Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Sunday 29 May 2005

This week we have mostly been watching..Kingdom of Heaven [houmous]

Polo Lounge – Beverley Hills – breakfast meeting: This CGI shit is great isn’t it! Lets do another movie with a huge great battle in where we don’t need any more than twelve extras! Yeah! I’ve written it all ready –
1) Take some big war that happened in the past that people vaguely remember from school – we don’t want them to remember it too well because we are going to take great liberties with the historical accuracy.
2) Take movie star e.g Brad Pitt/Orlando Bloom etc to be a good guy who is also a tremendous warrior.
3) Take another not quite so popular movie star (like the guy who played Salieri in Mozart) and make him the bad guy who is also a tremendous warrior.
4) Scene one – a chance meeting between above good and bad guy establishes their a) hatred for each other but b) a mutual respect and admiration for each other at a personal level.
5) Take female movie star who plays part of beautiful bit of totty who for some reason is connected to the bad guy but through another chance meeting with the good guy develops strong sexual feelings towards him.
6) Have huge battle – both sides do well at different points of the battle to reinforce the mutual respect between the protagonists (see (4) above).
7) However despite (6) above for reasons lost in historical inaccuracy the fate of the entire city/race etc of good people is actually determined by the good guy and the bad guy arm wrestling for it while a computer enhanced army of millions look on.
8) After worrying you a few times the good guy wins and gets girl or (twist ending) dies even though he wins but female star manages to declare undying love seconds before he pegs it.
Errr that’s it.
I intend to revive my flagging spirits this afternoon by getting stuck into my Lukas Moodysson DVD set which arrived this week (four of his movies) . Taster: “Fucking Amal” – Both Elin and Agnes yearn for more than their tiny town of Amal can offer. “ Together” – Tired of mundane suburban hell Elizabeth ditches her husband and takes her children to her brother Gorans commune…..
Hehe – I’m feeling better already!

Saturday 28 May 2005

Recipe: Tuna Berserker Burgers [Lurks]

We haven't had a recipe for awhile and it's night time. This one is a great for folks cutting down on the calories, like me, and as usual I'll be extremely vague concerning quantities because thats my cooking style.
  • Two cans of tuna steak
  • Some onions
  • Some leeks
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Light mayonaise
  • Thai red curry paste - barts etc
  • Various salady bits and bobs
  • Heinz tomato sauce & thai sweet chilli sauce

Drain the tuna. Tip here is just to open lid and upend in the sink, tilting can a bit so all the excess juices run out. While you're doing that, chop up the onion and leek finely or use some machine chopper type thing if you're lazy or if like Houmous your hands are too big to safely operate a knife.
Get the onion and leek (just onion if you like, I just prefer the herbyness of leeks - doesn't mean I'm Welsh or anything) in a fry pan with some crushed garlic (I personally use shitloads), either fresh or lazy boy garlic etc. Chuck in some olive oil and fry it up until golden. Easy peasy.
Now get your by-now-fully-drained tuna and chuck it in a big bowl. Toss in the fried onion/leek and a good couple of handfuls of breadcrumbs. I actually just grate up the last stale bit of our home made bread and find wholemeal blends make for ace breadcrumbs. Chuck in a couple of largish dollops of light mayonaise and a couple of tablespoons of Thai red curry paste such as Barts, easily available from the supermarket.
Now you want to get a big wooden spoon and put some elbow into stiring this up. You want to break up all the tuna chunks here and that takes a good workout. After it's nicely mixed up, you need to whack in a couple of beaten eggs. You want a nice gluey consistency and how many beaten eggs you need to do this depends on how much of the rest of the stuff you put in but it ought to be about two to four beaten eggs. Go in for two to start with and more if necessary.
Now you've got your basic Tuna Berserker mixture. Get yourself a big platter or a couple of plates, whatever, and grab a handful of mix and ball it up in your hands and flatten out on the platter/plates etc into basic burger type shapes. The mix should make about eight burgers I find, course if your you're Houmous, you'll probably want some other way of measuring out the mixture unless you want one giant burger. Oh yeah, don't make them mondo flat, you can do that in the frypan later.
The burgers go in the fridge until they're nicely chilled down. Just trust me on this mmkay? When it comes to serve up, a nice green salad goes with a couple of tuna berserker burgers very nicely indeed. Some mixed lettuce, spinnach, onion slices, tiny cubes of tangy cheese and halved cherry tomatoes is my idea of a pukka salad for this.
Now you got to fry the burgers. Use a bit of ground nut or sunflower oil, you wont need much. Get some burgers in the fry pan and flatten them down nicely. Have this on a medium low heat and leave be for awhile. Juice will come out soon enough and the burgers will get a nice frying like that, then flip over. Get them on some kitchen towel to dry, while you're frying up new ones. They'll be nice and stiff and wont fall appart.
Now finally, mix up 50/50 thai sweet chilli sauce and good old Heinz tomato sauce. Then drizzle this over your burgers and salad.
Yeah baby. That's your tune berserker burgers main, bosh.

Wednesday 25 May 2005

The great IT pre-marketing scandal [Lurks]

For years I have been exposed to the mechanisms that IT manufacturers (particularly technology/silicon manufacturers such as AMD, Intel, ATI and NVIDIA) have used to market new products and launch them into the channel so that retailers are eventually able to sell them to punters like us. In fact their collective strategy is so mind mendingly stupid, dictated as it is by the needs of publicly trade company share price bolstering activities, that they actually hurt the very industry in the process. But within there lies a method in their madness.
These companies actually manage to make punters like you and I buy less products and this has a knock on effect throughout the trade but perhaps not as much as you'd think. They manage this by making you wait until the next big thing arrives. Computer technology moves very fast, as we all know, and so we attempt to strategically buy into a new platform for computer upgrades or complete new systems, so as to gain the maximum lifespan out of our expensive investment.
With that in mind, let me tell you about what's so broken with the channel right now and use the current examples. AMD sends out engineering samples to the press of their latest processor, the dual-core X2. These chips are the very top end 4800+ model. Journalists get these before computer manufacturers have even seen samples of the entry-level 4200+ unit. At a certain date, the NDA lifts, and all these web sites post reviews of the 4800+. Wow, everyone wants one right?
Except that at this point, no one who manufacturers a computer has even seen one of these chips. Does that seem right to you? Wait, it gets worse. Then an OEM sampling phase kicks in and samples are sent to manufacturers but not of the top end chip, but in fact the entry-level chip. The gap in time between this happening is such that magazines hit the shelves carrying reviews of the latest processor.
Then in the following issue, it's reasonable to expect that the magazines might begin looking at computer systems with this latest technology in it right? Well, certainly that's their view. Yet no one can even ship a system with the latest and greatest because they haven't got any from, in this case, AMD. When they do, it'll be the entry level chip. So you the punter have been hyped up on this technology but you can't even see a system REVIEW of something based on that in the next monthly cycle of magazines. Bit strange.
So of course you're going to see these systems in magazines and go - well stuff that, I'll wait for that latest technology. After all, it was reviewed last month. It must be out soon right?
No, it's not. The next month, two months after the press have unveiled the latest and greatest, system builders get samples of the high end parts and then they can send those out to the press. At this point, people will start placing orders for those. This equally applies to processors and graphics cards. You've seen systems with ATI X800XTs in them, for example, and therefore you phone up a manufacturer and place your order.
The thing is, the manufacturer can't buy those yet. They can't buy this latest technology from the distributors because it doesn't exist. It arrives in a slow dribble. There's not suddenly a million parts out in the channel, the factories are delivering bit by bit and there's countless politics you do not see as a punter, going into deciding who gets those latest-and-greatest technology parts.
Now what happens with this is that the manufacturers offer 'allocations' or a promise to deliver a certain quantity of those parts to the channel. They would swap this for favors useful to them such as a really powerful marketing campaign with a manufacturer or perhaps enticing someone else to use or sell their products. The retailer who actually has a solid backorder of several hundred units is by no means guaranteed to to get stock, even though it's already sold.
Meanwhile, of course, the channel is full of the previous technology parts. Sitting on shelves in distributors, retailers stock and so on. Only no one wants it any more because the next thing is coming. People either aren't buying or they're preordering stuff which isn't available yet. Suddenly people who make, for example, graphics boards end up having to slash prices and instigate price protection schemes to try avoid having mass stock returned to them.
You'd think, at some point, that these problems would fade. They'd be some correlation between demand of the latest technology and supply. Factory production would be ramped up or down to match, right? In fact, that's not the case. It might amaze you to learn that the UK's biggest seller of high-end graphics cards has a back order of ATI X800XT graphics cards at around the 500-mark and they have absolutely no idea when these might arrive and people have been on the waiting list for five months!
This isn't new technology for Christ's sakes, this is the previous generation of stuff. It isn't just graphics cards. It's also extremely difficult to buy, for example, an AMD FX-55 processor right now. Hang on a moment, we're saying you'd have trouble buying an old FX-55 right as AMD are launching the X2?! Yes, that's what we're saying.
The practical ramifications are that when punters see PC systems with the latest processors and graphics cards in them, they place orders for them with the system builders. They then wait months before the system builder can even get near the parts to build that system. Unsurprisingly people cancel and there's a general feeling of bad karma.
The point is though, what is the reason for launching technology, making people drool over benchmarks and obtaining reviews and pictures in the magazines? It makes people wait for this technology. They can't buy it for a very long time yet; some will go sod it and buy the old/available tech and some will put off their purchase for the 4-5 months it takes until general availability.
Net result, punters with cash in their pocket looking for upgrades end up not buying them. That means a slow down in IT spending across the board. That means less revenue for everyone in the channel. Counter, you would have thought, to the very reason for existance of these technology firms.
What we're seeing is a form of collective stupidity, an arms race of ignorance if you like. Since one firm does it, the other tries to get their product announcements and marketing out just as ludicrously early as the other guys. Meanwhile, the only actual availability they really care about are actually the volume low/mid range products which account for the largest fraction of their revenue anyway.
You see that's it in a nutshell. These firms don't actually have a huge amount of interest in making these latest and greatest products available for you to buy. You are, in fact, part of their marketing plan. This artificial demand for the hottest new expensive high end technology is something that advocates their brand and rises the stature of the company and allows them to get on with shipping the bread and butter stuff that makes them money; Intel Celerons, AMD Athlon XPs, Nvidia fx5600s and ATI Radeon 9200s.
The only way to combat this is by indifference. Read the latest technology reviews but don't get your hopes up. When it finally appears at your favorite e-commerce outlet with a green numeral next to the IN STOCK icon, then you can get excited about it.
After over a decade in this business, from what I see the problem is only going to get worse.

Tuesday 24 May 2005

Work Exorcisms / Exhorcisms [Am]

My place is going through a bit of an upheaval at the moment - shit with the business, shit with my particular business unit. Shit on the ceiling, shit on the floor, shit on the window, shit on the door. That sort of thing. It's all a bit stressful like.
As I sat in the office the other day I was casually trying to clean a CD that I had bought in from my chariot's in-car player because it was jumping when played while I brooded over the general situation. As I rubbed away the grime I was looking at the title of the CD writ large across the disc facing me and thinking "well maybe I ought to just stick it in a frame and stick it on the wall to give me some moral support when I'm coping with all this crap". The album? As voted recently the best album ever by a one-album band - Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols.
Like number ten buses or words you never heard in your life before, of course as soon as you think about something, you tend to think / see / hear something similar pretty soon again. In this case it was a personal motto which I have now firmly adopted. I've added it to my summary words that I try to refer back to when trying to deal with people and projects and shit so I remember what we're trying to get done. To date they were "Balance" and "Rock and Roll" i.e. see the balance in everything and ffs don't lose sight of creativity and don't-give-a-fuck values in a conservative business. To this I have added a personal motto which starts off in a familiar vein but gets somewhere else;
"Lord - give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Give me the courage to change the things I can. And give me the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill they pissed me off so much.....".
Amen brothers.

Boosting WiFi [Lurks]

Like many of you, I run a wireless network at home. Mine is probably a little busier than most since I sell on an Internet connection to people who live in neighboring flats. Some are wired, some are wireless but even my lady's computer at the other end of the same flat, has difficulty with wireless reception and frequently runs at 11Mbit or less - despite the fact I've used a variety of 802.11g routers including the Asus WL500G which allows you to hack the output power.
The bottom line is that the range of good old 802.11g really isn't that good indoors and the real-world throughput is a bit naughty as well, under the best of conditions, let alone when it has to retrain down to lower bitrates. For that reason there's a bunch of speed and distance enhancing proprietary technology on the market such as the Super-G products which bond two channels together for a theoretical 108Mbit signalling rate.
In my tests those sort of things work okay but you have to buy the same gear for everyone and it works pretty darn badly with standard clients out there as well. However there is hope on the horizon with the new 802.11n protocol which includes support for multipath tranceivers. Sadly 802.11n isn't due out for donkeys. The good news, however, is that a technology start up called Airgo Networks has basically made a multipath-capable chipset which they brand as True MIMO. There's really good look at Super-G versus True MIMO over at Tom's Networking if you're inclined to look at some solid tests.
The great thing about this is that it works with standard 802.11g very nicely. You get some superb rates if you use Airgo-powered clients too but you get the potential to see throughput and range boost on standard 802.11g client adaptors. Bizarrely, the first people to the market with products with Airgo tech in them was Belkin and they really didn't help matters by calling their products 'pre-n', alluding to the same scenario we saw prior to the introduction of 802.11g; proprietary products that offer the benefits now and may be upgraded to full compliancy later. That isn't the case with this pre-n stuff at all, so that's misleading.
Now the Belkin pre-n router is a cheap nasty peice of shit as you'd expect and is well known for crashing periodically just like so many other poor routers do. This is a subject close to my heart since my, ah, unusually demanding home network is a true acid test for any router and I've yet to find the perfect router. In fact I have a box of old domestic routers I've tried including stuff from Asus, SMC, DLink and Netgear. All have somewhat terminal problems. So when I was doing some testing of this WiFi technology for a magazine, I was pleased to try out the Linksys WRT54GX. This is based on their very well known Wireless-G router but has an Airgo True MIMO chipset powering it. Hence the crazy three antenna shit going on.
First thing to report; after 48 hours of solid testing, the Linksys WRT54GX is rock solid. I can't make it fall over with torrents (DLink), it doesn't spontaneously reboot (Asus) or gradually, and mysteriously slow down and seize up (Netgear) or crash on FTP tunneling (SMC). It just works. I guess you can thank the fact that these guys are actually Cisco so probably know a thing or two about networking.
Yet what sets the WRT54GX appart is the wireless. I did a dead simple test; writing a script to copy a 10.8MB file 10 times across the network to the lady's PC equipped with an el-cheapo Belkin vanilla 802.11g PCI network card to the Asus WL500G router (best wireless performance of any I've tested so far) and then to the True MIMO equipped WRT54GX. Both tests are with WPA-PSK security enabled:
  • Asus WL500G: 508309 bytes/second throughput.
  • Linksys WRT54GX: 1092602 bytes/second throughput.

Can't say fairer than that. Further more, one flat which had extremely patchy reception to the Asus - leading me to begin work running Ethernet - ended up belting it in with nearly full bar reception. Again this is a standard client, only the router had changed. I only have a cardbus laptop True MIMO card but testing that, throughput was pretty amazing but I'd advise you to look at Tom's Networking results rather than me quoting my sketchy unquantified tests. The bottom line, however, is that this stuff works and it wont bust anyone's nearby wireless network and you can upgrade bit by bit.
It's not terribly cheap though. The Linksys WRT54GX is worth a tenner more than the Belkin (don't even go there) at £109 or so but the network clients are the killer at around the £55-£65 mark. Linksys don't offer a desktop card but Belkin do and Belkin are cheaper. So what you'd do is get the Linksys router as a no brainer (it's bloody superb) and Belkin pre-n adaptors. They interoperate perfectly.
I came away from this genuinely impressed. This is the perfect technology; it brings tangible benefits right now without introducing proprietary standards that bust compatibility and it can be upgraded in time as you see fit. What's more, the Linksys implementation is top -notch. Sure I'd wish for a slightly more feature-rich comprehensive router ordinarily, but for now I'm just thanking lucky starts that it finally delivers stability under heavy load and that alone makes it a keeper.
What we need now is stand-alone access points so this can be used to upgraded ADSL routers. You could use this gear with an Ethernet-based ADSL modem but they seem remarkably rare. I guess this is a subject I'll have to revisit when/if I manage to finally secure our move to the countryside away from the luxury of cable Internet. More then.

Wednesday 18 May 2005

Fave Film [Slim]

Have we done this before? Can't remember. Anyway, here's mine! Someone'll find the old blog and my list will be different, so in advance: I'm a fickle fucker!

Lord of the Rings - Can't help myself here. Read the books age 15, loved them, was amazed that the films actually did the books justice.
Almost Famous - Ace heady band story that captures the feeling perfectly for me. Zooey Deschanel clearly wants me.
Shawshank Redemption - I love steven king, and had a tough choice between this and Green Mile. Shawshank was a fab story brought to life perfectly with an amazing screenplay and some superb acting.
Twelve Monkeys - Love Gilliam films, and really wanted to put Fisher King in here too. And time bandits. Bah. I like this more because it was funny as well as hard hitting. About the only film in which Robin Williams doesn't play himself too, superb.
Brazil - Definately a film that improves with viewings. Wacky and pretentious, but still like it loads.
The Incredibles - I've three nippers, so need films that work on at least two levels. This works on three, ace kids film, fantastic action/bond film and another film that looks at the monotony of life/work/marriage and being normal. Fab film.

Monday 16 May 2005

Get off your fat arse [Shedir]

My sister works for the royal mail (claims) and is going to take advantage of a nice scheme they've signed up for. Bike4Work.
Basically you tell your employer what bike and accessories you're after, or even two bikes, and they give you a credit note to buy it. You repay from your gross wages, saving a bit on NI/Tax, over 12 months. Then at the end you get to keep the bike with a nominal payment.
Halfords Bikes4Work and Booost have more details if you're interested.
I'm sick of the bus anyway, even if I did get a lovely filly pushing her arse into my crotch on the way home last Friday. It's summer, get fitter, browner and more eco friendly by cycling to work!

Thursday 12 May 2005

Request for review [Lurks]

I get some amusing review requests for the computer products that my company makes but today took the biscuit. This chap claiming to be the 'senior editor' of Race The Dream called me up.

"Do you do reviews?" he mumbles.
"Do you do reviews of your laptops?"
"Er well not us but various publications have done..."
"Right. I'm from a web site and I wonder if your criteria is large volumes of traffic."
"Well, er, yeah that would be a start. Who are you, what do you want?"

Honestly it's like someone from nursing home had called, baffled by this modern telephone thing. So I get the chap to email me and that gets me to the web site above. This crowd basically flog you a picture of a nice car for £100 and this gets you the chance to win it. The web site is bad, I mean super bad.
But wait! It has a reviews section! I have to point it out because you might miss it. It's here. Check out the magnificent review of the Vanqish (sic). Quite why it's a good idea to do some super bad layout that looks like it was done on a covermounted Atari ST DTP package and then output the entire thing to one large image... well, let's just not go there mmkay? I'd hate to meet the junior editor...
Still, putting a positive spin on this: The web is a very special place. It's the New Economy where barely sentient lifeforms are free to ferret out their livings via increasingly innovative, if baffle, ways. Thereby relieving the burden on the state to support twitching and the drooling of society.
Right, now I think I'm off to buy a £100 photo on the basis that I might win the car. Yeeesss.

Episode III [Shedir]

Well young Padawan.
Will Lucas pull the fat out the fryer and make the movie we need to rescue the series?
I've seen the trailer, I'm watching clone wars. I've got my tickets booked (opening day at 4:20).
I'm hyped!
I reckon it's going to be an utter masterpiece, an epic to lay the failings in ep's I and II to rest.
Who's with me!

Monday 9 May 2005

Kill yer hampster! Get 2%! [Brit]

Oh how the world has changed...
Remember when YOU were doing exams? Come hell or high water, you sat them, you squirmed around a while, you scribbled some stuff, and you got out pronto chop chop. Exams were evil, grades were won and lost on skill, talent, the ability to weave your jumper into the complete works of Chaucer!
Not any more. Now our lovely cuddly everyone-wins-all-the-time society has decreed that kids should have every chance to get higher grades... how? by simply giving them the extra percent required!
See how to get more marks! - got a headache? have an extra 1%; did your bloody hampster die on the morning of your Math exam? HERE! HAVE 2% EXTRA!
Am I being unfair? Am I simply not seeing the problem, fixed by this innovative and just solution? Or have we reached the point where there is soon to be no point in even taking exams?

Sunday 8 May 2005

Review: Logitech diNovo Media Desktop 2.0 [Muz]

Having just celebrated my 21st (hold the applause) and received suitable recompense for not dying prior to it (despite the best efforts of t'Death), I felt the need to buy something excessively geeky.
I've had my eye on the Logitech diNovo for some time, having been a big fan of their previous Cordless Desktop MX. Bluetooth desktop with a low travel keyboard and media controls? Sounds like a winner.
Ordered from Dabs, arrived as promised, all intact. So far, so good. Open it up, and it contains:
  • Keyboard
  • Mediapad (aka Numpad detached from main keyboard with media controls on)
  • MX900 Bluetooth mouse
  • Bluetooth receiver/charging station for mouse
  • Quickstart guide, CDs, and all the other stuff no true member of the Crosshatch would touch with a barge pole

So, shut down, plugged in receiver, stuck batteries in assorted bits of kit, started up. Keyboard, mouse and numpad all detected/connected fine, but obviously no mediapad support yet.
Download the latest SetPoint software from Logitech's webby (which includes the latest version of WIDCOMM's BT stack, handy). Uninstall current install of WIDCOMM, install SetPoint, reboot.
Powers up, then asks me to press the connect buttons on each device in sequence. Interestingly, once it detected the pairing attempts from the keyboard and media pads, it gave me a random passkey to key in to ensure I was connecting the right device. Smart.
A few rebindings of button functions later, and I'm up and running. Remarkably painless, really. The keyboard is lovely to use, low travel, but full size with all keys in the right place - an improvement over the Zippy job I was using before. The mouse is as solid and functional as you'd expect a derivative of the venerable MX500 to be. Only niggle thus far is that the 'Forward' and 'Back' buttons on it aren't being recognised in Firefox. Minor, but getting annoying. Some Googling required on that front sharpish. (Although realistically, it's more likely to be the fault of Firefox)
The build quality is superb - keys are tactile and responsive, but are less effort to use than your normal keyboard. All the hardware looks swish and feels solid. You can't ask for much more, really. So, overall a winner. Only issue is the price - it is a bit steep for a keyboard and mouse, but if you have the cash to spare, I can't recommend this highly enough.
Update 08/05/05: Found a workaround to the 'Back' and 'Forward' buttons not working - turns out that Firefox isn't in the list of apps to apply 'Application Specific Settings' to. A quick edit of an XML config file later, and all is well. W00t!

Thursday 5 May 2005

Election 2005 [Lurks]

We haven't had a nice juicy political blog for awhile so ... why start now? :-) Seriously, my morning of the 5th of May 2005 has begun thus:
  • Shower - check
  • Pot of coffee - check
  • Dressed - check
  • Stroll down to local polling station - check
  • Ass Fuck Labour - check

Which would, on the face if it, appear to be as simple as it gets but I've got an opportunity that's relatively rare and special, compared to that which most of you do. My constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green is on a knife edge between Labour and Liberal Democrats. The local Labour candidate Barbara Roche is a fat-necked Labour witch, not to put too fine a point on it, and pretty much a Blairite-yes-maam going on the responses I received from letters complaining about the net snooping bills they railroaded through a few years back.
However when you're faced with the limited selection of parties and candidates, exactly how you cast your vote is generally more complex than what party you support, isn't it?
My decision was comparitively easy. The local Lib Dem candidate Lynne Featherstone is very active in the region and I've had several conversations with her about issues with the busses and so on, and on my behalf she demanded answers from the operator bosses. Now the national Lib Dem policies themselves, however, I don't really support. It's kind of ill thought-out far left, tax/spend heavy claptrap which is about as far from my natural Conservative inclination as you can get. Forunately, though, I don't have to really worry about them being in power and a letter from that nasty ginger opportunist Charles Kennedy didn't sufficiently annoy me to go for my second option - not voting at all.
It probably ought to be in another blog, but after our marathon blog on the whole Iraq thing, I guess you recall that I supported the government in going to war in Iraq. I trusted Blair. He'd never shown any backbone before but he did on this, so I assumed that he knew things we didn't. His intelligence chiefs were cluing him in and I rested easy in that assumption.
Of course now we know that wasn't true. Blair simply decided he wanted to go to war and told the intelligence chiefs to go rustle up the evidence to support it instead. He also took one look at the legal advice from the attourney general (saying it was probably illegal) and decided not to show that to anyone else and then manages to persuade the attourney general to support the case (!!!).
For that alone, they must go. And yet... I still think they're the best party to lead the country right now. The best of a bad bunch, if you like. No wonder people don't bother to go to the polls. No wonder that this morning at 10AM, I was the only person in the poll station.
Depressing isn't it?
Interestingly, though, Labour have not sent our house of three flats, near as I can tell, a single letter. Earlier in the week the Tory candidate, who I'd never heard of but then that's little surprise when he's a distant third place, sent us a letter. A letter in which he hilariously accused Lynne Featherstone of an American-style electioneering campaign because she is apparently wealthy. I was so amused by this I tracked down his email address (which being a Conservative candidate, he obviously neglected to put on the letter) and sent him a nasty email. One sarcy reply back and the next day I get a spam to 'Mrs Bettinson' which is full of personal attacks on Ms Feathersone. Nice.
Is anyone else involving themselves to this degree in their local battles? What's your take on strategic voting or do you tend to just go with the party you support regardless of the local candidates on offer?

Foxy tuning [Shedir]

For those of you how love Firefox, I stumbled across a nice wee utility.
FireTune, FireTune will optimize several internal settings of Firefox for better performance.
Going to give it a spin the now myself, but thought it might be worth linkage from here in the meantime.

Monday 2 May 2005

Another book you should read immediately [Am]

I went to school at 6 at this place called Milbourne Lodge which was a pretty good school for academic results. Now I could decline the Latin verb for going to war at 6 but science at this august institution was slighty different. Many kids got it but many of those without parents from a mathematic or scientific background utterly floundered because we had one of those teachers whose approach to science was to repeat formulae and concepts rote without a single piece of explanation of why they were useful or a plain english explanation of what it meant. Even worse, the master was a grade A shitbag who pulled rank and made life very unpleasant on all these extremely powerful 6-12 year olds. So Mike Reid, Milbourne Lodge school in the 1980's - if you're reading this - go fuck your own arse you inadequate piece of fucking shit.
Anyway, tooling around Canterbury this week (on holiday) I popped into our local book shop to buy a few bits and pieces. The one that caught my eye was Bill Bryson's latest work. Now Bryson's written a number of pieces of travelogue which are extremely popular and entertaining - fair's fair - but I would not have bought another until I noticed the title "Brief History of Nearly Everything".
The long and the short is that on a 'plane ride over the pacific the very experienced (and propably quite wealthy) writer realised he had no idea why seas were salty and some lakes not and then he realised he had naff all idea about science fullstop.
The product after 3 years of serious investigation with many tens of world-leading academics that you can get to co-operate with you when you have Bryson's rep is a total guide to well the brief history of nearly everyting. Even if you've got a decent grounding in all science I find it impossible to believe this book wouldn't be a total delight. For those of us educated by fucktards, it's an absolute revelation. To paraphrase Bryson, here for once and for all is a book about the fundamental facts (so far established) of life, geology, history, chemistry, physics, the world, our solar system and the universe by someone who can write in an engaging way that meets with normal brains. It is brilliantly written and totally engaging.
A really ace book - I suggest you buy it now -