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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Introducing ACTA... Any idea what this is?

I'm pretty sure this has passed under most people's radar....

Started in June 2008, it is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

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This is a draft plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, or the United Nations.

It now has the following signatories, probably on your behalf and you also probably didn't know...: USA, EU and 22 member states, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.

Read these....

http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/28/what-is-acta-and-why-are-thousands-of-europ...

http://goo.gl/YXPjz

What do you think? Do you care? Should you care?

I think we are on the verge of loosing the free and open Internet for ever, which will make this very post (for example) illegal. Sad times.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Someone must know about blue balls from the sky

It's a great story and puts me in mind of some of the cheesiest sci-fi movies that have graced our screens. Even as we speak those little blue balls are mutating in a Dorset refrigerator. Soon they'll be crawling across the kitchen floor and devouring the cat. ....


A man from Dorset reports a deluge of tiny blue balls falling from the sky over Bournemouth.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-16754531


I love it.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Burns Night...

Not for me, the cock-a-leekie,
Nor Haggis, neeps & tatties,
For I am spared the Typsy Laird
I'm no Clootie Dumpling fatty.

It's not that I don't like the Baird,
An all his works and writings,
It's just we bought fish cakes instead,
Made from a lovely piece of whiting.

Burns

As you've no doubt deduced, Burns night isn't something that happens in our house. I'm sure it should, especially have we have a Scottish contingent to the family and as you can see from my thrown together rambling above - I do like good bit of poetry - well a good rhyme at least.

That said, the traditional menu really won't suit, as I just can't get on with the cock-a-leekie soup or the Haggis. I know how hard it is to catch those pesky haggis too - having been on a haggis hunt when we were last up in scot land.

They're an odd looking wee beastie, having different length legs on either side of their bodies. These have evolved in direct response to the mountainous habitat, with the short legs at the higher point of the hill and the long legs at the lower point, thus providing them with a horizontal view of the world from their highland vantage point.

There are two differing breeds of haggis - lefties and righties - which travel around the mountains in opposite directions.  Various attempts have been made to crossbreed the two, but all have ended in disaster - either very tall (easily spotted high above the heather) or very short (and they tend to get stuck in soft earth or mud and meet a sticky end).  There was an odd side effect on one occasion (and only one) which produced a haggis with opposing length corner legs. Needless to say it spent much of its short life, lying on it's back and kicking. I'm told as a result there was very little fat on the meat, so it did make for good eating, but to produce the same result twice was a futile exercise, due to the rarity of the odd-leg gene.

No, lefties should stick to lefties, and righties to righties - its the only way.

On the plus side, the fish cakes really were great.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Google in privacy policy changes

Google changes its privacy policy, streamlining it across its multiple services including search, email, video and social networking sites.


The full story is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16713562


Now privacy policies and Social Networks go hand in hand of course, but they are not good friends with each other.
You only have to look at the mess that Facebook have made to know that. Google ran into all sorts of difficulties last year with its name policy whichever that users had to use their real name and not a pseudonym. This annoyed me no end, but so keen was I to become a G+'er that I put up with the change and now have a rather confused and split online personality.
I note this week, ahead of the above announcement that they're reversing that decision. Not sure if I will disappear in this form and return to my original self or not. I'm still kicking around in the rough - or in a bunker....


Stay safe

S (or G)... I think.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut is pure genius

Some of the most creative work (if a bit rubbish in places depending on the level of production values) has meant that the whole of Episode IV has been remade in 15 second chunks and crowd-sourced to bring you this.
I haven't seen the whole two hours, but I've enjoyed what I've seen so far .... So enjoy a bit yourself....




This post originally appeared here: Posterous

A week end....

P27

It's the end of another slogging week and all in all it's worked out very well.

The work that the UK team of the guesswork I've been doing, all got their ducks in a row well in advance of the US team this time and so were mostly seen to be pretty smug about it.

The US team had to have a last minute change that caused them plenty of long hours and hard work, but the result was that we had everything ready in the nick of time to present to the client on Friday. The guess was received very well up that Laandon, and we're to be tasked with having one last big guess sometime during March. This could cause me some concern as Mrs G, Daughter and I have planned a week off in this timeframe - but let's wait and see what happens.

On reflection - while the last twelve months have been a roller coaster of emotions work-wise, I've ended the year on a positive note and find myself feeling that I have actually enjoyed it, which is something that hasn't been the case for a few years previous to this one.

Looking forward into this year, there's no knowing what might happen, but as long as it continues in the same way that the last six months have - then all will be well, although a little more cash in the pay packet would greatly help.

Mrs G's ex-workmate and good friend L (who is a proper lovely person) has come to stay this weekend, and so Friday night consisted of a couple of bottles of wine and a general catch up. Meanwhile, daughter spent the evening at Aunty S' doing similar, but I was very intrigued to see her 3D TV (active not passive) and managed to look like a complete buffoon in the glasses for two minutes when I dropped daughter off.

Back home, I sat and enjoyed the conversation and manage to catch most of "Jaws" (one of my favourites) that was quietly on the telly in the background.

Now Saturday has arrived and we three (sadly, daughter is at work) are off into Chelt to meet up with a few other ex-workmates for a leisurely lunch and yet more catching up. We've got a couple of little jobs to do in town too - so a swift shufty round the shops will be in order no doubt. I'm in no mood for spending money though - feeling a bit brassic as a result of Christmas and January always feels like a very long month between incomes.

On top of this, it's my birthday month and after much umming and ahhing I have finally invested in my birthday present to myself (that's usually the best present) a new TV - and it's a whopper. More on that when it finally arrives - suffice to say that Stan will be happy, because he's got first dibs on the current one.

Hope you have a great weekend and that your January is becoming more bearable with each day that comes.

Laters...



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wikipedia Wednesday

Don't know if you've been following this story or not, but this side of the pond the whole SOPA and PIPA story has been reported, just not in a particularly mainstream sort of way. I note, this morning however that it is starting to gather a head of steam and I suspect that due in part to good old Wikipedia.

Well, if you want to know the details, I wouldn't recommend trying to look either of them up on Wikipedia on Wednesday, because you won't find them. In fact, if you try and look anything up on Wikipedia on Wednesday, you won't find it.

Wiki

The reason being is that they're "going dark" for the day in protest of both of the suggested bills.  If you want to get into the details - and I suggest that you almost certainly do as you're clearly a user of teh Internet - then you can take a look at the following.  I'm sure Wikipedia won't mind me reproducing thier descriptive paragraph, being as it's not available on thier site for 24 hours.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.[2] Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act.[3]

The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators, such as PayPal, from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is not dedicated to infringement.[4]

Proponents of the bill allege that it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites.[5] They cite examples such as Google's $500 million settlement with the Department of Justice for its role in a scheme to target U.S. consumers with ads to buy illegal prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.[6]

Opponents say that it violates the First Amendment,[7] is Internet censorship,[8] will cripple the Internet,[9] and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions.[7][10] Opponents have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and planned service blackouts by major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter, such as the blackout of Wikipedia on January 18, 2012.

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee was scheduled to continue debate in January 2012

Puts me in mind of elements of the dreaded "Digital Economy Bill" - and we all know how well that ended - having come into force on the 8th of June 2010.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, January 13, 2012

IBM makes 12-atom magnetic memory

IBM researchers test the limits of magnetic memory storage by creating a bit made of only 12 atoms.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16543497



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Hence why....

It's not like me to get wound about about the use of the English language.  After all, I'm a firm believer that English is an ever growing, every changing dialect and as such should be allowed to flex and change to suit the needs of the people it serves so well.  

Take the most recent entries into the Oxford english dictionary, which as any fool who's ever read "The Surgeon of Crowthorne" will tell you, was mostly developed by an alleged lunatic held in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum for the sake of his sanity and indeed ours...  

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traceur - A practitioner of the sport/art of parkour. A skilled runner and jumper. 


gordita - A cute/pretty chubby girl. Used affectionately. 

Va-jay-jay - a synonym for the word vagina which most people are unaware of. 

posilutely - as in the phrase "Absotively Posilutely" coined in the 1988 Disney film "Oliver & Co"

Dodger: And once you got the beat, you can do anything.
Oliver: I can?
Dodger: Absotively Posilutely


To name but four examples of the language that have been readily adopted and are now considered normal.  I digress...  Significantly. (Oh and thanks to the Urban Dictionary for the above definitions - as I don't have access to the full OED because it costs 600 quid)

To return to my point. The word "Hence". Now to my mind this word is the equivalent of the three dotted triangle in maths used to represent "therefore"...

So as an example..

It was raining, therefore I used an umbrella...  Or
It was raining, hence my use of an umbrella.

I'm sure you follow.  As I said, the mangling the of the language doesn't often offend me, except for this particular case.  For some reason it drives me a little batty to hear the phrase "hence why" employed in a sentence.  It just doesn't fit. It seems to me that use of the word "why" in this context is spurious and as such un-required. In much the same way as the word "un-required" was irrelevant in the last sentence due to the use of the word "spurious"... Understood?

If you said "hence" (or therefore) then you surely don't need to say why.  It's a bit like like people who mangle three letter acronyms such as "VIP People" - which as any fool knows means they've said the word "people" twice. It seems to me, that "hence why" is the same as saying "and that is why why"..  Basically it makes no sense at all.

The trouble is, lately I hear this phrase being used more and more. Is it me? I'm certain it's wrong, but if you know otherwise, let me know in the comments.

In the mean time - you'll see me wince whenever I hear it, hence why I hate it so....   D'oh



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, January 06, 2012

Sisters...

Photo


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Decisions...

Those of you that have been paying attention will be aware that it's that time of year when I celebrate surviving to another year older... (and to those of you that might be new here - its my birthday soon)

Given the fact that I have to work for a living (Like you, I'm still playing the lottery in the vane hope) and given the fact I have a loving family in the shape of Mrs G, Daughter and Son and given the fact that I manage to maintain a social life in the form of the Wednesday/Thursday club - This particular Thursday, left me in a bit of a quandary.

Having spent the last two days "up that London" due to employment responsibilities, my initial thoughts on what to do when getting off a late train on a Thursday night revolved around having a quiet night in with Mrs G. The members of the WTC of course had other ideas and as such this is where I found myself sat squarely on the horns of a dilemma.

At this point I need to mention, one of the reasons I'm very happily married to Mrs G is her un-erring level of understanding when it comes to having a social life alongside a family life.

Having explained to her how the WTC had arranged a birthday drink with an excellent attendance, on an evening when I really should just be going home and putting my feet up, she was completely accepting of collecting me from the station and depositing me at a local hostilely so that I could have the urine royally extracted to the delight of all those present. This fact alone, is the definition of true love.

While, to most people, ritual abuse from your peers may seem like an ugly and unfortunate way to spend an evening, to me (and in fact to the other members of the WTC) there really is no greater form of flattery and thus acceptance, to be had. Furthermore, after a couple of days of slogging at the grindstone, I can't recommend such frivolity highly enough.

In all honesty, I can't put into words how thankful I am to be associated with such a bunch of gits who treat each other with such admiration tinged with contempt and with the levels of disrespect that we each deserve.

I thank them all - firstly Mrs G, for her selfless understanding and then the buffoons that are my "so-called" mates for making all the other bits of life, that much more bearable.

Given the conundrum as was voiced by one of our number this evening "would you rather continue as you are or be given £10million and never see any of these reprobates ever again" of course I would gladly take the 10 mill' - but then I'd be lying and worse still, I'd have to try and find another bunch of reprobates that Mrs G and family would be equally a accepting of....

£10m can buy a lot of stuff (as my guessing skills often prove) but a life like the one I'm blessed with? No hope.

As the advert says - Priceless.

Take care
G



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Back with a bump..

P90

Only a four day week this week, which you'd think would be a blessing and would allow for a nice steady roll back into the cut and thrust of working for a living, but not a bit of it.

Instead, Tuesday saw me schlepping up country to the local-ish office to plan our two day review of the current piece of well honed guess work. Like any of the guess work we do, this one has been deftly calculated by some of the sharpest minds in the business. And me.

Naturally they'd all deny it, but not me. I know I'm awesome. Just not sure what it is that I'm awesome at. Guesswork most likely, and this theory is somewhat borne out by the fact that the sharp minds have heaved and hoe'd and squinted and thunk and basically have got us right back to the same place we were in two months ago. That's not to say they've not improved it, it's just not got any smaller.... Or bigger.

The day went well, ducks seem to be mostly in a row and while we can safely expect awkward questions during the review, we feel like we have the right answers to them and all should be well with the world (at least that's the theory).

In essence this is a re-run of the agonising week I had back in November, only this time we've had a bit more time to think about it.

In the meantime, the Badman, who I've yet to speak to in 2012, has got himself a new and interesting piece of guessing to do which is not at all dis-similar to the one that he and I successfully concluded last year. My current goal therefore (besides surviving to my next birthday - its only a week away, should be achievable) is to get this round of the fat job sorted so that I can escape and go and help him out with a far skinnier and dare I say bonier piece instead.

But before that can happen, I have to spend the next two days back in London. The alarm didn't go off at stupid o'clock this morning because I was already awake - most annoying - so now it's 7am and I'm hovering about 6 foot off the ground above some steel rails somewhere in the vacinity of Didcot Parkway, en-route to Paddington.

A proper winter's morning means its fresh and cold and a night in the city means I'm carry the "big coat" and lugging the "big bag". Luckily the train is reasonably empty and I'm rather hoping it stays that way.

There's Mr middle-aged-spread with headphones on his iPhone, grinning to himself (I hope he's listening to wittertainment). Mr waiting-for-retirement who was on his kindle before his energy level gave out and he had to go back to sleep (I only wish he wouldn't snore) and there's Ms Keen-to-get-on who immediately filled up her available space with her laptop and started beavering away. She works in banking judging by her spread of paperwork all over the cabin. I'll not go into details. It's not a criticism, and its not a life either.

Not much to report in the way of inane railway passenger conversation, which is a shame, but for a couple of snippets...

"She still had to interview us, I just don't think she was that worried. It's been such a struggle. And that bloody woman's come to get that stuff... Uggghh"

"Foundation, Mascara and a bottle of nail varnish"

Ah well, there's bound to be some excitement up that London, so we'll just have to wait and see what it is.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, January 02, 2012

The best day of the year...

It's entirely possible that while yesterday was most definitely the best day of the year so far, that today might be even better.

Admittedly it won't involve getting up and having to rescue and hunt down the kids from various post-party locations, and I daresay I won't be cooking up a large breakfast and dashing off to catch the number 10 bus to Cheltenham. Incidentally - we didn't catch the number 10 bus yesterday as it happens, mainly because although the GCC/Stagecoach website makes no mention of the fact, it doesn't run on New Years Day. The 94 on the other hand, does.

I would suggest that it's also unlikely that we'll be attending any racing today with an enormous crowd or revellers - larger than I can remember seeing at a New Years Day meet. Festival week usually sees around 50,000 visitors, and I reckon there must have been at least 25,000 yesterday if not a few more.

I can also be fairly certain that there won't be any big financial wins today - which is a great shame. After a long dry spell with the bookies one of the on-course fella's pointed out to myself and daughter that we should feel free to consider using other bookmakers besides himself - after-all we should share the wealth - which he did, thank-you very much.

Don't be mistaken, we're not talking about any retirement plan or a new car or a big telly. But we are talking enough to have covered all the costs for the day out and to have bought us all a slap up steak dinner and a fair few glasses of various beverages, a bit of dancing and a taxi home.

All in all, an awesome start to the New Year with much fun and frivolity. Some quality time with the kids - who are actually adults now, so I should try and stop calling them that - something to be thankful for.

No, today won't be like that. Today will be nursing a sore head and sitting still on the sofa, in preparation for the "return to work" tomorrow. Now that's the definition of a fantastic day!!!

Isn't it?



This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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