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Archive Blog 2006

28th February 2006 20:10


I've been hearing a lot about RSS recently. "RSS is excellent..blah blah blah." I thought it was about time I found out a bit more. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary...I think. RSS is an XML-based format that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link. RSS allows a person's computer to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists that person is interested in can be tracked and personalized for them. It is a format that's intended for use by computers on behalf of people, rather than being directly presented to them (like HTML).
Ummmm. Clear as mud? Well it is to me too. I've downloaded a RSS feed reader and hopefully after some experimentation the mud will become just cloudy water.

picture of feedreader

25th February 2006 19:10

Remembering that pin

Well it's been 11 days since it became important to remember the pin number on credit cards. With all the cards that I - and most people - have remembering all the numbers is becoming increasingly difficult. Add to that all the log in details for systems at work, and all the passwords for forums out of work.... In the words of Scottie:
'If I give her any more she's gonna blow!'image: frustrated emoticon

I am having to come up with more and more inventive ways to remember these things. Ahh well, the worst that can happen is that I lose my card in some machine after inputting the wrong number three times, or that I embarrass myself as the spotty youth across the counter rejects my card whilst blowing gum in my face!

image: I love PIN - 14 February 2006

24th February 2006 22:21

Violence through TV and film

I was never one to believe that film violence could provoke violence in children. It has always been an urban myth to me...something that some clever lawyer uses to excuse the behaviour of sociopath and nut jobs. But, I watched Kill Bill a few weeks ago and began to have violent dreams. It was getting to the point that I was becoming afraid to go to sleep. Now I am no 4 star loon, but if something like this can have an affect on me, what might it do to someone more vulnerable. It kinda' makes you wonder. Maybe this urban myth has its basis in fact after all!

image: smile emoticon

22nd February 2006 18:29

Health and safety sloth!

Well it's not been my most productive day at work today. Most of it was taken up trying to determine whether one of my colleagues looked more like Delia Smith, Jan Leeming or Enya! I think Enya won out in the end! Even though work has not been that productive, I have to say it has been a good day, made enjoyable by colleagues who have a great sense of humour. If laughter is the fountain of youth, then we've lost a couple of years each today.

18th February 2006 07:35

Ebay Tart!

It's amazing how addictive Ebay is. Strangely, it is not the thought of getting rid of unwanted items for cash, or purchasing that illusive item that is addictive. It's trying to get the perfect customer satisfaction rating of 100% that I believe urges some to make more and more purchases. The buying and selling of items can become almost secondary in the search for that illusive 100%. Alas, as many have found to their cost, it takes just one hostile customer to throw all the hard work out of the window. An Ebayer may see his/her score plummet from 100% to 94% or lower with just the click of a customer's mousepad. This has led to seemingly normal individuals becoming grovelling fools, desperate to keep customers onside to avoid negative feedback. Is Ebay creating a generation of Uriah Heaps?

Picture of ebay feedback page

17th February 2006 18:01

Virus madness!

Now this really annoys me. People spend time creating a website and then some flaming twit with more time than sense decides to infect it with a virus for whatever reason. This happened to a forum I was part of. The forum had to close down, and transfer to a secure site. All that effort expended because some idiot or group of idiots can't work within basic rules.

Anyway if you hear talk about a Trojans, then the talk is of a program (often malicious) that installs itself or runs surreptitiously on a victim's machine. It does not install or run automatically, but may entice users into installing or executing by masquerading as another program altogether (such as a game or a patch) or they may be packaged with hacked legitimate programs that install the trojan when the host program is executed.

Picture of virus error message

15th February 2006 08:50

Smoking ban for England!

Smoking will be banned in all pubs, clubs and restaurants in England from the summer of 2007. As far as I am concerned it's about time!

Personally I am just happy to go home not stinking of smoke because someone next to me lights up! I'm all in favour of individuals' right to smoke if they want to. However non smokers have just as much right not to be subjected to that smoke. I don't see this legislation as an erosion of civil liberties as is argued by the tobacco lobby or as a further example of the intrusive nanny state. For once, the government look to be introducing some useful legislation.

Picture of cigarette being cut up

14th February 2006 20:44

Chocolate at last!

Well being lactose intolerant is a pain in the butt. Literally! No cheese, no milk, no chocolate....Until now! I've had my first mug of drinking chocolate since I was diagnosed. Dark chocolate and So Good soya milk. What a combination!

Picture of milk and chocolate

13th February 2006 09:01

Biometric ID cards

Biometric testing of face, eye and fingerprints could soon be used on every resident of the UK to create compulsory identity cards. I'll have to do more reading about this but I'm actually not sure what purpose IC cards will play in the detection/prevention of crime. I suspect that rather like a lot of these provisions, the people who will be adversely affected will be those people who are already law abiding citizens. This reminds me of the knives and gun amnesties that take place...and also of organisations like the Child Support Agency. The soft targets get clobbered. And then of course there are the Big Brother issue...although with all the ways the government currently has of keeping tabs on us I would say that we have long since moved past the thin end of the wedge and are steadily progressing up the centre.

Anyway, this is the timetable for ID cards:

Picture of a fake ID card

5th February 2006 06:27

Gay Penguins

This has to be one of the funniest stories I have heard for a while. Gay rights activists have protested at a north German zoo's plans to test the sexual orientation of six male penguins which have displayed homosexual traits. Male penguins have been seen trying to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring out of stones! Well it just goes to show that sexuality is not always a black and white issue.

3rd February 2006 19:44

Another parking Fine

I can't believe I've got another parking fine. I seem to be collecting them like a spider collects flies. Again it was my own fault. I parked in a 30 minute waiting zone for three hours...and directly outside a police station. I suppose that was chancing my luck ever so slightly. Still, it's good to see that the police force of the UK is doing it's bit to deal with crime. Now if only they dealt with the muggers, rapists, paedophiles and terrorists with such zeal!
Picture of a parking ticket

28th January 17:12

Valentine - Bah!

The Valentine Lie

I know that I will not receive a card this valentine
That none of those deliveries will bear a name that's mine.

But when I'm asked, as always I am asked this time of year.
"Did you receive an unsuspecting note of love my dear"?

I'll force a smile, and wink and nod and say "I got a few"
And all the while I'll wish that even part of that was true.

Releasing, in the quietness of home, a gentle sigh
And hoping that next year I'll simply have no cause to lie.

27th January 09:25

Euro Lottery Jackpot

The Euro Millions draw has rolled over for a tenth week, leaving an estimated record jackpot of £125m (183m euros) next week. I roped in some of my Award Sites Assembly buddies into a hastily formed syndicate in the hope of winning the Jackpot. It's quite fun when you don't take it too seriously. I confess that although I know that the odds of winning are lower than the chances of getting struck by lightening 5 times in the same year, there was a tinge of excitement when i checked the numbers to see if we had won anything.

The competition has not seen a payout since November 2005, hence the large jackpot. I intend to keep our numbers and play again for another week. How wonderful it would be to visit each of the participating members personally and hand over a cheque for 18 million. More realistically though, its a great way to engage my colleagues in the Assembly forum. We've had fun talking about the lottery in a non-addictive, light hearted way!!!
Picture of a lottery ticket

26th January  2006, 23:33

Celebrity Big Brother

I confess that I have been snobbish about the TV program big brother, labelling it dross. But I have been totally addicted to Celebrity Big Brother, having taken the time to watch it. The program has shown me how individuals kept within a confined space for a fixed period can turn on each other. It has also shown me how people seek to make alliances to survive.

It has been an eye-opening... a microcosm of life! It reminded of me Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, except that in this case, there wasn't a fat kid to murder. I think for me the most disturbing element of this program was the willingness of 'housemates' to sit back and watch the strongest pick on the weakest. There was very little intervention. It made me wonder how I would act and if i would come to the defence of people who needed it or if I would adopt an attitude of 'better them than me!' And you know, I really don't know!

Incidentally, previously unknown Chantelle Houghton won Celebrity Big Brother and a £25,000 prize, having initially been planted by producers as a fake star.

22nd January  2006, 16:24

Site validation

I forgot how much fun it is validating a site. I am still having to seek information and advice from colleagues in forums regarding parse errors but there is something satisfying about have a single page validated in xhtml and css2.0

picture of css validated page

picture of xhtml validated page

21st January  2006, 05:55 We will resist!

The internet search engine Google is resisting efforts by the US Department of Justice to force it to hand over data about what people are looking for. It wants:

The US government is seeking to defend the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which has been blocked by the Supreme Court because of legal challenges over how it is enforced. Personally I think Google is right to resist. I am not naive enough to believe that the US or any Government couldn't find out information about us all if they wanted to. But I don't think we should make it easy for any government to obtain such information.

13th January  2006, 11:12

Giving Evidence

I have to give evidence at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday and I have been worried about it for the past week. I can't believe that I've been involved in this whole process. I absolutely hate it! I know that it will probably be a nerve wracking experience for the person being disciplined, but for me it is just as nerve wracking. My life seems to have come to a standstill at the moment with all thought centered on this process. I hate this! If there was some way out of it, I would take it. I just hate doing this sort of thing. It's worse than exams as far as I am concerned. I am trying to put this into perspective...I am not dying...I'm not the one being disciplined... I am not in any physical danger..... The words of an Italian friend Luigi Calcagni comes to mind: If you can do something about it why worry; And if you can't do anything about it, why worry? Somehow those words hold no consolation for me. No wonder I didn't practice law if this is how I feel about just giving evidence.

10th January  2006, 19:01

Speed Cameras

I'm sick of people moaning on and on about speed cameras. If I get caught by a camera going over the speed limit then I have no one to blame but myself. I know that there is a lot of discussion about their purpose, with many believing that they are designed purely as a means of lining the pockets of the government. My response is simple. If that's what you think, then don't speed and deprive the government of your hard earned cash! 'Nuff said!

picture of a speed camera sign

08th January  2006, 11:52

Back to learning Italian

I gave up learning Italian for a while. We had a new lecturer on the OCN course who, to be quite frank, was totally rubbish! It's frustrating when lecturers don't follow the course syllabus. I'm going to attend again tomorrow to see if this bloke is any better than the last time I attended. If he isn't then it's arrivederci signor!

07th January  2006, 20:10

Excellent Soccer

FA Cup third round. All I can say is that once again Liverpool put on a masterful nail biting performance, matched only by that of the opposing team - Luton. Now I know why I love football!!

bouncing ball animation

07th January  2006, 14:43

Can't sleep

I woke up at some god forsaken time in the morning and spent 5 hours of darkness looking at late night television. To be honest I have work issues on my mind. Blasted disciplinaries! ::groan::

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