Life, Politics Ken Livingstone, Liar, Question Time
I was watching BBC Question Time last night and Ken Livingstone and out with some lies which was beyond the usual conjecture and in fact just a plain lie.
It you watch from 38.29 to 38.36 he says:
when Blaire won in 97, our debt was 42% of GDP, when we left office it was 40%
Well this is just a blatent lie, as can be seen here on the ONS site, http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=277 – which clearly shows for 2009/2010 – debt as a percentage of GDP was 72%.
Livingstone was pulled up on it a couple of minutes later by the financial and economic historian Niall Ferguson, who was very keen on getting the facts straight – which is as good thing when you professional bullshitters like Livingstone on the panel.
The problem is that the damage is done, there will a proportion of people watching who will take this as fact (because a man on the tele said it was true) and commit it to long term memory to be regurgitated in the pub, dinner party or whatever other political debate they find themselves in.
In my opinion politicians who blatantly lie on TV should be publically corrected on this sort of thing, with a leaderboard for the worst offenders. I suspect though that the problem is very widespread.
Internet, Life IPhone Blackberry
Next time you find yourself in the pub arguing whether the iPhone or crackberry is better, here is the win…
iPhone users with unlimited text packages… Simply send all texts to the crackberry user one letter at a time i.e. ‘H E L L O’ – the iPhone user can fire off texts in this format nearly as quick as a normal text – the crackberry unfortunately is rendered useless until all the texts are received!
Food, Life experiment, tea light, tupperware
Monday nights are boring, very boring.
We got talking about a possible invention, which lead us to do an experiment, our apparatus for the experiment were:
1) A Tupperware tub (approx 3 litres)
2) 3 tealights
3) a sheet of tinfoil
4) a lighter
The experiment was simple, how long will 3 tealights burn for in an airtight Tupperware box.
1) How long did our 3 tealights last?
2) What were trying to invent?
The winner gets a mince pie with cognac and cream.
The whole debate about politicians pay and expenses has raged on and on and been right old farce.
I think the point everyone has missed is that we clearly aren’t paying them enough! The government is effectively the biggest company we have in the UK with the biggest budgets ultimately spending our money.
Yet we entrust it to be managed at the top by a bunch of people who we only deem worth £60K per annum. This is rediculous, and frankly frightening, you will struggle in the commercial world these days to get a decent project manager for £60K let alone someone you could put in charge of a budget of billions. No wonder they are all trying to squeeze the system where they can and the country is a shambles.
The bigger issue though is that we aren’t attracting the best and bright to the job, instead of attracting the best brains from business, science and the arts to government, we end up getting a bunch of idiots who can do no better (well judging by the desire to generate more cash if they could get a better job they would).
We need people running the country who are really bright, know how to make rational decisions and test theories scientifically rather than riding on the wave of public popularity.
Unfortunately none of the suitable candidates are interested in the job because they are off elsewhere earning proper money.
Commenting on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8328820.stm
Yet again we get more suggestions that it should be down to the ISPs to do the policing for the content providers, and its down to us (the ISPs) to block users who file share.
I am interested to see how 3 strikes applies to a corporate environment, I don’t mean the big corporates with sensible IT teams, I am thinking of the 5-10 man company with one person sat in the corner quietly downloading the latest episode of the Simpsons while sharing it with the world… that’ll will be fun when they get cut off…
Anyway back to the point… the music, tv and film industries have an amazing luxury which they are still rejecting… i.e. they have an effectively FREE distribution medium, where anybody in the world (pretty much) can get any of their content without it costing them a penny….
Yet rather than investing their time and effort in how to achieve a revenue stream from this amazing advantage, they persist in trying to stop it happening falling back on all the traditional ‘approved ways’ of getting their content.
Take myself for example, I have a UK TV license and a UK Sky TV subscription. This in effect gives me access to pretty much legal acces to every TV programme I could wish for. I still however download/iplayer the key programmes I watch, why?
- I definitely no longer want to watch TV at a prescribed time, those days are gone. TV is now when, where and how I want it, not when the broadcasters dictate.
- I could of course PVR the content (Windows Media Centre enables me to do this easily) and watch it when I want, and where and how I want.
- If I PVR it, it involves faff and hassle. Torrents are easy to get and come in a portable format that I play on any TV or PC in my house.
The problem is that not everyone is paying a subscription for TV, and of course they lose advertising revenue on downloads – saying that though Sky are clearly having a right giggle at their advertisers with Sky+, i.e. yes we encourage our customers to have a technology that means they can skip the adverts!
So media producers, yet again I encourage you to stop criminalising people before you have at least given them the chance to subscribe to content when, where and how they want it! i.e. via bittorrent, et al.
I am finally looking to buy an Aircraft, after much debate and discussion I have settled on a Piper Arrow.
The reason for the Arrow is:
- I want something I will find a challenge now and can ‘grow into’ as my experience increases.
- I want the extra performance and efficiency above say a Warrior or 172.
- I can get some return on the aircraft hiring it back to my club for CPL training and thus avoiding some of the risks associated with PPL training!
- It very much looks like a ‘real aircraft’!
So I am looking for a:
- Arrow III or IV (though not sure about T tail!).
- Full IFR
- FM immune radio
- Low to mid time engine and prop
- 3 blade prop (preferably)
- Budget < £50,000
Anyway, if anyone knows where there is one that might be of interest to me, please drop me an email to email@example.com or give me a call on +44 (0) 7973 848007.
Internet, Life SplitYourTicket, Virgin Trains
I am sure I am (as usual) the last person on the planet to know about this, but www.splityourticket.co.uk basically works out for you the cheapest way to buy a train ticket.
So in a nutshell on our standard Virgin trains Coventry to London peak return, which if you buy on the day (and I always do) is in excess of £100, www.splityourticket.co.uk advises to go for:
- Coventry <-> Rugby (£4.90)
- Rugby <-> Milton Keynes (£11.50)
- Milton Keynes <-> Euston (£32.40)
Total price £48.80, saving £58.20… I suppose its prudent to check that your train is actually going via those stations though!
PS Steve Glen found this not me, but I thought it was so great, I had better blog about it!
Life Almat, bit10, Earlsdon, flying, PPL, Warwicknet
As 2008 winds to a close, I am reflecting on what an brilliant year it has been, if 2009 is as good I will be a happy chappy, here are some of the highlights and lowlights of my year:
- Moved into my new house in sunny Earlsdon.
- Completed lots of work on the house – still much more to do though!
- I went snowboarding twice, once to Chatel with the excellent Alpine Air, and once to Les Deux Alpes (not soo good!).
- Successfully completed my departure from bit10 and creation of Warwicknet.
- I got banned from Pizza Express due to this blog! (However the amazing Millsys in Earlsdon more than compensates).
- I travelled to Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Netherlands and Hong Kong doing the work I love i.e. building and deploying networking solutions for people.
- I started learning to fly, passed and got my PPL(A) just before Christmas, thanks to the wonderful people at Almat, in that time I have clocked up 48 hours in the air, of which 15 have been solo.
And much much more…
Bring on 2009!
Business, Internet, Life License, Music Downloads
So finally the dense powers that be have realised that a fixed annual license to download whatever you want is a good idea:
Really they should put me in charge, as I first suggested it here – http://www.benking.me.uk/2008/01/11/drm-copyright-the-saga-goes-on/
Even so it is still being reported as a ‘bad thing’ i.e. naughty people will get taxed/fined £30… Get it into your thick heads, I want the flexibility to download what I want from wherever I want, whenever I want, I don’t mind paying for that privilege.
So wheres the form, where do I sign up?! I tell you what call it £60 per year and throw in movies and TV…
Customer Service, Food, Life FOOD FAIL., Pizza Express Coventry
After our first food fail and followup discussion with the Pizza Express operations manager, Debbie Phillips, I thought that maybe we had the issue resolved.
Last Tuesday evening we went back to test the theory.
The first failure came early in the day when Jake popped in to check what time they were shutting that evening (their website says 10.30pm), Jake was in fact told they were shutting at 10pm that evening.
7 of us turned up at 9.45pm (i.e. giving them a bit of slack), the conversation went like this (I have bolded the fails):
Me: ‘Good evening, please can we have a table for 7.’
Pizza Express Waitress 1: ‘Hold on I will just check.’ Fail 2 (The answer we were looking for was ‘Yes of course, I will see what we have available’).
Pizza Express Waitress 1 (who from now on will be known as ‘The Nice One’) runs off and has a chat with Pizza Express Waitress 2 (who from now on will be known as ‘Short Angry One’), there is obviously some debate as Short Angry One returns to talk to us.
Short Angry 1: Yes you can come and sit over here.
Me: Thanks, but that is only a table for 6 and its in the corridor, next to Kitchen, can we just go and sit upstairs.
Short Angry 1: Sorry, the upstairs restaurant is closed this evening. Fail 3 (The answer we were looking for is ‘Yes, no problem, please come this way’.
Me: I am sorry I don’t really want to sit in the corridor with one of us on the end of a table, please can we go upstairs.
Short Angry One: No, as I said upstairs is shut. Fail 4 (We gave you a second chance, you should have taken the hint).
Me: Do you mind if we have a quick chat in private… (we both move to one side).
Me: I wouldn’t normally argue any further, but your boss, Debbie Phillips assured me that we would always be able to be seated upstairs and it would never be closed, now please can we sit upstairs.
Short Angry One: I DON’T CARE, I SAID UPSTAIRS IS CLOSED, NOW PLEASE STOP INVADING MY SPACE. FAIL 5 (Don’t raise your voice to me or any other customer ever, plus you just passed up you third and final chance).
Me: Okay, as you wish.
We were shown to our table in the corridor. We then tried to shoot a video message (Tracy has blogged and posted it here), and Pizza Express Waitress 3 (Slightly taller angry but marginally concerned one) told us to stop filming! Incredible!
Anyway we ordered, and the food was good, so that was okay.
We decided then to keep drinking and stay as long as we could (just to see how long it would take them to kick us out), we asked when they would be shutting the bar, they said 11pm, so at 10.55 we did the right thing and ordered a round, this consisted of:
3 x Double Jack Daniels and Coke
1 x Double Vodka and Red Bull
2 x Peroni
1 x Coke (for the designated driver).
Now I am willing to bet there isn’t much change out of £25 at Pizza Express prices, however Short Angry One said ‘Sorry, I am not serving you anymore alcohol, you have had enough I think’. Which we hadn’t and was, IMHO, purely an act of bitterness.
Sigh… Another call to Debbie coming up.