Friday, 5 January 2018

Taking back control

Oh isn’t a week a really long time?! So here’s the recap from part I. Orange buttons, buffoons, garden of eden, and thanks for reading. Finally, a part ii which has made it out of the fervid recesses. So before this destructs, let’s take a gentle gander back through time and across the spinning globe, before it bursts into a gargantuan nuclear flower...
Trubrexaggedon - part ii


Ah the american dream. Where not pouring an endless stream of money into advertising, nor having 2,868,691 less people vote for you than your opponent by dint of an electoral college, ensures you win an election? Land of the free? More land of the extremely malleable - and you won't believe how long it took before that description replaced the far less charitable one!

A land where the carrot of wealth fights alongside the pendant of superficiality, and the entire balloon is periodically pricked by an underclass of consciousness. Once that pesky thing is firmly flung back in to its box before any serious damage can be done, and the balloon is fully patched, the citizenry can safely be returned to their mewling senses. Just in time to see the president tuck into an opponent with a carving knife, live on air, whilst dementedly screaming the presidency is mine for life.

That might just be the intensity of smacked realism needed for the moderately minded to finally see where the horror of electoral inactivity could truly lead. Hopefully that'll occur before they head to the polls in their droves, so turfing out the power hungry, small government (unless it involves getting hands over and into your private parts - especially if virginal offerings, sex optional) minded, power-crazed, empathically devoid dingbats.

Talking of manipulated carrots. The current potus (the 45th) allegedly suffers from partial cushing’s syndrome; and wherever there’s a troubling hotspot with temperatures in excess of 50 degrees, apparently leans towards placing a palatial edifice within striking distance of said trouble-spots. Strategically placed icbms dotted inside the gargantuan name overlooking the rubble, and any rabble with the temerity to cause a ruffled combover to slightly flop in a force 0.0015 breeze. So helping to ensure stocks continue to maintain their healthy defense payouts.

President thin skin is the undisputed leader of the free world. His administration of multi-billionaires studiously looking out for the little guy, and concentrating on the important things. Such as: cutting inheritance tax for all those people living wage packet to wage packet, but who have at least 14 plus million dollars they can squirrel away to their offspring, should they shuffle off this pie mud. Visiting the poor, the misfortunate, the stereotyped and downtroddenly maligned; providing them all with vhs copies of history programmes showing a better time in history, when workers were all hard at work, and the underprivileged knew their place.


Electing a non-fascist as president. Then slamming the brakes on, before pitching the pendulum fiercely into reverse.


The sphincters charter, taking back control; and soon, fresh from across the pond... best before the end of the apocalypse re-packaged chlorinated gmo chickens.

Yes the empire's better days of bringing the rule of slaughter, divide and conquer, appear to be well behind it. Now leaders seem submerged by the alternatives of fear. No longer able to distinguish one mad max future from another, believing the only thing preventing a descent into sure madness is by monitoring, storing, and archiving everything everyone does should in-depth analysis years down the line be required. Should citizens dare think, let alone do anything mildly stimulatingly subversive. Protest over fair pay, or another duck pond not fit for a gnat? Tough. The checkbox for your permanent monitoring has been automatically checked and everything you do from now on will be stored for the safety and security of the nation, until the end of time.

Such moves are only a boon to nationalists everywhere. Who utilise them as affirmative signs the others shouldn’t be allowed in to their particular patches of twisted reality - let alone interbreed with pure stock. Whilst so many of their fellow compatriots (for whatever reason) fall on less than stellar times, their goto pissing post is always the same: it’s everybody else who’s different from us fault, and should be blamed for our ills. Usually though, if you spare more than two seconds to read the headlines before skipping to the next click-bait piece, the others (most of them at any rate) are usually escaping something: bombs being dropped, markets been blown up, beheadings for not believing in whichever sky fairy is the most popular in the region at the time. Economic systems decimated from pilfering politicians, bribing global corporations, small-minded henchmen, or possibly years of drought leading to pictures that usually depict a malnourished african child in a woollen jumper who's forgotten how to use his hands when the film crew are there, whilst the flies treat him as an aircraft carrier.

People drink in the nonsense spouted by most of the billionaire owned press, either not knowing or not caring enough to ensure their mental goalposts are sufficiently robust to view the material with a major helping of suspicion. But when reports of people with a more conservative frame of mind, indicate that they believe most people are guilty until otherwise proven innocent, then why on earth would the billionaire owning class do anything that would jepordise the status quo that ensures their billions remain untouched, by the trolls further down the ladder?

Perhaps if the top 0.001% of the people didn’t own more than the lowest 60%, and instead turned from fluffing their own nests into attempting to understand why so many parts of the world are, for so many, such steaming piles of dung heaps. Then just maybe, we could have a world where more people were able to reach their potential, and who knows, perhaps society as whole might just feel a little bit better off for it.

And before this continues in part iii somewhere around the corner, i hope you all had a wonderful christmas and a very happy new year.

Monday, 20 November 2017


Sometimes we need to squirrel ourselves away to recharge rundown and corroded batteries. Sort of take a little time out.  To try and remember precisely where we’ve squirrelled away all of those batteries.  Especially when ingesting and processing the endless streams of guff pouring over wires, or through the ether, has the unfortunate side effect of exponentially draining our energy reserves, as mind-boggling levels of worldwide guff grows with eye bleeding rapidity.

Part I

Oh blimey.

Oh dear.  

Oh my omnipresent sky biscuit and creator of all. Whom despite being all knowing all seeing, and all powerful (albeit with a short fuse) just can't put his/her/it’s own creations in order and needs one of those creations (a bunch of semi-intelligent, arse scratching, missile waving bipeds) as poxy fodder to help win a simmering cosmic war.  A war which will finally be concluded when the hamsters of the apocalypse pop along to firmly press the orange finger of pudginess, into the gaping windblown crack of wanton armageddon - or something tautologically horrific!
Lest we forget, this familial bust-up (for a fifth of the world’s population at any rate) began with the brightest and most favoured feeling put out by some upstart knuckle-draggers daddy had the temerity to pop into existence, and started paying far too much attention to.

The flouncing and pouting was partially inspired by a towering pillar of narcissism, and nascent realisation the gullible and easily manipulated bipeds were more than ripe for the picking and for a bit of upselling, with nothing more requisite than a dingle-dangling delicious bite of an apple.  

I’m sorry, but if the fate of the universe depended on whether some grunting mud-slingers, apparently without prior knowledge of good or evil (nor seemingly much knowledge of anything else outside of lewd behaviour) decided to eat the forbidden fruit, as the magic speaking snake said it tasted soooo so good, then that surely smacks of juvenile entrapment, along with been a bit of a flaw in the master plan.  After all they hadn’t even reached their first birthday; and which parent expects a toddler less than one year old to do anything it’s told.  But who am I to quibble over the elated finer points of reverential godly existences!

Moving on.

What a year 2016 turned out to be!?  Yes this is a bit late, and yes no one cares, and do you have to read it?  Of course.

This was going to be the bright and shiny 2017 new year's day post.  But i’ve been stuffing my face with popcorn and cream cakes ever since the year birthed into being.  My open mouth refusing to stay shut, as my eyes stared in amazement at the reality tv series that had overrun the newsreels. Launching us kicking, and screaming down our very own dystopian version of the twilight zone.

Dependent on which part of the social, political, empathic, climatic, sociopathic, bring-on-the-trumpets side of revelations you inhabit, either your throat is hoarse from all the shouting and screaming - and that's only at your heathen neighbours with the temerity to fly a rainbow flag - or you haven’t stopped shaking your head, as each mind-boggling month is followed by yet another, even more out there, boggling month of creaming uncertainty.

So with 2016 firmly in the rear view of the great knackers bin of history, and 2018 in the wings, hardhat firmly wedged behind baroque velvety curtains - eyes peeking through embryonic camouflaged hands - it’s time to take a gentle gander back through the briarbush of popcorn-stuffing stuff, which had people sputtering burnt toast across and over their better half - whilst listening to the news, first thing of a morning.  

So, and in no particular order, let’s take a gentle gander back through time and across the spinning globe, before it bursts into a gargantuan nuclear flower...

Which in time honoured tradition, will be continued in part ii, next week.   

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Telegraph Hill

Every now and then, in-between reading, listening, and being mesmerised by the deranged goings on of the loons in the current american presidential cycle, sighing over the ever bleaching coral, extrapolating when warmer land and sea temperatures will lead to rapid sea rise, massive migrations, wondering just what goes through the mind of a suicide bomber as they exit this life; my fingers wander across the periodic little gem.

Telegraph hill. A short film, from paulo berberan, which held my attention through all of its' 14 minutes, and there are still two scenes which refuse to budge from my minds eye – despite numerous attempts at swatting.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Pollution merchants.

There are one or more motifs quite close to my increasingly blackened lungs, that i might have mentioned from time to time. Pollution, check. Particulates, check. Noise, check…. So much so that i quite often feel like a broken record, and a particularly annoying one at that.

But you reach a stage when something has to be done, once your friends start to look increasingly askance at you, subtly implying the issue must surely have being resolved by now? I'm sure those people bent over the pollution desk at who, probably feel the same way too. And if they don't, then why bloody not?

It's odd really.  On current form humanity is turning out to be just like those science experiments so many of us undertook in our more formative years, and many of those who are currently in their formative years still do, of bacteria growing in a petri-dish. Finite resources, finite energy, only so many hospitable places to live without over running and dying off.  But unlike the bacteria we know what potential pitfalls are awaiting us, if we continue down the path that's been taken. Yet so many are still quite happy to put on blinkers waiting to
be whisked away in a funnel, or drowned wondering why you can bring a snowball indoors.

It wasn't that long ago that more people started living in, than out of urban environments.  All those cars, vans, lorries, buses, aeroplanes, motorcycles, tankers, ships, warships, fighter jets, rockets, bombs, rpg's, satellite launches, mining, pigs, cows, gas burning, electricity production and usage, production of food, transporting food, processing all the waste, waste of food, sewage systems, and fracking are all producing their own bits of pollution, every second of every day, by the thousands, millions, hundreds of millions. So when someone says that humanity's not having any impact, just remember that little list, pick one item, and use it to beat them around the head with.

Back to who. Before the new figures on air quality land on the desks of concerned citizenry everywhere (at least for those living in the 2,000 or so cities that'll be classified as perilous hell-holes for human habitation), who director (dr maria neira) of the department of public health, environmental and social determinants of health basically said, if i can condense her comments into a couple of words, we're fucked!

Imagine if all the conflicts around the world were concentrated into one large-ish area and 7 million people on the losing side were summarily executed in a day? There'd be an outcry. Coalitions coalesce, jihads would be screamed from the tallest minarets. Allies and axis' would form, and before you realised it trillions would be spent as the world beat with one, or probably four, calls to end it – naturally both sides would be given advantageous bank lending rates – until it became crystalline clear which side was going to win, then they'd call the debts in. Currently, however, as with many things which take place and who they mainly impact (baring global extreme calamity), the vast majority of the potential dead and dying will be concentrated amongst the marginalised poor. Those who have to work for employers whose only concerns are about how many filters they can crank out before they're carried out in just a larger box. The skivers. The enemies within, daring to look towards houses filled with filters made of gold; whether in delhi, beijing, new york, or london,

According to the eu public health portal, the annual number of deaths in the region from smoking is approx 700,000. The who's eu estimate on premature deaths from all the other crap we're cheerfully chucking up in the air? That will be 600,000. Of course, it doesn't say if all of those people were lifelong non-smokers; but, that's plenty of citizens who don't put cancer sticks (as an ex-smoker i claim my right to the word use) in their mouths, who prematurely die every year from the rubbish being purposefully dumped into the atmosphere. That's roughly 578,000 more people than are killed in the usa each year, and that's with their particular fondness of guns with everything.

More than half the worlds human population live in urban settings. By 2030, or in 5,095 days time, the global urban pollution will swell to 5 billion from the current 4 billion (a very rough estimate). So just think of your own current sprawling city, or town, and plop in a quarter more people – again roughly. How would your transportation system, health, education systems cope? How will you cope? Smaller places, longer queues, those long thought dystopian idylls of shoe-boxes for homes? If our city air's crap and killing us now, what will it be like in 14 years?

For example, as i sit here (not quite furiously tapping away), at any one time over 21 hours a day there are a number of buses each weighing 11+ tons, anywhere from 9 to 30 ft away. The drivers leave their vehicles engines in one of the following phases – in order of popularity: running, idling revving, off. The drivers (oh you have no idea how much i'm looking forward to driver-less buses) can remain at the stand for anything from a couple of minutes to 20 minutes, and that's 21 hours a day, every day.  Of course with a mixture of buses from helicopter-bus-ships, to hybrid-noise-storms there's no end to the delights this little stretch of road dishes out on a regular basis.

I still assert that earlier buses were designed by someone, or a group of someones, who's experience of a bus ended, when they finally grew out of their favourite tonka toy collection phase. But surely after the buses were built, did no one deem it necessary to test them on roads and streets where people actually lived? At least then, the possibility of listening to a bloody bus sounding more like a helicopter parked 9ft from a window, followed by drivers revving their engines and bibbing their horns, slamming doors and emergency exits in faux maintenance walks, would hopefully have created some sort of a spark in someone with a few more spare brain-cells than the average, and caused them to ponder "just how will people react with all that noise and racket at 2am, or 5am, or any other times the things are in close proximity to them? Hm, i wonder!"

From my interactions with tfl, i've come to the conclusion they view the bus department as more of an annoyance.  A horrid burden they have to endure, over the wonderful grandiose delights offered by running the tube network; with those glorious sweeping entrances, arched halls, and historic stations.

It probably went like this. At some stage the bus department failed to get the attention the other departments had managed to seize; and so when it came to procuring new buses they grumbled, grudgingly and said “yea, they'll do,” and so the helicopters which drivers think are good fun not to switch off, and tfl would rather not think about, or act on, were born.  And in time they spread far and wide, throughout the residential land. Causing grief to anyone unfortunate to think that double or triple-glazing would surely be enough to keep the offending noise away from delicate ears.

A long example i know.  But just imagine for a moment imagine, across london there are thousands of the red buggers all at it; despite tfl saying “they shouldn't be doing that. It will be stopped… They will be disciplined… They don't do it, it has been stopped… Is it still going on?"  

If tfl, an authority so vaunting of its green credentials and respect for neighbourhoods, fails so dismally, and is incapable of policing it's own operators and drivers, then how will humanity, in any significant number do anything in time to ensure there's a world fit to live in? And don't forget the new watered down aim of cop 21 is to limit any temperature rise to 2 degrees celsius, but aspire to keep any rise to under 1.5.  It'll be lucky if the rise remains under double figures.  

You might just wonder why i'm somewhat skeptical of our ability to really knuckle down, and forge our way out of this slowly unfurling disaster.  Apart from the attitude of tfl, people in general.  A few months ago, over food and drinks, conversation with friends turned to money spent on shopping and where to shop.  I brought up a shop called the 99p store, which I frequent for household cleaning materials. For those who don't know, it was a retail outlet  where most things were going for 99 pence, more often than not for less - until it was acquired by their more aggressive competitors, the £1 shop (otherwise known as poundland). So we argued about the relative merits, until the nugget was boiled down to an issue of pride.  Simply put, they would rather travel somewhere and pay £3 for an item instead of 99p at the store, as the 99p store was just far too down-market for them.  If you multiply that and similar attitudes across the billions of inhabitants, then where do you see things heading?

As dr maria neira might well possibly say in an unguarded private moment, “we're fucked!”

Monday, 18 January 2016

Sayonara Samsung

Well, the mobile division at any rate. I have a few months to go before my contract is up. I was using the galaxy s3, when the screen cracked. That will teach me not to use a screen protector, nor to have the phone enclosed in a case. The entire thing happened in a moment of absent-mindedness. I went to forcibly catch the phone after it fell from my hand, when I attempted to move it about 2 feet from one part of the desk to another. The upper left-hand screen-edge impacted against a 5 or 10 pence piece sticking out from the side of a book. There was a slight retort and a partial spider screen, and that was that. A pristine phone ruined in an instant, but luckily still functional. As i was only a few months away from an upgrade, i decided to simply wait.

It was in december 2013, after the long awaited update to jelly bean 4.2, that things started to go sour between samsung, orange, the s3 and me. One problem, was the dreaded slow charging. After leaving the phone plugged in, using the original charger and cable, with wifi, mobile data, sound, brightness, either all switched off or set to minimum.  After nine hours of non-stop charging the battery had finally reached 80% capacity. Then the moment it was switched on i could count the seconds as as it lost a percentage point of charge. It took a month for samsung/orange to correct that little cock-up. Once it was corrected, normal battery charging and usage were resumed. In the meantime i was left with my veritable and sturdy htc wildfire – which happily works to this day and is a default backup for phone calls, sms, and even the odd painful attempt at an email, should an upgrade go wrong.

But the day came after months of waiting, it was time to upgrade to a shiny new device. I had my eye on the note4 for flexibility, the android os (despite the rubbish overlay), replaceable battery, microsd slot, and the s-pen.  It was still in the samsung fold, but i was more than happy giving them another free opportunity.  Unfortunately i had to swap from orange to ee, but after sitting down and doing my calculations it was all worthwhile. So i upgraded and waited for it's appearance on my doorstep. It arrived. I could feel the box wrapped in an unopened bag, which didn't sport any external signs of damage.

I opened the bag and carefully removed the contents. The delivery note seemed odd.  I read down the list of contents, and among them was a letter for the devices' return, a refund letter for the device, and the device in its box.  A furrowed pucker started to burrow its way to the surface of my brow. I put the delivery note down, and picked up the letter, which began “we're sorry to hear that you're not satisfied with the device...” Not satisfied, i thought. I've only just received it. How can i not be satisfied? I looked at the delivery note and back to the letter. Put the letter down and picked up the box. The first label was intact. Turned the box around and looked at the second label, the security label. The one which says 'do not accept if broken'. It had a nice break running all the way through it.

I contacted ee, and queried why there was a break running through the security label.

“Oh the box is like that, as we have to test some of the phones,” she said.

Bullshit, I thought. “It's not acceptable, it's used.” I said. “I don't want a returned phone, when i'm paying the price of a new one!”

“We can send you another one, if you're not happy with it?” she said.

“Fine. Thank you,” I replied, and rang off.

Luckily, after learning my lesson the hard way with the s3, i had pre-purchased a case and screen cover for the note4 – both of which have kept it in very usable condition, despite the odd knocks it's experienced. Even with insurance, I'd rather try to hang on to it, and not have to schlep to a store, or send it away never to see it again as it's been run over after falling into the path of a forklift, after dropping from a lorry whose door had swung open as the driver had been out the night before and only saw, at the last moment, the postman crossing the road with earphones stuck in his ears connected to a s3.

Suffice to say, i was more than happy with the note4, and probably like many other owners, were eagerly looking forward to seeing the specifications for the note5. What wonders would they tempt us users with next?

No replacement battery, and no microsd slot!

I'm on my 2nd original manufacturers battery, i have the the microsd slot at 75%. When the phone plays up, I can simply remove and replace the battery and restart, and yes if that means sacrificing 2mm of thickness, then I can really say that I don't mind in the slightest.

Since the note5's unveiling, I knew that my love affair with samsung (as tempestuous, and unpredictable as it was) had run it's course. It was time to look elsewhere.

I had thought all was lost. That all the manufacturers had lost their senses when it came to device design and were all following the apple-cart of oblivion, well those who only depended on phones for their living. I made a conscious effort not to put the device in harms way, or near an edge, or halfway hanging out a side pocket easily available for a mugger to hoik, and run off with. Until one day lg, of all companies, brought out their V10. Yes, I know it doesn't have a s-pen, or a pen of any description. But it has battery that can be replaced, it has a microsd slot that can take anything from 32gb up to 2tb – i'm sure one of the reviews and spec sheets will be proven correct when the v10, or the g4 pro, finally lands in the uk. 

There is, however, a large fly on the horizon: mobile world congress in barcelona from the 22-25 February 2016.

Cover on… cover off.  What more could a nerd want.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Where's my prole?

It's quite disappointing watching the uk disappear up the annus of american ideology - especially when it’s not the perfumed, sweet-smelling, rose-tinted kind! With consecutive uk governments (whether true tory blue, or twitchy new labour serenity) following the crazy ideas of their more lunatic-fringed american brethren, it really is mindbogglingly fantastic that the malcontented detritic electorate who didn't vote, or who voted against the ruling paper-bangers, have failed to do anything other than grumble, or loft perfectly calligraphed signs - expressing disgust - above their heads, at the myriad papercut betrayals inflicting our democracy.

Instead of running the corporaphyte puppets out of parliament whilst waving a round bowl above their heads, to the cheering delight of some addled old lag laying sprawled in the street reaching for a pint, their only concern appears to be that of virtually connecting to the current wardrobe phase of the latest celebrity (who has been plopped onto a pedestal for general consumption), or checking to see whether the latest mobile gizmo will have something, added as a bonus. For the really hardcore noncarers christmas is popping up every other day, courtesy of the latest terrorist outrages, leaving them at a loss as to which bruised and blooded part of the globe to squeeze the last bit of blood from, in search of the next cheap getaway.

There are those who say the levers of power have been infiltrated by lumpenproletariats play acting at running the country, and ruining it for the vast majority who just want to live and enjoy a peaceful life; if the maelstrom of carnage and chaos experienced by many in the name of austerity and ideology is any indication, you might concede that they are more than likely correct.

The conservatives, under the premiership of margaret thatcher, truly began the privatisation runaway train as if there was no tomorrow. Fire sales of public services & assets. All with the lauded aim to create a share owning democracy, and new home-owning class. Subsequently over 40+ state organisations have been up for grabs, and politicians probably knowing that the vast majority of sids, at the first sign of flushed wealth, would flog off their holdings, made the bargain so much sweeter. It’s almost as if most of the country's assets and business were animals at a market, with the financial attendees haggling over the best piece of meat, slavering at the thought of making the killing.

That major period was followed by people throwing their hands up in disgust and voting for labour, giving the party a previously unheard of landslide. This was in the mistaken belief they would reverse the policy of the conservatives and turn if not 180 degrees at least pull sharply about, to stave off the worst bits of capitalistic greed, and bolster the services that the public wanted and believed were of communal and social benefit. Instead of reversing the policies, which the vast majority of people who voted for them wanted, the party closed their eyes and fell into the arms of the corporate lobbyists, newspapers - 98% of whom do not represent the average person's interests except for when it transpires they can make more money - and continued with most of the mendacious conservative policies. On top of which they added their own egregious bills to really put the pressure on. Ending with one last gasp of an act of their governance, the digital economy act 2010, plus the myriad of private finance initiatives - a conservative policy new labour devoured like a well trained puppy, lapping up puke.

Bbc’s question time of the 15th january 2016, was quite illuminating. I found myself constantly mesmerised by some of the nonsense being spouted by members of the panel. I was briefly under the impression many of them either believe there are no other sources of news for people to look at, and so the public's general goldfishiness can be taken for granted, or they really do live on a different plane and only momentarily interact with this one once they start talking, and return to their own reality once they’ve stopped spouting drivel. I mention the show, as talk veered on to the topic of housing and the government's aim to have a few houses built from now until 2020. Naturally those on the hang-them high side of thinking, wanted to bulldoze the green belt and have tower blocks covering everything. The ukip representative muttered about immigrants, yet no one mentioned that councils were stopped from building more housing by the government at the time, and subsequent governments since then have failed to allow councils to do anything in any meaningful measure since.

Talking of illumination, let’s take the latest news pouring in from the energy sector. Utilities are been harangued by various organisations, for not dropping their prices to household customers at a similar rate to the fall they’ve experienced in their wholesale prices. Indeed media outlets felt sufficiently aggrieved to provide nice and easy understandable figures, which were more than sufficient to encourage a rise in the gore of at least one morning breakfaster. For gas, the wholesale price has fallen by over a third in the past 12 months, for electricity, by a quarter. The large utility companies have failed to pass those lovely savings on to their customers; and why should they? After all these new computers just can’t cope like the old abacuses. All these ups and downs that have to be calculated. On top of that, they don’t have enough staff. What’s the point of them reducing prices when they’ll only have to put them up again when the next calamity hits, in four years time. They are, after all, companies who happen to provide something people need, and all companies (bar charities) are in existence to make a profit for their shareholders, and a nice big fat one at that. A bonus for the board members. Pay the employees as little as they can get away with, and see what pesky bits of legislation they can avoid, along with how many rings they can run around the regulators.

What i do find ghastly, is the crocodile expressions of amazement politicians express, shocked that companies are not passing on savings to customers, and pocketing the difference instead. That would be the same as someone buying a pitbull terrier from a cage-fighter, then looking on in horror, wondering why it’s using a chihuahua as a chewy toy.