Thursday 31 January 2019

It shouldn't make us complacent, but.....

Interesting article about Finland's approach to homelessness on the BBC website.

It seems they have made dealing with homelessness a priority, in contrast to the UK which deals with it in 'a more traditional way'. The article also points out the number of rough sleepers in England has risen from 1768 in 2010 to 4751 in 2017.

In 1987 Helsinki had 18,000 homeless and now has 6,600.

Wednesday 30 January 2019

You Canuk be serious.

No hidden meanings behind this - I hope my Canadian friends also find it amusing.

Who will take ownership?

Or how, when you think a job is being looked after, it's STILL your job to sort it out. 🙄 😡

Trust and modern life.

This is a post about online information for buying stuff.

Remember the 'good old days' of shops and businesses that sold stuff, making recommendations tp their customers?

I've just ordered a new set of tyres for my Mini: for those who care, Bridgestone Turanza T005s. I need something with decent grip, economy, comfort, not too much noise, good handling. Just like almost everyone does. 10 years ago I'd have rocked up at the local tyre place, asked what they recommended from the premium brands that wasn't too expensive and gone with that.

And been happy*.

Now I have to spend several hours online, reading roadtests, checking reviews, trying to guess who is telling the truth, who is still in honeymoon phase, who has an axe to grind and who is being paid by the manufacturer. To make matters more compliocated, aparently a tyre type is developed through the course of its lifespan, so older reviews may not even be meaningful.

While ignorance is not bliss, getting expert advice in an area about which one really knows little and has almost no chance of developing deep & meaningful knowledge is not foolish.

Holidays are the same. "We'd like to go to Greece, the mainland looks nice and this is what we can afford - what do you have?" Now I spend hours pawing through hotel features, location information (is it really by the beach or is the sea actually 200 vertical meters BELOW the accomodation?) reviews etc. Cars ditto. Cameras - well, that's a little more personal, but ditto. etc. etc.

The purpose of the internet is, apparently, for us to review things so that others can read our reviews and then make a different choice anyway.

And for a few key characters to make lots of money from us, but that's another story.

Is there a point to this post?

Not really, other than to observe that mankind will always spend just a little more than is in their budget, regardless of whether it's money, emotions, energy, time or anything else that's available to be traded away. And nobody wants to take responsibility or be sued.

*Generally this has been true with 2 notable exceptions.

1) I had a blow-out while driving through France, the spare I had was functional but of dubious legality and the 'good used' spare I picked in while in France was outrageously expensive and apparently made of teflon. For the journey home I actually found the bald spare to be safer than that replacement.

2) Toyo. Apparently a great brand just newly available in the UK, therefore very cost-effective according to the tyre supplier. While OK in the dry, at the first sign of rain they lost all adhesion, as I discovered by slithering into the back of another car at low speed, causing £600 worth of damage (mid 90s). The 'borderline' Michelins I'd replaced were MUCH better & safer, and within a few weeks I'd replaced the Toyos, even though we couldn't really afford it, because they were absolutely lethal - one brand I will never buy again if I can help it.

The new Bridgestones are good, more grip than the worn tyres, pleasantly supple on bumps, not too noisy. They roll a little less easily & fuel consumption is slightly up, but that's to be expected as a trade-off for grip.

Thursday 24 January 2019

Never trust a man bearing discounts

Or other things, but that's a different story.

Booking airport parking this lunchtime, got a price going direct, then went with an email from people we've booked through in the past. They had a discount code etc, lots of possible 'off-site' parking, but the one that I really wanted by the terminal was more expensive than booking with the airport.

That's my business they've probably lost forever.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

It's a little sad to see the slow death

Of the Windows phone. I KNOW it's going to be unsupported at the end of this year, but rather than keep it running right up to the end, it's getting the death of a thousand cuts (if there were ever that many apps available to be closed down). Contactless payment is the latest victim.

Once again, I'm staggered that Microsoft really have so little clue about running a business that makes and supports stuff. I sometimes see this kind of behaviour in other, smaller businesses, but somehow I expect an organisation that turns over multi-billions of dollars to be better guided, more consistent and thorough, less forgetful. If nothing else I expect managed, planned obsolescence, ESPECIALLY in public-facing areas where ordinary people are expected to buy stuff from them & become repeat customers. This seems to just be a trainwreck happening while I watch.

More than 6 months after jumping ship I miss my Lumia 640. It was slowish, didn't have much screen life (or a great screen) but I liked the interface - the Xiaomi is a much better phone, but Android isn't that great an OS to work with.

If you're a Chromium user that doesn't love adverts

Then you may soon have to think about another non-Chromium based browser. It seems that Google are about to block ad blockers except where the ad blockers are already on-board with Google, passing through ads they are paid to whitelist.

I don't use Chrome/Chromium. I'm not a fan of the interface and I feel that Google already knows far more about me through my phone, web searches and this blog. So if you're a Chrome/Chromium user or your browser of choice is built on the Chromium engine, IF this happens and you start getting served ads then let me encourage you to change your browser. Brave is recommended at present.

So we had snow last night

Winter in Britain is a bit pathetic these days, and despite the snow coming down in large lumps, it barely settled at all around here. The harshest winter experience I've known in the last 12 months was actually back in September between Caronport  Canmore and Wetaskiwin in Canada, as their autumn was getting going.

In some ways it's great that things aren't so cold, but we've seen a big change here, even compared with 15 years ago when the valley floor would sometimes flood & freeze hard enough to skate on.

Thursday 17 January 2019

Life in draft format

It seems I have written more than 3600 blogposts in the >18 years of bleating here, and have 101 drafts that have never seen the light of day.

Often this is a result of being stimulated by something, starting to write and then running out of energy/enthusiasm/newsworthiness before completing the post. Sometimes I'll start and think "this really isn't somewhere I want to go right now" and just park the thing as a draft, if it doesn't get deleted. And sometimes I'll just click 'new post' and then not write anything at all, which then saves a blank page as a draft.

So I may try to review and complete some of those 'parked' posts over the coming weeks. I'm sure that will make for a roller-coaster ride of thrills and excitement. ;-)

Wednesday 16 January 2019

How is she doing?

An older lady telephoned St. Joseph's Hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?"
The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number of the patient?"
The old lady in her weak, tremulous voice said, Norma Findlay, Room 302."
The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room."
After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said,
"I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her
blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her
Physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."
The lady said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good News."
The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?"
The lady said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me anything."

Talking of old ladies, apparently Julie Andrews will no longer be endorsing Rimmel Vibrant Shades lipstick as she claims it breaks too easily and makes her breath smell

In a statement she said: “The super colour fragile lipstick gives me halitosis”

Descent of the machines

Not so much rise of the robots then? Sometimes common sense seems like a superpower.

Saturday 12 January 2019

Apparently it's true

Two peoples separated by a common language.

We didn't have the "green thing".


Yesterday after shopping in our local supermarket I was in the queue at the Check Out and heard when the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologised to the young girl & then sighed, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. You folk didn't do enough to save our environment for future generations."

The older lady said "Ahh yes you're right -- our generation didn't have the "green thing" in its day." She sighed then continued:
Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles & beer bottles to the shops. The shops then sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized & refilled, so those same bottles were used over & over, thus REALLY were recycled. But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Grocery stores put our groceries into brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) were not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on their brown paper bag/covers. But, too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.

I remember how we walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store or office building; walked to the grocery store & didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go 200 yards.

Back then we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind & solar power really did dry our clothes back in our days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. . . . But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Back then we had one radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And if anyone did own a TV, it had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of a football pitch. When cooking we blended & stirred by hand, we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send by post, we used layers of old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, & we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the "green thing" back then. Back then, people took the bus & kids rode bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's expensive car or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing"..

Oh and we had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest leisure park."

. . . . But it's so sad this current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?

Thursday 10 January 2019

We always knew Apple computer was a servant of Satan.

Oh, and Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi etc too, at least if you're part of the Russian Orthodox church anyway.

So now advocating for privacy has (sort of) religious backing too.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Waiting at Heathrow.

I've just seen a man step across the barrier with a huge happy/sad smile as a child came through the arrivals door. He kissed the boy - obviously his son, then kissed the older lad following.

A woman, also with the boys came through, swathed in a burka, and he barely even noticed she was there.

The first act made me happy, but the second quite sad. At least he knows HOW to show love.

Why don't you DIE?!

Probably not the best thing to shout in the circumstances.

Shelob was apparently not amused.

Just signed a card for someone's 60th birthday


I've got just 3 years to go, and 60 always seemed so old in a Kevin and Perry "you're so old you're practically dead" way.

40 didn't seem old at all really.

50 wasn't ideal, but was still OKish.

60? Sod that for a game of soldiers.

Someone here was talking just now about going mad, then one day taking off all their clothes and running round with a chainsaw. I have the chainsaw, but the madness bit doesn't really appeal, nor the public nudity. But stuff this age business.

Where does one go from here, other than the gentle decline to senility, heart attacks (if you're lucky) or the home for geriatrics (if you aren't)?

What makes one personal preference OK and another not?

I was mildly amused at this article about a man who finds younger women attractive and older women not. So it's all about love when it comes to same-sex relationships, but it's not when it comes to youth and beauty?

Love, lust and infatuation are apparently a confusing mixture.

Saturday 5 January 2019

Just like that

Christmas is over, we've been back at work a few days and all the decs & stuff are in the loft. How quickly the season and holiday passes.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Not impressed.

Really fed up with all these new years sales. Went to Selfridges and they don't sell fridges. Went to Currys and they don't sell curries. Went to Boots and they don't sell boots. I wasn't very impressed with the Virgin Megastore either.

Just to say, this IS a joke BTW. :p