Sunday, April 24, 2016
Should I stay or should I go?
1) You and me (the people of Britain) get to decide if we stay in or out, so whereas it's got bog all to do with him, isn't it useful information to know how the rest of the world is going to react depending which way we go? Personally I'm happy to know beforehand that our special relationship will not extend to trade deals with the US if we exit, rather than assume we'll get them and then find out we're stuffed in that direction.
2) Does he have a right to comment on what we do in Europe? Well most of are making lots of comments about Trump and Clinton...I think it's this idea of free speech that we have, so yes, I'd say he has every right to voice his opinion.
3) Was it all staged by the Stay campaign? Yes, almost certainly, but that doesn't necessarily make any of the points he made less valid.
4) America wouldn't stand for the lack of sovereignty? What do you think each State in the US does to the Central US government?
So, I'm not trying to sway you to vote one way or another, but please also don't let a knee jerk, "who the F*** does he think he is?" reaction sway you either. Listen to all the evidence, opinion and the bullshit and if you decide you can make an informed decision, vote for what you think is right.
Saturday, October 03, 2015
Bordeaux cases or iPad boxes?
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Can you help this child?
Friday, August 29, 2014
Ice, Ice Baby - Part 2
Please share on social media if you like the message in this video
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Ice, ice baby!
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Spread the Word
Pass The Butter ... Please.
- · Very High in Trans fatty acids.
- · Triples risk of coronary heart disease.
- · Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)
- · Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..
- · Lowers quality of breast milk
- · Decreases immune response.
- · Decreases insulin response.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Will you stop with the complaints!
Last night, yet again, on the telly was a programme all about the woes of parents that have to pay more for holidays in the school holidays! For goodness sake, do you not understand the laws of supply and demand? This is not holiday companies fleecing you, - its how economics work! More people want to go on holiday at those times so the prices are higher. In the same way, less brussel sprouts are available in summer, and the price of them goes up in this period. Should I start a petition with the government to freeze the price of brussel sprouts throughout the year because I don't want those profit grabbing farmers to fleece me when I feel like a sprout in July?
"But we can't afford to take out kids on holiday at those prices!" - NO - you can't - it's as simple as that. You can't afford it, so you can't have it. My family holidays as a kid were a trip to a farm owned by my aunt and uncle. I didn't get a holiday abroad until I could pay for it myself aged 18. We couldn't afford it before that, so we didn't go. For some reason parents seem to think it's a god given right to be able to go wherever they like with their whole family and the travel industry should make it cheap enough for them to do so - well wake up and smell the coffee! It's arguable that you have a right to feed, clothe, educate and house a family at an affordable cost, but a holiday IS A LUXURY! And luxuries you can have if and when you can afford them.
Friday, December 06, 2013
The Mandela Legacy
Saturday, June 01, 2013
An Open Letter to Greek Taverna Owners
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Vengeance is a dish best served cold
Sunday, March 24, 2013
The Finer Things In Life
Nowadays, I think I'm a little more pragmatic about things, and for the amount of time I end up listening to music, that accursed MP3 file in it's little metal iHome that he shares with 8764 of his mates, is just far to easy and convenient to ignore, and the bits of old HiFi now sit in the transistor and valve graveyard of an attic waiting for that mythical time when I'll 'get them fixed up properly'.... Yeah, right!
So I've settled for something decent enough and usable. But strangely, the converse is now true in other areas where I'm now far more willing to throw extra money into things to try that little extra, again probably without have the ability personally to make the distinctions. With some items it's a matter of 'just in case' such as the mattress topper we bought the other day. Having gone through the shop looking at them all, of course they seemed to be better and better the more expensive they came...as expected, and when dealing with the possibility of ensuring my wife gets the best possible night's sleep (and hence my best possible waking day) then it just seemed to make sense to say, let's have the best we can. Did I feel like I'd had any better night's sleep? I'm really not sure, but I still don't begrudge spending the dosh there.
With wine however, I seem to be caught in a bit of that same youthful feeling I had about HiFi. I so want to be able to appreciate the difference between the 'levels' of wine value and actually do enjoy a decent bottle more than others, but once you get beyond the realms of what the 'average' person might spend on a bottle, can I tell the difference? I so want to be able to, and at the same time my logical mind says, 'hope for your wallet's sake that you can't!'
I've always said that it has to be a very, very dire bottle of red before I'll actually not enjoy drinking it (in fact I can still count on one hand the occasions when I've had a problem drinking a red), so I was quite content quaffing the contents of the Coop box of cab-sav on offer, but I could instantly tell a huge leap in yumminess when switching to a delicious Californian cab-sav from Charles Smith at about the £10 a bottle mark. Yeah! My aspiration to wine snobbery seems to be happening, but then I went from that to the converted bottle of Amarone that I parted with £25 for as it was on offer at half price. Hmmmm, now here is the most expensive bottle of wine I've ever bought, so again just like my student HiFi days, I'm not going really high end (it's no 'chateau d'ReMortgage'), but I guess it's fine wine much in the same way my amplifier and speaker were HiFi as opposed to being a 'stereo centre'. And what did it taste like? Well very, very nice it has to be said.... But at the end of the day, it looks like my logic and wallet are going to win, as nice as it was, being brutally honest, I couldn't say for one moment it was any nicer that the Charles Smith of the night before.
So for wine at least, I think I have found my level beyond which the diminishing returns are tending to zero. I wonder what the next luxury item will be that will start to tug at my wallet and ingrained desire to be a snob :)
Friday, January 11, 2013
Adam's Apple - Information Consumers from Eden to Ebay
And humankind have been on the same track ever since. In this latter age of course we have come full circle and the information consumer 'apple' we bite into is the corporate giant of the same name, and indeed I, like Adam, have succumbed and am typing this on one of my many 'i' devices.
Of course Apple, like the whispering serpent, would very much like me to continue consuming too, and if I want to maintain my addiction to information I have a hard time resisting their insidious whispering to buy and upgrade to the latest and best iDevice. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to equate Apple with Satan here; they are not (subjective opinion) evil as such. More they are just extremely annoying as they have a fairly aggressive strategy to ensure you keep buying more and more hardware. To illustrate, I recently came to the end of my contract with Orange for my Windows Phone, which as I'm sure I have mentioned before, I really didn't take to much (it still seems absurd that the only phone OS that can't directly sync with Microsoft Outlook is the only one written by Microsoft), so was keen to take the opportunity to switch to a lower tariff, sell the Windows Phone and buy something else. And of course having previously invested in an iPad, I followed the same logic (even though it had turned out to be flawed in the Microsoft instance) and went for an iPhone for compatibility's sake. All was well and good until I did the same for my wife (her Nokia never really recovered from a dunk in the toilet) and accidentally bought the iPhone 3G instead of the 3GS. It hadn't occurred to me that there would be much difference and I guess I didn't do my research properly. Here is where I first came across the deliberate manifestation of that strategy, as the 3G will only support iOS up to 4.1.something, and Apple themselves will only support 4.3 and above. At first glance this is all normal and the same as the policy of most IT companies, but the point here is that Apple don't just drop support for the older OS and hence the older hardware, but positively make it harder for people to use the older technology. The developers for apps are given toolkits to test and the older OS modules are deliberately removed from these so that the applications cannot be created to be backwards compatible. Probably the first most obvious one of these was the Facebook app that would not run on the iPhone 3G. On more traditional computer systems it wouldn't be a problem as you can go get the older version of the application that does work on the older OS, but as iOS needs it apps to be loaded via the App Store online, then we just don't have access to the older versions and so slowly and surely the older iDevices will become more and more worthless.
Quite how worthless I will soon find out as ebay hosts my current listing for an iPhone 3G that is being 'sold due to upgrade' :)
And now that my wife and I both have shiny new (well slightly newer second hand actually) iPhones with access to the whole world of knowledge and information to gorge on.....what will we actually do with them? Well 99% of the time we'll look at cute pictures of fluffy animals doing strange things and post the words 'beer o'clock' every Friday. Adam, was it really worth the fall from grace?
Sunday, January 06, 2013
3D Was Jonny Woo ahead of his time?
However the experience did leave me musing a little on the latest fad for 3D cinema which seems like it might be here to stay unlike the several previous attempts in the decades gone by - for some reason 'The Creature From The Black Lagoon' and 'Jaws 3D' never converted the world to thinking that 3D was the new talkies. This outing for the technology seems to be lasting with TV channels (or channel
Unfortunately I just don't like it for a variety of reasons. Firstly, things looks unrealistic in 3D, as the way it's portrayed on the screen is not how the eye sees in reality. There's just too much in focus! Look up from this screen for a moment and at the nearest wall - the wall will be in focus as you look at it and the computer screen will be out of focus. Look back at the screen and that will come into focus and the wall will be out of focus. This doesn't happen on a movie however. Every level is in focus, so what you end up with is a sense of 'layers' rather than a continual depth. The director can never focus and de-focus individual objects on screen to reproduce 'real' viewing as he can't know which bit of the screen you'll be looking at at any time. So 3D actually ends up producing just 'cool looking' special effects rather than something realistic.
That then, plus the crappy glasses you have to wear, are my problems with the technology, but my bigger gripe with 3D is with what the movie makers do with it. 'Journey 2' was a good example of these issues (well it had to be good for something). Now it has to be said I wasn't watching the 3D version of this film, but this in part serves to illustrate one of my points. It was very obvious the 'bits' of the movie where the 3D effect was supposed to 'wow' you and hopefully they were far more successful than it's predecessor (Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, which used the red and green cardboard glasses on the DVD and in which sadly the best bit of 3D was a dripping tap), but there was no other substance to the movie. It seemed like the entire plot and action was just engineered around setting up cool 3D sequences. And that's just lazy - 3D should try to enhance a movie, not be the sole purpose of the movie.
In 2D of course all these effects didn't just not work, but the way they are filmed make the scene look just a bit 'odd' - generally everything goes into slow motion and there's random objects floating in the screen that just look out of place. I remember Jonny Woo always overdosed his movies with slow motion, and the standing joke was that at normal speed you'd only get a movie half the length of anyone else's. We have the same here; Journey 2 is only 91 minutes to start with, so once you have taken the slow motion out you've probably only got an an hour or so left - no wonder the plot seemed a tad light.
The other problem with this use of slow motion, is you just get very, very bored with it. Sometimes slow motion enhances things, as Attenborough's recent Africa documentary showed with a battle between two giraffes, which just looks like an almost playful scuffle at full speed, but in slow motion you can see the ripples of force the impacts of head butting causes, and get a better idea of the serious nature of the fight. However, when every time there's a special effect the movie goes into slow motion then you just end up groaning whenever it's kicks in.
Lastly, as I say, 3D should enhance rather than detract, and this should include respect for previous formats. Much as Dolby digital and DTS sound systems made a huge difference to the surround and the 'oomph' of a movie's soundtrack (I'll always remember the thrumming in the chest of the sound of the pod race in Star Wars Ep. 1, even if it was the only impressive thing about that movie). To watch the movie on a regular TV will not make it sound worse than had the DTS technology not been used in the first place - it sounds better if you have DTS, but sounds no worse if you don't. 3D on the other hand, does make a movie look worse if you can only see the film in 2D, so for me I am still clinging on to that hope that I am wrong, and that this current fad will after all be as short lived as the attempts at 3D in the 50's and 70's. it's probably an eternal cry to Hollywood, but can the movie makers concentrate a bit more on making good movies first, and then tinker with the toys if you have time please?
Friday, January 04, 2013
iBlog? The shape of things to come?
The sad truth is that Facebook these days seems to take care of the short musings you have and want to share and with the advent of smart phones and tablet computing, those sort of dedicated social media sites (and their associated 'i' apps) make the kind of longer more thoughtful posts that if typical of a blog site, seem just too much effort when you can sit in the pub with pint and post how happy you are that you have a pint in the pub, with such ease.
I tend now to use an iPad in preference to the laptop for most things 'social' or browser or media related these days so until I found this app for blog posting the thought of faffing about with signing on to google blogger via safari was just too much effort. but now you never know.
So, watch this space to see if it's just technology that's blocked the blogs, or if it really is that I'm just too darn lazy. :)
Friday, December 02, 2011
- The Strike is great as it's so much easier to get about in London, but I'm at the BBC and I have to be balanced, so no, the strikers are bad and should be shot.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Kindle the fires
Not that I would stake my life on this being a fact, but I'm pretty sure that the definition of History is something like "stuff that's happened since it could be written down and recorded". So before writing, stuff gets labelled, Prehistoric. The written word then, is such a significant part of our concept of civilisation that it's understandable that events that effect the written word seem to matter so much to us; the invention of the printing press is universally considered a pivotal turning point in history, the wholesale burning of books by a variety of regimes in the world having almost as much impact on our psyche as the blood those same regimes had spilt.
Books have become such an integral part of our lives - whereas other stuff we possess ends up on a generic regular shelf, books even have their own specially named "bookshelf" - and be they paperback, hardback, cheap or expensive, old or new, there are few people in our relatively affluent (in worldly terms) society that don't have a book collection of some sort, even if we never get around to reading any of them.
And I guess this all may be a subconscious part of my unusual hesitation to purchase the next must have gadget - the Amazon Kindle bookreader! In case you didn't know, the Kindle is a small tablet style device about the size of a regular paperback book, that is a dedicated (well almost) machine for reading eBooks, or digital books stored in it's internal memory. The new version of this device, the Kindle 3, has already overcome a lot of the obvious downsides reading books on electronic devices used to have:
- The screen is now good enough to read in direct sunlight
- The memory is enough to hold about 3500 books (a lifetime's reading)
- The price has come down to a (fairly) affordable £111
- The battery life is quoted as up to a month
- The books are now a little cheaper (only by pence mind) than the hardcopy
- The device itself is lighter than a paperback book
So why am I hesitating? I leapt merrily into the age of digital music and love the idea of my little ipod having my entire music collection plus audiobooks and a few videos in a device smaller that a packet of cigs. OK there one big downside to digital books that moving to digital music didn't suffer from and that' convertibility. Without a vast amount of effort I could convert my music back catalogue to mp3. I won't be able to do this with Kindle unless I want to re-type entire books. Hence I'm in a position of multiple formats. Some stuff I'd have to read as a real book, other stuff on digital which given one of the advantages of this sort of device is the capacity, is kind of defeats the object if I end up having to carry both the Kindle and a load of old books about because I haven't decided what I'll be reading. So for instance when I'm away from home, remember my ipod have every single piece of music I possess ready and waiting for me to listen to, unless I want to buy a Ford Transit to have my bookshelf come with me, the Kindle won't achieve this for reading.To highlight this effect, the initial outlay, although now much cheaper than it was, still amounts to a sizeable number of actual books, and until I know I'm going to be happy using a Kindle for the long term, I'm unlikely to purchase many books in that format, so whatever the capacity of the device, for a while it will still contain only a couple of titles.
Then there is the nickability of it to consider. It's unlikely that anyone is going to bother stealing the latest Dan Brown best smeller from the beach bed as you snooze in the sun, but a Kindle will be gone faster than you can say "DaVinci" no matter what crappy books are loaded onto it.
However, when alls said and done, I think the real reason I don't already possess this wonderful new gadget, is probably that it just isn't really a book! There's an indefinable quality to holding and reading a real book, there's a smell to the paper, there's a tangibility of experience that I just can't foresee being there with any electronic device. Will Kindle be the beginning of the end for real books? Well, from my perspective don't go kindling those book burning fires just yet...let me agonise over it for a little longer before I inevitably justify buying it with the "I wants it!" argument.
Friday, February 11, 2011
I'm not sure if it extends to other corporations or is peculiar to my company, but the idea is that as a happy and thankful employee I "Give Back" some of my time to special projects without being paid for it. It's even talked about by managers in terms of your annual review, "That's a good choice for your Give Back this year".
What the phrase does is cleverly imply that there is some onus on you to return a favour, when in fact you haven't been given anything to start with to give back. My time is MINE, not the companies to give me. I sell my time to the company and they pay me for it - end of that transaction! Any more of MY time they want more normally falls into the category of overtime and they should be paying even more for.
The term Give Back should be scrapped in favour of the more correct term of "Give away for free because I'm a mug"
You only get one allotted span of time on this planet, and it's YOURS, no-one else's.