Friday, November 22, 2013

Eye operation

After some eye troubles at the weekend I was booked into Kidderminster hospital with a detached retina in one eye. The operation apparently went well but for the next couple of weeks I'm pretty much blind in that eye.

Hopefully the jobcentre will accept "can barely read or write" as a good reason die not pursuing jobs as diligently as normal

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The joys of the job hunt - an open letter to politicians

I have now been unemployed for 3 months, by the rhetoric of most government  politicians I am some sort of lazy soul who simply isn't looking hard enough as such let me elucidate those who have never had to look for a job in their lives (i.e. most government politicians) or deal with the many ways of searching for one.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The problem with shift work

Huzzah unemployment is down with less young people signed on and there are more private sector jobs being created every day. Proof, if proof were need, that the Conservative economic policies are working. Really?

Take the new apprenticeship scheme, a government funded package aimed at 16-19 year olds and pays half the minimum wage. Anyone think they count towards the unemployment figures?

But what about all these jobs? Awesome except most are part-time shift work. There's nothing wrong with shift work, however there does seem to be a problem with employers who offer it.

I'm not talking about the government's current "gosh we must do something about this" zero hour contacts, but something more insidious.

Three tales to tell that were simply offered to me with no pushing, I'll start with the shortest I've already told in another entry.

A gentleman working morning shifts applies for extra work doing afternoon shifts elsewhere, the new company expects him to quit his morning job.

A young mother working at a food retailer drops her children at school, works her shift, collects her children, goes back to work more. She's told she's not "committing enough" and is fired.

A lady workng for a different food retailer on an 8-hour week is told which days she'll be working 4-hours for, is called up at various times to cover other shifts. If she can't "there are plenty of other people who can".

A part-time job that doesn't offer enough to live on and excludes the ability to get another complimentary part-time job.

That's what this government is crowing about.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Job seeking - the Conservative Party conference 2013

The headline news this morning was the multi-million trust-fund owner and tax-break giver George Osbourne stating that they'll be no money for nothing under their administration. They're going to make the long-term unemployed do community work.

What I find annoying anything about this is that they're partially right, but due to their indulgent background and rigid dogma they're doing it wrong.

First up is the non-explicitly stated, but easily-inferred, assumption that these people can't get jobs because they're lazy so let me tell you a tale.

A friend of mine works part-time and, coincidentally, also does voluntary community work. He was looking to supplement his earnings with another part-time job that complimented his existing employment. He applies for suitable positions and gets asked: "So you'll be giving up your other part-time job then?".

Why this question? Because they don't just want him to work the stipulated hours they want to be able to whistle and have him run.

Take my position - I've 20 years of IT and office admin experience and I can't get a job. Why? Well I saw one company advertising for an Admin post, an IT post, a Marketing post and for a PA. No that wasn't four jobs, that was one job combining skills that don't normally go together. I've applied for jobs that turn out to be nothing like what's been advertised and for ones in which I've been deemed too old and/or overskilled.

If it's a choice between employing someone young that you're not legally obliged to pay as much as someone older; or someone with no skills (or long-term unemployed) who has to take whatever shit the job shovels at them who would you take?

Yet according to good old George this is all our own fault. But is there a way around this, possibly.

Consider the local councils creating two 4-hour shifts a day over the whole week. Someone doing three shifts for the ~£70 a week in benefit would be on minimum wage. Given that technically they're already paid by the government why not work for the government?

As the local councils are already cutting staff etc. it's not really going to affect full-time staff and may require more managerial positions to oversee the 'community' workers. At the same time we'll see a reduction in litter, graffiti as well as tidier verges etc.

Except that's not going to happen as that would be an expansion of government over private enterprise. Far better to make people work for free for privately hived off services and charities than for the public sector.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bioshock Infinite - Lady Comstock 1999 mode

I'm playing through Bioshock Infinite at the moment and trying it on the hardest difficulty setting 1999'
s mode.

It's not been too bad until I reached Lady Comstock, oh boy.

The graveyard encounter was okay thanks to the numerous medkits around. The bank encounter was made easier by staying behind a thick vault door. But outside the house was a major pain in the proverbial.

I checked various sites, watched videos and so many went with the run and hide technique that proved dicey. It was the bank encounter that provided me with the clue to a method that allowed me to win without once needing health.

Lady Comstock is restricted to her movements, she cannot step beyond the carts at the bottom of the steps. Except the dead soldiers she revives can. Ah but she can only revive and re-revive soldiers within her range. Getting the idea?

Head to the area with the machines and use the range boosted vigour "Undertow" to grab soldiers then kill them. If you run out of salts stay put and you only need to deal with the few melee soldiers before Elizabeth will throw you some.  Use the Mosquito to whittle things down.

Once all the soldiers are piled up at your feet just let the Mosquito take her out.

Job done

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


In 2011 I noted that Christmas now started in October because of all the "[holiday] starts earlier every year" comments.

September 11th and Christmas stuff is now out, yeesh

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Weights without scales

I have a 1kg box of moss killer I need to mix it at 120g per 10 litres. I have no scales.

1. Assume the box is full. It measures 6x13x21 cm or 1638 cm3
2. I need 0.12 of a box or 196.56 cm3
3. I have a roughly cylindrical jug of diameter 12.5 cm
4. The bottom of the jug therefore has an area of 122.71 cm2
5. I therefore need to fill the jug to the 1.6 cm line

Or I could just go and buy some scales, but where's the fun in that?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bus journeys

As mentioned previously due to the lack of parking at my training facility I've been having to catch the bus into Kidderminster from Stourport, it's been a while since I've had to do this for an extended period and it's led me to note a few things.

There are no return tickets anymore.

It used to be I'd travel in and then just want to return. I'd ask for a return and get a ticket that was punched to prevent reuse. Now I get an "Adult Day Saver" that gives me a whole day of being able to travel around on the bus.

Except I don't want to, and I doubt anyone who uses the bus to commute does either. I'd love to see the figures for how many of these tickets get used more than once.

Competition doesn't work

It should. Unlike trains that need to leave a massive gap between them there's nothing to stop buses following each other, it's the lack of information that renders this useless.

There are two main franchises in my area Diamond and Whittles, a day ticket with Diamond costs £2.60, with Whittles it's £2.30. They both arrive at my stop approximately 5 minutes apart. So if the Diamond arrives first I should decline it and wait for the Whittles.

However I have no information as to whether the Whittles service is running or even if I've just missed it, given the timeframes involved if I have to wait for the next 'cycle' I may only just make it in on time. I therefore pick the first to arrive.

However having done so I am now tied to that company, my day saver ticket is not redeemable with the other franchise.

Bus companies do not like day saver passengers.

Waiting to return with my Diamond ticket the correct Diamond service arrived, this was closely followed by the equivalent Whittles who upon seeing the Diamond was already there simply drove past. Had I a Whittles ticket I'd have been stuck.

Buses always have right of way

At least according to their drivers anyway. The route I was on always took me past the new council building. I've watched several times as the bus I was on pulled out to overtake a parked car while there was an oncoming vehicle, I've watched them pull out into traffic without indicating, I've watched them pull over without indicating. They've switched lanes on islands with no acknowledgment of traffic on either their left or right and pulled out onto said islands when they clearly haven't enough time.

All this in the certain knowledge that they are big and the other vehicle will stop.

Week tickets are a con for business use

If I were working a standard week catching the Whittles bus it would cost me £2.30*5 or £11.50. A week ticket costs £12. Supposedly though this would work with either company so some benefit there.

All the rolling stock is different

How hard is it to make a bus? It's a box with seats, yet I've not been on two alike. Some have more jump seats at the front, some have two levels, some have three levels. All have poles and bells at different places.

There are some benefits

For example the ability to take in your surroundings. Most notably driving past that massive overgrown concrete slab opposite the new council building that might well be ideal to turn into a Traveller site housing caravans. Odd that I don't recall seeing that as being one of the potential sites.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Training over

A week's worth of training over and I pray to gods that the accrediting body involved has nothing to do with the education of this country's children.

"It is i--------t that employees keep their workplaces c-----"
That should be "important" and "clean" rather than "importantt" and "clean-" oh so many of those.

A whole morning being told that something is the responsibility of both employer and employee and the multiple-choice question asks who is responsible? The answer, of course, being the employer, contradicting everything in the teaching materials.

The teaching material listed three statistics regarding a subject and then had a question regarding a fourth unmentioned one.

One module explained the acronym SMARTER another related module then asked what the acronym SMART meant, the ER being suddenly deemed unimportant.

The course was also obviously designed as a company aid as we were constantly being exhorted to explain how things were done in our "company"; a little difficult in a group of the unemployed.

Amusingly the actual teaching of the course was fine, though on occasion it did rattle through a bit too quickly. In group round-robin events the next task would often be described as the last member was just finishing their turn.

That all said I did learn a few new things, just not that much, and hopefully I'll get some pretty pieces of paper out of it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Training Day

Ah the opportunity to learn new skills and gain qualifications. It all promises to be so fun and them devolves into endless PowerPoint presentations. Well at least mine wasn't like that although rather simplistic questions to answer with only a little learning so far.

The main problem I had was with the initial organisation. Contrary times on the documentation, a singular instruction with two options, and zero information on access our structure until I and the others turned up.

[Bit I missed - got back home to a letter thanking me for my intention to attend the training]

There's no parking for trainees, we're expected to park our cars all day on the pay and display at about £4 a time, actually I lie we're expected to take public transport for which we can claim the money back. That's great for me provided they don't start digging up outside the old British Sugar site past which 90% of the buses travel. So I cadged a lift in and took the bus back, only to find no bloody roadworks. Bet they'll start tomorrow when I do try to catch the bus in. Oh but can I get a return before 9am? Never used to be able to, but with all the competition has that changed? Either that or a week card.

So with no idea as to catering, so many places kick you out, I brought nothing with the determination to grab a burger and drink and ready outside in the fine weather.

Since when did a cup of coffee cost more than the actual meal? Yeesh! Given my proximity I thought it would be nice to sit by the canal. Ha yeah right take my pick from the zero number of seating areas arrayed along the wide grass verges. I ended up propped against a bridge wall.

It's just a joke if this were Stourport I'd be spoiled for choice as to where I could eat my lunch from pretty much any location in town. Kidderminster's a hell hole.

Either sit in the hot confines of a café or restaurant, a bench in the middle of the busy town, or just try to make do. It's not designed for people to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Hello your computer has a trojan

A phone call in the middle of eating asking about my computer and that it was infected by a trojan horse and could I get in front of my computer

"No it's not" I replied "How did you get this number?"
"It came up a part of the server report"
"No how did you connect my IP address to this number?" Given that my land line doesn't have broadband and isn't even with the same company
"You've registered this number"
"With whom? Also as it's a dynamic address the only easy you could connect it up is via my ISP whom you have not mentioned"
"It's part of the server report"
"What server?"
"The World Wide Web server"
"There's no such thing, who are you what company are you from?"
"As I said the World Wide Web"
"There's no such entity"
"So what does www mean on the Internet?"
"That's just an address protocol it's not an entity it's not a company, who are you?"
"I think you should just hang up sir"
"Why don't you?"
"I can't"

I'm still around

Wow has it really been that long since I've published anything? Okay there's been a lot going on which has kept me busy, I resigned from my job so I've been job hunting and jumping through hoops for the job centre. More to come

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wyre Forest by-elections - the blame game

Not the best of times for UKIP. With two members elected to the Worcestershire County Council within the Wyre Forest district one resigns due to comments they made on Facebook and the other dies. That means two new elections and while anyone's death is not a pleasant occurrence it's possible to learn from this experience regarding cost and blame for the by-elections.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Video game expiry dates and the second hand market

The new XBone will tie your game to your account so that if you lend the disc or (bom bom bah) actually want to sell it on; the person on the receiving end may have to pay full price once they stick into their system. It appears to be Microsoft's answer to both a) piracy and b) the scourge of the second-hand market.

If they can't force you to buy everything from their digital store where they can charge what they like and keep it at that price in perpetuity they can damn well stop the physical used market dead in it's tracks.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Tax avoidance

Still popping up in the news are the tales of the big UK companies who barely pay any of the 20% corporation tax on their profits; nothing new their. What did catch my eye were those trying to justify it.

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?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The stupidity of Barclays Banking forms

I've just had to fill in a details form for a third-party mandate on a business bank account and got stuck quite quickly due to the atrocious wording being presented to me, try this for yourself:

Friday, April 26, 2013

In love with Lidl

Lidl's the cheap store, the one that I was told was "filled with chavs and gypos" (at least around here) that you only go to if you're desperate and every other store is shut and then only maybe; and I love it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

County Council elections 2013

It's the county council elections next week, but something's missing. We've got the battle bus, the  leafleting/canvassing and the pro-Con bleatings in blogs;. but where's all the rhetoric and finger-pointing in the letters page of our local newspaper? Normally at this time we've a member (or candidate) for Party A blowing their own trumpet over something they've done while at the same time Party B is highlighting the failures of Party A and how they'd be so much better at sorting things out.

But it's all gone quiet.

Have they all finally grown-up? Have they realised that the general public see through this transparent politicing; or has the Shuttle got a new policy on such blatancy?

Whatever the reason it's quite refreshing. It also means I can do something a little odd and ask "What does the county council actually do?"

Monday, April 22, 2013

ICO and the waterfall

My previous dealt with why ICO as an escort mission works, although the order is out this started out about one particular mission - the Waterfall. I don't think anyone playing through ICO for the first time has ever 'got' the waterfall section the first time around and what doesn't help is that nearly ever walkthrough gets this wrong.

ICO and the escort mission

I've finally got around to playing the remastered version of ICO; does it hold up after all this time... yes. Emphatically yes; sure some of the wall textures are a little blurry at times and the controls are reminiscent of Resident Evil, but the core of the game remains pure - that of an escort mission.

Don't run away I know what you're thinking "But the escort mission in games is the part that sucks the most; a whole game that's an escort mission - no way!" Let me explain why escort missions suck and why oddly enough Ico doesn't.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Comparing laptops and why it's not the brand that matters

A friend is looking to buy a new laptop and as the guru I was asked my opinion; I'm always happy to help but dealing with laptops can now end up a lot like dealing with questions along the lines of "Exactly why does my beef lasagne contain horsemeat?"

The order that I notice people evaluate laptops by is Brand, Spec, Physical Appearance, but in reality it should be the opposite and here's why.

Why you need to look at your electricity bills

Another vacated property means another electricity bill. The trick on their part is that as we're out of contract they can bill us the massive out-of-contract rates until it gets finalised. In this instance being charged 20p per kWh for both night and day rates.

The first bill arrives post contract. It's been estimated that this empty unit used 100 night units @20p and 400 day units @20p as well as 50 night units at the new contract price of 10p and 400 day units at the new price of 15p.

Nuh-uh we used 50 night units and 300 day units. A new invoice is sent and we're credited out 100 night units @10p and 500 day units @15p. Can you see the flaw?

We were charged for the 50 night units we used at 20p (£10)* and then an additional 50@20p and 50@10p (£15 total) and credited 100@10p (£10)

We were charged for the 100 day units we used at 20p (£20) and then an additional 300@20p and 400@15p (£120) and credited 700@15p (£105)

Or £30 over

At least when I pointed this out they instantly saw it and another new invoice is on its way. Given the way Electricity Suppliers change prices mid-invoice I do wonder how many in the same situation would  just note the credit and think it okay.

*although some of those might have fallen into the new period

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Priorities in news

The continued hagiography on the news channels of Margaret Thatcher while covering the preparations for her funeral this morning led me to more channel flipping.

BBC, ITV and Sky - Margaret Thatcher, and the bombing in Boston that killed 3 people.
 Al Jazeera and RT - The bombing in Boston that killed 3 people, the bombing in Pakistan that killed 17, the 7.8 earthquake in Iran that killed "dozens"; the riots in Venezuela that have left at least 7 dead.

Always good to see how our news media assesses priority.

Never learn lessons about Highways

I published a post in February about the three-way lights set-up in Dunley Road, how being manually controlled meant there was no requirement for them; how they could work well provided that those in control were monitoring the end with the majority of the traffic. Well guess what they've just set-up on Dunley Road? Another three way set of lights. Not in the same place I might add, and not even in the same circumstances - it's worse.

In this instance the third part is at Areley Lane a barely used carriageway. The controlling lights once again however are just at the end of this so the situation is identical, but with even less traffic to monitor at the third point. Amusingly (or not) lights had already been placed at exactly this same point - two sets of lights and everything worked with no problem. Not content with making the delays longer the contractors monitor the controls from only the Areley end and as they're positioned on a bend they can't see the either of the other two exits without walking around to take a look.

That's fine in the morning when that's the way most of the traffic flows, but in an evening.... well let's just say that the 3.5 queue mile running through the town last night demonstrated how well that worked.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ban this filth? Ding dong!

In the wake of Baroness Thatcher's death the song "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" is topping the UK download charts. As a service to its listeners the BBC plays the songs currently in the chart. The Daily Mail is foaming at the mouth over this.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

FeministFrequency vs Thunderf00t

As part of my viewing schedule I was pointed to the first video in FeministFrequency's new series Tropes vs Women in Video Games entitled "Damsel in Distress" this prompted a response from the blogger Thunderf00t called "Feminism versus Facts". Oh me oh my this is the "Understanding is a three edged sword" type of conflict. Both can be accused of viewing things through their own belief systems and drawing the conclusions they want, but is one more 'right' than the other?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The continuing coverage of the death of Baroness Thatcher

Obviously not paying attention to the Daily Mash's guide; the media is still flogging tins of Asda cornbeef. What has been interesting is playing compare and contrast to both 'sides' of the what did you think of Thatcher debate.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The death of Baroness Thatcher

Between the extremes of paens from and the purile "Ding Dong the witch is dead"'s; is it possible to examine the policies enacted during Baroness Thatcher's term of office?

Relative temperature or why do some things feel colder than others?

With snow falling it's time to turn up the heating; except wait a minute why do we need to do that? If you have thermostatically controlled heating it will switch off when it reaches a certain temperature regardless of what it is outside. Sure you can turn it up to make it heat up quicker; but once the heater switches off the temperature now should be the same as yesterday. So why is it colder?

Friday, April 05, 2013

Gotta love Outlook compacting

I've already done a bit on the most efficient way of reducing the size of Outlook files looking at how insane the compaction method is, but let me bring that home with some real figures.

I've a main PST file and an archive PST file. I need to do some archiving so I compact them both. They are both fully compact and can be shrunk no further. I now transfer some of the data from one to the other and the archive PST file increases by 180Mb. What do you think would happen if I tried to compact the archive file?

If you answered nothing as I've obviously just transferred some fully compacted data you obviously don't work for Microsoft. The answer is I remove another 70Mb of data. So only 100Mb was actually there? What was the other 80Mb that was supposedly already compacted? Who knows. So what happens if I compact my original file from which I removed 180Mb of (supposedly) compacted data?

It decreases my 160Mb.

So removing 180Mb of data allows me to reduce my file size by 160Mb, but there was only really 100Mb worth of information there.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Stourport Total is now an Esso

Drove past this morning and they were taking down the sign at the Total garage in Stourport; drove past again and it's now an Esso.

If I got this right the independent at Dunley is now a Total; the Total in Stourport is now an Esso; the Esso that was next to the Shell is now a block of retirement apartments and the Shell is still a Shell. Shell that was next to the Esso in Vale Road is now a block of retirement apartments and the Esso in Vale Road is still there. So two Essos in Stourport. Wheeee!

All in all ready for the Tesco and its petrol station... whenever any of that's going to arrive

Hate Crimes

A quick blip from the news this morning that Greater Manchester Police will now include attacks on goths, emos etc. as "hate crimes". Cue the a Torygraph blog entry "Isn't 'hate crime' against goths and punks just old-fashioned yobbery?" Playing the card hand of the "where do we stop?" and "how will [those it was originally] designed to protect, feel".

Should beating up a random person be treated as the same as beating someone up because they appear to be a member of a particular subculture? Oh and no I'm not using his term of "youth subculture" as this has the implications that the adherents will 'grow out of it'.

If someone targets goths in particular how is that any different from targeting Asians? The argument he presents is that goths etc. can change whereas you can't change your skin colour. Is that how hate crime should be defined - targeting a person due to a trait intrinsic to that person?

If that's the case how is telling goths to change their appearance so they won't be beaten up any different from telling homosexuals not to 'act gay' in public to avoid the same repercussions? Should we be instructing Polish immigrants that they should stop speaking Polish in public otherwise it's their own fault for being attacked?

What Mr Freeman seems to not understand is that those who hate a group are more likely to look for and try to beat up members of that group rather than get involved in the type of random dust-up he provides as an example. Of course beating someone up just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time shouldn't be treated as somehow 'better' than attacking someone due to their clothing, but it does send a strong message that actions towards the 'different-to-me' won't be tolerated.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Can Negative Equity be a good thing?

Negative Equity seems to be the bête noire of a certain newspaper - anytime house prices start to drop out pops the headline of "millions in negative equity trap" by itself this wouldn't be a problem; except that for some strange reason politicians and a fair chunk of the population seem to believe what they're saying.

So what is negative equity and why is it such a concern?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Road Closure, but where?

Once again it sesms our County Highways department are provided only the vaguest of information regarding road closures. Earlier this month traffic was being turned away from Hartlebury Road by a "Road Ahead Closed" sign despite the fact that it was quite possible to continue up to at least Millfields Drive and Wilden Lane.

They did eventually put up a sign about a shop way further up still being open, but I bet those on Wilden Lane weren't exactly chuffed.

Now it's the turn of the A4025 upon which a sign has appeared once again stating that the road ahead will be closed from the 10 April for 6 days. So again at what point will it be closed? Will it be possible to reach the Common, Cook's Garden Centre, Sandy Lane Industrial Estate, Chadwick Bank etc.?

How many people heading to Cook's etc. will take the diversion and find themselves on the wrong side of the works?

I swear those setting these things out have no little to no comprehension of how people actually use the roads they're shutting down. Actually I've just confirmed that because as of this moment they don't know where the work is going to be carried out.


[Update - hah the sign has now been removed. Either it's been moved to a more appropriate place (but the entrance to a road with no major exits is the right place); they've cancelled the work; or they'll suddenly reappear with a more descriptive message]

[Update 2 - They've cancelled the work]

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Does the press need to be regulated?

What with all the wrong-doings being levied at the press it would seem to be an odd question to ask whether the industry requires regulation, however given the exact nature of the wrongdoings it's rather more pertinent that it first appears.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Worcester Parking Charge confusion

I've just been told a tale of parking at night in Worcester. It seems in a least one car-park (Copenhagen Street) the charges have been altered for a particular period. For 1 hour the charge is £1.20, but for the period 7pm-9pm the charge is only £1.00.

So if you arrive between 6pm and 7pm and wish to use the car-park until 9pm how much do you pay?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mathematical puzzles

Some of dreams still follow logic in this case I was present at a quiz evening in which the following questions were asked and I was roped into answering them, which I did so while still dreaming. Upon awakening I jotted them all down.

I have no idea where the first question and answer came from; the second is a variant on a different puzzle and the third from a magic book I read aged 12.

Problem 1: An airport owner has 7 airports, each offers a direct flight to the other and the owner wishes a diagram that shows this. Show all the direct flights using only four lines. Oh and drawing a line from airport 1 to airport 3 that passes through airport 2 is not 'one line' it's two, because it doesn't show the direct flight from 1-3.

Problem 2: Take a cube (six sides, square faces) and a tetrahedron (4 sides, triangular faces) and connect a face of the former to the latter so all sides and corners of the faces meet.

Problem 3: Make a hole in an A4 sheet of paper large enough for an adult human to pass through.

Solutions to follow; have fun.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A new Pope and why live events fail

I did end up watching the Papal announcement ceremony if only because it came on straight after Eggheads.

Lot's of guards in razor helmets that I wouldn't want to be headbutted by. Someone in a parade who seemed to be running late and had to run in position and some guard commander fussily directing his troops into straight lines. At which point absolutely nothing happened.

Cue a load of whaffle from the commentators. At one point they started contemplating what a potential candidate would do if they were elected and what name they might take rolling through all the traditional names and then someone brilliantly stated that "Of course John Paul the first was a new name". Really no shit John Paul the first was the first person to take that name; I'd have put money on it being John Paul the second.

The cameras weren't controlled by the BBC so we had a lot of crowd shots and an amusing "crowds as far as the eye can see" as we watched the traffic roll past behind the crowds. A quick chat to some Italians who, oddly enough, were hoping for an Italian to win. Then a loud cheer for no reason until we were informed that the lights had gone on in the room next to the balcony, the room we couldn't see due to the camera still being fixated on the crowds. Oh I did have some fun trying to translate the inscription on the façade as it whipped past as they focussed on the balcony; caught the date of 1612, but who was pontiff at the time? Then caught PAVLVSV following APOSTOL...

Then out tottered some guy who looked like they'd dragged him out of a nice cosy coffin to speak some Latin. I actually heard the name Jorge Mario and the taken name of Francis, but didn't grasp it as it wasn't one of the top contenders listed in yesterday's paper.

Then the commentators woke up, presumably after a "Who the hell is that?" moment and the breaking news banner became 'Jorge Bergoglio named' while the scrolling banner beneath assured us that the new pontiff would be named soon.

Then out he tottered with a younger guy helping him forward and I switched off.

But 76 though, seriously a whole 2 years younger than the guy who resigned? Don't they ever learn... oh wait no, no they don't.

Google service cuts

Hmm so iGoogle will be going at the end of the year and now Google Reader will be departing in July. Given that I have no use for Google+ and redirect gMail to the address I actually want to use I'm wondering exactly why Google should be my start up page any more?

I've now switched over to Feedly which happily imported my feeds and seems easy enough to use and has more features.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Fountain Inn, Tenbury - review

I had a Mother's Day dinner at the Fountain Inn at Tenbury with a family group. Obviously a special menu set, but how was it? Sadly I didn't get a chance to photograph the menu so I need to run from memory on the items I didn't have

Educating for life not for work

I read an interesting piece in Sunday's Independent from Tom Hodgkinson entitled "Education needn't be so geared towards jobs" Annoyingly there are some areas I agree with, but talk about missing a big point.

The Ancient Greek word schole, which turned into our word for school, meant leisure, and the art of cultivating one's leisure was of central importance to the culture of Ancient Athens
In the Middle Ages, the basic liberal education was invented by the Greeks, became known as the trivium and offered the three liberal arts of grammar, logic and rhetoric.
Well yes it appears Tom doesn't realise the people at that time kept slaves and/or vassals.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Human Reaction

I woke up to news that the Police were increasing the number of patrols on buses in the wake of the stabbing of a 16-year old. This seems a case of horses an stable doors, but in fact makes sense with the telling phrase "to reassure commuters" and that's because we're a strange species

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Unknown BAFTA

Did you watch the BAFTA's; difficult to miss I suppose - red carpet coverage, award-winner speeches, post-party coverage and then the next day front-page headlines and analysis in all the papers. What do you mean I'm a bit late? Did you think I was talking about the Film awards that happened on the 10th of February? Oh and no I don't have a crystal ball to watch the Television awards that will happen on the 12th of May. I'm talking about the Game awards that occurred last night.

What awards? Well yeah exactly.

PS3 Hard drive failure?

Oh what fun! After my backup drive (that contains my PS3 save data) failed now it appears the hard-drive in my PS3 has gone the same way. At least I managed to snag the save files onto a different drive before this happened.

Anyhow there I was trying to play Dragon's Dogma and it kept freezing, to the extent that even holding the power button did nothing and it required a full power off at the socket. Then finally it rebooted to tell me the file system was corrupt and needed checking. 100% later and it failed to reboot nor would it power off. Repeat, repeat. Enter Safe Mode look to rebuild the PS3 database, Preparing... and nothing.

Fortunately I've still my hard-drive from my previous defunct YLOD PS3 which happens to be exactly the same size. Now all I need is the time and daylight to switch them over and see what happens.

Update - Well the good news is my PS3 appears to be working. The bad news is that neither of the non-destructive techniques worked so I had to do a full restore to factory defaults.

Heh Borderlands 2's initial load is faster now. As of yet I've not tried Dragon's Dogma. I'll give it a week with B2 then try Kingdoms of Amalur if all seems healthy I'll install DD and if it falls over again at that point I'll know where blame can most likely be placed.

Two hours to sync my trophies though; yeesh!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Back to the Future I timeline - anomalies

Cracked have posted one of their amusing video's regarding a flaw with the first Back to the Future. Of course there are several, but the flaw they point out took me some time to understand. In the end I laid it out as follows.

We start with the original timeline and its inhabitants that I'll refer to using a subscript OT. In this timeline DocOT hits his head invents the flux capacitor, and build the time machine. MartyOT watches his father GeorgeOT being picked on by BiffOT and hears about how his mother LorraineOT fell in love with his father after being hit by her father's car. Now things get fun.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Backups and Archives - knowing the difference

This entry resulted due to the failure of one of my home backup drives
"Oh one of my backup drives failed"
"One? Why do you have more than one?"
"Because otherwise it wouldn't be a backup"

In the most simple of terms if you have a computer you probably want to make sure the data on it is safe. Cloud backup is fine, but they tend to have limitations and upload speeds aren't the same as download speeds as anyone trying to upload a video to YouTube has probably discovered.

For such things, and for peace of mind, a local external and portable hard drive is a good option; particularly given how cheap they are nowadays.

With disk plugged in data is copied across either by manually picking and choosing or by letting the Operating System run its own backup software. All done the user can now retire safe in the knowledge that if anything happens to the computer the data can still be retrieved. Or not.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An accelerating universe

As mentioned I'm re-reading the Infinite Book and one topic that came up was with regards to the expansion of the universe. The logic presented in simple fashion goes like this:

The universe initially expanded (accelerated), however with no additional force gravity should 'instantly' start to cause everything to collapse.

In everyday terms if I throw a ball into the air as soon as the initial force of my hand is removed and the ball leaves my hand gravity takes over and 'removes' that force from the ball; until there's none left and the only force remaining is gravity and down comes the ball.

Looking at the universe parts are accelerating. That's like throwing a ball in the air and having its speed increase. Explanations are many and the book seems to settle on dark energy/dark matter etc. which are gravitationally repulsive. Spit-balling I threw some other concepts together and asked what if the acceleration is an illusion?

The missing money - hotel room problem

I'm re-reading The Infinite Book by John D Barrow at the moment; a little dry in places; a bit too much theology and some badly placed diagrams in relation to the accompanying text, but still an interesting read. One of the quotes used is a famous puzzle paradox involving people staying in a room. I'll paraphrase here, but you can check Scopes for a full set of details.

3 people stay in one room at a hotel. It costs $30 so they each pay $10. The hotel accidentally forgot to take a discount into account - the room should only have cost $25. The manager hands $5 to a bellhop to return to the guests. The bellhop, who hasn't been tipped, decides to take $2 out of the $5 and returns $1 each to the guests.

Each guest has paid $9 for the room totalling $27; the bellhop has $2 so where's the remaining $1?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nitpicky language

I've been watching BBC's the Great British Menu in bulk 5, episodes at a time. Amazing how much rubbish can be removed - I've turned 2.5 hrs into 1.5 by fast-forwarding through the "this is what we're doing this year"'s the "and these are all the ingredients I'll be using"'s and the "and this is how how chefs did something regarding this year's brief"'s. Oh and the format's still a mess given the supposed goal, but I'll stop digressing.

Last week we had the North East; or Nor Feast as it was called. I've no problem with accents switching "th" for "f" or droppin' end sounds, they're simply diverse sounds and one is really no 'better' than another, but the question that kept being asked was

"Do you think this is a dish what will make the judges laugh?"
Ouch. Try this "Do you know what is wrong with that sentence?". Both "Do" and "What" are questioning terms and I can split my query into "What is wrong with that sentence? Do you know?". Now try it with the chef's question "What will make the judges laugh? Do you think this is a dish?" Nonsensical. It could be saved by "What will make the judges laugh? Do you think this is such a dish?". But that's not really what the question was about. The chef was not asking what will make the judges laugh only if this was a dish that could cause them to do so. It wasn't two questions it was merely one presented in an inaccurate form.

Yes, yes regionalism, but it's sloppy, causes an upset to my English parsing, and is unnecessary.

Oh I suppose it could have been worse; he could have been asking "Do you think this is a dish what you could make perfect for a hundred guests?"

All surprises today

The news has been so unpredictable today - first up is Nick Clegg denying that there was a cover-up over sexual misconduct. Personally I thought he was going to stand up and declare that he'd known all about this and did his best to make sure no-one else would.

The Academy award winners were also a big surprise. For the award to "Best film that makes America look great against evil foreigners" was a toss-up between the two French films and two films that made parts of America look bad and Argo. Best Pretentious Method Actor in a serious American film was also a toughie, but ended up going to the most pretentious method actor in a serious film.

Best actress in a serious role dealing with serious issues looked like it was going to Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty except that had nasty bits in it that made the good guys look kinda bad so they switched to the serious film dealing with serious issues that didn't and thus Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Actress in an uncomfortable role went to the prostitute Anne Hathway for pretending to be French; and Most famous person singing a song went to the most famous person to sing a song for a movie.

All in all a total shock

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bedroom Tax mess

It's been kicking around for some time, but a story in the Shuttle shows the sheer idiocy of the government's "under-occupancy" benefit reduction commonly referred to as "bedroom tax". A disabled man uses the spare bedroom for his dialysis machine yet may face a cut as it's an unoccupied bedroom and thus lose his home.

How truly screwed-up is this plan? I'll go through it point by point.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Still beating that dead horse

And don't the elitists just crawl out of the woodwork; how many seem to be popping up with thinly veiled comments that people who buy the cheap meat pretty much deserve what happened. The most hilarious was a small inside editorial/opinion piece in last week's "i" paper. According to the author we're all really only upset about this because it's horse meat; he then goes down the route of 'if dogs were as big as cows and cows were the size of digs we'd be tucking into dog and walking cows around on leads'.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Comicbooks in classrooms

Watching the BBC Breakfast this morning and discussions on P.E. (which is a whole other topic) and while discussing the issue of untrained teachers and improper equipment someone stated that they "wouldn't have comics to teach literacy" and I thought "Why not?".

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three way traffic light analysis

The road-works at Dunley Road in Stourport have switched back to three-way traffic lights; however it appears they're being properly manned this time. The joke in this instance is that the fact they're being manned means the redundancy of having three sets of lights. Allow me to explain.

Monday, February 11, 2013

This horse keeps running

So as I suggested we're going to primarily try to blame the supplier; who happens to be Romanian which no doubt will please certain political parties. Oh, but of course there's more to it than that. We can't just accept some blunder along the supply chain; hell we can't even seem to accept a bit of dodginess; nope we're going for full-out Criminal Conspiracy no doubt undertaken by criminal masterminds. So hey no-one at our end to blame, it must have been a highly complex laid out scheme... yeah.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Gay marriage vote - wlll the real bigots please stand up.

Seriously is this some sort of test? 'No I don't think same-sex couples should be allowed to refer to their union as a marriage nor should they be allowed to have religious trappings at their ceremony' Um why not?

From the Shuttle we sadly learn that our very own MP is voting against this proposition because

"As a broad indication of the responses I have had - and I have had about 300 letters on this - those against equal marriages outnumber those in favour by about 100 to one"
He also happily gets into a muddle with
"I suspect that I share the views of many people across Wyre Forest on this subject. It is not something that people seem to be clamouring for. I have made no secret that this is something that I am broadly neutral on."
"While most people seem ambivalent about the issue of same sex marriage, those who do have an opinion feel passionately about it. They are very concerned about the implications."
In other words I should listen to the shouty people because they're shouty. You do realise how laws work in this country? They're negative, so you can do anything unless the law says you can't. So by continuing a negative law stating that such partnerships can't be called marriage etc. you're not being neutral; you're condoning the existing state.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Twitter pics of Stourport

Had a trip down to the river at the weekend, took some photos and thought to tweet them. Six times in various ways and they would not go through. Bang all went through this morning. So wither a glitch at their end; or a glitch at mine. I'll try again later in similar circumstances and see what happens this time.


Friday, February 01, 2013

Argentina saying no to democracy?

With talks over the Falklands up pops the news that Argentina won't have any discussions if the current inhabitants are present; Britain on the other hand is insisting they be able to participate. So that's Argentina determining that the current population shouldn't be have any say in their own future - nice one.

So that's a big +1 in Democracy to Britain. Or at least it would be if we all didn't know the only reason we want them there is because they're all pro-British. If they'd suddenly turned pro-Argentina we'd be the ones trying to keep them out with Argentina insisting on their presence.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When the logical road solution isn't always the right one.

Water pipe replacement work is being carried on in Stourport at the moment necessitating a set of controlled traffic lights to allow traffic through as these sit at a three-way junction it would seem logical to put up a set of three way traffic lights. Instead a set of two-way were placed at the junction itself; yesterday they were switched out for a three-way set and this morning back to a two-way. The question is why?

Welfare Cash Cards

It's good to see an MP introducing a "Welfare Cash Card" system simply to look for the reactions in the House.

The 'right' seem to stumble caught between their own policies of reduced government interference and their vote-grabbing rhetoric of demonising of welfare recipients. The 'left' take the reflexive stance of evil 'right'; while those supposedly in the middle scratch their heads and wait to be told what to think.

What appears to be missing is how exactly it's supposed to work and once again highlights our current masters' lack of technological knowledge or implementation.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mathematics - bases taught in schools?

After my post regarding the new methods of multiplication and division I recalled an incident with the Bratii over the holiday period. As is often the case the entire family were discussing various topics one of which was Imperial vs. Metric measurements. My father was complaining regarding news and quiz questions that used the 'new' methods on the grounds that "no-one can understand them" this was quickly dismissed by presenting the point that it was not everyone merely himself and that this generation and the next would have no difficulty in imaging a "plume of dust 3km high". Also that this was far better for school work due to the reliance on base10 which was also used for basic mathematics. A point reinforced when I asked ho many feet there were in a mile and he came back with 1760 (which is yards) and then had to multiply by 3 in his head to provide an answer.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gridding and Chunking the new maths multiplication and division

Either it's a slow news day or a producer at the BBC has finally come across the new method of multiplication and division now being taught in schools. Either way in a feat of sheer brilliance they decided to explain it to parents by cramming in a short session before the local news at 8:30; you know when parents are out dropping their kids off at school. Due to the short session they also did a poor job of explaining it; or to be precise why these new methods are being taught and why they might be better in the long run.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The difference between deficit, debt, and borrowing

I was amused last night by the Conservative Party Political broadcast; there they were happily citing figures of much better they've made the economy. Unemployment is down, more jobs have been created etc. I'll deal with that in another entry. For this post I'll deal with their claim that they've reduced the deficit, for the record it's perfectly true, but I think there are some out there who don't quite grasp what the deficit actually is particular those shown in the broadcast. I also think it's in the best interests of all the political parties that people don't understand it either. To hopefully remedy that here's a simple explanation.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The EU referendum

Ah good old Dave has said he'll give the country a referendum on whether we should leave the EU or not. Yay everyone get ready to vote... or not because this referendum isn't going to be held now or even in the near future it's going to be held sometime in the next Parliament in 2017 only after the discussions have taken place as to the UK's role in the EU and, of course, only if the Conservatives win the next election. Oh and presumably only if Cameron remains Prime Minster and nothing has happened in the four years between his promise and the event itself; or if they just decide not to bother.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why does the UK come to a stop when it snows?

It gets asked every time usually in comparison with other countries - why does the UK grind to a halt when it snows when others seem to be able to carry on? Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Giving it 110%

It's a common phrase "I'm going out there are giving it 110%" used particularly in sports and certain types in business and is of course wrong. If you're giving something your best effort that equates to 100%; if you have more left to give weren't giving it your best effort. However it seems that some therefore assume that you can't have more than 100%.

Borderlands 2 still playing

I've already done a review of Borderlands 2 I played through as a single character and got to the end with the expectation of popping the disc and slotting in one of two games I've yet to play before slowly returning to a few of my older games such as Kingdoms of Amalur (huh I've done a full review but it's still draft, better look at that sometime) or even the first Borderlands.

I'm still playing Borderlands 2.

No I've not picked up the extra content; I'm also not playing through with my original character at the next challenge level. I've started again with a brand-new character. I'm doing all the same missions as before and yet somehow it's not boring. Being set-up with different weapons, different skill trees and a damn fine story makes this seem a different game. Sure I know what's coming and can anticipate, but with a different character I have to approach these things in a different way.

Annoyingly I now have the urge to experience the game through the eyes of the other characters too.

Snow collecting on opposite side of wind

Where I'm sitting I can see the front of my car. Relative to that the snow is blowing from right to left, but the 'right' side of my bonnet (passenger side) is clear with snow piling up on the 'left'

Seems wrong, what gives? Well the right side of my car is in the wind so any snow that lands there is likely to get blown off before it sticks. The left side is out of the wind so the snow sticks and then more snow can stick to that and so on.

Snow fun driving in this weather

At the moment it's not really too bad, the main roads are clearish, but with all the heavy traffic around a lot of it's turned to slush which is slippery. Not good when you need to drive up and down multiple slopes.  Combine that with the poor road conditions and oddly enough I tend to slow down and keep my distance from the vehicle in front.

Seems I'm the only one doing that. I watch strings of traffic in front of me nose to tail pulling away from me. I watch the traffic behind catching up. No I'm not driving along at 5mph it's not that bad; but I am driving around 20mph which is only 10mph under the limit. Yet despite the weather conditions it seems some people think they should still be able to drive at the full speed dictated by the limit. After all it's a posted 30mph limit so that's what you should be doing! Well no.

The limit is the maximum speed you can travel at if conditions are ideal. In other words when the road is dry with clear visibility. A slush covered road while snowing does not constitute ideal conditions so no-one should be driving at the maximum limit. Yet they do. Why?

When taught to drive we're all taught this and there are multiple pleas to "take care" if out on the roads in these conditions; yet somehow some people think that just doesn't apply to them. I honestly don't understand it. Do we just have that many bad drivers on the road that they skew the average statistics? Are they just long-term drivers operating on muscle memory and simply not paying that much attention to what they're doing (i.e. they're so used to driving at 30 they just do so regardless)?

I wonder how many accidents will be caused today by people simply travelling at a speed not suited for these conditions? How many of them will be genuinely puzzled about why this accident happened?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kidderminster trying for own town council.

Not much appears in in my local Conservative News Feed and given that it is titled simply as "News" I often forget it's even there. However a news story appears "A Town Council for Kidderminster". What's this; letters have been sent out asking members of the Kidderminster Electorate if they want a town council? Gosh it's good to see the Conservatives so on the ball when it comes to communication, I mean it's not as if the Shuttle published exactly the same story in November 2012.

Is this supposed to be a reminder; is the deadline running out? Read the Conservatives news story and it's written as if this is just happening now. So is it another attempt to get a town council started in the same "We'll keep asking until you give us the answer we want" that we've come to know and loathe from politicians or do they just have nothing else to say?

Beef burgers? Neigh!

And so the country wakes up to find the real reason why some of those own-brand burgers and ready meals are cheaper than named brands - run out of beef; just add horse. On a lesser note they can also contain pig... well a lesser note for those of us who aren't strict Jews or Mulsims for whom eating pig is against the rules. Lawsuits ahoy perhaps?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why do people hate MPs?

For some reason the Gloria De Piero MP's question of why people hate MP's has resurfaced. Gee I've no idea; oh wait let me count the reasons.

Let's start with earning three times the median salary of those you obstentiously work for. That they get to determine your own salary and invariably increase it beyond that of inflation while at the same advocating cuts for everyone else. That they get to treat the government as their own personal piggy-bank; not only in the obvious manner of paying for their accommodation, goods, transport, and meals, but also indirectly via subsidised meals.

Can we ignore the fact that they can't be fired, but instead have a fixed tenure while at the same time having no oversight as to the hours they work? That regardless of how much work they've done or how poorly they've performed they have their own final salary pension scheme (a rarity in the private sector).

How about the tendency to employ their own family? A trait that would be castigated and deemed nepotistic in anything other than a family firm (and even then on occasion). Perhaps the flattery and cajolery of companies to those who occupy more senior positions that lead to 'fact-finding' trips or non-executive positions upon 'retirement' may irk some members of the public.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's having all of the above and then asking "Why don't people like us?"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Talking about higher powers

Had a chat with an old friend yesterday. I won't get into too much about what started the discussion, but it turned to religion how it's not necessarily about God (capital G) or even god (lower G) but about a higher power - believing in a higher power. As examples he tried to throw concepts of infinity, and cause and effect at me... at me can you imagine :-)

Anyway as the concept of 'higher power' is helping him I didn't throw the big guns at him; despite what some people might conclude I'm not into breaking people's faith I'd rather they came to their own conclusions and help them with some of the false 'scientific' concepts religions tend to throw at their followers.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Sexting app in rubbish news

For some reason I ended up watching Daybreak on ITV this morning (still half asleep I think) and the first story presented from the newspapers by one of their guests was regarding a "sexting" app on page 7 of the Daily Mail no I'm not going to provide a link as I'm sure you're not interested in seeing a sidebar of photos of underage celebs looking "all grown up" [shudder].

In essence this is an app that means the sender can destroy the photo sent after a set period of time. So send that photo of you looking stupid and no longer have to worry it's going to end up as a meme on a Demotivational Poster. Of course the media being the media  and the Daily Mail being the Daily Mail (unofficial slogan: Scary enough to print) instantly turns to how this could be used for "sexting" sending dirty pictures with no recourse as they've been deleted.

Borderlands 2 PS3 review

Other than catching up with telly I spent a vast majority of my time playing Borderlands 2 on the PS3, so is it really any good or just a useful time-sink?

The "2" at the end of the title should give the subtle hint that this is a sequel to the 2009 game Borderlands; for those unfamiliar with that title it's a first person shooter with role-playing elements set on the planet of Pandora and features a choice of four playable characters called Vault Hunters as they roam the planet in search of the fabled Vault which is rumoured to contain a fabulous treasure.

This sequel follows on from the opening of the vault, the rumours of another, and the arrival of yet another set of four Vault Hunters.

The first reaction from some may well be "Oh no yet another Shooter than tries to have 'customisable' role-playing elements" that's not Borderlands. This game really is a nigh-perfect marriage between FPS and RPG; in fact I'd say some of these elements are better than in some full-on RPG games.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The problem with 'realistic' fantasy

As mentioned in my previous entry I managed to catch-up with both "Death Valley", "The Walking Dead" and "Monsters". As you may infer I like this sort of thing, the trouble is I really have to disengage certain reasoning aspects of my brain to enjoy them. Namely the parts that comprehend the laws of physics and biology; and the part that doesn't assume that all world governments are staffed by morons (which I admit is a little harder to switch off).

Why do I name these types and not the "Iron Man" "Batman" type of films? Because I know they take place within a specific universe that allows this. Both Marvel and DC have magic; what's an ultra-thin metal that can withstand the actions of a whip that can cut through a F1 car compared to that. These other types seem to try to take place in our universe where the premise of the action is the only 'weird' thing to happen.

End of the holidays

I'm back, miss me? I managed to spend so much quality time with the television over this period, not that there was really that much being broadcast. Instead I took the opportunity to catch up on some things I'd recorded. I therefore managed to watch the end of season 1 of "Death Valley"; season 2 of "The Walking Dead" and the film "Monsters" that I recorded last Christmas! Oh and yeah managed to squeeze in some time with my family too :-)

Of the poor quality stuff that was on over Xmas I was lucky to have "Have I Got News for You" on series link as they'd snuck it on a day early. I recorded "Charlie Brooker's 2012 Screenwipe"; and just managed to spot "Kull the Conqueror" wow that was cheesily bad. I noted that "Up" was on, but I've always seen the synopsis and the trailers and thought "Meh". However upon switching over in the middle of a catch-up fest I caught it a few minutes in during the fast-forwarded life scene and quickly rewound and hit the record button. Damn you Pixar and your emotion grabbing.

I did manage to get out of the house um thrice. The first time to visit Stourport and my first visit to the Olivaceous Deli which opened on the 11th November... 2011. Yeah it's just in the wrong place for me to 'pop-in', but it's definitely somewhere I'll now be making time for.

The other times were to Kidderminster to buy a colander, the handle fell off the old one Xmas Eve. Then again for some water filters; whoo-hoo so Christmas-ey :-)

Anyway a new year and the world didn't end through either Mayan prophecy, fiscal cliff, or Eurozone meltdown. Then again train fares are going up 4% and Berlusconi wants to be Italian Prime Minster again so there's still plenty of time for an Apocalypse.