Sunday, 28 February 2010

The impending doom of 6Music

When I first heard about the impending closure of 6 Music I was somewhat saddened, they're one of the few stations to play tracks from my beloved Plimptons, and half the indiepop band whom I religiously follow. But on the other hand I rarely listen to 6 Music.

After reading reactions and comment online I realised that I was part of the music industry, I only wanted to keep 6 Music as a means to promote my own interests, rather than cos I liked listening to it. I was The Man, the enemy, in the wrong.

So today I read on Sharpey's Opinion piece
that the station itself is not as important as the content it carries – if Radios 1 and 2 were more like 6Music, we wouldn’t actually need 6Music any more.

And aye, that resonates, I only used to listen to Radio 1 for John Peel, Radcliffe and Riley, DJ's who are long gone from Radio 1 in it's pursuit of the younger listener who I imagine enjoy being shouted at.

Whenever I listen to the radio these day's its in my car, and its Radio 4, everything else sounds like just indeterminate noise.

This youthiness of Radio 1 isn't the state of British culture right now, its just the whims of the Director General, it could go any way if he wanted it to.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Council Tax cuts

Here's an interesting thing, the Local Government Association's annual survey of council tax things reports that the average rise is 1.6%
Householders are set to see an average rise of 1.6% – the lowest increase since council tax began in 1993. With the Retail Price Index (RPI) currently running at 3.7%, the increase would represent a real-terms cut of 2.1%. For councils outside London, the average increase is 1.9%.
They fail to mention those councils who've been able to cut the tax this year. The Taxpayers Alliance neatly suggests a few:-
But there is no mention at all of Hammersmith & Fulham's amazing four years in a row of 3% tax cuts. Nor do Windsor & Maidenhead get congratulations for introducing the largest council tax cut ever - 4%. Not even Three Rivers' 0.5% cut is acknowledged.
Then again, its a bit of a coincidence that these three mentioned are all down south, (two Conservative councils and one LibDem). I wonder what the national picture of council tax rises is like in terms of party control of the council and how up north or daan south the councils are

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Benefits anxiety

I walk to work, its about 2.4 miles, I do it not to save petrol but to save money and ensure I get to work on time. As a result of this walking, I get to see lots of adverts.

You know, of course that the government is the UK's biggest advertiser.

I am fraught with anxiety. I see lots of adverts against benefit fraud. They catch benefit thieves, 56,439 of them last year.

I'm not sure if I'm a benefit thief or not. Maybe I am and I just don't know it, maybe I made a mistake on a form, and as a result I'm getting benefits that I shouldn't be. If its just an innocent mistake, they won't prosecute and fine me, will they?

Like, last year I claimed Housing Benefit for a few months, and Job Seekers allowance, but they kept cancelling it for a variety of reasons, so I got further and further into debt. The Housing Benefit was a particular pain, cos I lived in the middle of West Hampstead, its pretty expensive round there and I could barely afford it even when I had a job, so there was something that made me feel uneasy about getting the state to pay for me to stay there. If I was the state I wouldn't have paid any benefits, I would have insisted I moved out to somewhere cheaper, like Hull.

But no, the State, they paid vast sums of money for me to stay. Maybe that was the mistake that will get me done. Anyhoo, I moved away to somewhere cheaper, Wembley and stopped relying on Housing Benefit.

I heard about some bloke who works 50 hours a week, but still claimed Housing Benefit cos he couldn't afford the place he stayed in, he had a big family and needed a big house. He was advised to work less so he'd be able to claim more benefits, it was the only way he could stay were he was. Is that cheating? Not working as much as you possibly can? Or is it just the way the system's geared.

I was on Job Seekers Allowance, but that kept on changing, and getting cut and I'd have to reapply for it and then discover that it was the Job Centre who made a mistake and not me. But maybe it was all a mistake and I wasn't due to claim anything. It could go either way.

Besides, if its not the claimant who makes the mistake, does the person in the benefits agency get fined and imprisoned? No? Is there any penalty for them cocking up? Any incentive for them to not mess up?

There was a Dick Puddlecote piece the other day about how his business has to keep doing stuff to keep up with changing regulations, just to stay in business. Maybe the benefits malarkey is like that, one week I'm all law abiding and lawfully claiming and then some legislation changes or some statutory instrument and a week later I'm a benefit thief without me actually doing anything.

Right now I get a single person's discount on my council tax, 25% off, which is nice of them. But I'm concerned that when I phoned up, I just told the nice person at Brent Council that I lived alone and they believed me, and didn't require any proof or anything. What if I was lying? What if its some kind of trick, some kind of test?

I swear I'm the only person who lives at my flat, no one else has slept there or stayed the night since I moved in. The bed remains unchristened.

Then again there was that thing with Islington Council taking itself to court about parking fines, maybe the council folk have gone rogue against themselves. Its not my fault, I'm just caught up in some council schizo split personality battle.

Maybe its the Working Tax Credits? First time I applied I figured out how much I was due to earn in 2009/2010 and the nice Working Tax Credit people gave me a regular amount of money every week. But then a month or so later, I recalculated how much I thought I'd earn in the same financial year and came up with a different figure, so now I get paid a different amount in Working Tax Credits, but I don't know which number was right, or what I did differently the first time.

What if it was right before and wrong now? What if I'm a benefit thief?

I don't think I am, I don't think they'll ever catch me, but that's what the people in the adverts thought. Or they would do if they were actually benefit thieves, and not just models paid to appear in adverts holding signs.

In fact if they're not really benefit thieves, and just pretending to be, how do we know that the 56,439 figure isn't also just pretending to be the number of people caught? How can we believe any of it?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Kids ages and fathers

In both of these stories I'm somewhat concerned by the ages of the youngest children and the relationships with the father.

Miss Essma Marjam: youngest child - 5 months
'I'm separated from my husband. He's a solicitor in Derby, but I don't know if he's working at the moment. He doesn't pay anything towards the kids. Things are quite difficult between us.
Miss Nimco Hassan Ibrahim: youngest child - 4 years
After eight months working as a bus driver, Mr Yusuf began living on benefits. When they were stopped in March 2004, he left the country.
Also I think I'm quite jealous of her TV, Playstation 3 and high speed internet connection.

Both these ladies appear to be taking the piss.

Greetings from 2006

I've fallen through a hole in the space-time continuum and I'm writing this from 2006, or it sure feels like it.

Disaster struck at work the other day, and for once it wasn't work related. I dropped my Blackberry, the trackerball fell out, and the wee chromed ring bit rolled off under a cage. I managed to recover all the bits, but I was quite distraught.

Somehow it still worked, I called up the nice people at Orange and they said they'd send me a new one if I paid £60. I said I'd think about it.

Luckily the internet told me that the trackerball is just held in by magnets. So I popped it back in, making sure everything was the right way round and it worked, almost as good as new.

Until the next day when none of the keys worked. People would phone, I couldn't answer. Emails would come through, I couldn't read. Blogging needed to be done and couldn't be.

The internet had the answer this time too, moisture had gotten into the phone, and sticking it in front of a hairdrier would fix it, sometimes.

So I gave it a try, the keys came back to life, I called my attractive young ladyfriend to assure her I was still alive. Then the keys died again, and no amount of hair-drying would fix it.

My sim card is now in my old 2006 Nokia, the battery life is about six hours, and it doesn't do email or internetting.

All the stored phone numbers from the last three years have been lost, so I just have the number of people who I was still in touch with in 2006. Hello ladies.

The great and tedious saga of me trying to get an internet connection of my own, as documented previously here, as drawn to an uncomfortable close as I've abandoned the plan of getting my Ubuntu netbook online and had to settle for my old cranky desktop computer which takes half an hour to boot up.

When it finds an internet connection, all by itself it loads up MSN messenger/Live messenger. Does anyone still use that? I fear not.

On the way walking to work, through Wembley, there's a wee independent computer game shop, in the window on Monday I noticed amongst the preowned PS3s and XBox 360s, they had a preowned original Xbox, only £15. Now way back in another life I used to test AV and hifi systems and we got an Xbox at work, I used to spend weeks and weeks playing Project Gotham Racing, nipping round Edinburgh and Stockholm, and now this was my chance to get back.

Alas, when I went in the shop, it had been sold. Still it would have been just like 2006.

On Sunday I wandered out to the Hangover Lounge at The Lexington, where in with the chilled out music, it was also Scrabble Club, hosted by Ken Chu. I hadn't seen him in months. I couldn't help but think, there's few people more 2006 than Ken Chu, bless 'im.

This is what the past feels like.

Hopefully a courier should be bringing round my replacement Blackberry this evening, and the nightmare can start to end.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Live From Wembley #1

I was trying to find a photie for the next blogpost and stumbled upon this video I made a month or so ago of me playing El Perro Del Mar's God Knows (You gotta give to get) on my ukelele.

Well, I thought it was nice.

The original's here.

The graph on my bedroom wall

Leg Iron has been doing a series of posts about the state of the government's finances. Its all well and topical, but I'm not the government and I can't affect government spending at all, apart from by not paying taxes and not collecting my working tax credits.

My own finances are a bit crap at the moment, those months of unemployment and living off my credit card were pretty damning, but I'm all employed up now and on the road to recovery, its all a matter of spending less than I earn.

To help me in this endeavor and to focus the mind I have drawn a graph on my bedroom wall.

It shows the level of my current account at each day of the month. It's a game, as long as the line is higher than it was that day the previous month, then I'm winning.

If the line's running lower than then previous month, then I'm losing and I have to stop spending for a few days.

Its working, the line keeps going higher and higher. My debts are still huge, but I'm getting on top of things.

Looks like I'm more financially smarter than the British government.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

London Bloggers Meetup - the Greene King

My first London Bloggers Meetup in months and months, damn my job requiring I get up at 4:30am. I slip into Bank underground station, walk for ages to get to the surface, then wander the streets randomly until I find the venue. Admittedly I did use myBerry and googlemaps, but it was still loading when I stumbled in to The City Tavern.

It was a very pubby pub, just like a pub. The meetup was in an upstairs room, kind of crowded. You could see straight into the office above the opposite street. The event was sponsored by Greene King IPA, its a kind of beer. There were a handful of helpful brewer type people around being knowledgable about the ways of beer.

The free beer on tap could be served in one of two ways:-

  • Smooth and creamy - the northern style
  • Clean and Crisp - the southern style

I went northern. Its all to do with the nozzle, but is it a patronising stereotypically thing? Well, the beer's all right, and the talky brewer chap recommends trying the clean and crisp southern version and comparing.

I wish Aref-Adib was here.

Aw man, the nature of tasting beer is as nuanced as high end audio listening.

The difference between northern and southern styles is in the north the beer is broadly poured from the bottom with a sparkler to add turbulence and for southern jessies its poured from the top without the sparkler. When you make white sugar, you bubble up bubbles of somekind of sodium which removed impurities and bleaches the sugar. Similarly bubbles travelling through the length of the glass changes the flavour and makes the head taste different.

Its the Target hops, an English variety, that give Greene King IPA its distinctive flavour, the oils in the hops. Most people don't know what hops taste like, I don't, well, they taste like that.

I love hearing this sort of thing. Although its a little bit cheesy for the hosty speakery people to list words that people usually use to describe flavour at an event where people will be describing flavours. "Rearrange the following words in the order of you choosing".

So aye, there was a short talk by the brewery people about the nature of beer tasting, which sides of the tongue do the trick and how to pour it.

How would I describe the taste?

It was all right.

There followed a talk from a charity blogger. The travails of charities trying to preach to a new audience who aren't already charitynuts.

Madagasca faces problems, but I can't help but think of Mark Wadsworth's post today about a sequence of adverts on Sky, NHS quit-smoking services, private quit-smoking products, WWF soliciting climate change donations, and then airlines.

It begs the question, how can the government afford TV adverts?

Anyhoo, back to Madagasca, quite clearly having a forest just sitting there, not providing substantial income for the country is unsustainable. Its not going to feed the population, or educate them or get them iPhones. Making your blogpost titles keyword rich ain't going to get Madagasca into the Amazonspace. Ooh, did I make an irony?

Anyways, as is my way for the London Bloggers Meetups, I'll try to list bloggery people I saw and spoke to.

Spoke/grunted at (7)
  • Hailey the beard drummer
  • Her friend Shell
  • Christiano Betta
  • Anthony Fresh Plastic
  • Bruce Bird
  • Oscar
  • Godwyns
Folk who I saw and recognised (8)
  • Andy Bargery
  • Peter Marshall
  • Krista Booker
  • Chris qwgmlm
  • Sweena
  • Lolly
  • Michael someone
  • Caroline of Caroline's Miscellany
Hmm, everyone's a lot better looking than I remember from last time.

Please excuse spelling, poor memory and lack of links, I'll sort it next time I get on broadband internet. I'm on the train home right now, tapping this out on myBerry, clutching my goodie bag of Greene King beers, and wondering where I'm sleeping tonight.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Adverts as news stories

I think this is wonderful
A controversial Scottish brewery has said it has reclaimed the title of the world's strongest beer from German rivals - with Sink the Bismarck at 41%.

BrewDog, of Fraserburgh, made headlines last year when it unveiled a 32% beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin.

However, Schorschbrau released the 40% strength Schorschbock.

BrewDog said its newly released 41%, Sink the Bismarck, would cost £40 for a 330ml bottle and would only be sold online.

More here

Monday, 15 February 2010

Give me my internet - part 7

- In which Vodafone cause pain to WIN -

Days and days have passed since the nice man from Vodafone called me up and promised to have a mobile broadband dongle delivered in 24 hours. A wee note slipped through my door of Friday, letting me know that they tried to deliver it, but failed, so I called the number on the card and arrange to pick up the dongle from a depot somewhere in darkest Park Royal.

I have it now before me, plugged into my Acer Aspire One netbook with Ubuntu running.

It blinks at me.

It taunts me.

It does not connect me to the internet, instead I must sneakily use my attractive young ladyfriend's net connection to find out how to get this damned thing to work.

Most people use Windows for their computing, it has a 92% market share. Mac has a 5.16% market share and Linux (upon which Ubuntu is based) has a 1% market share. The Vodafone dongle comes with Windows and Mac drivers on it. But for Ubuntu you have to get online, and via helpful posts from GreenHuges we discover the existence of Betavine, Vodafone's secret open-source software research and development facility. Further clicking and ploughing gets me to the page with instructions for getting it to work on Ubuntu Linux.

I got the Vodafone Mobile Connect application all right, but it doesn't find the K3675 dongle I've got plugged in to the right side of my netbook.

I'm not quite sure what information I can type in to get it recognised, It asks for "Device type:" and only gives me the option of Serial, this dongle is USB right, so that ain't gonna work.

Then "Data port device", "Control port device" and "Speed connection:" I got no idea.

Damn you Vodafone, why why why can't I get online?

Can't anyone help me?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Climate Change report errors and Tiger Woods

You'll be aware the EU Referendum site has been somewhat neglecting its coverage of EU issues, such as US President's Obama's snubbing of the annual EU meeting cos no one was sure which European Union President has primacy and the whole Greek bailout thing. Instead EU Referendum's Richard North has been concentrating on mercilessly tearing climate change to shreds.

You'll also be aware of EU Referendum's Tiger Woods index, its a gauge of public interest in a news story, and calculated as the number of google web results divided by the number of google news results.

Here's a wee table of the various errors and issues in the current Climate Change debate with their Tiger Woods index today.

Google web results
Google news results
Tiger Woods Index
Netherlands sea level
Chinese Urban Heat Island
Losses from disasters
1.3 billion agriculture employees
Antarctic boot cleaning manual

Thrilling stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Give me my internet - part 6

- In which Talk Talk don't get it -

So Vodaphone's dongle was whizzing through the postal system to me. I just had to cancel my installation date with Talk Talk.

They'd sent me a text massage saying an engineer to connect me up weeks and weeks in the future, that was no good, I need my google reader, I need my facebook, I need my RedTube!

So I phoned the number in the text, and after a few exchanges reached their cancellation department.

Why would I want to cancel, they asked.

Cos I signed up thinking it'd be four weeks and it turns out I'd have to wait seven weeks to get online, Vodaphone would have me wired with mobile broadband in less than 24 hours.

They could understand my frustration, I was told, and would I stick with Talk Talk if they waived the £59.99 connection charge.

Weel, that is a significant ammount of money but its beside the point, I want to get online as soon as possible and seven weeks ain't good enough compared to 24 hours.

Ah, but, I was told, with Talk Talk I could get download speeds of 2 megs a second comapred to Vodafone's mobile broadband which is slower.

Weel, I countered, if I wanted to download 2 megs, with Vodaphone it before the weekend's out, with Talk Talk, I would take months.

The woman on the phone got quite snooty at this point, but the connection speed is faster.

No, seven weeks is not fast.

But we'll wave the connection charge. Its cos we use BT open reach engineers and when phone lines are down cos of the cold weather, that takes priority over what the salesman told be the other day.

Don't care, waiving the fee doesn't give you an excuse to bore me with your bureaucratic problems.

Right, I'll just cancel your installation now.

Thanks, that's very kind.

Talk Talk fail.

Give me my internet - part 5

- In which Vodafone try to win -

I would be able to respond to comments and surf messageboards if I had a decent internet connection, but I don't. I just have my BlackBerry, good enough for writing email blogposts and a wee bit of surfing, and that's it.

I was poised the other afternoon, poised to phone Talk Talk and cancel my installation with them, when out of the blue, my mobile phone rang.

It was a nice chap from Vodafone, chasing up my customer experience after having signed up for a line with them.

I explained I didn't have a line with them and then retold my ongoing saga of trying to get online.

On hearing I was having trouble finding a Vodafone shop with mobile broadband dongles in stock, he said he could get one delivered to me the next day, and since they already had all my details it was as simple as a simple thing.

In less than 24 hours I could be wired!!!

In summary, out of three attempts Vodafone win once, 33% success rate, and great customer service at last.

Give me my internet - part 4

- In which Talk Talk almost wins but fail -

The was junk mail in the post from Talk Talk. In my squad there are phone sockets in most of the rooms, they have NTL branding, god knows what provider they're on now. All I know is that it isn't BT.

The junk mail inspired me, so I gave them a ring, thinking landline broadband was next on my voyage of internet connection discovery. The bumf said they were cheap, only £6.99 a month for t'internet, also line rental of £11.99 a month and £59.99. So that would be a total of around £72 to get online.

The chap on the phone said they'd send an engineer round at the start of next week, and then it would be four or five weeks later when the Broadband service would start.

Not quite the instant broadband I was hoping for, but bank details handed over and the future secure.

Alas two days later I get a text message from Talk Talk saying the engineer would be round at the start of March. By my reckoning that means I wouldn't get online for the best part of seven weeks, that's no good.

So in summary Talk Talk were just too slow. One fail out of one attempt, success rate 0%

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Give me my internet - part 3

- Vodafone round two fail -

I kept the faith in Vodafone, after the early success of passing their worthiness test, I kept the faith.

It was about a week later, instead of heading to Harrow once more, thought I'd phone up to see if they had any mobile broadband dongles in stock. A reasonable desire you might think, but alas, fail.

Google via BlackBerry gives no clues to individual branch phone numbers so I ended up calling the generic customer services line and spoke to a gentleman.

I explained I just wanted to know which shops nearby had stock of the dongle, but he suggested I just buy one online.

I explained that if I could get online I wouldn't need to buy a mobile broadband dongle as I'd self-evidently have internet access, and asked if he could check which shops nearby had them in stock, Harrow, Watford or Kings Cross.

Again he explained that the online shop would have them and even read out the web address.

I hung up in despair.

In summary, out of two attempts Vodafone failed twice, success rate 0%

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Give me my internet - part 2

-In which Vodafone snatch fail from the jaws of win-

I was sad and dejected after being rejected by Orange, but after a few days hiding in door riven with angst, I was right as rain and back to Harrow.

Vodafone, they sell mobile broadband dongles, and that's just the sort of thing which will get me online quickly and easily, so I sauntered along to the shop and was served by a pleasant lady.

It was a painless process, the I'd check and the credit check all aided by them turning the screen so I could see what was going on, with the lady explaining every stage. They even checked the signal coverage in my area.

The nice people at Vodafone were on the verge of signing me up until they checked their stock and found there were no dongles. None in the Harrow shop, none in the warehouse.

Just two in their Watford shop and a few in Kings Cross. That was annoying, it didn't look like I was going to get to RedTube that night.
I bade them fairwell, the lady gave me a BIN number so I wouldn't need to be credit-checked if I descended on Watford or Kings Cross, and I strode out into the internetless night once more.

In summary: out of one attempt, Vodafone fail so their success rate is 0%.

Give me my internet - part 1

-In which Orange fails-

Ever since I moved out of my cosy West Hampstead pad to my derelict squat in Wembley, I've had internet connection problems.

Sure I have my mighty BlackBerry, but its not so good for compiling information, editing html blogposts and watching the more specialist videos on RedTube. Occasionally I've used my attractive young ladyfriend's wifi, but this is a source of stress in our relationship, so I won't be doing that again.

Of course internet cafe's are great, but Borders has closed and the nearest on according to google maps is always closed when I get there. There's a nice one in West Hampstead, at Brioch and the other day I spent some quality time at the Camera Cafe in Bloomsbury, but these are long train rides away.

So I've been endevouring to get my own interney connection.

As I have my 'Berry with them, I tried Orange first. Regular reader of my blog will know my attractive young ladyfriend had problems getting an iPhone from there the other day. But I am not she so I thought I'd try my luck at the same Harrow branch.

You know that thing about how early adopters pay through the nose for new technology and if you wait around you can get things at a fraction of the price, the £89.99 Gameboy now just a few pence on ebay, Xboxes for £279.99 when launched and now £30 on ebay. Well, I just want to get online as quickly as possible, money isn't really an issue, cos once I'm online my opportunities to make more money increase dramatically. I just want to get online as quickly as possible, and as stresslessly as possible to. Can't stand faff, me.

I was served by a gentleman, not the lady who served and knocked back my ladyfriend.

But to no avail, I too was knocked back.

Despite already having a contract with Orange I was unable to prove myself worthy of one of their mobile broadband dongles. The ID that I regularly carry around was inadequate.

In summary, out of three attempts with Orange, only one success has been achieved (that being my BlackBerry). So their success rate with me and my ladyfriend is a rather poor 33%

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Falsifyability and Climate Change Mistakes

At the end of January, the BBC reported
Mr Miliband told the BBC it would be "profoundly irresponsible" to use one "mistake" as an excuse not to act.
He added it did not "undermine decades of climate research" and the "majority of scientists say that".
Of course, I only read about it in the scorn here.

I gotta say though, Ed is right, but the bar should be set higher. Maybe a better level would be to use ten mistakes as an excuse not to act on climate change or maybe more. The thing is, he didn't pin down how many mistakes would be the threshold to stop action. Without some kind of level, you're just acting on faith, and that way leads to religious fanaticism, lets try not to.

So. Let's go for ten mistakes:

  • The IPCC AR4 reports mentions the factoid behind Glaciergate thing twice, so it counts as two mistakes
  • Amazongate is a third mistake, but leading on from it we discover that non-peer reviewed papers from the WWF were used sixteen times in the IPCC report and by their own rules they were supposed to only use peer reviewed sources
That's eighteen mistakes in just two controversies, well beyond my proposed threshold of ten mistakes that we could use as an excuse not to act on climate change.

Before I go on, I need to defend -gates. Some quarters of the blogosphere that I read are beginning to tire of any kind of scandal or controversy having the -gate suffix. I did briefly agree, its a snowclone, but then had second thoughts. In the internet age, events and news stories need one word names, it helps with google searching, its a tag. Its an evolution of language, and a subtle and functional one too.

Digression over.

Maybe ten climate change inaction excuses was a bit low, and a twenty should be the level.
That's 28 mistakes. How many mistakes in the science behind climate change do we need?

Friday, 5 February 2010

I give up

This is it. This is the end of my blog. It finishes right here.

Like all the others before me who ended their blogs mid-stride like Anna Raccoon, Idleberry and Charlotte Gore. Not cos I'm out of ideas or cos of abusive comments, just that its too much hassle, too much aggro trying to get online and pull together the quality, groundbreaking blogposts that you my readers deserve and that I know I have inside of me, aching to get out.

Blogposts I have spectacularly failed to write and post over the last few days include:-
1) Blog traffic stat porn with graphs and lists
2) Update on my New Years resolutions with a list of enemies to be crushed mercilessly
3) Write-up and photies of today's trip to Bristol
4) Exhaustive list of errors, bugs and mistakes with Climate Change and IPCC AR4 in response to Ed Miliband's "one mistake" speech, including analysis based on EUReferendum's Tiger Woods rating
5) List of which Kenickie songs I'd play in my "Chris Gilmour Plays The Songs of Kenickie" project
6) My recollection the 1994 Bolton School Bonfire Night, including maps and diagrams.
7) Actually playing London Indiepop EyeSpy
8) Rundown of comments left on my blog about the Academies International scam
9) Lamenting the items on my Amazon Wishlist which are no longer available.
10) Graphing all IQ tests what I've taken over the past few years

That's what you guys are missing. I'm sorry, I know its not your fault, its just the way things have turned out.

I love you and think of you all the time.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Know thyself

Its 4:50am, I've almost an hour til the end of my shift and in the few brief moments between deliveries I find myself looking for an IQ test on google.

Its been eighteen months since I last tried my luck and I think I"m getting duller with old age, so I clicked through to and got myself 136.

There's only twenty or so questions, briefly covering logic, spatial, visual, pattern, numbers and grammar. I think I slipped up on two of them, an anagram I couldn't be bothered with and a number sequence my heid couldn't runs the sums for.

That 136 brings my long term average up to 129, or ignoring the old drunken student score of 78, it brings my average down to 138. Age is dulling ma heid.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Blog Stat Pron - January

Good evening and welcome to my irregular start of the month look at the previous month's blog traffic stats review. According to google analytics, for January, this blog got:-
1,309 Absolute Unique Visitors
2,405 Pageviews
Compared to December's
1,004 Absolute Unique Visitors
1,853 Pageviews
Well, I think thats spectacular, a 30% increase. If I wasn't frantically tightening my belt and trying to spend as little money as possible, I'd be spraying champaign everywhere in celebration, instead you'll have to make do with spittle. The secret is to come up with goods time and time again.

Statcounter reckons I had 2,282 Unique Visitors, and an average of 95 pageloads per day, up around 50% from the sort of figures I was getting last year. On the back of that phenomenal success, for February I'm aiming to beat 100 ppd.

Here are the metrics of of my RSS feeds on various feed readers:
26 subscribers - GoogleReader (up 4 from last month)
4 subscribers - Bloglines (same as last month)
8 followers - Blogger (up 2 from last month)
These are my top referrers for January (not including google wanderers)
1. Facebook - 124 visitors
2. Twitter - 90 visitors
3. UK Bubble - 36 visitors
4. Mark Wadsworth - 26 visitors
5. Baby Honey - 25 visitors
6. EUReferendum - 19 visitors
7. Quick as Rainbows - 6 visitors
8. Newport City - 5 visitors
9. Nick X Spencer - 5 visitors
10. Luciana Berger - 3 visitors
Lets take a brief moment to consider which were the most viewed posts during January.
1. London Indiepop EyeSpy - 243 views
2. What Have I gotten myself into - the TFTA scam - 194 views
3. Origami flapping bird animation - 58 views
4. Pensioners burning books - 49 views
5. Bookcase dreams - 47 views
6. Back to Academies International - 45 views
7. Facebook IQ test gubbins - 39 views
8. Names of the dead in Gaza - 37 views
9. North Vs Pachauri - 33 views
10. Facebook Scramble graphs - 31 views

That's it belatedly for January's stat pron, until next time, take care space cadets.

Top Posts this month #1

Top ten most viewed posts on my blog that I wrote this month

1. London Indiepop Eyespy
2. This Pensioners Burning Books thing
3. Back to Academies International
4. North versus Pachauri
5. Excess Winter Deaths then and now
6. The dramatic return of Glasgow Indie Eyespy
7. Body Scanner Porn the legend continues
8. Pay Cuts Pay Rises
9. Brent Council FOI Fail
10. New Years Resolutions

Frankly I'm surprised I came up with that many posts with over ten hits each, but that London Indiepop one got over 200, by Jove.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Html markup in email blogging

I'm posting this blog post via email from my Blackberry, and I'm wondering what happens if I include html markup.

Like sure, I can attach photies to the email and they're embedded at the start of the post.

But what about bold text? Do I just sling html markup and it works?
<b>is this bold?</b>

What about italics?
<i>Is this in italic?</i>

Or blockquote? Now that would be cool? Can I just put that in by hand?
<blockquote>is this in a blockquote?</blockquote>

Let's post and see...

Scotland's temperature dataset

BBC has a story about how this winter has been the coldest winter in Scotland.
By combining temperatures of January and December it [the Met Office] showed they were the coldest since 1914 - the year data started being logged."

I could have sworn the global warming folk say that temperature records go back to 1880.
So what's it to be? We can only check global warming in Scotland for the last 96 years? Not much of a dataset that.

Media reporting of drugs death

Mark Reckons covered a lecture Professor David Nutt gave the other day and reports this snippet about the reporting of drug deaths in the media:-
1 in 265 deaths from paracetamol were reported by the media
1 in 48 deaths from diazepam
1 in 8 from cocaine
1 in 5 from heroin
for ecstasy the figure was 1 in 1

I'm wondering what the frequency of paracetamol deaths actually is, and where that information came from.