Friday 25 February 2011

What Does Advance Mean?

I've just spent twenty minutes in the Advance queue at Newcastle Station to purchase a Weekly ticket to start on Tuesday in advance. They said I cant buy it until Sunday!! I want it to start on the working day after next , the stations on the route all have ticket barriers so why the hell cant I have my ticlet today instead of having to rush on Tuesday morning?

Part of the problem may that the barriers are  open when there's no staff around . I thought the point of these things was to dispense with staff!!

It wouldnt have been too bad if I hadnt had to wait but I do value my time , but it does amaze me that I defend services like this and the Post Office and they continually show complete disdain for customers , but I suppose it's better having this that whatever the ConDems have in their plans.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

This Integration

I always thought cars were for driving or getting  from A to B, so the important selling point was how good they were to drive. Apparently not . Increasingly it seems that is not so. They're advertising integrated iPod docks , integrated Blue Tooth , integrated Sat Nave.

While all of these things can enhance the driving experience , they hardly integral to it. What use is bluetooth if the brakes dont work? What use is Sat Nav if the steering is rubbish?

More and more required functionality is being replaced marketed must haves.

I have an old car and could fit all those if I wanted , but I choose to be me , and keep the car for what it is intended!!

Thursday 10 February 2011

'King Google

Google is ubiquitous , and it seems that everything can interact with everything else. There's the search engine, mail , sites , checkouts , adsenses , picassa , blogs (like this one) , and it seems to be growing exponentially.

One of the good things about this is that it empoweres people to create websites and the like and have complete control over them. Two such sites are Lovers Desires / Hidden Desires  and Keith's Custom Colours . I've been advising the creators , who want to sell stuff on the site. Imagine my surprise when the Google shopping cart cant be integrated a Google site. You have to use a site widget which is driven by a Google Document Spreadsheet . This took an age to work out.

Just surprised that one Google product is incompatible with another . Not only that the Shopping Cart Merchant page is integrated with the rest of the Google User  Account. Just amazing!!

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Bless My Soul .....Danger Mouse

Apple have created and stunning looking mouse that , is almost completely unusable to the point where users end up in pain after a session with it. It seems to me this is anothers example of Apple's continual triumph of style over substance!!!! It's also amazingly flat!

Incidentally the Roman Catholic Church now have an endorsed iPhone app for hearing confessions!! BBC article here

Monday 7 February 2011

Thatchers Victorian Values Back

When Thatcher was in power she kept spouting on about a return to "Victorian Values" . I assumed at the time she wanted an end to any kind of hedonistic pastimes , sex , drink , nudity etcetera , but we know in Victorian times the rich and priveliged indulged , while the poor carried the can.

I recently learned that what she was really after was the creation of a slave underclass that would service the rich and privileged for a doff of the cap and a handful of gruel.

Today Cameron and Clegg and pursuing that goal under the cry of "Austerity" (but not for them of course) , increasing tuition fees to price the the lower classes out education , dismantling and privatising the NHS to take healthcare away and the latest suggestion that the unemployed work for nothing from Ian Duncan Smith . Here's the article. Be amazed and very afraid . What next , taxing the air we breathe?

Well here's an appropriate video:

Friday 4 February 2011

Why I Loathe X-Factor ....

..Britain's Got Talent , Strictly Come Dancing and the like.

You may think it's because of Simon Cowell or Louis "Child Catcher" Walsh . To be honest I think Simon Cowell is a media genius , manipulative , but he he knows his stuff inside out , Walsh though I find very creepy.

You may think it's because of the policy of riding on some one else's shirt tails , only using covers of recent successes , Alexandra Burke's lip-trembling sub Whitney performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" , which contains the appropriate line "You Don't Really Care for Music , Do Ya?" . The song song was poignantly coversed by John Cale for Shrek , then there's the Jeff Buckley version and of course the original , but hey we need to make a safe fast buck.

The you had Joe McElderry cover Miley Cyrus with The Climb , and the latest installment Matt Cardle's saccharined treatment of Biffy Clyro's "Many A Horror" renamed for the Christmas market as When We Collide.

No it's not this , it's the fact that all the shows focus primarily on failure . One person is voted out every week and made to feel that they are a failure , and the last man standing is the winner , but the shows focus on getting rid of people . Appropriate for the current goverment set up, who are relishing making as many people redundant as possible.

Talent shows in the past focussed on people winning and there would be a number of contestants , one winner and the ones who didnt win , as a whole went back to their day jobs , without any stigma, they just didnt cut it.

If X-Factor focussed on winning then I would have time for it , but until then I wont be watching.

Thursday 3 February 2011


On March the 5th 2011 I've been selected to give away 50 copies of a book that I'm passionate about , in an attempt to create the largest ever book give away for World Book Night . A million in one night.

The one I selected was Philip Pullman's Northern Lights , the first part of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. One that annoyed all the right wing Christian fundamentalists , which is a good enough reason in itself to push . I have a plan on how I'm going to do this , but I am currently in the planning stages.

Giving out culture on Tyneside on a Saturday night will be and most interesting challenge