Thursday, 31 July 2008

Anger over £1bn Centrica profits

"BBC NEWS | Business | Anger over £1bn Centrica profits
Consumer groups have expressed anger as British Gas owner Centrica revealed £5m-per-day profits, after announcing a record price hike on Wednesday. Centrica said the rise was justified and was needed to offset higher costs.

Sam Laidlaw, Centrica's chief executive, said: 'This is a business that has got a million shareholders - a lot of pension funds and people have got their savings invested in British Gas shares and we have to look after them'.

Good grief - I've probably got shares in Centrica indirectly via my employers' pension fund but that doesn't justify whacking such a massive increase on prices. For goodness sake, Government, its time to cut out this blatant snouts-in-the-trough crap.

At the end of the day its all Thatcher's fault for selling off the (our) Utilities: how many dipsticks bought into her propaganda about everyone owning shares? Just how much more have your Utility bills gone up compared to the piffling dividends you've received?

BBC NEWS | Business | Anger over £1bn Centrica profits

Pick your weather

MK weather for Thursday 31 July 2008The BBC - or is it the Met Office - seem to be having problems predicting the weather recently. Time to go back to the seaweed, folks.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Dad's Army Archive reporting for duty Sir!

"BBC - Archive - Dad's Army - Homepage
On 31 July 1968, viewers of BBC One met a group of elderly soldiers and a 'stupid boy' for the first time. 'Dad's Army' became an instant classic with its gentle humour, nostalgia and pride in the men who gave their all for their country, whatever that all happened to be.

I've always been a big fan of the series and this new archive is well worth a visit. My 65-year-old brother and I still make much use of the phrase "stupid boy".

BBC - Archive - Dad's Army - Homepage

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Higher oil price boosts BP profit

"BBC NEWS | Business | Higher oil price boosts BP profit
Oil giant BP has announced a 6% rise in profits for the second quarter of 2008, largely thanks to a sharp rise in the price of oil. Unions are calling for a windfall tax on BP and other oil producers.

Well, instead of giving money to the government, who would surely piss it away in the same regardless manner as they do our taxes, why not get BP to fit thousands of solar heating or electricity generation systems to houses around the UK for free?

BBC NEWS | Business | Higher oil price boosts BP profit

3,000 passports and visas stolen

"BBC NEWS | UK | 3,000 passports and visas stolen
About 3,000 blank passports and visas have been stolen while being transported from Manchester to London. However, the passport service said the stolen documents could not be used by thieves because of their hi-tech embedded chip security features.

Yeah, right - does anyone really believe that?

BBC NEWS | UK | 3,000 passports and visas stolen

Monday, 28 July 2008

2010 Camaro still a gas-guzzler

"GM unveils 'fuel-sipping' Camaro - 2010 Chevrolet Camaro (1) -
...when General Motors unveiled the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Monday afternoon, it was the car's fuel economy numbers that were front and center. V6 versions, which GM expects will be the biggest sellers, are expected to get 26 miles per gallon on the highway.

Hardly an achievement, guys. What does it return around town? 10mpg?

GM unveils 'fuel-sipping' Camaro - 2010 Chevrolet Camaro (1) -

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Arctic 'has 90bn barrels of oil'

"BBC NEWS | Business | Arctic 'has 90bn barrels of oil'
According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic holds about 13% of the world's undiscovered oil, 30% of the undiscovered natural gas, and 20% of the undiscovered natural gas liquids. Exploration companies believe the recent rapid ice melt in the Arctic may make it easier to get reserves out of the region.

Its almost as if Nature is saying "go ahead, mankind, seal your own fate even faster".

BBC NEWS | Business | Arctic 'has 90bn barrels of oil'

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Fuel duty increase postponed

"BBC NEWS | Politics | Fuel duty increase is postponed
The planned 2p increase in fuel duty this October is to be postponed. This is the second time it has been put back - it was due to be introduced in March, but was delayed for six months because of rising oil prices.

I should think so too - fuel prices have a direct impact on inflation and pay rises, so if he wants to keep any control over the economy, it would have been pretty stupid to put prices up again.

"The price of unleaded petrol has risen 25% over the past year and pressure has been mounting for duty to be cut."

Which really makes you wonder about the official figures for inflation, doesn't it? Diesel has gone up by 36% and that would have a more significant impact on food prices, etc.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Fuel duty increase is postponed

Monday, 14 July 2008

Motocross in the sun

photoSunday's Hare and Hounds motocross, hosted by the Northampton Motocycle Club at Wood End near Towcester went very well: good turn out and nice weather too. Pity the wives and GFs of the riders, though, given the amount of cow muck that seemed to be everywhere!


originally uploaded by peter_hasselbom.
Just a nice image.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Multi-camera photography

Multi-camera photographyFiver's program 'The Shot' (reality competition to find a fashion photographer) this afternoon included a session using a 90-camera setup allegedly to shoot photos for a feature on hair. Not surprisingly, the judges were pretty scathing about all the results - but the equipment was never going to suit the subject. The program would have been far more interesting if it had focussed on the technology and techniques instead of the competitors whinging and moaning about each other. But then I guess that's what reality TV is all about - especially if its American.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Net address fix foxes web users

"BBC NEWS | Technology | Net address fix foxes web users
Many users of the ZoneAlarm firewall have been floored by a fix to the net's addressing system. Those hit found they could not get online after installing a Microsoft patch to close a security loophole.

While it prepared a fix for the fix, [ZoneAlarm authors] Checkpoint advised users to uninstall the Microsoft security update or temporarily lower the firewall settings to 'medium'.

This was exactly the issue I found last night on updating a neighbour's machine. And the suggested temporary change to the firewall level definitely works.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Net address fix foxes web users

Road tax increases 'will hit 9m'

"BBC NEWS | Politics | Road tax increase 'will hit 9m'
An estimated nine million motorists will have to pay more road tax under reforms aimed at punishing gas-guzzling vehicles, the government has admitted. Official estimates say vehicle excise duty will rise for 44% of vehicles made since 2001 - by up to £245 for the most polluting ones - but will fall for 33%.

Treasury minister Angela Eagle ... admitted that five of the UK's 30 most popular cars would pay more - the 2.2l diesel Land Rover Freelander, the 1.6l unleaded Toyota Auris, the 2.2l diesel Honda CR-V, the 1.8l unleaded Vauxhall Vectra and the 1.6l unleaded Vauxhall Zafira.

What precisely is the Land Rover Freelander doing in the list of the 30 most popular cars? Why are so many people driving them? Mostly doing the shopping and school run, would be my guess - Chelsea Tractors in other words.

Yet again the Government is raising taxes - presumably to pay for its wars - hiding behind the Green issue.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Road tax increase 'will hit 9m'

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Cyclist kills - and gets a fine

"BBC NEWS | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Death cyclist fine angers family
The family of a 17-year-old girl who died after being hit by a cyclist has described the £2,200 fine handed to the man who hit her as 'laughable'.

A CPS spokesperson said: 'A file of evidence from the police was reviewed by a senior CPS prosecutor and, based on that evidence, it was decided the charge of dangerous cycling was the most appropriate.'

The defendant would probably have been given a stiffer sentence if he were just walking along. Good luck to the family in their private prosecution.

BBC NEWS | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Death cyclist fine angers family


At last - a mobile blog service based in the UK! As well as support for photos and text messages, they have teamed up with another company to allow audio postings too - really neat.

Nothing much there yet, but here's my moblog page.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Ex-MI5 chief attacks 42-day plan

"Ex-MI5 chief attacks 42-day plan
The former head of MI5 has dismissed government plans to extend the time terror suspects can be held to 42 days as not 'workable'.

Lord Goldsmith, who was attorney general when Tony Blair was prime minister, also opposed the plan, saying it risked "giving away the very freedoms that terrorists are trying to take from us'.

He told peers: 'We don't take away freedoms that people, and our ancestors, have fought for without very good cause...'

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said he would oppose the plans 'root and branch'.

Baroness Neville-Jones said of the 42-days plan: 'It represents yet another attack, on the part of the government, without justification, on fundamental democratic rights and freedoms that have underpinned our society for centuries.'

I am so relieved that there are some in Government willing to speak out against all this new so-called anti-terror legislation, pressured onto us by the politics of fear. Why is it that Brown and his cronies can't see that every liberty we surrender is considered a victory by the terrorists?

BBC NEWS | Politics | Ex-MI5 chief attacks 42-day plan

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Government launches data mash-up

"BBC NEWS | Technology | Government launches data mash-up
The UK government has launched a competition to find innovative ways of using the masses of data it collects."

How about writing a load of it on CDs and posting it to no where? Or copying it onto a laptop and leaving it in a car? Or just leaving it on a train?

BBC NEWS | Technology | Government launches data mash-up

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Photos from Granada

photoJust helped my brother post photos from his trip to Granada, Spain onto a Picasa web album. Used Downloader Pro and BreezeBrowser Pro to create 800-pixel versions, but in retrospect it would have been a lot easier to do the entire process via the Picasa application. Again, I noticed however, Picasa had trouble seeing the folder of images; although there was a tick next to the folder on my D:, it still did not bring in the thumbnails.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Furry humbugs reprieved

"BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Badger cull proposals 'rejected'
The government has decided against a cull of badgers in England to control TB in cattle, the BBC understands."

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Badger cull proposals 'rejected'

Thursday, 3 July 2008

More on the Noisy gits

The local rag has a front page splash regarding the aforementioned noisy gits. Both the council Environment people and the police were in attendance in force but were afraid to brake up the rave, which was held in a field next to The Globe Inn, as they were concerned that some of the noisy gits in question might fall into the canal. Having had to put up their racket all night, I can only say that would have been the best place for them - together with all their noise-making gear.