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When Did I Stop Having Fun?

December 6th, 2009

Most of the time I don't have much fun. The rest of the time I don't have any fun at all. - Woody Allen (1935 - )

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Someone Else's Dream

December 2nd, 2009

"Never hold on hoping that you will benefit from someone else's dream - it inevitably means your dreams don't come true" Ben Ellis 2009

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Time for A News Change.

November 30th, 2009

Many of us who have to work for a living have over the years got used to the idea that if the skills we brought to the market place were ever to become uneconomical, we would be redundant. We would need to re-train and gain new skills to continue with any sort of gainful employment. This is the part of our capitalist system and we, the workers, should understand this simple economic truth.

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Integrity - is it still important?

November 8th, 2009

There have been a few stories over the last week or so about the scam advertisements on social sites mainly Facebook, arguably the most successful social site. It appears to have started with this commentary – http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/31/scamville-the-social-gaming-ecosystem-of-hell/ on Techcrunch. One of the Facebook successful applications company’s CEO can be seen discussing his early strategy in an online video where he basically said he did whatever was necessary to have a successful business – see http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/8R96Mx4zId8/. Many of these companies are being held up as successful start-ups with multi-million valuations based on the number of users they appear to be attracting.

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More Calories Required.

October 24th, 2009

I am trying to get back in to my walk routine after my unintentional mini break and it has been a mixed bag. Wednesday was very slow and I did feel a bit woozy on the last lap but I persevered and completed. Yesterday, I felt so much better that my last lap was in the realms of my average lap speed.

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Experts and Vested Interests

October 23rd, 2009

It is quite amazing just how many people take expert advice at face value, even the Government does it. When I mention that I was walking as exercise, people look at me like I have lost it. And yet, walking is good exercise and a few keep fit sites do have articles on this form of exercise though usually aimed at the 'oldies'. The playing down of walking as exercise is very much about vested interests of the fitness industry, after all, who will pay to walk?

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In the autumn of our lives

October 22nd, 2009

After a 12 day break from walking in the morning, I returned to experience the full colours of Autumn in the trees and on the grounds. I may not like the cold and wet but I do find the colours so much richer and I love it.

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Physician, Heal thyself…with a little help

October 21st, 2009

Another way to break bad habits, dependencies and addictions is with a little help from your friends. Whereas alcohol dependency is likely to be hidden, nicotine addiction is usually more open and people around you are more willing to accept its very addictive nature.

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Walking - the double Whammy

October 20th, 2009

I have also up walking in the morning - except having missed 10 or so days now due to injured leg and the cold/flu. Walking replaced the gym with a few weeks of inactivity in the middle. The gym had to go on two counts, firstly I did not enjoy the experience and two, it was difficult to fit into my normal routine especially since the train companies decided to change their timetables at a very crucial time when I needed to create the habit.

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Nobody Knows My Fight

October 19th, 2009

I just sort of naturally settled down to 4 to 6 drinks a day (night) and I usually have the higher number if I stay up later - now usually a Thursday night and a Sunday night which is when a number of TV programs I enjoy. The other nights I try to get to bed early enough to ensure I get enough sleep. This is a left-over from a previous healthy episode that I never quite let go off.

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Dependence - the slippery slope.

October 17th, 2009

They say that to form a habit or to break one, you need to follow a routine for 21 days. Where do they get this stuff, I don't know? But habits, by their vary nature, are things we do consistently and to break them obviously must not do consistently. The problem is how you do that without alerting those around you of your issues. In many cases, the very people you drink and drug with maybe the ones you least want to know about your actions until the time to break away is upon you.

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Déjà vu - Unconscious warnings?

October 5th, 2009

"Several psychoanalysts attribute déjà vu to simple fantasy or wish fulfillment, while some psychiatrists ascribe it to a mismatching in the brain that causes the brain to mistake the present for the past. Many parapsychologists believe it is related to a past-life experience. Obviously, there is more investigation to be done." (http://www.howstuffworks.com/question657.htm)

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Dry Britain

October 4th, 2009

Despite being an island - and our reputation for wet weather - the UK actually has less available water per head than many European countries including France, Italy and Greece. London, for example, has less annual rainfall than Rome, Paris or Naples.

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iPlayer is Public - leave it alone

September 23rd, 2009

Will someone tell the former BBC One controller to go away (being polite). Apparently he says BBC's iPlayer users should be charged to use the service. Oh no, you don't get paid for doing this twice. We pay a licence fee (a disguised tax) for BBC services and iPlayer was devloped with that money. Sorry mate unless you want to hand back the devlopment costs to us in a reduction in licence fee, you can go fly a kite.

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Identity Fraud - some random stuff.

September 17th, 2009

The estimate for the cost of identity fraud to the UK Economy - £1.2 billion or around £25 for every adult in Britain. See: http://www.identitytheft.org.uk/cms/assets/cost_of_identity_fraud_to_the_uk_economy_2006-07.pdf

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Identity Stolen: Day 3

September 15th, 2009

Decided to ring the police first thing in the morning, to update the report with the extra information I had but ended holding on for so long that I gave up. Just as I was leaving the house for work, my security code from checkmyfile came in the post.

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Identity Stolen: Day 2

September 14th, 2009

After my unsuccessful evening, I waited until just after nine to contact the relevant people. Started by emailing checkmyfile.co.uk to find out if there is an alternative way to obtain my credit reports sooner than the three days, I was informed it would take.

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Identity Stolen: Day 1

September 11th, 2009

Thursday started like normal until about lunchtime, I got a phone call at work, on the work landline number, from a company called paydayloansuk.co.uk. The ensuring conversation which was supposed to be about my recent application was no doubt confusing both for the caller and myself with me refusing to answer any 'security' questions and her refusing to release any details of my application. The conversation ended with a promise to send me a text message about the issue, no mobile phone number asked for or given. Said text message was not received and I put it down to a possible dubious sales tactic.

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Life Balance and Work

August 25th, 2009

Article I wrote in response to a debate about work and live is posted here here.  See what you think.

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2mp Camera good enough for flickr?

August 18th, 2009


Apparently the iPhone is being used heavily for taking and uploading photos onto Flickr. It will be interesting to see if Flickr remains the top photo site especially for the professionals with this reduction in the quality of photographs. I suspect the explosion will continue at least for a while and it will be harder to find photographs on the service.
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Boxed In?

August 16th, 2009

The has reported that most people feel like the new houses in the UK are too small making modern living quite difficult. Apparently the floor area and room sizes are the smallest in Europe but should we be surprised? After all, the accomodation that factory owners built for their workers during the Industrial Revolution makes even the efforts made by mining companies in Africa for their staff look fantastic. Can't say the older houses are much better, can you? Everywhere I have lived has always felt a bit cramped. More details at http://www.cabe.org.uk/news/new-homes-are-too-small-for-everyday-life.

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Slob is the New Sex God

August 11th, 2009

"But it's daft to suggest that everyone previously thought most women were turned on by men with fastidiously toned bodies, reeking of cologne, hair made Himalayan with 'product', dressed in gleaming Hugo Boss and generally showing every sign of effortful, self-absorbed vanity."

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When I was a child, women over 50 ran the world

August 4th, 2009

"At 50 plus ... I never imagined I'd still be parting with money at makeup counters, or that I'd be racing off for a blow-dry when threatened with a photographer. I assumed I'd wear my hair in round perm, the colour of steel and as tough. Think of the time I'd save; vanity is such a consumer of the hours."

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iPhone Happiness

August 3rd, 2009

Even the staid old scientists are getting into this popular culture thingy. You can now take part in a scientific study of happiness with your iPhone - https://www.trackyourhappiness.org/. Since this blog is about that very thing, I'm going to have a go, so watch this space, I may be the happiest person on the planet, NOT!

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Coincidence or Awareness?

July 29th, 2009

On the train to work yesterday morning I noticed graffiti stating simply 'Zulu 1875'. Intrigued, a Google search later at work revealed a lot of Zulu references to the period around 1875. Notably though, the Anglo Zulu war is officially regarded as being during 1879, some 6 years after Cetshwayo became Zulu King, maybe sub consciously I knew something was not right about the date, who knows? Today, I received a newsletter from O'Reilly Media in which a quick browse revealed that recently, Tim O'Reilly, the CEO of O'Reilly Media, had written a blog post entitled 'Seeing Our Culture with Fresh Eyes' about a book he had recently read about Zulu uprising in South Africa around that time. Mr O'Reilly, by the way, is a man I respect and admire to the point of following on Twitter, as the man who runs the company that I should.

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Not the way to die

July 3rd, 2009

"The body of pensioner has been found in a tenement flat in Edinburgh where it may have lain for up to five years"

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Company Short Term Memory Loss?

June 16th, 2009

In a crisis, can you call on your workers to tighten their belts with you to save the company? Many businesses may feel that they can but you have to question how enthusiastically those same workers will be. Will they have forgotten previous company behaviour towards them? ( If you say nice things, will they promote you? ) BA seems to hope so despite asking their employees to take unpaid time-off or to work for no pay (yeah right!).

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Is 'bankster' to be the millionth English Word?

June 10th, 2009

'Bankster' - a cross between a banker and a gangster - has the chance of being the English's millionth word. Honestly though, I thought the words where inter-changeable considering the many years that banks have been skinning the public and the bloody mess they've put us in with their financial carelessness 8-). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jun/10/english-million-word-milestone

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Facebook suffers from 'big business' arrogance

May 20th, 2009

Apparently Facebook have had the cheek to move some Welsh cities and towns into England. The cheek of it! see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8052252.stm. I groaned when I read 'Some users e-mailed the US-based site since Friday to alert it to the error.' What email address did they use? I spent over an hour on Facebook trying and failing to discover an email address to inform them that one of their 'recommended' friend suggestions was a person who has sadly passed away.

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Boffins don't have all answers

May 15th, 2009

It is amazing how many people take scientists as the unquestionable experts. Some of us know that some times there are vested interests where scientists are 'pushed' towards certain conclusions, usually to attract funding. You also have the ones that seem to research the bleeding obvious and those that seem to serve no useful purpose but to keep the boffins busy. Make up your mind on this story but it does prove many answers still elude us.

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The meaning of karma

May 1st, 2009

I tend to use the word karma to describe the calm, peaceful balance. Something that disturbs this state is said to be upsetting my karma. I recently decided to look it up the proper meaning of the word and am horrified to discover that it doesn't mean anything like that at all. I am not sure where my interpretation of it came and that got me to thinking as to how best to describe this search.

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Time to Complain?

April 29th, 2009

Who are these people that find time to complain about adverts? Good to see the Advertising Standards Authority do seem to have a mind of their own. See the list at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2009/apr/29/asa-most-complained-about-adverts-2008. Of the ones shown here, the Barnado's advert was the one I did not like. Frankly I found it disturbing because of the scene repetition - I suppose that was intentional.

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Time is more important than money.

April 16th, 2009

This is typical me. I can't believe it been over a month since I wrote in this blog, totally unacceptable! The release of the 1911 Census data took me back to a project I started over 3 years ago and overtaken by events. And as usual I have become obsessed again to the detriment of other things.

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Zimbabwe's Rock Bottom?

February 23rd, 2009

"Since my last report he has reached rock bottom, and has started to dig" or in other words, an old saying involving a frying pan and fire. I just got forwarded this old email chain letter about 'army insults' and guess what came to mind? Zimbabwe.

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Under the weather?

February 12th, 2009

Saturday was my birthday and I didn't do much in the way of celebrations, in fact I didn't really feel in a celebratory mood. For some reason I woke up with the image of a blue sky, my children laughing and splashing in a clear blue sea, a white sandy beach with lovely big picnic spread and the smell of fish and meat on the barbeque. Everything I did just did not seem to shake that picture from my head.

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Lessons learnt? I don't think so.

February 10th, 2009

"....High street banks and building societies are cracking down on new lending to previously credit-worthy customers using an early warning system, which assesses the chances of borrowers defaulting on loan repayments in the future...."

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T'was greed that got us thus far...

February 9th, 2009

Here is a question. Imagine that you are legally entitled to a £1 million bonus for one whole year of hard slog and stress, but however, everyone says or thinks you should not take the money as the company that you work for has not made any money. In fact, had it not been the help of those who can only dream of that kind of money, it is lucky that you still have a job. Would you take the money?

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No child maintenance without DNA testing!

February 3rd, 2009

There is nothing in the UK to set off the gender war like the issue of Child Maintenance. The welfare reform bill blog entry at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/27/child-support-absent-fathers-passport is a good example of the feelings generated - getting nearly a thousand comments in a few days.

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There's Snow News Like Snow News

February 2nd, 2009

I can't even be bothered to provide links to any snow stories; every single UK new source is carrying it. I won't even go into how a Northern European country fails year after year to be prepared for a bit of snow. This weather is like manna from heaven for the news gathers of our society as they are scratching the bottom of the barrel to give us any descent local news. Don't believe me? Well another thing I learnt from the news today is that following on from Blue Monday (see Blue Monday Blues ), that the first Monday in February has been dubbed National Sickie Day and is statistically the worst day for absenteeism in the UK (see http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/uk/It39s-unhappy-Monday-and-economic.4935004.jp).

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Music Industry must wake up.

January 31st, 2009

The sale of songs is a lost business model. The songs must be seen as publicity for mechandise and live shows where the real money is to be made. The problem of course is that the record companies and British Phonographic Industry may lose their raison d'etre. I feel for the BPI but the record compnaies who for years have skinned the very people they seek to hound, tough luck! The Internet will make it possible for bands to be famous without them and good riddance. No longer do we have to buy 1 song we like and 20 others we don't.

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Stop Press: Aid arrives in England.

January 29th, 2009

People in Iceland - a country currently in desperate economic trouble - have shipped jumpers and blankets to England this week. A container of woolies arrived in the north-east of England after an appeal on an Icelandic radio station. They were handed to local charities in Hull on Thursday.

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Is ING SpinnING to their savers?

January 27th, 2009

I have savings with ING Direct and they keep trying to re-assure us savers that 'Your money is safe with ING Direct' and that it is part of one of the 20 largest financial institutions worldwide global financial company providing banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services with over £1 trillion in assets and yet....

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Police Taking the Goat

January 25th, 2009

Only in Africa can this sort of thing happen. I laughed tears. See it here Nigeria police hold 'robber' goat

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Be Prepared

January 24th, 2009

Scenario: It is 2015, the world is recovering from one of the last great recession but Europe and the USA are not doing so well. So many people were laid off in those years and countries led by China and Asia but including African and South American countries picked up the slack and now lead the world economy. Large European and American multi-nationals, many of which have been run and owned by foreign management and finance for many years, took advantage of the down turn to shift operation to 'cheaper' regions. The banks, the ones that were the main cause of the financial crisis, now de-nationalised by returning only a percentage of the billions of tax payers' money, are under pressure to return to the pre-recession profitability, are pressurizing the now the millions of now unemployed tax payers to make good on their mortgages and loans.

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Great Expectations

January 22nd, 2009

When someone does not deliver to expectations, there is a perception of failure - even if the results are still quite spectacular. President Obama is in danger of being in this category with many people. I suspect there are some, many in Africa, that do not expect too much! I have done a post about the expectations surrounding President Obama's taking of office on my news blog Obama's biggest burden.

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Spirituality and being an atheist.

January 20th, 2009

"Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit, a concept closely tied to religious belief and faith, a transcendent reality, or one or more deities. Spiritual matters are thus those matters regarding humankind's ultimate nature and meaning, not only as material biological organisms, but as beings with a unique relationship to that which is perceived to be beyond the bodily senses, time and the material world." [Wikipaedia] Read More ...

Blue Monday Blues

January 19th, 2009

The 5th of January I wrote and said things where going back to normal. How I lied! If anything Christmas time is the worst time for making you break habits you have tried to hard to maintain. The few days of not following routines are fatal to anything that requires a bit of effort on your part.

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Happy New Year Resolutions!

January 5th, 2009

Well this is it, 2009 before we could even catch our breaths, everything's back to normal.

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