Site Search


Friday, 29 February 2008

Demonising our young people.

It would seem that only here in the U.K. would we contemplate such a thing but here in the U.K. that very thing is happening.

Gone are the days when our young people enjoyed high jinks and the older folk saw it as such. Now, we are blaming all of the country''s social ills on how our young people act in public.

Sure there are, and always has been, the bad element as there is is any large group. But to claim, as some do, that all our young people are bad and must therefore be watched and demonised whenever they do anything and wherever they do it.

As each generation grows the one behind it automatically becomes bad. they forget that just a generation ago they was th generation they now hate with a passion. Not hatred hate but you know, the kind of hatred reserved for generation crossing.

Old folk hate young people. Not because those young people are bad or anything but because...Well, they are young and the old folk are not. Young children don't care about anything, and rightly so, but they do love the old folk. Young people generally hate everyone equally. Then we have the 40 something who are awkward and do not fit into or latch onto any other group except perhaps their own siblings who it turns out are the young people everyone from old Mrs scoggins of 84 muswell hill to the polce are demonising.

It simply is not right nor fair.

Our young people are tomorrows leaders and should be nurtured as such but alas that is not how it is. The police, the worse of the demonising offenders will tell you all the bad parts of our society stems from young people but those 40 somethings, the parents of those young people, will tell you their own do nothing wrong so should be exempt from the pressures the constant attention our police give to young people. But, the police, as is being more and more frequent, will do what the Hell thy want and God be damned if anyone stops them.

I blame the old folk.

Thursday, 28 February 2008


Can it get any worse? I doubt it.

What am I talking about? I am talking about my cities incumbent ISP. Karoo.

They claim some 72,000 ADSL connected households. In a city of some 266,000 people who live in some 140,000 houses that 72,000 figure looks good as it means that approximately half the households within the city are ADSL connected. And that is where the problems begin.

Karoo "Traffic Management" setup not only traffic shapes Internet facing traffic but also internal traffic that never leaves the local loop. Why do they do this? Simply to keep costs down. While local loop traffic does not cost anywhere close to the cost to them for external traffic it still costs a lot and with rising energy cost that cost is rising with those.

As more and more households enjoy the joys of an ADSL connection the traffic shaping aspect of the Karoo service offering is really starting to bite. In that all traffic, local loop or external, is being slowed down to 'cope' with the additional traffic. Why is this? Well, consider the following.

There are some 9 active exchanges that serve a city that is 6 miles across from East to West and some 4.5 miles across from North to South. Above and below ground there are thousands of miles of cabling connecting houses and businesses via exchanges with the end point known as Telephone House all over the city. As the city has expanded no more active exchange cabinets were added. Instead KC (Kingston Communications (KCom)) the telephone company who own Karoo added inactive cabinets. This means that houses connected via these inactive cabinets suffer further slowdowns on their ADSL connections as often these cabinets sync their connections at a much slower rate than those connected via an active cabinet.

Due in part to design limitations over the years and due in part to council imposed limitations some connections that have direct line of sight of an active exchange of, say, 1 mile can often have cable lengths of 2 or 3 times that. Those unlucky enough to be on an inactive exchange have an even worse deal. They not only have cable lengths of 1 mile from their houses to the inactive exchange to transverse but also the cable length from the inactive cabinet to the nearest active cabinet which could mean additional cable lengths of 2 or 3 miles!

All this mention of cable lengths and active and inactive cabinets is to show you why the people of this city suffer from poor ADSL connections. Sure they may sync at good rates but the sync rate is not worth a damn if the throughput is poor and it is poor for the reasons laid before you above.

Now, beyond that we have Karoo. Karoo consists of several departments seemingly related to each other. I say seemingly as in reality they bare no relation to each other at all. Of course this is not true nor correct but if you have ever dealt with Karoo you will understand why I said that. As examples that qualify those comments consider the following.

Karoo customer service is a gallant offering that is customer facing as you would expect. In the view of many is at an all-time low for competence. They are poor, dire and generally bad. Karoo's technical people come across as self serving know nothings. If you call customer service you will find they generally know nothing of a technical nature and will often simply say "Nothing is wrong here. Check your settings." Which usually leads to whatever problem you had not going away. If by some miracle you are passed from the customer service desk to the technical support team you will usually be told "Nothing is wrong here. Check your settings." And so it goes throughout the company. No matter which department you get connected to the same mantra is offered as a solution.

If you email customer support the whole experience is much more dire. By return you will receive a, presumably, carefully laid out, seemingly, automated message which in essence says "Nothing is wrong here. Check your settings." Overall the feeling one gets from every department is "You have nowhere else to go so we don't care about any problem you may or may not have." A certain feeling of we are alright Jack. A company that has no opposition is a company the exudes misplaced self confidence.

Technically, Karoo are left with what is most definitely second class expertise. While they may have top class expertise in the national or international space they leave their home base, the base from which they grew and made, and still make, all their profits, with what is left. This is evident on several levels from how they connect their customers to how they use available bandwidth. I.E. Poorly in both cases.

They receive so much negative feedback from their home based customers they felt the need to refute this on this web page. Some of the refuted feedback where laughable at best. They said:

"We do care about our customers and we are passionate about providing you with the best possible service.
We do not take your custom for granted and take all feedback seriously."

If they did not take our custom for granted how come we customers get fed bullshit time and time again?

"Whilst we truly believe our Karoo services provide good value, we are not

While they may truly believe their Karoo services provide good value everyone else believes those services are massively overpriced and are so lacking in features the services should be labled Basic Internet Services.

like all UK service providers, are increasing investment in our network to keep up with the demands of our

The investment includes adding yet more telephone lines into their customer service department to better meet the sheer amount of people ringing up to complaint about the service yet again.

It is so easy to refute all of that web pages content. Simply by talking with real people that use the services karoo offer. Those very people that forced the company to write that text in the first place. They will tell you that our own "local company, with local
people, providing services to local customers" is at its heart a company that does not give a toss about its customers. Does not give a toss if the Internet services they provide are good or bad. Does not give a toss at all about what their customers say about them.

The myth of a modern day company caring one iota about their customers or what their customers say is exactly that. A myth.

So, a final word on traffic management, or more accurately traffic shaping. This done purely because they lack bandwidth on the local loop. The copper pipes that permeate the city cost Karoo money to keep live so they employ traffic shaping inside the local loop to keep costs down. Beyond Karoo's servers they have more than enough bandwidth to cope so why do they traffic shape at all? As mentioned earlier it all comes down to cost. And as Karoo, like all companies, are profit driven they want the cost to them to be as low as possible so, they employ the use of traffic shaping to keep these costs down.

Any other reason is simply a lie.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Dog attacks.

Well, after requesting people reply to anything posted in this blog to determine if anyone actually reads it and nobody bothering which leads me to believe I am wasting my time posting anything this post may well be my last. Ever.

More rubbish coming out saying dogs attacking humans, particularly children, are on the rise.

When are people going to realise DOGS DO NOT ATTACK WITHOUT PROVOCATION. Dogs are primal animals and understand signals given my other animals including humans. If people react wrongly towards a dog IT WILL ATTACK. And that is the problem.

You cannot blame a dog for attacking if the human child gives that dog the wrong signal. Dogs work on instinct. Give the wrong signal to a dog and on instinct it will react accordingly. If the dog percieves the signal to be aggressive IT WILL ATTACK.

Dogs are not humans. They do not, and cannot, react at the higher instinctive levels we humans work off. They are instinctively agressive anmals. When are people going to realise it is the actions of humans that cause dog attacks not the dogs fault at all. Yes, it is the actions of humans that force the dog instinctively into aggressive mode.

Understanding how dogs instinctively work or react when faced with a given situation would help people understand why attacks happen. So, instead of legislating against dog owners they should give money to organisations to raise awareness in humans and especially children.

It is not rocket science. Understanding how dogs function and realising that children especially give off all the wrong signals will go a long way to stopping 99% of this so called dog attacks.

But then, we have a media set in this country that will hang off any possibly horror stories so while I as a dog trainer understand why these attacks happen I will not hold my breath in the hope that a proper set of training FOR HUMANS when faced with a canine.

Monday, 25 February 2008

A Count.

Or rather a way for me to ascertain if anyone actually reads this blog. Okay, it is a pride thing I suppose but then if there is absolutely nobody reading my efforts at general content then what is the point of my carrying on? I may as well just delete the blog and get on with something else and believe me I have plenty of other things with which I can occupy my time.

So do you? Do you want to reply to something to let me know? Please?

There are no tags on this blog as it does not really fit anywhere.

Hull Royal Infirmary.

As mentioned in another post I made the other day I had the misfortune to be admitted to hospital. While I will not go into why I was admitted I would like to say a few words about the nurses at Hull Royal Infirmary.

They where absolutely delightful in everything they did. They are indeed Angels. They made sure I was comfortable, well as comfortable as I could be in the condition I was in. They made sure my spirits where generally kept high. They where indeed at my every beck and call. They where quite simply wonderful.

In these days of cut after cut of finances in the health sector which usually results in a cut of nurses it was a delightful experience to see these obviously overworked nurses going about their general duties, usually with a smile and a twinkle in their eyes. They are truly angels in every possible way.

Compare this experience with the dull and dismal experience when I had a weeks stay in North Manchester General Hospital. There, the nurses where curt and rude. You was lucky if you saw one for hours on end and it felt like they really did not care for your health nor the job they was doing. Although I should have been in there for 4 weeks I signed myself out after 1 week. So dismal was the experience.

I have now been in 4 separate hospitals around the country and I have to say H.R.I. is the best of the lot. There quite possibly could be better ones around but of those I have had the misfortune to be admitted to H.R.I. tops them all for service with a smile.

So thank you the staff of H.R.I. you made my latest stay in your presence a nice one. Forgive me for saying I do not want to go back anytime soon but if I have to I would have no qualms about doing so.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Hull City Council (estates).

My apologies to any and all regular and irregular readers of this blog for the time taken to get this latest post out. I was whisked into hospital a couple weeks ago as my spine refused to support my body which meant I could not stand up nor crawl about. In fact I could not move at all. It turned out that a rather large chunk of whatever they used to weld my lower spine together some 10 years ago had come loose and lodged itself between 2 discs higher up which in turn refused to bend or move as they should. Further the rather large chunk of whatever it is was pressing very hard against my spinal cord. All not very nice and for a short while very frightening. They operated and removed the chunk of whatever and now I am back to my previous functionality. Which while not perfect does at least give me the ability to sort of stand up. One day I may blog about my condition but for now just accept it at face value when I say I am disabled.

Anyways. On with the show.

During the 1970's and 1980's Hull City Council embarked on what was then a radical plan to drag a City that in previous years had relied on and profited from, and had made the City one of the wealthiest in the country, the fishing trade. A trade that for no fault of the council had been killed off by the Labour Government of that time.

After that trade had been given away to a foreign country the city fell into what could only be described as the doldrums. We as a city had lost our main income and had nothing of note to fall back on. So, the city as a whole fell into a state of misery. Then out of nowhere and unknown to many city dwellers the council hatched a plan to drag the city out of the doldrums and back to somewhere close to its former prosperous and relatively happy state.

The plan they had was a radical 25 year plan that would be staged in 5 year steps. This plan was to generate as much money as they could from private sources as well as the Government and the European council. They also embarked on some serious trawling of businesses to try and convince them to come to the city. They succeeded in their endeavours in so much as for almost 25 consecutive years many businesses came to the city and once again after 25 years in the doldrums the city was once again a prosperous place.

Okay, that was rather a simplistic view and write up of that period but the bit about a prosperous city is indeed true and correct.

So, during this period of ladder climbing what has the council done on, and for, the various estates that litter this city? The estates had too fallen into the doldrums and it showed. They where by and large places to avoid if you did not live on one and the residents, especially the old and fragile rarely ventured out after dark.

Having lived on various estates in my early 20's (1980's) and again now in my life I can see a clear picture of both eras. In between that estate living I entered the private market. First in the Avenues area of the city then later in the Sculcoates area. It has to be said that living in private areas was much more preferable to council estate living at that time. But it is the council estates I am discussing here.

In my early 20's I lived on North Hull estate. This estate was built in the years after World War II to house the displaced that had been bombed to rubble. I lived in a nice quiet area of the estate. There was trouble in various other parts of North Hull Estate but not where I chose to live. Visiting the pubs and clubs in the area and surrounding area at that time was an exercise best left to the drink=fighting folk but in some pubs on could have a good night out without fear of being smashed over the head with a bottle or beer glass or being accosted on ones way home. Then I moved to Orchard Park. I can remember this estate being built during 1964-66. My best mate of the time father worked on the construction side so we often visited him at work. The best way to describe this estate back then is, it was like the Wild West. Not a nice place to live at all. Then I moved east onto Bransholme Estate which was built if I remember correctly in the late 1960's and early 1970's. An estate where walking the streets at night could result in near death. Due in part to the sheer size of this estate some areas where excellent while others where utterly, depressingly bad. Thankfully I lived in the former. The last estate I lived on before embarking on my private housing venture was GypsyVille Estate. The best way to describe that estate at that time was damn right rundown and it showed. Both in the people and families that lived here and in the housing that littered that estate.

All in all my council estate living lasted some 5 or so years, from me being 19 to being 24. At 24 I got married first time around and bought a house in the Avenues area where I was born and brought up. I knew the area inside out and the houses where perfect for first time buyers thinking of starting a family. The contrast between council estate living and private house living was stark.

Fast forward to today, 2nd wife, new family of 3. Personal financial status and the stupid prices of private houses dictated we move out of the private sector and offer our lives to the council for a house on one of their estates. I was adamant I was not going to live on the east side of the city 3, 4 or 5 bedroom house or not. In the end we got offered a 4 bedroomed house on Orchard Park. The very place I had nightmares about some 25 years earlier. We went to have a look at the house and while the internals where rough (apparently the previous tenants had deliberately burnt the main water tank which resides in the loft. You can imagine the state of the place when the council came to check if it was livable or not some 5 months after the previous tenants had left the place) as all the council had done was patch it up, rewire the place and fit a new kitchen and bathroom suite. The walls in every room where plaster bare. Still, we requested a 3 bedroomed place and was offered a 4 so we took it. The area, which is some 150 yards from Cottingham, is nice and quiet. For the first time in their 9 and 10 year old lives we allowed our children to play outside. The neighbours are nice which is a plus. It is quite simply a nice area to live.

Over the course of the last 25 or so years the council, with the help of the police, to their credit have weeded out all the 'bad' people from all the various estates and put then in one or two distinct pockets. Where, presumably, they and the police, can keep an eye on them and know that when something goes missing where to look and who to point the finger at. This has left the rest of each estate a safe place to walk at night, a safe place from children to play and a safer place for our pensioners to live and walk. The council embarked on a plan some years ago to bring all their council houses into modern times. Central heatng, double glazing, refitting of bathrooms and kitchens. The streets, avenues, groves and courts that weave throughout the estates got a make over too. Flowerbeds where planted. Pavements where given a new coat. Fences surrounding each and every house was renewed, some with rout iron fencing, others with wooden fencing. The plan was ambitious, expensive and slow to get done but doing it they are. They have, to my knowledge, done 3 of the bigger estates (North Hull and Orchard Park count as one) and the estates they have done are all the better for having it done.

If the people and especially the children grow up seeing nice things around them they are less likely to want to break those things. Or so the argument goes. Of course there are bad apples in every batch but the vast majority are good people. It is hoped that the good will keep the bad in check. Only time will tell if the council is correct in that assumption.

So, do I see and feel a difference now from my early 20's when walking around the estates? Yes, I do. Realise that nowadays I am classed as a vulnerable member of our society whereas in my early 20's I could, and would, stand my ground against just about anyone so the fact I feel safer these days on our estates speaks, in my opinion, volumes for what the council, and the people who have grown up and are now living on these estates, have achieved in a generation.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Kingston upon Hull.

Or as it is known these days simple Hull.

Whatever you know its name as, have you ever been here? I ask because as is normal only those with bad things to say about any City are the most vocal. On the Internet, that reaches a world wide audience, particularly. Those web sites that are built so that people can say good or bad things about any city anywhere in the world are dominated by people who only want to say bad things. It is shame but controversy rules. It always has and it probably always will. I suspect many of those who write disparaging things about any city not just Hull have in fact never even been here. I have seen comments about Hull that bare no resemblance to anything I have ever seen and I have traveled extensively around Hull and seen a lot of good things. Sure, bad things exist but not to the extend some claim. Still, as these web sites are designed with controversy in mind I suppose there is no surprise those with bad thhings to say dominate.

So, I ask again. Have you ever been here?

There is quite a lot to do in Hull. From a simple drink in the pubs around the town district to museums that stock all manner of things. Art galleries, while not my personal cup of tea, are very popular with the students that dominate an area of the city that houses one of the largest universities outside of Cambridge and Oxford.

You can, and I advise you do this on a warm sunny day, follow a 'fish trail'. My wife, children and I have taken this trail several times and it does make for an enjoyable couple of hours for the entire family. I wonder how many local, let alone none locals, have undertaken this 'fish trail'? Indeed, I wonder how many locals actually knows of its existence.

I cannot even start to scratch the surface of what this city can offer. I urge you to take a look at the Hull City Council portal on leisure and culture and see for yourself what a day, week or even month holiday here can offer you and your family. We do not have a beech here but a few miles up the road there are many popular and famous 'sand and sea' resorts.

I openly admit I love it here but then I always have. Even as a teenager when my peers wanted "to get away from this shithole" I had no such plans. Nowadays, some 35 years later the city has undergone a transformation and is now a better than ever place to visit.

Sonic devices.

"A high-pitched device used to disperse teenagers is
being challenged by campaigners, who say it is not a fair way to treat
young people." So says the BBC here

My own thoughts on these devices conjures up visions of herding cattle.

Isn't that what these devices really do? They call it dispersing. The difference between herding and dispersing is so small as to negligible. Stretching the English language somewhat we can say that dispersing means to scatter and herding means to collect but the underlaying thing of using sonic to 'hurt' young peoples ears so they scatter is exactly the same as using sonic sound to herd cattle.

However you view it these sonic sound devices are wrong. Do we know for sure what damage we are causing to our young peoples hearing many 10 of years down the line? Do these devices damage the hearing to such an extent that when these young people are in their 50's, 60, 70's etc they will all be deaf as posts? Do they really know for sure? I think not.

This is just another short sighted attempt to forget that whatever problems our young people have most all of them stem from the family home or lack thereof. There exists many problems regarding our young people and not all of them lay at the feet of the young people. Some of these problems lay squarely at the feet of the elders. The elders see young people as a threat. That theme can be found in the animal world and humans are animals so perhaps this should not come as a surprise that the human elders act as they do towards their youngsters.

Are we really at the stage of human evolution that we should treat our young people with such disdain?

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Walking the dog.

Far be it from me to claim our nations youth was any better back in the 1970 when indeed I was a "yoof" myself, but I do know we did not intimidate disabled people or cripples as we termed them in those days. Everyone and everything else, yes, but disabled people no.

I am 47 years old. Throughout my body but more advanced around my spine I am inflicted with advanced osteoarthritis. Those of you who know me know that although I suffer terribly with pain, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, as the arthritis grows inside and outside of every bone in my body I do not moan or complain, preferring instead, as much as is possible, to just get on with life as best as I can on any given day. As I awake each morning I know from that moment on what I can and cannot do during that day. That does not stop me from attempting to do something I know I should not attempt however. Obviously as the day progresses my body starts saying to me enough is enough and starts to slow down. I manage to walk only with the aid of walking stick. Soon to be two I suspect as the arthritis grows and twists my bones. I do not walk well nor very far nor often, especially on my own, so it is with some delight my dog and I take this once a week long waddle together. At the behest of my wife, and to my chagrin, I take my mobile telephone "in case you get into difficulties". This is my only touch with the rest of the world. I must admit the walks with my dog are getting harder and harder but for as long as I can do it, I will do it and bugger the pain. Who enjoys it most, myself or the dog? Who knows. But I do know that my dog knows when the time to get ready for this excursion is approaching as he displays excitement and a sudden perchant to do everything his master tells him. Typical of a dog.

Buster, as we named our dog, is a 2 year 1 month (why that 1 month is mentioned rather than say just over 2 years old will be explained later) short haired Golden Labrador Retriever. A very powerful Drakeshead. He is, as anyone who trains, properly trains, these wonderful animals, knows is very good on command. But, and this is why his age was given as 2 years 1 month, he is at that age when Labradors seemingly forget almost everything they have been taught. He still does his extensive command set but he is relaxed about exactly when or what he will do when given a command. Thankfully this state of affairs only lasts for 3 months or so after which everything is back to normal. No-one knows why Labradors do this nor if it is forgetfulness or a backlash to being controlled but whatever the cause is they go through this 2 to 3 month period at around 2 years old.

So there we was. One man and his dog enjoying the slightly cold wind brushing against his face and making the hand on the stick turn white then blue. Listening to the wide variety of bird song around him. Where was I? I was out walking our lovely Golden Labrador dog down a little grassy area next to a children's playground where we live. This strip of grassy land is approx 20ft wide and 3/4 mile long. Fenced off from the playground and children's play area down one side and lined with heavy thicket the other side. It opens up, as it does, into a large open, long since abandoned by the farmer who in years past had probably lovingly tendered it, at least he would have until our government sold our farmers down the river. Now the E.U. pays them to leave land unattended. Via farm subsidies that pay farmers to leave good arable land to go to waste. Their loss is us dog owners gain.

It is an ideal area to let ones dog off its lead to do its thing without worrying if some member of the public, who is possibly a dog hater as well, will jump up and down with indignation due to the fact a dog is roaming loose. Not that it matters to that type of person but I, and I am teaching our children to be likewise, am a responsible dog owner who not only picks up his dogs poo but also ensured his dog fully understands and more importantly does recall. Well, does recall as good as one can reasonably expect, damn near flawless in fact in so much as 99.9 (recurring) times out of 100 he will come back to base on first call. The remaining 0.1 times on 2nd or 3rd. Recall is one command I have drilled into our dogs and while one can never be certain the dog will always come back on command I m reasonably certain that Buster will every time.

Towards the bottom end of this patch of land the thick thicket that lines one side tails off as the open field beckons beyond its end. It was there that an incident with some of todays youths happened. They were stood on the apex of where th thicket ends. My dog must of been obscured from view as they shouted obscenity after obscenity in my direction. "Crippled up old bastard" one shouted. "Waste of human space" shouted another. And so on. Unperturbed I carried on walking towards where these youths had positioned themselves. Actually, unless one turns around and goes back from whence he came, thereby showing these youths they had won, whatever it is they win, one has nowhere else to go but to go towards where had positioned themselves. Being once youthful myself I know they knew this. As I was approaching ever closer the youths changed tack. "Coming to sort us are ya!" One shouted. "That stick a secret sword?" inquired another. They where becoming increasingly more violent in tone and content the closer I got. As I got to within 2 or so yards of them I gave Buster his whistle. From approx 70 yards away he came bounding towards where I was stood waiting. If you have ever seen a fit 72lbs Drakeshead Labrador in full flight you will know what an imposing sight it is.

The looks on those youths faces as Buster came running at full tilt, barking that gruff excited bark as he does, was a delight to behold. Suddenly they had gone from a stance that can only be described as intimidatory to one of resignation that not only was this 'crippled old man' not scared of them but he had with him what one of the youths described as "a big fuck off dog." I was not about to tell them that this big dog was as soft as a soft thing from softland.

I smiled to myself all during the rest of our walk together.

Now when Buster and I go for this weekly romp these same youths, when there, play with Buster and treat me as one should treat their elders. With respect. In return they get respect from me and Buster who even though he is gong through the temperamental stage he is going through right now does some of the commands they give him.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Oh FFS this goes too far!

Read this then tell me it isn't stupid. How can supposedly trained police officers not tell the difference between a real firearm and a child's toy gun? I have children of my own and I can tell you they are different from a distance. Yes, they 'look' real but the reality of it is they are bloody toys.

This is just another case of utter stupidity by our police force. A force that is supposed to protect and serve, or whatever their motto is, the general public and yet here we have them telling children not to play in the streets with toy guns.

It boggles the mind. It really does.

Back during my own childhood in the middle to late 1960's we often played Cowboys and Indians which would involve one party having guns and the other party having bows and arrows. Another game we played was Batman and Robin which also involved guns and some home made 'weapons'. Going by what was said in that article these types of simple boyhood games are gone forever.

For crying out load. Let our bloody children play what they want to play with whatever they want to play with wherever they want to play and for fuck sake leave them alone!