Posts tagged ‘ranty bollocks’

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been told in the last few weeks that “September 11th changed everyone’s lives”.

I’m sorry, but no. At least, not directly.

On the radio last night I heard an interview with an American woman talking about September 11th and how both she and close friend both lost their husbands on that day. I felt genuinely sorry for her. The friend’s husband died in the first tower. Her husband died of a heart attack across town – nothing to do with the attacks. Since that day, she claims she’s heard first, second and third hand accounts of the other man’s death hundreds of times, but barely anyone is interested in her own husband. He’s just not interesting.

And that’s the point – the attacks were a horrific thing, but by no means unique and by no means overshadowing everything else that day.

But “that day changed everyone’s life all across the world”. Really? Do you think so? Read the rest of this entry »

If you’ve ever been in an Internet argument about the spelling of the word humour, or tried to explain that something vaguely coincidental isn’t “ironic”, you have probably have been told that the Internet is an American invention. (Presumably we’re ignoring the fact that the Web is an Anglo-Swiss one).

So, it’s always surprised me that there’s something decidedly (and I fear to say the word) communist about the modern Internet.

No, there’s no repression of religion, and no, we’re not being sent off to fight the Germans with a broken AK-47 and a tonne of beetroot, but there is something, well, odd, going on.

How, exactly, did America – the land where the dollar rules and capitalism is king – create a system where everything has to be free? Where there is no such thing as paid content? Where nothing belongs to anyone any more?

There are websites galore out there, dedicated to republishing other people’s work. Sometimes the content is licensed under Creative Commons, or constitutes fair use under US law, but all to often it’s just a picture stolen from another website, without attribution or (worse) with the copyright-holder’s watermark overwritten with the name of the new host. There’s sites dedicated to this kind of bollocks.

Then there’s the joys of thepiratebay.org , a wonderful repository of all things. And, yes, I’ve downloaded stuff from there (normally when I can’t find my original disks or some arsehole music label has copy protected their music, to prevent my fair use of the product), but the thing also houses links to every TV show, film or audio CD you’ve ever heard of. I’m not here to argue the legal or moral positioning of this, but it’s an obvious blow to the glories of capitalism.

How has this happened?

The obvious thing happening right now is the paywalling of The Times and The Sunday Times websites. Now, I actually quite like the Sunday Times… I hate the news, but I hate the news from all sources. What I like is the blogs and features. It’s my ‘Playboy’, if you will. Yes, I know it’s famous for its news, but I read it for the features… Read the rest of this entry »

I’m a web developer. That means that I’m quite protective of my profession.

I hate Dreamweaver, Frontpage and (worst of all) MS Word’s “save as HTML” because none of them actually create webpages. I’m not alone in this.

What’s rather rarer is that I dislike a lot of the tools that allow users to manage their own content.

Done well, it allows unskilled users to keep a site up to date without needing to submit every change to an overworked (and probably bored) developer.

The rest of the time, you end up with things like this…

Yeah... I listen to Kiwi rock stations most days...

See that banner at the top? It looks bloody awful. If you can’t see what I mean, click the link and view it real size. See those jagged edges to the letters? How the hell did anyone let that through quality control?

The answer is, they didn’t. Those jagged edges are because the image has been scaled down by the browser.

Those of you who work with graphics and/or the internet may want to look away for a paragraph…

The banner size is 760px by 120px. It’s an unusual size for a banner, but if you’re getting your own advertising then it’s probably not a great problem. The original, however, is a frankly ridiculous 2987px by 472px being scaled to 25.4% by the web browser. Oh yeah, and it’s over half a megabyte in size.

You can look back now.

No, really, that's the original...

That’s the original banner in the same sized window as before. It actually looks pretty good. On the side of a bus…

The sad thing is that, with ten seconds work from a human with a brain, that banner’s file size comes down to 20kB (3.6% of the one they’re serving), actually looks half decent, and doesn’t kill your net connection.

On the flip side, it doesn’t get your banner on a two-bit ranty-bollocks website in the UK…

Mar 2010
21
Fuck you, EA games

I promised myself I wouldn’t write this post – mainly because I doubted I could do it without swearing. The problem is that I’m so pissed off about this, I need to vent. So… naughty words ahead… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 2009
6
Israel

In case anyone thinks my unusual silence on this matter means I have softened my opinions, I’d just like to say this:

Fuck the Israeli government; those who support them, including the American government; and those who refuse to condem them.

As you will know, I have nothing against the Jewish people. I have problems with the creation of Israel the same as I have problems with any of the external geopolitical medling Europe has so loved over the years (see Iraq, Yugoslavia and most of Africa for examples of how well it’s worked). I have a big problem with those, both Jewish and otherwise, who seem to think that the past persecutions of the Jewish people somehow absolve them of any responsibilities when it comes to protecting themselves.

Hamas (who are a government, godamnit, not a terrorist group – they were elected) fire rockets on a regular basis and have killed a very small number of Israelis. The Israeli military has killed many, many innocent people (the last figure I heard was 400 people) and will keep going until it has “destroyed Hamas”.

How can we stand by and let this continue? More importantly, how can we stop it? It’s clear my boycot on Israeli avocados, peppers and dates has had a crippling effect on the American supported economy, but I know no other way. Standing in the street does nothing. Making one’s voice known marks you out as an anti-semite. Or probably a terrorist in today’s police state mentality.

And we in the western world wonder why the Arab countries despise us for meddling in their countries…

I don’t believe in god, but I know others do, and for all I know one or more of them exist. I hope those gods forgive us for our actions. And our inactions.

Dec 2008
18
Congestion Charging

There is a very simple reason that congestion charging could never work in any UK city other than London.

The idea that the councils have to sell is that Joe Public will spend money to get into town, and that that money will be be used to improve public transport.

Now, think about London. The charge is collected by Boris and spent on public transport, which is run by TfL, which Boris is responsible for. So, Boris gets to collect the money, reroute the money, use the money and improve his public transport by buying new busses, new trains and new tubes, and to dig new tunnels, put in new bus stops and generally turn the city into one giant transport hub.

Now think about Cambridge (for example). The council would collect the money to “improve public transport”. Now tell me what they are going to do with it? The train tracks are owned by National Rail. The trains are run my a national company. The roads are owned by highways. The bus stops are owned by god knows who, but they’re still always smashed and manky. The buses themselves are all owned, run and controlled by Stagecoach.

So, what exactly would they use that money for? Buying more digital bus stops…?

In America, a person on the sex offender’s register isn’t allowed to live with in 1000feet of a place where children congregate.

But what makes you a sex offender…?

  • You might be a sex offender if… you ever paid for a prostitute in New York
  • You might be a sex offender if… you use a stolen credit card to hire a stripper in New York
  • You might be a sex offender if… You had sex with a teenager while you were a teen yourself
  • You might be a sex offender if… you have ever given your kids too much information when giving “the birds and the bees” speech
  • You might be a sex offender if… you allow your teenage daughter to have sex or don’t do enough to stop her from getting knocked up
  • You might be a sex offender if… you are a teen and you take pictures of yourself and send it to other teens
  • You might be a sex offender if… you have oral sex with an intoxicated partner
  • You might be a sex offender if… you look at a child too long in Maine
  • You might be a sex offender if… you grab the arm of a 14 year old girl to chastise her for stepping in front of your moving car

And there’s more here

Nov 2008
7
Medical research…

I’m going to put in a formal request to do some medical research.

What I want to do is to take a couple of specific people and cut them into very very thin slices and see if I can find the part of them that thought it was a good idea to put empty milk bottles back in the fridge.

I hate black tea…

Petrol is currently about a pound a litre. The Government is still blasting the suppliers for putting the pirces up so high. Here’s the problem though…

Fuel duty is currently 53p/l.
VAT on a product that retails at a pound is 15p.

Total tax on your pound of petrol is 68p.

9p of the remaining 32p goes to the petrol station (of which at least a penny will go in various taxes, including tax on wages)

The last 23p goes to the supplier (who in turn will pay a large chunck as tax).

So, we’re now up to at least 70p of the 99.9p ending up at the exchequer for one reason or another. 70%. Or, if you’d prefer to think of it all as a value added tax, that works out as about a 300% value added tax…

Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

Sep 2008
16
The lighter snack…

On my desk right now I have a packet of “Tesco light bites Maple Bars” which claim to be “Big on taste, light on Calories, sugar or fat.” The ingredients are : Rice (40%), Glucose Syrup, Fructo-Oligosaccharides, Wheat(13%), Sugar, Glycerol, Maple Syrup, Veggie Oil, Malt, flavours and stuff.

By my estimates that’s 47% sugar and oil, and 330Kcal/100g. Honey, for comparison, is 310Kcal/100g.

Yeah… go Tescos…