Monday, 26 April 2010

Bloggity Blog

Been a week since my last entry, and it's not for lack of stuff to say. I've just had other things going on.

Lectures have started again and they're pretty interesting. It's nice just having a lecture every day at 3-4pm instead of 9am-1pm. Plus they're mostly advertisement taster courses for the stuff next year, so go figure they're pretty fun and interesting.
Revision isn't really happening yet, but I've just got other things distracting me. It's not even like I'm up to proper levels of procrastination yet.

The Segreant's Day was really fun on Saturday. To explain for non-DCBC people, the Segs are basically old boy rowers who come back to mess around in boats again, have a dinner with the current squad, and then buy us all drinks at the bar because they're fucking dirty rich. It was a really good day, considering we went out in boats with a general "Downing or fuck off" attitude. It didn't matter if we weren't obeying the rules of the river, or were generally causing chaos and inconvenience for the other boats trying to train. We were the ones racing side by side down the river, either get the fuck out the way or live with cleaning the magenta paint off your boats.

I got smashed, but just about kept it back so that I was OK the next morning. It's difficult when people are buying you drinks and you're already pretty far gone to not just go over the edge, but giving the last Staropramen to Chris was definitely what meant I wasn't a total wreck the next morning.

Lost out on the MII coxing seat to Sarah, but I was expecting that. I'd have been hugely surprised if I'd been given it ahead of her, given she's been doing it a fair bit longer than I have and is probably the better pick. I'm still improving, and I'll probably come along on the bank for occasional MI outings to try and pick more stuff up, but at this moment in time I'd say she's better. I'm just glad the decision is made and I can focus on going for the WII seat without any other distractions or commitments.

My main bitch right now is slops. The menu is shit, and people are a fucking pain in the arse with how early you get there. If you're on time, you're queuing for fucking ages. You have to go like 10 minutes early just to get to the front of the queue and not have to wait 20 minutes for some food. Plus the food hasn't even been that great this term, and they've not had any of the pomegranate juice either.

You ever see one of those things where you're like "Damn, I wish I'd thought of that"? Read the story of an Israeli man who has been jailed for sexually abusing women by claiming his semen was holy. Probably not a news story that I should really joke about, but seriously, if you not only let a man put his dick inside you because he claims to have holy semen, but you also pay him for the privilege, then you deserve what you get. Sure, this guy is horrible for doing this stuff, but it's a hilariously successful idea, given that he'd supposedly been doing this and getting away with it for years. Some people are just far too fucking gullible for their own good.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Eye Witness Reports & State Students At Oxbridge

Good to be back in Cambridge. Not really had any time to write any sort of major posts, so this is just my thoughts on a couple of things I saw at the end of last week and over the weekend.

The first was a study into how well we can recollect memories of incidents for eye-witness reports. The answer is, apparently, not very well. You stage a crime in front of a group of people, conduct police interviews afterwards, and a lot of them got the wrong culprit. Not only that, one of them was adamant they'd not even seen anything, despite looking at it the entire time.

It's interesting, because this is a proper fair test. If you know you're being tested on your memory, you make a conscious effort to remember things. This was a test of how much your memory naturally retains of your everyday life. The results at least suggest that we really retain very little, and that we can both forget things and also remember incorrectly.

This sort of research, if it's studied more and the results are backed up, must have a fairly huge impact in the way the police operate and the way courts view eye-witness testimonies. Most people would assume that an eye-witness would be pretty good evidence. I mean, they've seen it, right? Yet apparently not, and compared to DNA and fingerprint evidence a mere eye-witness is still fairly doubtful, shaky ground.

These sort of studies must have fairly strong implications for long sentences as well, and especially things like the death penalty (as pointed out by one of the comments - a rare instance of a BBC comment not being retarded). Eye-witness events really aren't that stable at all. How do you know if someone is telling the truth, lying, or just innocently remembering key details and facts incorrectly? It can make the sort of difference that can imprison an innocent man or let off the real culprit.

Plus I like that article because it makes my generally appalling, ditzy memory seem a bit more acceptable.

Second article is one on how Oxbridge still aren't getting enough state school pupils. Which, to be honest, is something that'll probably keep dragging on year after year until either state or private schools are banned, or some sort of actual restriction is placed upon Oxford and Cambridge on who they can admit to the universities.

I was privately educated into a place at Cambridge, but I'm also a socialist, so I've got a fairly mixed stance on this. I agree that they should try and factor in upbringing when they're assessing applicants, because I think that as a general rule if there is a kid who is privately educated and a kid who is state educated and they both have identical results, the state educated one is likely to do better at university because they've probably got a better work ethic to make up for the inferior schooling.

However, this is only a very general rule, and I think to divide schools into state and independent schools as if to say all state schools are worse than all private schools, then you're being stupid. I'm sure there are a crapload of independent schools that are worse than a lot of state schools.

Sure, if you look at the 2009 school A-Level league tables then the IND schools seem to have utter domination. So do schools in the south of the country as well. I could be getting things wrong here, but by my count only three of the top fifty schools are state-run, and only two of the top fifty are north of Birmingham. Why don't the media make such a fuss about how Oxbridge aren't accepting enough applicants from the North of England?

I'm being a bit stupid here, because the population distribution between North and South isn't anything like the distribution between state-educated and privately-educated pupils going into university. It's fairly clear from the statistics that a disproportionately high amount of pupils from private schools are going to Oxbridge.

The thing is, I really hate this shitty notion of a "quota". There shouldn't be targets that the universities are aiming for. It shouldn't ever approach the case that the top universities are rejecting superior candidates because they're trying to meet arbitrarily set targets. It's unfair if people have had access to a better education because their parents are rich, but it's just as unfair if people who still work hard at private schools are unfavoured for university places because university want state school candidates instead.

It's a difficult balance, but really to set targets is to look at it the wrong way. Universities should assess the level of education the child has had, not whether their school is private or state, but how good the school actually is ultimately. Because there are shitty private schools too.

It also just seems like such a retarded way of trying to correct the issue as well. The problem is that state schools tend to be inferior, so you've got rich kids getting better education than poor kids, and it's unfair that poor kids can't go to top universities just because they're poor and haven't been taught as well. Surely the real solution to that problem is just to teach the poor kids better? That has to be the way that really fixes things, that works out better for everyone overall. Instead of setting shitty targets to try and get state pupils into Oxbridge, there should be a focus on bringing state pupils up to the standards set by private schools, so that they can get in purely on their own merit and money is no longer such a large factor in the equation. Take out private schools by providing levels of state education that actually match them.

Treat the cause, not the symptom.

Not sure how often I'm going to get blog posts out. Could be fairly often because it's decent procrastination from revision, or not often because I don't want to procrastinate. Will probably depend on my mood. Either way, going to be fairly busy I think with anime soc, mahjong and MII and WII coxing. We shall see.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Things That Piss Me The Fuck Off, Part 4

New term is about to start at university, so I guess it's time for another instalment. Off we go...

31. Vouchers

Vouchers are possibly the biggest waste of time in the history of shopping, and I have no idea why the fuck anyone even bothers with them. They're just devalued money, that's it. You've taken a £10 note that I could have spent in any shop on any item I wanted, or even put in the bank, and you've fucking replaced it with £10 that I can only spend in a single shop. Why the hell would you do that?

I guess vouchers appear to be a more thoughtful present than just money, but every single time I'd always rather just have the cash. I appreciate that you've specifically gone to a shop I like, and that there's effort involved in that, but really, why the hell bother to go to that effort just to give me a crappier present? It amazes me that shops have somehow managed to market the idea that you given them money without actually buying anything at the time, so you can maybe buy something at a later date. For the same amount of money it would have cost if you'd just paid cash.

And sometimes they fucking expire as well. That's just ridiculous. Trading real money for fake money is one thing, but fake money with a time limit? Why the hell would anyone do that.

The only time I'm grateful for vouchers is when I'm getting them promotionally, or through Valued Opinions or something (recently got £10 in Amazon vouchers from them for answering questionnaires). But when I know that I could just have easily have got cash instead of vouchers, it's just irritating. Especially book vouchers, because I never usually have a book I want to buy when I get given them, which means I'm just going to buy a book for the hell of it, or I'll forget about them when I actually want to buy a book and end up paying in cash anyway.

32. 1337 Names

I swear the vast majority of people who have names like 'Maj0r Bl00d' and 'F34r' or whatever online are dickheads ('sup m0rbis :P). Or they're pre-adolescent kids and therefore dickheads by default. Same also applies for people who have discovered the greater library of Unicode characters and choose to make their screen-name out of various things that aren't letters but look by letters. Or put fucking stars in their name. Or the Japanese katakana 'shi' (or is it tsu? I can never tell them apart) because it looks like a smiley face (シ). Oh cool, your name is 'υɲɪƭєɗ ɱʌƨƙʌ!™'? You found the character map. How fucking clever of you.

People who also sort of come under this jurisdiction are people who need names at the end of their screenname. If you need to add numbers to the end of your handle then it's because you've got a dumbass unoriginal nick. This was so fucking prevalent on the NSider forums, god bless that cauldron of stupidity. Your name is RIDLEY412, could you seriously not come up with a name that isn't stupidly generic on a Nintendo forum instead of just living with the number. Is your admiration for Ridley as a character that fucking strong?

People could probably point to the fact I put "LFC" on the end of mine. That wasn't because "Rosti" was already taken. That was just because some places don't like usernames that are only 5-characters long, and also because I lost my liverbird avatar switching from MKDS to Tetris DS, and wanted to keep the Liverpool allegiance online. Also has the side benefit of every single Google result for "Rosti LFC", "Rosti_LFC" or "RostiLFC" with quotes being 100% me. Rather than a fuckload of results about rösti. That and yeah, I was something of a pre-adolescent dickhead when I started using that name online, and I've started to drop the LFC anyway nowadays. And until the last couple of months when some asshole has started using my nick on Rizon and another on Quakenet, I've never met anyone else with the same nick, so I figure it's original enough.

33. Snow

When I was a kid, snow was awesome. Snow was fun, it got me days off school, I'd be immensely happy any time it snowed. I am to a certain extent still like that, but after a day or two the novelty wears off pretty fucking fast and it's annoying as hell. This is mostly because I usually get hit with the snow in Cambridge, and the Cambridgeshire Council is fucking shite at doing anything about it.

Cambridge is extremely pretty under snow, I'll admit that. However, once you've admired the scenery, made a snowman and had a few snowball fights, nobody really gives a shit any more. It just becomes something that makes getting anywhere an absolute fucking nightmare. The snow compacts down, freezes, and you've basically got this crappy icy stuff covering everywhere. Cycling across Midsummer Common to the boathouse becomes a fucking nightmare, because I've got a road bike and the tyres are thin and pretty shite for coping with snow and ice. It takes me ages to get anywhere, because I have to walk at half the speed and be careful not to fall over.

Basically, past the initial honeymoon period, I fucking hate snow. I had to do the Christmas shopping last December in the snow, it took ages, and I don't really know how I managed to carry all the stuff back without falling on my arse at least once. If the council grits the pavements, then cool, no problem, but in Cambridge they don't even seem to bother gritting the fucking roads, which is just stupid. Lectures don't get cancelled (90% of the time at least), so the snow doesn't benefit my life in any useful way. It just provides a day or two of fun, and then a week or so of pissing me off.

34. People Turning The Oven Off In M Staircase

Yeah, this is a laughably specific one, but it happened to me multiple times last term, and it ruins my lunch and is a fucking pain in the arse. If you think someone has left the oven on, fine, turn it off. That's just saving energy. But please, check there's nothing in it first. It's not fucking hard.

Any time you want to cook something in the oven it takes ages. Twenty minutes up to a couple of hours. It's not really something you're going to bother hanging around waiting for. If I stick something, say a pie, in the oven, I go back to my room for the forty minutes it's going to take to cook. So sure, the oven is on in the kitchen, and there's nobody around, so it looks left on by accident. But taking five seconds to look before turning it off makes it fairly obvious that someone has left it on unattended on purpose. It's a fucking electric oven, it's not like it's going to catch on fire.

So after forty minutes, I come back, find some retard has turned it off. I have no idea when they turned it off, so I have no fucking idea how long it still has to cook. It could in theory be anything from one minute to thirty-nine, I have no clue. Which means I risk either burning it, eating it under-cooked, or having to fuck about and check up on it every five minutes to check it's not burnt or the oven has been turned off again.

What's really funny is that I bet, as they turn it off, they think that whoever accidentally left it on is a careless idiot, when actually they're the ones being stupid and careless. How hard is it to check inside, and why the fuck wouldn't you think to do that before you turn it off? It's usually around one o'clock as well, it's like the most likely time for someone to be wanting to cook something. Who exactly stays in the kitchen when cooking something in the oven, unless they need to be in there to prepare other food as well? It's so damn annoying, and it seems to happen ridiculously often given how rarely I actually use the oven.

35. Evangelical Christians

Specifically ones at university that advertise their events with the intent of getting non-Christians to go, and especially when they knock on my door to try and convert me. I could write an entire blog post on this, and HarmoNicks has said she'd like to do one, so I might let her guest-post at some point.

The thing that annoys me most is not the posters on the door windows, though it'd be nice to be able to see through to outside from time to time. It's not even that they personally bother me to try and tell me about Jesus and shit. It's the fucking patronising idea that Christianity is something that has never occurred to me.

I'm fucking nineteen, going on twenty years old now. And I've spent those twenty years living in the UK, a predominantly Christian country. I've not been on some fucking island in the South Pacific (where I'm sure they would have missionaries anyway), and have just got back, having never heard of this Jesus Christ person before. And I go to Cambridge, so go figure I'm probably not some sort of retard either. I'm likely to be well-educated and know a fair bit about the world around me. I went to a protestant high-school and primary school, where we had to go to church at the end of each term (and possibly the start, I don't remember). We said the Lord's Prayer in assemblies and had a chaplain designated to the school. Of course I've fucking heard of Jesus Christ.

I don't get who the fuck they're trying to appeal to. I'm pretty sure by our age most people have a fairly clear idea of their religious beliefs, and I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of people aren't going to suddenly switch just because the concept gets presented to them. I've been bombarded with Christianity since I was little, but I never really thought about actually being a Christian until I you told me I maybe should. Is that what they're aiming at?

The concepts are so fucking manipulative as well. The seminars are given titles that seem specifically aimed at sceptics. It's almost like they're using them as fucking troll-bait to get you to go. Or they're playing on standard concepts that give students problems. Exams are tough, revision is stressful, maybe Jesus Christ can help you get through it. Fuck off, no he can't, and I'm not so fucking gullible to think that prayers might bump a shaky 2.1 into a 1st.

It'd nice to just be left alone. For these damn evangelists to realise that have already made up my mind on the subject and I'm more than comfortable with it. I'm a fairly strong-minded Atheist and something of a fundamentalist, but it's not like I'm going round putting up posters or going door-to-door to try and convince people that their current beliefs are wrong. If Christianity is so good, people can figure that out for themselves. They don't need people to continually try and convert everyone into it.

36. Sunday Train Services

Now, I sort of appreciate the reasoning behind Sunday train services. People don't shop as much on a Sunday because most of the shops are shut, so won't use the trains so much, you have to pay people some sort of overtime usually to work on a Sunday, whatever. But seriously, they're such a fucking pain in the arse.

Especially now that Liverpool are in the Europa League, so are playing most of their Premiership fixtures on Sundays because of the Thursday matches. Which means trying to get to and from Anfield on the train is a fucking nightmare because not only does the Sunday service means trains are less frequent, but also means they're absolutely fucking rammed. Merseyrail need to get their asses into gear and realise that most of the 45,000 people in the stadium are leaving at pretty much the exact same time, or at least the same 30-minute window. And sure, they don't all need to get home on the Ormskirk-Liverpool line, but a lot of them still fucking do.

Getting to the station straight after a Sunday match and missing the train by a couple of minutes means I not only have to wait 28 minutes for the next one, but that a crapload of other people are going to be waiting for it too. Plus that train will have Soccerbus people on it too, meaning it'll be full to bursting and I might not be able to get on. So awesome, a 58 minute wait until the next fucking train I can get home.

Plus Sunday is also usually the choice day for line maintenance, which means replacement buses instead. Which are slower and take less people, and generally more shit in every way. If there's a replacement bus service between Kirkdale and Ormskirk then I either have to sprint to the station after the game and hope I get a bus/train before the mad rush, or I'm basically going to be taking hours to get home, and I might as well try walking the ten miles or so for all the time it's going to take me.

This applies to London as well. I'll do anything to avoid going to London on a Sunday unless I really have to, because getting around on the tube is just a fucking nightmare. Not only are various lines completely out of operation for maintenance, but some of the stations on lines that are running are also not usable as well. It's absolute hell because you end up taking three different trains and going all over London to get somewhere just because the direct train isn't running.
And I appreciate that they have to do maintenance at some point, but why not just employ night staff and do it across every single night, when the tubes aren't running anyway, instead of compacting it all onto Sundays?

37. People Who Evangelise Linux

This is mostly a fairly uncommon, specific type of people, but christ they're irritating. These people who seem to have the fucking notion that every time anything goes wrong with Windows, or OS X, the answer is Linux. No, it fucking isn't. Windows has problems, and throws up errors, but suggesting that if I use Linux I'll never encounter problems and errors is just bullshit.

Now don't get me wrong, I quite like Linux. I have an Ubuntu boot on my laptop, and it's pretty useful if I just want my computer to boot up quickly, or if I've got no internet connection and various Windows programs are going to bitch about it when they start up. It's nice and efficient when I want to value efficiency. But it's far from perfect by a fucking mile.

Linux isn't quite a difficult to use as most people think it is, and they've ironed out most of the stuff so that you don't really need to use the terminal for anything any more (and if you do, there's always Google), but that still doesn't change the fact that plenty of shit just flat-out doesn't work. Especially on laptops. If you install certain Linux distros with the wireless card turned off, getting your wireless to actually work is a massive faff to say the least. Plenty of things are unsupported by Linux. When I first got Ubuntu I had the 64-bit version, which meant I couldn't watch YouTube videos amongst other things because the flash plug-in wasn't supported yet. I couldn't use Skype either.

Fact is, the reason I use Windows, along with a lot of people, is pretty much everything is made to work in Windows. I don't have to screw around getting it to work in Linux, the developers have already done it for me. I install it, it works, no worries. And sure, Windows is slow, and sometimes does things that annoy me, but I'm pretty sure I waste far less time with issues I have with Windows than I do with Linux.

So Linux fanboys ('sup massacre :P), come to realise that your own heralded operating system is far from perfect, and stop fucking telling people to use Linux every time they encounter a problem while having Windows as their OS. Because frankly, most of the time it's not because they're using Windows, it's because the program itself is glitchy. Meanwhile most problems while using Linux are directly related to the fact you're using a Linux operating system. It's good, but it's nowhere near as good as you guys seem to think it is.

38. Stuff That Also Tries To Install Other Stuff

Encountered this recently while trying out various image players to try and find one that could allow me to flick easily through image files that didn't have file extensions (which the default Linux image viewer can do, oh irony). The main thing I really gained from that was the realisation of how little you can install nowadays that doesn't also try and get you to install other shit as well. Almost always fucking browser toolbars.

On the occasions I end up using my sister's laptop for something, her Firefox is always crowded to hell with various shitty toolbars for things. Almost certainly because she's not opted out of installing it while she's been installing stuff. I don't want a fucking Yahoo! toolbar, or any other bollocks on my web browser when I'm trying to install an image viewer. They don't fucking do anything that Firefox doesn't already provide to me in it's existing toolbar. They just take up a load of vertical space that I could otherwise use looking at things.

Who ever wants them anyway? Who the fuck installs a random program to get access to a Yahoo! toolbar? Surely the only people who install it are morons who don't un-check the box to install it by default.

And yeah, I bash on Apple a lot, but this also applies to them. I just want Quicktime. I don't want iTunes. I don't want any other shitty products that you provide, I just specifically want Quicktime and that's literally it. Why the fuck do you have to attempt to bundle your products with all your other ones by default? I don't want them, it's just fucking irritating to have to fuck about to avoid a ton of bloatware as well.

39. People Who Use SMS Speak Outside of Texts

Just in general people who fail to even bother to use proper grammar on the internet. Acronyms are fine, but if you're trying to create sentences using 'u' and 'gna' and stuff, then fuck off or speak English.

The whole reason txt speak originated, whether people are aware of it or not, was mainly because you have character limits on SMS messages so it makes sense to shorten words to save letters. Also that texting without predictive text can be fucking slow for most people, so it saved a fair bit of time. However, when you're on Facebook, or a forum, or IRC, or MSN, you tend to have access to a full keyboard. Unless you type like a retard, it's saving you next to no time to write 'u' instead of 'you'. There's no decent reason to do it.

If you're doing it to look cool, then you're a retard. If you're doing it to save time, then you're similarly stupid because it shouldn't really make a difference. If you want to save time learn to type properly and get a decent wpm. Show some fucking care in what you're taking the time to say, and have some respect and use proper English. If you can't spell, then whatever, that's a different issue, but if you're consciously spelling stuff like a fucktard then it pretty much makes you one yourself. Plus it's fairly easy for me to mentally associate sentences typed online in txt speak with stupid people, because most of the time on forums they're not just failing to use proper spelling and grammar, but also usually saying something pretty retarded in the process.

40. Stupid Facebook Groups & Fanpages

I swear sometimes I question why I'm even associated with some people through Facebook. I frequently see people joining and even inviting me to all these completely shitty groups that are clearly either lies or stupid tricks to get you to join or become a fan, just so you can see something 'amazing' that you've probably seen before if you've spent any decent amount of time on YouTube (or know people who have for that matter).

People aren't going to give you $10 if you join their fucking group. There's no way that joining a group is going to somehow let you see who is looking at your profile. At best it's a waste of time, at worst it'll give you a virus or some shit. Dammit people, stop being so fucking gullible and joining these groups seemingly under the impression that it's actually going to fucking do what it says. Are you fooled that easily by crap on the internet?

And while I can understand people joining groups or fanpages to see an image or video that is supposedly hilarious, the fact that they exist is still fucking annoying. Do you really care so much about how many people join your group that you're willing to make bullshitty manipulative things like that just to get people to join?

Seriously people, don't bother wasting your time joining groups like that. It'll just be on failblog or YouTube or whatever anyway. You're wasting your time, and just fuelling these annoying shitty pages.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A News Blog - Sex With Teachers, Korean Internet Curfews, Apple Suck As Usual, Media Is Newfags

Not really in the mood for a rant or political/religious spiel, so instead a take on some BBC articles from today.

First one is easy. A story today titled "Drunken dares 'led to pupil's sex with teacher' ". Specifically of note because this is my old school, so it's pretty amusing to see it in stories on national news sources. It was actually The Mirror's article which I saw first, and my first thought was on seeing the picture and noting she looked a lot less unattractive than I remember her. To the point where I actually didn't recognise her until I read the rest of the article, but I blame that on the fact that she's dyed her hair a completely different colour.

To be honest, I have no real opinion on this because I have no idea which side is lying. There's a fair part of me that is suspicious of the pupils, and I reckon that nothing actually happened. I think they were at her house, but I reckon the tales of drunken sex are To Kill A Mockingbird-esque accusations. That said, I don't actually know which students are meant to be involved in this, and that'd probably change my opinion. If it was Ryan Hall, I'd probably say that they had sex.

Next one is that the government of South Korea are imposing restrictions on kids playing online games. As much as I generally oppose censorship, and I know that if I was one of those kids in South Korea I'd be fucking pissed off about this, I reckon it's a good idea. I know things like this have fucked with my sleep cycle and caused me to skip doing work in the past, and I also know other people who have definitely done worse at school than they'd probably have done if they'd played video games a bit less. South Korea does seem to have a bit of an issue with individuals occasionally being a bit too in love with the internet. I'd say I'm something of an addict myself, but you get stories of a South Korean man dying after playing Starcraft for 50 hours straight, and also that a South Korean couple neglected their 3-month old baby so much it died, because they were obsessing over a virtual child instead. I mean, sure, games like that can be addictive, but to be so engrossed in raising a child in an internet game that you forget about the real one you actually have? That's just insane.

If anything I reckon the South Korean government might be better off if they started extending the curfew to cover adults as well as just little kids...

Also news today that Apple are still being dicks with the announcement that iPhone apps have to be developed using specific tools. Apparently this is to stop shitty apps for the iPhone, but I don't really get what there basis is for that. For one, I don't get how they're going to enforce this. How the hell can they tell what code has been written on? Surely valid code is just valid code? Or do iPhone programs get coded in some strange way I don't understand? If they want to tighten up the quality of applications, why not just get rid of the shitty ones and have some sort of quality control in place? I'm sure people can write programs that are just as shitty on the allowed tools as they can on the banned ones. If not shittier, because I don't see why anyone would bother using other tools unless it improved things in some way for the developer.

I really wish Apple would stop being so stuck in their own arse about forcing people to either do things the Apple way, or not at all. I'm generally not a fan of proprietary software, but even less so when I'm forced to use it. Surely the popularity of jailbroken iPhones and the like is such a good indicator that Apple aren't doing the best job possible. It ticks me off so much how they seem to withhold accessibility and features just so they can add them in at a later stage and get people to pay more money for them. They should fucking be in there to start with.

Finally, the BBC also had a magazine article today on the Downfall meme, aka. 'Angry Hitler'. Which is a fucking old meme. Maybe not that old, as they go, but it's still been around longer than I could care to pinpoint. Definitely at least a year, because I remember watching some of them in Andrew's room in Howard Court. Interesting that they've actually made an article on it, and I found the interview stuff interesting, but at the same time they've really been slow to get onto it. There's fucking loads of them, most of them not that great, but a couple which really made me laugh pretty hard.

As a final thing, I'm putting the two most memorable ones I've seen below, though don't bother watching the second one unless you've seen the second series of Haruhi, because you won't get any of it. And the first one sort of relies on you being at least aware of X-Factor stuff in Britain from last year (watching Mock The Week is probably enough). So, because I feel people don't actually read this blog for the text so much as the pictures and other shinier stuff:

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Internet In The UK

As we head into the 21st Century, internet access seems to be moving far more from the domain of being a luxury and into that of being a commodity. There's even argument that it should be a basic human right, not far from things like clean water, sanitation, healthcare and living quarters.

So I ask, should there be some sort of socialised state internet service? Obviously still keep private broadband companies, but should there be some sort of NHS equivalent for high-speed internet? We're now entering an age where so much is available on the internet, where internet communication and email are so widely used and efficient. Cloud computing is starting to look like it'll be commonplace. People work, play and shop on-line, and I feel that it's starting to become something of a necessity for active members of society.

Potential issues with government-provided internet are fairly obvious. There's the well-documented censorship issues in China and Australia, and also other issues, such as Egypt banning VoIP services to force citizens to make calls through their state-run telephone service. That said, if the government wanted to censor the internet, I'm pretty sure they could just bring in legislation to do that through private ISP companies as well as through their own service.

I also don't think that a state-run ISP should be the only option either. It should work like the NHS, where a free government-run service is there for everyone, but private options are there as well for those who want them.

And whether the internet is provided by a private ISP or not, I think the government should definitely be doing more right now as far as the internet infrastructure in the UK currently goes. We're lagging behind not just countries like South Korea, but also the majority of Europe. Every home in the UK should have the infrastructure in place for a 100Mbit connection, if not higher, regardless of the details of the ISP contract. If people want 100Mbit internet, they should already have the means in place for them to receive it. We're currently behind Hungary and Slovakia for crying out loud:

Fact is, we're moving into a world where fast internet access is going to be an expected commodity, just the same as central heating or a functioning sewage system. Regardless of whoever wins the upcoming election, they need to get their ass in gear and start investing in improving the frankly antiquated infrastructure in this country, because the vast majority of people in the country are connected to the web through pitted, potholed dirt tracks rather than the smoothly tarmacked roads you'd expect from a supposedly modern, G8 country.

Welcome Home

(Not particularly a huge Coheed fan, but the intro to that song is epic)

Back home now after a few days in Berlin. Mentally I feel pretty refreshed, physically I'm fucking knackered. I've basically had four days where I've spent 12 hours each day standing or walking, and my legs were dying by the time I got to the airport yesterday. Still, it's been fun, and it was a good holiday.

Visiting Berlin seems different to any other main city in Western and Central Europe. With places like Barcelona it's far more a care-free sightseeing affair. In Berlin on the other hand, most of the sights are fairly depressing and in some cases fairly harrowing, because so much of the history there is at least partly intertwined with the rise of the Nazi party, the Holocaust and the division of the city during the Cold War. Even the bits that aren't have been massively restored when the city got annihilated at the end of WWII. I find all that stuff massively interesting, because it's modern history and something I have a personal interest and fascination about, but at the same time it's weird to spend most of my time reading stuff that's pretty sombre and morbid.

One thing of note in Berlin that nobody else is likely to talk about ever is the Sky Sports feed they had in one of the pubs. Me and my Dad (lol grammar) wanted to watch the Liverpool v Benfica match in a pub, but figured we wouldn't see anything because Wolfsburg and Hamburg were both playing, and we figured German pubs would be showing the German teams instead. Turns out that one side of the pub we were in was showing Standard Liege v Hamburg SV, and the other appeared to be showing the Wolfsburg match. Except it wasn't. It started off showing that game, but this was some weird German Sky Sports channel that was showing all four quarter-finals simultaneously and was just flicking between them depending on which one had stuff happening at the time. Which meant we saw all the Liverpool goals, or at least we saw all the celebrations after it switched over, and then the subsequent replays. It was a cool idea, and it certainly made watching it more enjoyable as a neutral, even if it's a bit annoying if you only care about one game. It'd be pretty awesome if Sky could try and implement it into Soccer Saturday or something, though they seem to have enough issues reporting as it is...

The main issue I have with trips away is coming back. I fucking hate returning to the internet and having several days of emails, internet forum posts, RSS feeds and various other crap to read and respond to. I have to spend hours when I get back just catching up before I can even start on other things, or making up for not having access to porn for several days (I should get an emergency stash on my phone or R4 or something). It took fucking ages and I'm still not anywhere near up to speed with the Frostii work or any of that stuff.

Frostii work actually could get a bit sticky next term. I've still yet to finish any of the series I'm currently working on, and I'm picking up two more (K-On!! and Rainbow). Fingers crossed all the series that at least aren't airing any more, like Kimi ni Todoke, Ookami and Omamori will sort themselves out fairly soon and I'll be done with them before revision really starts to hit hard.

Anyway, life update out of the way, I'll have a few more blog posts coming over the next few days or so, if not today. Going to spend the day clearing through fansub work and then cracking onto some examples papers.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Road To Berlin

Technically I'm flying there, so the title doesn't really fit, but whatever. Leaving tomorrow, coming back on Friday, hopefully it's going to be a pretty decent holiday. I'm not taking my laptop, and I've not been organised to write posts in advance, so this is the last blog post for a few days. I'm sure Gamerhold, Orbital and Frostii will all manage fine without me, or at least manage better without me than I might without them. I'll probably take my phone, but I'm on low-ish credit so might not reply unless it's fairly important.

Currently in a bit of a crappy mood, partially because of the Liverpool result, partially because I heard a song on Ashes to Ashes on Friday, didn't bother making a note at the time, and now I'm trying to remember what it was and I completely can't. I can't remember anything about it, so short of stumbling upon it I've got no way whatsoever of finding it. I frequently do shit like this, and I really need to get into the habit of writing trivial stuff down, because it annoys the hell out of me later. Thing is, I'm pretty sure the song was the sort of shit that I'd enjoy but be fairly ashamed to admit I actually listen to.

I've been horrific with work lately. I've basically done nothing this week, and I've not really even achieved anything else either. Wouldn't be so bad if I'd sacked off work to do other things, but I can't really even claim to do that. Might take some stuff to Berlin with me, or I'll really need to kick my ass into gear once I get back.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Stupid People Are Stupid

April Fools Day for the most part passed me buy. The only April Fool's I'd actually have fallen for were the ones on Gamerhold, and that was mostly because they were by Australians and were therefore at like 2pm on March 31st for me, when I wasn't really on alert for pranks for fairly obvious reasons.

The most successful prank this year that I've seen has to be the Cambridge Tab's article on how Nick Griffin is to be stripped of his Cambridge degree. I didn't fall for it, mostly because of the various instances of ridiculous language in the article. Not only did a lot of the people commenting apparently fall for it, but a quick Google search reveals that quite a few notable media sources fell for it as well. It's nice to know that The Sun are maintaining their high standards by getting their news stories from online student tabloid newspapers. No disrespect to the Tab, but 'online', 'student' and 'tabloid' basically place it just above 'a guy I met in the pub' on the rankings for reliable sources of info (I say that, but most of the stories are actually pretty decent).

Even better is the fact that the BNP's own fucking blog posted a story on it. Surely they'd be better placed to know that it was bullshit? Nice to know that the BNP are actually that retarded. What I love even more is the fact they presented the article under the headline "Nick Griffin creates history as Cambridge University tries to re-write it". It's nice to know that there really is very little in the world that the BNP can't try and stick it's own batshit crazy agenda onto.

There was one story that I sort of wish was an April Fools, but isn't. It's actually from a few days ago, and it's the story of a girl suing the ABC Network for $100 million. This is a girl who appeared on Wife Swap, and is angry that ABC have made her look like a moronic, spoilt brat. Which is a bit harsh on ABC to be honest, because that's exactly what she is. She's been in beauty pageants since she was 11 months old (so it was clearly her personal choice), and her parents do literally everything for her. Her mother does her homework, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on clothes, and she gets a Christmas present every day.

She claims her one wish in the world is for world peace, which I'd usually scoff at. As if anyone is actually that selfless and sincerely means that. Except she's so fucking spoiled and gets anything that she wants, that it could actually be true. If I got bought everything I wanted, never had to lift a finger around the house, never had to do any of my own schoolwork, then I'd be running out of selfish things to wish for if I'm honest.

It pisses me off that her mother says she does all this for her daughter because "she deserves it". Sorry, what? How the fuck does she deserve it? What exactly has she ever done in her entire fucking life aside from being blessed with being attractive has she ever done to deserve anything? She claims that she's called 'Blondie' at school, and says it's because of her hair... and she's right that her hair is blonde. I'm pretty sure that's not the whole story behind the nickname though.

I don't get how you could agree to appear on the show and then come out with a lawsuit like this, unless it was your cunning plan all along. These shows make everyone look bad, because they specifically pick families to swap where everyone gets angry and shouts and there's a lot of drama and therefore good television. I'm hardly an avid watcher of these series, but I've never seen one where the families got on well and everything went fine. It's not like she's the only one in the show who is portrayed in a negative light.

It's also not like they've fucked about with the footage. There'll have clearly edited it, but I'm pretty sure they've not taken stuff out of context. And they're still only showing stuff she's actually done/said. They've not photoshopped or dubbed or CGI'd anything. If you don't want the world to see what a massively spoilt brat you are, then don't agree to be on fucking TV and show the world.

I hope she loses the lawsuit, and I hope that she doesn't win any more beauty pageants either, so maybe she can see that looks aren't everything in the real world (which is what she says is the case, though I'd be lying if I said she wasn't partly correct), rather than the superficial one her parents have formed around her.

I'd put the YouTube videos of the show on here, but it's there in the original article I linked to. Instead I'll link this rather amazing Nicovideo I got shown a couple of days ago (for the embedded vid to work you have to view the blog natively, not through NetworkedBlogs pane - click the link in the top-right):

No idea how long that thing took to set up (my bet is "fucking ages"), but it's really cool.