Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The condemnation of Islam? Part 2

In Part 1 I provided a transcript of an interview spouting intolerance and hate purporting to be on behalf of the Islamic religion and tried to answer why we treat such radicals as representations of the whole. Here I want to try to answer a question posed by a newspaper editorial asking why when such attacks happen the media turns to the 'Muslim community' for answers.

The condemnation of Islam? Part 1

This is a transcript of an on-the-street interview between a Daybreak reporter and Anjem Choundary that took place Friday morning two days after the Woolwich attack (... indicate interruptions and speaking over each other) please forgive the punctuation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Kinect problem

Okay so it turns out I'm a prophet. Sadly this didn't mean a premonition of the winning lottery tickets, but almost 3 years ago I did point a potential issue about Microsoft's new Kinect system

"Also worth a mention those techy type shows such as The Big Bang Theory where the characters play on-screen with an XBox

Character: "Xbox: Channel 1"
Viewer: "... hey what just happened? I was watching that.""
Guess what happened to those people watching the live streaming of Microsoft's new XBox One reveal with built-in Kinect system?
Several viewers sporting 360s with connected Kinects discovered the device was responding to commands being spoken by Microsoft representatives during the live stream. Responses to the commands varied from the video being paused to the console itself being shut down.
Gosh how could anyone have possibly predicted that sort of thing could happen?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The end of console backwards compatability?

Microsoft have revealed their future console the boring titled "XBox One" which is only slightly more original than Sony's revealed (or more like hinted at) Playstation 4. What both platforms have in common (besides using Blu-ray, rechargeable and vibrational controllers etc.) is their lack of backwards compatibility. So what? The current Xbox360 will only play some old Xbox games and the backwards functionality was totally removed from the PS3 - what's the difference here? Architecture.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wyre Forest Councillors attendance

The Shuttle has printed the attendance record for our district councillors, two councillors don't appear for some reason (Paul Harrison and Adrian Sewell) and there are two caveats with regard to Tracey Onslow's Maternity leave and Jim Parish's heart problem, but the figures can still be analysed without that being too much of a hindrance.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The proposed change in GCSE grades

Ministers just can't help themselves can they? They talk about a radical overhaul of the GCSE grading system and all they mean is converting 2 or 3 levels of grade into 4. What a pointless exercise in futility.

They can't even work it out for themselves:

so that rather than having A*, A and B, you achieve 1, 2, 3, 4, and it might be the case that 1, 2, 3, 4 cover the band of achievement that is currently A* and A. 
So a 4 grade is a B wait no a 4 is an A-? Which makes a B a... B? The idea seems to be that greater differentiation at the top will allow better comparability between the 'high achievers' and between different exams. No it won't. It's simply adding two more grades into the system.

At the moment there's no way to tell the difference between a high A (missing out on an A*) and a low A (just beat a B). With this proposed system they'll be no way to tell the difference between a high 3 (just missed out on a 2) and a low 3 (just beat a 4). Perhaps we need some extra grading between those make it 1-6 instead of 1-4; and then 1-10 and then...

Or perhaps we could just abolish this entire notion of single grades and do something that would accurately reflect a person's score such as mark their position for that year. Much easier to say that Person A beat 94.65% of that year and person B beat 94.35% rather than just giving them both Grade 1's

It would even allow weighting for comparability with other years. Given the amount of statistics MPs have to look at and like to quote this approach should have been fairly obvious, but then again they only look at the statistics - they don't compile them or really need to understand them.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Basic PAYE Tools End of Year take 2

I had 'fun' at the end of the last financial year with HMRC's Basic PAYE Tools package, but with all the updates and feedback surely this time will be better?


I go through the checkboxes again and yes the P11s are done as is the P32. As before I leave one box unchecked and as before it complains that I haven't selected Yes or No for a completely different question that only has a "Yes" option - excellent start.

The software tells me that it this process will produce the P14s and P35 and on I continue.

At the first checklist - "Have you produced the P14s?"

Well no, the software has just told me that it will be producing them. Oo Catch-22 to continue and produce the P14s I need to confirm that I've produced the P14s.

One phone call later to someone helpful and it turns out that the paper copies of the P14 (which you shouldn't need as everything gets filed online) takes its data from the P11s so you can fill them in if you've completed the P11s, which has been done. When submitted online the programme generates the P14s needed for submission, but it won't produce something you can print out per se instead saving it as a CSV file.

So the P11s, P32 and P35 are produced in a format that the software offers me the chance to print, but the P14s aren't.

Oh well it's better than it was.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Allen invasion dream

Is there anything more boring than listening to someone else's dreams - reading about them perhaps :-)

As I've mentioned previously I normally don't recall my dreams unless ill; in those cases rather than fantastical they all seem to make sense with only one or two true oddities creeping in. In this instance it was just so damn detail-oriented.

I was at work with DaBoss and a large shadow passed overhead with an accompanying loud noise. I stepped outside with him and looked up to see a flying ship like an upside pyramid made of metal, the undersides of which were a set of individually moving plates rather than a seamless whole.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Worcestershire County Council 2013 results for Wyre Forest

The results are in and the first thing I see is that as per usual none of our elected representatives from the district managed to garner more than 50% of the vote in fact only two managed over a third. As turnout was also less than 50% in each ward we are once again in the position of having people in positions of power with about a quarter of the people stating that they wanting them there.

The biggest upset to the status quo has been the rise of UKIP who batted at the 20% mark and got some wins. Surprising was the fall of the Liberal (not Liberal Democrats) who normally do so well in the district elections only managed to get Fran in for St Chad's. Labour managed to claw in some votes, but seemed to be getting tied with ICHC and the aforementioned UKIP.

Unsurprisingly the Conservative party did well, but it's clear they lost votes to UKIP and ICHC

Full results with percentages below winners highlighted in colour

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Guilty until proven innocent - trial by media

With the capture of the Boston bombing suspects and the recent arrest of three more suspects various social media and news media have discussed the initial failure to read the suspect his Miranda Rights. What has been interesting to me is how many seem to feel that the suspect shouldn't have been treated until questioned, potentially even water-boarded and should be treated as a enemy combatant.

After all he perpetrated this monstrous act why should he have any rights or privileges. Because perhaps he didn't do it?