Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dell Again Offer Laptops With Linux Pre-Installed ...

Years ago when Linux first started to encroach on the desktop market, Dell offered a choice of pre-installed Linux on their laptop range. This year in July they dropped that as an option, (under pressure from MicroSoft, it was rumoured)

Well, whatever the reason, Dell have now started to offer their Vostro line with Ubuntu Linux ready to go. It's available in a few days so obviously there's no sales data as yet, but I imagine it should be popular.

The only disappointment is that, as Linux is free, charging the same price ($430) as the same hardware with Windows 7 is a bit much.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Proof - Cyclists Are The Happiest Road Users!

We have known about it for years, but now The Danish Federation of Cyclist have the proof - Cyclists are the happiest people in traffic. The amount of happiness, that cyclists associate with their mode of transportation by far surpasses that of both bus passengers, train passengers and certainly car drivers.

Cyclists have the lowest feeling of anger associated with their chosen mode of transportation, again compared to that of people choosing bus, train or private car for their transportation.

This result underlines the multiple positive benefits of cycling - health, sustainability, safety, livability and happiness. All that through promoting cycling and making it more attractive for more people to chose the cycle as their mode of transportation in the city.

Here’s the proof: Cyclists are the happiest on the road.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It’s Tax Avoiders Who Are Anti-Capitalist ...

Apparently an article in the Daily Telegraph states that the action against Vodafone (any any other tax dodgers) for their illegal tax dance is 'an anti-capitalist movement that is bringing chaos to high streets across Britain. '

Does The Telegraph have an agenda here? I noticed many adverts for Vodafone in yesterday's edition. Perhaps they are more concerned with losing a lucrative long-term customer than printing the truth.

To clarify, decent tax payers simply insist that companies pay the correct amount of UK tax in relation to their UK profits. We demand that;
  1. Seek to uphold the rule law;
  2. Minimise risk for their shareholders by being tax compliant, as is their duty;
  3. Reduce the cost of tax collection in the UK;
  4. Do not abuse the tax sovereignty of the UK by routing transactions through tax havens;
  5. Do not abuse monopoly power;
  6. Do not create artificial barriers to entry for competitors by exploiting tax advantages only available to established companies
  7. Be corporately socially responsible;
  8. Pay the taxes that their customers, employees, suppliers, and stakeholders are all dependent upon for the provision of the services that they expect in accordance with the democratic mandate that the people of the UK have provided to the government.
 Hardly anti-capitalist to obey the law.

Read more on the Tax Research Site ... It’s tax avoiders who are anti-capitalist.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gratuitous Cat Picture For No Reason ...

London Cyclist Killed By Truck Driver - Employers To Blame ? ...

This was Catriona Patel.

She was a 39-year-old London Executive, killed near Oval Tube station by a truck driven by a man who was not only on his phone, but still over the legal drink-drive limit from the night before. Yesterday the driver, Dennis Putz, 51 (who had "the most God-awful hangover" after having drunk at least seven pints of Guinness the night before )was jailed for seven years, and banned for life from ever sitting in a drivers seat again.

Putz has a history of convictions for drink-driving and has been caught either 16 or 20 times driving a HGV while disqualified (depending which article you read). He claimed he had not realised he had run over Mrs Patel - who had been wearing high-visibility clothing. (He only stopped when pedestrians began hammering on his cab door following the accident)
Attention now focuses on his employers, Thames Materials Ltd, in Hanwell, West London.

All companies which operate similiar vehicles are required to be sure that their "drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people." Campaigners are calling for the truck operators to be investigated for corporate manslaughter - clearly they should have been aware of the drivers record and taken extra steps to ensure that someone with his record was safe to be given the keys to a truck.

In addition, the company themselves have a record of breaking safety regulations and poor maintenance of its vehicles. In March 1999 the Traffic Commissioner reduced its licence to only seven vehicles Thames Materials Ltd have failed several inspections, the company and its drivers have many convictions. In 2002 the Traffic Commissioner tried to revoke its licence to operate lorries, but this was overturned on appeal.

Sadly Thames Materials don't deal directly with the public otherwise we could start a boycott to drive them out of business. I wonder where the company director lives... ?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vodafone's Tax Dodging In The UK ...

UK Mobile Operator Vodafone currently owes £6 billion of taxes to the UK Government, dating way back to 2000.

Let's say that number again - £6 Billion. Which would put a nice dent in those Government cuts that are on the way. And now HMRC has had no choice but to 'let them off' £4.8 Billion.

What was Chancellor George Osborne doing while all this was happening? In India, on a trade visit, promoting Vodafone. No wonder taxpayers and ordinary citizens suffering from cuts are angry, and are starting to boycott Vodafone. Well, they're on my list.

Seems that as well as 'Made In Britain' labels on goods we should be buying, perhaps we need 'Pays Proper Tax In Britain' stickers on some companies products or services.

See more ...Vodafone's tax case leaves a sour taste.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stop Wasting Time On Housework ...

BBC News - Should we stop wasting time on housework? - "A school has been set up to teach people how to run a home. But in an age of fast living and a culture of convenience, do we still care about keeping up appearances?"

Learn housework? Don't vacuums come with instructions any more?

Seriously, the only way to learn housework is to reduce to need for it by buying less crap. Which means you need less crap to CLEAN all the other crap and less ... well, of everything.

Clutter is the devil. Simplicity is nirvana.

Burma Finally Releases Aung San Suu Kyi ...

But don't think Burma will overnight become a democracy. The Military Government are still on top and the 'Civilian' opposition are all ex-Military leaders in suits.

Still, progress of a sort.

BBC News - Burma releases pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just A Thought ...

If the idea of Remembrance Day is to honour our fallen friends ...

How come every day isn't Remembrance Day ?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cakes Say So Long And Thanks For All The Fish ...

the happy little bunnies play,
all gayley and so sweet,
then kill BANG kill,
the happy bleading bunnies lie,
time to sleep, time to die,
fur all mangled,
wet and red,
their weaping hearts with soon be dead,
breath no more,
smile frozen in dew,
they shead their skin,
all wet shiney and new,
the second life now begins,
the sell by date below the tins,
the tins of beans and sprouts so kindly killed,
such mass slaughter on a vegitable scale,
the cabbage screams as the knife bores in,
the onyions weap and shead their tears,
the lettice now mangled in sald lies,
no one said they would so soon die,
they once had laughter, joy and fun, 
froliking in the feilds of farm. 

-- Kitty Wadlow
-- (C) 2010

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Birdfeeder Chronicles... Pt 2 - Return Of The Tree Rats

A great many things puzzle me day-to-day (like why my bagel toaster keeps resetting to '5' when I only use it on '3', or why some young short-arse in a car thinks he can intimidate me on a bicycle) but what's been occupying my mind recently is why I need to fill up my birdfeeders - every - single - day. There can't be that many starving birds around Surbiton?

Not long ago I posted about my birdfeeders, constantly visited by various tits and finches, and there's nothing beats sitting at my desk watching them instead of the keyboard and screen. But since I switched to the better 'winter' feed of sunflower seeds, they're both emptying in a day. However, mystery solved... bloody tree rats. Squirrels to you.

Not only are the little bastards nicking the food (a fondness for sunflower seeds over the 'mix' I used to use?) but in their desperation to pig out they're tilting the feeders so that loose seeds spill out the side. Now, I have no objection to other wildlife sharing the feeders, but, jesus, I've actually seen them bully birds and other squirrels to get at the goodies.

I'll resist the temptation to chuck pebbles at them. Think I need a squirrel-proof feeder like this one. I sense a DIY project in the making.

UAF Anti-Fascist Demonstration, London ...

" EDL - Got To Hell !! "
" Take Your Nazi Mates As Well !! "
In London yesterday as steward for the 'Unite Against Fascism' demo. The day was mainly about the themes of Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism and Anti-Islamophobia, aiming to let the BNP and EDL know what they're up against.

Excellent day all round, a wonderful rainbow of people on the demo - all ages, races and creeds. Never thought I'd ever have much in common with so many diverse people! Quite a party atmosphere, too, especially around the moving Sound System float that I was shepherding with a 8-strong team through the streets of London (sidenote: why was it always morons in suits who tried to cross the road immediately in front of the Sound truck despite our stewarding?)

[Photos taken during Set-up and Preparations, no time to take any photos of the Demo itself (too busy) but see links at the bottom of the post for other photos]

Well, neither the EDL nor the BNP 'came out to play', and the day was peaceful, but I must comment on two Police issues which worried me a little.

Firstly, despite various groups congregating and setting up near Russell Square for 3 hours from 10.30 to 1.30, the Police (who'd been in the Square right from the start) left it to the very last possible minute to tell UAF that the Sound truck was 'Breaching Health & Safety Regulations' and that 'They'd not done a Risk Assessment' on it. This was at a point when the March had already started, and we'd held the crowd back for 1 minute to 'slot' the truck into place'. A frantic few minutes elapsed while the demo was paused, to get the UAF Organiser and the Chief Police Office of the day together to agree that there was no issue involved, and everything could go ahead as planned. But why did the Police leave it 'till the very last minute to tell us they had an issue over the truck? We didn't get an answer.

Secondly, at Westminster, with the Music playing, I was standing security over various musicians equipment at the entry point to the Stage Truck, when a senior Police Officer came up to us and stated that we were breaching Noise Levels for a 'Residential Area'. I did point out to the Officer involved that in that area there was almost nothing except Government Buildings and Offices for about 300m in all directions (and on a Saturday, empty!) We were apparently told to turn it down. I don't know if we did, but the volume sounded just fine to me!

Big mention for a band I've never heard before, 'Missing Andy', who played a great set. I'd call them a cross between The Streets, The Jam and The Shamen. Apparently they were headlined on Sky TV's 'Must Be The Music' but then as I neither watch SKY nor any TV 'Talent Shows', they were new to me!



Blog Post:

Missing Andy: