Blu-ray players but the format has a long way to go | Technology |

Well, duh. Do they really need it spelled out for them. The blu-ray disks are too bloody expensive - and the picture quality isn't THAT much better to justify paying out two to three times the cost of a normal DVD. I'm pretty much where I was 10 or 15 years ago (I'm bad with guesstimating dates) where DVDs had just come out and where stupidly expensive compared to VHS tapes. Like before then CDs were stupidly expensive compared to vinyl and cassettes. Once the reailers can get over themselves and stop trying to fleece their customers - they might start shifting enough units to make a decent, consistent profit... but until then... oh boo-hoo boo-hoo my heart bleeds for them.

Blu-ray players could top the Christmas list, but the format has a long way to go | Technology |

Where Priorities lie

When it comes to legislation that purports to protect us from terrorism - by logging every phone call we make, every bit of email we get or send - every webpage we visit - and packet sniff (fnoarh fnoarh) through everything we download just incase it's a violation of copyright - no problem. They're right on that.

Archiving what will inevitably prove to be an important part of our social history - the UK Gov. is not so interested in that. In America-land they've had the wayback machine through for quite a few years now... but in the UK... mmmm, nadir. Ziltch. Nuffin.

It's as much as what a Govt. isn't obsessed about as what it is - that says a lot about that Govt.

Website archives to be fast-tracked|

More Moir

So the results of the autopsy are out - Stephen Gately DID die of an undiagnosed heart condition - of actual natural causes and not from drink and/or drugs or from being homosexual.

Proving the amateur forensic 'expert', professional pie-eater and bitter twisted hate-monger Jan Moir was wrong. Wow - who woulda thunk it?

And his partner has made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.

Wonder if Jan is considering a move to Uganda, not that she's a homophobe or anything...

section 44 and function creep

So... according to the Metropolitan police: Terrorists = 9 year olds and under, and anyone at all in possession of a camera taking snapshots - or even a water-colour kit.

Nice to see them taking the real life threat of terrorism so really, really seriously. I feel so much safer knowing we're being watched over by a bunch of power-mad paranoid lunatics - that carry guns.

Bumper sales as shoppers beat VAT hike

oh what -again?

Year after year after year after year - in the run up to Christmas we have the news banging on about how shoppers aren't flooding the shops as much as the retailers would like. That's it's a disaster for the economy and all the shops are going to go out of business -the poor lambs. Then all of a sudden - when the sales are on - it's all records-broken as the shoppers flood the shops and it's whooooo! whooooo! whooooo! The extra tags this year being the on-going recession (although we had that last year too) and that VAT (which is evil btw) going back up to what it was before Gordon cut a couple of per cent off as part of his plans to stop the economy totally tanking...

But my point is - when it happens every year with predictable monotony - then it really isn't news is it? It'll be news when the Retailers reign in their greed a bit and NOT hike their prices up in the run up to Xmas and then bleat and moan when punters see right through it and wait for the sales.

-and yes the VAT hike will stall the recovery - duh. Oh, and if the record raise in sales has only come through people putting it on their credit cards - then that's not going to help the recovery either.

Nokia N900 Linux smartphone

Oooh look - it's like their web tablet the N810 but with a phone built in. I've got one of those and it's fun enough - although -to be honest it's a bit clunky and unreliable. The N900 would have to be a drastic improvement upon that to make me want one... especially at £440. That's a bit steep.

Nokia N900 Linux smartphone • Register Hardware

boomerang kids

What? you mean young graduates - laden with massive student debts can't get a toehold on their first home away from the parents? Would that also have anything to do with successive governments totally reneging on their their responsibilities to encourage the building of social and affordable housing - instead letting house prices spiral to unheard of heights - fuelled by low interest rates and cheap mortgages for those in jobs... and not helped by a continuing housing shortage. Wow - didn't see that one coming.

More young adults in 20s and 30s living with parents than in past 20 years

What is LOMO?

[I wrote this in reply to a Discussion topic some LOMO-newby had started in the LOMO UK flickr group. I liked it so much I thought I might as well slap it up here too. Where, if I'm lucky, more than one person might read it, possibly - or if not that I'll be able to find it again. Hah.]

There's been no one more active in the field of confusing the issue over all this than the people themselves. 'Why's that' you ask? Because is first and foremost all about marketing - it was invented as a project - not by photographers - but by marketing students putting together a business for their final year in their degree course. So of course a few years down the line, after the last real LCA camera came off the production line, they're now selling old dead stock Russian cameras, new plastic cameras from china, and old fuji instant cameras, etc. etc. And a lot of people are still lapping it up. It suits very well to blur the lines and to keep confusing things That's good marketing right there. After all they've a lot of over-priced cameras and old expired film stock to sell.

(My problem with all that is that I'm just plain allergic to spending more money than I have to - just because of flashy advertising. But that's just me.)

So to help things along - I'd like to try and delineate a few things...

there are the LOMO cameras - original old Russian cameras - the best of these by far is still the original LCA.

then there are the 10 LOMOGRAPHY (non) Rules - which just amounts to taking a lot of pictures - wasting rolls and rolls of film without thinking too much and hoping you'll get one or two good pictures out of it every now and then. Theoretically speaking you don't need a Russian camera to follow these rules. You're just less likely get the vignetting and over-saturated colours.

then there's those fun plastic cameras from China - (which by rights should be dirt cheap - but get the hefty tax slapped on them - after all, that marketing has to be paid for out of somewhere.) But let's face it - they're just gimmicks. They're not real LOMOs though - they're toy cameras and they already have a whole school all of their own to be in.

then there's the faux-lomo - which is a digital photo put through photoshop (or whatever) to give it the 'LOMO look'. As far as I'm concerned that's the one which totally misses the point - since I'd say a big part of Lomography is the spirit of serendipity - of being surprised by what comes out of the camera. If you're adding filters - well there's that serendipity killed stone dead right there. Why stop at the LOMO look? Go to town - you can make it look like a watercolour, a drawing, you can stretch and warp it - there's all those filters - just throw them all on there. Wheeeeee!

So after all that, I have to come clean and say for me personally a proper honest-to-goodness LOMOgraph has to be a photograph that's been taken by a LCA - follows the 10 rules - and surprises the photographer as much as anyone. Otherwise it's a faux-lomo, or a toy camera photo, or a medium format photo, or a photo-photo - but it sure ain't a LOMOgraph.

Peter Mandelson declares war on Rupert Murdoch's media empire

Eeeer. Hello. *Now* someone from Labour is taking on Murdoch? Er... hello. This is a party running out of friends in the media. This is the party that attacked the BBC for reporting that the WMD case for invading Iraq was 'sexed up' and had no basis in reality - the director of the BBC was forced into a resignation over that - and the news part of the BBC has had to walk on egg shells ever since - despite the stark glaring fact that their original reports have subsequently proven to be completely right and that Bush and Blair were telling massive porkies... this hasn't ever been properly acknowledged. In recent months a son of a certain Mr Murdock has been laying into the BBC - for *gasp* providing 'free news' (except it's NOT free - we pay for it out of our license fees, thank you very much) news reports that still manage to convey more in the way of factual accuracy than whatever comes out of the fox news channel. Mmmm and now if the Tory party gets into power next year - they've promised to deregulate news media even more in an effort to appease Murdock in return for his propaganda - sorry, support during the upcoming election campaign. That would NOT be a good thing.

Peter Mandelson declares war on Rupert Murdoch's media empire | Media | The Guardian

Lord Mandy - Lord of internet snoopers

Take one completely unelected Labour MP – give him a life peerage – send him off for a lovely holiday on a yacht with someone who owns a big record company and let him listen to him bleat and moan and belly-ache about all the millions he imagines he'd be raking in if only it wasn't for that wretched internet thing...

and the end result proves to be the promise of a whole new copyright Tsar with new draconian powers that countries with less regard for human rights and freedom than we are purported to have – would be in jealous awe of.

Well done Mandy, well done. Your part in the upcoming battles between the out-moded entertainment industry and it's relentless campaign to criminalise and alienate all it's audience and customers is duly noted.

Mandelson seeks to amend copyright law in new crackdown on filesharing.

Boing Boing - BREAKING: Leaked UK government plan to create "Pirate Finder General" with power to appoint militias, create laws.

UK surveillance plan to go ahead

Er, funny isn't it - how the Government is all gung-oh on spying -sorry, monitoring the general population on the internets - and willing to throw tons of money hither and yon to do that... yet - what have then ever done to stem the flow of malware - spam -etc. You know - attack the real threats and irritations that exist on the internets... Oh wait - that's just too hard and difficult isn't it... Hummmmphf. Not impressed.

But hello, Big Brother - here we come.

BBC NEWS | Politics | UK surveillance plan to go ahead


why not available in the UK? Why not? This is cruel.

Sharpie® | Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker

National Ledger - Gas Prices and the Four-Day Work Week: Can You Qualify?

I've been banging on about how everyone working less hours a week forever, so it's always interesting to find something that supports my views. Hah!

National Ledger - Gas Prices and the Four-Day Work Week: Can You Qualify?

Quite Random » Flickr has become a comedy goldmine

snickr snickr

it's funny because it's true.

Quite Random » Flickr has become a comedy goldmine

just today unemployment figures soar by an extra 68000

well, well, well - that's a bit unfortunate isn't it? What with us being in the worst recession since... well, I dunno when - since they keep changing the decades in the headlines.

But those lone parents eh, drain on the economy they are. So they've got to stop it now. Get a job.

Training? Education? Anything that will help someone who's been out of the job market for a long time to get a job? Don't be silly. That sort of stuff is expensive. So there will be none of that. In fact, it'll be really good if the occasional lone parent was to say, not look for jobs enough, or refuse an offer to take a job hundreds of miles away from home and impossible to get to, or whatever, because then the job centre can stop paying out their job seekers allowance for a fortnight, or a month, or even up to six months if the claimant is persistantly awkward. That'll save the state some money. Good job kids are small and don't need as much food - they can probably get all their nutritional needs from dumpster diving behind supermarkets. Wouldn't be so good if they died though - because state funerals are expensive...

So they'll be joined by disabled folk, and yet still no one is asking where all these thousands of extra jobs are supposed to be coming from...

yahoo, yahoo, yahoo

Well in the UK the tv ads have hit the screen - they're loud and they're shouty and - er, that's it. Pretty pointless really. Certainly nothing there it in any way makes me think - 'golly, I must go to Yahoo - they've got their finger on the pulse - they know what I need from the internets' (other than Flickr of course - but that's Flickr being flickr wholly in spite of Yahoo.)

Has Yahoo peed the carpet with its new ad campaign?

Oh dear god, how tacky: Yahoo go-go girls.

Yahoo Seen Posting Declines In Profit And Sales For 3Q.
but then:
Yahoo celebrates as profits rise.

aaaah - "but the good news largely resulted from an unpleasant reality -- the company keeps tossing people and furniture out the window, with expenses falling 18% versus a 15% decline in revenue."

Moir's second non-apology

For an ex-restaurant critic - she really does take the biscuit.

It's all still sleazy apparently...

Jan Moir apologises for timing of Stephen Gately article.

With the threat of a PCC complaint in the wings she's in with a 'quick' bit of damage limitation. So an apology for the timing - uh? in anyone else plain old common decency would have meant she'd have held off with the slander before he was buried - but there you go... and a somewhat late apology to Stephen Gately's friends and family. Although she now adds that she still thinks Gately's lifestyle was 'louche'. So that's nice of her. *Eyebrow raise*

But being disingenuous doesn't help:
"If he had been a heterosexual member of a boy band, I would have written exactly the same article"
um? Exactly? Word for word? Even the bit about civil partnerships - and their 'myth of happy-ever after'? and the tying in of the suicide of Kevin McGee - just to hammer the point home (with just the two examples) that somehow gay marriages end in tragedy and death?. Exactly? and then she further 'apologises' with: "I thought it a louche lifestyle; one that raised questions about health and personal safety."

Huh? What is she saying here? So don't have threesomes boys and girls - because that too could end in tragedy and death...

"I can't help wondering: is there a compulsion today to see bigotry and social intolerance where none exists by people who are determined to be outraged? Or was it a failure of communication on my part?"

No, there's no compulsion Moir - it was there - your bigotry and social intolerance was plain for all to see. 'Was it failure of communication?' - well, either you were pandering to your readership (which after all is exactly what you're paid for - since you are SO NOT in any way a campaigner for tolerance and understanding, I have read some of your other sneering articles) in which case -job well done. Your silent majority which you imagine must be out there - somewhere - will be very happy with you. Or you *have* failed to communicate - in which case then you're not fit for purpose in your job - the proof being you've had the opportunity to 'explain' (there's been no real apology yet) your original article not once - but twice. And STILL caused righteous indignation - because you still can't see what it is you've done wrong. How callous can one person be?

Oh wait - no matter - my opinion doesn't count: because according to Jan 1. I'm either part of an orchestrated rent-a-mob, OR 2. simply determined to be outraged by an article I've never read (cough - splutter) OR 3. Not part of this 'silent majority' that supports her views.

I wonder if she is so apologetic that she wouldn't mind contributing the fees she received for her original article and the two following articles to the Caudwell Children Charity? It might be a step in the right direction for once.

posted a version of this as a comment on the Guardian website - and lo! it got put up without moderation - quick! - read it in situ before it gets pulled.

I know - sorry

I couldn't help myself but here's another comment I've left on the Daily Mail site:

While I'm disappointed to the point of disgust that Jan Moir has chosen not to apologize properly for what amounts to gay bashing of a young man who died too young and whose family and friends will be currently too steeped in grief to to fight back. (Obviously her own ignorance and sheer arrogance shields her from the realization that she has done something so utterly tasteless and so very wrong. I guess we'll have to wait for the PCC or Gately's family to take her to court for the penny to finally drop.)

I am however heartened to see that the Mail columnists Suzanne Moore and Janet Street-Porter in their articles today have kinder, far more sensible and more humane things to say on the subject - and have taken pains to disassociate themselves from the views expressed by Moir. Pity the editorship of the Mail hasn't the guts to do the same. But hey ho. That would be political correctness gone mad.

let's see if that gets put up. (I doubt it.)

Update: Yup. Not been put up. Funny that - and yet so many comments floating around about Moir being entitled to *her* free speech...

Plenty of time devoted to editing comments on their forums - obviously - so much so that there's none left over to reign in their columnists to stop them making asses of themselves. Go figure...

more Moir

Being gay killed a man last week - but he wasn't Stephen Gately by Janet Street-Porter - going some way to countering the nonsense written by that nasty piece of work Jan Moir.

By the by - according to the Mail - the outrage over the weekend constitutes - a 'debate' - and the more typical Mail readers are back in there commenting away - all in support of their new heroine, apparently it's all: 'political correctness gone mad', and 'our Jan is being bullied into silence', there's someone who 'finds the idea of three way sex revolting, cheap,nasty and totally immoral' (so I guess that means in their eyes that Gately totally deserved to die) - but whatever - it looks like Jan's job is safe and secure for the moment. I imagine there was a big cake waiting for her when she went into work this morning. Controversy - woooo big hits... "well done Jan. You've put us back on the map."

ugly goggles

seriously ugly prescription goggles - but the cheapest i coul... on Twitpic

Ever since I moved to Worthing I've lived across from the swimming pool - yet I've only ever been in once to check out the facilities. I always meant to go in and start swimming again (I'm really unfit these days) what's stopped me is not having either contact lenses or prescription goggles - my eyes are so bad I'm blind without them. Tonight I finally got around to ordering a pair - they are the fugliest goggles I have ever seen - but my prescription is so 'complex' the other online opticians as asking silly prices for them. Hey oh - But so long as they do the job...

A strange, lonely and troubling Daily Mail columnist ...

Jan Moir - A strange, lonely and troubling Daily Mail columnist
Here's my comment which I've left on the Daily Mail site in response to Jan Moir's rather bizarre, deeply spiteful and breath-takingly nasty little piece on Stephen Gately's death:

A strange, lonely and troubling death . . .

(and that's the toned down headline - which used to be: "Why there was nothing 'natural' about Stephen Gately's death.")

(no doubt it won't be published there. I never have any luck getting my comments published on official sites. It's a conspiracy I TELLS YOU - EITHER THAT OR IT'S BECAUSE I DON'T USE ALL CAPS and don't sound demented enough. Especially for the Daily Mail site - if this is the calibre of people it is employing...)

Jan Moir - I just simply cannot believe what I have just read what you have written about Stephen Gately - I really can't. How heartless, wrong headed and downright nasty can one person be to pour out this utter bile? Seriously - you either need to seek out some sort of psychiatric help - since you have some pretty warped, very dark fantasies about gay men's lifestyles - or else you need to stand as a candidate for the BNP - because it's plain to see what you certainly shouldn't be doing is working as a journalist for any national newspaper. Not when you couldn't be bothered to let even the tiniest bit of research get in the way of pouring out your despicable prejudices. What I find even more worrying is the thought that you might even thrive on the attention this will bring you.

Nevertheless I shall be adding my voice in complaint about this article to the Press Complaints Commission.

Here's Charlie Brooker on the issue - he's a professional so does this sort thing a lot better than me.

now the boss of ASDA adds his own criticism of the UK education standards:

Andy Clarke, Asda’s chief operating officer pipes up with:

“No one can deny that Britain has spawned a generation of young people who struggle to read, write or do simple maths. That’s why we’re finding packs of nappies discarded in the booze aisle, as the last few pounds are spent on alcohol rather than childcare.”

Mmmm. That's charming - way to diss your customer base Andy. (And anyway I think disposable nappies should be banned - they're an environmental hazard - whoever had the bright idea of wrapping baby's arses in non-biodegradable plastic so they can fill them with piss and shit and sent off to landfills to not rot for who-knows how many years? That's just insane. That's the nappies -not the babies I'm talking about there -you fool.)

And the BT boss Sir Michael Rake wants to scrap GSCEs and A levels altogether - for something called the Baccalaureate. No - I'd never heard of it before now either.

But in all this have you noticed something? This is Industry leaders having a good grumble about the educational system - Industry leaders who have had the ears of the Government in all of this time - for crying out loud - the Tesco boss is on the Board of the excellence in Educational thing and used to be all pally-pally with Gordon Brown(and I'm presuming with Blair before him). It's not as if they've all been living off on Mars and watching on aghast and helpless as that wicked evil Labour Government have been running around deliberately crushing down standards. I'll bet the chances are they ended up messing everything up so badly by doing a lot of the very things they thought business wanted them to do.

compare and contrast:

This article: One in four A-levels passed at grade A.

Record numbers of students get one of top three grades as proportion of A grades rises for 27th year running.

with this article: Tesco boss slams school standards as 'woefully low'.

So which is the more likely scenario here? Are school kids at A and Graduate levels becoming increasingly hyper-intelligent year after year? Or are -as some claim, standards dropping and A levels are a lot easier these days than they used to be? Or have schools got so much more proficient at streamlining their pupils through the exams? Or is it that Tesco really bad at recruiting anyone with even half decent academic qualifications to work for them? (The 'pay peanuts - got only monkeys' thingy.)

Moreover, what's the boss of Tesco doing on the board of the 'National Council for Educational Excellence' anyway? What does someone who sells cans of beans know about education? Let alone 'excellent' education. That's just weird.

Oh, and meanwhile: Our Govt. shows it's commitment to "educashun, edukatsion, headukaneshon" by capping the number of university places on offer this year:
30,000 missed out on a university place, figures show.

when is a cot death - a cot death?

Sky News: Parents' Drug And Booze Link To Cot Deaths

Now I remember a few years ago when a cot death (aka 'Sudden Infant Death Syndrome'(SIDS)) meant the parents had put down their baby to sleep for the night in a COT (starting to get the drift here?) usually in a separate bedroom only to go in the morning to find the baby had died. There was a big stink at the time because many parents were being accused of having somehow killed their babies and were trying to cover it up. As if, if they had indeed killed their child, they couldn't think up of a better excuse than -'oh it just died in the night'. A cot death was a cot death because the baby died in a cot - not because the parent had got drunk or drugged up and had rolled over and crushed it in the night, or dropped it off the sofa onto the floor - or whatever... Yet now we've seeing those cases being called cot deaths as well? What is this - is it simply lazy research and/or lazy journalism (I stumbled upon this in Sky News after all) or (puts on tinfoil hat) another one of those 'let's blame the underclass for everything again' schtick so beloved of authoritarian states the world over? The hint being in the article's title - 'Booze and drugs' - middle class people don't 'booze' do they.

[I left a comment saying this - let's see if they bother to put it up there. (I've got a history of leaving comments on moderated places like the BBC and Guardian websites for them to never see the light of day - while seeing responses from the likes of 'Mr Angry from Tumbridge Wells' and from the ALL CAPS brigade get published instead. Funny that.)

Update: There's no sign of the comment.

cuts cuts cuts - snip snip snip - and hair shirts for everyone - so vote for us

Am I missing something?

Seriously. So there's Cameron in his speech banging on about the need for deep, deep cuts in public spending – and before him Clegg was calling for cuts and before him Brown has copped to needing to be making cuts.

Which is all a bit odd – because before the super-sized global economic shit hit the fan – everything was all so very hunky dory – and then all of a sudden Government had to plough in Billions to keep that stinking hulk of various corrupt banks afloat. Isn't this precisely why there's no money left. So how is this now being (oh so conveniently) forgotten? Why is the public being expected to tighten their belts and suffer for the mess the damn bankers and politicians have gotten everyone into? Why aren't bankers being hauled out from their offices and off their golf courses and out from the massage parlours by angry mobs and getting at the least tarred and feathered – and made to pay back all the money they've sapped out of the economy? As it is they've got away with it Scott free. Not only are we being told there absolutely has to be these various cuts but we're being told to vote for it, and to like it as well? Vote for the party that's going to cut the most services and make things a lot harder for everyone. While they're at it – they should get turkeys to vote for Christmas.

The Tories make me puke for saying they've going to force people off incapacity benefits and onto the lower rate Job Seekers Allowance – (which let me tell you, incase you didn't know: IS NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH FOR ANYONE TO LIVE ON!) While all the time pretending that somehow millions of jobs are going to magically appear to replace the millions that have been lost in the current ongoing recession.

Labour make me puke for already doing the same thing.

Now that the two parties are now pretty much indistinguishable from each other neither will ever admit to the blindingly plain and simple truth that there's so much unemployment around – because there are (gasp) more people than there are jobs waiting to be filled. If they really want to move a little bit closer to having full employment – how's about reducing the working week to four or even three days – and employ another person to do the other days work that need to be done. Yes – let's bring back that 1960s promise that in the future we'd have so much more leisure time. Of course conservative-minded business people will be throwing their arms up in horror bleating that can't ever hope to afford that? But why ever not? The Government has been very adept at finding astonishingly huge amounts of money to wage war in the Middle East and to bail out the banks... it'd be nice if they could do something that would be beneficial for the whole of the general population for once - rather than slavishly doing whatever big business, large corporations and the banks and financial sector think they should be doing... (because let's face it - all they really want is everyone to be slaves.)

I can't get over how the hell we let them all get away with this. But we do.

Here's someone who's written a better blog post about this sort of thing than me:
Selling the furniture.

bears shit in the woods, the Pope is a Catholic, water is wet

Get this little gem:
"While Apple owners tend to own more computers and more electronic devices, there is also a high correlation among Apple owners and more affluent consumer households," NDP's vice-president of industry analysis Stephen Baker said.
That's because with the 'Steve Jobs tax' - they'd have to be. Duh.

I need to set up my own company - I'll call it 'Bleedin' Obvious' and I'll just print out pretty looking statements that anyone with the slightest bit of common sense would already know and sell them to CEOs of big corporations. I'd be a multi-millionaire in no time.

Most Mac owners getting Windows on the side • The Register

Call for research into pesticides blamed for vanishing bees - Telegraph

Let's re-read this article and re-order it...

Ending sentence:
"The Government says there is no evidence of an unacceptable risk to bees from the neonicotinoids."
"Paul Monaghan, head of Social Goals at the retailer, said none of the £10 million set aside by the Government for bee health is going towards research into pesticides."
Which I guess means the Government isn't exactly lying - because strictly speaking there isn't any evidence - but that'll be because it hasn't bothered looking for any.

Mind you, not that it would matter if there was any research - our Govt. has a history of ignoring anything it doesn't happen to agree with. Wouldn't surprise me if they're just sat around thinking - 'oh it's just bees - who cares about a bunch of nasty insects? We've got an election to fight and we need to keep on to our expenses claims -dammit.'

Call for research into pesticides blamed for vanishing bees - Telegraph

Polaroid Last picture show

Polaroid Last picture show - Telegraph: "There may be hope yet for Polaroid lovers. The Impossible Project (, formed by a group of European Polaroid enthusiasts and ex-employees, has leased a former factory in Holland, and aims to restart the production of Polaroid film later this year. They are planning to produce one million films in 2010, bringing the Polaroid magic back to life."

Oh Yahoo! How I hate you – let me count the ways...

I remember back when you were young – you were just a humble directory of links, an large assortment of bookmarks – something like a Yellow Pages of the web. But for anyone to be in the directory they had to submit their URL to you via an online form and it had to be checked out by you before finally being added.

That was very tedious way to go about things and it sucked.

Yahoo! mail
Then later on - you did your own version of web based mail (it was at a time when everyone and their dog was providing their own versions of hotmail - they all jumped on the bandwagon seeing it as a revenue stream or eyeball sticky for adverts or something) and like all web based mail at that time – it sucked. You gave out such a mean paltry amount of space – so if a you as a user got a lot of spam (and web based mail addresses are a magnet for spam) or any mail with image attachments – one had to regularly check your mail online (in the days of dial up that was a pain) and keep constantly deleting things or very quickly would be 'over quota' and any new messages wouldn't be received. So going away for weekends or holidays without internet access – made it totally impracticable for mail. Even so it took Yahoo mail a long time to introduce spam filters – and then a bit longer after that to realise that that spam shouldn't still be counted towards the allowed quota. Then it took a longer time after that (and competition from Gmail's far, far more generous mailbox size) to up the allowance. But it came too little – too late guys. There's something to said for being innovators – rather than just imitators – and if you're going to be copyists then at least try to do something to improve and add value to what you're copying to make it attractive... OK? Like the way Google often manage to.

As it was I ended up using my yahoo mail as mainly a disposable catch-all for software and hardware 'registration' purposes – you know, where you need to collect some activation code or whatever – and thereafter the company takes it upon themselves to flood you endlessly with 'special offers' and 'upgrade now offers' – I allow that sort of mail to languish in my mailbox unread before I get around to deleting it still unread. Oh, and while I'm on the subject last year or the year before yahoo upgraded their mail UI. I tried it. It ran so slowly - all because it seemed far more concerned in updating the page just to show an endless rotation of damn banner ads that I had no interest whatsoever in (and most were adblocked anyway)– that it made reading and sorting mail so near totally unusable that I reverted back to it's old style pretty sharpish. That said, I haven't looked at my account for months and months now – it being a home for the aforementioned registration spam, and newsletters I signed up for and can't be bothered to read – oh, and a few dead inactive yahoo groups and spam – lots and lots and lots of spam. Because yahoo's spam filters are still pretty damn useless. So not a very good web-mail experience there then.

Yahoo – the search engine.
At some point rather than just a directory of links - you decided to try and be a web search engine. But your results always sucked. And with your home pages so chock full of links and lists and icons and clutter. Without realising it – you became a great advert for the young minimalist clutter-free, fast and useful results providing Google. Whoooops. It's taken you a long while to admit to that suckiness though. Nowadays you're letting Microsoft's new 'Bing' do the work for you aren't you? (Microsoft – mmmm, now there's another company that got where it has through either copying or buying up other companies innovations.)

I remember the original Geocities. They were great – a place where any amateur could knock together a homepage of their very own for free. Well – except for having to put up with a fairly small banner advert at the top. So great an idea – that you bought the company. So great that you went further and decided to lay a copyright claim to everyone's creator-generated content and then you really went to town with the adverts – great big pop-ups, ads running across the top, down the sides – and oh – surprise, surprise it only served to drive people away. Whoooops. Geocities is dead now. Which is a shame.

eGroups – Yahoo Groups.
Then there was eGroups – another great little company – you already had Yahoo Groups – but they wasn't nearly as good. So people kept using eGroups – it had much better features like embedded thumbnails of pictures in the mail – so a user didn't have to download a whole picture if they didn't want it – and nothing was deleted, everything was properly archived on the web – so anyone could go away for a while and still be able to catch up later. You bought the company and then rather than keep all the features that was good about them you systematically stripped them away. eGroups was effectively turned into Yahoo Groups – but you already had that – so why then...? oh wait – of course, maybe you couldn't stand the competition. Furthermore, two of the things that came to be a big bugbear for me was – picture attachments where no longer stored online within the groups message archives – to get pictures you had (and still have) to have messages delivered to an email address – on a busy group that could be dozens a day – you couldn't pick and choose from thumbnails what you wanted to see any more – it was all or nothing. Then you plastered MASSIVE (and totally) inane banner adverts within all of those individual emails. [I'm still haunted by the memory of having seen hundreds of yahoo dating site adverts – *vomit* yahoo dating - where did that come from?) It was really just a legit form of spam. Of course this meant you couldn't really use a yahoo mail account for yahoo groups – especially not with all the bloated spammy adverts and or with any picture attachments – you'd easily run over your allotted meagre quota within a day or two... so you'd have to have a proper email account somewhere – which meant – oh yes – you didn't really need that yahoo mail account... whooops! No one thought it through did they? "Using yahoo groups alongside yahoo mail - why, whoever would have thought of such a thing ever happening? It's not as if they're from the same company or anything. -Oh wait..."

Yahoo ID
Which is – I'm guessing – around the time the invention of the annoying YahooID thingy came to be – we know it's there primarily to keep track of everyone and what they look at on the interwebs – all mainly so Yahoo can sell all that eyeball and mouse-click info on to third parties. That's just tacky and altogether a bit too Big Brother-ish for my liking. Hiding an opt-out clause deep within pages of lawyer-speak doesn't endear me to you either.

I've been lucky not to forget my yahooID and password because apparently the procedure to try and get so much as a password reminder is a nightmare of labyrinthine legalese-ridden form filling. Which brings me onto another big sucky thing about yahoo – it is deeply steeped in legalese which it often uses as a shield to hide behind. Whenever a person has a genuine grievance they have to go through weeks if not months of on-line form filling only to be ignored for a while longer before they get a response – if they get a response. I don't know if humans even work in that part of Yahoo. I suspect it's just servers packed with programs that spout random legal jargon - specifically designed to fob humans off.

Yahoo the home page and web portal.
Over the years the Yahoo corporation has grown and grown (or is that -groan and groan?) – and that front page got ever more and more and more things plastered over it – yahoo does so much now (well, you either copy -badly, things far better done elsewhere, or else buy up other web companies – and trash them). It's painfully obvious that you've long been trying to be something like AOL – a walled garden – a complete one-stop shop for everyone's internet needs... all to draw in the less savvy newbie internet user (like AOL used to (or still does as far as I know)) But what it means in reality is that you've spread itself out so thinly and become very much a Jack-of-all-trades but master of none.

Because that front pages hs always been so cluttered and so jam packed full of stuff and with your insistence on drawing lots and lots of boxes and having lines around -everything the whole mess is reminiscent of one of those free weekly local newsheets that get pushed through people's doors only to be tossed – unread - straight into the recycling bin.

Here's some free market research for your information Yahoo: When I want to read news – I go straight to a newspaper website, when I want to know train times – I go straight to a train timetable site, when I want to search for something I use the google search bar - or the clean minimalist google page - see the pattern emerging here? When I want something specific I never go to a page where there's hundreds of little bits and bobs of every and anything else amid loads of advertising – in fact I go out of my way to avoid advertising. I have no use for it. Most people don't.

Bizarrely you've now tried to address this 'too much' stuff problem on the newly redesigned homepage – but adding in these roll-out pop-out mini-pages... what that really means is that for an unsuspecting new reader hovering over almost any part of the page it results in a giant sudden pop out mini-page covering up everything else. Urgh. Worst is the new nagging pop up boxes urging you to 'personalize' your homepage with – stuff. Stuff from yahoo, and now extra stuff is available from all manner of other places. Much like you've be able to with iGoogle for years now – (which is another page I already don't bother myself with either). So since I already don't feel the need to have a all-in-one homepage portal – all this being constantly nagged and reminded to have one – I'm finding more than a bit of an intrusion. But yahoo has always had a long love of having those pop ups that cover up a whole page – indeed you used to have massive animated flash adverts that did that (I don't know if they still do – I could never find the 'close x' fast enough - and I've been using adblock for firefox for so long now). But it's a sad fact of life that many advertisers have managed to confuse 'being in-your-face-and-irritating' with 'attention-getting' that they haven't yet twigged that all this might engender a counter-productive and deeply ingrained hostility to the very brands they're supposedly promoting.

Indeed very much like how you've taken it upon yourselves to uglify the Flickr logo with a tacky new 'from Yahoo' addition. Tampering with flickr in any way is always, always an unwise move (they have forums you know, it's a community based website - not just a place for people to store and how off their photos) - but there you go - Yahoo, you obviously just can't help yourself.

Apparently we're soon to be subjected to a whole new marketing campaign from Yahoo! and see a whole new 'radical' make-over. I mean I can't help thinking some of that $100 million might have been better spent on making any number of Yahoo services a lot less sucky, and that Yahoo! becoming a shade more graceful and a whole lot less in-your-face might do them more good. But it looks like that is most definitely not on the cards... Instead I'm guessing we're gonna get bombarded with the usual stock images of shiny happy people with dumb slogans telling us how they are so euphorically, dementedly blissed out simply because they use Yahoo for some aspect of their internet usage.


Terrorist threat 'exploited to curb civil liberties'

Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has accused the Government of exploiting public fear of terrorism to restrict civil liberties.

Her comments came on the same day as a report published by international jurists suggested that Britain and America have led other countries in "actively undermining" the rule of law and "threatening civil liberties" in the guise of fighting terrorism.

No shit Sherlock.

Doubts over DNA profile timing

The government also recommended the DNA profiles of children aged 10 and over, arrested or convicted of a minor offence, should be deleted by their 18th birthday.

But Professor Laycock said this went against established criminological findings - which show offending peaks at the age of 17 or 18 and remains high until the mid-20s.

Isn't this rewriting the law from 'innocent until proven guilty' to be "'perpetually presumed potentially guilty until proven innocent' - and even after that only to be thereafter perpetually presumed potentially guilty again".

BBC NEWS | UK | Doubts over DNA profile timing

digital copywrongs

Poor Lily Rose Allen - after trying to stand up for -what would you call them - starter artistes? baby bands? from having their livelihoods taken away from them before they start their careers through all that evil wicked bad internet file sharing malarkey... she's found herself unable to cope with the endless abuse and has now shut up shop... she might never record again (like that would be a bad thing?)

Meanwhile things in the totally legit world of music downloading aren't so rosy either with Eminem taking Universal to court over issues over royalties and iTunes/Apple.

Which just proves the whole issue is a lot more complicated then Lilley and Peter Mandelson would have us believe.

Certainly what is wrong here is the proposal to force all ISPs to essentially wiretap all of their customers in case one of them shares something.

tacky branding

Originally uploaded by groc
Yahoo to kick off new branding campaign.

Yahoo shares fell 14 cents at $16.90 in late-afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

Mmmmm - wonder why that might be? Wouldn't be in part down to yahoo's usual infamous cluelessness would it?

Just a random thought ...

Aside from the whole dodginess behind this issue:

Attorney-General sacks housekeeper alleged to be illegal immigrant

Downing Street backs attorney general who hired and fired illegal Tongan maid.

(and this all seems to be yet another case were the Government has rushed through another piece of hastily and ill thought-out knee-jerk legislation and as ever - it's come back to haunt them.)

Just exactly when did it become so de rigueur that the middle class in this country have to have a foreign national working for them - as a house keeper or cleaner or whatever. It really does seem to be quite the little fashion item now, and somehow a British cleaner doesn't have the right cachet.

Why would that be do you think? That they might be happier having someone working for them that can't quite grasp 100% - the English language so they can't go around reading their mail perhaps? Or is it that they're good for working just that little bit under the level of minimum wage, and either would never dare (or even know how) to make a complaint?

I don't know - but it all seems a bit creepy to me.

Video adverts launched in the US

Is it just me - or does this seem like a complete waste of what could be good technology?
All that to just advertise - crap.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Video adverts launched in the US

some poll somewhere sez 70% 'back rail renationalisation'

No shit Sherlock. You mean the penny has finally dropped that the whole privatisation of Rail was a massively bad idea?


BBC NEWS | UK | 70% 'back rail renationalisation'

link dumping

An interview with Banksy.

Scientists uncover new ocean threat from plastics.
This sort of thing frightens me to death. I love plastic. No, I really do - but what the hell is wrong with the human race that it has no respect for it and almost zero desire to keep re-using/recycling it? How is it have we developed this whole-scale use-once and throw-away mentality? Apart from the whole 'yay! plastics are really cheap' thing - because that's pretty much over now - no, it really is. Now we're finding out they're poisoning us - and the environment. Oh dear.

Mmmm Zombies - and Noel Fielding is their King.

Murdoch Jr vs the man from Auntie: Sparks fly over BBC online.

What? A giant international media conglomerate - consisting of very many TV channels, and a great many newspapers (much of which tell the none-too-bright how to vote in elections - and as a consequence Governments (of either leaning) are in constant fear of) are trying to make the UK go 'oh boo-hoo, boo-hoo, poor, poor little Sky TV and most of the press - they're losing out to that big bad BBC - and it's shameful monopoly on balanced, non-biased, intelligent news reporting... That's just not fair is it?

Rebuff: Mark Thompson calls James Murdoch 'desperately out of touch'. Well, that's about right.

Popcorn is good for you, say scientists.

Banksy is ruined by mistake

Mistake? Sounds like a case of bloody-minded incompetence to me.Blur Banksy is ruined by mistake.

Richard Curtis to write episode of Doctor Who

Curtis, whose film credits include Notting Hill, Love, Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and whose TV credits include Blackadder, the Vicar of Dibley, and Mr Bean.

"There will be a monster. And a famous historical figure will battle the monster."

- by odd coincidence Steven Moffat wrote a Doctor Who spoof 'the curse of fatal death' for 'Comic Relief' wherein Blackadder/Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson played the Doctor (and by even thinner coincidence the Vicar of Dibley's Dawn French's hubby - Lenny Henry also played a spoof Doctor for one of his shows... (and even Dawn French herself has done a Doctor Who spoof - and she played opposite Catherine (Donna) Tate in the comedy series 'Wild West'.)

So there.

Richard Curtis to write episode of Doctor Who

Peter Mandelson speaks out...

Taking something for nothing is wrong . . .
. . . that’s why we must stop illegal file sharing and give the creative industries a breathing space.

This is Peter Mandel's article - with annotations in brackets by me:

It was said this week by a former colleague of mine (anonymously, of course) [well of course - because you're such a well known dick and so viciously pettily vindictive and will make their life very difficult] that I do not “get the internet”. While I am still something of a novice when it comes to streaming and downloads, I have been around long enough to know that piracy is wrong. That is why my department [IE - Mandelson alone] decided to consider strengthening proposals to tackle illegal file sharing and downloading.

[piracy is wrong is it? Hmmmm. Always? Hmmmmm. well, ok, how ignorant can you get? Anyone remember Radio Caroline? It was pirate Radio that led to the BBC to finally and even then rather reluctantly get in step with the rest of the groovy 1960s world and introduce Radio One - to gain a whole audience of young people, an audience that it had hitherto been totally ignoring. Later - with the advent of home compact cassette recording devices where 'home taping was [supposedly] killing music' - yet, strangely enough the industry - rather than collapsing - actually thrived. Otherwise how would it have the vast resources it currently has to persecute individuals through the courts or to lobby easily swayed politicians? *cough*]

The thinking behind this is clear and has nothing to do with dinners in Corfu. [Yeah right. We believe you. *cough*.] The Government [is it now? So you're the Government now are you?] decided to reopen the issue of suspending internet connections as a sanction of last resort against the most egregious offenders for two simple reasons.

First, taking something for nothing, without permission, and with no compensation for the person who created and owns it, is wrong. [Would you like to explain that principle to the record companies you're supporting? For example a certain Mr Morrissey has asked fans NOT to buy a compilation of his early works because HE IS NOT BEING PAID OR COMPENSATED FOR IT! Not only that - can we apply this principle to the 'free' holidays and meals and various other perks you've (and many other MPs have) been enjoying at the tax payer's expense over this time in power?] Simple as that. I was shocked to hear that as much as half of all internet traffic in the UK is for the carriage of unlawful content. [You should be shocked because it's very likely all these figures have been completely made up.] If technical solutions can discourage piracy, then as a Government we are obliged to consider them. [hello - Big Brother - we love you. (of course I don't mean the stupid channel 4 programme here.) So now we're all to monitored and wire-tapped without so much as a court warrant IE everyone is treated as a potential criminal with the ISPs acting as inteeligence gatherers. So much for privacy and civil liberties then.]

Second, our creative businesses drive much of our economy. They provide not only tax revenues and jobs but also ensure that Britain punches above its weight on the global cultural stage. We are a creative people and we do these things well. These businesses will get no favours from government, but we should create a regulatory environment where they can operate without having to deal with illegal competition. [Can you define 'illegal competition' please? Give examples where possible - and also explain if it is in any way opposite to 'free publicity'. Furthermore, how does this apply to the fact most of these purported 'illegal' downloads are more likely going to be from American entertainment companies? Mind you now that we have an extradition treaty - any British citizen can be tried by American laws and be sent over there to stand trail. Something is deeply wrong there.]

Let me emphasise that nothing has been predetermined. [???? Really? ???] And I understand why internet service providers (ISPs), consumer groups and digital rights activists are disappointed that we have decided to consider a range of tougher and faster measures. But let me try, if I can, to reassure them. [But you quite obviously DON'T understand - and that's the whole problem. If you did you wouldn't have come out with this lazy knee-jerk reaction to want to rush through harsh ill-though-out draconian legislation - which has been the hallmark of NuLabour ever since they gained power.]

It is essential that film, music and other content companies do more to build joint services with ISPs, such as the deal between Virgin Media and Universal Music to allow unlimited music downloads for a monthly fee [still at the planning stage that one]. Surely it is self-evident — a no-brainer, if you like — that they need to build a win-win position with ISPs, so that they compete by developing new services for consumers rather than competing solely for market share. It’s that which will effect the sea change that we are looking for. [yeah - like they understand how media in the age of the internet and the end of scarcity works.]

To those who have raised their voices about the proposed changes this week, let me say that I hear their concerns. I have read their blogs and can live with the abuse (I’ve had worse). [He's read their blogs? Huh? Oh I guess one of his staff could hae printed off a few pages for him. I can't see Mandelson using a computer somehow... Wonder if he's on 'gaydar'?]

I made clear to the content industry that we would consider legislation that includes temporary account suspension only if it was seen as the sanction of last resort. It would only follow a well-established series of warnings and clear evidence that they were taking action to defend their own rights. This will not turn your ISP into Big Brother. The process is driven by rights holders reporting activity on public file-sharing websites [because they've been so good at that before now, with their suing of suing grannies and babies and dead people and even fax machines] rather than service providers monitoring individuals’ internet traffic. [errrr but aren't ISPs going to be the ones made to write to their subscribers with those threats of disconnection?]

I want to know more from digital rights groups and consumers about other steps that should be taken to protect people who may feel that they are at risk of being accused without good cause. [But only if there's a few free holidays and a few gourmet dinners in glamorous locations in it first - heh Mandy?] This could perhaps be because of legitimate file sharing, or because of others hijacking their connection. Having a fair, fast and effective appeals process will obviously be essential. [Yeah, like that'll all be *so* easy to prove.]

We are fast approaching the tenth anniversary of the trial in which, the site that enabled the first real boom in file sharing, was shut down after legal action by record labels. This legal action was hugely expensive, time-consuming and ultimately did little for consumers. Why? Because it failed to encourage rights holders to develop new business models and did nothing to seek to change consumer behaviour. A decade on, we have another opportunity, and for some in the content industries, perhaps the last. [No, actually the smaller start up companies have been ahead of the game for years - it's only the larger entertainment giants that have been dragging their reluctant heels for so long.]

Ultimately the answer to combating digital piracy lies in the hands of those who own content and those who control access to the internet. [groan] Rights holders already have to take risks, and will have to take more — for example, by developing new online services such as Spotify that make much more of their back catalogue available in a way and at a price that makes sense to today’s consumers. The age of flogging a CD in HMV for £20 is well and truly over. [Tell the music/entertainment industry that!] Ask me what I think will finish off piracy as a real threat to our creators and creative businesses and the answer is obvious — it is the market. [Oooh how Thatcherite of you... yes, yes, yes, the Market will solve everything. Like it has so far...]

Provide customers with a good quality, cheap, safe and efficient experience, and they will ditch illegal downloading. If the threat of temporary account suspension and its implementation in a small number of cases helps to build a market to make this happen, then I believe it is worth our serious consideration.

[oh - it doesn't start to address so many of the problems - for instance - the non-legit availability of long deleted music from dead artists - or of ancient tv programs and films that for various reasons (usually arcane copyright issues -quite usually with music rights) never get released - but all these things - which are calling out for copyright laws to be rewritten wholesale get totally overlooked all because executives at EMI are pissing themselves that a few teens might be downloading the latest (insert name of current popular artist here) tune for their iPods... *gah!*]

Now, remind me again - who elected this man? And how did he get to represent - anyone?
And is giving him a nice holiday and a few posh meals all it takes to get any government policy through? Can we club together to do that? Because it's a funny (peculiar) kind of democracy we're running here...

innocent Frenchman scares American Airlines with pocket gadget

One of my bugbears is the extent of airport security paranoia - it really is totally ridiculous and aggravating - and I'll wager doesn't make any of us much safer from proper terrorists.

Charles Bremner - Times Online - WBLG: Frenchman scares American Airlines with pocket gadget

Do I want one of these?

I think i might want one of these -

but with a nice 32 inch flat screen TV to go with it...

If I didn't dislike Mandelson enough...

This is how I imagine how his informal little dinner chat over the fabulous gourmet meal in Rothchild's Corfu villa went down...

David Geffen: "Ooooh, (crocodile tears) boo-hoo, boo-ooooh Mandy, you've no idea how difficult it is being a multi-billionaire - I mean, I just don't know where my next few million dollars are going to come from any more. Especially not with that evil, evil, evil, internets - did you know people are out there practically STEALING the Almas Caviar out of my mouth? How am I ever going to pay for my breakfast lobster thermidor and oh yes, my artistes their pittance - if those good-for-nothing normal people go around downloading the music for free?"

Mandelson -"ooooh poor, poor Daaaavid, [oh, you're so scrummy you multi-billionaire gay you] (pass the white truffles please) - that's absolutely heart breaking. I'll tell you what - when I get home I'll make sure our lot take the internet piracy thing a lot more seriously. Like, oh, I don't know - let's say, no more internet for those file sharers and massive fines and long prison sentences for all who transgress - will that do you?"

David Griffin: "Well -it's a start... but if you could at some point in the future start fining the people who don't buy music from my record label - that would be good too. Oh, look the desert course has arrived - will you take your rent boys here or would you like to retire to your room?"

"Oooh rent boys - my favourite - hope they'll be gentle on my prostrate though..."

There now follows some free advice for the music entertainment industry on how to combat pirates...

1. Simply Totally ditch CD releases (and even iTunes) - go back to vinyl only releases.

[Well let's face it - it all started going wrong for the music industry when they practically forced every one to go over to CDs. Yes, at the time it was a boom time for the industry as most people ended up replacing their vinyl record collections with CDs... but that boom time is long over. Unfortunately - all that extra income got the industry thinking this was going to be the normal state of affairs from then on... Well, this was back when there weren't any such thing as CD-burners on computers. Let along computer games and mobile phones and internet access for people to spend their disposal income on. Then later there came those pesky MPG files and those damn iPods... and well, it was all downhill from then on.

Yet the industry is still frozen at that very point back in the Eighties and totally unable to comprehend what has happened in the rest the world since then - all they know is they still want to be making those huge amounts of money... except they have been repeatedly and so absurdly lazy-ass about facing up to how they could now be earning money from music in the internet age...

So bearing that in mind - they really should give up on the modern age - it's apparent they don't understand it, can't deal with it - and are unlikely to ever catch up now and should go BACK to what they know best - vinyl records - which are that little bit harder to digitize - hell, especially since hardly anyone has record players any more... and when the technology market starts churning out hundreds of those record players that hook up to computers and turn everything you can play on them into sound files... well, then the music industry can go back to producing rolls for player pianos.

stupid names

So there was this big expensive campaign on tv recently - where Alice Cooper, Ringo and some others were going about their lives pronouncing how they wouldn't be so internationally famous now if they'd stuck to their original humdrum names... so because of that the staidly named Norwich Union is to rebrand it's self as 'Aviva'. Or something like that.


But Aviva is a made-up nonsense name - and it means nothing to anyone. (Not to mention that it sounds more like a brand of bottled spring water.) It won't mean anything until it's acquired one over time. So, so far it's only connection with anything is with the recent trend for big companies to want to call themselves by nonsense made up names. Oh and btw trying to make a link between the name of a corporation and a celebrity - no, that doesn't work. A person working in show business is not the same as a company. And surely since insurance is a boring business - then it's perfectly fine for an insurance company to have a boring name. Plus I'd like to know how much money Norwich Union spent on those flashy adverts - after all shouldn't that money have been better deployed giving it's costumers better deals? Mmmmmm?

Moreover rebrands are usually a massive waste of time, cost staggeringly huge amounts of money and frequently end up being confusing for customers - for example witness the debacle of the Post Office wanting to call it's 'Consignia' - wtf?

I'm mentioning all this because Nokia* have launched a web based user generated content sharing site called Ovi. But what the hell is an 'Ovi'? To me it sounds more like Ovum - a egg. So what on Earth have eggs got to do with mobile phones and the internets and sharing photos and movies etc.? I'm confused already. Oh well, at least it's only three letters long and should be easy enough to remember. But it has prompted me to notice the tide of nonsensically named companies that there are now.

[*Nokia, now this is a good no-nonsense nonsense name - it's just the name of a Finnish town.]

US Consumers Finally Growing Some Damned Sense, Not Buying Bottled Water

Wanna know a secret? I've been wishing for a recession for quite a few years now - because I've long known that people act a lot less stupidly in leaner times.

This is a start - Consumers Finally Growing Some Damned Sense, Not Buying Bottled Water but we've still got a ways to go yet.

They're Back - Being Human

Linehan on the twitterings around the NHS

Oh, is Twitter useful for something then?

...and this is how NuLabour does things...

and this is how it's run things ever since it's been in power. IE Having meetings with very rich powerful people and doing whatever they're told - regardless of the consequences. (Examples of consequences? things like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - the global banking crisis.)

Mandelson launches crackdown on file sharing... just days after meeting with record producer | Mail Online

But the weird thing is - I remember back in the days just before and around the time it got into power it was forever getting cosy in with the trendy new bands of the day - inviting Oasis and other 'Brit-pop' stars into Number 10 for tea parties and the like to show everyone that they were down with the young people... But now here they are doing something which is really going to piss the young people off (and anyone with an internet connection) - way to go Mandy. You idiot.

what are they saying about me? is it rude?

One of my toys pix has made it to some sort of German site - A series of top ten of things or something.

Spielen Spielzeuge? - Platz 10 in Die 10 schaurigsten Geheimnisse von Spielzeug von Peter Glaser

chips with your passport?

Why chips in passports and ID cards are a stupid idea.

Blimey - even the Economist thinks chips are a bad idea. No doubt the Govt. response will be *fingers in ears* "la-la-la - can't hear you - la-la-la!!!"

we're doomed

None of this comes as news to me - but it's worth noting anyway:

Consumerism is 'eating the future'

The thing is, the current economic recession could mark a change of tide on how we go about things from now on... but you just know it won't. The emphasis is still all on trying to scramble back to where we were in the 'boom times'... with whole Governments and industry in total denial that was all based on smoke and mirrors.

So - in short, we're doomed. *sigh*

Calvin Harris - Humanthesizer - the first human synth

coo - so when is someone going to take this idea and make it into a live show?

Murdoch's fading empire (one can hope)

Oh boo hoo. Apparently Rupert Murdock's losing money. So he's making plans to charge for all his news websites by next summer. Oh please, please, please let this scheme fall completely flat on it's face and herald the death of his dodgy empire - he's had far too much power and influence over public opinion in the world - and particularly in UK politics for far too long.

And spot the inherent contradictions in this statement: "Quality journalism is not cheap," says the man who publishes - the Sun and the News of the World. Oh wait we're supposed to think of the Times and the Wall Street Journal when he says that...mmmm. Furthermore he expects that those Sun/NOW readers (aka plebs) will be happy to fork out for their celebrity gossip too. Oh please let that backfire too, please can we see an end to this insane pathetic obsession so many people have with a small handful of shallow vacuous assholes who seriously don't deserve the attention.

UFO seen on BBC Look North webcam

yeah - that'll be what we call - 'a fly'. God - it really must be a slooooooow week for news then...

link dump

Spent a long time wandering around campblood - reading the reviews - discovering who's gay in the horror film world, and reading the interviews.

Then finding this ancient article about Tim McBride (apparently he was in Friday 13 - Part 2).

Database UK

Our Govt. sure loves a database...

It's been playing on our fears of terrorism and identity theft and immigration to try and push it's ID card and it's database on us all for a while now. But that's not enough - it's now using the populations fear of paedophiles to get anyone who goes near children to pay an extra £65 for a Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) on top of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check they already have to undergo every year...

I think the real clowns are the ones behind this stupid scheme.

let's advertise our monolopy superfast broadband

Karoo - "Our new generation, up to 24Mbps broadband isn't just fast - it's superfast and reliable, so you can download films, music and photos faster...

But if you do - and we arbitrarily decide that we don't like what you're downloading - we'll cut you off without warning. Then charge you again to reconnect you. Well, only after we've got you to come into our offices to sign a piece of paper admitting you were bad and promise you won't do anything naughty ever again. And if you don't like it -tough, because there isn't another ISP you can go to in Hull.

It all seems a bit harsh and totally unfair.

Even the local MP there has put his oar in. Good for him.

- and anyway, what happened to all this competition that was supposed to happen as part of the telecommunication's privatisation that happened back in the 80s? Hmmmm? Oh wait -it's up in Hull - nobody cares what happens up there.

And another thing - what is the deal with ISPs constantly whining about how they can't provide a certain level of service if people are -you know, actually using the internet for anything more than a bit of web browsing and email of a evening... aren't they just admitting that they can't actually provide the service people are paying them for? But they do this while advertising constantly improving speeds, and charging more for those speeds? There's something fishy going on here.

into the memory hole...

Owners of Amazon's Kindle electronic book reader have received a nasty surprise, after discovering that copies of books by George Orwell had been deleted from their gadgets without their knowledge.

I can see the Chinese and other oppressive regimes suddenly taking an interest in this... a book that can be remotely censored. They must be salivating at the potential.

ordinary man takes photo of fish and chip shop - and gets arrested for terrorism for it

well, of course we all know that the Taliban are plotting terrorist attacks against our high street fish and chip shops don't we? No? Because that's the only way this story of how Alex Turner got arrested under section 44 of the prevention of terrorism act makes any sense.

But when it's so easy to intimidate a police woman merely by being 5 foot 11 inches tall and taking her photo - then I think it's time to give up - the terrorists have won already. Obviously she'd simply die of fright if ever a taller man - with a beard were to go "Boo!" at her.

Of course - there's another law altogether for the police - whenever they feel like it they can take pictures of whoever they like, whenever they like: Police photograph anti-airport campaigners talking to MP.* Yes, you read that right - don't you dare go and talk to your MP - lest you want the police to suspect you of being one of those evil terrorists and put you on their lists.

The war on street photography

*oh noes - I linked to a Daily Mail article. I feel dirty.

why are we in Afghanstan ....

With the news full of how a few more British troops have died in duty in Afghanistan - Newsnight had tonight's whole program dedicated to asking 'what are we doing there...'

Throughout the whole program (and incidentally in the Prime Minister answers in Parliament's question time) not one person bothered to mention the real reason we're there, and why the US is there and why the Soviets where once there... it's all because duh the place is steeped in oil and gas. [But Gordon Brown couldn't say that - he just mumbled some nonsense about protecting us from terrorists. Which is the standard threadbare blanket excuse for everything these days.]

Which is all the more ironic considering that in the same question time the Prime Minister was patting himself on the back that the G20 where supposedly all pulling together to agree to maybe possibly vaguely do something about climate change... one day. Because yeah, if they ever do get to extract all that oil and gas - that won't increase carbon levels one jot will it. *eyeroll*

Kids of the Earth

RTD interview in the Stage part one, part two, other stuffs to come


the bf doesn't think this bin is ready to empty yet...
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wash care label? -what's that?

Soooo - the bf is currently on a whole big trying-to-be-domesticated kick. Which would be great if he wasn't so bad at it, and he's very bad at it. Sometimes I can't help wondering if he hasn't spent most of his life living in a cave.

This morning he did the washing. 'Oh that's good' I thought. But then noticed - 'ooooh no - he's washed my current new favourite black t-shirt in with the bath and pedestal mats'. I mean, first things first - pedestal mats - eurgh! They're a mat that is designed to catch piss. I mean - if you've had an accident - surely it's much better that it goes on the floor where it can be quickly and easily mopped up? Not left to soak into a mat and lie there stinking until it gets washed? Secondly, they're fluffy and so now I've got a black t-shirt and black boxer shorts that are now covered in a thick layer of bath mat fluff. Ew.

Now I've got to find me a big roll of sellotape to get the worst of the fluff off...

some bookmark dumping

Ken Livingstone: Privatisation has been a train wreck

"The attempt of National Express to avoid any consequences for their other franchises from their abandonment of the east coast service is just another example of the privateers trying to take the public sector for a ride. As Lord Adonis says, "It is simply unacceptable to reap the benefits of contracts when times are good, only to walk away from them when times become more challenging."

Time and again, we have seen the nationalisation of losses and the privatisation of profits."

Here's some out of date video podcasts for Creative Zen players... If it was such a good idea they should have kept it up...

I'm tired of seeing so many promising ideas just wither and die on the vine through neglect.

Dollhouse episode seven: Echoes

Dollhouse season one, episode seven: Echoes | Anna Pickard | Culture |

Choice quotes:

At this point the programme-makers just threw a whole bunch of syllables into something pharmaceuticalish. The student had ingested "a psychotropic modification of ridiculouslongmadeupnamix".

"hippocampus randomwordus"

"the psychotropic notawordamol."

(except my boyf. -who's a Doctor, recognised some of those words and stuff... so ha! do your research you sad journo.)

..."some big cheese in the Rossum Corporation (whatever that is)"...

Oh come on! Am I the only person in the world who gets that reference? Rossum? As in "Rossum's Universal Robots" - as in R.U.R. - the play by Karel ńĆapek. The play where we got the word 'Robot' from?

Oh well, everyone will know soon enough - I've just read in my googling that's there's a film been made of it - and will be released sometime next year.


For a long while now - I've thought if I ever where to get some money I might buy myself one of those mac minis. Not for any good reason - I just thought it'd be handy and I could see first hand what the fuss about the damn things was. Because to be honest I can't see what the fuss is about from the admittedly limited experiences I've had with macs*.

Anyway that aside - I had a look at them on the Apple store today and jesus what! the prices! £500 for the meh spec'ed one and £650 for the one I'd be more interested in. And for that they still don't come with a keyboard and mouse.**

Well sod that - I think I'll manage to live on in a mac free world for a bit longer yet.

A cheap netbook with some form of linux on it might be nice... (and a LOT more affordable.)

[*IE - when I was on a college course a year so back - they had macs and the damn things kept crashing on me - and had to be constantly rebooted. I also hated that you couldn't just plug in a thumbdrive in and just pull it out again when you'd finished like you can on XP and Vista - what this business where you have to drag it to the trash bin before you unplug it? Jezus - that was how it did things back with floppy disks in the bloody Eighties - has it not progressed beyond that yet? That drove me insane then too. Still nannying the user who's too thick to see when the drive is being written to or something?]

[**not that I'd ever want a 'mighty mouse' - that was driving me mad at college too. Oh, that stupid nipple thing on top - that you had to paw like crazy to scroll through anything. And then it would gunge up and is totally impossible to clean. What is wrong with Apple? Why the hell can't they make a decent mouse. Ever. I mean they look nice - but no doubt they would crucify any other manufacturer who would make a mouse that looked as good as a Mac one - but had proper functionality - like pretty much any other mouse in the world.]

yeah - isp


they have GOT to go!
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5 days and counting...


I dunno - when your ISP can't get you onto Yahoo - one of the most popular ...what is yahoo exactly? A portal? web presence? anyway - whatever - when you can't get onto yahoo and more importantly for me - flickr - then that ISP isn't exactly fit for purpose is it?

Oh - you are so about to be dumped.