Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Biggest shopping day of the year?

Supposedly this is the rush day for shopping, at the same time it's supposedly the busiest day for the roads as everyone tries to get away. I'm trying to put those together and coming up with an "Eh?".

Comberton Hill gulls

Had to drop my mother off this morning in Kidderminster and had to go via Comberton Hill. What's with all the gulls swooping around the road. Had to slow down so as not to hit them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Darwin, God, Science, and Occam's Razor

A running stream of blog entries from Hugh over at the Shuttle is causing some discussion as always seems to be the way when science meets religion. As certain commonalities keep cropping up I think some basic grounding in science is necessary.

Assassin's Creed 2 pros and cons

First off no worries I still think this is a and much better than its predecessor, but I thought it would be handy to quickly list the things that made it better and the things that still need work; seeing as Ubisoft seems to be paying attention to such views.

Road rules once again

Okay let's try this again. The pretty sign with a number in it is a conditional maximum limit. That doesn't mean that if you travel at that speed it's 'safe' it depends on the conditions. That number has, normally, been determined by considering at what speed the majority of vehicles travelling in good light conditions, with good road conditions can safely do.

Given that it's dull and icy no-one should be travelling at that speed.

Likewise given said conditions vehicles should allow some extra distance between themselves as even though the main roads look clear you may not stop in quite the distance you might think.

Finally although it is dull it's not dark. If you want to put your side-lights on for reassurance feel free, but there's no need to put your full lights on. Unless you can't see without them on in which case you have much more troubling problems to contend with and probably shouldn't be driving at all. Sadly as far as I know there is no rule about lights except when you must have them turned on. So in theory you could (and I know some that do) drive around in broad daylight with them turned on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Assassin's Creed 2 first impressions

Having finished the first Assassin's Creed I turned to the sequel, was it going to be as slow and repetitive? Short answer - no. It seems Ubisoft have taken the negative criticisms to heart and produced a game I'm playing not just to find out what happens, but because it's fun to play.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Credit card security suggestions

As I've mentioned my credit card details were stolen and used in some online transactions. This led to a discussion about credit card security and what can be done to beef it up.


Caught a quick section on the local news, Wednesday I think, about the gritting being planned. The reporter told us that normally the grit is mixed with molasses to help it stick to the road, but this time they're not doing that because sugar is so expensive.

Who's paying for this, oh wait it's us. And if you asked us if we wanted the most efficient method of keeping traffic flowing and lowering the accident rate or the cheapest method which do you think we'd pick?

Yes there's a balance to be kept, but this isn't like cutting the hours on litter pickers this is life and death here. It's all very well for the police to ask for you only to drive "If necessary" yes keeping my job is necessary, keeping the country working is necessary. As for the call to use public transport, tell that to my cousin who's local service was cancelled. Gods you can almost guarantee that those coming out with these things are all based in London.

Finished Assassin's Creed

Yes at last I've finished Assassin's Creed for the PS3 and once again the game decides to throw me for a loop near the end. As I'd mentioned the informer missions had turned into both timed and stealth kills and now with the last target in my sights I find I can't kill them the same way I have all the others.

Stourport queue

Bit of a queue into Stourport this morning, a queue that promptly vanished once I got onto Vale Road and into the standard queue at Gilgal.

So what was causing it? Cars parked up the right-hand side of High Street as usual, narrowing the road down and preventing the traffic from moving as soon as any car tried to park on the left or a bus pulled into the stop.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stourport bridge one lane closed

Always nice to get forewarning of things like this. I can't think how I forgot this was happening what with the complete lack of signs up on the bridge and the fact this was posted to the newspaper four days after the latest edition had been distributed.

[Additional - the dumb thing is that I was reminded on the way into work by the large loader with tractor parked up in one of the roads; I just didn't connect it with the bridge work due to the lack of signage]

[Update it was finished by lunchtime and it was indeed what I thought it was - flattening out that dip I'd mentioned before]

Blu-ray players

As mentioned Pater and Mater have the HD television from Sainsbury's, but not a Blu-ray player. Mulling it over I mentioned to them the possibility of buying a PS3 Slim.

I'd forgotten how much they were - £245 for the 120Gb version, £270 for the 250Gb. With the BDP-S360 (the non-Sony centre version of my BDP-S363) at £130 it's a bit steep.

What does set the PS3 apart from my parents point of view is the wireless internet connection and browser. This means Dad can check/bid on or whatever without having to run upstairs and wait for the computer to boot. In other words use it the same way I do when I just want to quickly do something online. The other advantage is the direct link to the BBC iPlayer, hopefully at some point the other channels will catch on and make their players compatible.

Well it's not urgent might as well wait for a bit and see what happens.

Misfits E4

A bunch of kids on community service get caught in a freak storm and gain powers! How could I not watch this?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BT phone book getting thinner.

Just had the 09/10 BT phone book dropped through the door. Picked it up and thought "Hmm that seems thin". I've just compared it to the previous one 720 pages old version; 606 pages new version.

Broken down:

Frontspiece 1-10; 1-10
Classified 11-285; 11-189
Business 286-441; 190-334
Residential 442-716; 335-602
Endspiece 717-720; 603-606

With text remaining the same size for both. So roughly the same amount of businesses and residential numbers with roughly a third of the adverts pulled from the new one. Make of that what you will.

Assassin's Creed continued

I'm still ploughing through Assassin's Creed, I had a free half-hour so I tried to complete one mission. Now although you need only two information gatherings to be completed I try and do them all and too an extent this is where the repetitive nature creeps in.

Loading restrictions

There are times I wonder if any of the delivery drivers are actually aware of what those yellow lines at the side of the road mean? You know those single yellow lines on the kerb with the sign that says no loading/unloading between certain hours.

Hello Mr Boots Van parked up at 8:40 slightly offset from a bus-stop on a no loading restricted area; oh silly me it doesn't apply if you get there early. After all what are you supposed to do - cruise around until you can legally park?

Not helped, of course, by the fact I've never seen a warden around at this time. Now call me silly, but if you have time restrictions in an area would it not be an idea to occasionally see that if it's being complied with?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A new TV

Having checked out the Sainsbury's offer on the Sony Bravia 37W5500 I liaise with my family at lunch and they confirm they'll have one.

Stupid pedestrians

So there I am trying to get into the right-hand lane of Vale Road from High Street and as usual the lane is queued from Gilgal all the way back down.

Monday, December 14, 2009

DVLA telephone number

Just got a tax reminder for one of the cars at work, did it over the phone because I find it oddly easier than via the internet. Anyway dialed the number and got told "This number has changed to" a 0300 number. At least it put me through, but come on this reminder's only just been published.

For anyone thinking they're using up old forms, the section that gives the number is printed onto the form rather than being part of the form itself. I wonder if anyone's told those in charge of the printing methods that the number's changed?

Good old democracy

As mentioned (before the Shuttle I might add again) Jamie Shaw of Labour won a seat back onto the District Council. The Labour post here sums up the voting. The Wyre Forest DC page adds in 9 non-counted results.

So 1425 ballots from an electorate of 4603, of which the winner received 544. So that's 38% of the vote and 12% of the electorate vote. So 61% of those voting didn't want Jamie to win (1% leeway on non-counts) and 69% of the electorate didn't care who represented them at the district level.

Excellent [sigh]

Sainsbury's TV offer

While shredding my way through Sainsbury's I spotted near the entrance a stack of boxes with Sony on them. Obviously drawing my attention as my parents are looking for a television and no-one other than the Sony Centres seem to stock Sony. I took a closer look.

£599 for a 37" Sony Bravia. "Ah, must be the lower end model" I thought. 37W5500; that's the equivalent model I've got and at a price that's cheaper than I bought my 32", and still cheaper than the Sony Centre's 32" offering.

But you do you get the three year guarantee? Just checked Sainsbury's site and hah they're offering the 32W5500 at a cheaper price than the 32V5500 which isn't as good a spec; what's going on? Oh yes it does come with the Sony guarantee according to a comment.

A Christmas weekend

Pulled out a pair of shoes I hadn't worn in perhaps six months to head into Kidderminster, mum had spotted an offer at Aldi she wanted me to investigate. Drove in with no problem, walked along and felt a pulling sensation in my shoe.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Daily Express burglar letter typos

Caught a story in print of the 10-year old's letter to a caught burglar being made into a Christmas Card.

My Egg Card

Still no card yet, but did have a Sales Receipt from Currys dated the 7th for something I hadn't ordered being delivered to somewhere else other than to me.

Letter to the Shuttle - Stour Bridge

As mentioned in an update to my "Letter to the Shuttle" I had a reply from Clive Joyce that the work isn't going to be as bad as stated.

The obligiatory tutorial introduction for games

As games entered the mainstream and onto consoles it became ever more necessary to allow a simple just play style, which in turn led to the creation of the tutorial portion of games. After all why read a manual when actually doing it teaches you so much better?

By-election results

From what I understand the ICHC candidate won a place on the town council and Jamie Shaw won a place on the District council. So that's him on both town and district, should prove useful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Assassin's Creed

My GamerScore is getting some time off as I'm trying to complete Assassin's Creed, that is the original one, not the sequel.

Pingu 2

Just to show I'm not picking episodes that support my view of the bad habits displayed by the CBeebies programme "Pingu" here's a synopsis of today's offering.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Frame rate and Screen Tear

I realise that during reviews for games I mention the frame rate and any screen tear, but have yet to truly explain what that means. Time to change that.


Yes I've had a go at Martha Speaks, and now it's time to look at the preceding programme "Pingu".

An old friend

Wow it seems an old friend really has it in for Mitton Street and Lion Hill.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mathematics what is it good for?

A discussion with Hugh about Darwinism reminded me of something that happened with the Bratii over the weekend.

Egg on the Ball

A call from the Egg security team asking me to confirm security details. Um no I'll call you back.

Gadget Show naughtiness

A touch of naughtiness from Jason on last night's Gadget Show when discussing what the boys want for Christmas.

Letter to the Shuttle

Yet more roadworks

With Stourport returning to normal after the disruption caused by the work around Gilgal it's good to see that the powers that be have decided to inflict yet more pain for us in the same area. For those who missed the announcement it seems that the Stour Bridge will be closed for a week in the new year for resurfacing. Now while I have called for and agree that this area requires the work to be done some questions present themselves.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Stour Bridge closure

Jim pointed me to a notice in last week's Shuttle I'd missed regarding a temporary road closure. Thanking the ability to look at the digital version I examined it in more detail.

Dragon Age: Origins Warden's Keep

Having got the hang of the control system etc. I decided to create a new mage and replay my previous missions diverting slightly from my previous path to try my hand at the DLC Warden's Keep. I'm glad I did, but there were problems.


Just had a car blare its horn at me for daring to cut across it. Yep that's right I cut across them so I rightly get a blast.

Bratus Minor's Birthday

So we all trooped off up to see Bratus Minor and celebrate his 8th birthday

That hole at High Street

Well I said I had no idea why that hole had been dug at the end of High Street as there were no signs up. I was wrong there is one sign up - a small one facing away from the flow of traffic with E-on written on it. So it's electricity; except I've still seen no sign of anyone actually working there.

Acer Finale

Yes we did get the Acer back in the end on the Monday. As you might expect it didn't come with the invoice that arrived this weekend.

On the bottom of the invoice are the payment terms "Payment on receipt". Yeah see quotation is not request for payment, if it were you wouldn't need to put that on the invoice.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Severn Trent Water The joy continues 2

To recap - meters were changed and not identified. One of our properties was confused with another and a bill issued which we paid. Meters now sorted and identified. Meter for actual unit no longer exists so is cancelled.

80022A07 PS3 Trophy Error

Just as the trophy bar to the left doesn't update until I log in at so to does the trophy tally on my PS3 not update until I try to do something with the PSN network.

[Update 3/3- this page has been getting a lot of hits presumably due to the Big Glitch]

High Street works?

Having re-discovered the new location for the weekly roadworks report, I could now check on exactly what that hole at the connection between High Street and Vale Road is for.

Worcestershire Hub revamp

to Worcestershire Web Team

You hate me, you really hate me. I'd like to thank everyone at the Worcestershire Hub for making pretty much every direct link I have to your site useless.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Income Tax and National Insurance

Having mentioned the bankers' bonuses and tax implications I took a look at my tax spreadsheet and realised I hadn't created a new 09/10 set

RBS bonuses

So the latest news is that if the government tries to prevent the £25.5bn bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland from paying out £1.5bn in bonuses the board will quit.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins PS3 third impressions

Yes I'm still talking about this because it really is that big a game and there's so much tucked away into corners.

Idiots on the road

Perhaps we could create a bye-law that means anyone parking outside the Hollybush has to set up a notice of such next to Stour Lane?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins PS3 second impressions

As per my previous entry I took another stab at DA:O with particular reference to those items I found lacking.