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Why Comet went bust and why Currys will be right behind them
Feb 11, 2013
1m audio cable, 3.5mm to twin phono, B&Q - £4.99
1.5m audio cable, 3.5mm to twin phono, Currys - £10.99
5m audio cable, 3.5mm to twin phono, eBay - £1.69, free p&p
It's one thing saying Currys have to cover overheads but 650% more expensive for 70% less cable
Just so I remember where I put it
Feb 7, 2013
WE DIDNT START THE FIRE BY SW O’ L
Pope in the Middle East, Israel out of Lebanon
Concorde dies, Kursk dives, hanging chads and Bush
Ellen Macarthur, Tony Blair, Milosevic & Harrison
Race riots in the Northern towns, 9/11, anthrax
Princess Margaret, Queen Mother, Paul Burrell, the Jubilee
Karzai, Potters Bar, snipers on the Beltway.
Schwarzenegger, David Blaine, Europe in a heatwave
England win, millions march, SARS threat, Shock & Awe
Putin back, Bush back, Arafat ain’t saying Jack
Beslan, Madrid, headscarves and tsunamis
Pope dies, Blair’s in, terror on the underground
New Orleans, piano man, turkey twizzlers, Countdown.
Tracey Temple, Zizhou. Car bombs, bird flu
Global Warming, Hollywood, Madonna’s child and You Tube
Vonnegut & Bhutto, Cutty Sark & Smeato
Royal Navy I-Pods, Northern Rock & Kryptonite
Kosovo and Georgia, Cholera in Africa
Mumbai, credit crunch, Obama-mania
(deepest apologies to Billy Joel )
Twitterbooking in my space
Feb 15, 2009
Recently a few members of message boards I visit have been extolling the virtues of Twitter, Facebook and the like. "This is great" they say. "So and so just acknowledged my joke." So and so is a vaguely remembered singer from a 1970s band. On Twitter, people "follow" celebrities as they record the minutiae of their daily lives. Now, I can understand celebrities doing this, it's a symptom of the fame illness that they have to believe that an invisible mass of people finds them to be Very Important. Twitter lets them quantify the invisible mass I suppose. With Facebook, the number of "friends" you have is the be all and end all. I watched one person who I'd always regarded as a sane, grounded, intelligent woman as she detailed her progress on Facebook by the number of friends she'd accrued. "Whoo-hoo. Two hours and I've got four" was her first post. A few hours later the number had risen to 17, helped I imagine by her posting her excitement on messageboards and encouraging others. It was a bizarre competition.
The whole online phenomena is changing. Over the last ten years, message boards, chatrooms and RPG games have allowed people an escape from daily life, a chance to be someone else. People adopt a persona with a different name, sometimes a signature that shows people how wise & wonderful they are and often an avatar that they feel somehow reflects how they want to be viewed by others. RPG games and environments like Second Life take it further with fantasy avatars that the owner can alter the appearance of and live their online time through. The female characters are always impossibly beautiful and unfeasibly proportioned whilst the males are always ruggedly handsome. It's a fantasy of course and one that would probably be a psychologists pension plan.
But Facebook and the others are different. People post actual photographs of themselves and record the most boring inanities about their lives. Are people really so interested that a housewife from Sidcup has just bought new curtains? Judging by the "Woo-hoos" and other messages of support, it would appear so. Or are they? It seems to me that everybody just goes around in a grand circle, backslapping each other. Every little post has to be acknowledged. It all seems a little false. I'm reminded of the politician's story of how, when he first arrived in the House of Commons, he was chosen by lot to make the first speech after the Queen opened Parliament. This is quite an honour granted to new MPs and can be a nerve-wracking experience but, no matter the quality of the speech, all the other MPs line up to cogratulate the speaker afterwards. Anyway, this chap did his speech, was congratulated by all and sundry and when he returned to his office it was to be greeted by a cascade of faxes saying "Well done". One was particularly effusive and the new MP was quite touched because it came from a respected politician from another party. It used phrases like "resounding success", "impressive rhetoric", "witty repartee" etc. But his heart sank when he looked at the time stamp on the fax and realised it had been sent the night before.
How much of the Facebook Twittering is similarly empty and false?
The strange places H2G2 takes you
Aug 13, 2008
There was a thread started the other day that was quite interesting. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/F19585?thread=5739239
It led me to look at - A592490
Which intrigued me enough to go to - http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/index.htm
Hmmm, thinks I. I wonder ....
So I looked at - http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/underg...cial-sciences/criminology/index.htm
And this afternoon I registered for the course and wrote out a cheque for £610.
Who would've thunk it? 42 years old and deciding to do a degree - for fun!
CCTV, Data and Privacy
May 17, 2008
There are 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain, one for every fourteen people. But that figure is already woefully out of date. As I write this, more CCTV cameras are being installed in shops, blocks of flats, on street corners and over motorways, so that figure rises by the day. In an average one of those days, you & I will be recorded over 300 times.
The big argument that CCTV cuts crime is hollow. Never mind the argument that cameras deter crime, which is rather spurious in any case, a constant feature of crime reports on the TV is that "Police are examining CCTV footage". But over 80% of crimes still go unsolved. Surely criminals are also filmed 300 times. If CCTV met the claims put forward, the UK should have the lowest crime rate in the world. Of course CCTV is a vital tool in the "War on Terror"(c) as the mantra goes. After 7/7, the public eagerly awaited the release of the CCTV footage and when, with a fanfare, it finally was released there was a great collective sucking of teeth and nodding of heads in a wise fashion as people said "See - without CCTV we would never have seen this". So what? Did it stop the bombings? Was there anything in the film that enabled other loonies to be caught?
I think the great CCTV scam is designed to scare the public into accepting ever more draconian laws. If we see real crime being perpetrated by real criminals 24/7, how can we argue against the need for more police, more CCTV, more invasion into our lives by faceless civil servants. Is it any coincidence that reality shows, video clip shows, police car chase shows and Crimewatch are the some of the most viewed programmes in the UK. We are obsessed with watching other people do wrong.
Occasionally we hear people protest about this invasion of privacy, but really, we don't care. How can people seriously object to ID cards when the phenomenon of the 21st century has been sites such as Facebook and Bebo. These are sites where people display the inane minutaie of their petty lives for anyone and everyone to see. Even message boards like this one - it isn't hard to get a helluva lot of personal information on the people here. Freely offered.
Government in the 21st century has more information on the population at it's fingertips than any other in history. And it wants ever more. Not content with knowing your every movement and financial transaction, it wants your DNA on file. Not just yours either, it wants EU-wide access to the personal information of over 700 million people. Why? Has this increase in available information made things better for anyone? Are Govt policies so much better now that decisions are made with the benefit of so much information?
And there is just so much information held by government that there is no way on earth it can ever be fully utilised. Trillions of hours of CCTV held in limbo that will never, ever be seen by the human eye. Skyscrapers of computer servers stuffed with every detail of our lives that will shuffle endlessly in an electronic loop. All this has to be managed - an army of clerks interminably sifting and sorting to no visible result. Each year the Government hires more and more people to sift more and more information in it's insatiable desire for "more Input". Where does it stop? Will every room of every building have it's own CCTV suite? Will every foot of every pavement and road be scanned constantly? Will every tree have a UAV hovering above with it's glinting Zeiss eye recording?
Is this navel-gazing on a societal scale?
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