Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Windows 7 Bug Fixes And Security Holes - SP1 Available ...

If you're a Windows 7 user (poor you) then you might (might not) be aware that the original version of Windows 7 (the one you're using right now!) is the 'draft' version. Microsoft never really finish a version of Windows - they put out a half-completed issue, wait for bugs and holes to be reported from angry users - and then start trying to patch it up.

Usually they are unable to patch all the problems before a new version is issued (Windows 8, 2012 rumoured) - so then they don't need to bother with the old version - the new one is so buggy that they have their hands full.

This is why your Windows installation constantly downloads updates (every day, if you let it).

Well now, Windows 7 users can at least fix some of the bugs security holes by downloading Service Pack 1 (SP1) which patches at least some of the problems. This contains a total of 795 patches. Direct download link is here.

But ask yourself this - do you really want to trust an operating system which is this insecure? this flaky?

Free Wi-Fi Map of Central London ...

The Wifi Cloud is pretty much all around us but I've found that many 'open' and free spots require purchase of a very over-priced and poor quality coffee (yeah, you, Starbucks) clogging your arteries (McDonalds) or buying alcohol (Wetherspoons).

But in Central London, the cloud is far more open and works better.


This map from Time Out shows just some fast, open and truly free Central London locations you can access from the street (and 50 yards either way). I've tested most of these and they all work very well.

[Click the map to take you to the Google Map page.]

Update: found another good London Wi-Fi map here.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

15-Year-Old Binge Drinker - Me? Problem? Naaa ...

A schoolgirl who drinks more than 10 times the recommended amount for a woman every week insists she isn't an alcoholic. Nicola Weaver, 15, regularly downs ten pints of cider and four cans of lager on a Saturday night and has even ended up in hospital.

But the teenager refuses to mend her ways despite seeing a counsellor and having her mobile and Sky TV box confiscated. "My behaviour is normal for my age," she says. "Drinking's fun and I don't plan to stop. I'd be bored if I didn't drink."

Two months ago, Nicola was hospitalised after she drank around 45 units in one night.

Mind you, she does live in Bridlington. If I lived there I'd probably be tempted.

Read more here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bahrain GP Called Off - F1's Policy Of Placing GP's Rebounds ...

As an F1 fan I've always hated the way that FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, have chased the new cash around the world by switching GP's from F1's heartland of Europe to places that so few people know about - or care about: Malaysia. China. Korea. Bahrain. Abu Dhabi. Morocco. Not exactly 'core audiences' for F1.

Well, we know about human rights abuses in China - yet the sport continues there. But chasing the oil-money in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain has come back to haunt F1 as this years season opener has been cancelled.

Ecclestone, pictured (who's daughter Tamara presented Sky Sports coverage of the Formula 1 season, nothing to do with Daddy, of course) did not comment on the issue other than the official FIA statement.

However, Williams F1 chairman, Adam Parr, expressed his relief that a decision had been madeby saying "It is clear that to race in Bahrain at this time would be inappropriate given the current circumstances."

Current circumstances ... ?

So I assume then, that past circumstances - the oppresion, lack of democracy, and autocratic rule in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi - are clearly not a problem, only when it finds itself on international TV.

If F1 really wanted to be a global sport - as it claims - then it's GP's would be more evenly spreadworldwide, not just concentrated in Europe (old money) the Far East (new money) and the Gulf (oil money).

EDL - 8 At Exeter Demo, Now 15 to 30 At Blackburn Demo. Scary ... !

After a turnout of 8 at the EDL Exeter demonstration, An EDL demo against the trialing of 'halal' chicken by KFC protested outside the wrong KFC, in Blackburn on Saturday. Even better, it seems that the 'hordes' of EDL patriots expected actually turned out to be a small handful, with the huge crowds estimated at between 15 and 30.

The EDL claimed 40, 80, or even 150, but then, they would. (They claimed 6000 at the Luton demonstration for a calculated turnout of 1500.)

EDl members claim that the practice is cruel - however we have yet to see a demo outside a kosher food outlet.

Anyway, this issue is all getting a bit heated. I suggest we all go out to dinner to discuss this. I quite fancy fried chicken, does anyone know any good places?

Latent Existence On Abortion ...

Blogger latentexistence has written an intelligent piece on the subject of abortion and the 'cut-off' date of life (as stated by the 'authorities'), before which abortion is legal. Note that I say 'legal', not 'right'. I'm reserving my judgement.

He begins:
"A lot of my friends on twitter have been discussing abortion from a feminist pro-choice point of view. Many of my friends on Facebook have mentioned abortion from a Catholic pro-life point of view and requested that I go and sign petitions or join groups against it. I’ve decided to try and work out what I think, and probably upset all the Christians AND the feminists in one go."
This is a contentious issue. Doctors have been murdered over this.

I'm still unsure how I personally feel, but latentexistence has clarified the issue.

But then, if your mind's made up, you probably won't be budged anyway, will you? The major problem with even discussing the issue is the deep entrenchment of both sides.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

And Another Demotivator ...


From the always excellent 'Very Demotivational' site. Keep 'em coming, fellas.

My Current Favourite Demotivator - The Irony ...


From the always excellent 'Very Demotivational' site. Keep 'em coming, fellas.

All In This Together? Not Barclays, Obviously ...

We are all in this together!" say PM David Cameron (pictured) and sidekick Nick Clegg.

Well, obviously that excludes the Banks, who got us into this mess in the first place. Barclays have been forced to announce that they paid a mere £113m corporation tax last year from a profit of £4.6 Billion in 2009.

Those numbers again: £113 Million of £4.6 Billion. That's err... 2.45% as opposed to the regular corporation tax rate of 28%.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, of the Treasury Select Committee, who requested the detail, described it as "shocking", and went on to say that the revelation showed that the bank was not paying its fair share towards a deficit they had helped create, despite having benefited from the government's rescue of the financial system.

Barclays claimed that "any link between Barclays Group profits and the amount of tax paid to the UK government is inappropriate - there is no direct correlation between the two."

Funny, I thought there always was a link between how much you earn and how much tax you pay.

Barclays chief Bob Diamond keeping silent about his bonus.
Barclays reasoning? - "the amount of corporation tax [we] paid for the year (2009) included losses for the previous year (2008)."

The only way we can test the trueness of this statement is to see what tax they pay from the 2010 year, when Barclays made pre-tax profits of £6.1bn. This time no excuses for 'losses' - or will they find another excuse?

Barclays, of course, paid out £3.4 in bonuses for the 2010 year, including a rumoured £9m to chief Bob Diamond (pictured).

No wonder UKUnCut have been protesting at Barclays branches today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Believe In Horoscopes? Here's One For You ...

Folks at informationisbeautiful.net (mainly David McCandless) have spent a while electronically 'scraping' various online horoscopes have come up with the ultimate horoscope prediction which applies to every one, every day, from a selection of 4000 entries. Ready for this?

Whatever the situation or secret moment, enjoy everything a lot. Feel able to care. Expect nothing else. Keep making love. Family and friends matter. The world is life, fun and energy. Maybe hard. Or easy. Taking exactly enough is best. Help and talk to others. Change your mind and a better mood comes along.

See, that's all you need. Now stop reading horoscopes and take charge of your own life.

For even more details, see the full article at informationisbeautiful.net.


(See this? It's meaningless.)

Where The Money Goes - Playing Tetris With World Finances ...

Absolutely brilliant animation based on the old classic computer game Tetris (you remember Tetris, surely?) showing the comparative sizes of all those numbers thrown at us in the news, to put them all into perspective. From David McCandless, via informationisbeautiful.net.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brit Awards Ratings Slump. Hosted By James Corden. Well, There You Go ...

 The Brit awards suffered its lowest ratings for five years after an average of only 4.8m tuned in to watch the ceremony. ITV1's coverage was beaten by the final episode of the awful Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, seen by an average of 6.5m on Channel 4. On BBC One, even Holby City drew an average audience of 5.6m. Last year's Brits drew an average of 5.8m viewers.  

Well, that's what happens when you choose brainless, unfunny rent-a-mouth James Corden to host. His co-written 'Gavin & Stacey' was reasonable, but he's done absolutely nothing worthwhile since except trade on his name and fame to host various shows, all of which have flopped.

He's rented himself out to Red Nose Day, Comic Relief, Big Fat Quiz, Buzzcocks, Big Brither or 8 Out Of 10 Cats - Corden seems to be there whatever. And the less said about the appalling, embarassing James Corden's World Cup Live the better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What If You Held A Racist Demo And Nobody Came ...

Huge fun in Exeter over the weekend as the racist EDL held a 'Ban The Burka' demonstration. Reports of total turnout for the EDL range from as low as 8 to the giddy heights of 15. When you're outnumbered by photographers you know your cause is lacking support.

In contrast, several hundred Anti-Racists from many different organisations came together in Exeter's Bedford Square in a peaceful celebration of the diversity in Exeter, to show that the City has a proud history of welcoming people of all beliefs and backgrounds to work, study live and visit.

How humiliating for the nazi EDL, who claim 70,000 followers (what they mean is 70,000 'likes' on Facebook. Quite different)

I would imagine that there will be a few more EDL at the next demonstration in Birmingham - but not if the EDL themselves have anything to do with it - as some EDL Facebook posts are quoting the date as the non-existent 30th February.

Yeah, good luck with that!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Two Videos From Egyptian Demonstrations, London - Before And After Announcement! ...


My friend Khaled interviewed in front of Egyptian Embassy. He was hopeful - and he wasn't wrong!


Celebrations in the streets of London after the announcement.

Friday, February 11, 2011

At The Egyptian Embassy, London, When The News Breaks ...

An emotional day, and an emotional moment, with a very vocal crowd of demonstrators, chanting, shouting, singing and protesting in a peaceful way, held back from the small black Embassy doors by a mere five cheerful British bobbies, when a call comes for silence, and at 16:03 GMT, the announcement is made official - 'Mubarak is gone'. No more martyrs required.

Disbelief, then tears and joy for some of those in the crowd who perhaps, are not used to protesting, and perhaps a few who wondered whether their voices would ever be heard. And then, more shouting and cheering, rejoicing. 11th of February is Egypt's new Independance Day.


After 30 years of pain and 18 days of civil protest the scenes on TV from Cairo were no doubt mirrored among Egyptian exiles in capitals around the world, and London was no exception.








Among the London demonstrators, and one of the driving forces behind the Facebook campaign for the London demonstration, was an Egyptian friend of mine, Khaled, so I went up to the Embassy today to lend him my small support, and report on the protest. I was privileged to be there when the news came through.

Khaled is a single individual, one man, but in small groups with other like-minded Egyptians they have fought in this cause despite being away from their homeland. Add all those small groups together and you get 20 million in Egypt and God knows how many others around the world all shouting with one voice.

In the UK we are a little reticent about demonstrating. We may show sympathy for a cause by swearing at the TV once in a while but getting out there is another thing entirely. I've demonstrated with the Unite Against Fascism against the nazi English Defence League, with Love Music Hate Racism against the equally racist British National Party, and with quite a few other organisations all with an important cause.

But I have rarely seen such passion in a crowd as I saw today, but still peaceful in the spirit of Ghandi - and it was an honour to be there at the death.

In the end, no further deaths were needed past the few hundred who have lost their lives, but I know that there were plenty of souls in Cairo who would have paid the price if required. This is your time, Egypt, and we hope that you will create a new political system in your land that will be fair and just.

Proud Egyptions will celebrate tonight - and we will celebrate with them.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

EDL In Luton Demo Claim 6-7000, It Was 1500 Tops ...


Bedfordshire Police gently explain (in small words) on Facebook to EDL supporters how to count.

Zoom in on image to read it better.

And this is the link referred to in the 4th comment.

French Right Wing Fascist Applauds UK PM Cameron's Anti-Multiculturalism Speech ...

Oh, well done David Cameron.

Not content with his speech stating 'Multiculturalism isn't working' on the same day as the EDL demo in Luton (I was there), now DC should be happy that one of Europe's most right-wing, openly racist MEP's has come out in support of him.

Marine Le Pen is the daughter of the French Fascist, Jean-Marie Le Pen, former president of the FN ('Front National' - i.e., National Front!) and currently its honorary chairman. The father has been condemned as being an apologist for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and for trivializing the Holocaust. The FN even has it's own 'Army'.

Well, the daughter is a rather nasty piece of work, too.

The leader of FN has praised David Cameron for what she says is an endorsement of her party's far-right views on multiculturalism and immigration and that it was "indisputable" Cameron was moving the Conservatives closer to the traditional positions held by her party.

Muslim and anti-fascist groups questioned the Prime Minister's judgment and sensitivity to the issues, saying he had handed a propaganda coup to the hard-right EDL as 1500 of its supporters marched through Luton chanting anti-Islamic slogans.

Strange bedfellows, Cameron and Le Pen. Not sure how proud DC is of his latest 'fan' but hopefully he's regretting his ill-timed and ill-chosen words.

Read more here.

New Apple iBlackBerry - Now The Worst Of Both Worlds ...

I admit it. I'm not an iPhone fan (or iTouch, iPad, iTable, iWhateverNext) and I'm lukewarm over Blackberrys. Both are fashionable, stylish - and very over priced for what they do.

Which is why I stick with my HP iPaqs - an rx3715 (left) and an rx1950 (right). Yes I have two. I bought one second-hand after the older one failed on me after 6 years, but I then got the older one repaired, cheaply. (Good luck getting your iPhone repaired for less than what it cost.)

HP iPaq rx3715
HP iPaq rx1950
Both work exactly as they're supposed to, and do almost all that the iPhone, iTouch or any Blackberry does, for a tenth of the cost, with longer battery life, reliable internet connection, and mostly free applications.

(Thanks Ziggy for link on the the 'Crumble' image', from the rather weird b3ta site.)

Unelected Ashton Is Worst Ever European Commissioner ...

Baroness Ashton has come bottom of the class in a survey rating the performance of European Commissioners, the only EU executive regarded as having "failed" after their first year in office.

The survey, carried out by a lobbying and PR company, asked respondents to rate  Commissioners on a grading of A to E. None scored lower than D except for 'Lady Ashton', a commission vice-president as well as the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, who scored an E for her performance.

Well, I wonder why that is? Perhaps because like many other peers and European executives, she has never - ever - been elected for anything. In her life. She has relied on her 'network' of Tony (Blair)'s Cronies for all of her positions.

Let's have a quick look at her recent CV, shall we?

Appointed a Labour life peer as Baroness Ashton of Upholland in 1999, by Tony Blair, after a creer in Management Consulting and Policy Advising (to the Labour Government)
Appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills.
Appointed minister for Sure Start in the same department.
Appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Constitutional Affairs.
Appointed to the Privy Council.
Appointed to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the new Ministry of Justice.
Appointed to the Cabinet as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council.
Appointed as European Trade Commissioner replacing slimeball Peter Mandelson.

At her appointment, Ashton's obscurity and unsuitability caused considerable comment in the media with The Guardian newspaper reporting that her appointment as High Representative had astonished friends and provoked criticism from others. The Economist described her as being a virtual unknown with paltry political experience, and having no foreign-policy background. She speaks no foreign languages.

Nepotism and cronyism almost always end up in the wrong people getting the lucrative top jobs, keeping the more talented out-of-the-loop, out of power, and out of the money.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Why Can't We Co-Exist ? The Problem With Faith ...


EDL Run Riot At Luton Services After Demo ...

As discussed in their own words on Facebook! You'll have to zoom in to read it, but it's worth it. Gives a clear idea of the mentality of these thugs.


Brighton's Beautiful Brand New Stadium ...


This may not be of interest to non-football fans, or even to non-Brighton fans, but it does provide a good example of doggedness and determination overcoming all obstacles.

From initial planning permission, it's taken 13 years of battles, some in court, to fight to get this constructed - and most of those years were times when Brighton were, er, not so great.

But now Brighton, who currently lead League 1, and unlike Liverpool, are still in the FA Cup, will officially open their brand new stadium in July this year.

Brighton's stadium saga has been ongoing since their original home, the Goldstone Ground, was sold in 1995. They stayed there as tenants for another two years before entering into a difficult ground share at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium, and then moved on to the absolutely awful Withdean Athletic Stadium back in Brighton, where they currently play.

Strangely enough, we have to thank a man who has been pilloried in the press and media for years as the person who finally approved the scheme in October 2005.

Step forward, John Prescott.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Jimmy Carr In Kingston For Comic Relief Advert...

Comedian Jimmy Carr was in Kingston's Market Square this morning filming an advert for Comic Relief.

A giant sized replica of his rather large cranium was built to promote a new flavour of crisps named after the TV star.

He is currently competing against Frank Skinner, Stephen Fry and Al Murray to sell the most packets of the snacks. For each sale of Fry Up, Frank Roast Dinner, Jimmy con Carrne and Steak and Al Pie, Walkers will donate 5p to Comic Relief.

(Such a shame Walkers are yet another company with its "offices" based abroad so they can pay less tax, but there you go. What can you do? Not buy their crisps, I suppose.)

The winner will be announced on Red Nose Day, March 18, with the losing three facing the indignity of ... being waxed on national TV.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

YMCA/KCAH 'SleepEasy' Homelessness Charity Event ...

Various images from YMCA / KCAH 'SleepEasy' Homeless Charity Event in Kingston, Surrey on 29/1/2011.

167 people, including myself and friends, slept outside in cardboard boxes in minus temperatures to both highlight and experience the awfulness of being on the streets.

Both budget cuts and the economy are affecting funding for all organisations which help people in this plight.

I'm now back home in the warm. Others are not, and it's -2C in London right now.

Links:
My own Image Gallery.
YMCA Full Report.
Event Facebook Page.
YMCA Image Gallery.
Excellent blog post by Kath Lyden on 'Be Church'.

UKUnCut On Newsnight ... In Debt To The State ...


Matt Prodger on Newsnight with the figure that tells us one thing - HMRC aren't doing their job, and the cuts are unneccessary.

Full video:  Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.