Monday, 4 August 2008

The Solution to Entering a British Football Team at the Olympic Game

Only people based in England appear to be in favour of a British Football Team competing at the Olympics.

The English have absolutely no concern that competing in the Olympics could cause Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to lose their status as independent football nations. That would mean Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would no longer be able to compete independently in the European Championships or the World Cup.

Of course, they appear completely oblivious to the fact that England would no longer be able to compete as England in these competitions either. There would be only one team representing the United Kingdom in all football competitions world wide. It would NOT be called England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Even club team representation in the European Champions League and EUFA Cup competitions could be affected.

The situation is highly political as many football nations are unhappy that the United Kingdom has four independent votes in FIFA and EUFA and would dearly love to have the UK reduced to a single football association and a single vote at these levels. Sepp Blatter appears to be no friend of British Football, just witness how helpful he was to Real Madrid in the Ronaldo situation. Michelle Platini was also quoted as suggesting that Ronaldo should be allowed to go to Real Madrid. So much for unbiased leadership.

Given the current political situation (in football) it would be extremely unwise to set a precedent by entering a combined British team in any Olympic games.

However, it does appear extremely presumptuous of the English FA to then assume that they should represent the United Kingdom.

The most reasonable solution would be for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete for the honour of representing the United Kingdom at the Olympic Games, just as any athlete has to compete to earn their place in the Olympic team.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Road Tax Fiasco – Is it Government Fraud, Financial Conspiracy or Simple Incompetence?

Road Tax Fiasco

The current debate on road tax, the environment, pollution is a massive government deception born out of the need to raise cash to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let everyone be quite clear that the road fund licence, or road tax, is meant to fund the building of roads in the UK.

Let us also be quite clear that the Government collects far more in road tax than it spends on roads, and that toll roads simply add insult to injury.

Raising road tax and raising fuel duty is all about raising taxes in general to fund the government’s excessive expenditure on unnecessary wars, second homes for MP’s, and millions on pounds in bonuses paid to incompetent government departments, which by the government’s own admission are not fit for purpose.

Let us also be quite clear that these extra taxes have absolutely nothing to do with reducing environmental pollution.

The Government needs money, so they mug the helpless motorist. It is Highway Robbery.
What the government don’t want is for the motorist to fight back and vote for representatives who would safeguard both their civil rights and their finances, but you do have that right and now is the time to use that right.

Write to your MP and tell him that unless fuel duty is reduced and road taxes kept in line with expenditure on roads that your vote will be going to someone else.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Bill Gates disappointed with Microsoft Windows Usability

A Microsoft internal email from Bill Gates tells of his disappointment at his user experience and that he thinks that Windows Usability has been going backwards. This was five years ago, in January 2003.

Well the big news today. It has continued to go backwards for these last five years and Windows Usability is at an all time low.

If the chief geek can't use his own product then what hope do the rest of us have?

Here is a copy of the original email:

---- Original Message ----
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Chris Jones (WINDOWS); Bharat Shah (NT); Joe Peterson; Will Poole; Brian Valentine; Anoop Gupta (RESEARCH)

Subject: Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don't drive usability issues.

Let me give you my experience from yesterday.

I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack ... so I went to They have a download place so I went there.

The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.

This site is so slow it is unusable.

It wasn't in the top 5 so I expanded the other 45.

These 45 names are totally confusing. These names make stuff like: C:\Documents and Settings\billg\My Documents\My Pictures seem clear.

They are not filtered by the system ... and so many of the things are strange.

I tried scoping to Media stuff. Still no moviemaker. I typed in movie. Nothing. I typed in movie maker. Nothing.

So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying - where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?

So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.

They told me to go to the main page search button and type movie maker (not moviemaker!).

I tried that. The site was pathetically slow but after 6 seconds of waiting up it came.

I thought for sure now I would see a button to just go do the download.

In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.

This struck me as completely odd. Why should I have to go somewhere else and do a scan to download moviemaker?

So I went to Windows update. Windows Update decides I need to download a bunch of controls. (Not) just once but multiple times where I get to see weird dialog boxes.

Doesn't Windows update know some key to talk to Windows?

Then I did the scan. This took quite some time and I was told it was critical for me to download 17megs of stuff.

This is after I was told we were doing delta patches to things but instead just to get 6 things that are labeled in the SCARIEST possible way I had to download 17meg.

So I did the download. That part was fast. Then it wanted to do an install. This took 6 minutes and the machine was so slow I couldn't use it for anything else during this time.

What the heck is going on during those 6 minutes? That is crazy. This is after the download was finished.

Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night -- why should I reboot at that time?

So I did the reboot because it INSISTED on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state.

So I got back up and running and went to Windows Updale again. I forgot why I was in Windows Update at all since all I wanted was to get Moviemaker.

So I went back to and looked at the instructions. I have to click on a folder called WindowsXP. Why should I do that? Windows Update knows I am on Windows XP.

What does it mean to have to click on that folder? So I get a bunch of confusing stuff but sure enough one of them is Moviemaker.

So I do the download. The download is fast but the Install takes many minutes. Amazing how slow this thing is.

At some point I get told I need to go get Windows Media Series 9 to download.

So I decide I will go do that. This time I get dialogs saying things like "Open" or "Save". No guidance in the instructions which to do. I have no clue which to do.

The download is fast and the install takes 7 minutes for this thing.

So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.

It is not there.

What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.
Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.

But that is just the start of the crap. Later I have listed things like Windows XP Hotfix see Q329048 for more information. What is Q329048? Why are these series of patches listed here? Some of the patches just things like Q810655 instead of saying see Q329048 for more information.

What an absolute mess.

Moviemaker is just not there at all.

So I give up on Moviemaker and decide to download the Digital Plus Package.

I get told I need to go enter a bunch of information about myself.

I enter it all in and because it decides I have mistyped something I have to try again. Of course it has cleared out most of what I typed.

I try (typing) the right stuff in 5 times and it just keeps clearing things out for me to type them in again.
So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that is a terrible website I haven't run Moviemaker and I haven't got the plus package.

The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind. I thought we had reached a low with Windows Network places or the messages I get when I try to use 802.11. (don't you just love that root certificate message?)

When I really get to use the stuff I am sure I will have more feedback.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Dulux Paintpod Review - It really Sucks!!!

Problem: When you squeeze the trigger, the motor turns the rachet at 'B', this will then turn the rachet at the top of the tube, point 'A'. This should generate sufficient suction to draw the paint into the tube at point 'C', and all the way up the tube into the clear plastic tube and all the way to the roller.

Well in practice the paint never made it as far as the clear plastic tube.

Sounds great when you see the ads on TV.

Bought one. Got it home. Set it up. Pressed the button to start painting....

Nothing! Absolutely nothing! You can hear the motor running, but no paint is making its way up the tube to the roller.

Put Simply "IT DOES NOT WORK !!!". It is a 70 quid piece of crap.

The working part is the tube that you slip into the paint pod. Unfortunately, it is NOT powerful enough to suck the paint up the tube.

The paint pod really sucks. The colour choice is really pathetic and they charge you an arm and a leg for the specially formulated paint.

Save yourself time and money and stick with normal paint and a manual roller.

It is going back to B & Q tomorrow.

It has cost me my time, I did not get my room painted this weekend, and it will cost me a couple of gallons of petrol to take it back. Petrol is not cheap these days either. The extra money I am spending on the petrol would have paid for the normal paint that I would have used to paint the room in the first place.

That will be the last Dulux product I ever buy.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

When is Microsoft going to stop ripping off the British People?

Back in September 2007 , we wrote about How the British Consumer is being Screwed. Then we showed examples how we were being overcharged by up to 37%.

Today, I was researching prices for Microsoft Expression Studio Version 2 and found that the overcharging by Microsoft had now reached over 58%!

On the 14-Jun-2008 the US Price was $699, the UK Price was £669.27.

The UK£ / US$ exchange rate closed on 13-Jun-2008 at £1 = $1.945.

Therefore our Price comparison is as follows USPrice = £359.38, the UK Price = £669.27.

Now the UK Price of £669.27 includes VAT at 17.5% and the US price does not include any tax.

Removing the VAT from the UK price £669.27 – (17.5% VAT) = £569.36.

US Price = £359.38 excluding tax.
UK Price = £569.36 excluding tax.
UK more expensive by £209.98 (58.43%)

Now the British Government do not give a toss about the British People and will NOT do anything to change the current price gouging , but the EU has been going after Microsoft with a vengeance and one would hope that this information would be of significant interest to them.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Are British Publishers just Greedy Money Grabbing Parasites?

Some of you may have heard about Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader. After months of being sold out the device is now back in stock (22-Apr-2008).

Authors in the USA receive a 25% royalty for each digital book sale.

According to the Teleread web site:

“The gauntlet was thrown down in February by Random House c.e.o. Gail Rebuck, who in a meeting with agents proposed a royalty of 15% of net receipts on digital sales. That’s higher than the standard 10% royalty rate on hardbacks, but significantly lower than the 25% currently received by authors in the US for e-book sales.

“Little, Brown c.e.o. Ursula Mackenzie followed suit, writing to agents to say that the Hachette publisher would also be seeking to pay 15% royalties on digital editions. Both publishers emphasised that the rates would be short-term and subject to break clauses.”

Many readers here in the UK would love the chance to own a Kindle and would definitely not be amused if the UK launch was delayed by greedy publishers not rewarding the authors properly for their hard work.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Who could be more dangerous than George Bush?

After 8 years of death and destruction, catastrophes, financial scandals, credit squeeze, big profits for GW’s friends in the Gas and Defence companies, who or what could be worse?

The Answer: John McCain.

Can the American people trust the Republican Party ever again? Probably not according to many.
Why does the GOP (Grand Ole Party) like septuagenarian and octogenarian presidents so much?

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

In case you are not on anyone’s mail list we will let you read the 10 things you should know about John McCain according to

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws. (Ref. 1)

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi. (Ref. 2)

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.
(Ref. 3 )

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.(Ref. 4)

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.(Ref. 5 )

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.(Ref. 6)

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.(Ref. 7 )

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates. (Ref. 8)

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult. (Ref. 9 )
10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year. (Ref. 10)


Ref. 1) "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts,", April 4, 2008

Ref. 2) "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

Ref. 3) "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

Ref. 4) "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

Ref. 5) "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

Ref. 6) "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

Ref. 7) "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

Ref. 8) "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

Ref. 9) "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008
"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

Ref. 10) "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008

It is not necessarily unusual for us to take a stand either for or against a political party or candidate, but we do like to get behind the public face and try to present real people and what they really believe.

Fox News eat your hearts out.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Hat Napping Sweeps the USA

Another audacious hat napping occurred yesterday in Freemont, California. Agent Fergus Fedora of the HIA (HatNapping Intelligence Agency) said that there may be several gangs involved.

Details of yesterday’s incident were reported as follows:

9:10 AM - The target arrives at work, wearing the victim.

9:15-10:25 AM - Hatnapper lying in wait to commit hatnapping.

10:30 AM - Target goes to make a phone call.

10:35 AM – HatNapper Strikes! Ransom note 1 is left on target's desk.

10:46 AM - Hatnapper delivers second ransom note with picture of hat and daily newspaper.

11:11 AM - Target returns to desk. Hat Gone! Finds picture of Hat and Ransom Note!

11:15 – 11:59 AM - Hatnapper delivers third ransom note to Water Cooler!

1:20 PM - Target sources rubber bands.

2:11 PM - Target sources paperclips.

2:30 PM – Ransom Delivered.

3:00 PM - Innocent party returns victim (Hat) to target.

Agent FF says that this was a well planned hat napping, but if you should find yourself a victim of a hat napping then you should call the HIA. Not all hat nappings have a happy ending.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Lolita bed shows Ghost of Incompetence still haunts Woolworths

Lolita BedYou would expect that anyone in their right mind would know that naming a range of beds for young girls as the ‘Lolita’ range would be considered bad taste.

Well, not if you worked for Woolworths apparently.

A Woolworth’s spokeswoman said: “Now this has been brought to our attention, the product has been removed from sale.”

Who was responsible for this farce?

Is there anyone in the Woolworth’s organization paying attention to what is happening in their stores?

Friday, 25 January 2008

Peter Hain Resigns Pending Police Enquiry

Peter HainThe UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said it was the right and proper thing to do.

Who do these people think they are and just how many times do they think they should get away with their rule breaking.

The right time to go was when he found out about the lapses. If he went at that time, then we could be satisfied that the man had integrity. However when he hangs on as long as possible to see if he is going to get away with these breaches, then it begins to appear sleazy.

The British public deserves better and should demand better. It is right that the Electoral Commission have passed the matter to the police for a criminal investigation. It is an extremely serious offence as it directly affects the governing and democracy of our country.

If a burglar gets caught breaking and entering does he get let off simply because he was incompetent? “I am sorry your honour, but my friend who was in charge of disabling the burglar alarm did not notice that extra circuit”. Should you reasonably expect such an excuse to stand up in court? If you think not then you will probably agree that our politicians should not get away with similar excuses.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Labour MP Ronnie Campbell in a bind over National Fetish day

Honestly, some of our MPs need to get out more. The former miner and Labour MP for Blyth Valley, was approached and asked to wear something purple to support national fetish day. He said he would wear a purple shirt.

Unfortunately for Ronnie, he did not really know what a fetish was.

Now I am sure that there must be a few honourable members who could enlighten him, maybe someone from the Tory benches could come to his aid.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

MoD latest Government Department to commit “an incompetence”

The department charged with providing the security for our country is the latest to commit (what the government euphemistically calls) an incompetence.

Des Brown’s wooden tops in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have lost a laptop containing the personal details of over 600,000 people. The data included National Insurance Numbers, Passport Details and banking information.

The information commissioner, Richard Thomas said “We will require satisfactory answers from the Mod about their data protection practices and a firm assurance that steps will be taken to improve these practices before deciding on the appropriate action to take.”

Good luck to you Richard. This is the same department who send our soldiers into battle without ammunition and without the necessary protection to save their lives. The same department who think our shores can be guarded by ancient flying death traps (Nimrods), and the same department who have never given a satisfactory answer to anyone in their entire history.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Gordon Brown says Peter Hain guilty of “an incompetence”

The Prime Minister said that Mr Hain had made a mistake which he had readily admitted to.

There are several issues here which give rise to more than a little concern:

1. Mr. Hain, if admittedly incompetent, how can we trust him to competently run a Government department?

2. Why do we bother having these rules and these expensive enquiries when there appears to be no consequences when the rules are broken?

3. Spending over £100,000 on the deputy leadership campaign and coming in fifth does appear to be more than just a little incompetent.

The Prime Minister has said that he has full confidence in this “incompetent minister”, after all his department, the department of work and pension has not lost any data. Indeed their data records have been found …twice…

Documents from the department of Work and Pensions (Yes, Peter Hain’s Department) containing sensitive personal data, including details of benefit claims, passport photocopies, and mortgage payments were found dumped on a roundabout in Devon. This is the second time in the last three months that this has occurred.

No one at Downing Street has admitted, what everyone is thinking. As well as having no more money to spend on new jails, the government has also run out of financing for storage space. Therefore a new policy of dumping unwanted data and storage materials has been initiated by the former chancellor.

Friday, 18 January 2008

NHS Patient Medical records lost in Stockport, England UK

Again we are told of the events that happened in the past rather than immediate notification of more civil and public servant incompetence.

The Stockport Primary Care Trust (PCT) lost a memory stick containing patient medical details, which includes patient names, dates of birth, NHS Numbers, and GP details.

The data has been missing since December.

According to those responsible for the loss, the information cannot be used by identity fraudsters. Yea Right! We trust these morons to be the experts on what is possible and what is not. And you will like this, also according to those responsible for losing the data in question, “The loss was an accident rather than any systemic failing in management”. Yea Right Again!

Oh! And just in case you may be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe just a one off incident. No, sorry. The Stockport PCT also had to admit that they lost diaries containing patient’s names and addresses, apparently stolen from staff cars, in two separate incidents last June.

Government Incompetence, public servant incompetence, should we trust these people with anything? There is a danger that this site is becoming a Public Data Lost and Found blog. Unfortunately, we do not find too many stories about data being found. Gordon Brown, who is also head of the British Civil Service, must love this.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Woman, 84, discharged in nightie

As you will no by now, we are completely unsympathetic to the excuses made by public servants when they do something dumb, thoughtless and uncaring. So when some unthinking moron discharges and elderly lady from hospital at 3am then we must speak out in the name of common sense and decency.

In fact, we think that the only way to remedy these situations is for the person making these descisions to take responsibility and suffer the consequences.

So whoever made this diabolical descision at Herfeford hospital should suffer the consequences. They are definitely not able to make descisions that affect people's lives.

Do you want this person to be making descisions affecting the care and health of your loved ones? Of course you don't.

The person or persons are not fit for the post and should be removed immediately before anyone dies.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Stomach bug sweeping the country (UK)

Wash your hands!

I was lucky enough to be on the Ocean Villager 2 cruise ship this summer, and I was very impressed by their safeguards to prevent an outbreak of the NoroVirus.

At each entrance to any dining hall there was a member of staff who stood in your way with a hand wash gel for you to wash your hands before entering the dining hall.

The gel itself was a much better solution than I have seen in any of our hospitals. I think hospital managers could look at what the Ocean Villager did and use this to ensure that all hospital STAFF and VISITORS wahsed their hands BEFORE entering the hospital.

This should be supplemented by washing the hands of all patients and staff before each meal. Simply carry the gel around with the meal tray.