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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Beat them if they won't comply.

This article on the BBC website is all well and good but let us be sure this is what is really needed. Take this quote as an excellent example of what I am aiming at.

"The council's zero tolerance approach aims to reduce the feeling of
neglect and lack of respect within neighbourhoods and to help improve
the quality of people's lives and encourage civic pride."

Read and digest that quote. Does it scare you as much as it does me?

I am all for not littering. I was raised when the T.V. campaign "Keep Britain Tidy" was active and since those days have always made the effort to either take our rubbish home with us or ensure it is placed in the proper bin wherever we may be. As a father i have always instilled this attitude into my children too. But, beating people up by handing out fines over what could be a careless act is just plain wrong.

That quote above shows exactly why the various councils around this country have no respect whatsoever from the vast majority of people. Even less respect is offered to councils that are Hell bent on simply expanding council coffers. After all, that is what "zero tolerance" is all about. It has nothing at all to do with "civic pride". There are surely better ways to proffer civic pride into people then there is in that method of instailling "civic prde".

How about a national T.V. campaign as was done in the 1970's? Splash is all over childrens T.V. so we catch them young as they did back then. We have a whole two generations that do not care about anyone or anything except themselves but fining these people for what is ultimately a Governement problem is wrong.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

More rubbish.

More rubbish against eating foods. This article cannot really be called journalism. No matter what we eat it is bad for us these so called experts claim. Yet, our forefathers and generation after generation of families have lived and survived on the very foods they say are bad for us. The reason these people call foul on foodstuff is for the same reason others do it and that is to get more money into their coffers.

I mean, come on, think about it. If these experts didn't say anything who in their right minds would send them donations? No one that is who. So, out they come with whatever the latest 'find' is and how it is linked to this or that. Tell you what, let us say it is linked to cancer because people are scared of the big C.

Colour me skeptical if you so wish but I find all these level of scare mongering exactly that. scaremongering.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Utter rubbish.

This is the biggest load of crap I have ever had the misfortune to read.

While is may be desirable to change the will of children, as in bending their natural choice of words, in some instances I firmly believe that whoever wrote the above linked document has no idea whatsoever on how children interact.

Children and plain speakers, as such it should be obvious to any person who has had children that sometimes their choice of words may be offensive to adult ears. This does not make the words uttered wrong. It does not mean that the child or indeed the childs parents, are racist in any way but shows that the chid is expanding their vocabulary.

Should we beat on the will of children? No.

Should we endeavor to get children to speak with the iron grip of adult speak? No.

Quite simply that document shows everything that is wrong with this country.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Economic freefall.

As the U.K. along with the rest of the world economy continues to free fall one has to ask the question as to why this is. As many millions in the U.K. drop further and further into poverty there are a few, an ever dwindling few, who are raking in millions and millions of UKP. As someone who has spent almost all of his near 50 years just above the poverty line it annoys me to see how much money the top ten table of people have. I am not jealous of them as the sheer monotony their lives must have is enough for me to think serves you right.

As absurd a notion as this sounds, I firmly believe that the world is run by at most 6 people. These people pull the strings of Governments the world over. These are the worlds most powerful men who accumulate the most money and give away none.

Look at the world. Poverty is everywhere. At different levels sure, but every country in the world has some people who are below the poverty line. In the rich countries of the world this is an unacceptable thing. How so called powerful and rich countries such as America and the U.K have people who sit below the poverty line is something I cannot understand. There has always been poor countries with that countries starving millions. Millions of people dying from starvation is nothing new. My old Grandmother, god bless her soul, used to say when pictures came on the T.V. during the 1960's and 1970's of yet another drought in some far away country that was sure to lead to many millions starving and eventually dying that it was natures way of ridding the world of its less fortunates. When she looked at those pictures emanating from her T.V. she used to question the wisdom of those people who invariably sstarving and yet they were carrying a small child. She used to say that when a given country was under U.K. rule those people would not have died. She was a firm and committed member of the Commonwealth and only saw it as a good thing for those far away starving masses. Whether she was right or not is immaterial as it is the sentiment of her wisdom I am trying to put across.

And yet, the U.S.A. and the U.K. along with other so labled Western countries have their own starving people as well as the old and infirm some of whom die each winter. This is an unforgivable thing for so called civilized countries to have. But, we have it and it is at the behest of those with so much money and power they pull the worlds governmental strings.

It is wrong for any living soul on this Earth to die from decease and starvation. The world will never be a good place while these two most fundamental things are eradicated.

Directory versus folder

It is directory. A folder is a directory. Always has been.

While taking in my daily dose of Usenet, I came upon this quote.

"Unfortunately, Linux does have its share of obtuse terms that take ordinary terms and applies them in its own peculiar way to its system."

Now, think about that for a second or two and cast your mind back a few years. Before MS rehashed everything standard names for files and directories was the norm. Along came Microsoft and a whole swathe of familier names for files, directories, text files etc suddenly became files, folders, documents all stored under something called My Documents. Some operating systems however still use the old familiar names. In fact, only Microsoft stands out as being the one who decided renaming was a necessity. Of course it isn't but then we are talking about Microsoft who are renown for making standard terms their own to the detriment of everyone else.

Pre MS = Directory
MS WIndows = Folder
Linux = directorydirectorty

Pre MS = text file or word processor file etc
MS Windows = Documents (catch all)
Linux = Text file, word processor file etc

My pre Linux and BSD days was dominated by the lovely AmigaOS which gave the various files and directories their proper names as Linux and BSD do to this day. Then along came Microsoft with their assimilate method of business during which they started changing all the standard file names, directories and common use words and phrases the computer world has used since computers first came to be. The Linux platform still uses all of these common names, words and phrases but MS systems and Microsoft themselves do not, did not and probably never will.

This has lead to a dearth of users coming into the world of the Linux platform and being mystified by name changes. They see this as fault in the Linux platform when in fact the fault lays with years of brainwashing done by Microsoft with their own changes. Nobody is ever born with the knowledge to use a computer operating system. Each one must be learnt of taught. Only then will full enlghtenment behold the user. But when people come from the Microsoft world into the Linux based one they immediately assume all names should be the same as they are under the Microsoft operating system. This of course leads to the now becoming all to familiar cries of "I can't find this and that". Blame Microsoft, not the Linux platform which still calls a spade a spade, unlike Microsoft who calls a spade a shovel.

Here is what someone said to me on this subject not so long ago.

"I used to know what a file is, until Windows came around and gave directories little "file" icons and changed the name to "folder", which sounds too much like "file" for my taste. Files are now called "documents", even though many files aren't documents at all. So Windows is the obtuse one. I'm glad to be back where things are given their proper names, rather than make-believe names that confuse things by making them seem like things that they really aren't."

And that just about sums it up.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

And what about those others?

What about those other who have no interest in music? Or the deaf people who can't hear it? Does this make forcing them to pay a monthly royalty in anyway fair?

I was reading this article on arstechnica when this snippet popped out.

"by paying an extra monthly fee to their ISPs, for instance) and would
then have access to all the music from all the labels that participate
in the scheme."

Other scary words such as "Blanket licensing" are in there too.

Now, do not get me wrong. i think all artist should be paid for their work but forcing people who have no interest in music or cannot hear it to pay is quite simply wrong. If, the whole thing is voluntary then fair enough but from that article it appears it will not be. By forcing a blanket license and ISP levy on those who couldn't care less about music is morally wrong.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Karoo Part 3?

Now that the meetings with our ISP, Karoo, are back on again we are once again back in the loop, so to speak. They are giving us information that we can share with the general public as well as some information we cannot due to what they call 'company secrets'. That is a contentious issue in and of itself which I will touch on later.

At this time KC, a telephone company that is also the Karoo mother ship. are upgrading their network in readiness for ADSL2+. At the last meeting we was given a date of 28th July 2008 for the big turn on date. Apparently, they had had some problems during their internal trials that showed that those on extended reach, >8km from the nearest exchange, where getting suboptimal performance. Quite why they where surprised by this only they know. Still, they where surprised and the big turn on date was missed. The reason for this delay, one can assume, is while they attempt to find a workaround for these >8km away folk.

We all know the dangers attached to assuming but as they had told us of this 'glitch' and they have since gone very quiet the assumption is not a big leap to make as to why they are affectively in a stop state.

One would think that a local telephone company serving local people, and surrounding areas, would not have any exchanges >8km away from a customers property. As they are serving Kingston upon Hull and surrounding areas the land coverage is quite large. They have many exchange boxes dotted around the city but one has to realise the telephone cables do not run in a line of sight fashion. So, while your house may be 1.5km from an exchange the telephone line, snaking underground, could be 2.3km in length or more. So, because they have expanded outwards from their heartland it is not beyond the realms of probability that these people >8km from their nearest exchange are those living on the outside edge of the city boundary. Those on the East side of the city also have fewer exchanges then those on the West side so those in East Hull also have longer telepnone to exchange lines. Again, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a few are >8km from their nearest exchange.

They have told us that very few customers will attain the full 24Mb that ADSL2+ technology offers. Instead, they said, the vast majority of customers will see download speeds in the region of 15-20Mb. Some, unfortunately, will be below that lower mark in the 10-15Mb range. However, anything above the current limitation has got to be a good thing so even if you are one of the unlucky ones and only get around the 12Mb mark I would not complain. They have said that there will be a few customers that will not benefit at all from ADSL2+ so for those very unlucky ones rather than make them suffer with slower speeds they will keep open the ADSL1 links. Yes, I know they use hardware with a fall back but for the sake of keeping things simple the basic premise is how I describe.

Karoo, being a KC sibling as they are, have probably inherited the known cautiousness of its mother. They have also probably inherited the wall secretive ssilence that KC are known the world over for. This wall of silence goes someway to explaining why they have cut off all contact with us. Also this act of silence allows all manner of rumours to start and fester, such as "it is not on because they have fucked up as usual." or "it is not on because their techs have no idea how to do it." and so on. These are two sch comments gaining traction on various forums already.

They have already stated that it is those on the new package sets that are getting ADSL2+ first so why can they not turn it on and sort out any problems once customers are up and running? This plan of action makes much more sense than trying to sort of niggling issues when the overall internal network is not saturated. It makes perfect sense to allow as many customers as possible on so that they can see how the set-up works when in full use, well as full as they have customers anyway.

Since our last meeting they have gone very quiet. So, where they are within the upgrade cycle and what now in the official turn on date is any body's guess. The status page within the control panel shows only that during the summer months they will be upgrading the network and that customers will have two forced disconnection. The status article reads more like an advert for the new packages than it does to inform customers of what is happening. Much more imprtant to customers is the current status of the upgrades. A daily digest of a few words would go a long long way to giving customers who care about such things a much better idea of what is going on and what the current status is. Bt then, this is Karoo we are talking about, who give out as little information as they possible can. In days of yore this would have been good enough but todays customers are more demanding. Todays customers want information. Which is why I suggested they set up a general public accessible blog. They said they would do that but like everything else within the KC umbrella, whether we will actually see a blog is something only the <insert your deity here> knows.

Customers all over the city have seen the disconnect/reconnect cycle they said would happen so what is stopping them turning it on? I don't know. I do know that giving out a date then missing that date and saying absolutely nothing about why they missed that date is not a good thing to do regarding customer relations. It fosters bad customer relations.

Come on Karoo. Pull your fingers out and let us customers enjoy the benefits ADSL2+ offers.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Not at all surprising.

Many web sites offer the chance to email for more information. This is particularly true of many commercial and most of the bigger web sites. But is anyone in the slightest surprised when correspondence to these info@ email addresses go unanswered? I am not.

The Hull County Council web site is one such web site that in my findings rarely answers emails send to their info@ email address. Not surprisingly it can be located on the 'Contact Us' page. In relation to the info@ email address on that page under the heading of Email it says "You can email, remembering to include your name and address so we can process your request, either directly to the service you are trying to
access, or via the council's main inbox." Nowhere does it say "All emails to this address will be wilfully ignored. So, it is with some expectation that any emails sent to that address will get at the very least some sign that it was read. Better, of course, would be a reply that had something to do with the question but that is obviously asking too much of our hard working council workers who's wages are paid out of the fund extorted from the people who email them!

Seriously. it bugs me when people ignore emails but when the council does it it becomes annoying.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Fibre in Hull (and elsewhere)

It is fairly well known that countrywide there is lots of unused fibre in the ground. Every City, major and minor, every town, large and small, every village. They are all, just about, connected by fibre. So, who owns this fibre? Only a few companies. What are the chances of ne strands of fibre being laid, underground or overground? Small, very small. So, whoever builds a business based around fibre connections must either do it themselves (unlikely) or forge partnerships with those who own the currently laid fibre (possible). However, I cannot see this happening in the current economic climate.

While using to search for anything at all to do with Internet services, it was with great interest that I read this URL. My own feelings about that particular URL is to instinctively distrust it. Well, not the URL but the person involved.

If it is the same person I had the misfortune to work with some years ago on a not to different project then my instincts will be correct. If it is not then all can say is I wouldn't trust a company that claims what they are claiming. What they are claiming is outlandish at best. It is not unknown for a small minor, very minor, company to grow a body into something much larger but to do that requires a guile that I never saw in this person.

If they are sucessful then good on them for making it so. However, i have my doubts. As is usual for these types of companies they are aiming squarely for the business market which is a folly only they can explain. If they did home customer connections for their fibre offerings then there is no reason why a block of houses cannot pay for a fibre connection, subject to agreements between those house dwellers of course, which will offset the costs of installation. But this company immediately limits themselves by chopping off a large number of potential customers. As I said, folly.

If they were to change tack and offer these, at this time, mythical fibre connections to the home market then I, for one, would seek out partners and go for it. Indeed, i may well go for it myself alone. But, due to various misgiving I will not be contacting this company. I run a business from home but I am not a Limited company and this gives ISP's the willies when I ask for a home telephone line and a business class ADSL service. In fact, i recently asked for this very thing from our incumbant telephone and ISP here in Kingston upon Hull but they couldn't catagorise me into their little slots so could only offer me a business class service for both landline and Internet. I am taking this further up the legal chain to the E.U. who interestingly have requested I provide a lot more information on my request to my ISP and their response. It will probably takes years before something is decided but the very fact the E.U. telephony commissioner has asked I provide them with more and specific information tells me something will happen in this area.

In the case of that particular URL I find it interesting but nothing more.