New kit

Well it happens.  Stuff wears out.  Registry gets clogged.  Bits of code get corrupted, applications and browsers require ever more memory.  My old desktop ‘pooter has been retired to where it will no longer be asked to do what it was never designed for.  Now in its superceded dotage it will serve out its last days before silicon heaven as an offline backup server.  (Of course there’s a Silicon Heaven, otherwise where would all the dead calculators go?)

The new machine is a modest but workmanlike laptop, and a new wireless router has been purchased and configured.  A Wireless printer will also shortly serve our little home / office network.

The difference in performance is quite startling.  Even the most weighty web pages appear in a trice, I can work anywhere in the house or hopefully out on our spacious deck when it warms up a bit. Until I adapt my typing to the keyboard, my speed and accuracy will be a little reduced, but seeing as the old machine was responding so slowly that I was typing faster than text could appear, there will be little appreciable difference.

Dare I say it, a spring is returning to my step.  The light dawns and all the clouds that loured upon this house will soon be fading bad memories.  Well, after my Mother in law is returned to England in late May that is.   Oh, yes, and that other minor matter….  Hmm.  Okay. (Warm knowing chuckle)

Interruption of blogging

What with work and having an extremely mobility challenged Mother in Law (We’ve had to hire a Nurse twice a week) dumped on us for the next three months, writing and commenting are going to be highly sporadic. “Bill. Mum’s falling again – help me out.” Flags up every twenty minutes. Add to that the demands of someone who basically gave up trying, and time for anything but work – eat – sleep goes out of the window.

One compensation is that I’m now a firm fan of the Netflix series ‘Lilyhammer’.

Steven Van Zandt slices his Mafia boss ham performance thick and sweet in a culture clash comedy well worth getting Netflix for. Original, funny (Often both at the same time) with some interesting insights. Five stars. Two thumbs up.

Oh gawd. The “I need the toilet” bell is ringing. There goes my day off.

Pruning the blogroll

It seems I have upset Leg-Iron with a post I made, purely in jest, on his blog.  He has asked me not to do so again.  As a gesture to his obvious antipathy, I’ve also excised the link to his blog.  It will not be restored, even though we share a good deal of the same ideological territory.

This raises an interesting point; is there anyone out there who does not want me linking to them?

All requests for removal will be honoured without question.

Comments policy update

Regarding replies to comments. There is a point past which I will not go when answering comments.

  1. Sensible points, well raised will always be addressed. Well, if I think they are, and if I’m not too busy  – my blog my rules – capisch?.
  2. I refuse to go trawling back through posts of over a month old. This blog is a hobby, not something to be defended at all costs.
  3. If I think contributors to the comment thread just can’t or won’t comprehend points made I will not engage in further conversation.
  4. Personal attacks may or may not be deleted. Any such attacks will definitely not be deleted if I am of the opinion the comment contributor is being a dick and showing themselves to be so.
  5. Spam is not tolerated and will be deleted immediately upon detection (So why bother?).
  6. If the above makes me a killjoy – tough. I have a life, a job and a family. If you want more of my time, you’ll have to pay for it.

Here endeth the lesson.

Don’t drink and… legislate?

I was amused to hear about a Scottish Labour MP running amok in the Mother of all Parliaments, having looked too long upon the grape, so to speak. It got me wondering about subsidised bars in legislative chambers, and whether such places have a role in today’s modern society. Told as we are that alcohol is very very bad for us, as is tobacco, fatty foods and all sorts of things we plebs are supposed to avoid, upon pain of increased prices. I am not the only one to be thinking thus.

The thought occurs that maybe we ought to apply the same standards to our legislative bodies that their advisers are increasingly demanding of John Q Public? Definitely a smoking ban – no exceptions. If the pub trade in the UK is turning up its fiscal toes because custom is hemorrhaging away, then a complete smoking ban in the Strangers Bar or anywhere within the precincts of Parliament. Let the Parliamentary smokers huddle outdoors at least five metres from doors, air intakes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, or any form of shelter like everyone else.

Oh, and while we’re at it, I propose that all those responsible for debating legislation and setting policy to affect the lives of everyone else should be breathalysed and drug tested before entering the chamber. Any MP ‘over the limit’ would have to go home immediately until they sober up enough to pass a breath alcohol test. All bars, restaurants and possession of alcohol within legislative buildings and ministerial offices should be completely banned.

Maybe there should even be a ‘Legislators licence’. After all, debating and deciding affairs of state and the fate of the nation is an important matter. Lives and even the livelihood of the nation depend upon cool sober heads making the right decision without chemical interference. Therefore I propose that every MP or representative should have to pass a kind of ‘driving test’ upon matters constitutional and the duties expected of them, which would be subject to an instant eighteen month ban from Parliament should they turn up for work less than completely clean and sober. A second offence would subject them to a three year ban, and a third to a permanent loss of their ‘Legislators licence’. Plus two years in jail and a twenty thousand pound fine. Also, bad laws might be subject to a new offence like ‘legislating without due care and attention’.

I can see it now; MP’s being subject to being pulled over in the entry lobby for looking a bit sozzled by a bunch of suspicious and truculent rozzers with a job lot of breathalysers and two brace of drug sniffer dogs. MP’s being arrested for the new offence of ‘Debating under the Influence’, cuffed and thrown in the cells until their brief can arrive, or they can sober up. After all, shouldn’t those in positions of power be held to higher standards than those they would purport to govern?

Of course it will never happen. Even the bunch of Turkeys in the UK’s Houses of Parliament aren’t stupid enough to vote for that particular type of Christmas.

Although, I’m given to ponder; say if such a diktat came down from the EU Commission, it might go on the books without even a nod as one of those insidious ‘statutory instruments’. Maybe that might persuade more MP’s to be less enthusiastic about being ruled by Brussels.

As an idea, I like it. Sauce for the Goose indeed.

Even more Surveillance Society UK – Coming Soon

You know, I must be going a bit mutton in my old age. When Cameroid and Cleggsky got elected in the UK, I’m sure there were promises to dismantle, or roll back ‘the database state’. Sure, ID cards were scrapped, but here comes a more insidious proposal for the 2012 Queens speech.

Remind me, what did happen to the much promised Freedom (Great repeal) Bill? Oh, silly me; here it is……n’t.

Maybe the EU wouldn’t let them, eh?

The greatest threat to free speech online – The United Nations?

A great many nation states do not like the dear old Interweb. Well actually that isn’t strictly speaking true. They like the business opportunities of online trading, but what they don’t like is the open and unfettered criticism of various regimes. Russia and China are amongst the lead proponents of the latest wheeze under the auspices of the ITU. Legislation which might curtail said freedom to criticise, often peddled under the ‘paedophile’ and ‘Intellectual Property theft’ agenda is constantly being put before various national Parliaments and debating bodies. Most recently SOPA and PIPA in the USA (Now succeeded by OPEN, a misnomer if ever there was one), ACTA in Europe, Vincent Toews latest brainchild allowing warrantless surveillance in Canada.

Don’t ask me why they bother; these people can’t even get their economies right, and yet they want the right to censor voices not on some vacuous ‘approved’ list? Newsflash. Censorship always fails. Just as prohibition (and the ‘war on drugs’) always led and leads to more organised crime. There is a more enlightened approach to online piracy suggested by Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation over at Al-Jazeera. For a clue, think supermarket ‘loss leader’ to get more trade through the doors of online stores. Well, it’s working for these old fogeys.

Robert M McDowell writing over at the Wall Street Journal covers it more comprehensively in his piece; ‘The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom ‘. He makes his points well.

In my usual closing aside; I’m reliably informed that Osama Bin Laden once tried to target the UN building in New York. Although I think Bin Laden and his followers are certifiably and frothingly batshit crazy, currently I’m thinking it might not have been such a bad thing had he succeeded.

March 8th – Death day for the Internet?

Picked up from the Russian news service, RT, here.

Apparently the FBI will be shutting down some temporary DNS servers set up to replace those infected by the botnet trojan, a nasty little piece of misdirection malware, on 8th March. The thing is, no one seems to know if those temporary, and Internet critical DNS servers are going to be replaced in time or not.

Without DNS there is no World Wide Web. Not as we know it. Looks like a lot of the Interweb might be subject to a major hiccup. Expect a lot of 500 series errors that day.

Might schedule that as a day off. Hi ho.

One of the reasons I left the UK

One day in mid 2006, I was off duty and busy writing when the doorbell of our tiny little terraced house buzzed. I went to the front door to be greeted by a clipboard wielding woman from ‘child services’ demanding to see “The baby”, telling me I had to let her in because “It was the law”.

That is the absolute honest truth, those were her exact words, and they have been burned into my brain, leaving me in no doubt as to the wisdom of our leaving the UK. The woman had the wrong address and seemed incapable of reading road signs, but despite this tried to bull past me on my own doorstep. My own fucking doorstep. No warrant, no Police, no evidence, no nothing. Not even the right bloody house. Needless to say, she was refused entry, and the error of her ways pointed out. Although upon reflection I’d have sent her to the other side of town had I been a bit more aware in those days. Right into the heart of Chavland.

No wonder, as Ranty quite reasonably points out, they keep sticking the wrong people in jail. My grandchildren will not grow up over there if I have any say in the matter. Not unless the Augean stables of certain Government departments are given a thorough cleaning with a few hundred gallons of this, and one of these.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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