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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.