Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

30 Apr 2010

FDF Feedback

Recently I put out some minor patches to fdf. Having just moved house twice this year and currently labouring with a cold I've been a bit slow it completing the exercise and finishing the patches off.

I've had some more feedback, this time on the interim release, so this is good, I just don't feel up to doing anything about it today, even though I'm off work. Having a cold ruin your day when you are on a scheduled holiday isn't much fun.

UK General Election 2010

This year's general election in the UK is very strange, it's as if it's not really happening. The media is all a buzz with Twitter and the TV debates but in the real world nothing is happening. Even on the Internet and the TV nothing is happening.

We have had three TV debates and while better than watching parliament where our MPs behave like spoilt children, there were no major surprises. Ignoring politics, Gordon isn't a people person and did very badly in all three, Cameron did surprisingly badly in the first debate but did improve later on, and Clegg did very well in all three.

On the Internet the media consensus is the the LibDems are in the technical lead with Labour and the Tories trailing very badly.

In the real world not that many people actually watched the TV debates, and of those that did, you get the impressions that the policies are broadly the same, but the only difference comes down to personality, in which case Brown did terribly - but then even Labour supporters must know Brown isn't the sort of person to be popular - he is after-all a dour Scotsman with bad presentation skills.

Though the media get excited about the Internet and Twitter, as an Internet user I've not noticed anything going on at all, and I follow politically active people and politicians. What is noticeable on the Internet is a strong feeling of disgust of the unfair UK voting system and a strong bipartisan urge to monitor what they are getting up to with our money and future.

At a personal level what does annoy me, other than the voting system it's self, is the fact that many people vote for someone or a party without thinking if that person or party actually does what they want. Yahoo! have a party matcher widget and I bet an awful lot of people would find though they vote X and always have done, party X doesn't actually represent their views and they should vote party Y if they actually want what they think is important done.

26 Apr 2010

In and On-Line

Not only are we in our very own house but we are actually on-line too. BT managed to get the act together and connect our Nildram (Opal) ADSL line all up and running a day or so earlier than forcast.

Our new office is a nice enough room, but when we have seriously worked on the house and got it properly sorted, the office will be much nicer and larger than the temporary arrangment we have now.

21 Apr 2010

We Are In!

We are in our new house. We're still off-line while BT drag their feet getting the ADSL line sorted, but we are physically living in our very own house.

Lots of things need doing, the house is in worse state than we thought, however all the changes we planned are still going to take place, and in the same order, just some things made be done sooner than planned.

In a very short while I will feel very poor as the bill start to pour in!

13 Apr 2010

House Move IV (complete)

Today we collected our keys and we now own legally and physically our own house. It needs things doing on it but it's liveable, which is a good compromise.

I'm signing off for a while as we go off "net", for the move, back here soon...

11 Apr 2010

Microsoft Panic

For years Microsoft left IE to rust and in the process held the whole Internet back for years. There was no point in making a decent modern web site that followed the standards, while every modern browser would work fine, IE didn't and as it commanded a near monopoly you excluded most users.

Gradually Mozilla's Firefox and more recently Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome have increased market share to such a point that many people have actually upgraded to a better browser and it's now worth making modern sites. As people have started to use modern sites they have started to notice that IE is poor and slow in comparison to everything else.

Microsoft couldn't do anything other than actually upgrade their browser, even they couldn't spin their way out of the mess of their own creation. First came IE7 then IE8, and even though it was possible that they would give up, there may even be an IE9. It's fair to say that while each new version is better than it's predecessor, they are not as good as the alternatives, IE is slow and buggy no matter how you look at it when compared with Opera, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

A few weeks ago the EU forced Microsoft to offer their Windows customers a choice of browser to European customers. Now that people know that they are actually supposed to pick a browser and they don't have to have IE, the market share of ever other browser than IE has gone up again, and IE has fallen drastically low in some markets.

As as result Microsoft has gotten of their arse and started to improve their product, IE9 may support an almost complete set of standards, nearly a decade late but still better late than never. Secondly they have started to advertise their product, as they can't rely on ramming it down people's throat as they have done previously.

Love them or hate them, but when Microsoft became a monopoly they stopped bothering and just milked their monopoly for all it was worth. Even if you like their technology it's very hard to defend their almost total lack of innovation in the past decade.

Find Duplicate Files 0.5_01

It's been a while since I worked on fdf - 0.3 and 0.4. Version 0.4 has annoying bug which I've known about for some time.

Recently I got two emails with suggestions to fix it and other ideas. The ideas are good but as we're in the middle of a house move I don't really have the time to work on them and move house all at the same time.

I've therefore put out a beta release of the next 0.5 version incorporating some of the fixes and the ideas, while I work on the other fixes, suggestions and the changes I was planning anyway.

House Move IV

Next week the contracts are completed and we will own our own house. This time we have not been forced out by a greedy landlord - I almost feel sorry for our current one who has been better than the previous ones.

We have no specific reason to own our house, it's a waste of money and in the long term bad for the economy locking billions of pounds up in unproductive bricks and mortar rather than doing something useful like investing for the future. On the up side for once it means we get to pick what is in the house and what colour walls are.

In the medium term we have various plans for the house, proper modern insulation in the loft and under the ground flour, modern high efficiency appliances, re-wired mains with enough sockets in the right places and CAT-6a structured cable in all rooms. One idea is for a rear south facing solar room to be built to make the most out of the free solar heat.

06 Apr 2010

My Manifesto

At long last our blundering Prime Minister has called the day and we now have to sit through the political parties lies and counter-lies in the run up the UK's General Election this May.

While I favour one party more than the others, I do think of myself as a free thinker and so here is my manifesto... Items in no particular order.

  • We don't need submarines full of nuclear warheads anymore, it's not as if we have ever or could have ever used our Polaris or Trident in anger without permission from the US. We may as well decommission them when they come to the end of their life and use the money somewhere else.
  • Our banks need regulating. Without regulation reckless lending will happen again and we will dig ourselves into a very big hole again. Banks should be restricted by law into how much they can lend, who they can lend too, and where the borrow the money from to lend to us. At the same time private individuals should be legally restricted in how much they can borrow and it should be one mortgage per person only. No more "Buy-To-Let" nonsense.
  • The government should scrap or at least scale back many silly and grandiose IT schemes. The ID Card project should be cancelled at once. All government departments should more towards all open and public standard document formats, so no more Word and Excel proprietary waste. Where possible all system should move away from proprietary solution such as Microsoft Windows and legacy Unix systems towards open standard based system such as Linux.
  • On transport policy the car is doomed, we can't keep pretending we can make it work. It should be short and long term government policy to move away from the private motor car towards less travelling and where travel is required by greener and public systems.
  • All British homes MUST be fully insulated. By law all landlords, private and public must provide decent standards of loft and wall insulation (where appropriate), before a property can be let. By law when a house is sold the vendor can only sell the property if the loft and walls are adequately insulated - the buyer can elect to chose the insulation material if none is in place.
  • Stamp duty on house purchased to be scrapped. All houses where stamp duty has not been paid would instead be subject to capital gains tax. People who have paid stamp duty in the last 2 years able to claim it back if they accept to pay capital gains instead.
  • The UK to adopt the Euro currency to replace Pound Sterling as soon as it is possible. The UK to also more widely adopt EU standards and processes. Arcane measurements to be phased out totally, including pints, miles and miles per hour. Full metrication will take place this time - I'm getting to old to fart about with medieval units anymore...

More to follow when I think of things...

01 Apr 2010

House Contract Exchange

Our legal team are doing the contract exchange as I type. They tried to do the exchange yesterday but failed because the other legal people had gone home for the day - some lawyers evidently don't work as hard as other ones...

Serving Notice

For the first time in a long time we have served notice to our landlord rather than the other way around. It's a pity, our current house is the best of the houses we have had in the UK. It has no garden, but it's the best internal space and noticeably better built that the others.

Yesterday we started the process of exchanging contracts on our own house. The new house is not perfect, it's a semi not detached and the garden is tiny, but on the upside it's a decent size internally (over 120 m2), in the right location, and fair price (by local standards).

The house is cosmetically dull and inoffensive but clean and livable. Our plans are to live in the house a year or so then start our own grand designs on refurbishing it. I want to drag it out of dark ages with regards thermal efficiency, put structured CAT-6a through out the building and add back some nice Art Deco touches to the building.

I can't say the process has been pain free. We have been looking to buy for past 8 years. Most of the time it's been an absurd process, house prices in "la la" land and utterly unaffordable. However on the upside we have made great strides on saving money - being a tight northerner helps - so when we found we almost liked we were is a strong position to buy.