Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's only Stouport

I've just skimmed through the latest e-edition of the Shuttle just released and wondered where the story of the body found in Kingsway was; I mean a dead body that's got to be somewhere near the front of the paper.

Page 31 opposite the full page Come to Stourport section; hmmm. Does Clive just not like us or something :-)

Mean, Mode, Median

For some this is well-known information, for some a reminder, and for anyone in the media something brand new ;-)

Those RBS Bonuses

So yes the media is getting into a frenzy after RBS posts a loss of several billion pounds and is still paying out bonuses, presumably out of the bail-out money we gave them.

I have to take a stand with the bank regarding one reason they gave. If Person A makes the bank £1bn in profit, yet Person B makes a loss of £2bn is it fair that Person A is penalised for the actions of someone else?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BBC ID problems

Good old BBC as mentioned just I watched Virtual Revolution last night and decided to try their "Web Behaviour Test". Oh look you need to register to use it. Am I already registered? A quick glean of the emails and yep there's my username and the email address I used.

Hmm not one of my general passwords, better state I've forgotten it. Oh Username not recognised. I'll try my email address; not recognised. Over to the FAQ and ah if you've not logged in for six months you need to register again.

Tap in my details and oh I can't use that Username as it's already taken (well yes by me) this would be the same username you're denying all knowledge of? Ah wait a sec from the FAQ they may have transferred my account to the new BBC ID system, but I need to reset my password using the old page.

Huzzah it worked, but what a fuss.

[Apparently I'm an Octopus - Fast-moving, adaptable, solitary. Hmm yeah okay I'll go with that]

The English Language 2

As already stated the use of the plural dice for the singular die annoys me. Someone else has pointed out something that annoys them - "vee".

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Civil Enforcement Ltd

At the end of last month DaBoss had a letter through from Civil Enforcement Ltd about a car overstaying at a car-park. According to the letter the length of time was over 10 hours and very far away. This is interesting as the car in question hadn't left the district that day let alone the county.

New Gypsy Camp?

I heard yesterday from an informed source that permission was being sought to add a new gypsy camp site to Sandy Lane Industrial Estate in Stourport, and indeed this morning the Shuttle pops up with a story.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Playstation Trophy ID

Cast your eyes to the right and you'll see my PSN ID currently at level 10, as mentioned previously despite syncing trophies from my PS3 this ID tag would never update unless I then signed in to my Playstation account from a computer (can' t even do it from the browser on the PS3).

Now I know they were doing some work on the servers last week, but one of the things they seem to have finally done is update the ID as and when it's synced because I hadn't logged in since my last trophy update and there they are.

So trophies were introduced in July 2008 and PSN IDs launched in November 08 so it's taken over a year to get this far and no you still can't see my detailed profile despite the 'official' link including my identity as part of the URL; it still takes you to a registration page. Never mind I'm sure they'll get that bit up and working for the beginning of 2011.

[Update - or maybe not as it's now sitting at 628 when it should be 641. Then again there has been talk about problems with the servers so I'll wait and see if it updates by itself]

No water

Woke up this morning and stumbled down for a coffee, realised the filter jug hadn't been filled up so I tipped enough water for one cup into the kettle and went to add some more to the jug. "That's a bit weak" I thought as the water tricked out.

Checked the other water sources and yep not much coming out; then with the neighbours, those awake at least, and yep them too; good misery shared is misery halved ;-)

Better call up Severn Trent Water; grabbed my phonebook which for some reason is an older one (just don't recall getting a new one) and turned to the business listings under S "Severn Trent Water see our panel at Water" turned to W and Water and... nothing. Excellent. Got their number off an old bill in the end only for a recording to tell me they knew something was going on.

So at least I got my coffee and with the immersion heater got a wash and shave, which is more than can be said for those who got up after 8am and found no water at all. Anyway it's supposed to be back on now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

MPs Expense defence

So the latest wheeze from some MPs is that they can't be prosecuted for expense fraud as such transactions are covered by the 1688 Bill of Rights namely

That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament
The logic they're trying to apply is that it counts as a "proceeding". Now the use of this document is a bit rich coming from a Parliament that gave us the "Proceeds of Crime Act". Here's how Wiltshire police describe it
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, criminals can have their illegal earnings and possessions taken away – even if they are not convicted of the crimes they have committed.
Now what do we find three paragraphs down from the MPs excuse -
That all Grants and Promises of Fines and Forfeitures of particular persons before Conviction are illegall and void.
So they're convicting someone of possessing money obtained illegally, but haven't been able to convict them of the act where they supposedly obtained the money from. As I've said before the stance taken is that they can't prove they have the money/goods legally so it must be illegal. Now think how that works in this context - My parents bought a new television and passed on the old one to the neighbours who wanted another. As such the neighbours have no receipt that these goods were obtained legally, therefore they're illegal and the police can confiscate them if they choose. Yes it's unlikely, but still valid.

So once again we see MPs trying to do something they try to prevent us from doing, big surprise.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Severn Trent Water The joy continues 4

So as mentioned we've got the account back open for the one that no-one asked to close and that no-one told us had been closed. As such STW have sent us through a massive statement detailing everything since we took over back in 2003.

I can't get it to agree with my figures; now near the end there was some weirdness but all the older stuff should be set in stone. I mean it's only pennies, but still.

So I dig out the original invoices and start comparing and... they're different. So for example the invoice reads as per the top line and the statement which is supposedly a copy of the invoice is the bottom line.

£5.36, £4.82, £3.68, £2.54

£5.42, £4.80, £3.72, £2.53

This is for something not even two years old that is supposed to be running on accounting software and it's different. Something wrong there.

Fractal Dancers

In a completely unrelated way I mentioned to Orphi in "Mad People" about combining his fractals with photos of dancers. Perhaps in an effort to persuade him and having five minutes to spare I knocked out the following in Photoshop Elements.

This uses a photo gleaned from the web along with Flame #1 from Orphi's Zazzle gallery. I quite like it.

Shop Canvass

An idea from Tav that's supposedly already in progress regarding turning empty shops into something worthwhile instead of a blight on the road got me thinking simply because I am, to an extent, on the other side of the argument. So rather than fill up his comment box this needs a full entry.

Unpausing Vista's Indexing

The indexing service for Vista (and XP as a separate programme) is, in theory, a good tool just hit the Start and tap in what you're looking for and up it pops. In practice it can be a right pain when it decides to miss stuff out because there's no other way of easily searching for things. I've tried to do a quick and dirty backup of all files I've worked on this week and it happily misses off things I've done either yesterday or even today. I name things such as "logorugby" and it can't find them in a search for "rugby".

So when that happens it's time to rebuild the index. For that you locate Indexing Services hit Advanced and Rebuild. But what if the index is running at the time, what if you want to do some advanced tinkering? Well the logical thing would be to hit the Pause button.

So you do your thing and hit rebuild and a box comes up complaining that "Indexing is Paused" okay I'll unpause it... wait I can't. Yep Microsoft in their wisdom has allowed you to pause a service with no means of restarting it.

What to do? Well you could restart the computer, but that's a bit harsh instead head back to the Start Menu and type Services. Run that and you'll see a full list of all the background operations find "Windows Search" and Stop it, then Start it. That's it indexing will be functional. Pathetic isn't it.

[Update - in both Windows Vista & 7 it's possible to choose "Restart" instead. Thank you to  NakiBest (Unknown) in the comments]

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time - finished

Well that was um quick. It's not as if I rushed through the storyline I hopped back between planets dug out the Zoni and the Gold Bolts and the next thing I know it's the final showdown.

Well not quite as I only found 37/40 Zoni, 28/40 Gold Bolts, and 6/10 RynoV plans so I've still got those to find, still got Skill Points to collect, weapons to level, and still got the Secret Boss to destroy, but still it felt short for a first playthrough.

I mean I only picked up the penultimate weapon a couple of hops before the Big Boss fight, no chance to level it up really unless I do the grind revisiting previous planets just for the experience.

At least the game offers you a couple of options at the end - rewind time to before the Almost Big Boss fight, or start a new game at a harder difficulty but with all your weaponry intact. Still it just felt shorter compared to its predecessors.

Mitton Street Roadworks gone

Just vanished. No idea what they've done or why they needed the entire lane shutdown, but at least they're out the way now. So all we have to look forward to is the Stour bridge closure.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Flash memory leak?

Coming in this morning I noted one of the computers running very slowly, an examination led me to the browser Opera which had been left running, but not displaying, a couple of Flash only sites. Task manager showed me that memory use was about 300Mb higher than it should be and was still increasing until I managed to close those tabs.

I've noticed it before when Flash sites are left open, but then again some don't. Now I say memory leak, but it's also possible it's down to bad programming. Let's say I want a simple two-photo slideshow; I load in the first picture, then the second. Then I want the first displayed again. Logically I've already loaded it so I just tell it to show again, now not knowing much about ActionScript there may be a way of accidentally making the programme load the first photo again. So rather than have two photos in memory I now have three, two being duplicates. Then of course I have four, five, six and so on until the system runs out of memory and falls over. In other words in a similar way as continuous adding to an array in Javascript rather than replacing the contents.

Or it may be a real memory leak, I don't know. Anyway standard advice don't leave Flash heavy sites open for any long period of time. Well actually try to avoid Flash at all which is fair easy said than done with so many opting for Flash-only pages.

Mad People

You may spot an additional gadget on the left as somehow I've acquired Followers, plural which is kind of stunning. Oddly my dashboard shows three, but the official display shows two. I'm guessing that third awkward one is Tav heh.

Not sure how they found me or (being the modest chap I am) why they're following me, but welcome, welcome you mad, mad people ;-)

Some bad news

A call last night; Devil Child, The Artist's older daughter, is in hospital with pneumonia. Antibiotics knock down the fever, but so far when they stop them it returns.

The Artist is staying with her, but his wife can't because of the new addition; don't want to keep a new-born child hanging around a hospital. Again a disadvantage shared by the other side of the family when they decide to move so far away there's no ready-made baby-sitters.

Being the pattern seeking creatures that we are first thoughts have turned to the Tamiflu shot she had a couple of weeks ago when it was decided to inoculate the under fives. Personally I doubt it if as the antibiotics are working that suggests it's a bacterial infection rather than a viral. Then again a viral strain can lower defences against a bacterial one so... no I don't know.

Anyway looks like they've caught it early so here's hoping for the best.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time more reviewing

Yes more R&C, the Ratchet mission are split over various galaxies you can travel between with the next opening up after you complete the story missions in the current one. In between you get a Clank mission; it's a nice change of pace and you don't feel hemmed in by the story.

Mitton Street roadworks again

So the trip back last night wasn't fun there was a queue you don't expect when the schools are off, but on the other hand at least it was moving. As per usual the height of the island doesn't help with judging traffic add in all the extra cars doing a full circle around it when you couldn't tell if they were doing that or turning right and you get plenty of missed opportunities to get out. Of course so many weren't even indicating, but that's par of the course.

The angled cones at the junction still weren't of help, but oh gods what have they done now? Before you got into the right-hand lane and stuck to it until you got to the end when you split for Lion Hill and Vale Road; helpfully there was a set of cones with a blue arrow at the start and just to stop you thinking you could get back into the other lane another set of cones at the corner with another blue arrow - it was easy.

So of course they've changed it. Now you follow the arrow, and the car in front, into the right-hand lane then watch as the car moves back into the left lane (?) wonder why and cones! Yep they've decided to set up some cones in the right hand lane, just ya know without any warning. So you slalom down the road which slows everyone down. That may be the point, but it's a bit annoying to have force all the traffic down to 10mph in order to protect all the workers who aren't there.

Again this is what happens when you have one team to set up the cones and one team doing the work - all the cones need to go up regardless of whether work is actually being carried out at that point.

[Update - and now they've rightly bolloxed it up by keeping the lane closed, but allowing traffic from Gilgal back through - they haven't a clue have they?]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time - a quickie

I booted up R&C:ACT over the weekend just to have a try - 720p sigh, the graphics are pretty much the same as before; but there was one weird bit in the battle arena partnered with Quark where he looked cel-shaded; not sure if they cut the polygon count to allow for so many enemies.

The roadworks have started

Yup they've actually done as they said they would and have closed off the connection from Gilgal to Mitton Street, they actually did a good job - I drove through at the weekend and signs were up warning people, and this morning there was plenty of notice for traffic using the road.... ha yeah right as if.

No warnings and the sign telling you the road is closed is on the left-hand lane the one that a) everyone uses and b) Isn't closed.

[Update - Now I've been through it from the other direction. There's a sign on approach to the junction telling you the left-hand lane is closed in Mitton Street, so you turn to end up in the right-hand lane, but you can't because they've extended the block on the junction at an angle rather than as a straight line. That and the 10mph sign means everyone slowing down as they approach though thankfully not stopping dead.

So the entire left-hand lane is shut off and where are they working, right at the top near Lion Hill and what are they doing, they're digging up the same stuff that was put down during the Great Gilgal Closure of '09.]

Friday, February 12, 2010

The roadworks are on, no wait

Those with a good memory may recall that there was supposed to be a 10mph speed limit placed on High Street and that the road from Gilgal to the OGL island was set to be closed all in the middle of January. I say supposed to be because nothing happened.

So in the interests of keeping everyone well-informed this week's Shuttle pops up with notice of a 10mph speed limit and a closure; just not those.

The English language

I've said it before but it needs repeating - the English language is a right swine. With such an mish-mash of languages we not only have different words that mean the same thing, but different words that almost mean the same thing but not quite.

Google Earth and Flickr

Google Earth is a cracking bit of free software, but as expected by default it only shows pictures loaded up with its own Panoramio photo database. As I and so many use Flickr how to get those photos onto Google Earth.

Step forward Metal Toad Media and their KML feed, this use the geotag information in Flickr and loads them in as you scroll about. It works 'nuff said.

Budget 2010-11 consultation

This from Tav on the WFA which he's fisked in a fine manner. Yep as he says it's a 'look we're consulting with the public' exercise, but as you read the questions you realise they're not really asking any questions you can answer. I was going to take part, but oh look it closed today. Apparently it ran until today from the 15th January, and I'm going to hold my hands up and say mea culpa as it was noted in the Shuttle on the 25th with of course no links to it. Hey I can't see everything.

Windows Live having a laugh

Well I tried my email address again to register for Windows Live and it told me that it had already been registered, then it told me it was invalid; neat! So in the end I gave up and used a just to use Photosynth.

Turns out the photos I was going to use weren't as overlapped as I thought ah well at least I have it now.

The big joke is that this morning I received an email asking for feedback on how helpful they'd been in answering my problem. that would be Very Poor, No, and "No Response".

Let's see what happens.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

BioShock 2 first impressions

So as already stated I've turned off the guide arrow, and the helmet cam and the vita-chambers too. I may also turn off the adaptive help as well as it happily informed me that the guide arrow would show me where to go and that I can turn it off if I wanted to; um yeah beat you to it.

First off this is BioShock in tone and mood; the music's right, the splicers are right everything starts out where you left off you could happily complete the first game then turn to this with a minimum of fuss. Is that a good thing? Well when BioShock was so darned good yes.

Just common sense

Can't I go one day without seeing something that makes me lose faith in the human race? As I mentioned yesterday we had some snow, as it was cold it stuck around. When I left last night my car had a light covering. I switched on the engine and ran the heater while I stuck my gloves on and went to remove some of the snow from the side mirrors. I found out it had stuck almost ice-like.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yay? Snow

We had a couple of short sharp hits of sleet yesterday and around noon today a few flakes before they vanished. Now we have a comparative blizzard; yeah not an actual blizzard just really big flakes that makes it look like someone's switched on one of those foam machines; it's also sticking.

And now it's stopped, yeesh.

BioShock 2 Collectors Edition

My collectors edition arrived yesterday and I was eager to check its contents. Removing the thin layer of wrap allowed me to get to the actual box itself with the standard promotion/shelf information. Rather than a slip cover or box lid it's a flap box which I have to say I'm not as keen on. I find the point you open and close it tends to get creased, but this box is of a sturdy construction so that's not as much a worry as I'd normally have.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Overturned car

At the end of Hermitage Way near the Areley Common/Dunley Road junction an overturned car, and when I say overturned I mean on its roof and crushed. Other than its orientation what was odd was the scatterings around it - leaves for the most part. Both these things suggest to me that it came down the hill next to the road, yet there's no road up there for it to fall off and I didn't notice any broken trees.

Oh and no there was no-body about apart from three lads further up the road near Layamon Walk two heading down that way and one using a mobile as he crossed to the bus-stop.

The Police had already been notified, "On its roof? Silver?" They'd been told it was Windmill Road (?) I corrected that to Windmill Bank and pinpointed it to the correct actual road name.

Windows Live and reserved domains

A quick flick through Tav's Flickr page, other than reminding me to get some photos up, pulled a memory with his photo of the St Ambrose Church with regard to Microsoft's Photosynth tool. A quick gander and I thought "Hey I've got some sequences that might work well with that" so I downloaded the tool and that's where the fun began.

Postal service

There was a column in the Daily Express yesterday written by a reporter who received a letter addressed to Mr Gordon Brown PM, 10 Downing Street, London, W1; unsurprisingly she wasn't Mr Brown and although they lived at a number 10 not the number 10. This led her to express her frustration with the delivery system, how her kids get 10 out of 12 copies of National Geographic; how cheques don't turn up; how she gets post for other people.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Some minor roadworks

So they're digging up outside the old Shuttle office in Stourport again. Last time this happened it appeared on a Monday sat there for a week then vanished on a Friday with no apparent human interaction.

So far it's been the same.

On another minor note I see someone's filled in a pothole on a corner close by to me, but haven't filled in the one10ft further back on another corner on the same road. So they can shut down that road temporarily to fill one hole, but not the other?

Intelligence Test?

Yes another one of those links this time forwarded from DaBoss. Try it here, but before you do yet another reason I dislike such things.

One of the questions requires you to have knowledge of a sport not played extensively in this country. (4)
One of the questions requires you to have knowledge of the Christian religion. (10)
One of the questions is ambiguous as to whether it's discussing a physical object or an effect. (8)

and as a minor point one question muddles the affair by using a specific place, but should still be answerable if you ignore that point. (5)

Anyway passing over those three and they're not bad as questions. I got 9 DaBoss got 4.

Severn Trent Water The joy continues 3

So the meters have been properly assigned to buildings after the great cock-up, we had a credit note issued for the money we paid for the wrong building and all is well with the world. Then we get a letter through telling us they're shutting down the water as the property in question is vacant.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time a purchase

As I mentioned some time ago R&C seemed too expensive and indeed Game are still trying to flog it at £39/49.99 depending on what version you want. So imagine my surprise when I spotted Amazon selling it for £18. Well I still wanted to browse around so I popped it onto my Wish List and got on with other things.

Came back the next day and it had gone up to £26; um. So every morning I've popped on and seen what the price is; yesterday it fell back to £18 so I slammed it into the basket.

Amazon are good at notifying you at the basket if something in it has changed price, but it's still something to watch for if there's any delay between basket and purchase.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

iTunes yet again.

Well at least this time it didn't wipe out my library, but it did decide it wasn't going to play any videos and that if I tried to update to version 9.0.3 it would lock up and not allow a proper closure.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Kraft of Cadbury 2

Like so much we don't notice what's going on around us until it bites us in the arse. The latest release hot off the Press Association details what Cadbury workers think about the probably taken over Cadbury.

a law should now be introduced to prevent any more British "icons" being bought by a foreign firm

"We now want cast iron guarantees from Kraft about the future for workers, and we want the Government to act as guarantor..."

Um how?

Nicola Roberts and tanning gossipy

It's possible to see the BBC Breakfast interview here. Have to say not liking the hair in the report.

Just seems to scream both 80's and American Reporter to me. The one she sports on the sofa is better
Meh I think she just looks better with long hair, either way it's better than the dye jobs she had and what with the press always seeming to pick on her it's nice to see her confident enough to wear colours and make-up that suit her and not the ones that suit the other band members.

Buoyancy or Why do ships float

This topic was initiated by DaBoss with an apparently simple question - If I weigh X now and lose 10 pounds if I strap a 10 pound barbell to myself and go swimming will it be the same as not losing the weight?

It seems that the principles of buoyancy were something that was either not taught or quickly glossed over and forgotten.

Nicola Roberts and tanning

A minor snippet from BBC Breakfast this morning where they said they'd be talking to Nicola Roberts "of Girls Aloud" about an investigation into tanning she did for the BBC, because who'd care about Nicola Roberts investigative reporter?

Monday, February 01, 2010

BioShock 2

Yes yes, I've succumbed to temptation and ordered the Collector's Edition of BioShock 2 which means I'll get a vinyl LP as well as a CD copy of the music, three posters, and, most interesting to me, a hardcover copy of the art book. At least time they're doing it here in Europe last time we got nowt when everyone else got Big Daddy figurines, big surprise.

From the picture it also looks like you get the game itself in a standard DVD style case, which means I can take it out and leave it on it's own so as to play the game without having to open boxes and remove stuff to get at it, did you catch that "Batman: Arkham Asylum"? The ability to take the game out of the collector's box for separate storage rather than having to slide a cover off, open a box, remove a batarang and then dig out the open cardboard foldout so as to get the game. Seriously this is perhaps the one reason I haven't played this game as much as I would; it's such a chore to get at.

Now I don't normally do this, I wait until the demo is released and the critics have taken it apart. If it gets released without a demo, or before the print mags have a chance then there's a good chance it's not that great. But this is BioShock and it can do no wrong ;-)


Inspired by Orphi's PC experience with the game Psychonauts I decided to take on the PS2 version again; because for the most part it really is that fun. It does have its glitches though.


Yes that bugbear of mine again raises its ugly head from my visits to B&Q and Homebase. A quick stop off at Crossley Retail Park though. As I've mentioned the connection from the town side pavement to the Park leads straight into the car-park itself. If you head straight over to Curry's you're blocked by corner shrubbery, to the left parked cars running that way and to the right a set of parked cars running away from you. So you walk in the 'road'. People please two bollards to the left of the shrubbery and you'd be able to walk straight across at the expense of one car-parking space in exactly the same way as you've already done opposite Gods!


Ages ago my parents had the mantelpiece taken down from the chimney breast and had it wallpapered. At that point a new fireplace was meant to go in. Now they're looking for one.

This morning's traffic

Queueing up outside my house, queueing down Dunley Road, apparently queueing everywhere.

The word has it that traffic trying to get to Hartlebury couldn't make it and got stuck. This in turn led to blockages in both Stourport and Kidderminster; and of course Bewdley is as Bewdley is at the moment.

Talking to DaBoss the same was happening at the Holts and he was heading through Worcester.

Jim has just popped in to say his wife has been stuck on the A4133 from Ombersley to Droitwich for 2 hours. It's bumper-to-bumper unmoving.