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:- - 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:-


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


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."

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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>


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 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 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


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


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!