Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Patent Wars

I've been reading the ridiculous patent wars that are currently being fought in courts of law around the world about how Android phones are infringing patents..... but if you look at these patents

PCT/GB98/03016   <--- for instance

They relate to the vaguest description of an idea, and in some cases like the one above, they talk about devices that have long since gone to landfill.... the one above was filed in 1998 and U.S. Patent No. 6,956,564 on "portable computers" (not previously asserted; Apple acquired this one from British Telecom in 2008) are suing HTC over some vague use of a touch screen as described in the patent and touch screens didn't even exist in 1998 not for hand portable computers as it's called in the patent anyway !!!

No make no mistake about this, this is about the inexorable march of  Linux/Android into places where previously only bespoke software sat, such as the Apple iPhone and only now is Apple beginning to wake up  that their market share is soon going to disappear especially in their stronghold America..... the iPhone is selling stronger in the States than anywhere else but Android is catching up, just like it's overtaken Apple in Europe it will do the same in the States.

So this is why Apple are buying up stale 1998 patents off British Telecom, probably because their legal eagles can see some mileage in them, after all stalling sales of Android phones anywhere in the world means lost profits for the patent losers and increased profits for Apple.... But personally I see no honour in wheeling out a stale old patent which was originally filed for the likes of  Psion Series 5, and the HP320LX



 As you can see neither of these dinosaurs have anything in common with a modern Android phone,  and I fail to see how they can apply a patent for a device manufactured in 1998 by a COMPLETELY different company which has been simply purchased by another company on the off chance that it might be useful in fighting off a product which is better purely because of design and how that can be enforced in a court of law is beyond me...... The problem is though Linux/Android has SO many developers to push out a change takes only a few days and in some cases just a few hours, so they are behaving a bit like King Canute commanding the tide to halt

(although that isn't a very good example because King Canute didn't try to stop the tide to show how powerful he was as a king "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws." In other words that other human construct...... God.....or as I like to call it "the fall back when nothing else fits" )


 Anyway I digress, it's all delaying tactics the design cycle of Android is accelerating, Apple on the other hand doesn't have the resources to develop as quickly as Android.... hence the litigiousness we are seeing now..... or in plain speak "blind panic" .... Steve Jobs has gone !!!! what are we going to do now ???? Sue them !!! every last one of them !!!! damn it !!!!

Laughable......Muah ha ha ha ha ha ha 

Friday, 16 December 2011

It's been a while

I simply haven't had time to update my blog of late what with this and that happening....We've moved AGAIN !!! We are still in Laugharne, but we had the chance of a nice house with a huge garden and we jumped on it from a great height..... I've already hacked the garden to death to get some light into it because it had a lot of overhanging trees and we also have an Apple tree.... but gardening has ceased now because of winter but come spring I'll be back in there hacking away again..... we even have a small stream that runs right through the bottom of the garden.... it even has brown trout in it !!! :) 

Anyway.... Hasn't the world been busy ???? Gaddafi brown bread and quite a few of his family.... well lets face it....it really wasn't going to end well, was it ? and now the UK and the US are turning their attention to Iran and their nuclear ambitions or is that their oil ? I always get those two commodities mixed up.... Then of course we have all the nut jobs who think the world is going to end as predicted in the Mayan calendar.....if it wasn't bad enough that Christians are under the delusion that there will be a second coming and a destruction of earth.....blah .....blah .....blah, and then of course we have the extremist Muslims who are blowing themselves up for their share of virgins ..... they must surely be running out of them by now ? .... I am sooooooooo glad I'm an atheist, I suppose I used to be as bad because I used to believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.... but I grew up and saw sense..... 

Then of course we have more sensible things going on like the sigma 2 discovery of the Higgs Boson particle at CERN or the GOD particle as it's been dubbed or basically the reason why everything has mass in the universe.... people don't seem to realise the significance of this discovery... but all will become clear.... Like I said I'm sooooooooo glad I'm an atheist....


Anyway after that quick catch up with world events... onto more serious things like Freya's progress at school.... The school have started something called Read/Write/Ink (I think that's how it's said) basically it's a new way of teaching kids to read & write and it's results are astounding.... In Freya at least, from what I can tell they use phonetics as SSSSS snake and IIIIII insect ... but it's working she has only just turned 4 years old and she is reading her first words like PIN, CAT, SIT, SAD etc it's almost like a light has been switched on in her head and it's amazing to witness :)

Andrea and I went to her nativity play yesterday at her school... historically I wasn't going to pick holes in the story and decided I was just going to take it on face value.... because I simply don't do religion in any shape or form, I find the whole subject quite distasteful in this day and age... but I have to admit Freya as an angel (human construct though it is) was pretty damn cute... 

I'm going to let Freya decide for herself regards religion, just because I find it so ridiculous doesn't mean she will... although I'm aware that my views on it may well form her views on it, but I can't do anything about that....I'm not going to sugar coat any difficult questions she might ask....... in much the same way a "Christian" family can't stop their beliefs rubbing off on their children.... live and let live just don't force your views on me and I won't figuratively rip your head off with logic....

Anyway here we are nearly at WinterSolsticemas .... because that's what it really is.......

I will probably catch you the other side of the festivities 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

RIP Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011

I was fairly lucky in that I came into computing just in its infancy with the IBM 5150 and a few years later the Apple Macintosh hit the streets...that is when Apple hit mainstream businesses, there were a few before that namely the Lisa and the Apple IIe, but the Macintosh is the one that stirred the imagination. 

Now although I'm not what you would call an avid fan of Apple Inc and their closed proprietary business model, I have to admire the man Steve Jobs, love him or loathe him, his single vision to simplify computers by removing them from the hands of geeks (like me) in darkened rooms and transforming them into everyday objects such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, which to so many have become must have gadgets.... Back in the 1980's computers were mainly hideous things bolted together with self tapping screws, cumbersome and heavy and by today's standards incredibly slow...

Then along came the stylish Mac, first of all it had 128Kb of ram, but above all it gave the impression of something entirely different to the offering from IBM, it had a mouse !! now that wasn't a new thing the Unix world and X windows had used a mouse for some time, but Apple were the first to bring it mainstream, the monitor was infinitely higher resolution which was paper white with black characters, just like written pages... IBM on the other hand had green screen, low resolution monitors... on looks alone the Mac won hands down.... However in its early days it was seen as a toy, as most mainstream businesses used IBM and DOS (Disk Operating System) or the unimaginative A:> .... yes we were still using floppy disks in those early days, the first hard disks were quite a long way away, and the first ones that came out were hideously expensive.

 I remember marvelling at the first hard disk when it had 5MB of storage it was enormous and heavy like a house brick, but WOW it had 5MB of storage on it !!!
a hard drive that size now could hold 9 or 10 Terabytes....

Apple did things differently their floppy disk drives had no eject button and they only had one drive, eventually hard disk started appearing in Macintosh's but Apple always were very expensive to buy in some cases twice the price of the equivalent IBM, so to many it was a luxury they could ill afford... they did however practically take over in the printing and graphics side of the industry, it took IBM compatible computers many years to compete with Apple on graphics and image manipulation, by that time Apple was so entrenched within that industry they could never be toppled.....He was also responsible for the first laser printer hitting the market the Apple Laserwriter... 

However not all went well for Apple, Steve Jobs was fired in the 1980's because sales of Mac's bottomed out and slowly Apple lost momentum and market share... to the point where Microsoft had to bail them out with an injection of cash... but it was an entirely selfish act on Microsoft's part because if Apple went under Microsoft would come under the scrutiny of the monopolies commission and could/would be broken up as a result of Apple's demise... 

Steve went on to found NeXT and he "dabbled" in a few other companies such as Pixar and he gained stocks in Disney, eventually Apple bought NeXT so that it could implement its technology into Apple products and a few months later Steve Jobs was back at the helm of his first company.... the rest is history and what followed can only be described as a slew of iconic must have devices which captured an entire generation, such as the iPod, iPhone, iPad.... but without Steve's involvement and his vision in the early years Apple would not have become what it is today....

So I'm glad I was around to witness the very first Apple computers and see the humble beginnings they came from, I repaired Apple IIe's and Lisa's and Macintosh's... I even reverse engineered their "Fat Mac upgrade" which at the time cost over £4000 to upgrade via Apple to 512KB of memory, which they were none too impressed about but could nothing about because their customers were willing to void their warranty to get it for £1000.... 

One thing I will never forget is how badly a humble looking Macintosh could send you flying across the room if you dared to ignore the EHT discharge warnings and accidentally touched the anode cap from the monitor in that tightly packed Macintosh case......even after you had discharged it you kept on discharging it because it seemed to get high voltage from nowhere.... many a time I was caught out with that....

I used to have a letter signed by Steve Jobs sent to the company I worked for at the time to "cease and desist" from upgrading Macintosh's I should have kept it......he was litigious even then....

But it's a sad day, the world has lost a great man, who's drive and ambition probably won't be seen again for a long time, and so young too, he had a lot more to give......

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I predict a riot


Well albeit after the event(s)... I've got to be honest I've found the media coverage of the recent riots quite sickening, it's as if this younger generation has completely lost the plot of what society expects of a young person, it's almost as if a troupe of wild baboons have been let loose in the cities, while the police look on not knowing what to do next.

Personally I blame consumerism and the endless get rich quick message that has been pumping out of our TV's for years now. You've got to have this phone, or these trainers, or this jacket or this bling ….ad nauseum...

But it goes back further than that, its roots were put down years ago when schools lost the ability to punish kids for wrong doing, they lost the ability to teach them that every action has a reaction or consequence. Instead that was replaced with kids have rights too and treating them with kid gloves.... this only brought forward the "You can't touch me that's assault" and that is what has brought about this lawlessness, the knowledge that they cannot be touched, coupled with alcohol and drugs being freely available.

By sparing the rod we have ruined a whole generation who have been spoon fed by the media that the idea of the only thing you have to do to be famous is appear on TV. How vacuous is that? We have kids craving after the latest bit of technology because their friends have it, and youngsters who are about to leave school who have no idea what they want to do when they leave who's lives revolve around when they can get drunk enough to not remember what they've done or where they have been. And some who count a successful night out on how many times they have vomited....

They are storing up huge problems ahead of them regarding authority, accountability and consequences, not to mention health.

I'm old school and I have to admit I'm proud of that fact, I know the boundaries and the moral implications of any actions I may take. I honestly think we have been too soft on this generation; admittedly not all of this generation have grown up to think they are free from responsibility or do not think of others before acting. But the horrendous things I've seen on the TV do not shock me, there has been an undercurrent of this kind of lawlessness for years, a blatant disrespect for authority or elders and other people’s property, it has over the years got worse.

For instance if somebody damages your car outside your house you can't give them a damn good beating because you'll be hauled up in front of the judge and charged with assault, and therein lies the problem, accountability there is none, and they know it.... there is nothing to stop these idiotic louts from running amok, as they have been doing.

The very fabric of our society is crumbling around us, and to be honest the only way I can see a thing changing is if an iron fist is used to deter these idiots whom we as a society by the votes we have cast in the past have created.

It’s going to be a long haul

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Summer Jollydays

Freya enjoying the sun on Aberdaron beach

Well we've had our summer camping trip up to Aberdaron on the Llyn Penisula... and I have to say we couldn't have picked a better time to go, apart from one day that was a bit misty and the odd spot of rain for the greater part of our trip camping it was brilliant weather.... The car I'm afraid didn't particularly enjoy the trip up or back mainly because it was loaded down to the suspension stops with all of our gear.... and it's suffered because we have a failed rear shock absorber... although I have a feeling that was ruined driving around Edinburgh's streets when we went up there to visit family.... I do like Edinburgh but I couldn't live there mainly because I'm a country  boy  man at heart (and Welsh... not Scottish) I like cities but only to visit, I've lived in big places before such as Leeds and for several years as well..... and I hated it ..... I'd much rather live in a village or better still out in the middle of nowhere, where you walk out of your house and all you can see are rolling hills and trees..... That said Edinburgh is a beautiful city and we had a lovely time up there visiting family and friends.....

Getting back to our visit to Wales we even went to Abersoch (or Aversock as we called it) that place is seriously full of money, mainly from England as I barely heard a Welsh accent the whole time I was there and the prices were just short of extortion, apparently Andrea knows how expensive a place is by the type of shops it has.... I can't even remember most of the names but apparently for a place to have "those" shops then it's seriously minted....

Aberdaron Beach


Being a bloke I just went by the types of car that were there, like the Overfinch Range Rover.... the one that comes with two Purdey shotguns and an endless supply of whiskey in the back of it, or the several GT3 Porches and top end Audi's flying about the place.... not to mention the Gucci sun glasses and several other designer pairs which seemed to be on practically everybody's forehead....and the odd "Oh dahling isn't it lovely" comments

Anyway so now I'm searching for the cheapest set of rear shock absorbers for a BMW touring .... it's a simple job... fortunately they can be removed through the boot and the new set installed the same way.... either way it has to be done because the car skates around a bit on corners as the tyres bounce on the road and it will only get worse, so that's a priority.....

back to the drudgery of day to day life......

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Phone hacking

Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the past month or so, you'll have heard about the demise of the News of the World newspaper. Basically Rupert Murdoch quite happily sacked 200 or so staff to save one top executive Rebecka "the slapper" Brookes... she got the title "the slapper" from the publication Private Eye when she was accused of kicking seven bells out of her then husband TV hard man Ross Kemp...

You can imagine that she is a very driven person, competitive, cut throat and results driven... she could of course be the complete opposite of that...but that would be stretching the imagination a little far.

Once the rats had jumped the ship regarding the advertising it became an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction and damage limitation by News international... 

But I think the rot goes much deeper than this and isn't necessarily contained to one media organisation.... How many times have you read "from a trusted source" in news articles? There is currently lots of smoke but I think the fire is under the peat bog and it's raging away.... I think there are a lot of editors out there currently sweating... We've only really seen the tip of the iceberg at the moment and this kind of thing has been going on for years like a bad attack of dry rot, all of it fed by higher circulation and money changing hands.

I've never been a reader of the tabloids I find them very low brow and sensationalist journalism (I use the word loosely...tittle tattle is probably more accurate), but it seems a vast majority of the population do like that kind of thing, and where there is demand, there is supply.

Anyway enough of the serious stuff I'm sure the ones who are supposedly in charge of this country will thrash out a deal with News International and it will be buried for an unspecified sum of money or a suitable donation.... or will last long enough until something juicier comes along... 

Meanwhile in the real world our soldiers are still dying in Afghanistan for an unspecified reason and will continue to do so, fighting a completely unjust war with very little sign of an endgame. 

Anyway... We're off on our jollys soon, we are camping up in North Wales for a week then shooting off to Scotland for a bit (not camping I might add)... hopefully the weather will hold for the week, but even so I'm reliably informed that not only does the Llyn Peninsula have outstanding views but it also has a glut of pubs, of which I intend to visit some of the better ones... Chris my mate has promised to visit considering its just down the road from where he lives... but his reliability has proven somewhat dodgy in the past... so I won't be holding my breath or getting a pint in unless he actually turns up... I'm also hoping to do a bit of fishing up there... which reminds me I must check if they have a decent bait shop up there 

Anyway we are all ok both teenagers working decent hours down in Pendine and actually getting some money in their pockets.... Freya is the missing link in the Dinosaur fossil record in that she is living proof that the Stropasaurus evolved into a human female... although she does make us laugh with her constant singing and ridiculous statements like "nooooo you're Princess Kracka Lacken"

the only other bit of hilarity is Fomo boy's voice is on the verge of breaking, and his ridiculous warbling will only get worse as he gets older.... he doesn't really notice it but we do ...his voice box hasn't quite decided where it's going yet, but I'm sure it will pretty soon.... He's off to Andrea's Mum & Dad on Friday, So we'll probably notice his warbling more once we meet up with him and Hugo (Andrea's nephew) when we pick them up for  carry on camping.......

When will we learn ?

The only worrying thing is that we will leave two teenagers with free reign over the house for ten days.. but they will be under pain of death (and quite possibly eviction) if anything gets trashed....

We shall see

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Gotham City

The bats are back !! well one bat or it could be two, they have decided that the gap between where our wood burner goes through the ceiling and into the roof space is an ideal place to launch themselves from come twilight....The only problem is that they launch themselves inside our house. I think it's a pipestrelle but I could be wrong it seems bigger than the ones we had in our previous house. Either way both Andrea and Lauren were hiding under a Charlie and Lola blanket like a pair of quivering girls... eventually I trapped it in the hallway and opened the front door and out it flew....alas later on it came back and had another fly past before I went to bed, I've named it Douglas after Douglas Bader the battle of Britain spitfire pilot. We've also found a baby bat in one of our bathrooms.... so it looks like they are breeding up there..... 

Xbox Boy is in Zante in Greece for a weeks holiday with his friends which he can barely afford, but that's up to him, He does start another job once he comes back in Pendine, it's only seasonal but it's a better job than he had...

Lauren is working in the same place and she works hard.... I think it might be a bit of a shock for Stewart... but there you go time will tell. Stewarts work history thus far has been far from glowing.....Although Lauren got a dose of reality the other evening when she asked Andrea for bus fare to get to work a few days AFTER she had been paid... erm no... 

FOMO boy had a nice birthday, he asked for money for his birthday and he put it towards something called an E-Pad, which is basically a HUGE android phone or a wannabe iPad... but without the phone bit... He broke the charger within a day.... I don't think it's going to survive very long if I'm honest, either the screen will get cracked or it will befall some other terminal damage, just like his DSi. call me cynical....

On the subject of technology as I predicted several months ago Lauren's brand new 12MP camera is on the verge of death, it's very obviously been dropped (probably more than once) and has an intermittent lens error... I see little point in buying Lauren any type of technology because she simply doesn't value it or look after it....In fact her answer to being questioned about it's lack of working properly was "Well you should have got insurance with it" "Erm no.... You should have bloody well looked after it, insurance is for genuine accidents not stupidity" This Christmas I think it will just be cash....In fact I will insist upon it.. at least that way I won't get predictably upset when it gets trashed, which of course it won't because it's cash.

Andrea is still running, she was out last night on a club run and she's out again tonight in Lampeter on another run, she enjoys it and it keeps her fit and trim so who am I to complain ?

We are planning on going camping in North Wales in July, so hopefully the weather will hold... but knowing our luck it will tip down, because thus far this summer is turning out to be much like the summers we've had recently....par for the course it seems.

The only news that has made me chuckle recently was the prediction that our Sun is going into an unpredicted solar minimum when it should be entering it's solar maximum now, and this minimum is along the same lines of the little ice age of the middle ages when the river Thames froze over predictably every year and they held winter festivals on the frozen river.... That has to hack off the Anthropogenic Global Warming zealots, because it cancels out the predicted rise in temperature because of CO2, and the ONLY way to counter the impending freeze (if it happens) is to pump out more CO2 to warm the Earth up.... You've got to laugh, they haven't got a clue and if anything it shows how little they know about climate... I also had to laugh at the IPCC when they stated that renewables would provide most of our energy by 2050, a paper written by a guy in the IPCC who is Greenpeace, but worse than that they let him review his own paper... and NOW governments are using this data as fact.... erm no epic fail

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Bugger !!!

Our car developed a seized front right disc brake which was causing the disc to heat up alarmingly, not only that it was costing us money in petrol pushing the car harder to gain the same speed.... So I bought a brake refurbishment kit which replaces all the seals and rubber bushings....

It's not a hard job to do, you just need to remove the brake caliper from the wheel and push the piston out and clean everything up in there, replace the seals and away you go..... normally ...... 

The piston proved harder than I thought to get out... I eventually reverted to pushing it out via hydraulic pressure on the existing brake line.... and at the moment the piston left the piston chamber..... I was doomed :( but I didn't know it then.... I only discovered how doomed I was later...

the worst part was figuring out that you can only put the dust seal on AFTER you have pushed the cleaned and lubricated piston all the way in which took about an hour after various combinations I was ready to fit it back on the car and bleed the brakes......

But it wasn't to be....... I was defeated by a minuscule bleed screw which had last been opened in about 1998... it was rusted solid into the brake housing/piston chamber..... it didn't matter what I tried I couldn't get it loose or get it to even move.... I could have used brute force but all that would have done was ripped it clean off the piston housing......

Which presented me with a problem.... without being able to bleed the brakes they wouldn't work as they are intended....So the only thing I could do was to fill up the piston chamber with brake fluid through the tiny hole where the brake line attached (not an easy thing to achieve) and "try" and make it air free.... then reattach the brake line and hope the braking on that disc was good enough....

unfortunately it wasn't although they work  there is a lot of travel in the brake pedal and the brakes fade.... naturally because they aren't air free.... 

My father is arranging a visit to a blacksmith to remove the offending bleed screw by welding a nut onto it and getting it out....and putting a new bleed screw in if that fails it's a new caliper I'm afraid and they ain't cheap :( 

Which has more than hacked me off because I've already spent more than I wanted to on the refurbishment kit and pressure bleed system.......

Moral of the story..... Always have a exit strategy before embarking on something which might not work..... 

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Mortality

See the guy at the back of this picture ? Dean Partridge a bloke I served with in the Royal Signals at 11th Signal Regiment, sadly died in April, he shared the same birthday as me and he was born the same year as me, from what I can tell he died of cancer @ 48 years old !!! I have some excellent memories of Dean, we laughed and grafted together and got through basic training together....

A sad day... I only found him a few months ago when I started a Facebook group about Ouston and 11th Signal Regiment where we did our basic training and he popped up out of the woodwork, I had no idea he was terminally ill, but that's Dean for you.... I'm glad I got back in touch before he  passed away..... RIP Dean Partridge 9th March 1963 - 28th March 2011...


We're not on this Earth for long .... so make the most of it while you can because it's gone in the blink of an eye...... My basic training with Dean is still fresh in my mind it only seems like yesterday...those 10 mile runs around the airfield, the change parades, the immaculate bulled boots the sleeping in freezing trenches..... S/Sgt Mold beasting us.......it's 32 years ago now .....WOW ....(I'd do it all over again if I could)

Gone in a flash

(And yes... that's me flicking the V's)


Certa Cito Dean.....QBG.....QEF 

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bonny Scotland

Well Andrea made it back in one piece and her time for the marathon was 4 hours 34 minutes, which is pretty astounding considering she had a lot of time off training because of her leg injury... She had a lovely time up in Scotland and came back positively buzzing.... however her buzz has left her now and the early start she had this morning to catch her flight has hit her on the back of the head and she's wimped out and gone to bed.....

I'm immensely proud of her :)

I'd also like to welcome a reader of my blog called Claire, knowledge is power even if it does leak out..... ;¬) What I have learnt about Claire is that don't ever going shopping with her she is a walking security tag apparently ....(private joke  probably only appreciated by Claire and Andrea).... I'll get my coat....

Andrea escaped the big blow over Scotland by an hour as all flights were cancelled an hour after she left for Cardiff, by the looks of the news they got hit pretty bad, with large trees uprooted and at least two people killed which is awful, we on the other hand had a bit of a breeze and a light spotting of rain in sunny Wales.

The car is playing silly buggers again with its ABS whereby it activates at slow speed usually when rolling up to junctions at under 10mph... I'm determined to crack it, mainly because it's so bloody annoying .....I suspect it's the rear ABS sensors thinking that one of the wheels has locked up, considering the front ones were replaced recently AND have new reluctor rings on its hubs when I replaced the bearings. Although I think I will have to remove the drive shafts from the back to have a look see..... I also have to refurbish the front drivers side disc brake because it's starting to show signs of grabbing the disc, which means it isn't retracting properly, but that won't be expensive (£20+time+swearing+spanner rash)

A man has to have a hobby ;¬)

I don't mind repairing the car as it saves massive amounts on the garage bills which is always good.... plus I'm not going to add anything to the bill I didn't do or in fact fit. Not that I don't trust garages....

Anyway onward and upward

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dean Mead from Carmarthen



I never met Dean Mead, but both Stewart and Lauren have and counted him as a good friend, they were both deeply shocked when they heard of his untimely death in Afghanistan by an IED.... I was very moved by how well he was thought of by his fellow Marines.


I won't replicate the comments out of respect, but I suggest you go and read them.....here


A fine young man cut down in his prime doing something he loved.


"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."


RIP Dean Mead 1991 - 2011

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Imagine


Andromeda Galaxy our nearest neighbour
Fitting our Earth inside our Sun, how many Earth's could you fit into it ? Well you could fit 1 million (1,000,000) Earth sized objects inside of our Sun.

Now let’s take that a stage further. Imagine that our Sun was the size of a grain of ordinary sand that you would find on a beach.... Then imagine that all the stars in the universe were that size as well.... There would not be enough sand on our earth to equal the amount of stars in the Universe.

That gives you an idea of how many stars there are out there which is one of the reasons why I have great difficulty believing in any God, Why would a God create such a massive and vast expanse of basically nothing, then fill it with trillions upon trillions of stars... and then on one spiral arm of our Milky Way a pretty insignificant galaxy by all accounts, would he create an unremarkable star (our Sun) and several planets and on one of those orbiting rocks create the Earth.

It seems a little too far fetched for my liking. With all of those trillions of stars and all of those orbiting planets formed from the remnants of enormous exploding supernova over billions of years. It's more likely that we came about by pure chance. After all the numbers are pretty high, we just happen to be the lucky planet where it happened a place where all things fell into place to allow life to thrive......I’m sure there are many trillions of other planets where it didn’t and all of this over a massive time scale to humans, but to the time-scale of the Universe would be a minuscule amount of time.

Religion in my opinion is an easy way out, it's the lazy man's blind acceptance of what must be for people who don’t want to think too hard about it. An all encompassing explanation of everything in one easily digestible book, it's the comfort blanket where no real comfort exists, it's all in the mind. It's the world as man thought it existed thousands of years ago... We are a bit more up to date these days.... it's akin to opening a book about medical cures in the Middle Ages compared to the latest MRI scans of today...There is no mystery only an elusive deity backed up by blind "Faith" Of course "some" religions have valuable lessons to teach such as morality, love etc... but I think we are all born with these things or at least we have the ability to take on board these ideals and make them our own, without the need of religion....

You could believe that the Sun won't rise tomorrow. The probability would be that you'd be wrong, but that is something tangible that you can prove. You cannot use rational arguments about faith or religion with a believer, faith  isn't  rational or logical. Although a believer would argue that point...

I have some very good friends who believe in God and I respect them for their belief, and would defend their right to believe in what they wish.... but I can't help thinking they severely restrict the way they see the world (meaning all things relating to our existence) mainly because of their belief which hobbles their thought processes at the starting gate. Anything that questions the existence of God is dismissed or given a very simplistic explanation, and if the question fits neither of those explanations, then "Faith" is rolled out.

But if they are happy about that then who am I to question it? I would no more expect to pummel them with facts to disprove their faith than I would expect them to try and convert me. (But it’s fun sparring with believers, because I do like a lively debate ;¬) )…. 

Man in the human sense of the word, has an enormous capacity to think, we have massive brains and it's only really since the 1920's that we've discovered that galaxies existed outside of ours, when the Andromeda Galaxy was proven to exist at vast distances outside of our Galaxy. So it is only relatively recently that we  started to realise how vast the Universe is...

Furthermore the light from the Andromeda Galaxy hitting Earth now left the Andromeda Galaxy before man existed on Earth...(and no that wasn’t 6000 years ago biblically speaking) we are but a mere speck in a vast expanse of space.... and the more man knows about the Universe the less places there are left to hide a God.

They have recently proven one of Einstein’s theories in that a massive object  (Earth in this case) would bend space and time, they have measured it's effect on the  Gravity B probe

And that is what has prompted this blog entry... the more we know the less humanity will need a God

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A Palindrome

Or something which is the same backwards or forwards for those who don't know or possibly even care what the date is it's 11/5/11 .... of course it's not a "proper" palindrome because the date is 11/05/2011 but in its shortened form it is...

Anyway I've decided to add a bit of useless knowledge to each of my ramblings the palindrome wasn't it but I suppose it could be included.

No.... my useless bit of knowledge for today is quite stunning really in that the fissionable material in the Atomic bomb which destroyed Hiroshima amounted to just over the size of a UK 10p piece, and although the bomb contained 60 kilograms of U-235 only 1.38% of it was actually fissionable.... So something the size of a 10 pence piece destroyed Hiroshima which is quite astounding really, that something so small could cause the loss of so many lives. Of course the argument still stands did it shorten the war ? I think it probably did, but at what cost?

I think the years that followed during the cold war pretty much cemented the idea that the use of atomic weapons wasn't something to be taken lightly considering the more modern weapons were many times more powerful and many times more efficient than the first two dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So if any leader considered the use of them the mutually assured destruction of their own country pretty much put an end to their use, and they remained simply a deterrent that could never be used.

Anyway changing the subject slightly I'm now going to rant on the subject of TV.....or the lack of good TV.....I see the rights to "Big Brother" have been bought up and that they will be reviving the tired old horse this year.... it's something I won't be watching, I knew it was too good to be true for it to have gone forever, obviously some TV executives think it still has legs... hopefully it will fall at the first fence and break all four of them...

I'm also not too happy with the offerings on TV of late, what with "The Great British Hairdresser" (YAWN), "The Apprentice" (DOUBLE YAWN) and the whole slew of other utterly mindless drivel they pump out these days for consumption by the morons of our society... chewing gum for the masses. Whatever happened to informative, educational TV ???? TV seems to have turned into some entertainment box in the corner, which I'm not against but ALL of the time ? Surely it would be nice to ACTUALLY learn something new every now and again ???

There are a few programmes which stand out but they are few and far between.... I don't know maybe I just don't fit into the demographic of the typical TV viewer these days. I don't watch soap's they are borderline fodder for idiots and completely unrealistic (even the writer of Eastenders admitted that only today), if my own life was half as miserable as most in Eastenders or Hollyoakes for instance I would have booked myself into Diginitas years ago and popped the barbiturate smoothie... gladly.

Thankfully it isn't.... Anyway I've rambled on long enough I'm sure you've got something better to do like watch Eastenders or something ? ..... ;¬)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Skype

Has finally sold out for a substantial amount to none other than the evil empire itself ....Microsoft

I can see people leaving in droves myself included, which is a shame because it "was" a damn good VoIP application with excellent security, once Microsoft get their hands on it, it will be turned into some pay to speak bloatware application, or worse still the call quality will be reduced on the free side and if you want better call quality or video then you have to subscribe to a "premium" rate version.

I think there will be a hole in the market for another "Skype" soon.... it is a sad day indeed.

Not a lot news wise, except the Sullen one has been banned from having more than one friend over unless it's a special occasion such as a birthday or similar mainly because her bedroom is directly below ours and this weekend just gone she had about 4 or 5 friends over and the racket into the early hours was completely unacceptable and I didn't get to sleep until gone 4am being the light sleeper that I am.... mainly it was loud laughing but some of them could be heard quite clearly just with them talking and then there were the doors being banged shut every 10 minutes.... on a few occasions I very nearly got out of bed and threw the bloody lot of them out....But thought better of it because Andrea had said they could stay.... but it's simply not happening again, if she wants to have a random party she can go somewhere else to do it....I won't lose any sleep over it.....literally....

Xbox boy is still waiting for the green light from the Army after they told him he was a nervous wreck on anti depressants after getting his medical records mixed up with somebody else.... To be honest it's dragging on a bit now, but he knows if he doesn't get in the Army then he has to find another place to live, He's nearly 20 years old he should have fled the nest years ago. When I was 16 I wanted to get out in the world and explore it and find my own feet....despite having a very comfortable life with my parents at the time.....It seems this generation aren't quite so keen to do that, I don't know why....

Freya still has an ear infection although it's not as ragingly bad as it used to be, but she's on antibiotics again.... poor thing.

FOMO boy still hasn't learnt his lesson regarding answering back, but we are keeping up the pressure...he seems to have taken up one handed juggling with anything he can pick up, be that a phone, a bottle or anything in fact....highly annoying (and he knows it)….He’s also got the habit of picking up other peoples phones and using them…. A habit we are trying to get him out of, considering other peoples phones are private….something he doesn’t seem to grasp yet.

Having said that  he did learn a valuable lesson yesterday after he took a teddy bear off Freya in the car insisting it was his and he wanted to play with it....I tried to remind him that he was 11 years old and that Freya was only 3 but his bloody mindedness kicked in and he refused to give it back to Freya who was in floods of tears in the car, and because I was driving there wasn't a lot I could do about it....so I waited until we got home and I turned off his internet access on his computer.... it took him about 10 minutes to realise it didn't work and when he shouted down that "his" computer didn't work I corrected him and said "it's my computer and I'm playing with it" .... I think he got the point rather quickly... I'm a firm believer in punishments that can be understood easily... :) I did turn it back on again but only after he gave up and fired up Xboxboys Xbox 360.

We WILL win, he just doesn’t know it yet……

Friday, 6 May 2011

How Ludicrous

The United States Government have said they will not release photographic evidence of Osama Bin Ladens date with death...

Personally I don't particularly want to see Bin Laden's corpse, I shouldn't think there would be much to see with a bullet wound to the head. All this will do is fan the flames of the conspiracy theorists who will see this as proof that he isn't dead or that he died in 2001, and it seems that not even the US administration can get the story straight as to whether he was armed or unarmed....Either way I don't see how not releasing photographs will not inflame anti American feelings... EVERYBODY knows the Americans did it....

You also have to wonder why when they had 40 minutes on the ground and probably a lot more travelling to and from Bin Laden's compound the Pakistani air force failed to scramble to intercept the encroachers in Pakistani air space. Regardless of the anti radar coatings and stealth helicopters used......they wouldn't have been totally invisible....

It smells of fish to me, there is something that isn't quite right with the story, I'm not sure what and we'll probably never know why there are differences in what is being told to us...Ah well

Of course the sick jokes have started flowing the funniest one I've heard thus far is that Osama bin Laden's name if you turn it into a pseudo anagram is .... wait for it ......

Lob man in da sea

quite a creative one I think 

Xbox boy isn't flavour of the month with me at the moment, mainly because the Army sent him a letter saying he had been rejected/deferred due to being prescribed anti depressants and his history of anxiety attacks...


WHAT ????


The letter had spelt his first name wrong so we assumed they had got his records mixed up, so he was told to get a letter off his doctor to prove he had never been on anti depressants or suffered from anxiety attacks......

but he didn't have the money to pay for the letter (£20) so we paid for it, he came back with the letter and it had our old address on it, but he said that it didn't matter because that’s the address the army had anyway (rolls eyes in disbelief)....

Fair enough (or not).... anyway fast forward to last night and low and behold he has had a picture taken of his latest tattoo on Facebook, which quite frankly looks like its design was chosen whilst eating a kebab and tanked up on beer. Now I'm no fan of tattoo's at the best of times, but he had a rather good one on the same shoulder which (in my opinion) has been totally ruined by this random scorpion... I guess it's his skin to do as he pleases with ..... it's him who has to live with it for the rest of his life... but that isn't the point.

He didn't have £20 spare to sort out his Army medical records cock up.... it seems his tattoo was more important than his future career....

So I'm less than impressed with him at the moment....on his lack of priorities 

Sullen one is still limping around with a leg brace on after her rugby accident, but seems to be coping....In fact it's not really fair to call her Sullen one anymore because she's not quite as sullen as she used to be these days.....

On the other hand unfortunately FOMO boy is still wearing boots which are too small for him, and he is seriously going to have to watch his attitude, and curb the desire to answer back..... Andrea is dealing with him at the moment quite successfully, she isn't quite in need of a full on air strike and artillery barrage just yet.... but he's within range and target is acquired.....

Freya is well just Freya, she is getting over a rather nasty ear infection which treatment was delayed because of the bank holidays but she is responding well to her antibiotic banana medicine which she hates.... You can usually tell when Freya is ill the volume control gets muted for the duration of the illness....

Not much else to report really except Andrea is preparing for the impending Edinburgh marathon, which she is excited about, but by her own admission isn't at her fittest because of her Quad injury, but she seems confident she'll get around it... it will be a nice break for her and she'll get a chance to see her brother and his wife up there...

As for me... I'm plodding along as usual....

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Laden, Cooper and Windsor

Well it's been a rather eventful few weeks,
A Royal wedding, Osama Bin Laden and Henry Cooper.

The first one I really couldn't care less about and I don't honestly see what all the fuss is about with two people getting married.....Royal or not.

Osama Bin Laden's demise however is a bit of a multifaceted nightmare on stilts. I cannot see how taking out one man who albeit is the head of the terrorist organisation will somehow quell the zeal of the religious nut jobs who think nothing of blowing themselves and anybody within the blast radius to bits. I think it is a bit early to say Al Qaeda is dead in the water much like it's leader. I am pretty sure they will have a back up plan should their leader be killed, and it will only be a matter of time before somebody steps in to replace Osama Bin Laden and some other atrocity is executed.

Then of course if you're a cynic like I am there is always the possibility that Bin Laden was already dead (circa 2001 in Tora Bora) and this has just been staged as a political vote winner for the next presidential election, and of course slotting Bin Laden is worth millions of votes....In much the same way the Falklands War won Margaret Thatcher another term in office here in the UK......but of course there is always oil in the background......

It is strange how quickly he was executed, removed from his compound taken to a ship then buried at sea to follow Islamic burial rites....however Muslims are only buried at sea in the most extreme of circumstances and only then if they are encased in a clay burial coffin it is preferred they are buried under ground with their faces pointing towards Mecca....You could argue that they didn't want his burial place to become a martyrs grave, but wherever you bury somebody if they are a martyr in their followers eyes it doesn't really matter if they have a grave to visit or not.

You could of course argue that they did a DNA analysis with his sister's brain who died.... but then that only works if you believe everything a government tells you.

It could well be true that it was him but in light of recent governmental skull duggery I tend to not believe everything I read or see on the news.

Oil prices escalating out of control, Libyans still very much are killing each other, general unrest in the Arab countries further hiking up oil prices.... and ohhhh now look Osama Bin Laden slotted... The dollar rises, oil prices drop and the added bonus Obama gets another term as president.....

Some of us weren't born yesterday.

But now onto more important things like Henry Cooper's death, A truly magnificent boxer in his day with "Enry's Hammer" that iconic left hook which completely floored Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay at the time) and left him hanging on the ropes, or the fight he was wrongly defeated in with Joe Bugner....A wrong decision if ever there was one.... A true gent and a boxing legend gone at the age of 76... It seems you get to a certain age in this life and all of the people you were aware of growing up start pegging out for want of a better word.... I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles, the older you get the more aware you are of how little time you have here on earth to make the most of it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

The Camping trip

It initially started well, we got down to Morfa Bychan pitched our tent and settled back to a relaxing chill out in our chairs.... Then Freya decided it was time to go to the beach (literally 200 yards from where we camped) so off we went, we were there for less than 15 minutes when it started to rain lightly so we started to make our way back, but it soon turned into a monsoon and the rain was coming down like stair rods, we eventually got back to our tent soaked to the skin.... At least it stopped the kids riding around on their trial bikes and quad-bikes.... and it rained and rained.... we eventually got to bed and the rain even put to death any other festivities going on including the thumping Bob Marley coming from somewhere around the beach....

Freya didn't have a very good night, looking back now she was having stomach cramps and woke up feeling very miserable for herself, we had a decent breakfast and waited around until the trials bikes started up again then decided to shoot off to Folly Farm, which was a complete wash out, not weather wise, just our poor Freya she was feeling very peaky, so eventually we ditched Folly Farm after about an hour and on the way back Freya threw up in the car, fortunately she gives plenty of warning and we got it all.... 

That decided it for us and we got back to the tent only to find even more bikers and chavs had descended on the beach, so we started to pack up the tent and left....

I think had Freya not been poorly we would have stayed because the weather improved, but when you've got a 3 year old there are certain things that come first... we got her home and her temperature rose to 39C at one point, we don't know what it was she had but by the next day it was on the way out.....

Anyway we have our camping gear to hand now and I'm sure this summer we will be out doing it again at some point....

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Free !!!

For a bit at least.... Sullen one and FOMO boy have been packed off to their dad's for five days, which should be nice for them, we were getting a bit worried he'd forgotten about them. Having said that we will miss them, I'm sure they will have a lovely time down in Bodmin, So we only have Xboxboy to get rid of at home and little foghorn Freya.... We are hoping to go camping for a few days if the weather holds.... only local and close to a beach but it should be a nice change.....

The weather over the past few days has been glorious it hit 24c here in Laugharne which for April is brilliant. The Laugharne festival went well from what I've heard, we bumped into a few famous people namely Lily Allens father (Keith) and Roland Rivron, when I say bumped into Andrea got her foot stepped on by Keith Allen outside the Rugby club, and we walked past Roland Rivron and his family and had that "is that who I think it is" moment as we looked at each other.....the kids were oblivious of course..... apparently there were other famous people in Laugharne over the weekend but I didn't see anybody else.... Neither Andrea nor I get star struck, I once gave directions to Pierce Brosnan in Laugharne he was looking for the boathouse, the only thing that struck me was how tall he was, next to me a short arsed Welshman at 5ft 9" ....sigh

Anyway getting back to the Laugharne Festival, We didn't pay to see anybody (being locals and very tight).... we did however sample the atmosphere around the various pubs, and had a good night at the Cross House Inn at the Grist with a Rat Pack Crooner who's name escapes me, but he was very good.

That about covered the Laugharne Festival for us, it was a very good atmosphere overall and no trouble.... well except at around 3am on the Saturday with a few drunks putting the world to rights outside our house... other than that it was very enjoyable.

Anyway that about covers the news from our end. My phone is still unusable, and I'm loving the nice weather :)

Till next time :)


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

UN Resolution 1973

Or to put it another way the current Libyan civil war, I suspect the recent announcement to send ten serving officers of the British Army and a similar ten from France to Libya to organise the rebels, will increase although it will fall short of an "occupation force" no doubt there will be soldiers out there using laser designators on selected targets. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if there are already "British troops" out there in a non official capacity.

I don't think the current no fly zone is working, hence the military guidance requirement, sure Gaddafi's forces have taken a hammering, but this guy isn't going to go without a very bloody fight. The situation is simply too fluid with very little to distinguish the "good guys" from the "bad guys" hence the recent friendly fire incidents...

Personally I think UK/NATO/France/US want more accurate intelligence as to what is actually going down on the ground at the sharp end, and the only way to ensure that is to put military people at the sharp end......

However it smacks of.... 

November 1, 1955 — President Eisenhower deploys the Military Assistance Advisory Group to train the ARVN (South Vietnamese Army). The rest as the saying goes is history.

Although Libya is not even in the same ball park as Vietnam, you would think lessons had been learned. It's a difficult situation and what do we as a nation think we should do? Turn our backs? Or try to minimise the death of innocent civilians?

It's a difficult call to make, and everybody knows that air strikes/bombing do not overly effect a war, of course it can demoralise the other side, but many times in the past it's been proven that air strikes alone cannot win a war.

Make no mistake about it the UK is getting dragged into this despite certain politicians saying there is "no mission creep"

But the really insulting thing underneath all of the "protecting civilians" banner carrying and jingoism is the real reason


OIL

It’s a plain fact and more cost effective to help rebels wage a war against a dictator than watch your country suffer financially with spiralling oil prices.

It’s very simple maths when you look at it cynically

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

It's starting


Apple is running scared it seems, as I predicted in a post a while back on here, basically they are taking Samsung to court over "blatant" copying of the iPad and iPhone. The fact that Samsung supply a LOT of hardware to Apple to make their iPad and iPhone including memory doesn't seem to matter.... This smacks of a company that can see their profit tumbling and are pulling out all the stops including legal ones to try and stop the erosion of their market.... but it won't work.... Android is too big to squash now. Apple has felt this downturn in profit first because they are smaller. Microsoft to be honest have never had a viable product porting their bloatware across to a phone that requires the computing power of a small planet to run it at any decent speed, so any erosion of their minuscule market share probably won't be felt as harshly as Apple's.

Lets face it you can have the best designed bit of kit on the planet but if its pegged at the wrong price it won’t sell next to something equally well designed but at the right price.

Android is approaching critical mass after which it will be impossible to stop and the only thing Apple can do is bring something else out that beats the competition at the right price point. But I can’t see that happening to be honest…..

Click to see larger road map

The ironic thing is that both the iPhone and the iPad run a variant of  FreeBSD, whereas Android is a fork of Linux which is clean in that Linux isn’t derived from any other operating system, but follows POSIX standards, it did adopt “some” features from Minix but it’s kernel is clean. So they come from the same stable so to speak.


In March Apple sued HTC alleging patent infringement over the iPhone. if that isn't a company running scared then I will eat my hat.... (if I had one)

I can see a bumpy ride for the likes of any company in the phone market that isn’t Android and eventually all that will be left are the crumbs that Android didn’t want




This Google trends graph shows that Android apps (blue line) have already overtaken iPhone apps I can see the blue line going way past anything Apple ever managed and that's even AFTER apple released the iPhone 4 to market.. it's just a steady decline for them.... hence taking Samsung to court...... too little..... too late a classic example of a company resting on its laurels....by pricing their kit too high (consistently....) they excluded a vast swathe of the population and now it's coming home to roost with them......


Addendum:- Apple has just posted record profits for the iphone.... that may be the case, but considering Android phones outsold iPhones it's a drop in the ocean comparing one companies profits against several.... Apple would have to seriously sell some iPhones to compete with the Android market.... it's slowly slipping down the league tables, and when you throw in Apple sueing Samsung (their only serious tablet competitor) and their recent case against HTC.... they are digging in their claws to hang on to the emerging robot.....


Oh and look as of today 25th April "The Register" has reported the very same thing .... I'm way ahead of them ;¬)

Friday, 15 April 2011

It had to happen

I bought Andrea her new Android phone and the day after I walked into the corner of my desk (with my phone in my pocket) and completely smashed the display on my phone... all you can see on the display is a crazed multicolour pattern with nothing showing except what looks like a supernova explosion.... ahhhh well... I don't make a habit of destroying phones in fact my last one was lost by my wife which she replaced with this one..... but I can quite honestly say I've never "lost" a phone, and as far as I can remember this is the only one I've killed outright personally... it still works as in that it takes calls, but that's about it. My memory isn't good enough to remember how the menus worked and sending a text would be purely guess work, so it's a no go.

So for the time being don't expect any calls from me until I replace my phone... not that I ever made any calls on my phone, I'd say the majority of use I made of it was to send SMS messages.

We've had our first phone bill in our new house and after sitting down and hyperventilating for a short spell, I fired off an official complaint because we had been told that as long as the new house had a BT socket there would be no connection charge, and considering the BT Openreach engineer took all of 10 minutes to reconnect us on our old line and number .... £93 extra seems a little steep....So we shall see what my complaint produces. I'm very draconian when it comes to utility bills especially ones which are wrong, as the £512 one we got off British Gas for our last 2  months of electricity we allegedly used at our last address, it turned out they read the wrong meter and the bill was really £138, but had I not queried it and put my foot down when they rang to ask if we were paying it anytime soon, I asked for the final bill only then did it surface the bill was wrong and had we not queried it we would have been none the wiser.

on the Marathon front Andrea went out running last night for the first time in about 2 weeks because of a quad injury she seems to have managed it without crawling back into the house screaming in pain, so hopefully it's on its way to getting better. Living with an injured runner is like living with a heroin addict who can't get their fix.

The only other news is that my parents went away to Jersey for a week, and Andrea and I had been plotting to clear their back garden while they were away. Now my father is a hoarder, he's from the generation where nothing goes to waste, or that something will come in handy at some point, needless to say the "handy" things build up, and build up until you find yourself hopping and picking your way through the "handy" things in the back garden.... now we knew that this was not the "ideal" situation for my mother who likes nothing more than to sit in the back garden and relax with a cuppa, but when you've got old workbenches and bits and bobs strewn over every open bit of ground, it kind of detracts from the "relaxing" bit... So before they left Andrea "interrogated" my mother in the back garden asking what plant was what and saying things like "ohhhh this place needs a tidy" prompting my mother to spill the beans about what she would like done.... needless to say they left on the Sunday morning and we where there a few hours later digging and filling rubble sacks, all told we spent about 6 or 7 hours up there over the space of a week and filled 30 rubble sacks and got rid of countless brambles and bits and bobs.

We waited for them to come back, and eventually the phone rang with a very tearful mother, who seemed to appreciate her garden being sorted out... We wanted to do a lot more but what we might have liked she might not have liked, so instead we said if she wants anything else doing she only has to call us and we'll come up and strain some more muscles…

Life is good :-)