do wonder how long updating all these things will last once I'm off the sick and working again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Space

I feel I have something important I've forgotten about, something I was going to post here!

Never mind, I digress. Suddenly I find I have a myspace account to cope with, all because someone told me about their band My Next Century and I wanted to get a bit more involved.

Still at least I am being consistent about names across the web.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Faster broadband from NTL

Says here that NTL are going to trial 100MB broadband starting next month, I'll lay odds though that the trial won't be round this area.

100MB, do I really need my internet connection that fast, I still stumble across web sites that seem to run at the wrong end of a 56k modem!

Power cut fun

Or what to do in total darkness.

(That's darkness with a small d not the band)

Power was cut off last night by a fire in the substation, it took them 2 1/2 hours to get a generator hooked up to supply us with juice. DS has always liked turning off lights etc. and playing "power cuts" but if last nights whining was anything to go by, the reality, he has discovered, is not as much fun.

We tried to keep them occupied, DW got out the percussion instruments and I got my guitar, DD loved it and DS did at first but for him the novelty wore off. It does worry me that he is so dependent on telly to have fun, but last night also revealed that he doesn't really watch the telly as such, but simply keeps himself awake using it as an excuse. I think if we'd put him to bed 8 - 8:30 he would have been spark out.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Recovery almost complete

Well after the disaster which was re-partitioning my hard disk, which resulted in me somehow losing ALL the partition information on the drive, I am almost back up to speed and normality.

This marvelous company got 35 quid of my money for their excellent Partition Table Doctor software which succeeded in getting back most of the partitions on the drive, I managed to get everything back apart from my e-mail directory, which means I have lost pretty much everyone's e-mail addresses, so start sending me them again please. (that is not an invite to spam me, friends only should apply, see terms and conditions!)

In other news, a few people thought this post implied that I had succumbed and started smoking again, not true, I am still ciggy free, and intend to remain so.

Got my first complaint which I can raise at the Parish Meeting as well, parking problems in the driveway and on the cycle lane, maybe we should name and shame the culprits as apparently they are the same people week in week out.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fark post accepted

Hey hey

another link of mine made it on to www.fark.com (link goes to the comments)

That makes 4 links approved since I joined fark in June '02. What's not so good is that I've had 20 posts rejected, and that doesn't include all the unrecorded ones I tried to post which had already been submitted.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Parish Chair, not me

I got away with it, luckily someone else had been put forward as well, so we where elected chair and vice chair un-opposed, I hadn't even realised there might be a vice chair position, if I'd known that we could have saved ourselves a vote.

I now only have to worry if the chair is unavailable and I have to host a meeting, I think I can cope with that.

I suppose I'm a little disappointed in a way, but mainly I feel relieved. Maybe the position could be a blessing in disguise, I can use the title to try to drum up PR to get more people attend the meetings.