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Monday, 31 December 2007

Give us back our children.

That title should be the rallying call of all sensibly minded parents up and down this once proud and fine country.

In recent years we have seen a rise in the English nanny state which has been hell bent on removing our children's childhood. No playing football in the streets or down alleyways. No ball game signs put up everywhere in any space large enough to fit a ball let alone a group of chidren with one. Games were frowned upon and in some cases barred from the school week of lessons. Places we almost 50's once played have long since been either built upon or fenced off.

Children today are not allowed the freedom we had as children. Government, Health organisations, teachers and parents have caved in to their own fears which has resulted in strangulation for todays children.

Schools have in many cases been taken over by headmasters and headmistresses and teachers who have ensured boys and tomboy girls are not allowed to tune into their aggressive side. Play with toy guns is a punishable offense by exclusion in some pre schools and primary schools.

We got over the rubbish ideas of the 80's which dictated that individual sporting talent was bad and that team work was the holy grail. Even the though of winning was frowned upon. We got passed all that bullshit only to have those in a position to change the rules make it so very hard for todays children to play as we did in the 60's with toy guns as cowboys and indians or taking a few sandwiches and a drink plus a football or two, a rugby ball, cricket stumps, ball and two bats to spend all day Saturday in the park 1/2 mile away from our home. We came home as darkness fell. On a Sunday we would all get on our bikes with our pack lunches and ride for miles on country roads. Sometimes we would ride the 60 miles from Hull to Scarborough. Spend and hour or so on the beach eating our packed lunches before beginning the journey home. Our parents never worried about us as there simply was nothing to worry about unless we got home after dark in which case we would be banned from partaking in the following weeks events. We numbered 12 children aged from 7 to 12.

Todays children are shielded from such activities because their parents have been bombarded with fears from every corner imaginable. The truth is that there are no more nor less child stalkers now than there was in the 60's. There are more vehicles on the roads but there are specially prepared cycle tracks which they could merrily ride along. Country roads are more of a challenge but with proper awareness of their surroundings they could still be ridable and enjoyable whilst riding. The dangers we 60's children surmounted we surmounted because we learnt as we went.

And it is that learning as you go, learning from previous mistakes as children, the freedom our parents gave us to enjoy life that made us the most successful generation today. In fact the most sucessful generation ever to walk this Earth.

And it is that chance we as todays parents are denying our children. Through misplaced fears over things that simply are not any worse than they was in the 60's.

Give us back are children by removing all the obstacles that have been placed in front of them over the last 40 or so years.

Give us back our children and let them play as we played.

Give us back our children.

Saturday, 29 December 2007


One of todays buzzwords is floods.

Never before in the last 2 centuries of England's past has the word been so over used.

England, or rather parts/areas of it, have always been prone to flooding. As people have built on floodplains all over the country, and councils have failed in their duty to clean drains, the more chance there is of that area flooding. It is basic commonsense.

So, now we have constant news reports of flood warnings. Can anyone really be surprised that this happens?

Todays buzzword is floods.

n : stock phrases that have become nonsense through endless
repetition [syn: cant]

-- From WordNet (r) 2.0

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Home spun food.

Back in the days when my grandma was alive food tasted so much better then the current offerings around. Even so called 'fresh' food tatses nothing like it used to do. Fair comment in that over the years smoking, first tipped cigarettes, then untipped, then a pipe intermixed with the odd cigar, all change ones taste buds but the food of today most certainly is different taste wise. Even 'organic', whatever that term implies, food.

My Grandma had her own vegetable plot in her backyard within which she grew all manner of vegetables as well as rhubarb and a greenhouse for her tomatoes. When anything was ready she would pluck them out of the ground and prepare for us the most wonderfully tasting food I have ever eaten. Granted I was but a mere youth back then, around the 1970's, but even so I can still taste that food in my mind that she served up and it was truly wonderful. Granted my Grandma was a truly wonderful cook who learnt her trade cooking and serving in an officers mess but I doubt even her cooking skills could hide bad or unfresh food.

Bounce forward several years and the food, even so called fresh and organic food, tastes, at best bland and at worse awful. Nothing at all like what the food is supposed to taste like. I think it is shame that we have several generations who have been brought up on supermarket fresh food which is anything but.

My wife is a truly wonderful cook. Considering her age at the time of writing and the fact she had no formal training in the art of cooking the fact that she can cook to an impressive standard is somewhat unusual in this day and age. She seeks out only vegetables grown locally which do retain some, but not all, of the flavour I remember from my youth. She has a nose and eye for vegetables that are seemingly not right.

Modern cooks in your everyday housing estate, holed up in flats (apartments to our American cousins across the pond) and around suburbia across the length and breadth of this once fine but still proud nation buy and eat processed and frozen food. Freezer food like packet beef, frozen chips, beef burgers, fish fingers anything and everything that can be stored in a freezer or fridge are part and parcel of everyday meals not just for the adults but for their children too. This sends out all the wrong messages about what is good and what is not. Sure, some frozen food stuff is good and more and more of it hasn't got those 'E' additives and other preservatives but to eat that stuff day in and day is just plain wrong. Not just from the point of view of cooking and eating it but from the point of view on ones health. Yes, eating all that pre-processed and packaged food takes a toll on ones health and general well being. No matter how much exercise one does in a day eating that kind of food will undo all the good the exercise does for your body.

I have been lucky in that my Mother cooked fresh, natural food stuffs as did my GrandMa. My first wife could burn cornflakes but by that time of my life I could cook as good as my Mother could. Having been trained in the art of cooking by both my Mother and GrandMa. Even though I was working 10 hour days, 6am to 4pm, I used to come home and start cooking simply because my first wife was so bad at it. After some 15 years of this arrangement my first wife and I split up. I met my second wife who had learnt her cooking skills from her military trained as a cook Father. She is an excellent cook who would rather spend 3 hours preparing the meal than be content with a 20 minute frozen food knock up. Apart from the period with my first wife, and even then I had naturally grown food food stuffs and fresh meat.

All this has meant that my body is generally healthy. Sure I have major arthritis everywhere but the other aspects that make up ones body health are as good as they can be. I believe this i down to not eating any old frozen crap during my almost 50 years on this fragile planet we like to call home.

Sadly, from a cost perspective, todays markets put a premium on so labled healthy, fresh vegetables but for me that premium is well worth the extra cost to the weekly or monthly veggie household costs. I strongly believe that the government can play a role in getting this once healthy nation back on track by doing a blanket advertisement stating all the benefits fresh fruit and vegetables give over their frozen food equivalents.

Get with the program folks and you will feel the benefit within a year of changing. Your children will thank you in years to come as they grow into adults and are feeling great in themselves.

Monday, 10 December 2007

It is all about control.

It is all about control. It is happening all over the world. As more and more countries join the democratic bandwagon so they seek to control the average Joe more and more. And the scarey thing is, they are winning.

The paranoid antics of the American presidency and his underlings that everyone bar them themselves is a criminal is seeping into the minds of the European powers that be. As that bandwagon rolls on we are seeing more and more organisations with vested interests in various things cow towing to their masters by bringing in more and more draconian messures designed to stop you, the average Joe, from doing what you want to do.

Witness the crazy antics of the RIAA and MPAA in the United States of America. Witness the IFPA's antics in the European Union. Witness the lawmakers antics in any arbitry 'Western style' country. The music and movie industry is seeking to control what you, the average Joe, can and cannot do on the Internet. What you can and cannot show on the Internet. They are acting as feeders for lawmakers who themselves will bring into Law those very same ideals. In the U.S.A. they have something called 'fair use' but they are seeking to break that down. In Europe most countries have no 'fair use' policy but it has been accepted in most countries that copying once is acceptable. Actually, it was long ago deemed unpolicable. However, fast forward to today and we have the Internet which is policable and they are seeking to police what you, the average Joe can and cannot do on the Internet.

A potted version of my views from my Internet days goes something like this: I have been 'on' the Internet since the time before it was labled the Internet. Back then I used a dialup modem to connect to the local university. All text mode only, jumping from machine to machine via telnet. While the whole thing was good and exciting no-one had any idea how much nor how fast it would grow. But it did grow and fast. The Internet was born. Even then, in the early days, no-one cared (much?) what ordinary, your average Joe, was creating or doing on the Internet. Then along came WWW and with it a sense of something great. Still no-one cared (much?) what anyone was doing on it. Technical people built web sites. Some great, some decidedly average, others were rubbish. But, the whole point of it was not lost on technophiles. It grew and grew and grew. Until it grew too large for governments to ignore. Now we are at the stage were governments want to stifle innovation from your average Joe and at the same time lable them criminals.

Behind the government we have organisations who have vested interests in various things so they too much seek to kill off various parts on the wider internet. Enter stage left all the arms of the music and movie industries. Enter stage right all the patent holders who are seeking nothing less than to strangle anyone or anything within their sights.

Today we have an Internet that is open to all. From the all powerful governments to little Miss Mayweather who sat in her bedroom with a computer, an ADSL connection to her ISP and some software to create web sites, creating web sites that within 5 years will see her captured in the dragnet and hauled off to jail for doing nothing more nor less than various organisations and ordinary people have been doing for the last 7 to 8 years and that is creating a web site that pays homage to her favourite music and movie stars.

It is all about control and control you they will.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


Oh the irony!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

P2P traffic

I regularly download various Linux distributions and many open source applications via P2P for myself and many people who use mostly open source applications on both a Linux based host machine or an MS Windows based machine.

For many a reason people will use open source applications on their expensive MS Windows, which in some cases came with the machine at sale time, as they find most large MS Windows based application too expensive.

Since our local incumbant ISP karoo started offering an "up to 8mb" service they have been throttling traffic. For most people using this ISP this throttling of traffic will not matter but for others who use the most throttled protocols, like P2P and Usenet, we will feel the slowdown.

The ISP calls it "Traffic management" but in reality it is a traffic shaper. They throttle because they refuse to invest in more bandwidth. It really is as simple as that.

Now, going back to myself using P2P to download. I have seen what was once a guaranteed 100% speed with hundreds of seeders drop to 60% less and still there are hundreds of seeders.

I personally find this an abuse of purchase. The thing is though we cannot go elsewhere as they are the only ISP in town who does ADSL.

I am annoyed. Are you? If you are then let them know. I doubt they will ever invest to such a stage as they no longer us traffic shaping but at least you will have told them you are annoyed.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A sign of our time.

A sign of our time. This from the web site is a shameful show of how our society has become.

In these so called enlightened times a random adult cannot show friendliness towards a child. An adult cannot provide a child in need any help. An adult cannot be seen alone with a child not from his or her own family.

What has gone wrong with us all?

In days not so far away it was the adults that kept a careful eye on children. Whether or not any of those children belonged to them. Adults looked out for children. Sure there were those who wanted to harm children such a there is now but the vast majority of adults looked out for any child within view. And this was without reprisals.

Now, an adult cannot be seen to helping a child not of his or her own family and this makes the world a dangerous place for our children.

I grew up during the 1960's and 70's and times back then where definately better than they are now for children.

A sign of our time and it sucks.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

It has to be said

It has to be said that the so called "Land of the Free" are the most racist nation of people on this fragile green Earth.

Many more examples of proof of truly racist comments by, I can only assume the low end of educated Americans, are available all over the Internet.

This latest example is what prompted me to write this blog post. It is by no means the worst example of it but it is a shining example.

After some news that Mubadala Development Company, which is a front for the Government of Abu Dhabi some, not all, Americans on various news sites and blogs started coming out with all manner of utter racist comments.

It has happened before and it will happen again.

I really feel sorry for my American friends that there is this underlaying thread that spoils the view of Americans in the world outside of its borders. The popularity of America and its people is already at an all-time low.

To those that spouse racist rubbish like "
So that is when our graphics chips will start to blow up in our faces and take out more twin towers." I say:

You are really showing that American racism right there.

Pat yourself on the back friend, you're part of the problem.

Friday, 16 November 2007

My youngest child

My youngest child is at the time of writing 9 months old. He is a delightful little chap who is just discovering he can stand up aided by the settee or T.V. stand etc. He has been crawling now for about 1 month so trying to stand has come pretty quickly. We, that is my wife and I, think he will be walking proper before his first birthday.

He has slept throughout the night since he was 6 days old. He is always smiling and rarely cries. He can be a little demanding when his feeding times are due but otherwise he plods through life as only a child of that age can and does.

One of the things that is a joy to see is when he smiles back at our dogs. A dog is said to be smiling when its bottom jaw drops and the tongue lolls out. When our little bundle of joy sees either one of our dogs doing this he assumes they are really smiling and smiles back. He has taken a shine to our border collie but our Labrador is his guardian.

Nothing annoying in this blog post. It is just a blog from a proud father about his youngest child.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Well, after reading an article on theinquirer about the RIPA and how easily it can be abused by our Police force I felt compelled to comment on it, both the article itself and the RIPA as they are both combined.

I use encryption myself for all my various passwords. Passwords that I use to connect to shopping web sites, passwords that are for various logins to various computers arund the world as part of my home based work. All of these passwords are stored in one directory, the directory itself is not encrypted. The encryption I use is not particularly powerful but it does the job. I know ne'er do wells cannot get into my system with ease so the level of encryption I use is good enough to keep away prying eyes such as those belonging to my ever inquiring kids who use my system from time to time.

Now, I don't do anything against the Law as far as I am aware but if the police wanted to they could take my computers away and request the passwords used. If I was to refuse them this information I cannot tout privacy as a means to repel the request as any U.K. citizen no longer has any privacy as once guaranteed and as our forefathers fought to keep. No, instead they would throw the RIPA card which means if I refuse they can throw me in jail for 2 years.

RIPA removes any use of any encryption method in use today and in all probability removes the desire of programmers to create ever more powerful encryption methods thereby stifling innovation.

The whole thing stinks of overzealousy in their fake fight against supposed terrorism.

And we are now at the stage where everything our forefathers fought for in WWII is slowly but surely being taken away from us every day law abiding people for the sake of catching a few supposed terrorists. Which incidentally, includes any organisation that does anything the police and/or Government does not like.

Down with the RIPA!

Sunday, 4 November 2007


I own, as in bought and paid for, several hundred music CD's. I also own a couple of hundred old fashioned, but making a comeback?, LP's and singles. I also have a few music only DVD's. Most of the LP's and 'singles' I have converted to mp3 and ogg so that I can play my music wherever I take my laptop, PDA and MP3 player. Plus I can juggle my favourite tracks and create my own CD/DVD's thereby removing the dross so many music albums have.

I am one of the few that has never downloaded any music from the Internet nor do I share my collection via this method nor with anyone else, friends or otherwise. I have never had the need to download music from the Internet as my music collection is quite expansive. Up to a couple of years ago when the music industry started suing their own customers I bought all my music. I have not purchased any music for about 3 years because of what the RIAA etc have been doing. I have not downloaded any either. Quite simply my music collecting stopped dead because of the RIAA tactics.

However, there are those within the music industry who would have me hung, drawn and quartered for what I do. They claim they lost out when people put their album collection on tapes. They claim they lose out because of those, like me, who do with their music as they deem fit. After all, my music collection was bought and paid for therefore within the realms of fair use I own that copy of it. Not the music itself as that is covered by copyrights but the fact I have bought the right to listen to it via whatever medium suits me at any given time.

Because I have bought my music collection I see nothing wrong with what I do with my music. In point of fact, it is a little known fact in this country that copying the music from one format to another is actually illegal. We have no 'fair use' law in this country but that has not stopped people from copying music from albums or 'singles' to tape and more recently CD/DVD's.

The moguls within the cartels we call the music industry are seeing that they are losing their collective grip on their cash-cow. Because of this they are thrashing about throwing lawsuit after lawsuit at their own customers in a last gasp effort to get whatever remaining cash is there from their ailing industry model. The end is nigh and they know it.

I do not, and never have, shared my music with anyone via the Internet or any other sharing method but I do change the format and move said music to different playback mechanisms. I see nothing untoward in doing this.

I know that in the U.K. we have no 'fair use' law but given that people have been using cassette tapes and video recorders for years without fear of prosecution, or persecution for that matter, I see what I, and no doubt many others, do as doing nothing wrong. If you think about this for a moment you will undoubtedly come to the conclusion it is an extension on what has always happened. Given the fact I have never shared my music collection I see nothing wrong in what I do with it.

I am a big believer that once you have paid for something you are free to do with it whatever you want to do with it and that once you have bought something it is then yours.

New Labour folly.

Oh my good grief! Such folly I have never read. View this:

Then tell me it is not pure unadulterated folly!

Labour's favourite think-tank has come up with the idea that we should 'downgrade' Christmas in favour of festivals to improve race relations. Though, they say, it would be hard to 'expunge' Christmas from the national calendar, 'even-handedness' means public organisations must start giving other religions equal footing.

Now, I have no problem at all with other religions or races having their own festivals or celebrating their own Deity but to seek to 'expunge' Christmas celebrations is quite simply stupid. Instead of fostering race relations it is ideas like this that foster race hate.

In fact, under current race relations legislation in the U.K. I would be very surprised if something like this does not break that legislation in some way. Mind you, in England, a land of the English whatever that may be defined as, the race relations legislation was crafted around other races from other nations. Because of this design we English have been vilified for years as more and more silliness has crept in and put up barriers between the English and other nationalities. It was not meant to be this way but as with every level of legislation there are those who will abuse the system and sure enough the system got abused against the indigenous peoples. However, as time moves on more and more Britons are fighting to keep those things that identify us as a nation of like minded people.

Our little country has held open its arms to every nation in the world and they came. But, by taking away things that we Britons have had for centuries is plain folly.

Small ISP.

Where I live we have but one telephony provider. They provide land locked telephones and broadband. There are others here that provide land locked telephone services but even they go through the incumbent telephony provider to strut their stuff. I believe that there is one other broadband provider that supplies businesses only so they do not count as a provider of telephony for the great unwashed to use. Over the last several years they have bought into a more worldly market but those buys where at the detriment of local service offerings. Since appriximately 1995 the telephony service offered by our incumbent telephony provider has deteriated, got ever more expensive. When broadband was first usable here it was exteremely unstable and fraught with problems. It is not much better nowadays.

Our local telephone company is the only remaining telephone service outside of the BT network. Years ago there used to be lots of these local telephone companies but in the early 1900's they all amalgamated to eventually become BT, owned at that time by the British Government. All but one became BT and that was our incumbent telephone company.

Over the following years we locals enjoyed excellent telephone services and much cheaper than those poor souls in BT land too. Us locals where the first to have a broadband service, even though it was dogged with many problems and still is for some, our calls where cheap and much much more. We were at the fore front of telephony technology for almost 90 years. Oh the joys of the late 1970's and early 1980's Bulletin Boards. We locals had the choice of 92 at its peak but the advent of Internet connections killed off the old BBS. Shame.

Come forward a few years and us locals are now treated to an "up to 8Mb" ADSL service but some are not getting anywhere close to 8Mb. In fact some are not getting half that and a few getting half of the half. In other words the "up to" part of the service name is a cop out by our incumbent provider as they know the copper lines they laid cannot handle 8mb or worse still the CISCO gear they use is not up to the task and their technicians have no clue how to use it either. The latter I can believe.

Our City is some (approximately) 6 miles across from east to west and 4.5 miles across from north to south. Making some 27 square miles. Our local incumbent telephony provider services this area on its own as far as myriad of telephony wiring that permeates under and above this city goes. There are some 17 exchanges dotted around their service area. Of these some 9 are within the city boundary. These 9 exchanges serve approximately 230k worth of peoples. Of those some 71,000 use the broadband services.

Now, those exchanges vary in size so depending where one lives within the city it can have a detrimental affect on the service offered as each exchange has a limit. Because of how they were set up when the company first opened these limits are hit as more and more people request telephony services. Of course, the local incumbent telephony provider will tell you that these higher limits will never be hit but that is not in itself true.

One thing that further seperates the city's incumbent telephony provider from BT is the use of thinner cabling. 3mm versus 5mm. Though they are after 90+ years replacing this cabling. This simple fact further harms the broadband market here as the thinner cabling struggles to provide a good, constant broadband experience for their customers. The faster the broadband service gets the harder it is for them to keep the signal levels clean due, in part, to this thinner cabling used. There some reports around various forums by otherwise knowledgeable people that this thinner cabling makes it more expensive for other telephony providers to set up shop in my city. This is just plain wrong on several counts.

One area that our incumbent telephony operator excels is in its ability to talk to the local people. Because it is still basically a home spun company, which still relies on the local market for profits even though the company has a finger or two in world markets, it still, even in these modern times, has to rely on local people otherwise as soon, or if, another telephony company comes into their established market those local people who are in the main loyal through good and bad times, will jump ship and the local incumbent telephony provider knows this so they attempts by whatver means open to them to keep their home market sweet.

The day I could have died.

My Grandparents fell under the compulsory purchase order that destroyed so many families in the Spring Bank area of Kingston upon Hull during 1964-5. The area the order covered was some 2 square miles of old fashioned back to back housing. From Derringham Street to Spring Street and Spring Bank to Clarance Street. Hundreds of houses, shops pubs and a park destroyed in one fell swoop. My Grandparents house off Trinity Street was a big 6 bedroomed privately owned house with a back garden that extended some 700yards off the back of the house. Surrounded as it was by a 6 foot high builder brick wall along its full length, both sides and across the back. Before I get slammed for having a rosy memory of that wonderful house to back up my own memory of it I took the sizes from the Government/Council owned archives thhat anyone can view.

The estate as was was not truly an estate in the modern sense back then. It was nothing more than a collection of mostly back to back, 2 up, 2 down terraced housing with larger properties along one side of Trinity Street and dotted about around the estate, known locally as The Spring Bank estate.

Most of the houses were owned by landlords but the rents were very low so the standards of some of the families were not as high as the might have been. Other houses and businesses were privately owned. These privately owned properties were the ones who suffered at the hands of the local council. The council offered these people a fraction of the true value of the properties and affectively stole the houses from under the feet of the house dwellers. My Grandparents where one such family. In 1960 they paid 1,200 UKP (a LOT of money back then) for the house after selling a smaller house off Thoresby Street for 800UKP. In 1964 when the stealing by stealth began the council offered them 200 UKP. The same value that everyone else on the estate had been offered. No consideration was given to house or property size whatsoever. Every single building was offered the same disgusting low price even for those times.

Anyway, in 1965 they moved from a private house to 2x25th Avenue on North Hull Estate. The house was not very big compared to the house the council had just stolen from them but as there was only my Grandmother and Grandfather plus the occasional visit from us Grandchildren to consider so they took it. The rent, via Hull County Council, was reasonable too.

I was five years old when they moved but was already used to visiting my Nana and Papa as my Grandparents were known to us kids. But, when they moved it became a 4 mile journey to their house compared to the 1/2 mile it used to be. My first visit during the very cold and snowy month of November 1965 aged five years old almost cost me my life.

I had got on the bus, alone as children had little to fear in those days as most all adults looked out for children back then, and kept muttering to myself what my Nana had told me. "Get off the bus at the terminus (which was at the end of 21st Avenue. Cross the road then same way as the bus points go to the end, then turn left then after a short walk turn left again the walk down there until you see the huge oak tree. Once you reach that you are almost here. Carry on walking until you reach 25th Avenue." The instructions where clear even for a five year old child. However, somewhere along the line I had missed a turn and instead of walking down Endike Lane I was in fact walking back where the bus had just come from.

It was one of the coldest evenings of that year (1965). Thick ice had laid everywhere. Trees glistened and flowers danced in the icy cold wind. After I had walked a ways, the wrong way, I started crying as by now I knew I was lost. With freezing cold hands gripped tightly around my books and pencils I stood, crying, not knowing what to do. Then, a man on a bicycle stopped and asked me what was the matter. I told him where I wanted to be and he said "Well, you are going the wrong way to reach there. You had better get on the back of my bicycle and I will take you are far as Elerburn Avenue. 25th Avenue is next one along." So, I got on his bicycle and with the icy wind tearing at my face and hands we set off.

After what seemed an eternity we arrived at the point where this man could go no further. I thanked him as a 5 year old thanks anyone and after checking I knew where I was going he went on his way and I mine. It was but 100 yards from the drop off point to where my grandma lived but along that 100 yards the cold had by now caused frostbite in my fingers. I dropped all my books and pencils and was really scared when I found I could not pick them up because my fingers felt like rubber and the mere touch of anything hurt. But being 5 years old and with a determination only a child possesses I managed to pick them all up bar two pencils. I was once again crying and tears on my face hurt as the dripped.

Eventually, I arrived at my grandma's house, frozen, crying and through the cries I mumbled that my hands and face hurt. My grandma sat me opposite a big open fire with flames merrily dancing and slowly worked her magic to get the feeling back in my hands and face.

That was the night I almost died. If it had not of been for that gentleman stopping and giving me a lift on his bicycle I know now that I would most certainly have got lost and would of eventually given in to the very cold icy evening wind that blew so menacingly.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Primary school education.

Never far from the news.

Parents up and down the U.K. always have their say on their child's education, never is this more true than on their child's primary school education. In these times of SATS, which are ridiculous for children under 11 years old as they prove nothing, nothing is more ridiculous than forcing children to sit tests. Tests that could determine their entire working future. Children of that age mature at different ages and alongside that maturity comes the ability to soak up that which they are being taught, therefore, making them sit for tests is an exercise in futility.

During the 1980's games where seen as a bad thing as they, they said, fostered a winning personality. Taking part became the mantra is better than winning. Most sensible parents debunked this mantra. Nowadays children are vilified for being lazy none games playing children. The truth behind this is that it was the government that stopped our children playing energentic games.

Again during the 1980's the governments educational policies frowned on children's creativity. Most primary and secondary schools removed everything to do with creativity from the schools daily work load. Again it was the governments educational policies that dictated this should be so.

Pre-school and primary school children need a lot of 'playtime' to help in soaking up the energy levels they all have. Added to this they need an avenue for their build in creativity. Both of these activities were removed from the curriculum during the 1980's. Perhaps more accurately they were squeezed out due to the curriculum being overcrowded.

Over the course of the last few years the Commons education committee has seen the folly or sheer stupidity of previous decades and is now coming out on the side of creativity for children. It has come as no surprise to sensible parents.

In 1964 I started preschool. The day consisted almost entirely on play. This play was punctured now and again with creative learning. In 1965 I started primary school. During the first term the format of preschool followed. During the second term the mornings consisted entirely on creative learning and the afternoon was playtime. During the third term, mornings were more mainstream, formal learning and the afternoons creative learning. During the fourth and final term the whole day consisted of formal learning. By the time one entered ones second year of primary education the scene was set for formal learning all day everyday. And so it went on until one reached secondary school age (back then that was 9 years old with 9 to 13 being junior school and 13 to 16 senior school) at which time at term end the children sat a test. This test determined what level the child started at at junior school. Once at junior school formal schooling continued until aged 12 or 13 the children sat another test which like the previous end of primary school test determined what level the child started senior school. The only important tests the children sat in those days were the A, O and GCE tests at the end of senior school years. Of course throughout a child's time at junior and senior school in those times peripheral tests were sat but these tests were more to determine what level the child would start at at the beginning of the following term.

The whole system worked fine and gave us some of the best brains this country has ever had.

This was from 1964 to 1976. Shortly after this the governments educational guru's started changing things for the sake of changing them. During the 1990's the government then blamed teachers for failing to deliver on changes the government themselves changed during the 1980's which the teachers did not agree with in the first place. Games playing was out. Creativity was out. It was a mess. And right in the middle of this mess was our children. Creative learning was out. The cane was out as was chastising unruly children. Is it any wonder we are now turning out more and more children that cannot read and write? Children that have no grasp of basic English? Nor mathematics? And children that have no grasp on general decorum?

Sunday, 28 October 2007


Ever more these days we see some random "expert" espousing on this or that. Sometimes the espouser talks sense and the article/TV interview is entertaining and informative. However, one thing they all do, which invariably spoils the whole thing, is pull some seemingly random figures out of the air.

Take this BBC article as a prime example. The, probably, eminant doctor says something we can all identify with. Tiredness. Especially tiredness when the clocks go back 1 hour (in the U.K. at least this occurance happened early hours of today. 28-102007 at 2am) but then he spoils it all by saying "six out of 10 people" are failing to relax before sleeping and that this leads to "semisomnia" and that this change in time can take 3 days to recover properly from.

It is not what he says overall that is annoying, just the obvious figures out of thin air bit. I mean, everyone can identify with tiredness, especially feeling just that little bit more tired after the clocks are turned back 1 hour and for a couple of days afterwards we all can identify with feeling that little bit more tired than usual. But where exactly did those figures, "six out of 10", come from? I would hazard a guess that he looked through either his own log book or that of the hospital he works in and then pulled out all instances of tiredness in the 3 days following the clock change then calculated that figure against the population count as a whole. Not exactly rocket science nor does it make those figures correct. However, "6 out of 10" looks very impressive and is sure to trigger something in the minds of the readers but here, all it does is provide evermore proof that this type of portrayal of figures is nothing more than an ineffectual method that annoys.

This pulling figures out of thin air to backup or bolster whatever point is being made is quite simply ineffectual to all but the lowest of the low on intelligence. It is annoying. It is almost an affectation in so much as the person talking seems to have a driving need to back up that whih they are saying by pulling out outlandish figures to back up their claims.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Blaming childhood things.

Blaming things that happened to us for the bad things some adults do in adulthood has long been the mainstay of people seeking to understand why adults do bad things.

Take this 'chessboard killer' Alexander Pinchuskin as the latest example of this somewhat modern thinking

His mother said she blamed his killing spree on a bump on his head aged 4 years old.

Other examples of this crazy thinking are sexual perverts that are claimed to have been abused themselves when children. Those child beaters who it is claimed were beaten themselves when younger. This list of things that happened to children that are later blamed as reasons why an adult did whatever he or she did is almost endless.

It must cause massive consternation in all those adults who were abused in one form or another as children or had something traumatic happen to them, but grow up into model citizens and parents. To hear these people who claim this or that happened to him or her as a child and it is that which caused him or her to do whatever he or she did in adulthood you would think it should transpire that all adults would be affected in someway and all adults would be out there killing people, abusing children etc etc.

I was physically and systematically abused by my father for many years. Only breaking free of the fear I had for him on the day I saw his body lowered into that 6ft deep hole we call a grave. Did I, as a parent, go on to beat my own children in likewise fashion? No, I did not.

I had my nose smashed into several pieces when hit full on by a swing in a childrens playground. Did this painful and traumatic event as a child lead me to an adult life on the dark side of human nature? No, it did not. If it did anything other than simply hurt it made me more careful of fast moving objects and gave me a constant reminder by way of a constant blocked nose in one nasal passage. Still, I have never killed nor physically abused anyone in the 44 years that have passed since it happened.

One of my still friends from my childhood days saw his mother kill his two sisters, two brothers and his father one fateful day. Only escaping death himself because he went outside moments before it happened to retrieve a football he had left outside. Did he go on to kill as an adult? No, he did not.

There is a very fine line between right and wrong. Between sanity and insanity. Between killing and wanting to kill. Between abusing and wanting to abuse etc etc. But, to blame an abuser or killers reasoning on something that happened to them as a child is to make light of all those who also had something happen to them as a child but did not go on to kill or abuse as adults.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


With the growing disquiet surrounding Comcasts blocking of P2P traffic and the issues surrounding net neutrality in the U.S.A., and elsewhere, it is about time our ISP, karoo (KCom) was outed for doing the same thing. Our ISP like Comcast calls it "Network Management" but in reality it is quite simply Traffic Shaping. They will not say who created the package they use nor which package they use siting "Company confidentiality" which is amusing at best and, as every other ISP in the U.K. uses similar, silly.

Our ISP openly admits to prioritizing Internet traffic. Low on their priority list is P2P and Usenet traffic with Web, email and VoIP being highest. VoIP and email are further described as "Time sensitive". Go figure for email...

While there is no proof or evidence to suggest our ISP diddles with the traffic as Comcast appears to do (forging packets etc) the similarities between our ISP and Comcast are striking.

As well as the now normal Network Management our ISP further slows all traffic down during a 1800hrs to 2400hrs "peak period". This drop in speed is prioritised on which Option one is signed up to. Users on Option 4, their so called premier package which gives the user a psuedo static IP and little else, get a higher priority than those signed up to Option 1. In reality it is broken as there is proof that the Option one is signed up to has little to no affect on prioritised speeds during this "peak period".

All our ISPs packages are slated as being "up to 8mb" but as the copper wiring they own is, in most areas they cover, 40-50 years old with some parts being older and a few areas (newer housing estates, private and council) being younger, some users are lucky to hit 1mb let alone any where close to 8mb. Add in the use of network management plus (obvious) misconfiguration by their own technicians the service offering speedwise here by karoo is poor generally.

Most people in their service area lack the knowledge to argue their point. So, when they ring the poor customer service line and they get told "as the service is up to 8mb, 1 or 2mb is acceptable" they cannot state their point that 1 or 2mb is not acceptable so they plod along accepting these slow speeds. A few of us however do have the technical knowhow and will argue our point over and over again until something is done for the benefit of all.

Karoo will not accept their service offerings are badly broken. Their technicians are utterly clueless on the software they use. The software they use for the Network Management is so badly configured it is a joke amongst us more knowledable users.

So, while the world and more notably Comcast users in the U.S.A. can moan on a world stage about what their ISP is doing and how Net Neutrality is big news in the U.S.A. passing as it is through congress, spare a thought for us backwater ISP users in the U.K., who are suffering exactly the same and have no choice but to use it as there are no other ISPs here to defect to.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Long time no post.

It has been a while since I lost blog posted. There is no shortage of things happening worldwide that have, in one way or another, annoyed me and not being able to write about them here was somewhat frustrating. The reason for the long delay is that I fell downstairs and broke my left arm. Well, fractured a bone more like but apparently it was a bad fracture. I also managed to break several little bones in my left hand and very badly sprained my right wrist. These things stopped me typing. Breaking my right leg is a bit of a bugger as my left one is knackered because of the disability anyway which basically means if I need or want to go anywhere I need to sit in a wheelchair until the left leg is mended and is srong enough to support me as i stand, walk etc. That alone could be a blog post as there is a lot of prejudice against people in wheelchairs, in this country at least.

So, with a plaster cast on my right leg, left arm and hand and heavy bandages on my right wrist and hand plus the bandages around my head I look like something of a disaster zone.

The bandages are off my right hand and wrist now and I am once again at home.

This unfortunate turn of events gave me my first taste of our wonderful N.H.S for many years. Sure, my disability means I go to hospital every now and again as an out-patient but actually being sat in a hospital for a week or so meant I got first hand experience of what the state of play is now compared to the previous time I stayed for several days. That previous time was some 22 years ago. A lot has changed within our N.H.S. in those 22 years and especially in my local hospital.

The first thing that struck you was how different the ward is. It is the same structure internally but it somehow seemed brighter, more cheerful. I was put in a side ward which is a one person ward rather than be put in the general ward which has several beds screened from each other with curtains. The side ward appeared to be well stocked with medical stuff and had a TV, DVD player, radio and the usual in the wall stuff available to the patient. As long as there is no technical stuff being used in there you are allowed the use of your mobile phone. All of these things where impossible to use for me due to the fact I had both hands either plastered up or bandaged up. Still, apart from the wall radio these things were not available 22 years ago. A significant improvement from the patients point of view.

One thing that has not changed on iota is the skill and dedication of the nurses. The nurses I had to deal with were firm but polite and knew what they were doing. This may sound an obvious thing but it is not. Having been unfortunate enough to have been in hospitals abroad I can testify first hand that our nurses here in the U.K. beat their foreign counterparts in skills. Their dedication is outstanding. Even in the face of abuse they carry on regardless.

There is a general undertone which comes out when you talk with the nurses and doctors. This undertone is one of disgruntlement amongst them about how the Government is destroying the N.H.S. with all the changes they are making. Pay also comes into it as does the long hours they work. Overall though the nurses are bright and cheerful only slipping into discontentment when questioned.

Well, this is a blog post with not a lot of substance but I basically wanted to let you all know my absence was because of something happening and was not because I had become bored with the whole blog scene. The posts will not be frequent until the bandages and plaster casts are off both my arms, wrists and hands but I will try to post something every few days or so.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

It has started.

Over the last few years we have seen smokers cast out as some form of leper on society. Some of the places where smoking is now banned beggars belief that we are a sane society. One such place is, or rather was, designed and created purely for the purposes of smoking. The patrons of such a place went into these places to enjoy a water based smoke and knew exactly what they were doing and where in fact adults who by their own actions knew that the smoke from their own pipes as well as the smoke from other like minded smokers was permeating through the air in the room they sat in. And yet with the blanket ban of smoking in public and private places this type of business has had to close down causing loss of jobs as well as the main income of the establishment owner. Madness.

Next up on the target list is car drivers. Use of mobile phones whilst driving is now outlawed. For years car drivers have had the in-car use of radios, cd players, dvd players and all manner of in-car distractions (passengers talking, children playing up etc etc). Radios need turning on and tuning, cd and dvd players need turning on and a cd or dvd inserting, passengers invariably talk to the driver and if there other back seat passengers, children are children and often times argue and are loud whilst doing it. Some drivers smoke which is said to be another distraction. In point of fact anything that causes the driver to take one hand off the steering wheel is open to abuse from the do gooders in our society. Use of mobile phones whilst driving is now outlawed and rightly so. But, the others? Most of the things mentioned here have been going on for almost as long as cars have been available. No statistics are available (I mean hard facts not 'meld the figures to suit your argument' percentage based statistics) to vindicate either side of the argument but it is only a matter of time before smoking in-car is banned, radios are banned, cd and dvd music players are banned and ultimately all talking in-car is banned. Of course road fatalities will not go down nor will the road accident count but they will all be banned nonetheless.

Madness. Utter and complete madness.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Where are the English?

Where are the rules/laws to protect English views?

Over the last 20-30 years England has been eroded by Laws, both local and national, that go against the indigenous population which in England is the English.

Over the centuries, up to the 1970's, England has become a mix of just about every nation on this fragile planet. Sure, there was rampant blatant discrimination against other nationals, notably our West Indian friends and something needed to be done to stem it, but what has happened totally turned the tide against those few who caused the discrimination.

During the late 1970's through the 1980's and into the 1990's the government and overly liberal local councils brought in rule after rule after rule in an effort to stem the discriminatory tide. The net affect of these rules was that if one was white and English one would automatically find oneself discriminated against in every walk of life. Another net affect of these rules is that the English people lost all sense of national pride as wave after wave of discrimination against them pushed them further and further into the background and brought into the foreground every conceivable minority.

This state of affairs was slowly but surely heading for problems. In the last year or so there has been a growing government call for "A sense of Englishness". Whatever that terms means...

Something has however got to give. We the English have to find a way to undo, without returning back to the discriminatory pre 2000's, all the anti-English rules and laws that were brought in by overly liberal governments and local councils. We must instill into our children a real sense of national pride but without alienating those who joined as immigrants. In fact we should embrace these immigrants and allow them to grow a real sense of national pride towards the country that adopted them. England.

Due in part to the human pack like behavior there will never be a truly none discriminatory world. But, being forced to stop this discrimination and becoming anti-English, by accident or design is, as we are finding out today, simply the wrong way to go about it.

The backlash against all the anti-English rules is beginning. And not before time.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Good old England.

We, that is my family and I, came back from a week in Maryland, Ohio. The differences between good old England and the U.S.A. were striking to say the least. Maryland cannot be classed as mainstream U.S.A but even there the differences in every area were there to be seen. More than seen, the differences hit one in the face as soon as one stepped outside the airport building.

Almost every area was clean. Sure there are parts that one could term slums but every City on God Green Earth has at least one of those. The parks we visited where spotless and imacculately cared for. The streets in general where clean as well. One thing that really stood out was the number of police dotted everywhere we went. This alone is in stark contrast to good old England.

Just about every public service, police, paramedics etc where to be seen in abundance. Here, in England, you can go days before seeing a Police car let alone a policeperson walking.

Crime is the U.S.A. is really no worse than it is in England. Sure, gun crime is rife but other than that the two countries are comparable.

Houses, away from the City centre, are huge compared to houses in England. For what one could pay here in England for an average sized 4 bedroomed house one could get something twice as large in the U.S.A. and with surround green grass areas thrown in.

For me. There is no place like England. I love it here for all its faults. But, the U.S.A. is a great puller. I always said that if I was to emigrate I would emigrate to New Zealand but after our U.S.A. visit I may just have to rethink that.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

British Gas Nightmare (part 2).

We have now been in the new house a week and still British Gas continue to mess us about. The house was setup with British Gas as suppliers of both Gas and Electric. Also, the house had prepayment meters fitted.

They failed to keep yet another appointment last week.

The Gas meter has so far stolen £13.47 twice from each £20 we have put on it. The Electric meter has stolen £11.49 for the £40 we put on it. All in all, the meters have stolen 38.43 of the £70 we have placed on them. Added to this was the £8 we paid for an emergency Gas card. Total £46.43. Then there are all the calls to their various numbers from both a landline telephone and mobile phones. This number is 28 in total.

Not good. Not good at all.

We wanted the prepayment meters taken out but would have settled for the meters being reset but British Gas failed to keep every appointment. They and they alone have caused us no end of problems and who knows how much stress.

We will claim compensation for everything we are owed. Energywatch is on our side as well and keep poking British Gas on our behalf.

I rang them again yesterday and managed to speak with a woman that actually knew her stuff. This call culminated in 3 appointments being made and compensation heading our way for all their failures.

Once the appointment dates have come and gone only then will we know if they have failed us yet again or if they can manage what they have not thus far and keep to their appointment schedule. We still need to claim for all monies stolen as well as for the emergency Gas card. All telephone calls and an amount agreed for undue stress. We shall see how that goes once they, if they, keep the latest set of appointments.

British Gas continue to suck. We will be moving away from them at the earliest opportunity.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Plants and Animals on the Brink.

There are plants and animals on the brink of extinction. There has always been animals and plants on the brink of extinction and there has always been plants and animals that have become extinct.

This simple thing is what evolution is all about. Some animals and plants die off and others emerge to take their place in a never ending evolutionary cycle that has gone on for millions of years.

The one sole reasons there are organisations with a vested interest in keeping plants and animals on the brink of extinction in the public eye is one of money. These organisation get millions every year to tell you, the glorious public, what we all know already.

In the end everything comes down to money and the more interested an organisation has in that something the more they force feed the general public with information.

This sort of brink of extinction is nothing new and has gone of for millions of years. It is quite simply evolution at work.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

British Gas nightmare.

So, we have our new house. The house has both Gas and Electric via British Gas. All well and good as we have been long time British Gas users. That is where the nightmare begins.

We have 4 days to move from our current property to our new property. So, we rings British Gas to politely ask them to turn on the supply to both the Gas and Electric. Right there is where the not so much fun started.

They could not turn the supplies on without references for both my wife and myself. But, we said, we are both with British Gas right now at our current property. Oh, said the voice at the other end, which it turns out gave us a false name, in that case we can send someone round within 30 working days. 30 days! Just to turn on gas and Electric? Surely, we asked, you can do it faster than that.

My wife said, and this is perfectly true, I have a husband who is disabled, a child under 6 months old and 2 more children under 10 years old and you are trying to tell me that a company your size will willing make us homeless due to your incompetence?

The poor guy couldn't answer that but did pass us to some other poor helpless sap. So, we goes around the tree for the second time. By the end of that exchange we was nowhere closer to getting our Gas and Electric turned on at all.

By now we had spend 6 solid hours on the telephone to British Gas. We had had enough so called it enough for the day.

On the morning of the second day we had another go but this time we went through Energy Watch who put us through to "Conflict Team" as British Gas. We thought at this point that we may finally get somewhere. Alas, it did not turn out that way. What did happen was we spoke with a lovely chap who promised us the world and at the end of that conversation he said that he would ring back that very same morning with good news. Did he? Nope.

So we rings again and this time we got something sorted. Not exactly what we wanted sorting but at least we got someone who knew what he was on about and he gave us a plan of action that will see us get Gas and Electric at our new property.

As soon as we can, we will be moving suppliers. British Gas are pathetic.

The World just gets worse.

I fear for a world slowly but surely, for whatever reasons, coming to the end of its life.

I fear for my children, aged 9, 8 and 7 months at the time of writing, and their children and if Man still exists by then their childrens children, growing up and living in a world where those with the power to uphold the law slowly but surely increase their firepower in the mistaken belief that to contain the bad elements of this world they must fight fire with fire.

The World stage has been the same for many hundreds of centuries. The West is relatively affluent with a decent standard of living while the East burns under the hot baking sun in lands made primarily of sand. Okay, those descriptions are not 100% accurate but that is how my Grandmother saw it and how she saw the world and how it would evolve when she was alive is scarily coming true.

Those in the West exploited those in the East. The East, while not getting poorer never got more affluent either.

As the world turns slowly but surely what my Grandma, she died 1982, said is now coming true. She said that the West would pay dearly for its dabblings in hot sandy countries like the Arab countries and South Africa. She always named these two area as volatile. She always said "Hot sun and commonsense never go together well." And that a "nuclear missile will come not from a powerful nation, though China, the sleeping giant, should be watched closely, but from a small none powerful third world country."

Looking at the world stage as it sits now some 25 years after her death she seems to have got most things right.

Closer to home we have a police force getting ever more powerful weapons in the name of security. They use these weapons not against bad forces but against their own peoples. National Security is the buzz word of this century and within that remit that countries own law abiding people get their freedoms curtailed.

I fear for my children's future. I really, really do.

Friday, 31 August 2007

ISP Battles.

I live and work in Kingston Upon Hull. Here we have one telephone and broadband suplier. They are one and the same company.

They constantly lie to customers about issues that they know exist but claim they do not.

They claim other service providers can come here but they do not sue to their assessment of the market and that these other service providers do not come here due to lack of market availability. Etc, drone drone drone.

They know their prices are too high. They know they set these prices high because then other service providers could not make a profit.

Their customer service is abysmal. It is so bad that they immediately assume all and every problem a user of their service has is the customers fault. They never admit when something is wrong at their end.

Recently, some hardware labled as "complex" by their technical team (a term I use lightly) broke down. This "complex" piece of equipment had no immediate replacement. They had to source a new "complex" piece of equipment from their supplier. Wouldn't you think that if this "complex" piece of equipment was so vital to the operation of their broadband service they would have had at least 1 backup piece ready to be deployed should the main one fail? No, Not this company. They would rather, as actually happened, fuck their customers in the arse and let the qhole service slow down and for some customers grind to a virtual halt.

That above is only one example of many failings this company has had over the years but they will always tell you it isnot their fault.

Some of us home customers have more knowledge then their technical team and yet they insist on blaming their own customers for all the faults that have ever happened on the service.

Going back to other service providers and how this company sets their wholesale prices too high knowing other service providers will look at those prices and work out that it is not feasible to come here. This is a calculated plan by their marketing team and even by their directors. They know their prices for wholesale broadband are too high to make it worthwhile for other service providers to come here so, by trotting out the same old tired lines of "marketing forces" and "calculated decisions by" are exactly that. Tired.

The constant abuse of their customers is however coming to an end. There is a concerted effort being mounted not just by their own customers but my people within the European Union. I can claim having my hand in this concerted effort as they have lied to me one too many times. If, I can bring about their downfall I will. And I will use whatever means I have open to me to do it.

This company seriously sucks in every possible way and worse of all they bloody well know it.

Friday, 24 August 2007


Are the U.K. prisons lacking in certain areas such as education for inmates and training courses?

Should those who by their very actions and subsequent internment be allowed such things?

Are our prisons too soft?

Should the inmates be allowed T.V.'s, pool tables, portable game players etc as they are currently?

I am not in any way saying our prisons should be draconian and offer nothing by way of relaxation materials nor should the inmates be offered just bread and water but the current drive to offer all manner of good things that many good law abiding citizens cannot afford in all prisons is just extracting the Michael and putting two fingers up in the direction of good law abiding people.

Look at the questions above again and think seriously before answering each one. Now look at and read the various reports done by the likes of the Prison Reform Trust and the Inspectorate of Prisons Now read again those questions above. Where do you sit in the debate compared to those two ersewhile organisations?

If you are like myself who is a law abiding citizen then you will probably come to the same conclusion I do and that is that the U.K.'s prisons are too soft and offer way too much relaxation things to the inmates.

I have 3 children all currently under 12 years old and they want all manner of things we can simply not afford. Should my wife and I tell them that they can get all they want in prison because in prison they have all those things and more. All you will lose is your freedom to come home or go out with your mates for a few months.

Think about it. And they wonder why the prisons are over subscribed.

Dialing 999.

And so it ever has been and so it ever will be.

The police in the U.K. are once again moaning about 'inappropriate' usage of the 999 number.

For those outside the U.K. '999' is the emergency line which gets you the relevant service (police, fire service, ambulance service). Once dialed you give, in my opinion excessive irrelevant, details and then you are sent the relevant service dependent on 1) What you requested or 2) What they consider the relevant service dependent on what you told them.

People here ring this number for not just emergencies but sometimes for none emergencies like "There is a spider in my room" or "My mobile phone isn't working" and other none emergency things along the same lines.

Now, it does not take a genius to realise that for each none emergency call there is a serious possibility that a true emergency call could be missed. As since seemingly forever the police, as seriously undermanned as they are, are once again whining about this 'inappropriate use of' the 999 number.

Are they ever going to get it? I doubt it.

People will always ring this number for it is they who consider whatever it is to be an emergency. To them whatever it is IS and emergency at that point in time and quite possibly at that given time the only number they can think to ring is 999.

Plus, the only number one could ring to get the police at one time was 999. Police sub stations had a number, usually a local number with local charges. While the little police stations still have a local number to get the police on a none emergency line you have to remember and ring an expensively charged number.

Commonsense dictates that people, that is the general public, do not want to ring these expensively charged lines nor can they remember the local mini, often unmanned, police station so instead they ring 999.

Wake up you lot in charge of our police force and realise what is so brazenly obvious.

Will they ever get it? I seriously doubt it.

Next year the police will once again moan about 'inappropriate use' of the 999 number and so it will go on and on year after year.

That is, until such a time as this little island is a police state by which time no one will dare to ring the police ever.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Surveys and Statistics.

Survey after survey done or commissioned usually by those with a vested interest in whatever the survey is about almost always come out in support of those who commissioned or did the survey.

Statistic after statistic almost always slewed in favour of those who need a favourable statistic. We all know, or should know, that any statistic or set of statistics have an alternative reading and can in fact be read any way one wants determined by what side you are supporting. Any statistic can be made to look good towards the person or company using the statistic to punt their wares or ideas. As with any percentage based number system there is the good number and the bad number and depending which side you are fighting for depends on which end you settle on.

The results of surveys and statistics are dependent on many factors. Not least of which is geographical location. If you ask a question in an affluent southern area on the U.K. the answer would likely be different if you ask the same question in a not so affluent southern area. Indeed, one can get entirely different figures within a short distance within the same city.

Let us take an example of 4 people. All reside in the same city with an adult population of 200,000 people. All are married with 2 children. All are males. The reason they are all alike is because that is what the survey company was told to find. Charles works as a bank manager and is well up on all things technical. Bill is unemployed but is also well up on all things technical. Michael is an electrician but has no interest in technical things. John works for the local council and has some interest in technical things Now, the survey asks the question. "Do you own or will you be buying a 42inch HDTV within the next 6 months?". Charles states he already owns one. Bill states he has not got one and will not be buying one within the given time frame. Michael states he does not have one but is planning to buy one within 6 months. As does John. In this short survey the results are as follows:

Has or will have = 3
Has not and will not = 1

So, we can see from the above survey that 75% of those surveyed said they have or will have a 42inch HDTV within a 6 month time frame. 25% will not.

Now, those figures are sent back to the company or organisation that paid for the survey who have a vested interest in the sales of HDTV's. They now proclaim that 75% of the U.K. have or will have a HDTV within 6 months.

There was only 4 people in our survey so how come they state 75% of the U.K.? Well, they claim that the 4 people who took the survey are a sample of the U.K. population but of course we all know that not every area of the U.K. is the same and by extension will not fall within the stated percentages but that will not stop this company or organisation from touting the "75% of the U.K." angle as that is the answer they wanted.

Surveys and statistics are utter rubbish and should be read in that light.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The NorthWest

So, the BBC are moving to the NorthWest from their current Southern base. Well, part of it is. Something of a surprise move they reckon but in the end it boils down to cheaper costs for what they are doing. Nothing more, nothing less. Apparently they are creating a 'media village', whatever one of those is, and of course it is cheaper to run such a place up North than it is down South. It is cheaper in wages and operating costs.

So, it comes as no surprise to find out that the Northwest is starting to infiltrate the otherwise Southern slant of the BBC's news. Oh sure, the BBC reports on all geographical areas of the U.K. as well as reporting on the worlds news but, in previous times both Manchester and Liverpool would not rate a mention for anything other than gun crime in Manchester and the music scene in Liverpool. All that is set to change as the BBC trundles up North and slightly West.

And so, we come to articles on the BBC web site such as this: One would be forgiven if they thought the only cities above Birmingham were Manchester and Liverpool. But then in recent times it is no surprise to learn that the BBC's narrow field view creates such articles as that one. It also shows how little the BBC writers know about those two cities as well as how little they know about the North in general.

The BBC used to be none partisan in their reporting but in recent years with the infiltration of very poor lefty (we have two major political parties here in the U.K. One leans to the left while the other one leans to the right. There is a third party which sits somewhere in the middle but their support is so small compared to the other two they are hardly worth a mention) leaning writers their outward facing public face is a laughing stock amongst the general public. That will not change no matter where they base themselves.

Articles such as that one above will become all the most prevalent as the BBC moves part of its bohemoth organisation up North and they will, as only the BBC can, turn the Northwest into meaning only Manchester and Liverpool.

As ever it was.

Survey after survey done or commissioned usually by those with a vested interest in whatever the survey is about almost always come out in support of those who commissioned or did the survey.

Statistic after statistic almost always slewed in favour of those who need a favourable statistic. We all know, or should know, that any statistic has an alternative reading and any static can be made to look good towards the person or company using the statistic to punt their wares or ideas.

The results of surveys and statistics are dependent on many factors. Not least of which is geographical location. If you ask a question in an affluent southern area the answer would likely be different if you ask the same question in a not so affluent northern area.

And so it goes. If those conducting a survey want statistics that go in their favour they will ask their pointed questions to a group of people in an area or areas of the country they know will give the answers they want thereby making the statistics come out in their favour.

Next time you read about a survey or some erstwhile person or company or organisation trots out some statistic or other take it with a rather large dose of salt.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Fighting back.

There is an element of our society that has always been there but these days there are very few people who will fight back.

This element are commonly known as 'bullies'. The turn on people on a whim. They often times just fight someone for the sake of fighting. They are often fueled by alcohol and drugs. They have a heighten sense of themselves. They should not be given any quarter. They have no right to live amongst us good people.

In previous decades this element was kept in check but nowadays they run amok with no fear of retribution. This situation has come about for several reasons not least of which is the general publics fear of being arrested, hauled before a court and possibly interned. If one fights back then the 'bully' and worse the police see you as the problem not the bully. This situation must stop.

People are being killed from protecting what is rightfully theirs. Not a day goes by without someone being maimed by some bully because they looked at the bully in a funny way.

This situation is simply intolerable. The police have a huge role to play in this and it is they who must not allow bullies to bring charges against those who are willing to fight for what is theirs or willing to fight for just walking down the streets.

This is the sort of thing that happens when the police have lost all respect from the tiny 'bully' minority from amogst the very people they serve. People who take part in such things should not be allowed the same freedoms law abiding people have as a basic right.

The time is now for fighting back against the growing number of bullies on our streets. Forget the police and their inertia whenever you see or indeed if you are a target yourself, some bully attacking someone, anyone of any age, then step in and smack that bully into next week. Protect others as well as yourself and we shall all live in a better place.

I do.

Thursday, 16 August 2007


So now the BBC has joined the folly of putting 'dig' 'delicious' 'facebook' etc links at the bottom of most every article.

Bless them, they even have a 'what are these' link to help the hapless. These 'social' bookmarking links are a stain on the Internet. It is bad enough when the BBC technical articles are plainly wrong in whatever it is they are trying to write about and can be seen to plainly wrong by anyone but the socialite group who know nothing about technical things anyway.

But these social bookmarking links are the silliest of the silly. They totally distract from the main article content. The BBC web site designers are so desperate to be seen as hip, as far as the Internet goes anyway, anywhere else they fail miserably as well, that they will seemingly spoil an otherwise excellent web site with folly like this.

They were late to this particular party but even being late does not make it any less tacky. The BBC are playing catch up in many areas and this is one area I would prefer to have seen them avoid.

I know I am not alone in my dislike for these things.

Social bookmarking is all well and good but they are pervasive and because of that they are in ones face everywhere all of the time and because of that they are fast becoming annoying. No, scratch that. They are annoying.

If I want to bookmark something I will and I will bookmark it within my browser not on some external web site that may or may not be around in a few years time or some social bookmarking web site that is so slow to load one may as well have gone back to the web site one bookmarked on it and searched that for the link and still have it load within ones browser before these social bookmarking web sites have loaded.

To make matters worse. Just about all major, and some minor, news outlets on the Internet have these silly links. being so well used does not make it good however.

As one who has been on the Internet since before it was called the internet these things, along with many other things, just plain annoy. I have seen the Internet (or Interweb as some hapless people call it) grow up into something useful that anyone from anywhere who has an internet connection can enjoy. But these social web sites and worse, these links to social web sites are just plain and simply annoying and should have no place whatsoever on a fantastic web site like the BBC.

Aunty Beeb should know better. The problem with the BBC is that it has been infiltrated by 20-somethings who think they know what their readers want, whether they want it or not, and every now and again they do something that irks in the back of ones mind and these links to social bookmarking boxes simply distract from the main story. Because the social bookmarking box is so damn big it really does distract from the main story they are so desperate for you to link via these social bookmrking sites.

Sorry Beeb, you have got this one very very wrong. You annoyed a certain proportion of your user base when you made the Iplayer MS Windows XP only and you will annoy a large proportion of your user base with this madness.

I for one will be voting on my dismay by not using the BBC web site as my opening page in Firefox any more.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Easy targets.

Parents. Parents are easy targets. Anyone and everyone who should be controlling children blame outside of the home blame the parents. Schools blame parents. the police, blame parents. The establishment, blame parents. They are easy targets.

Don't get me wrong. Parents have a role to play, a huge role to play, in their children lives by being good model citizens themselves and by showing their children right from wrong.

But, it is those outside the home who should shoulder their own responsibilities. Especially the police.

In recent times the police through various rules setup in parliament, that are now backfiring (more on that further down), are about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. They cannot touch children, they have to simply say "stop it" and hope they do so. Rarely do they however.

Teachers are weak now compared to those from 10, 15 years ago and certainly weak compared to the teachers from my childhood (1965-1976). The reason for this is they themselves decided to ban the cane, then the slipper, then any form of chastisement.

Now, those two establishments should both have a role to play in the formative years of our children but they abdicated that role themselves several years ago and now it is all coming home to roost.

Who do they blame? The parents! How can the parents be to blame when those two cannot and will not do the roles they had 30 or 40 years ago? They are to blame. Not parents.

There are, of course, some parents who should not be allowed children but the overall reason for todays problems with kids are young as 5 years old roaming the streets are those idiotic people from the late 70's and throughout the 80's who said NO_ONE should touch children. Amongst those where the teachers and the police.

Think about it.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Another bandwagon rolls on.

And on and on and on.

As a parent of 5 children, the youngest 6 months old and the eldest 22 years old I wrote this with a heavy heart. Heavy heart because as a parent of 5 children I cannot get my head around the fact they left their children alone in a ground floor flat whilst they buggered off to have their evening meal.

There is something that has happened in this case that no-one is seeing or if they have seen it they have not publically said it.

It has been over 100 days since that little girl who has doctors for parents went 'missing' and they are no closer now than they have ever been to accepting blame for what they did to their own child.

The Portuguese police have said they have ruled out the parents in their inquiries. But there is growing disquiet here in the U.K. that two doctors, who one assumes are intelligent people, could leave their own children alone in a ground floor room while they buggered off to have a meal a few hundred yards away. How they hoped to see everything and everybody that went passed that room full of little children only they know. Even with 100% clear line of sight they cannot possibly have hoped they saw everything. Human nature being what it is would ensure that every now and again neither parent was looking at that fateful room.

The parents have danced around the world drumming up 'support', but enjoying themselves all the same, for their missing child. They stayed on an extended 'holiday' paid for by others whilst their daughter remained 'missing'. The bandwagon rolls on and on and on. Not a day goes by without some report of the parents going off to yet another country.

It all smells of a setup that has gripped the world. A world where fools exist. A world where parents have hearts that hope against hope that the child is fine. Now, over 100 days later, that tide of goodwill is turning. Questions that where not asked at the beginning are now being asked.

What child protection laws in the U.K. can be used against the parents? You can bet your last penny that what happened, irrespective of the fact that a child has gone missing, was child abuse. Leaving children alone of those ages is illegal in the U.K. so if there is someway, some law, to throw at the parents it will be done.

One has to wonder if that is the reason why they have stayed abroad. Hoping perhaps that by the time they do come home all will be forgotten regarding their responsibilities for their children.

The Portuguese police have recently said that they now think the little girl is dead. I, as a parent of 5 children myself, hope they are wrong. But, that feeling of 'it is the parents fault' is digging deeper and deeper into the pit of my stomach and there are many here in the U.K., and possibly the world, who are starting to feel the same.

If my words here offend anybody then I am sorry. I am not sorry for that which I have written. I am sorry that you are offended by reasoned words.

Are they accountable?

For making the worlds people live in fear? I reckon they are.

Land locked newspapers and Internet based news outlets, far too many from both fields to list here but they are\all the same in this regard). They rarely note anything good. 99% of the news from those outlets is bad news. Another murder. Another knife attack. Another beating. Another robbery. Etc, etc, etc. Same sort of news reported day in and day out. None, and I do not include satirical news outlets for obvious reasons, have a 'Good News' or 'Feel good' page or pages or section. Sure, they may now and again, put out some article that is good news but the vast majority of news reported is bad news.

Take the BBC web site at as a prime example. Every single day the report the same bad news. From home and abroad, same old tired format. They split the World up into sections and the U.K is further split up into smaller chunks so you can read more bad news about an area closer to wherever you are! Very thoughtful I am sure.

What is stopping these news outlets from dedicating some space every day to some good news to cheer up their readers? Nothing. Well, nothing except bad news is good news for news outlets as that, they claim, is what their readers want. But, as a reader myself of several of the top online news outlets I can state I would rather read about some good being done somewhere than read about yet another death or fire or plane crash or war or whatever is happening in a given BBC mandated area that is bad.

'Welcome to the Good News only section of the <insert news outlet here>'. Will we ever see something along those lines in any serious news outlet? I doubt it. Are the worlds peoples so downtrodden and nasty that all they want to read about is something bad like someone being killed or an areoplane crash that killed all 203 passengers or yet another country is attacked by the U.S.A. because that country does not conform to what the U.S.A. considers correct? I think not. I think, and this is world over not just in the U.K., that if the news outlets produce a page or complete section relaying only the good things that happen in this world, and there is a lot, then that page or section will quickly become the first page a user goes to.

Our society is bad enough these days without these news outlets reporting on things that make our society seem much worse than it is. I'll ask again. Why can they not set aside some space to report only good news. I bet you that that space will be widely read and will probably get more hits then anything else they report on.

As an aside, my dear old long dead Grandmother always held that the U.K. is no worse now and no more violent than it was in her youth during the 1926-1936 than it is nowadays. The only reason is seems worse is because nowadays news travels much faster, the police are better equipt and that people are more inclined to report crime against themselves or a crime they have witnessed. Was she correct? She had a habit of oversimplifying things in such a manner but if you read the statistics then she was not far wrong.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Are they accountable?

Newspapers, Internet based news outlets. They rarely note anything good. 99% of the news from those outlets is bad news. Another murder. Another knife attack. Another beating. Another robbery. Etc, etc, etc. Same sort of news reported day in and day out.

Take the BBC web site at as a prime example. Every single day the report the same bad news. They even split the country up into chunks so you can read more bad news about your area! Very thoughtful I am sure. Other, noteworthy, news outlets do exactly the same.

What is stopping these news outlets from dedicating some space every day to some good news to cheer up their readers? Nothing. Well, nothing except bad news is good news for news outlets as that, they claim, is what their readers want. But, as a reader myself of several of the top online news outlets I can state I would rather read about some good being done somewhere than read about yet another death or fire or whatever is bad.

Our society is bad enough without these news outlets reporting on things that make our society seem much worse than it is. I'll ask again. Why can they not set aside some space to report only good news. I bet you that that space will be widely read and will probably get more hits then anything else they report on.

I know this is oversimplifying things but I still think news outlets, be they online or in paper form have a lot to answer for regarding how our society sees itself.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

My foray into the murky world of Operating Systems.

Or, A potted history of my computer usage.

I have used the Linux kernel and the same GNU based distribution since 1991. Yes, I was one of the masochists back in those days who saw Linus Torvalds work and the associated GNU tools as something radically different from what was quickly emerging as the default operating system ("OS").

I had previously used the Amiga OS, which was so far ahead in what it offered that even in todays OS world it would not be out of place. I started by foray into the murky waters of computers with a Commodore-PET, carried on through the C64/128 phase then the Plus4. Then along came the Amiga 1000. I immediately saw this machine for what it was and jumped on it. Over the following few years I went through the entire Amiga range ending up with what was their finest hour, the Amiga 3000 Tower.

By now it was 1991 at which time it had become painfully obvious the Amiga was going nowhere fast. Over the next few years I started looking at what else was available. IBM, and compatibles, where everywhere but lacked something I had grown used to having with the Amiga. Apple had machines out but they too lacked that something. Eventually, around 1996 and knowing nothing about them at that time, I bought my first and only pre-build IBM compatible machine which came with the awful MS Windows OS of that time. The OS itself stayed on that machine just long enough to download a Linux distribution, Slackware as it turned out, and install it. I have never used another OS on my main workstation since that time.

I had used NetBSD on my Amiga 3000 Tower setup since around 1990. Running it alongside the Amiga OS. It wasn't until around 1996 that I sold all my Amiga equipment and went full time into the Linux world which I have remained with ever since.

And that is my potted history of computer OS's I have used over the years.

I have said I started using Linux around 1991 and that is correct. Someone had given me an IBM clone on which had, if I remember correctly, MS Windows 1.0 or maybe 2.0, I forget. I ran this box alongside my Amigas for about 5 years, never upgrading it, save for an extra floppy drive and generally not doing much at all with it as it paled in comparison to my Amiga. Anyway, that OS, on the IBM clone. was quickly replaced with what was at that time the all new Linux kernel add in some GNU tools and a new OS was born.

What did the GNU/Linux combination have that the Amiga had that MS Windows, then and now, had that made me decide to use it? Freedom. Freedom to tinker with the underlaying OS and bend it whichever way I wanted to bend it. No MS OS has ever allowed for this and that alone made using the, any, MS OS a huge no-go for me.

Fast forward to today.

Through all of those machines and OS's I have been on a learning curve. Sometimes that curve has been steep, very very steep, and other times it has been easy. I am now the proud owner of several certificates which proclaim to the world I am fit and able to do all manner of IT related work.

I build all my own machines now as they work out cheaper that way plus one gets the ability to add-in whatever hardware one wants and often needs. Plus, I can tailor the hardware to ensure it works 100% with my choice of OS, which is GNU/Linux. Of course, today that tailoring of hardware is not really required anymore as GNU/Linux works with just about everything available, save for a few hardware pieces that tie themselves so close to the MS OS the coders and hackers cannot be bothered to create code that would make them work. If a hardware vendor is so short sighted they only make hardware that works on one OS then that hardware is not worth the time of day in my humble opinion anyway.

As a final note. If you enjoyed reading this and if you are located in Kingston upon Hull or at least somewhere close to it, and you are thinking of using a Linux OS within your company or as an individual at home, but the very thought of it is giving you nightmares, then feel free to contact me and if you want I will help you install a Linux based OS of your choosing. Perhaps you need someone to explain the finer points of the GNU/Linux OS versus MS OS, and there are many plus points for GNU/Linux over an MS OS, GNU/Linux is in 99.9% of cases cheaper to run and has no license fee mess to worry about, plus there is help everywhere on the Internet plus a few good GNU/Linux users locally who can offer guidance if you so need it. But the plus and minus things are best left for another blog post or possibly put somewhere on the Internet for all to see, read, inwardly digest and finally a decision made.

To my credit I have built from scratch upwards of 50 seat networks for various companies, that have at their heart a GNU/Linux based server. So, if you are such a person of company but are afraid of what GNU/Linux offers or perhaps the installation phase bothers you for some reason then feel free to contact me and we can perhaps have a chat about it. One thing you will find, be you an individual at home or the owner or manager of a small to medium company, GNU/Linux is not hard to install and with someone like myself at your elbow it will all become easy.

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