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This is the UK website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. We live in the Northeast of England and also on occasion in Andalucia in Spain.

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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cookies – the New Legislation

The UK goverment is once again dropping us in it with the cookie directive though for now we have a reprieve. Join the conversation.

Rupert Murdoch’s Daily–US ONLY–BBC didn’t seem to grasp

I’ve been sitting getting annoyed about the coverage that the BBC has given Rupert Murdoch’s “The Daily” when it’s not even available here as it’s US-ONLY.  Worse, they’ve closed the comments section so you can’t have a go at some of the more challenged writers who think the web is free… the BBC’s website certainly isn’t free – we pay for it in our TV licence. Frankly the website is the only interaction I ever have with the BBC as I can’t stand the radio programs (a choice of pseudo-intellectual crap or music and DJs to appeal to kids only) and it’s very rare I can find TV programs of worth (though I did like “Com Fly With Me” which sadly only lasted for 6 episodes).

“When will Murdoch realize the web that the web is designed for free content and that he cannot rule the world” – says one commentator.. why not? The BBC rule the UK along with BT – no matter what you do you can’t escape them – at least you don’t have to buy Murdoch’s papers! I wonder if the writer pays his license fee?

Stargazing

I’m guessing now that the weather is starting to improve, the stargazing community will be out in force, especially with the news that six exoplanets have been discovered in close orbit around a far-flung star, not that we’ve a hope of EVER actually getting near it…. 2,000 light-years should ensure that never happens…

Bring on warp drive I say!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12333766

http://www.hollyberry-cottage.co.uk/stargazing-in-northumberland/

Brrrrroadband

IciclesThe weather’s not getting any better here in downtown Wark though it HAS stopped snowing (touch wood)… As you can see I’ve been relieving the boredom (Housitosis) by taking the larger icicles off my walls and planting them. Well, it’s no better or worse than making snow-men!  The picture really doesn’t do these things justice as some of them are 3ft high!!

I’ve just been sitting here for the last hour talking to a reporter from Computer Weekly about broadband and rural connectivity – she wanted to know how technology could help businesses with rising fuel costs etc.. and I took the opportunity to point out that a big cost for many folk today is transport – travel consumes an increasing part of our finances – especially those of us to go back and forth to meetings all over the place… and the likes of teleconferencing has made a big difference.. but it’s all down to communications reliability.

I spent part of this week stuck here in Wark, conferencing in to meetings in Blackpool and at it’s best, your modern PC with something like SKYPE is a great way to cut down on travel costs – but for serious use, you really need reliable broadband – and sadly the places that need this the most in winter -  i.e. rural areas, happen to be amongst the have-nots when it comes to high speed broadband.  Here in Wark I can get something like 5Mbyte downloads – but only a half meg uploads and there doesn’t seem to be any way around that. As conferencing only really makes use of the latter, I’m always worried that any dip in connectivity will mess up the conference-  and of course, it does. This weekend my broadband went off completely for a couple of days and since it came back up, it’s been working but I’m getting warning messages constantly about poor connectivity. 

I’m assuming that large chunks of ice wrapped around the various phone connections from here to the exchange won’t be helping matters! Roll on the warmer weather…

garden in the snow

Recession biting East Coast Railways

Today I  embarked on the 11.30am from Newcastle to London Kings Cross, having purchased a first class ticket, expecting a comfortable ride to London during which I could get a bite to eat and some work done. Given the cost of first class tickets I don’t think that’s an excessive requirement.

Sitting in the central station in Newcastle in coach M, I noted that the coach was rather warm. I passed comment to the guard who pointed out that trains often get warmer in stations.

At Durham I pointed out that the coach was still too warm and the guard said they’d reset the heating a couple of times. At this time the WIFI went dead… and so I took the opportunity to take a break and order a sandwich – egg and cress – the ONLY sandwich which could be classed as "rabbit-food-free" though only just. By the time we got to Darlington it became apparent that if I was going to make use of this shirt into the evening, I’d have to move. Still no sign of my sandwich.

Approaching York, I rang up the WIFI people who said the WIFI was off and they were waiting for the guard to turn it back on! Meanwhile I tackled the guard who said I should considering moving to coach K – which I did. As I got up, I caught the eye of the lady serving sandwiches, who came offering 3 lettuce-enhanced alternatives to egg and cress as they didn’t have any left (none of which had stopped her accomplice from originally taking my money off me. She said they may be able to pick an egg and cress up at the next stop.

We’re now well on our way past YORK and still no sandwich. The WIFI in coach K appears to be working and it’s marginally cooler in here. My shirt may just last the day.

For First class travel this is all PATHETIC. What is East Coast Railways going to do to compensate me for an utterly ruined journey I wonder? Don’t hold your breath

Android – BIG Mistake

Amazing how something comes along and the reviewers are so keen to support something new they don’t bother to test things properly.

When it was time for Maureen to get a new phone, Orange wanted over-the-top up-front money for the iPhone, so based on rave reviews we got her the new Android phone, the HTC DESIRE

And now here we are in America, despite a roaming-enabled SIM it is UTTERLY incapable of handling AT&T or Verizon, SKYPE is not available for Android and TRUPHONE does not support that model. In other words, while we’re here, the phone is absolutely and utterly USELESS.

Orange don’t have a CLUE what’s wrong – we’ve narrowed it down to the phone, not the SIM as we swapped SIMS with my iPhone and the SIM in my phone connected immediately and the text messages came in – swap back – nothing – the Android phone may as well be a BRICK.

I can see a replacement coming along here.

Pete.

Winter January 2010 – a reminder

As I’ve just finished moving my pictures from Flickr to Google Web Albums – mainly due to their association with Getty and Corbis – a timely reminder as we enjoy wonderful sunshine here in the Northeast, what it was like just a few months ago!

Rosie and her Kittens

Having lost Maureen’s favourite cat Rosie – here’s a quick photo tribute – the cute ginger one is Ollie who is sitting draped over my arm as I write this – he’s the only one we kept.

More sun?

tmpCB

Virus – or Viral?

I recently received an email addressed to myself and half of the western world. It began “URGENT!!! PLEASE CIRCULATE to your friends…..” before going on to describe an attachment which would “burn the whole hard disk C of your computer”.

It’s not the first time of course and it won’t be the last time – I’m sure many of you have had these. Nine times out of 10 they turn out to be rubbish and this was no exception. http://www.hoax-slayer.com/black-in-white-house-virus-hoax.shtml

That in itself is not a problem – that’s why we have DELETE keys. Where the PROBLEM lies is this… in sending to countless people in the TO: field, you ensure that each of those people now has the email address of all the others. MORE’S THE POINT, any of those people might have a trojan on their computers, harvesting email addresses – after all, you have no control over the anti-virus or lack of it on their computers! If any ONE of them has such a problem – you’re now on a LIST somewhere.

The solution is simple… in the case of those sending out such messages – having been THEMSELVES the recipient of said message – CHECK before you send the message out – go to GOOGLE and key in the main phrase, perhaps it’s a hoax.  If, after all that you still want to enlighten your friends, send a copy to YOURSELF and BLIND-CC everyone else – i.e. BCC field.  All email programs have this.  That way, the recipients DO NOT get a copy of everyone else’s email – and you don’t risk being very unpopular as the person who’s action put them on a mailing list!

Simples!