Saturday, 27 January 2007


"Campaign to drive 4x4s from city
A new pressure group has been planting fake parking tickets on 4x4 cars in Bristol, challenging the need to drive off-road vehicles in urban areas. Campaigners claim the cars - designed to travel on difficult terrain - are 'polluting and dangerous' in cities. The Bristol Alliance Against Urban 4x4s said many residents felt the vehicles were unsuitable for Bristol's streets.
"

BBC NEWS | England | Bristol | Campaign to drive 4x4s from city

Wednesday, 24 January 2007


Covered my first Premiership game last night: Watford vs Blackburn. Aidy Boothroyd's Hornets managed only their second win in the top flight, but the match saw Blackburn captain Robbie Savage stetchered off with what later turned out to be a broken leg. Watford's first goal may or may not have been an own-goal; Blackburn's David Bentley equalised in injury time at the end of the first half, but Watford's US-import Jay DeMerit gave the home side a 2-1 win.

Monday, 22 January 2007


"Drivers face new phone penalties
Motorists who are caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving will have three penalty points added to their licence, the government says. Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander said the maximum fine would also double to £60 from 27 February.

But the Liberal Democrats say only about one in 100 offenders are being caught by police.

Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is a perfectly sensible change and we support it. But the trouble with changes like this coming from ministers in ivory towers is that they have left our roads to be policed by speed cameras rather than real traffic officers - and so people will carry on getting away with offences like this.'
"

Absolutely spot on: you hardly ever see patrol cars, er, patrolling any more.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Drivers face new phone penalties

"Scavengers take washed-up goods
Police are patrolling beaches in Devon where members of the public have been taking goods washed ashore from stricken container ship MSC Napoli. Hundreds of people have made off with valuable hauls from some 40 containers which drifted onto Branscombe beach.

Police have warned them they are breaking the law if they fail to declare taking any of the ship's cargo.
"

Like they're going to declare what they've walked off with. Perhaps the locals consider it compensation for having the thing dump oil all over their coastline?

BBC NEWS | England | Devon | Scavengers take washed-up goods

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Thursday, 18 January 2007


On Newsweek's Letters page today we have "After reading the 'STATE OF DENIAL' [article from a previous issue], I'm convinced that, given his absolute ineptitude in gathering and interpreting information, if George W. Bush had been president at the time of Pearl Harbour, he would have invaded Australia", writes Nancy Reeves of Kirkwood, Missouri.

Priceless - absolutely priceless.

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Monday, 15 January 2007


Just before I left work this evening, I ran Thunderbird (my much-preferred POP client) to check my email. As it ran, it popped up the box "Do you want to make Thunderbird your default email application", which I thought was strange given I had aleady run it many times before, including earlier in the day. I said "Yes" (obviously) then it started to download mail - ALL OF MY MAIL again from my hosting account (about 430 messages). I stopped it, quit and walked out the door. I don't really know what has caused this fault to happen again, but I did notice that among the Windows updates that installed today was an update to Outlook 2003 (my XP machine has full Office installed on it) so I reckon its highly likely that Outlook has gone and duffed up my Thunderbird installation. And I never use Outlook.

Friday, 12 January 2007


"EU plans attack on car emissions
The cost of gas-guzzling cars could soar in five years' time under plans from the European Commission. The Commission wants to impose mandatory efficiency standards on all new vehicles sold in Europe as part of a master plan to combat climate change.
"

Well, this is certainly a step in the right direction. But why not do the job properly and ban the manufacture and sale of gas-guzzlers altogether?

BBC NEWS | Business | EU plans attack on car emissions

Monday, 8 January 2007


I've raised the issue of parking charges at stations before, but now the price is even higher. The cost of going to the Watford game on Saturday was £8.80 for the rail fare, plus £5.50 for parking. When you consider how much expense goes into running and maintaining a train and the tracks it runs on, then how little it can possibly cost to 'run' a car park (there are no attendants), then how can they possibly justify charging over 60% of the train fare just to park a car? I suppose its what you might expect of the complete dog's dinner this Government (and the one before it) has made of public transportation.

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Sunday, 7 January 2007

Watford in the rain


Good test for my new waterproof over-trousers yesterday at Watford vs Stockport County FA Cup third round. Rained constantly for all of the first half, easing off by half time, which allowed me to send photos using my laptop without having to leave pitch-side (although the poor machine did get pretty wet in the process).

Stockport scored first, much to the delight of the considerable, and very vocal, travelling fans, but Watford soon equalised and it was all down hill (and at the other end) from there.

Friday, 5 January 2007


Last night's free local newspaper called for readers to contribute news via mobile phone - promoting so-called Citizen Journalism. There was no mention of whether you'd get paid for your words and/or photos, or even if you'd be credit - but you certainly have to pay them for the priviledge, since they make a charge on top of the normal text fee.

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"Airlines savaged over environment
A minister has launched an outspoken attack on the airline industry over its failure to tackle carbon emissions. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Environment Minister Ian Pearson said budget airline Ryanair was the 'irresponsible face of capitalism'. He singled out US airlines' attitude to cutting emissions as 'a disgrace'
"

BBC NEWS | Politics | Airlines savaged over environment

This is, of course, a minister from the same Government that not a month ago gave the go-ahead for the expansion of some of this country's biggest aiports. Don't be surprised then, Minister, when your comment are either derided or just flatly ignored.

BBC NEWS | England | London | Uproar at airport expansion plans

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In my quest to learn more about Linux, I installed Red Hat Fedora Core 6 on a spare machine at home last night. I was chuffed that the install went so smoothly: all important hardware (including the on-motherboard sound chip, and the old Adaptec SCSI card) were found automatically and drivers loaded for me.

A Google search had revealed a couple of useful guides for doing the installation:

Should you find that some Adobe products, like Photoshop or Illustrator decide they don't want to work under Mac OS X, check the Time Zone your computer is set to. A friend recently found that his G4 had been set to 'Cardiff - England', and on changing it to 'London - England', the software suddenly started working. Go figure...

Wednesday, 3 January 2007


"Apple faces US iTunes lawsuit
A US class-action lawsuit has been launched against Apple over links between its iTunes music store and iPod music players. The action follows similar charges in Europe, brought by a French consumer rights group.

The lawsuit alleges Apple violated anti-trust laws by using content protection technology to protect music purchased from its iTunes music store that frustrates the ability of users to play downloaded tracks on anything other than an iPod. It also objects to Apple's lack of transparency to consumers over this incompatibility. The suit seeks to force Apple into breaking the tie-up between iTunes and iPod players as well as the payment of unspecified damages to punters who downloaded music after April 2003.
"

And that includes me. But then I don't have an iPod. Or any other solid-state media player, for that matter. I wouldn't buy an iPod either - I don't like their control interface and I think they are absurdly over-priced, especially considering where they are made and therefore how little they must cost to be made.

Apple faces US iTunes lawsuit | The Register

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"Olympic flame to ascend Everest
The Olympic flame is to be taken to the top of Mount Everest as part of the build-up to the 2008 Games in Beijing.
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I wonder if the International Olympic Committee will see this part of the root as using the Olympics to make a political statement and refuse to accept it.

BBC SPORT | Olympic flame to ascend Everest

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