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Archive for November, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI, Breeding and Freedom of Speech

So according to the pope, condoms ARE ok in certain circumstances – that is – to reduce infection (BBC website, 20th Nov 2010).

Very generous of him… but…

There is a lot I feel proud of in this 21st century world… our technological prowess, the fact we’ve managed NOT to bomb the hell out of ourselves since World War 2… and Cheryl Cole. But this guy… is it just me? It seems patently obvious that no matter what words these fanatics choose to use, the reason the Catholic Church is so against contraception is that they want CATHOLICS to BREED! He’s only mincing his way out of this because he knows the church is onto an absolute LOSER! We’ve TOO MANY PEOPLE, not enough RESOURCES!!

And now for something completely different… the BEST OF Harry and Paul on the iPlayer – BRILLIANT

While watching this brilliant comedy you might like to ponder how lucky we are to live in a country where comedians and others can say whatever they like. Consider for a moment Cheng Jianping, who repeated someone elses TWEET and added the words “Charge, Angry Youth”.  Pretty harmless you might say… but her angry words have landed her with “a year of re-education through labour” – which I’m sure is just the Chinese way of saying “brainwashing through physical exhaustion” – and the frightening thing is that we are so meshed in with the Chinese economy that if we wanted to take trade sanctions against them or indeed ANY sanction for this barbaric behaviour, we haven’t a HOPE.

One of Those Days

I thought yesterday was bad enough… the twin car batteries I use for handling mains drop-outs here in Wark had been acting up for some time and I’d been getting unexplained drop-outs where our broadband router would just drop out for no reason – but it wasn’t until yesterday I put it all together – the batteries were dry as a BONE. I’ve refilled them but I’m thinking it may be too late for them. But today has been FAR more interesting.

It certainly has been one of those days. The Merc collapsed last night – front legs gave up altogether. Maureen woke me up to announce that it was sitting on the front driveway with the front wheels buried in the wheel arches. Merc in their usual “make a mountain out of a molehill” manner managed to come up with a bill of around a grand to fix this. Can you imagine… you could buy a brand new motor scooter in Carrefour for that amount of money.

tmp6C97Fortunately they’ve come up with a loaner – I say fortunate as I have 3 days of meetings ahead of me and I desperately need a car. I’m sitting here late at night writing because I was just enjoying a superb episode of FRINGE on Sky (if you’ve not watched this excellent sci-fi, you are missing out) and I noted some upgrades for the iPad (not, sadly the eagerly awaited 4.2 operating system upgrade which is now looking like Friday depending on who’s rumour-mill you read) but an upgrade for a long-forgotten program called SharePlus.  If you’re familiar with office systems, I’ll just say that this seamlessly handles SharePoint – no matter what kind of authentication you use. I’ll leave it at that as this is not really a technical blog.

So an expensive start but at least an interesting end. And now I think a book. I’m trying to see if the iPad will really work for reading books so I have one of the few Arthur C Clarke books I’ve not yet read ready and waiting. Now here’s the trick… had I bought a Kindle – I’d have been stuffed because Maureen is already asleep and turning the light on is not an option. Stanza on the iPad on the other hand is backlit and a simple slide of the finger turns the brilliance up and down – a soft glow is all I need to read with (practiced as a kid, my mother always wanted my light turned off so I must’ve read thousands of DC comics by streetlight).

I’ve been getting to grips with Apple TV having bought one of their miraculous new black units this week. Essentially you plug the black box into your TV and Bob’s your uncle – streaming videos for rent, streaming video, sound and pictures from any of your PCs which have iTunes on them and from this weekend, fingers crosses, streaming directly from your iPod/iPhone/iPad to the TV… I can’t wait. May as well relax how, I have 3 very busy days ahead – and at the weekend it’s upgrade time for the gadgets. Add the Apps called StreamToMe into the mix which lets me watch my PC-based movies etc. on the iPhone or iPad… and I’m just about all set… been trying to get a setup like this for years with the PC and never quite made it. Marvellous.

(Update – car’s all sorted…. can’t use Apple TV until Apple get their finger out with the iOS 4.2 updates.

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British TaxPayer’s Money – Again

Today I received Northumberland County Council’s third attempt to give me a Register of Electors form. Apparently they tried a couple of times when I was on holiday.

Anyway, unable to see where the online version was, I duly filled in the form… only to discover something quite annoying on the back. The form is available in a variety of languages – you would THINK the languages of the European Union that we’ve signed up with – so French, German, Spanish etc.. but no. With one exception.  Languages available are: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu.

Don’t get me started…