Archive for March, 2014

It’s time Market forces made TomTom earn its keep.

March 26, 2014

I’ve just bought a TomTom satnav with lifetime maps and speed camera locations.

The last two items are important, because otherwise I could just carry on with my old Navigo.

A little apprehension, when I read that “lifetime” meant “for as long as TomTom is prepared to provide them”.
But TomTom isn’t Microsoft, trying to force you to buy a new package every few years, writing the next one, before you’ve even upgraded to the one presently being promoted.

So, on with the purchase.

Time to update it. Usual palaver of name and password etc. But total frustration, because the download doesn’t work.
I notice that the SatNav is moaning about “no valid GPS signal”.

Of course there isn’t; I’m inside my house, where my computer lives.

So I take the Satnav outdoors, to the middle of the street, to get a signal.

Of course, it switches off; so into the car, connect it up and drive down the road —- valid signal.

OK , it’s been primed and it now connects to the download service. It’s a pity there was no message to warn me that such priming was necessary, either with the Satnav, or on the website. (plenty of stuff about how wise I was and how lucky I was in handing my money over.)

OK. A silly whinge about wasting a half hour sussing this “minor” issue.

The download, via BT broadband takes thirty minutes. Then another thirty minutes to download from the computer to the Satnav. (Glad I’m not on dial-up).

I now leave it to fully charge.

On turning on my computer, again, I find that I have other updates to download. The download to the computer is quicker, as is the download to the satnav, except it stalls at 77%.

After 15 mins. Of “give it a chance, don’t be impatient”, it occurs to me that the “no valid GPS signal” message may be the cause.

I can’t just prime it in the car again, because it already knows where it is and it’s in the middle of a download from the computer.

Luckily it’s a laptop (how would I resolve the problem if I only had a desktop?), so I take the conjoined items down the garden.

Still not working.

Perhaps the laptop still has to talk to the website and I’m now out of Wi-Fi range.
No, that’s not it. Perhaps the Software is crap and has gone into an error loop.

OK, kickstart by removing and replacing the USB.

Yay! It works, the screen immediately changes to a message informing me that my “free” speed camera access has expired and I can buy another year’s worth for a mere 20% of the price I’ve just paid.

Stupid of me to think it had been free , or included in the lifetime maps deal.

I’m not happy.

The actual hardware probably cost a few quid from the Chinese. The Software obviously hasn’t been upgraded that much, or with that much concern. The new map information is being provided by customers and by Government agencies.

TomTom is overcharging for what it provides and it’s time that the much vaunted market forces saw competition slit TomTom’s throat.

#Occupy will Obama really curtail NSA activity?

March 26, 2014

This report from an on-line news service is not something that should excite non-American’s and perhaps not even American’s:
“The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a legislative proposal for a far-reaching overhaul of the National Security Agency’s once-secret bulk phone records program in a way that — if approved by Congress — would end the aspect that has most alarmed privacy advocates since its existence was leaked last year, according to senior administration officials. Under the proposal, they said, the N.S.A. would end its systematic collection of data about Americans’ calling habits.”
It will not apply to UK phone calls and, since GCHQ will be allowed full access to NSA resources, our calls will still be fully available to the Government, who can deny any illegal snooping on their own part.
It makes me wonder if the arrangement is reciprocal, meaning that the NSA will continue its US surveillance but channelling everything through Echelon at RAF Menwith Hill .

Privatisation will be the death of Capitalism.

March 23, 2014

Victorian Capitalism relied on using the masses to create stuff to sell to the masses.
The principle was maximise profits, by raising prices and reducing costs (wages).

In that context the present World is unbalanced.

Advances in I.T. mean you don’t need as many workers but you still need customers.
Capitalists can’t cope with the idea of giving masses the money to buy their Goods.

The only way that Capitalism could achieve balance was by paying taxes for the State to employ the masses to provide services.

However they couldn’t cope with either paying taxes or with having a public sector, so they bought into “the evil of State ownership” and the concept of privatisation. i.e. make the masses pay to stay alive and cut State benefits.

However, what if they went the whole way and stopped all State benefits and all State run services, completely removing the need for taxes etc., how can they sell anything?

Who would buy?

The masses, assuming they didn’t manage a successful revolution, like The damn Reds, would have all died of starvation and disease.

No customers mean no profit and that’s what the Capitalists can’t get their head around.

They’re like the Elephant tusk and Tiger bone and shark fin and rhino horn poacher’s.

They’re still making profit and scarcity is improving their profit margin.

One day they’ll wake to a World without Elephants, tigers rhino’s or sharks but  they won’t understand how it happened. It’ll be too late. The World that they controlled will be fucked and they may even understand what all those Left Wing nutjobs were trying to tell them.

@TheGreenParty The Mersey Ferry, The Severn and Tidal Power

March 19, 2014

When I was a kid in Liverpool, we’d often “go across the water” on a sunny Summer day. This meant catching the ferry boat to Birkenhead, or New Brighton, or, rarely Seacombe , or Rock Ferry. Originally there were over a dozen destinations, sadly only Birkenhead remains Today.

The most important part of the journey was running down the gangplank at the PierHead, because if we were running down, rather than climbing up, it meant the tide was out. The best was when the gangplank was so steep that we couldn’t properly control our speed and had to run into a wall on the floating dock to stop ourselves.

However the point of this item is not to reminisce about my childhood but remark on a form of alternative energy, which we seem to be missing out on.

There are various ways of harnessing Tidal Power but the only large scale ones being exploited are estuarial barriers, such as that envisaged for the Severn.

This was to have a double purpose of providing a link road between S.Wales and England, a boon to business etc.

The problem with the scheme was that it would involve a rigid structure with turbines lying across the flow. This was a problem because existing such structures became rapidly defunct, as silt built up behind the barrier.

However, if the roads were built to float, on hydraulic columns, these and associated problems would cease to exist.

The technology for the floating docks (at the PierHead) is well known and the use of hydraulics to drive turbines has already been established with the Salter Ducks technology, which we gave to the Japs. (a scandal in its own rights).

This’d be a damn sight more useful than HS2, which to all intents is merely an EU vanity project, designed , I suspect, to make Haliburton  et al even richer.

Who believes that MP’s are honourable members?

March 17, 2014

Another unpublished whinge to the Express:

There was a snippet of gossip on your Inside Politics page, which I found particularly depressing. More so, because it was only a snippet; a throwaway item, hardly deemed worthy of further mention.
I’m referring to the tea voucher scam.
I’m not overly impressed with the notion of our grossly overpaid MP’s requiring a voucher scheme for free cups of tea in their subsidised cafe.
The truly depressing aspect is that these people, who make Law on how we should behave and who deem themselves Honourable, are still, “on the fiddle”.
This disclosure is trivial, in terms of other exposure’s and would be laughed off in most circle’s.
It does, though, point up the hypocrisy of them addressing each other as honourable and claiming the moral high ground, every time they attack populism and, then, announce that they have a duty to lead public opinion.
That Labour and Lib Dems seem set to deny us a referendum on Europe is another reason for which I will be voting “None of the Above”.

Never mind Europe, look at the benefits of austerity!!!

March 17, 2014

Just another unpublished whinge letter to the Express:

Leo McKinstry rightly anticipates a potential Labour victory at the General Election.

He also points up what The Conservatives consider their Ace in the hole.

They will direct our attention to the financial state of the country, when they came to power and compare that with the claimed prediction of a growth in the Economy.

To the Government, this is considered their lifeboat that will assure their re-election but how convinced will voters be?

 Many voters will see the banker’s continuing to rake in huge bonuses, despite being the cause of the financial disaster and despite being the main hindrance to capitalisation of small businesses.

 What does a possible growth in the economy mean to voters?

 If you are a nurse, soldier, policeman, civil servant who has lost their job through the Government’s austerity  drive, it will mean little to be told that growth may mean that they might be able to get a more curmudgeonly rewarded job, with a private organisation, such as G4S, in some vague future.

To the disabled kicked out of Remploy and then denied financial support by Atos, it will appear meaningless, it will appear as a taunt from the well-heeled.

 To those relying on the State Pension, it simply means ever increasing prices and an ever increasing struggle to stretch their income to pay for basic utilities. Add to a threat of asset rape should they need to go into a care home.

 To everyone unable to afford medical Insurance, it will just mean that private health industry will boom and they will face charges for services that were once free.

The true benefit scroungers will neither know nor care. They may step up their petty thievery but it won’t make any difference to their voting, because they don’t vote.

When the politicians go knocking on doors, they’ll realise that this lifeboat, of economic growth,  is illusory and that relying on the fruit’s of Osborne’s divine leadership is more a case of clutching at straws.

get used to being stuck in the EU

March 17, 2014

Another unpublished letter to the D.Express:

David Miliband knows what’s best for us.

Like David Cameron and George Osborne, he has a PPE degree from Oxford, so he has been taught to understand why we should stay in the EU.

They are all “leaders” and none of them need the Plebs telling them what to do.

Parliamentary Democracy isn’t about pandering to populist opinion.

True leaders are men of conviction, who like shepherds, oversee our dumb lives, deciding where we go, what we do, how often to fleece us and how long we can be considered to have any value.

He, like the present PM, has promised that if there is any major change in our relationship with the EU, he will let us have a referendum on that change.

What change would either consider sufficient to force them to let us have any say?

It is impossible to believe either would accept any change, warranting an IN-OUT  Referendum, except that of a landslide vote for UKIP.

As that is unlikely,  we’d better resign ourselves to poorer pastures under Franco-German governance

How quickly is History re-written. Remember the Monokini?

March 17, 2014

I’ve just watched “Britain on Film” and, although it showed actual footage from the 60’s and early 70’s, it lied about how we were.

What was filmed was, apart from a few clips of plebs, was the “in-crowd”. The “in-crowd” were not the trend-setters, or the main-stream representatives.

The “in-crowd”, as displayed to cinema audiences, were the debs and their swains.

The “Swinging London “ of Carnaby Street and the King’s Road wasn’t the centre of what was happening. The only people buying more than one frock, there, were the inhabitants of Mayfair.

Even the music , being shown on television, didn’t reflect the true scene.

Post Beatles, we had a surge of Merseybeat , followed by Manchester and then North-East groups.

The Stones were the exception, in that they didn’t emulate the Beatles,  but captured the essence of the Rocking R&B, that had sparked off the new wave of British Pop.

Tin Pan alley tried to take control of the new music but the best that they could manage was the short-lived Dave Clark Five.

There were other Southern groups who achieved fame, outside of the Establishment, but they did so, because London is populous and those groups had talent e.g. Manfred Mann and The Kinks.

In terms of dress, the “in-crowd” were a year behind the fashions.

When  the “in-crowd” were adopting Beatle cuts, the plebs were adopting hippy hair. As the “in-crowd” adopted hippy hair, the plebs were trimming that hair and sporting Zapata’s etc.

The fashion houses tried to direct the scene but failed.

The most striking example of this, because it seems to have been spectacularly expunged from media memory, was an attempt to promote topless dresses.

Only cat-walk models and the “in-crowd” were ever seen “Tits-out”, in Public.

How many of the present generation have ever seen any reference to the monokini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monokini) in the Media?

See how easy it is to re-write History, even within living memory.

@DailyMirror @Kevin_Maguire @Fiona_Phillips Benn wouldn’t support @Ed_Miliband

March 16, 2014

There are many voices eulogising (rightly so) Tony Benn and denigrating UKIP’s anti-EU platform.

Many of these voices are those from the Left of politics, for whom UKIP is synomynous with racism.

These people see New Labour as their party, even when its leaders espouse right wing, anti-democratic views.

The British public has shown an interest in having a referendum on EU membership, some on the immigration issue but many on the basis expressed by Tony Benn and quoted in The Daily Mirror:

When I saw how The European Union was developing, it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic. In Britain you vote for a Government, so the Government has to listen to you and if you don’t like it, then you can change it.”

I’m a Socialist but I also believe in Democracy and so I’m being forced by New Labour and its apologists to vote UKIP, in 2015.

I may have to vote for them again in 2020, if we are still self-governing.