Friday, October 29, 2010

York Street works

I had wondered Wednesday night why the no parking cones were arrayed down the left-hand side of York Street; on Thursday I found out. A roadworks to the right sign as you approach from Lion Hill, two large yellow signs telling us that the (unmarked) right-hand lane was closed, and cones further down to push us into the left.

They were digging up the pavement between the Chinese takeaway and the barbers and needed the space to allow pedestrians access. All well and good, but wouldn't it have been an idea to temporarily move the bus-stop that's directly opposite the works a bit further up the road?

Then again according to the report it's Electricity work that's only supposed to be for one day (yesterday).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The cause of the telephone outage

I did pop an email over to Clive at the Shuttle mentioning the outage yesterday as a possible story. It seems that BT are much more willing to keep the press informed as to what was going on than they do anyone else, though perhaps not to a degree of accuracy.

I called them up at roughly 3pm (the lines being out from around 2pm not 4pm) after ascertaining that it wasn't just our building and that it seemed to affect a much wider area.

I told them it wasn't just affecting us and that they may have a problem with the exchange yet their response - we can see no faults on the system, perhaps it's a fault at your end.

The actual cause - "technical problems in several exchanges".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dead lines

Here's an odd one - I just got back from lunch and the buildings telephone lines were dead. All the internal systems worked, just no outside dial tone. However here's the weird thing I plugged a test phone into the broadband line - no tone, yet the broadband is still working. I check over the road - they have a dial tone.

I return, we now have a dial tone. Oh good. Until I realise we can't make any calls out. Over the road can, we can't. On any of the three lines. Oh and anyone calling here seems to get "network busy".

[Update - Nope over the road can't call out, and trying to call local numbers from my mobile just bombs out. So it looks like the local exchange is out]

[Contacted someone on the other side of the river by mobile, their phone is out too.]

Forbidden Island review

Looking after the Bratii on Sunday I tried out a new game I'd bought "Forbidden Island" 2-4 players ages 10 up. It comes in a nice tin box about half the size of a 'standard' board game and takes up about a half-metre square to set-up so it doesn't need a lot of space.

The premise is that treasure seekers land on this island and need to find the four treasures and escape before the island sinks. So it's a co-operative rather than competitive game which is a damn good reason for trying to get the Bratii to play it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Adobe Acrobat printer spool

One of those automatic updates for Adobe Acrobat came down the line last week and failed to install properly with Vista locking up as it tried to work.

One restart later and I found that Acrobat thought it had the latest version and thus no updates were necessary. Hmm guess it worked then, certainly opened everything up okay.

Nope. Yesterday I went to turn a spreadsheet into a PDF and found the printer was gone. There's no way to install it so I had to head into the Control Panel and do a repair. Off it chortled in the background while I carried on with other work. As some information was needed to takeaway I hit print to send it to the local printer and received the message that there were no printers installed.

Yep in order to repair itself and re-install the printer driver Acrobat had to turn off the printer service. As the repair involved downloading things this meant I had to wait for over five minutes for it to do its thing.

What on earth is the need to stop the printer service just to add or remove a printer?

Teaching the kids

Watched this morning as a women tried to drag six kids and push a seventh across the three lanes of Vale Road. Out into the queue of the third lane (the sun is out and low) she went and peered around the vehicles to see the other two lanes.

So we go to all the trouble to teach children to always cross where they can see clearly, where it's safe etc. and then undermine it all by pulling stunts like this. And before anyone thinks I'm just criticising the generation under me, I watch those of my generation and those above me (who really should know better) doing the same thing.

Sure sometimes the road layout stinks and the local council in their wisdom has positioned crossing points in areas that prevent you seeing what's coming; but that doesn't excuse all of it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beyond science

Over at the Shuttle on Hugh's blogs there's been discussion about science or to be precise at what point does science stop. I mentioned there the table/stool point - what's the difference between the two? If I sit on a table does it become a stool? In other words things that cannot be empirically dissected. I also mentioned the uncanny valley where the features of Homer Simpson seem more 'realistic' than the most sophisticated computer generated image.

In than vein here are the latest benchmarks from 3DMark that use cutting edge technology to render two scenes - a jungle temple and underwater exploration. They look great, but I doubt anyone watching them would mistake it for reality or even a filmed sequence. Why not?

Science provides a framework in which to function, yet some things don't quite slot in and just sticks out the side; left hanging there. It's possible we may find the connecting pieces, it's possible there are no connecting pieces, but if we just launch ourselves off without a tether it's meaningless.

Hot Fuzz review

Yes it's an old film now, but I'd read the Simon Pegg interview in the Radio Times regarding "Burke and Hare" and thought "I fancy watching Hot Fuzz" so I did.

It 'd be easy to categorise this (and Shaun of the Dead) as a spoof; that'd be wrong. The spoof seems to take the clichés of its target and exaggerates them to absurd proportions to make them funny. This takes the clichés of action films and plants them in the soil of reality which makes them funny. It's not a spoof, it's a tribute.

Microsoft telephone scam

Just had a phone call from my father. He'd just had a call from a foreign-accented person (with office noises in the background) claiming to be from Microsoft. They were worried about some corrupted files he'd downloaded to his computer. He put the phone down on them.

My mother had a similar call last month where they discussed "your computer" and she replied "which one?" to which the reply was "your computer" so she put the phone down.

Now this call came on their land-line, the computer is on a different line. So if this was a legitimate call they'd have to have the IP address of the computer; then contact the ISP; who would then pass along the contact address of my parents (the contact number the ISP have is my mobile and the computer line isn't listed) and then have to look them up in the phonebook.

Chances of Microsoft doing that level of pro-active support - zero.

If this happens to you DON'T do anything they tell you to. This is simply a cold-calling scam based on the high possibility of the household having both a Windows OS PC and an internet connection.

If you're unsure (or are genuinely expecting a call back) ask for a number to call them back on - a scammer won't give one.

This applies to ANYONE who is posing as an official. Readers may recall me mentioning a call from a financial institute asking to answer security questions to confirm MY identity. "How have I confirmed your identity?" I asked. They gave me a number to call back on and I checked it out on their website.

A contradiction for cuts

The news is in, the cuts made and our local Council Master Leader has mentioned the "tough choices" that need to be taken.

I won't go into details about the cuts, but the austerity levels this is bringing in. Okay by itself tough, but understandable. Except at the same time recovery is based on an increase in the number of jobs and people still spending money. So we're cutting back on everything while at the same wanting people to spend more?

Has anyone other than multi-millionaires actually examined this plan?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I hate Minecraft

For those not in the know Minecraft is a free limited Java programme that runs in your browser, or is also available as a non-limited pay version both in single and multi-player modes.

The free version works only in 'construction mode' whereby you roam about a world of blocky graphics that wouldn't look out of place on a Sega Megadrive. For this version there are no objectives, no goals - you simply left click to destroy a block that is targeted with your cursor, or right click to place a block. There are various block types and some have different properties.

Why do I hate it? Because it's such a time-sink. I gave it a go just to see what all the fuss was about and I'm now in the middle of constructing my own Mayanish temple complex

Complete with internal pool and raised 'fountain'
Not to mention the concealed tunnels that weave about the place.

My next 'job' is my interconnected spiral tower. Damnit!

500,000 job losses

That's the figure plastered on the front of most of the newspapers this morning - 500,000 to be made unemployed. Except the source for this, being the accidental reveal of a set of papers, states 490,000. I suppose that doesn't make for such an impressive headline though.

One could ask how this is supposed to improve things? Public servants tend to have decent contracts which means having to pay them off, I understand they still have their pension plan, and now they may also be entitled to unemployment benefit.

So money out, future money out, and short term money out while the state receives no labour from them. I just hope the long-term gains justify this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fly-tipping 2

Oh dear has Chloe outgrown her bed? Good job you dumped in down here then in your nice white van last Friday around half seven at night.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Paprika Pringles are not dead!

Paprika Pringles are life! to paraphrase Big Tony from "Mystery Men". Yep Kidderminster Morrisons have them in at a 2 for £3 offer - fly my winged monkeys; fly!

As a bonus if you fancy either "The Losers" or "Fanboys" on DVD/Blu-ray they're also doing a free T-shirt offer for both while stocks last.

Paprika Pringles and two free T-shirts? I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop

Friday, October 15, 2010


Hello there how are you? Me? Oh I'm fine I've just been working up a sweat over the last hour moving your fly-tipped crap from outside one of our properties to the empty skip less than 50 yards away.

How's your daughter Chloe? Or is at a granddaughter or niece? I'm sure she wasn't happy to lose that nice pink chair with her name on it, or that pink watch, or that pull along buggy that made such a charming noise as I dropped it into our skip.

Oh well never mind I'm sure she enjoyed the potatoes, but obviously couldn't eat them all what with you having to leave half a bag behind. Perhaps she didn't want a full stomach - did she help in pulling out that gate, trellis and fence posts? I hope you gave her some sturdy gloves what with all those rusty nails sticking out at odd angles - ouchy :-)

Never mind eh I'm sure she loved ripping up all that rough felt - mmm sandpapery; what little girl wouldn't love that?

Well I just thought I'd let you know it's all clear now so if you want to come back to add some more please do - it's always a delight to see your happy smiling face on the CCTV cameras we have set-up around the place; well the police at least seemed happy to watch it.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

World transfixed

World transfixed by miners rescue was a headline in a major paper. Well let's see - yesterday morning I turned to BBC news and saw the live feed from Chile; I then turned to ITV and saw the live feed from Chile; I then turned to... well you get the point. This morning it seems every national newspaper has this as their top story and every news channel keeps returning to it.

Out of curiosity is it possible to tell the difference between the world being transfixed and the media being transfixed?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vista burning CDs

Shows you how long it's been since I've had to burn a data CD in Vista. DaBoss needed some photos burned using his laptop; I popped in a blank CD, left the title as the date and showed him how to drag the files from Gallery onto the disc (Hey Microsoft a "Send to CD" would be handy here).

He happily got on with that, and then started complaining it was taking too long. Hmm it's burning as it's going why is it doing that. Oh shit it's Microsoft Vista's wonderful Live File System. I forgot about that.

Yep by default throwing any burnable disc at Vista defaults to using LFS which tries to treat the disc as a hard drive, being able to just add and delete without the 'hassle' of having to remember to burn it at the end. This is great except a) it can be very slow when burning b) it takes an age for the disc to be read again once you insert it, c) that's assuming whatever you're trying to read it with can actually read it.

Now I won't begrudge the system in that for beginners it makes sense and allows them to treat it as they do everything else. Except for those of us who understand how these discs work the option to switch the format is the nondescript "More info" tab on the pop-up. Forget to do it and you're stuffed. Oh at least you can set the universal "Mastered" format as the default - oh wait no you can't it always defaults to LFS and you have to change it every single time.

Given that the chances are people burning CDs in this way are to give to other people; what's the reasoning behind making the default burn option one that only works with a select range of products rather than the one that works with everything. At least ask rather than hide the option.

Car-parking FOI

Neil's kindly sent me through the results of the FOI he sent to WFDC regarding the car-parking situation. I'll try to summarise the points.

Spend, Spend, Spend?

"In these economic times" is becoming a ubiquitous phrase normally used in conjunction with "rationalisation". With this debt hanging over the country the answer, according to our Coalition Overlords is to cut spending. This makes sense - increase efficiency, stop spending money we don't have and reduce this £772 billion money mountain.

Okay so that's public debt, the money the country owes, what about private debt? This stands at around £1.4 trillion so the same arguments should be applied even more so; shouldn't they? Well no rather than advising its citizens to cut down on luxuries, pick up the economy versions of food, and downsize their homes etc. instead we're told we should spend as normal if not more.

The difference is that private debt generates more money - the interest you owe goes to businesses as profit, which in turn means more tax the government can grab, means more money paid to employees which in turn means more money in circulation which flows around the country more. Public debt generates nothing for us and is whisked straight out of the country. Well that's the theory.

In practice, the flow has seized up. To pay back a debt you need to charge more for goods/services, in order to afford those goods/services you need more money; so you need to charge more for goods/services. With debts being reneged on the banks are less likely to take risks and loan out money; better to just invest in the stock or currencies markets which does nothing to aid the circulation of money.

So is there still an argument to cut public spending - not really. Make it more efficient yes, but that doesn't necessarily equate to spending less. Here's an example from Wyre Forest's latest statement of accounts on page 25 we learn that the amount of income from Local Tax Collection was £8,993k, but it cost £9,691k to collect. In other words we could have saved £698k by simply not collecting taxes?

On the same page we see that Housing benefit made a profit £27,233k out with £27,319k in except the next line is Housing benefit administration £592k out £420k in. So it cost £86k to hand out benefits?

It spent £107k in Tourism, but only received £5k back. So we should stop spending on these things? No because the money is spread around - only £5k came directly back, but the boost in tourism meant shops staying open, making more money hiring more staff and paying more back to the government who passes it down to the area.

So spending cuts hurt everyone, but getting more for your money's worth helps everyone.

Monday, October 11, 2010

PS3 Insurance

So hopefully the penultimate update - Total Console Repair declared my PS3 totally phut on Tuesday 5th; or at least declared such to my insurers Allianz. No-one seemed interested in telling me.

I gave them until today to say something and then contacted them. Apparently they've notified Game (where I originally bought my console) and I'll be getting a gift card for the full amount from their head office as I'd already passed on my receipt details to them (heck they didn't even ask for a fax copy of it) . Now if they have them in stock the PS3-320Gb with Move is less than £300 - I paid more than £300 for my PS3 :-)

Better yet with my 320Gb hard drive back I might be able to buy the cheaper 160Gb and just switch disks and spend the money towards something else; such as Fallout: Las Vegas or Force Unleashed II or even this Move thing as part of a bundle ;-)

Ya know I hope they're still doing the extended warranty; £50 layout for a £300+ return ain't shabby.

Chewie's first birthday

The Artist's youngest daughter's birthday meant a family celebration. They arrived first and I took Devil Child out in a vain hope to tire her out a little before food. Out into the wood, where we had to be quiet because of the witch, apparently. This was soon forgotten as she picked the path to take, or to be precise asked me which path we should take before declaring our direction. A little overgrown in parts which meant lifting her up to my shoulder and then having to duck as well; she enjoyed that. Me I'm getting too old and creaky :-P

A near hit

Hello to the driver of the low black sports car who mouthed off at me this morning for daring to cross your lane as I turned right. May I point out that I was moving before you managed to turn the approaching corner, and that due to the twist in the queue of traffic and your own low vehicle I couldn't see you approach.

Of course this meant you wouldn't have seen me either as such may I suggest you slow down. Had you been travelling at an appropriate speed for the conditions there would have been no problem.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Where's the beauty?

With the proposal for the new single site looking like a cross between a business and residential block have we lost the spark in producing structures that actually look good?

You tell me. This story uses the phrase "beauty spot" three times while depicting a bridge that looks like someone's dropped a metal girder onto four concrete cylinders then fastened some wood to the side of it. I mean sure the original was washed away so you need something substantial, but come on can't you at least disguise things a little.


The last paragraph of Tav's summary of the meeting got me thinking

Jim said that councillors do all they can in the background and within the political arena, but the residents, through apathy, let the cause down.
Why? Both why is apathy the norm and why is this different? I'm just going to throw things together so don't expect any thing too coherent (not that you ever should)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

At least just try to look pretty

I've oft lamented over how newspapers deal with statistics and science, now let's turn to politics. Now as with the subjects I've already mentioned I think we'd all agree that it's best to have someone who at least has some knowledge of the subject covering such matters. However with the juggernaut that is 24-hour news it seems to be a case of grabbing whoever's currently at the top of the pole and shoving them out there.

Famous people shouldn't be deported

A huge outcry has appeared in the tabloids about the plans to deport someone who has appeared on television. The mother of X-Factor reject Gamu Ngazana has been refused permission to stay in the UK after her visa expired in August; as she is listed as a dependent this would also see Gamu herself being deported.

Crowds have gathered around her home in Clackmannanshire to show support to the family in their bid to stay in the UK all united in the fact that Gamu had appeared on some television show with famous people.

A random spokesman said "It is quite clear from the reaction of the press that Ms. Ngazana is famous and thus normal rules do not apply to either her or her family at least until such time that the press decides that it's unfair that the normal rules don't seem to apply to her."

Ms Ngazana has appeared in the press prior to this for being rejected from said television show while being under the influence of being black.

The FlipC diet

Not too long ago after a nasty bout of something my weight and waist size jumped upwards. As for years my svelte figure has provoked many a comment of "Don't worry you'll soon get a gut just like me" from jealous relatives I thought age had finally kicked in. However previous to my upset I'd altered my diet slightly to be more healthy. I'd cut out sugar, ate fruit etc now for various reasons I've slowly switched back to something akin to my previous eating habits and the result - in one month I've lost the stone and two inches around my waist that had been added and I've been steady at that level for the last two.

Want to know what I did? Just click on my Paypal link and send.... heh nah I'm too nice for that. So here's my diet.

Don't eat in the hour after you wake up. Drinking's fine; I don't think I'd last without a coffee.
Don't eat in the hour before you go to bed. Again drinking is fine, but no carbonated beverages.
Don't eat or drink any fermentable item in the evening - no fruit, no juice; nothing like that.

Other than that I eat what I want as I choose. I still eat sweets, crisps, and the odd tipple when I need it (like last night bloody outlook). I'm sleeping better, feeling less bloated, and as mentioned maintaining a steady weight and waist size.

Would this work for everyone - I doubt it; but it's simple enough to give it a go for any who want to.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Sync up with MobileMe on the laptop and it seems fine, sync up with the computer and it overwrites the contacts, then creates a new calendar and wipes the old one.

Try to reset it and it fouls up Outlook on the computer and loses the calendars entirely on MobileMe. Then it decides it can't sync the laptop calendar and the computer Outlook won't start.

Everything's just seriously fouled up.

I'm going to run the scanpst file and remove MobileMe and reinstall it and see what happens.

[Update - Yep errors detected, but Outlook still wouldn't run until I totally killed MobileMe. Now it's up and running and I'm merging data; so let's just see what happens to the MobileMe Calendar and the laptop calendar]

[Update - Huzzah after creating a calendar called "Calendar" on MobileMe it and the laptop are talking; now I'm going to replace the data on the computer with MobileMe and hope it doesn't create another calendar like it did last time. To see if it works I've added a Test appointment in the past. If it shows up on the computer it works again]

[Update 7/10 - Well after leaving it all night it's finally settled down. A folder and appointment on the computer showed up on MobileMe and an appointment on the laptop showed up on the computer. As it stands I can't test the iPhone; but all information exists on the MobilMe cloud so it should be fine]

Outlook 2007 message store full

DaBoss brings his laptop in with a problem. He can't receive any mail as his message store is full. Now I know that prior to OL2007 there was a limit of 2Gb, but that was supposedly removed in the latest version.

I check the message store and it hits me. He updated from OL2000 and in its infinite wisdom it kept the same format for the file.

Oh well it should be easy to turn one into the other right? Wrong. The only way to sort this is to create another store and then import the old store into it. Well fine and done; except we're using MobileMe so now with a new store it thinks that everything in both the calendar and contacts are new so it's wiping out all the 'duplicates' and replacing them.

As MobileMe isn't dependant on the status of Outlook that means it's trying to do this while I'm trying to sort everything out. In the end I switch off the wireless just so I can get on with the job.

As an aside I remove Outlook Connector as it's no longer required. It removes itself and then Outlook throws a fit because it's trying to connect to an account that no longer has a store; so I have to remove the account manually.


Oh and while I'm at it I'm sorting out the pathetic AutoArchive system that deals with things by just dumping them into one big store currently sitting at over 3Gb. Come on why can't it archive by year or something?

Beyond economical repair

Checking in on the status of my PS3 I nearly had a heart-attack to see it no longer appeared. One call later and I'm told that it was declared unrepairable yesterday and that they'd informed my insurers.

"So you're sending it back then?"
"No, we don't send it back"
"But what about my hard drive"
"Well if you put into another PS3 it'll just re-format"
"Yes I know, but it's my hard drive a 320Gb"
"Oh a 320Gb, I didn't realise. I'll call down to let them know. Oh to send it back will cost £7 in carriage"

Excuse me - I send you my console, you can't fix it, and you want to charge me for sending it or part of it back.

[Update - Their reply was that they asked for the PS3 as bought i.e. with the original 60Gb hard-drive; except technically that means you're not sending them the broken console. Oh and it seems I won't get back either the AV lead or the controller; glad I gave them the old one now.]

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Counting cars

Normally when I drive past Vale Road car-park of a morning it's reasonably full maybe three-quarters of the 70-odd spaces. On Friday the day the charges came into effect I counted 12. On Monday I counted 5; today 0, none, nada, zip.

So the council have gone to having no revenue generated by Vale Road to having no revenue generated by Vale Road. The big difference being where is everyone parking? I'm betting Severn Road at least is kind of full.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Milage rates

While the big rumble is the car-parks and the new Tesco looming on the horizon there are smaller blips going on that may remain un-noticed having little to do with the public at large.

No opinions allowed

Let me extend a hypothetical situation. Imagine one of those groups you see quoted in the papers, let's say an independent group that monitors religious activity, produced a report that areas with a high number of religious institutions also had the largest number of violent crimes.

Now imagine I took that report and wrote an article headlined "Religions promote violence" and in said article I took the report and used it as an attack on religion, that it should be abolished, outlawed, etc. etc.

Now imagine that yourself as the free-thinking individual that you are pointed out that my views were a little extreme, could act as propaganda to radical atheists, and that such ideas had been mooted and acted on in the past (and present) by various totalitarian dictators.

Congratulations you've just found yourself in a libel case. Oh not started by me, but by the group that produced the paper. They're claiming you've linked them with totalitarian regimes which is a detriment to their reputation.

Does this all sound insane? Well take a look at this. Yep Sally made comments regarding an article in a paper and now is being sued by the group that wrote the report that the article was based on. As always seems to occur in these instances I doubt anyone linked Sally's remarks to the report until the writers brought it to everyone's attention.

So remember if you state that any such articles produced by a newspaper are in any way 'excessive' you could be defaming the writers of the original report and they might sic their legal team on to you.

Need my fix

With my PS3 away for the third time I've been getting antsy when bored at home. Sure I can read a book, or watch a film, but that doesn't satisfy the activity centred parts of my brain. So I dug out my PS2.

Three years ago it started having disc read errors on some discs; at the time I thought I'd wait until it failed completely then pick up a PS3. Then Sony dropped the bombshell that they were stripping out the already borked PS2 compatibility from the next models so I dug deep and grabbed one of the older models while I could.

With that in hand it made no sense to keep my PS2 plugged in; but me being me I thought it prudent to keep it around lest my PS3 prove not up to the task with the older games. So back into the original box it went, sealed up and popped it away.

During that period I passed on my SCART connector and controller to Bratus Minor so I had to locate my non-Sony controller and the old Yellow/White/Red AV input. Plugged it all in, switched the input on my TV and checked the settings.

As I've said it's been powered off for three years. The clock was 10 minutes fast. That's impressive. Sadly without the upscaling provided by the PS3 it looks very blocky and it doesn't handle 16:9 very well, but it's enough to scratch an itch. I sorted my old memory cards and pumped my way through Rez and then gave Psi-Ops another blast. Still good games. Only a shame my old light-gun games won't work as they should with an LCD; then again they did give me finger-cramp.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Car-park Order alterations

So between the copy presented to the cabinet and the copy that was finalised what were the changes?

This is the difference between the draft copy as presented to Cabinet (not the one presented with the original order) and the finalised version that no-one got to see until it was brought in.

Long table here. Price decrease in Green, price increase in Yellow, Woah in Red, removals and additions marked as red text.

Incident on the Stour Bridge

For anyone looking at all the traffic trapped in Stourport and queueing back from the lights in Vale Road we have a car stopped on the Stour bridge with a police car behind it and two officers directing traffic around it.

Applause is due to the blue pick-up coming out of Baldwin Road who upon seeing the blockage decided to cut through the petrol station despite the fact they could see that the exit was blocked by the Gilgal traffic. Beeping your horn does not suddenly give the cars magical powers of movement.

Oh and just to add joy none of this was aided by the hearse outside the church blocking lane 3 of Vale Road.

Science story template

From the Guardian well done; and rather scary how accurate it is.

Goldilocks planet

And once again we see the term Goldilocks planet pop up in the news with the discovery of Gliese 581g; it's right in the "habitable zone" not too hot, not too cold, but just right to support life.

[Sigh] I did this back in October and April of 2007. There's no such thing as a habitable zone; there are simply conditions in which life as we know it may have an opportunity to appear. So you need water in liquid form and energy - hey how about Europa where it's postulated that under the ice crust is a liquid ocean and energy can come from volcanic type activity. Is that in the "habitable zone" nope it's orbiting Jupiter.

I mean sure look for Earth-like planets just don't use out-dated terminology to describe them.

Car parking charges

Yes this is still rumbling on, but in this case I want to expand a point I made regarding how it costs 50p for two hours in Kidderminster, but 70p in Stourport and £1 in Bewdley. You have a set scale charge:

half-hour - Free
1 hour - £50p
2 hours - £1
3 hours - £2
4 hours - £3
Over 4 hours : £4

You then apply the required time scales to the car-park in question. So for Vale Road where there's a balance between short term and long-term you cross out the half-hour and the 3 and 4 hour tariffs leaving

1 hour - £50p
2 hours - £1
Over 4 hours : £4

For a short-term such as Raven Street:

half-hour - Free
1 hour - £50p
2 hours - £1

Now you know exactly how much it will cost in any car-park in the district and if the length of time you want to spend there isn't shown you shouldn't be parking there. From the council's point of view set boards can be created and the non-applying charges covered, and they can influence parking flow by assigning each tariff to a relevant car-park and easily change and shift them to suit requirements. Anyone see any flaws?