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Monday, 29 December 2008

4 men rule the world.

I have said it before and I will say it again and again. It has never been more clear that a very very small section of men rule the world. Financially as well as every other possible way. These 4 men pull the strings of governments the world over and it is these 4 men that have orchestrated the mess the world is in right now. It has never been more clear. Never.

Take a look at the worlds financial markets and you will see for yourself. Take a look at the worlds business markets and again the same pattern emerges. As scary as it sounds that is how it is. Whether these 4 men be Jews or some other denomination matters not at all. The fact that they are pulling not only government strings but yours too is what matters.

They have ruled the world for centuries. Telling governments what they should do and what they should not do. For century after century it is they who have ruled. Ask yourself a few questions such as why have governments the world over propped up the banks. The very same banks that caused the world financial markets to collapse. Ask yourself why your wages have gone up and up and yet buys less and less. Ask yourself why capitalism as we know it is dieing. Ask yourself these questions and they answers should be obvious.

The Western world is entering a new capitalism world where these 4 men can better control you. They will ensure that your money buys even less. They will tell governments that they should input as much money into the system as they can print  with scant regard for what this will do to the common man's  monitory value.

As your government officals meet in offices  around the world these 4 men will be present telling them what they can and cannot do. It has never been more clear if you will only open your eyes to what  is happening and also open your mind so that you can see what is happening and if you are very keen eyed you will see these 4 men standing in the background behind whatever leader they control.

4 men rule the world in every conceivable  way.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Social Services.

What a mess they have created for themselves. In several high profile cases they have failed time and time again to put a child in danger before their own self interests. Of course, as always, there are some good people doing excellent work within a rotton to the core framework and sadly, again as always, these good ones get tarred with the same brush as the bad ones which thankfully are in the few catagory while the good ones are in the majority. But, it is the framework that they all try to work within that is rotten and because of that it needs a thorough and  complete overhaul from the ground up.

It is rarely those on the front-line who do badly. it is always management level that is rotten. Social Services is a misnomer in every possible way. I doubt anyone needs proof of that but if you do then read this report and have your eyes opened by the sheer  scale of ineptitude the whole thing shows. Not on the part of the poor mother who has been on the run with her son for too long, so long in fact she has decided enough is enough and is going to fight for the right to keep her son under her obvious love and  affection. i dare you to read that story and not feel compassion for her and her sons plight.

As a loving father myself I would be filled with dread if Social Services in its present form were to intrude into our family life. Not because we are a disjointed family, far from it, we are a loving family who affords our children a voice in family affairs. i am disabled so i am the one who stays at home doing what a househusband should be doing to the best of my abilities. My wifes is the  bread winner as well as being the one who does what my disability will not allow me to do. All 3 of our children are happy souls. the two elder ones are doing well at their respective schools and our little one is advanced for his just under 2 years of age. So, there is no reason whatsoever for us as a family to be in the spotlight of such an organisation but who really knows who they are watching? Would you feel comfortable knowing they are watching you for any minor sign of whatever it is they class as violence in the home?

Back when I lived with my first wife there was an incident such as that article describes  where a young couple had had a child that was immmediately taken into care. No reason was ever given to the couple who eventually, after some 18 months, got their child back and who is now a director of some multi-national organisation. To this day that couple still have never been told on what grounds they had taken their child away from them nor why after 18 months they suddenly changed their minds and handed the child back to their mother and father who 18 months prior was deemed to be some level of unsuitable. It really does boggle the mind at the sheer power these people yield over everyday people who may fall into their sights. Once they get their hooks into you then may whatever deity you pray to help you because you will have no recourse in the Law of this land whatesover. It is quite simply legal kidnapping. Similar situations happen daily up and down the country but it is only the high profile failures that ever get reported and in print.

Instead of being the moral crusaders they were,  presumably, set up to be they are irreproachable, reprehensible and see themselves as being above the Law. As I said not every one of them are bad. It is the system they have to work within that is.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Health risks

And other associated crap proliferate at this time of the year. The question is why is that? My own answer is because at this time of the year people try and enjoy yhemselves so these killjoys try to damage that ideal as much as possible by spouting bullshit like this.

More and more things are being classed as damaging to ones health. In the last decade it was eggs, chicken and a few other bits and bobs. This year and the previous 2 or 3 it has been alcohol at the top of their hit lists.

Even the common vegatable has not been ignored. Maybe not the vegatable itself but the shit they spray all over them while they are growing. Nothing, it would seem, it beyond these killjoys as they try desparately each and every year to lable something new with the  moniker health risk.

It is bloody annoying.

Does anyone really care? Do these warnings actualy stop you from eaiting or drinking whatever it is you want to eat or drink? None of these warning every affect me and never will. i eat and drink whatever I want whenever I want and no, I do not put on weight and was given a clean bill of health only two weeks ago. Which brings me to if  everything they claim is as bad for you as they claim it is and given the fact I eat and drink whatever I want and give scant regard to what these killjoys say why am I not dead?

It is bloody annoying.

KDE v Gnome2

It is not often that I spout about    something Gnu/Linux but here is my view of the neverending and utterly boring KDE versus GNOME2 debate. Along the way I will also be airing my  views on the Linux based distribution I have used since 1993,

With the KDE guys now stopping development of the 3.5.x branch working on the shiney new 4.x branch one has to wonder when the Slackware team are going to wake up and realise that while the  3.5.x branch is stable the 4.x one is far from it.

In the latest Slackware release, 12.2,  they continue their age old stance of using, in the main, stable branches of various programs and program sets which means that the 3.5.x branch of KDE is what is included. For a while they had the 4.x branch in testing along with an assorted bunch of support programs. It looked for a while as if they were going to go with the 4.x branch but sanity took hold and the baulked at that plan. What users were left with was the last of the KDE 3.5.x branch.

I am no lover of KDE, in part because of its use of QT but also in part because of it continuance to act, feel and look like Microsoft Vista. The 4.x branch takes this a step further by directly copying  features that are to be found in Microsoft Vista. This is going to continue to make KDE a none choice for this Gnu/Linux advocate that is for sure.

As Slackware moved the current branch into the 12.2 branch the KDE 4.x branch disappeared from testing. It is still in the current branch though so one can safely assume it will eventually make it as the primary desktop environment. This reliance on KDE will end up breaking Slackwares long held, and proudly held hold on the title of the oldest and longest surviving distribution.

There was, and still is, a lot of hot air spoken and typed about GNOME being dropped from Slackware. Myself is included amongst those who despised the fact that they dropped GNOME from their various releases. Thankfully there were several 3rd party people who develop the GNOME desktop environment including myself. My own effort was never, and never will be, released but what these efforts show is that there is still a huge slice of Slackware, and derivatives of, users who want GNOME as their primary desktop environment which seems to show that that slice of users did not like the fact that the Slackware team removed all support for GNOME. Some, a fairly significant chunk of users even went so far as to change distributions so they could get back their GNOME desktops and have it supported by that distributions development team.

Sadly, this removal of GNOME, and the fact that to get GNOME one must use a none supported 3rd party, signaled a move away from Slackware the size of which has never been seen before. Even though the lead developer of Slackware gave the knod to a few of those 3rd party GNOME efforts it was not enough to stop the move away from Slackware.

I use GNOME myself because of my  dislike for QT upon which KDE is built which I have built myself and in all honesty to get a full and proper GNOME desktop it is no walk in the park to build, so in that sense when Slackware was a one man team I can understand why he dropped it, even if I did not like the fact he had dropped it. But now, Slackware consists of several members so it is not a big step to say to one of them "you do GNOME and make it complete" but that is unlikely to happen so why can't the lead developer say to one of the 3rd party guys "we will admit you under our wing so that you become part of the Slackware team and we will use your build of GNOME". That is also unlikely to ever happen sadly. The current selected team of support staff for Slackware are a bunch of arrogant bastards and would never say they got it wrong when GNOME was dropped.

Assuming that the 4.x branch of KDE carries on with the so obvious aping of Microsoft Vista then one can safely  assume KDE will become less and less relevant in the Gnu/Linux desktop wars. And with the   demise of KDE will be the resurgence of GNOME. Once  this starts happening   what will the Slackware team decide to do once the realise that their primary desktop is withering on the vine? They will have to do something about it otherwise Slackware, that lean and mean distribution that has survived the longest out of them all, will die along with KDE as once all your eggs are in one basket and that basket starts to fall apart your eggs along with theirs will fall and break too.

So KDE versus GNOME to me is a none issue. As I have said why I don't and won't ever use KDE I am not going to say it again. i use Bluewhite64 (a 64 bit port of Slackware and in my opinion the best of the 64 bit ports) and even though it mirrors what Slackware itself does i use it because it is an excellent base from which to add whatever I need to add which includes a GNOME2 desktop.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Summer Football?

Football, soccer to any U.S.A. readers, is traditionally a winter sport. Until the time, a few years ago, when television contracts dictated games were played on a Sunday or a Friday or even a Thursday evening most games were played on a Saturday afternoon. Sure, there were some midweek games (I am talking about league games not any cup games) especially at Easter and Christmas time, but, outside of those periods mentioned, these were a relatively rare occurrence that usually happened when a club had a fixture backlog to catch up on.

Now there is talk of summer football. Especially in Scotland where even on a good day the weather is decidely a lot worse. Frost, snow and heavy rain is the norm in Scotland. Moving to a summer season would alleviate, though not entirely stop, the the inevitable cancellation of games that comes with the territory and therefore the season end backlog of fixtures. Is it a good idea or not?

Myself is a huge Rugby League fan (in previous, younger years I played at amateur level and even though I was never an 'good' player i was decent and could play in several positions) though I do follow and and all our local teams, even some amateur ones. Since Rugby League moved to a summer fixture, prior to which it too was traditionally a winter sport but unlike football was played on a Sunday,  as a spectacle it has come on in leaps and bounds. The play is faster, the play is more 'open', the genaral game is all the better for moving from a cold  winters afternoon to a generally warm, or at least warmer, summer afternoon.

But, would football gain the same benefits? I think it would. Pitches would be less likely to be prone to the ball sticking in the mud, sometimes  quagmires.  It would also alleviate the ball   skidding off the grass. These two things alone would see, or should see, a better standard of game which in turn brings on the players who would benefit with better skills. Some say that playing on a rain soaked or mud splattered pitch brings its own skill levels but remember that the English Premier League teams have undersoil heating systems which means for them they practically play on a summer like playing surface anyway so moving to a summer season wouldn't be such a big hassle. For the lower  divisions and in Scotland in particular, the move to a summer season would level the field a a little.

Realise also that while the quality of football would be improved there is also, for the travelling fans who sometimes travel long distances, there is less chance of a game being called off at the last minute due to a sudden downpour that waterlogged the pitch or a sudden cold snap that made the pitch dangerous for players.

I reckon a move to summer football will overall be a good move. Will they do it? In Scotland the chances are higher and I have this nagging feeling that English clubs will not like the idea at all. Time will tell in both cases.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Home Secretary.

Our own Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is so out of touch with the public she is supposed to be serving she should be removed immediately.

She comes across as a self serving individual who is so intent on getting her name in the history books that she has lost sight of what the public wants and worse still what the public needs and that is a free and open society. Not one that preys on public fears whether or not that fear is justified.

Take her stance on the DNA database as just one example of many. The E.U., no less, has determined that those who have committed no crime, especially children under 18 years of age, should not be on the database and yet she is  squirming and  squiggling as she tries  desperately to undermine what the E.U. decided.

She is widely regarded as the worse Home Secretary this little country has ever known. How she keeps her position one can only guess. Instead of following what the E.U. decided she is going to add even more names to the database. Of children she says that those under 10, with the usual proviso's, will be only kept on the DNA database until they are 18. Not as the E.U. decided which was that no children should have their DNA stored.

Trying to get ones DNA removed from the database is not an easy task and in the case of two innocent individuals necessitated court action. Even if one was never charged  with an offense, however minor that offence may be, ones DNA was stored for posterity.

This whole DNA database saga will surely come back to haunt her in years to come as the single point of abject failure during her reign as Home Secretary. If it is not already.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Linux bashing.

Over the last few days a few people on our closed news server have decided to have a go at Linux bashing. More accurately they have been having a go at me directly. As you know by now I am a staunch Linux advocate and live in a world of mostly illegally obtained MS Windows using people. Every now and again their ignorance of what Linux is shines through and they start taking potshots at me whenever I give an opposite viewpoint to their closed mindsets.

First let me dispel the myth that Linux is, well, Linux. Linux is only the kernel. The rest of the programs and utilities that make up the desktop are correctly termed a Linux Distribution or GNU/Linux  distribution. So, comments such as "Linux  sucks" means nothing when discussing the Linux on the desktop as the kernel is only a very small, but important, part of it. And so, these few antagonist that know i am a staunch advocate of all distributions  always get these descriptions of what is what and what part of the whole experience is what always fail in their attempts to rile me. They fail simply due to their wrong calls of what is correctly called what on the whole distribution.

Is it ignorance that makes them have a go at anyone who does not signup to the closed world that Microsoft has created? Or is it because they are incapable of moving away from the handholding that is a Microsoft Operating System? Or perhaps they have never used a modern  Linux based distribution and have their views on it based off an attampt a few years ago?

A modern Linux Distribution has all the bells and whistles that a Microsoft OS has. We lack some of the more recent games but for someone like myself who has not bothered about games since I sold off all my Amiga gear years ago this is not a problem. But those antagonist cannot understand a mindset like that. In an office or   corperate  environment where games are the last thing employees should be playing there is no problem either. Well, no problem beyond the closed mindsets that prevade amongst the directors who know next to nothing about how ANY operating systems. Those kind of people buy a computer from PCWORLD or DELL or HP  that almost certainly comes with an added tax and a Microsoft Windows install and they  do not know alternatives exist that can do everything their pre-bought OS can do without the hidden costs involved and without the OS calling home every few minutes passing the users personal information to Microsoft.

Those antagonists can say whatever they want to say about me and about my chosen OS platform I have not been bothered about such comments for years so while they may think they are clever all they are doing, to me anyway, is showing a total lack of understanding. That is their problem not mine. I cannot remember the last time I bought some hardware or gadget that was not plug in and use on my Linux based OS so while they want to shill for microsoft I sit comfortably knowing that the chances of my Linux based OS getting riddled with Viri and malware or any of the nasties that crawl around the Internet looking for MS Windows hosts are next to nil, while they use all manner of  Microsoft  written tools or 3rd party tools that slow their machines down in their attempts to stop those same nasties invading their machines.

All I do nowadays is laugh at them. Their closed mindsets are their problem not mine. I may from time to time have a go at defending both myself, because of my use of, and the OS of my choosing. They have no idea how pervasive a Linux based OS of some kind is installed in a lot of hardware  that people have around the house. It is not just computers, it is in  mobile phones, in freezers/refrigerators, DVR'ss, PVR's,  washing machines, motorcars. It is everywhere and once these few  dinosaurs realise  this then they will be enlightened as to the power of my chosen platform. Maybe.

Microsoft on the desktop is not going to disappear overnight but its whole business ethic and business model does not sit well in the modern world of open standards. As a company it is a  dinosaur and just like them it will surely, eventually, disappear. As for my personal antagonists well, they are a lost cause I  think so I will leave them to think they have won.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Ubuntu users.

As Linux gains ground on the desktop Ubuntu in particular is gaining in popularity. Partly because it has some ill-conceived helper programs. I say perceived because of they mentality they give to users. Users of the Ubuntu family of distributions are usually refugies from MS Windows so while the two may go together well, in reality those users are prone to giving out some outstandinly bad information when someone, also using Ubuntu, has a problem. What is worse is when I see someone I have known for years who after years and years of using a proper Linux distribution turns to Ubuntu and then ends up passing on bad information because he or she has determined that to get him or her self up to scratch on his or her new install he or she  starts to follow what he or she sees many others doing.

One of the main problems Ubuntu users have is when there is a need to compile something. As rare as this may be it does crop up from time to time. When it does the information given is usually poor at best and downright dangerous at worse.

I have seen it time and time again where a user it told "Do this as root" or "Do it via sudo". This is just plain wrong. No program on the Linux platform has ever needed root privilidges to build. To install system wide, yes, but even that is not always required. One can simply install to ones own home directory but i digress a little. This need to do any building of source code as root is just one of the many bad advice I see given out to Ubuntu users.

And the longer such bad information is given out the more it becomes ingrained that that bad information is correct.  And you wonder why I have a dislike for Ubuntu users even though my wife and eldest child uses it.

I have for a long time said that Ubuntu is dangerous for the whole Linux community and the more people who use it the worse the situation becomes.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Microsft versus Linux

Or more correctly, a Linux based distribution.

As Microsoft's stranglehold on both operating system installs and bundled installs falls we always see a rise in anti-Linux propaganda. This manifests itself across the full spectrum of user access which includes, Usenet, Web based forums and other media. It is tempting to think of these anti-Linux  protagonists as simple Microsoft shills who are paid by Microsoft to propagate as much propaganda as they can across the wide Internet, but, I do not think of that as while it is possible I do not think it true.

No. The problem comes when people try a Linux based distribution and automatically think in Microsoft Windows terms without realising the years, in some cased, of Microsoft Windows learning helps nobody when moving to a Linux based distribution. For a start, a Linux based distribution, of which there are many, is a real operating system designed from the ground up to be secure and multi-user. Microsoft Windows on the other hand is a mass of added on later bits and pieces who primery aim is ease of use. This ease of use forgoes the security that a Linux based operating system was designed around. Sure, there are many other differences, as well as many similarities, but to expect to move across platform and carry across all the baggage one learnt is simply madness.

Whenever I have recommended people move away from the  corporate craziness that signifies a closed source operating system, such as one from Microsoft, to the  standards compliant world, and open systems, that signify a Linux based platform one of the first things I install into them is that it is basically nothing at all like Microsoft Windows and to expect something totally new. The second thing i instill into their minds is to think and work in different ways than they may have worked for years. Lastly, I instill into them that what they will experience is a whole new world.

Some make it, some do not. More and more are making the switch and more and more are  enjoying it. And it is that which is now, more than ever before, frightening Microsoft and the Microsoft loving harcore who cannot handle, nor comprehend, why more and more people and businesses are moving away to a better world that makes up the whole open system that is the Linux based platform and it is those who   spread the FUD we see all over the Internet.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Stupid council

HullCC is amongst, at least amongst the places I have lived as well as from various friends in other council houses around the U.K., the most friendly towards most of the people who lived under its jurisdiction. Of course there are some who live in council houses who do all they can to get as much as possible with the minmum of effort out fof the council. Almost the entire Nottingham council tenant fit that bill but this is not about them or any other problem people (as seen by the council they fall under and yes they have such lists).

Here in Hull it is not the tenants that are the issue it is those, not all, of those they employ, which in some cases are not direct council employees but are some 3rd party company but for the sake of simplicity I will call them all council employees. There are some of these employees who seem to work for them only so that they get paid, not for job satisfaction or, as silly at it may seem to some in this day and age, for employer pleasing or customer satisfaction. Indeed, customer satisfaction seems so low down on their list of priorities it may as well not exist at all. Instead they come and look at a reported problem and if they cannot see or experience that problem within 2 minutes of being in the house they leave with some not so helpful advise as "Call again if the problem returns." The problem with that of course is that because the problem we have (more on that below) is intermittent and can last for one, two, three or more days at a time and the fact that the council themselves, rightly, have to prioritise each incomng problem it can take anywhere from 1 to 8 or more days before they schedule a visit by the men who fix things on behalf of the council. Which means, as laid out by Sods Law, that at the time the men who fix things arrive the intermittent problem is working again!

Exactly that happened to us just yesterday. Our central heating has been intermittently cutting out for te last month or so. Because it has not been unduly cold we didn't really notice it until we had a couple of really cold days and especially nights when the central heating decided it wanted a holiday and cut out. Sometimes this problem lasts for a day sometimes 2 days sometimes 3. But, when the man arrived the problem, as always, didn't exist so he uttered those words above. This is all well and good but at this time of the year, with myself being riddled with arthritis and a child under 2 years old, we cannot really be without the warmth the central heating gives us. Now, I am well aware there are obvious limits on how much time they can, or should, devote to each and every job they get called out to but that said surely if, as customers of the council, a problem has been reported then they are, or should be, duty bound to fix it. Even give that the problem is an intermittent one like ours.

Or is that too much to ask? After recieving an email reply from some faceless person who replied to my not so hypothetical question I am still unsure as to the answer. Basically, he/she said that because the man entered the property at a time when the central heating was working normally he would be unable to locate and fix the problem. The problem I have with that is that surely these systems have some sort of error or problem checking procedure they could employ which if done correctly should show up pointers, if not the actual problem area, as to what and why it is intermittently cutting itself off. In fact, I know there is so why is it not used in such cases? That I do not know and neither did it would seem the person who replied to that very query.

As it stands right now we have an obviously dodgy central heating system which cuts out intermittently. But until such a time as we can have the central heating out of action and at that very moment have the guy who fixes such things in the house the problem will not be fixed. Unless the whole thing packs up totally then they will have to come out and fix the damn thing.

BBC commentators.

I am surely not alone in seeing how ridiculous the commentators of various BBC appear to be. They harp on about the latest IWF versus WikiPedia mess without realising how stupid they appear to be.

The BBC will regularly block a comment and yet  in these comments the commentators berate the IWF and go on about freedom of expression being removed and other such nasties.

Commentators to the BBC are already known for their stupidity but, this example is really beyond the pale. If nothing else they do provide this writer with a level of humour rarely seen or heard on T.V's these days. They are utterly hilarious.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

School punishment.

School punishment which may include a cane, a belt, a leather strip or a sandshoe (a common footwear in the U.K. not completely unlike a trainer which where worn mainly while doing indoor sports), is in the news again via this report on the Daily Telegraph web site.

I must admit I do not read that web site very often due in part to the fact it is a newspaper similar in style and reporting as many of the Sunday newspapers. This means it is full of incredulous, at best, stories about nothing much but do incur on the side of sensationalism.

That said, the fact that they report that Gordon Brown, the U.K.'s P.M., and his predecessor to that same title Mr Tony Blair, where both given cooperate punishment while at school. Anyone whose school years where previous to 1980 or so will know that such punishments for schoolchildren were the norm. Well, the norm for those who suffered such a thing. Some many times.

The point I am trying to make here is that due to the two aforementioned peoples disciplinary status while at school and their  subsequent rise in their chosen working life to the very pinnacle it goes against the oft held idea that such punishments only create a bad child  who later in life during his or her adult phase will commit crimes. Perhaps a politician can be said to have committed many crimes during their tenure at the House of Commons but that is something I care not to comment on.

If such punishments that have been claimed to create heinous thinking adults then why are some of todays schoolchildren, who have never had the threat of such punishments hanging over their collective heads, the most unruly bunch ever to grace our school system? Surely, given the benefit of hinesight that all people of the future have on what is happening now or that the people alive now have over events that preceded their lifes, it can clearly be seen that corperate punishment works in s much as when compared to unruly schoolchildren of today against those who where schoolchildren in the years before such punishments where deemed nasty.

I do not care about any rights for children not when the adults of those children are legally held accountable for whatever the child gets up to. This seems a lopsided arrangement to me and because of that children, while I do not and cannot advocate beating them, should have no rights at all. Parents should have total and absolute control over their childrens upbringing and the child should have no say in how those adults go about the business of bring up their own child. If that means allowing adults the option to allow their child to be admonished in whatever way the school sees fit, which may include corporal punishment, then so be it.

I well remember getting home one day and telling my mother I had had the cane for beating up another child and my mothers response was to use her slipper to meter out more punishment because I had been given the cane at school. A few days later a letter from my school arrived and after reading it she gave me yet more punishment "for the shame you have inflicted on me". That is how it should be.

Here we go.

My telephone and ISP company, KCom and Karoo respectively, are one and the same company. That is Karoo is a Kcom spin off.

In the last  two days our telephone became dysfunctional for short spells. They have claimed that we have reached our 75GB download cap. What  is interesting with that last claim is that just 23 hours earlier they sent us an email saying we were at 80% (56GB). Not having anything close to a fast connection to download 19GB in 23 hours is an impossibility.

I said not so long ago they would start this plan of action. It is designed to shut me up but will not succeed.

I have asked them for proof in whatever format, except binary, they can use of every single byte that has gone through our connection both ways. I highly doubt that they will provide such information as they already know we are nowhere close to the cap imposed.

I am now so angry that they can stoop so low (though they have done this sort of thing before to me when we had ISDN) that I will not stop in my quest to get them to improve the network. I am so far about 60% through with my E.U. complaint and will now raise the level so that an inquiry is started into their business practises.  Once the E.U. get their fangs into them it will be fun to see their reaction if nothing else. The E.U. can be slow but I have all the time in the world to wait.

Friday, 5 December 2008

1975 to present day.

Is the length of time I have been working with computers. I present to you a potted history of my computer usage for no other reason than I want to.

It all started for me one not so sunny September morning during 1975 when I was asked if I wanted to join the schools RADAR department. At the time I knew nothing whatsoever about computers and about the same for what the school was doing with a RADAR department. But, have one they did. It sat on the very top of the school and while small space wise was crammed full of computer equipment.

Since the rude awakening to all things computer related I have come a long way. My first real self owned  computer was a Commodore PET which my mother paid an arm and a leg for. My first IBM compatible PC was bought for a not inconsiderable sum during 1981. The vast majority of personal computers I owned over time where Commodore based. The PET, C64, C128, CPlus4 and the entire Amiga range. These were interspered  with IBM compatibles. Over those years I have used just about every OS that became available. From AmigaOS 1.0  through to  3.5 (at which point I never bought any more Amiga hard or software) to MSDOS 1.0 to MS Vista. Currently my OS of choice is a flavour of Linux.

Nowdays since giving up on my beloved Amiga's I build all my own PC's and some of friends and family too. I also set up networks for      companies as well as either install a Linux based OS or ensure they have the required licences for a Microsoft OS and associated programs.
Out of all the hardware I have bought over the years and all the OS's I have used my favourite remains, and is unlikely to be surpassed, Amiga OS and the Amiga 3000 tower.

During this time I have taught myself almost every programming language known to man. Of course, some were consigned to the dustbin of computer use a long time ago and some are now fragmented in my head. Today I primarily code in C, Python, Ruby and BASIC. Don't laugh at the last one as it was the first programming language I ever used and still have a place in todays programming world.

I have to say that since those humble beginnings things, and myself, have come a long long way and not all of it for the good either.

Ah, there is nothing better than blowing ones own trumpet. After all, who else is going to it for me?

Operating System market share?

Does anyone really care about OS market share? We Linux based OS users are generally the more informed types. We know why we prefer to be rid of a closed source OS and we know why Microsoft are seen as the devils own company due to being more informed about OS's in general. So while the latest bilge from market research company Net Applications says that Microsoft has an install based of some 89.6%, the MAC OS/X has 8.9% while, presumably because it is not directly mentioned, a Linux based OS has the remaining 1.5%. Okay, there are more than 3 OS's in use so that 1.5% is probably lower still but, there are a few problems with how these numbers are collated and counted.

First, how the data that determines the percentages is open to  question and interpretation so they are not in any way shape or form reliable. Second, because the Linux based OS are not, in the main, sold in computer shops like machines with MS Windows and MAC OS/X pre-installed it is notoriously difficult to keep anything approaching a reliable count of installs. The same also applies if they use the web browsers identification string to count install bases  and web browser take up as many web sites have broken HTML code implementations so many Linux based OS users fake that string to fool the broken web site into thinking that the browser is running on a Microsoft platform.

I have no real idea of what the real percentage counts should be but I do know there are many second and third, fourth,, fifth etc install bases that are Linux based with only the primary machine being the Microsoft based one because the owners of like to play games that are not available for the Linux based platform. Further, there are many machines that act as a firewall built on the Linux based platform that will not be included when collating such data. Other Linux based installs act as file and print servers, these would not be counted either.

Without falling into advocacy mode it is not hard to work out that there are many more Linux based OS installs than any such data gathering exercise could ever hope to evaluate in a fair and none bias manner.

All in all. Such data should be taken with a large dose of salt and as long as one is aware of why that should be so then we can be assured such data is largely ignored for the fodder that it really is.

Karoo say "We don't care".

No surprise there then.

At what is quickly turning out to be our final words with Stvve (the middleman between KC and us) it can clearly be read how much they really "care" about their customers. The following excerpts are from an email that hit my in box a couple of days ago. Since then, not a word has been said on the various things we raised from the aforementioned email. All spelling errors have been left in place. One thing we have absolutely no power over is the basic educational level of the people at KC.

Gems such as this:

Ø  Why does the cold night air affect it so much considering they are
underground? Bad cabling? Or rather poor, broken, damaged cabling?

Highly likely, although all the remote and physical checks have come
back within acceptable tolerances. Again shot (sic) of tearing up streets to
reaplce (sic) all the cables, this will not change until fibre is rolled out
to the curb/customer premises.

Ø  You are now convinced there is an error somewhere along our line from
exchange to house, and possibly in the house?

It is likely yes and that is why I have asked for engineer to move your
line. This should have happened by now and you shoud have been
contacted. I am finding out why you haven't.

(I am still waiting)

Since the email came in from which the above was taken there has been no more contact from them. A sure sign indeed that they truly do not care about what their customers  say and are actively doing nothing to improve their service offerings.

They are so desperate to be seen as a good caring company they have plastered all manner of lies, misconceptions and general bilge all over their customer facing web site. On there they espouse about a company promise when the reality is, as I have found out, they do not care on iota.

Over the course of the last 18 months they have increased telephone charges. It was once  said that the Hull City telephone network was the envy of the U.K., back when B.T. ruled over all, that no longer applies as the prices we are forced to pay are now so high there are some, pensioners in particular, who can no longer afford such a basic amenity. Some of those have now ditched their landlines in favour of a mobile telephone simply because they have found it cheaper to do so. They have introduced ADSL2+ (we pay the highest service fees of all ISP customers in the U.K.) with no thought given to what is an aging network of copper and how that would limit the customer experience. ADSL was a solid service which people where happy to use een with the DPI slowdowns of an evening. ADSL2+ however has seen a huge rise in disconnections/reconnections and an overall speed (throughput) drop.

Care about customers? Karoo? No they do not. They have gone from the peoples company to a money grabbing  corporation so fast they do not realise the damage they are doing to the good people of this city. Ignore what their web site says   as in the main it is utter bunkum.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

People in high places.

People in high places, in this case Mr Ashley Highfield (okay, maybe not so high as in the publics view), should never offer up their views as there is always someone, somewhere who can spot bullshit when seen. And so it is with his BBC article on their blog, that isn't a blog, here.

In that article he tries to compare Ubuntu and MS Windows XP. I say try because anyone who tries, or has tried, to do exactly the same they always fall into the same traps. The single biggest trap is to directly compare any Linux based distribution with any Microsoft OS because they are not the same for what should be obvious reasons.

Further, they always do the comparison with MS Windows as the benchmark which means that the Linux based  distribution is at an immediate disadvantage. How so? Well,  hardware manufacturers almost always code a driver for their hardware and that driver is almost always MS Windows based. All the various Linux based distributions play catch up in this area so it is never a surprise to those of us who use  a Linux based distribution and have used one since 1992.

So, right there is the first problem.  Other problems are with 3rd party add on software such as Skype. Skype was written first and foremost for the MS  Windows platform and later they cobbled together something for  that ran on Linux. This puts the Linux  flavour of Skype at an immediate disadvantage again.

Here we have someone who by his own words played with ubuntu. He never said he was serious about installing and using it. These two points are not as far apart as they may seem at first glance. He then starts to blame Ubuntu for problems that have nothing to do with the Linux based solution but are in fact down to the web site designers blocking out, or at best a semi-functional web site, the millions of users of the Linux platform.

People such as he should know better but once again we read someone who has not the faintest clue espousing on something he knows nothing about. It is maddening for us advocates to have to read such rubbish.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

I wonder.

How long it will be before my ISP makes up something so they can terminate my account? I am becoming a serious pain in their sides. Well, I am not trying to but from recent responds from various people there it would seem I am becoming one to them.

I take no real joy from all this. Honest.

They have made their beds and they can lay in it. All I am trying to do is get a better service level from them for all the people who use their services. If in the process of doing this I annoy a few people then so be it.

I will not however be silenced. No matter how hard they try to make it so. They can threaten me as many times as they so wish with whatever threat they care to throw in my direction. I am well prepared for such things and have my back covered legally.

For years and years I have been fighting this company over one thing or another and I have no intentions of stopping now.

So, bring it on. until such a time as the services they offer improve to the level people expect then I will continue to do whatever it takes.

Usage caps.

Usage caps on ADSL and other such services are fast becoming the norm all over the world. Our ISP Karoo, the only ISP in town that offers ADSL services, is one such company. However, we find that our caps are some of the lowest on offer. Our ISP offers a 3 teir service. Low, Mid and High. Low = 2GB, Mid = 10GB and High = 75GB. Not very good for the Internet as it stands right now with people streaming movies from all over the place.

2GB for the Low service is useless for anyone except those who do no more than occasional web browsing and email. Say the old girl down the street who uses the Internet to keep in touch with her daughter and sons and grandchildren. It is not meant to be used as a catch all all-you-can-eat type service so 2GB might just fit that model. however, with  flash embedded in just about all major web sites nowadays and such as the BBC with their embedded sound and video's that 2GB is soon going to run out. Move up a service says the ISP if that happens but movng up a service may prove too much fr the purse so is out of the question for such people. They end up paying an extra 2 UKP  per GB instead.

10GB is not enough either as that target is easily reached. Again, move up a service shouts the ISP and the same financial constrains apply.

75GB may seem on the face of things to be plenty but as I am founding out it is not. I use a binary Linux  distribution and keep my system in sync with that distributions -current branch which can have upwards of 4GB updates a week. That equates to 16GB a month which leaves me with 59GB to share amongst the whole family. We have 4 main computers, my wifes, my 2 elder boys and mine all share the connection, and the cap. My wife and one of the boys both use Ubuntu which has plenty of updates in any given month. Neither can or do use the Internet at the free from caps times of midnight until 8am so they do their system updates during the day when the cap counts are in force. So, they get around 10GB each of updates per month which is another 20GB to add to the 16GB I use and that is before any normal usage patterns are applied. Now we have 39GB left to do all the normal things people do on the Internet.

Normal things my wife and son do is watch the BBC;s iplayer, watch and listen to some youtube, do web browsing which means waitching and listening to videos and sound on such web sites as the BBC and other news based web sites. My wife and 2 boys have what can be termed normal usage patterns. It does not take long during the month to see that 75GB being gobbled up.

Put simply for the top service for home users 75GB is restrictive at best and simplynot enough at worse. KAroo, of course, don't care as for each 1GB over the limit one goes they get 1 UKP. A nice steady income for them on top of the already inflated price we have to pay for access.

If one looks at the various other ISP's caps in the U.K. and the U.S.A. it soon becomes clear we are suffering the lowest caps on offer. After much discussion with Karoo they fail misreably on the customer services front as they simple will not raise the caps, certainly not while people are going over the caps on their chosen service. Some people do not even know they are on a capped service and some of those do not realise they pay even more on top of their normal service fees. It does not matter how many emails the ISP sends out signifying the fact a cap is being reached.

No matter how Karoo spins it the usage caps on all 3 home customer services are too low. They however, like every other area of their services they suck at, do not care about their customers as long as the money keeps rolling in. The biggest shame of all this is that we customers have no where else to go. We are stuck paying inflated prices and we are stuck we severely limited usage caps whether we like it or not.

If another ISP was to come into our service area and offer a set of better services AT THE SAME PRICE we currently pay, even though they prices are way too high, people would jump ship faster than one can say BYE BYE KAROO and of those customers who know no better those of us that do will ensure they move with us. So come on you other ISP's give us the competition we here in Hull so desperately crave so we can rid ourselves of the greed that signifies what Kcom/Karoo are all about.

Monday, 1 December 2008


While reading this BBC article I was reminded of my own school days which ended some 32 years ago. In particular this quote galvanised my  attention.

"Ask anyone what were the biggest influences of school on their lives
and they will not tell you about how many school meals they ate, how
many times they ran round the school field or how many sex education
lessons they sat through.

No, they will tell you about an inspirational teacher or a notable school trip, drama, or sports event.

Schools would say that if we try to measure everything - and
hold teachers to account through so much data collection - we risk
losing the spontaneity and individuality that should be part of

While I hated school with a passion, they were not happy days for me in any way whatsoever, that can only be understood by those who went through the education system around the same time there were something that happened that forced the decisions that ultimately helped shape my life. As the quote above alludes to there were also the odd teacher, one from Primary school, one from Secondary (junior) school and two from High (senior) school and one event that stood out. The schools I frequented, in order, were, Thoresby Primary (1964-1969), Wyke Hall (1969-1973) and Kelvin Hall (1973-1976).

First the schools themselves. Thoresby was back then actually two schools. The primary side and a Junior girls only school. It was a place that when first starting out on ones education where they made their charges comfortable. Later, as one progressed through the years, they stepped things up a few gears so that one was left with little doubt that education can be fun and hard work not always at the same time. It was a lovely place to enter the education trail. Wyke Hall was, like Kelvin Hall its next door neighbour (they shared the same field where football, rugby, cricket and athletics were done) a relatively new school back then having been built around 1960 and was by those days standards a very modern school with some very modern ideas driven by some  modern thinking teachers. Kelvin was along the same lines. Both were often used as education testbeds were new ideas for schools where tried out. Kelvin Hall was the first school in the U.K. (we were told at the time) to introduce choices at meal time. Wyke and Kelvin Hall were good schools to be at back then.

Second, the teachers. At Thoresby school the teacher that made the most impression on my then young mind was a man from Poland called Mr Schonet (I have no idea if that is the correct spelling of his surname). He was a teacher who immediately upon entering a classroom that grabbed ones attention. He was firm but fair. I cannot say exactly why he affected me but suffice it to say i will never forget the man. There were other teachers and ancillery staff that made an impression on a young mind such as the school nurse and, in those days, the first teacher ever encountered. Dear Mrs Hill.

At Wyke Hall there was one teacher, the sports teacher, that stood out and not for good reasons either. For reasons known only to him Mr Rutter hated me and me him. He was often grossly unfair in what he metered out by way of things to do and also punishment for failing to do whatever it was to his high standards. He, above every other teacher I had had during my schooldays showed me how to get the best out of ones charges by being a monster towards them. For it was this horrible teacher that made me better at all the sports I did at school and some after I left school.

At Kelvin Hall, a school were they used to tell us we are not pupils but students, the one teacher that helped shape my views on the world was a Humanities teacher called Mr Brown, Charlie Brown. He always insisted we called him Charlie and not Mr Brown or Sir. He was, probably more so in those days, a very progressive teacher who instilled into his charges that we must question everything and everyone if we are ever  going to understand what they are about. Something i do to this day some 34 years  after our last lesson. The other teacher that had such a profound affect on me from my days at Kelvin hall was a Mr Wilkinson. He was the polar opposite of Charlie in that he, being of Army stock, was very regimented and  spent almost all his talking time shouting or barking out instructions. These two helped show me that oppostied can have the same impact on their charges at two peas from the same pod.

I cannot say exactly why the teachers named had such a profound impact on me but what I can say is they did and they did so in different ways.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Swearing on the BBC.

In every pub every night one can hear people of all ages engaging in what can only be termed mundane chatter. interspersed in this chatter is a smattering of swearwords. The vast majority of people accept this fact with nery a look away (or perhaps nery turning a deaf ear). And so it is with that image ingrained in your head we come to Aunty Beeb and her seeming obsession with good old Anglo Saxon words outputted by our T.V. screen.

Laudable as some may find the BBC's actions other, such as myself, will find what the BBC are doing on this subject mind numbing. Every day on every street up and down the country we adults, and our children, can hear someone somewhere uttering a swearword so why is the BBC pandering to the hear-no-evil-do-no-evil crowd in this manner? Have these self styled anti-profanity, live in a bubble types, not got the ability to turn over the channels on their T.V.'s nor an off switch? Why do they constantly have to alienate the masses and pander to the few?

In years long gone we had Mary Whitehouse doing exactly the same. Her aim was simply to ban all sex, physical and words, all swearing from our T.V. and cinema viewing pleasure never giving a thought to those who are never offended at hearing such words. She eventually became something of a laughing stock and the butt of many jokes but for all that she did untold damage which I suppose was her ultimate aim. Now we have the BBC running along those same lines. It makes a mockery of the license fee.

As someone who has enough moral fibre to simply switch channels if I find something on view to be offensive I find it totally offensive to have some unnamed person decide what my moral values should be. We already have the 21:00 watershed which almost all providers of programs adhere to. Some say it should be later in the day others say it should be earlier or removed entirely but whatever your views on it are it works as is.

Now and again my wife and i engage in a spot of you-are-wrong-and-I-am-right banter over some trivial thing. We swear during this intercourse and our children hear it. Any parent who thinks their child aged 6 and above knows no swearwords are delusional. Children aged 6 and above use such words not because they think they are cool but because they have heard them somewhere. Perhaps their parents but more likely whilst walking down the streets and so it goes into adulthood where they will surely encounter the same words in the daily working life.

Now we have the BBC acting as a crusader of moral values by lowering how many can and will be heard on their various channels throughout the day. I, personally, would be mortified if I heard ANY swearword being uttered during a children's show but for the love of all free things I am an adult and I have the ability to switch away from whatever it is that I find offensive. As long as they abide by the 21:00 watershed all is good with te world. I do NOT want or need some live-in-a-bubble type deciding these things for me.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wild conclusions.

Is all that can be said about the comments made in this BBC article. The whys and wherefores of what makes a child later in life turn into a crminal, if indeed there is any link at all, are beyond me but that does not stop me from commenting on such things.

The article contentiously links what happened to Baby P with what might have been once he had reached his teenage years. The claim that he would have become "feral, a parasite, a yob"   smacks of an agency with an agenda.

That agenda, for all their prositations, is not to help children but to demonise them as the press do. By making comments such as the above quote they do nothing at all to help our children. What they di instead is make people, mothers, fathers, grandparents etc, fear the children they are rearing. Is that how we have become?

As a loving father of 5 children aged from 23 to just under 2 years, I abhore any level of violence towards not just children but all my fellow humans. That in itself does not stop me from admonishing my children.  All children need to be taught right from wrong and how a parents does that is up to them.  That said, I do not believe that a child needs violence towards him/her towards that aim. But comments such as those do nothing to help those parents on the edge. If anything they point the spotlight firmly on them.

It is wrong. So very very wrong.

Any parent knows how hard is can be to raise child in the modern age. Every parent has reached that line at one time or another. But a good parent will stop short. This act of not crossing the line from being a loving parent and violence towards the child is not something that is taught but is something inherent in every human being.  Not every child who suffered violence turns to being "feral, a parasite, a yob" of which I was one. My father routinely beat me but now being very conscious of what can happen I stop myself from becoming the monster my father was. I never seeked nor had any help from any organisation. I did it all myself. By myself. My own daeons died and where buried when my father was buried.

And that is how it works. Or should. It is when that normal human trait breaks down the happenings such as Baby P happen. How anyone can claim how he may have turned out is highly subjective and has no foundation in real life and that is what makes articles such as that one from the BBC so scary. The fact that someone as high as the chief executive at the children charity Barnardo's can make such a link is dangerous for all children everywhere in the world. If anyone does take notice of what he has said and turns that into something worse, which is how it will conclude, then parents everywhere should be scared because the finger will always be pointed towards you and will always fall on the wrong side of the line. Be they a doctors, a nurse, a policeman they will always end up veiwing the most casual of injuries that every child can, and most do get, as that child has suffered violence at the hands of the people that, in all probabilty, love that child. It is that slanted view that scares me so much. It will happen. Especially with people in charge such as the guy around which the article was written.

I fully realise that some children will end up doing as their fathers did unto them but some is not all and in the case of Baby P we have no way of knowing how he would have turned out. None.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A defunct ISP.

Is what Karoo is in all but name. Their share prices, due in part to the so called credit crunch and also in part to boardroom incompetence, are getting lower and lower with each passing day. They have a slow and aging network of twisted pair (telephone) cabling through which they are forcing ADSL2+. From the 3500+ people that have contacted me it can be clearly demonstrated that the ADSL2+ experiment is a failure of massive proportions.

Of course, Karoo take heart in the fact that a few say to them that they are happy with their connections but those 3500+ people, who make up a sizable chunk of their customer base and includes home as well as business users, show the level of discontent amongst their customer base.

All of this makes it not impossible that during the coming two years we shall see some other ISP/telephone company come into Hull and for Karoo to fall away as a nasty memory. But would that be a good thing? I say no. Better the devil you know and all that.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

My ISP's lack of speed.

This will probably not be the last blog i do about my ISP but even though it is about my ISP is does not sit comfortably in the 'My ISP and ASDL2+ (part X)' series so it has a different subject title.

Recently, it became very clear that our ISP, Karoo, have no intentions of trying to improve sync and connection speeds on their ADSL2+ services. After several months of trying to get them to do various things that would provide for better sync and connection speeds the following excerpt from an email from Steve 'The Head of Infrastructure' nationwide.

"At present this is all we can offer but we are still looking at other options available to us and that includes working with Alcatel, as we have been since we implemented ADSL2+."

Which, knowing him as I do, is as good as saying "We fucked up over ADSL2+ and we know it, but at this time we can do nothing about the problems.".

There is no shame in admitting defeat but that is simply beyond Steve so, as always, he wraps it up in words. He became very good at  question dodging. He rarely gave up information that would allow us to peek beyond the words spoken. His biggest problem when talking with customer representatives, as we are/were was that he could never get his head out of the boardroom. Time and time again he sat firmly on the side of his paymasters promising so and so would be done but nothing ever got started. He was to all intents and purposes Karoo's lying machine and on occasion he played that role so well we didn't see it. Most of the time though we did see through it and when we did we tried to get behind the veil. In the end He Who Must Not Be Mentioned had had enough and left the  fold. Then that email, from which I took the excerpt, came in  and Steve left the fold. This left me with nowhere to go and nothing to do so it made sense for me to cut the baggage free and so I did.  After several months of promises we have absolutely nothing to show for our endeavours.
As I have commented in various blog posts here at AnnoyedFolk there are several ways they can, at the very least, galvanise public support here in Hull but, as was not unexpected, they have chosen, with no explanation whatsoever, to ignore those options. It has to be said that if those options where given up as a solution then only a very small minority of customers would be able to use them. Karoo call this minority "Power Users". But those Power Users could help those not within that group to utilises those options so everyone  could, in theory at least, benefit from the options. But it would appear, allowing those options is beyond Karoo technicians (which is amazing really as other ISP's within the U.K. do it with great benefits to their customers) and because of that little technicality  ADSL2+ will never improve here.

Overall we do enjoy slightly better sync and connection rates than, say, BT but the demographic is much different. So different in fact that one cannot make suitable comparisons even given exact same line lengths and  exact same DSLAMS in use etc etc. Here, because Karoo's service offerings serve only Hull and surrounding areas they have a much tighter service area. Because of that they should be able to consistantly provide for higher sync and connection rates. Some areas of the City have copper cabling older than 40 years which does not help matters.

But enough on the technicalities and back to the   throwing in of the towel. My own personal thoughts as to why Steve has done this is that his paymasters told him to do it. It is widely known that the MD and I do not get on so my thoughts on this matter turn to that and I believe the word was sent down to rid ourselves of this problem and Steve being the opitomy of a company man  duly agreed.

Another reason could have been that Steve  could not provide the answers we were so desperately seeking therefore he felt it was time to let things go and leave it in a state of limbo. Yet another reason could have been that I have too much knowledge for them and because of that I scare them which led to the     dropping of the ball.

Whatever the reason for his sudden capitulation this is not the end. Far from it. I have other, powerful avenues that I can take our grumbles to and it is those avenues I have spent the last few days since Steve's 'I quit' email exploring them. Right now I have more faith in the E.U.'s ability to  affect change here than I do via change from within.

At the end of the day Karoo, being a subset of KCom, is a company with shareholders and anything that needs to have money spent on it to fix whatever is broke (and there is a LOT broken) would need to get passed their money grubbing shareholders before those filter feeders at the bottom get a chance to  affect that change. In these dodgy share times I cannot see that happening. We need high speed Internet as much as anyone else in the country.

It will never happen while the current trend within the KCom company is one of damage mitigation and skimp and save at all costs in all areas.

KCom are doomed and those  from the boardroom know it. It is only a matter of time.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Rugby League World Cup.

The 2008 Rugby League World Cup is now at an end. The winners, New Zealand, showed that the dominant Australians can be beat and what a show they put on whilst doing just that. In the final no doubt the Australian press will point to the awarded penalty try, to New Zealand, in the second half as being the moment New Zealand finally believed they could win, but it has to be said that on the day the New Zealand players played the game plan that did not allow the Australians to play their usual expansive type of play. Ultimately, this was what won New Zealand the final. In the second half New Zealand dominated the game. They thoroughly deserved their victory. It was not that Australia played poorly but that the New Zealanders did not allow them to get into the game in a way they did in all their other games. As a spectical the 2008 Rugby League World Cup final was brilliant. On the day New Zealand were simply the better team.

The woefully inept England team, try as they did, were simply terrible in all the games they played. It can only be hoped that some searching questions, with solutions that benefit our national teams here in the U.K. (which included England, Scotland and Ireland, why no Wales? They have a national team but failed to qualify) can be made and are addressed and they do it in quick time in time for the next Rugby League World cup. Can the Super League teams forgo selfishness to aid not only local, as in U.K., leagues but also, and much more important, our national teams? Only time will tell.

As a follower and former player of the greatest game on Earth the Rugby League World Cup was a resounding success for all the teams involved. Even those teams from the so-called lesser groups showed they had the required skills and a burning desire to win. Some of those less powerful groups yielded some fantastic matches.

Much was said about the group layout but ultimately this did what it was designed to do and allowed lesser teams to compete on an equal footing. From that perspective they, the people in charge of putting the whole spectical together, got it right. Overall, the World Cup was a resounding, as well as a finacial, success.

For those of you who do not know what Rugby League is I will point you to this (the link points to a flash based 'Best tries' of the World Cup). While that in and of itself does not show a full game nor show the mariad of rules that govern each game it  does show some of the excellence my favourite game has. Much more information about Rugby League can be seen at the BBC web site dedicated to it here.

If the word is spread and other countries develop a national team in the years to come perhaps finally the game of Rugby League can grow into a truly international sport. I know the game is worthy as there is no other team sport that provides the level of excitement a game of Rugby League provides. Even at the amateur level.  Can Rugby League grow in countries where it currently has no presence? Yes, but it will take time and money to make it happen and year after year od grassroots development with some gritty determination to make it a success but as teams such as Samoa and Fiji prove it can be done. In Papua New Guinea the game of Rugby League is their national sport. The only  country where that holds true in fact.

If you like what you find, read and see when you type Rugby League into Google perhaps that will spur you into action in getting together like minded people who then go on to establish a Rugby League presence in your area no matter where you may be in the world. For me there is no other game played anywhere in the World that comes close to Rugby League for both players and spectators. The guys who play at the very pinnacle, The Rugby League World Cup, of the sport are supreme    athletes that have their bodies pounded week in and week out during their domestic seasons but even those who play at an amateur level do the same. They believe, perhaps you can too.

There is no better game.

Well done New Zealand.

Friday, 14 November 2008

More bilge on obesity.

Mostly Government led but also medically led. It is very hard to take all this guff about obesity when they rely on a flawed metric like the BMI to determine what classification is given to each person. The BMI takes no account of muscle tone and that alone is vital in determining if someone is really in any way whatsoever overweight.

I read this BBC article with my now usual distrust of anything related to weight that has some governmental quangos attached to it. In this instance it is the Department of Health. How they can simplify how and what people eat, espcially where children are concerned, is something only government can do. Apart from the stigma attached to anyone they claim of being obese there is the not so small problem of how as a country we differ in what we eat as much as we differ in dialects used.

As an example, I hail from Hull on the East coast of England. My wife hails from Nottingham, roughly, central england. Her father is from Scotland and is married to a woman who hails from Devon. We are quite a scattered lot and if we take from each area what is classed as that areas main dish we find substantial differences in what each dish gives by way of nutrients, energy, fat etc etc.

Devonshire, like a lot of the surrounding shires, people tend to have a much sweeter tooth than anywhere else in the U.K. This is reflected somewhat by the people who on average have a larger girth, especially the women.

Nottingham and surrounding areas has a much higher intake of none English people than other areas of comparable size and this is reflected in what they eat. This in turn means that they have a good mix right across the definitions of weight versus height (but not the flawed BMI scale).

Hull, while this is changing due to the fish trade being killed off by goverment of the time meddling, we used to be a city of fish eating people. Now, like everywhere else, we have seen the rise of fast-food places, frozen foods etc and with it a rise is body fat levels. So, you will see the core of the 40+ age group in a different light to those under it.

Everywhere in this country though has seen a drop in children who play, and/or are allowed to play, running about street games that us fast approaching 50 year old and older took for granted when we were kids. Added to this was the 1980's abandonement of P.E. (Physical Education sometimes known as Physical Training (P.T.)) and games (which included football, rugby, athletics etc) which led to a whole generation of adults that did none of those. Those traits where in all probabilty passed onto their children. This added together with a poor diet means we are now seeing the rise in unhealthy kids.

But back to the point. That article demonstrates perfectly everything that is wrong with such labling and catagorisation. It is impossible to do in anything approaching a satisfactory  way. There are simply too many variables at play.

It seems to me that just like the flawed BMI scales the whole thing is based around that what they want to do is to force every one to eat according to their slots in their database. It would after all make life easy for them in their fight for removal of perceived fat in peoples, especially childrens, bodies. Like everything else on a personal level the government of the day gets involved in it will all end in abject failure.

We, as a nation of people, are not on the whole naturally, nor gentically, slim people. The  further south one goes the more heavy  the people are. The further north one goes the less one sees  heavy girthed folk. So it has always been and so it will always be.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Stupid, inane and utterly purile.

Is how I see articles such as this from the BBC. No-one can argue with the fact that the Microsoft family of operating systems dominate the desktop but do we really need the near on worshiping proffered in that article? The BBC, in that article, has clearly moved from a review to advertisment in clear breech of their own ethics standards. I make no bones about the fact that I pimp a Linux based operating system at any and all times to anyone willing to listen so when I read that link the red light in my head came on. It is so wrong on so many levels is ceases to be funny how the BBC continually cow-tow to Microsoft at every opertunity as well as spending unknown millions of the U.K. peoples monies ponied up via the license fee on Microsoft operating systems when instead they could save millions by using an alternative like a Linux or UNIX based operating system.

When reading any article on the BBC that has any level of technological bent one can be assured of a giggle or two as the wrter clearly has no real clue about that which he/she is writing about. Many, almost classical, gems have come via the keyboard of the BBC's computer technology writers. The gems may go down well with your average Joe and Jane but for us who are more technologically gifted (having been around computers since 1974 and having had my own at home since 1980 I have picked up a few things like the correct terminology to use. This level of competence utterly fails as far as the vast majority of BBC technology writers go). Without fail, time and time again the authors show their complete lack of technological expertise. How these people get jobs on such a high profile web based news outlet only those who employ them really know. For such as myself I cannot figure it out.

In that article above there is no mention of how Microsoft the company is a tried and convicted criminal. Nor how Microsoft effectively stole their first release of MSDOS all those years ago. Nor how they reneged on deal after deal in their quest for desktop domination. Nor how release after release of each and every one of their operating systems has contained bits and pieces that where assimilated, reworked, then spat out to become part of the Microsoft operating system of the time. Nor how they made deals with hardware manufactures to ensure that Microsoft Windows  demanded ever better  computers on which it ran. Thereby giving both the hardware manufacturers and Microsoft much revenue in clear breech of anti-competitive laws around the world. Microsoft has been proven to have  done much harm during their tenure as the premier operating system creator. Microsoft have  done much wrong and broken many laws around the world over the last 15 or so years and in many parts of the world are now paying the price for those wrongdoings. In some parts of the world Microsoft is losing its formerly powerful grip on the desktop as Goverment after Goverment the world over tells their people to use alternatives such as a Linux based operating system and within the walls of power in those countries there too they are using a Linux based operating system.

None of that was mentioned in that article though. Oh no. Not a word of it as the BBC once again laid its belly bare for all to see as Microsoft tickled its soft underside.

Being as I am a staunch advocate of free standards and the Linux based operating system I see Microsoft as the daemon company that it is. Is it really too much to ask that the BBC editors do the same or at the very least tell it like it is. All the information about Microsoft practases is out there on the Internet so once again the BBC has no excuses. In this, and many other instances, the BBC has shown who is the tail and who is the dog.

Football (soccer to U.S.A. folk) and footballers.

It cannot have escaped your attention, here in the U.K. at least, that SportUK who do drug testing of sports people here in the U.K. has turned its attention to football players. Amid much hyperbole there are some issues in getting this turned from mere talk to reality. This blog post though has little to nothing to do with that. Instead I will recount what happened during my formative years.

When I was a football playing lad back in the late 60's and early 70's it wasn't unusual to find oneself playing alongside or against the Hull City players of that time in the local park (Princes Avenue for us). They almost always turned up unannounced with a Watneys 8 pint beer tin. One or two per player. Of course not all the Hull City players of that time turned up but of those that did they were the stars of the team. Also, we used to get Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers players from the world of Rugby League. At that age, we were aged between 9 years old and 13 back then, we where much in awe of our fellow players. Why they chose our park we had, nor have even now, any idea but for whatever reason they did.

Sunday afternoons at the local park where always an exciting place to be for us as we never knew who or how many of our sporting heroes would turn up. More often than not they never turned up at all. Sometimes it was just the Rugby League players who did. Other times in was just the Hull City players. Now and again they all turned up on the same day and at roughly the same time. Maybe they all preplanned this but we will never know. Certainly, at that time, we did not care. They always headed straight for our lot which could have been down to our playing skills but was more likely because, outwardly anyway, we were not in awe of them and treated them as just another bunch of grown men that wanted to play football with a bunch of kids on a Sunday afternoon. Can you imagine todays elite 'stars' doing something like this? Turning up with no security guards present at a local park to play a few hours of football with some kids? I can't. Those days are long gone.

What always stood out though was that they were always invariably drunk either before they turned up and always after a few hours of playing football.

None of this is related to the drug testing being touted of course but as beer, these days more so than 10 or 20 years ago, has chemicals added that could be classed as drugs. I am not one who would claim beer drinking leads to a lifetime addiction as some claim. In fact I refute such claims totally. Coming from a family background that had many heavy part-time drinkers within it and once being a part of that myself None of us where  addicted. My father and Grandfather were both seafarers and only drunk beer when on land which would mean 3 to 4 weeks  abstinence, for my Grandfather who was a  fisherman, and anything from 6 months to 18 months abstinence for my Father who was a long haul seaman. Once on land though they would both drink themselves silly. Myself never went to sea, much to both their disappointment, however, drink I did. A lot. Not now though as I rarely touch any alcohol due to the medication i am forced to take. I say rarely because i do, now and again, have a pint but that event is so rare as to be easily discounted and well within the intake limits recommended by Government. But, I digress...

Back to those Sunday afternoon football sessions. These are highly unlikely to happen these days as both football and Rugby League players are much removed from such things now as can possibly happen. Back then both Hull FC and Hull K.R. were, as they are now, high flying teams. Hull City where in the old (ancient?) third division North and during the 70's in the old second division and the players of all three were just as happy amongst a group of school children as they were on the pitch. It would never happen today. Maybe in the lower leagues but certainly never from players in the Premier League and extremely unlikely from any in the Championship nor the super fit athletes that make up the Super League (Rugby League).

It does, however, give me something to recount to any Grandkids my offspring may provide. My life has been full of such things happening and it does seem a different world to the one we are living through now. In all probability it is a different world. It certainly shows how some things have moved on. Not always for the better though.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Kcom and Karoo.

Kcom the incumbent telephone company here in Hull and its ISP spin off Karoo are technologically so far behind the other ISP's that proliferate around the U.K. they are fast becoming a bigger joke than they were last year.

They use relatively new DSLAMS but their back end servers often fail and twisted pair cable runs are mostly 20 or more years old. If you are stupid enough to use their proxy servers you are guaranteed to run into problems more times than not. Their back end servers that sift through what you do on-line so the data can be sold to third parties often fail. In the last year or so we have suffered outages of between 24 and 14 hours on 3 separate occasions. They have no backup servers. No redundancy whatsoever. They are a cost cutting operation. They have not invested much in new stuff for years. As for cable runs well, the best that can be said about them is they work. Slowly, but work. Just.

Look at the state of ADSL2+ in this city. Ignore what KCom and/or Karoo say about it as they often lie about statistics and it is a well known fact that those who say they are happy with the service are those who are technologically lacking in skills. There are thousands of people suffering from poor connection rates. Piss poor throughput rates and it can all be put down to 1 or 2 things. 1) Lack of exchanges. 2) Long, poorly routed, twisted pair cabling. Cable runs  that where laid early last century and new runs bolted on as the city grew in size. Back then of course there was no Internet so they laid cable willy nilly which results in this Internet age with piss poor sync rates and throughput speeds.

Almost every area of this city suffers from old copper cabling. Almost every area of this city suffers from long lines (from house to exchange). Some areas suffer what they call 'dead' exchanges which are then routed out to real exchange which can be several miles away from the 'dead' exchange. It is a mess. Worse still is the fact they are doing nothing whatsoever about it.

It is quite simply take it or leave it. As there are no other ISP's in this city it is impossibly difficult to go eslewhere.  Those who do not understand the telephony situation in this city often say "Go to another ISP"  which is impossible to do here.

If another ISP came here and did not use the Kcom network of piss poor cabling nor use their exchanges but did in fact set up their own autonamous network then people and businesses would jump ship in a heartbeat. But they will not come here and neither will they invest in a new network simply because of some believed loyalty to Kcom and Karoo which frankly does not exist amogst the rank and file of this city.

The people and businesses of this city are crying out for a real high speed connection. If there is someone out there with money to burn and they set up a high speed fibre network and charged reasonable rates for the connection they are guaranteed to succeed in taking  thousands, 10's of thousands, 100's of thousands of customers.

Kcom and Karoo can't see this simple fact. If they can see it they are doing nothing whatsover about it. Last I heard they where  doing a feasibility study  about fibre but the fact of the matter is if it will cost then money they  will not do it. They are a shadow of the company that once served Hull only. In those long since gone days they where a company to proud of. Since they expanded into a, don't laugh, world wide company they have forgotten about their long suffering roots. Telephony in this city is so poor now they are the biggest joke this city can offer.

Someone, any one, set up a fibre network. Use the cities extensive sewer system to route the fibre to homes and businesses. Use a route out to the wider Internet somewhere outside the city. No need at all to touch anything belonging to Kcom. Provide  real high speed services which the current piss poor ADSL2+ cannot provide, Offer Internet, telephone and TV via cable and the people would jump. It it so easy to envisage but finding someone to do it is the hard part. Which is a shame because I guarantee the people of this once magnificent city would jump ship tomorrow if the fibre network suddenly appeared.

The fact is that the long suffering people and businesses of this city are ready and primed to move elsewhere.

Friday, 7 November 2008


According to this BBC article Jacqui Smith who has never ever been in sync with what the English rank and file people want has declared that the  people  "can't wait for ID cards". While her comment is not the first bullshit to come via government sources at any level it sure ranks right up there as the biggest lie to be uttered.

I don't know every member of the English population obviously but of those I do know and/or have contact with there is not one amongst them that want an ID card. These people come from every walk of life. From the lowest to the highest and yet here we have the home secretary telling the masses that people "can't wait  for ID cards" like she  even knows what the public wants. She is, and always has been, so out of touch with the general feeling amongst the general public is it unreal.

From her lofty promiment position of home secretary you would think she actually knew what the public wanted but no. Not ever has she shown that to be true. This latest lie, in a long line of lies, comes across as if she knows. She is undoubtably the most unpopular home secretary this country has ever known and comments like this will only serve to reenforce that unpopularity.

Say no to ID cards but remember the governemt, especially the current one, knows more about what you want than you do as is seen by the home secretarys comments.

This current government, more than any other previous government, has dome more to remove your control over your own life. That comment only serves to re-enforce that. There is not one iota of evidence to back up her claim and yet she will force it on to a public that simply does not want it. This government has done that at every level so it should not be a surprise to anyone.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Karoo customer services.

Our incumbent ISP, Karoo, have what is possibly the worst customer services of any similar, and none similar, industry.

They often proffer an email address to which one should sent customer related enquiries. That email address is in addition to their regular one. More often than not any email sent to either addresses is routinely ignored.

As a test to make sure it was not just me that they ignore (I have been on their internal blacklist many times over they years) I arranged with some of the people on my list to send  an  email from their own computer using their own email address. Around 2000 agreed to allow me to conduct this test. I then sent such an email from the  around 2000 different customer computers and of those more than 2000 around 82% were ignored. Not exactly conclusive proof but is a clear indication of how they hold their customers in utter contempt.

Why do they ignore the emails? That can only be answered by them. However, it is well known here in Hull that the Karoo customer services team follow very closely a sheet from which they read. That is how many other companies do things as well except that in Karoo's case they  rarely, if ever, deviate from it. This sends customers tempers flaring as more often than not this tends not to solve whatever is/was the problem that prompted the question in the first place.

Ringing them up is no better either as it is essentially they same team so inherits all the same bad traits as emailing them does.

In conclusion it can be said, within the limited scope of the test mentioned above that Karoo Customer Services quite simply is diabolically bad.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Folly pure folly.

As Man grapples with Natures natural climatic changes in an effort to slow down the obvious impact on Man itself one has to wonder what nature herself makes of it all.

Species come and species go. That, by definition, is what Nature is all about. Nature can be brutal at times, mostly gentle at others but over the course of the last couple of years and no doubt in the future we are seeing her flex her muscles. Man can fight her all he likes but Nature will win. She always does.

Trillions of monies have been spent on fighting this most natural of sequences of events. Money wasted. But onwards the worlds great thinkers (tinkerers) go trying to work one over on Nature. It is all doomed to abject failure but that will not stop them wasting evermore money in their quest for absolute Human power over Nature.

Mirrors in space, iron filings dropped into the worlds oceans are two such of their ideas. As the Earth slowly, wearily, cycles through its seasons in times long since past cataclysmic events have befallen not only Man but other predominant species of those ancient times curtailing their existence to the annals of history. In more recent times (10 of thousands of years)  temperatures have risen and temperatures have fallen but Man has always survived. Perhaps what is due to come will be the end of Man as the   dominant species. Is that something to be so scared of that we enable these tinkerers to do yet more damage to our fragile planet in their efforts to keep Man on top of the food chain?

To my mind no. They are simply stalling the obvious. The Earth moves in cycles and the time is coming when Man's very survival depends not on his will to survive but by Natures say so. Some would claim that by trying to stall the inevitable  we are showing a will to survive Natures onslaught. To that I say no, that is not correct. What Man is doing will simply drive Natures desire to rid herself of Man's interference on  every known species, and natural resources we have plundered, on this Earth.

Man has slowly all but destroyed this planet with its insatiable desire to be top dog and with Man's tinkering to stave off the inevitable Nature will ensure, no matter what Man tries to do about it that we die off. If not completely then with severely limited numbers left. So few that Man will struggle.

"The weak shall inherit the Earth". And we all know that "only the strong survive".

Monday, 27 October 2008

Is it just me or?

Is it just me or is the whole Web experience slowing down? Not by ISP's slowly but surely making connection speeds fall lower and lower through lack of anything approaching decent networks but by more and more usage of PHP and SQL?

Have you noticed how several of the so called main stream web sites hit URL after URL in your browsers taskbar? This transversal of URL and after URL usually includes several hits to various advertisements which plague the Internet web experience these days which all goes towards slowing down what eventually fils your browser window.

It is bad enough when a web site uses flash to display some minor image. None are more guilty of that particular practise than news services where when going to any single one of the so called main stream news web sites it can take from a minute to several minutes even on a 18Mbit plus  ADSL2 connection for the web site to fully load into the browser.

The whole web experience today is bad to piss poor but as the web sites themselves deliberately slow down the end result (what you see in your browser window) it is only going to succeed in people looking elsewhere as they struggle to find something that displays faster.

It does not matter if one is using Internet Explorer (though one must ask you why you are using that insecure monstrosity) or Safari or Firefox or any one of the many others that are available this slowdown thing affects everyone irregardless of browser in use. It is only going to get worse.

Google's front page shows what can be done but even that is slowly caving in to the ever more loaded pages.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Government Databases.

I surely am not alone in being scared of our government, be they Labour, Conservative or any other political party, being ever more willing and in some cases already doing, huge one point databases am I?

They either plan or have implemented all encompassing databases which will include every man, woman and child resident in this country, whether they be nationals (defined as born here irregardless of creed, race or faith) or tourists (business or otherwise). Another database will contain every child and so on.

The number of 'lost' names in recent times is scary enough but a single point database (which means only one entry for access to) containing who knows what of every individual just fills me with dread. I don't know how hackers (defined as those who break into such databases).

We already have the police database, the passport database, the drivers database (think DVLA), a doctor's database and hospital databases, registered with banks and so on. We are first on the goverment radar after being registered at birth and from that time to death, which is also registered) we voluntarily sign up for most, if not all of the services mentioned above. We leave information at various shops where we purchased something. That signals to the bank that at that moment in time where we were, what we  bought and what we spent. All that sort of thing while not voluntary is just part and parcel of everyday life. Having all that information stored in one place and accessed  via one single means is just plain scary. It is bad enough that the number of databases holding all manner of information on individuals exist and some link up so verifications can be made. The fact that this huge database is government run (for now until they decide to sell the information as will surely happen within 25 years of it starting) and owned make it all the more scary.

Our government, or put another way our elected officials, has an appalling track record regarding such things and it is widely and well known that the government, at any level from Westminster to local councils, are useless at governing  any IT project be it small or large. This huge database comes under the banner of the latter.

During the last year various government departments 'lost' private and confidential information. They 'lost' laptops and notebooks with monotonousness regularity usually containing unencrypted data. Their track record is appalling.

I,  for one, find these huge government mandated databases scary.