Friday, December 16, 2005

Hasselblad 500CM

This is my new toy. Its quite old but it takes good photographs. I will write more about it when I have the time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

How to transfer a .com domain name

I thought I would post this as its come up a few times recently.
This advice is based on doing lots of transfers from different registrars.

This advice does NOT reflect the rules as they are written but it reflects
the practicalities of dealing with the various systems that I see on a day
to day basis.

If you follow this advice you will increase the chances of a transfer

1. Make sure that you are listed as the admin contact for the domain name
and that the email address listed is still accessible. This can be checked
in the whois.
If you are not listed as admin contact then you will need to get the current
registrar to make you the admin contact. If the email address is wrong you
need to get this updated to one that works.

2. Make sure that the domain name is unlocked. You can check the lock state
in the whois.
If it is locked you will need to get the current registrar to unlock it.
Some registrars check the lock state in the whois rather than at the
registry so if you are transferring to one of those registrars you will need
to wait 24 hours for the whois to update (Godaddy do it this way and its a
cause of many failed transfers to them).

3. If the domain is in .org .biz or .info you will need to ask the current
registrar for the transfer authorisation code before you can start the
transfer. The code is valid for 5 days so you need to have it before you ask
the new registrar to start the transfer.

4. Now ask the new registrar to request the transfer. if you have followed
all the steps above then it should be clear to go.

5. Follow all the instruction emails sent from the new and old registrar.
The losing registrar may require you to confirm the transfer by replying to
an email or visting their site in some way. If you fail to do this then the
transfer will fail.

Registrar transfers usually take 7 to 10 days to complete so it is not a
good method of changing web host. Its faster to change the name servers
witht he current registrar and deal with a registrar transfer later if you
want to do that. In fact its not possible to change name servers once a
transfer has been initiated so you need to be careful if you are doing this
to change web host.

The most common reasons for transfers failing are:

1. Admin contact has not approved the transfer (usually they never received
the emails as the email address was not functioning or they were not the
admin contact).

2. The domain name has already expired (needs to be renewed at the current
registrar before the transfer can be requested).

3. The domain is less than 60 days old or has been transferred within the
past 60 days.

4. The customer never owned the domain name in the first place (

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bank of Scotland are Thiefs

I paid off my mortgage on 17th of August and the bank continued to take a payment fgor this month on the 22nd.
I phoned the bank and asked for the money back, assuming it would be quite straightforward.
However, they now tell me it will take 10 working days to get the money back to me, which is two calendar weeks.

This is theft.
The bank can transfer money to other banks same day using chaps and between their own accounts (as in this case) it is instantaneous.
meanwhile I am £450 out of pocket.

My advice is to steer clear of Bank of Scotland at all costs.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jupiter Flugel Horn

I have had my Jupiter flugel for a year now so I thought I would give my opinion on living with it:

1. Mouthpiece choice is fairly critical for intonation and mid register playability. Throw away the mouthpiece that comes with it as it is useless.

2. Lacquer finish is very durable. Quite similar to Yamaha. Overll finish is very good and has stood up to a lot of abuse. Also the case is very strong and has a useful compartment for music and other things in the lid. Overall its a well built instrument that is likley to last a long time.

3. Good upper register. No problems up to a high F which is as high as I ever want to go on flugel. Mid register is suspect on some mouthpieces so you need to experiment.

4. Main water key does not appear to work. Its an amado and it rarely lets any water out. I have heard of this problem with other Jupiter instruments. It may be badly fitted or the surface tension may be too high to let the water out. I need to get a saturn water key fitted as this is a major bugbear and something that puts me off using it in performance.

5. Could do with a first valve trigger for E. Its a common problem with flugels but its liveable with and only causes problems with slow passages ending on an E really.

6. Some problems with edge on the sound due to its narrow bore (In the past I have used Blessings and Bachs which are larger bore) but this is just the way smaller bore flugels sound so you can't blame the instrument. It does make it less useful for classical Corno Da Caccia concertos i think (I used to do the Telemann in D on flugel but on this one its not quite the right sound).

Overall I would give it a 9 out of 10 for playability and value.If I was playing flugel as a main instrument I might go back to a larger bore instrument to guarantee a more mellow sound when I am not as well warmed up or doing a quick switch from trumpet.
It would be interesting to try it alongside the Weril Regium which is a similar price to see which was better.

I think the Jupiter is worth a shot especially if you can find a used one as they sell really cheap sometimes but you need the one with the trigger and rose brass bell.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?

Over the past few weeks we have been told over and over again that Islam is founded on peace and non violence. However, when you actually look at the Quran and at Mohammed's own life it does seem to be a bit violent:

1. What the Quran says

Qur’an 2:191 “And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from where they have turned you out; for Al-Fitnah (polytheism, disbelief, oppression) is worse than slaughter.”

Qur’an 33:60 “Truly, if the Hypocrites stir up sedition, if the agitators in the City do not desist, We shall urge you to go against them and set you over them. Then they will not be able to stay as your neighbours for any length of time. They shall have a curse on them. Whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain without mercy—a fierce slaughter—murdered, a horrible murdering.”

Qur’an 5:33 “The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Prophet and make mischief in the land, is to murder them, crucify them, or cut off a hand and foot on opposite sides...their doom is dreadful. They will not escape the fire, suffering constantly.”

Qur’an 9:5 “When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

Qur’an 8:12 “Your Lord inspired the angels with the message: ‘I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes.”

Qur’an 4:94 “Believers, when you go abroad to fight wars in Allah’s Cause, investigate carefully, and say not to anyone who greets you: ‘You are not a believer!’ Coveting the chance profits of this life (so that you may despoil him). With Allah are plenteous spoils and booty.”

Qur’an 47:33 “Believers, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger. Do not falter; become faint-hearted, or weak-kneed, crying for peace.”

Qur’an 9:3 “Allah is not bound by any contract or treaty with non-Muslims, nor is His Apostle.”

Qur’an 9:12 “If they violate their oaths and break treaties, taunting you for your Religion, then fight these specimens of faithlessness.”

Qur’an 9:88 “The Messenger and those who believe him, strive hard and fight jihad with their wealth and lives (in Allah’s Cause).”

2. Battles fought by Mohammed

624 - Battle of Bani Qainuqa'
624 - Battle of Sawiq
624 - Battle of Ghatfan
624 - Battle of Bahran
625 - Battle of Uhud.
625 - Battle of Humra-ul-Asad
625 - Battle of Banu Nudair
625 - Battle of Dhatur-Riqa
626 - Battle of Badru-Ukhra
626 - Battle of Dumatul-Jandal
626 - Battle of Banu Mustalaq Nikah
627 - Battle of the Trench
627 - Battle of Ahzab
627 - Battle of Bani Quraiza
627 - Battle of Bani Lahyan
627 - Battle of Ghaiba
627 - Battle of Khaibar
630 - Battle of Tabuk

2. Battles fought by Mohammed's successors

633 - Battle at Oman
633 - Battle at Hadramaut.
633 - Battle of Kazima
633 - Battle of Walaja
633 - Battle of Ulleis
633 - Battle of Anbar
634 - Battle of Basra,
634 - Battle of Damascus
634 - Battle of Ajnadin.
634 - Battle of Namaraq
634 - Battle of Saqatia.
635 - Battle of Bridge.
635 - Battle of Buwaib.
635 - Conquest of Damascus.
635 - Battle of Fahl.
636 - Battle of Yermuk.
636 - Battle of Qadsiyia.
636 - Conquest of Madain.
637 - Battle of Jalula.
638 - Battle of Yarmouk.
638 - The Muslims defeat the Romans and enter Jerusalem.
638 - Conquest of Jazirah.
639 - Conquest of Khuizistan and movement into Egypt.
641 - Battle of Nihawand
642 - Battle of Rayy in Persia
643 - Conquest of Azarbaijan
644 - Conquest of Fars
644 - Conquest of Kharan.
658 - Battle of Nahrawan.
659 - Conquest of Egypt
661 - Ali is murdered.
662 - Egypt falls to Islam rule.
666 - Sicily is attacked by Muslims
677 - Siege of Constantinople
687 - Battle of Kufa
691 - Battle of Deir ul Jaliq
700 - Sufism takes root as a sect of Islam
700 - Military campaigns in North Africa
702 - Battle of Deir ul Jamira
711 - Muslims invade Gibraltar
711 - Conquest of Spain
713 - Conquest of Multan
716 - Invasion of Constantinople
732 - Battle of Tours in France.
740 - Battle of the Nobles.
741 - Battle of Bagdoura in North Africa
744 - Battle of Ain al Jurr.
746 - Battle of Rupar Thutha
748 - Battle of Rayy.
749 - Battle of lsfahan
749 - Battle of Nihawand
750 - Battle of Zab
772 - Battle of Janbi in North Africa
777 - Battle of Saragossa in Spain

Obviously these were different times, but when you look at other religions they do not seem to have this widespread violence carried out by their founders and their immediate successors. For example Jesus and the Apostles don;t seem to have been involved in any violence at all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

RSGB Suggestions

Well, following my post to (about the RSGB renewal) various people suggested trying to change it.
The problem with that is that there is no means of communication with the RSGB.
You can write to them or phone them, but that would only put you in contact with the paid staff.
You could possibly write to the board of directors as a whole but I guess the secretary would field that.
One person can;t actually make any difference. As we all know democracies tend to favour the status quo because thats the average opinion of people who vote on such things. Even if one "pro change" candidate was elected it would not make any
difference to the voting on the board. As not all members change every year a "coup" is actually impossible even if the membership voted 100% for pro change candidates. It would take years.

Interestingly the RSGB does not send communication to members by email.
It does not have a news announce list like the ARRL, although you can get GB2RS by email. I think the RSGB's communication with members is very poor in general.

If I retain my membership I may go the whole hog and stand for election at
the next board meeting. Imagine a board member for Scotland who was actually born here and has lived here for a long period of time. Normally they parachute in candidates....

The problem is that I am not "anti rsgb" I am just "pro amateur radio" and the two sometimes cross over.I don't agree with a licence for life because it will skew the licence statistics and lead to a bad database.
I also don't think a paid 5 year livcence is wrokable commercially for accounting reasons. Its likely to cost more than five times the one year fee to run a system like that (and I do have considerable experience running subsrcription services
with a one to ten year period).

Here are some suggestions:

1. The RSGB should reduce the cost of membership by 10 to 20% and offer one
free year to all new licencees.
The uptake on renewals and increased membership base would bring in enough
cash in a year or two to keep it going.

2. The RSGB should review Radcom as its not hitting the mark for anyone
these days.
They should look at electronic delivery options or other ways of
distributing the same information. Use the internet to deliver some of the
services electronically.

3. The RSGB should review the success of GB4FUN to determine what the actual
outcome has been before throwing any more cash at it.

4. The RSGB needs to look at its staff recruitment policies to make sure
they follow modern human resources procedures (no nepotism).

5. The RSGB should review all overseas trips for board members and how these
are funded. Any benefits to board members should be published in the annual
report so its clear who is getting what and why.

6. The RSGB should review the QSL bureau as there may be simpler ways of
sorting the cards and handling them. No services should be provided for non

7. The RSGB should review all book publishing activities to see if they make
a profit and if they are worthwhile.

In general they need to reduce their cost base and increase the number of
Both of these will lead to an increase in profits which can then be
covenamted back to the RCF whuch itself is a whole can of worms that needs
to be scrutinised.

Thats some suggestions to set the ball rolling.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Eugene Sully G0VIQ

The first radio amateur to become a big brother housemate is Eugene Sully G0VIQ.

I am sure the RSGB will want Eugene as a spokesman when he gets out, but is this the right image?

Apparently he had to spend a day dressed as a dog doing dog type things....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Depression and the speed bump

Friends of the Earth have finally won in thier battle against the car.

They tried increasing the price of petrol; they forced the fitting of catalytic convertors, but the car manufacturers fought back with technology to make cars more economical and more powerful.
In the end it was something much more mundane that has stopped me fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

Having spent two weeks seriously looking for a second hand Ferrari I finally realised that there is no way it would get over the speed bump at the entrance to our street. It would end up as an expensive seesaw for the local kids. I then thought about getting some workmen to remove the speed bump, but unfortunatley the local cable company recently laid a cable INSIDE the bump. Yes, I know that makes no sense. They did not even ask the owners permission (its a private road and their general permission to dig only covers council owned roads).

So, the outcome is no Ferrari.
I think a Porsche would get over the bump, but its not the same thing is it?

Saturday, July 9, 2005

How to load a leica camera without cutting the film

I noticed this in Amateur Photographer magazine (25th June 2005) which was a special edition to celebrate 80 years since the first Leica camera and the 80th anniversary of the magazine.

Normally you need to cut the film to make a long leader but this method lets you load the Leica scre cameras without modifying the film.

  1. Draw the film out of the cassette and insert tip of leader into the takeup spool.
  2. Lower the cassette and take up spool into the base of the camera.
  3. As it is part way in, insert a business card between the film and shutter blind, pushing it lightly until there is resistance (the card should be seated against the central part of the shuter housing).
  4. Start to wind the film on.
  5. Once you see the film winding freely (by viewing the movement of the rewind knob) remove the card, attach the baseplate and advance a couple of frames.

You can now start using the camera.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Paypal does NOT suck

Someone at Paypal posted their edits to the live part of the site rather than the test version:

"Should any suspicious activity occur, PayPal will either alert youeither by email or by a representative calling you. But PayPal doesn't stop there. We offer you [excellent] *[too strong I thinkgiven the limited ability to comply with SPP]*"

What this person means is that they want to have seller as well as buyer protection but because the chargeback procedures of the banks over ride anything they can offer they need to be careful about how they phrase it.

They COULD insure against losses but this is very risky in itself. I know that my merchant provider won't.We have under £2000 of chargebacks last year and our bank is holding £43,000 of our cash as security against this increasing.They wanted to increase that to £180,000 on deposit indefinitley with no interest.I tried to change bank but the new one wanted £250,000.

People using Paypal do not know how lucky they are in many ways:

1. Low fees if you have high volume.
2. Better ability to stop chargebacks (many transactions are from positive balances and they favour the seller if its non tangible goods not covered by the buyer protection policy).
3. Instant settlement if necessary (many merchant accounts are on 30 days deferred for online trading).
4. No security required.

I know that people bleat on about etc but at the end of the day even the worst cases I have heard of are NOTHING like as bad as the way real banks treat their credit card merchants.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Smitecam - Testing God

A guy called Martin Willett as an occasional project called "Smitecam" where he runs a webcam trained on himelf and invites God to strike him dead.

The purpose is twofold. Firstly, it publicises his athiest web site and beliefs. Secondly, it does challeneg the way people thing about God. For example, if Christians prayed to God to smite him, would that be sinful? It would prove that God exists. However, killing is against the ten commandments. Can God break his own commandments? Apparentlyhe can as he ordered Abraham to kill Isaac.

Although Smitecam is a publicity stunt, it is quite thought provoking.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Unnecessary Stress

Why do customers come across all heavy handed when they have a problem?

Today a customer send me an email with the title COURT stating he would be starting legal action because he had registered a domain on the 6th and not received the log in details. So I asked him for the receipt number as I couldn't see an order and he said he was on the phone to his lawyers. When I did a whois on the domain it was actually registered by him through a different company entirely and not us at all.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Churches in Livingston, West Lothian

I decided to contact some churches in Livingston to see if they could give me a reason why I should go to church. I find going to church not only boring but quite depressing, with the constant exhortations to try harder, when most people are already at full stretch.

An interesting aspect to this is not just the answer to the question, but how comfortable they feel using the Internet as part of their ministry. For example, do they actually check for email?

I will update this post with the results of my enquiries.

1. Ladywell Baptist Church

Emailed: 6th June 2005
Using: Email address published on the Baptist Union web site.
Results: Email address was not valid, so I got nowhere with this one.

----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors ----->

Update: I found a different email address on another web site so I sent the message there instead. Lets see what happens.

Oh dear: Unrouteable address

Looks like this one is a dead duck.

2. Almondvale Community Church
Emailed: 6th June 2005
Using: Form on their web site.
Results: Received a reply on the 12th from someone (I think the minister) .

His reply was that if I was a proper christian I would not be asking these questions, but he did say that fellowship and enjoyment had to come secondary to being there. This left me feeling that perhaps going to Church is like going to the dentist (not enjoyable, but necessary for your health).

I sent him this reply:

I see what you are saying, but my objection is not to worshipping God (I hope I do that in all areas of my life, although i would use the word honouring rather than worshipping) but to being involved in regular attendance at a church or a member of a church.
In many ways I do miss church, which is why I am asking these questions, but there are just too many barriers for me.

1. Why should I do something that I personally do not enjoy?
Yes, the same could be said about a trip to the dentist, but I personally find church services boring, and I have had experience of a fair range of them.
Unless there is some over riding reason why it is a requirement of being a Christian.

2. Why does God require worship, and in particular public worship by a group of people?
I can't see any biblical reason for public worship or meeting together in the way that churches do.
You seem to be saying that I owe it to Jesus to attend church because he died for me. That is an odd transaction (if its what you mean) because the whole relationship of a believer with God is supposed to be based on love rather than duty.
I don't grasp or fully understand what God derives from worship or why he should require it.
Sorry, I just don't understand.

3. Church politics. Life is just too short for all of that.

What I do know is that Christians should associate with each other and that this is clearly scriptural, but its a big jump from that to attending church for an hour on a Sunday, which in my experience does not involve a lot of associating anyway.

I think probably I am just too free thinking and not enough of a group person to fit into a church.
Its probably just me, except I have actually met a few people over the past few years who are Christians but don't attend church regularly, so maybe I am not alone.

Update 17th June: I have had no reply so it looks like the communication is now closed.

3. Livingston Elim Church
Emailed: 7th June 2005
Using : Form on their site (which submitted via email and forced me to use my work email address...)
Results: Still no reply at 14th June, I don't expect to get one now, but anything is possible.

Update October 2007
I actually ended up attending this church for over a year starting in July 2006 click here for further information.

4. Livingston Ecumenical Parish
Emailed: No email address on their web site so couldn't contact them.

Conclusion: I had genuine questions that were only partially answered by one of the churches. The others either did not reply or had no means of contact by email. The church that did respond was not willing to engage in what was (for me) an important discussion. I remain still not attending church.

Update 31/07/05

I decided to go out to Ladywell Baptist Church tonight. I got there at 6:30 for the evening service and although that time was listed on the board the building was locked and gave every impression of being abandoned. As it was only 6:25 I headed over to Dedridge Baptist Church.
The church was open but in silence. Everyone sitting in rows possibly praying. I went in and sat down. This went on for a long time. I got the impression they were all very upset about something so maybe there had been a death in the congregation. I never found out. It felt like walking into a room and everyone suddenly going silent as a few of them did look at me. I nearly walked straight back out. It turned out to be the middle of the service so it must start at 6pm. It was communion. I found the person leading the service did not really make much sense. He seemed to lack knowledge or experience. He must have been standing in for the normal minister.
Overall it felt like there had been a death or something very bad had happened that everyone knew about. Noone spoke to me. By this time I was so scared by the funny looks I had been getting I bolted for the door and got home as soon as I could.

I am now truly immunised against going to church for the next few years. I don't think Dedridge Baptist is used to having visitors. It felt more like a private club than a church. The thing is that if they can't appeal to people like me they have no chance of reaching the average local person.

Update October 2007

I actually ended up attending Livingston Elim Church for over a year starting in July 2006 click here for further information.

Monday, June 6, 2005

How to find cheap web hosting

Well, in the early days of the Internet there was no such thing as cheap web hosting. People either paid serious money ($25 per month was commonplace) for 10Mb or so of web space or they used free hosting from places like Geocities (now part of Yahoo).

Then along came Albanza Inc with dedicated servers with a graphical user interface. Now anyone could set up a web hosting company and sell hosting very cheaply. Servers cost about $600 per month still but you coul dput on 300 accounts, charge $10 per month and make serious profits. The market was also expanding rapidly around 1998/99 so many people became very wealthy (if they had the cash to invest in these servers in the first place).

Of course this was all back in the last century and things have moved on. Now there are many different control panel systems and dedicated servers can be rented for as little as $50 per month. If you rent one of these and put 500 customers on there at $1 per month you could be making $400 a month profit. You will spend all day supporting the customers though. This may not sound much to us but if you live somewhere like India it is as a very high salary. If you are a teenager in middle America its also a lot of extra pocket money.

The problems start when an operation like this grows beyond one server. Usually they have provided too much support to customers to attract them in in the first place. More support than any mainstream hosting company could provide. So when they need to expand they have to reduce the service level (and cause lots of customers to leave) or hire staff and stop making any profit because the low prices never had enough margin to run a proper business.

The result of all this for customers is that cheap web hosting companies appear and disappear like flowers in the desert. People wake up to find they have no web site and email, and John Doe (14) of Boise, Idaho has gone back to playing baseball with his friends or got a job in MacDonalds because it pays better.

So how can you avoid this sort of thing happening to you?

1. Don't go for ultra cheap hosts. To get any level of service you are goiung to need to pay 5 to 10 dollars per month. It just can't be done any cheaper than that.

2. Choose a reputable company. Some mainstream web hosts run discount brands to sell off their spare capacity and these are usually a safe bet. Check out This is the discount brand of so you know it has the backing of a larger company with technical staff and thousands of customers. They are not likely to disappear.

3. Look for hosts with lots of satisified customers. Look for testimonial pages like this.

There are good cheap web hosting companies out there but you need to look through a lot of them before you will find one that will be reliable in the long term. I hope you have found this useful, and good luck in your search for cheap web hosting.

Sunday, June 5, 2005


I found this in a fortune cookie a while ago and have kept it in my wallet. I thought i would share it with you:

[The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world is to be in reality what we appear to be.]

I was thinking about this usenet discussion about Rev Adrian Kennard of AAISP.

Regardles sof the rights and wrongs of the points of law its about what other people perceive by the words we use. Its much better to be straightforward and honest if we are in business.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Yamaha Xeno Trumpet

I tried the new Yamaha Xeno 8335HS trumpet recently and it is much brighter than the old Yamaha 6335HS I am using. I did a side by side test and the salesman was quite shocked at how lazer like the new one is.

It does not blow any freer than the old one either, in spite of their claims.
Actually they both look identical side by side. I can't see any changes to the bell flare, or any changes to the position of the braces. I suspect the bell is made of thinner or different material.

Monday, May 30, 2005

What They Are Not Telling You About The National Identity Card

I was interviewed in the original market research survey for the national identity card scheme last year.

The card will be used in place of a passport for european travel so most people will not have a passport in future. Everyone will need to be interviewed face to face for an ID card at a passport office.

The pricing options I was shown were like:
"If you only had to travel 30 miles for the interview would you be willing to pay more?"
In some cases the amount was as high as £200 to have a shorter journey.

One option is to close the Glasgow passport office and have all Scottish people go to a new super office in Newcastle. Its a bit like the descendants of David going to Bethlehem to be taxed. You can imagine all the pensioners from Lewis heading to Newcastle to get their ID cards. Even Glasgow is a non starter. It is just too far away for a lot of people.

Another thing that came out in the survey was that they intended to put the price of passports up substantially to encourage people to use the ID card instead. Most people would then lose the right to just hop on a plane and get out of Europe. I am not normally into conspiracy theories, but one of the main by products of the ID card scheme will be to reduce the mobility of the population. There are still many places you can go without a visa from the UK (Canada, US, Iceland possibly more) and its nice to know I can go there tommorrow if I wanted to.

The government have been very clever by getting people involved in a diffuse argument about civil liberties, while the civil libertarians have ignored the real issue which is the restriction of travel which the ID card scheme will bring in.

Oh, and if an ID card scheme is such a sure way to stop terrorism how come they don't have ID cards in the USA?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Silly, Silly JFK Theory

I recently saw a theory that the driver of the Limo shot JFK from the front by pointing the gun over his shoulder.

Whoever came up with that idea is clearly nuts:

1. Anyone who has tried hitting a target with a handgun knows that you won;t get far pointing it over your shoulder.

2. If it was a government plot they would have known that and given the gun to the bodyguard.

3. They wouldn't have used a gun in the first place they would have poisoned him and bribed the doctor to put it down as a heart attack.

I can't believe I even spent five minutes of my life reading the article.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Usenet, Usenet, Usenet

Why does Usenet attract so many fruitcakes?

Yesterday over in alt.musicmakers.trumpet someone posted their web site address. Someone else said the photo was not very good. I pointed out the photo was OK it was just the width and height that were wrong, making it look pixelated. I also posted a link to my site as I had just updated it.

This morning I found this in my inbox from the guy who had designed the web site with the photo on it:

I checked out your web site. At least I can spell and type.

The strange thing is I had not critices his site at all, just pointed out that the photo was intact which other people were claiming it was not.

I don'tt know why I bother with Usenet. It would have died a long time ago without Google Groups, so if Google goes for a stock market flotation they may have to pull out of legally difficult areas like usenet.

As for alt.musicmakers.trumpet, it was killed off a long time ago by "Mikey". Most people are over in Trumpet Herald or Trumpetmaster.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Unrealistic Customer Expectations

In my line of business (web hosting) many companies have encouraged customers to believe that setting up and running a web site is easy. People have been encouraged to start web sites when they do not have the technical knowledge to get them working and have been given the impression that they don't need to learn how the web works in order to get results. This leads to disappointment and people deciding that they should not have a web site. The overall effect has been to alienate a large number of possible customers from ever having a web site.

The same is true of charities. I was looking at a leaflet from an organisation called "Defeating Deafness" earlier today. Even the name of the charity raises an expectation that by giving them money deafness can be stopped or healed. Obviously it is more complex than that but given the amount of money thathas been donated to cancer appeals over the years and the general lack of progress towards a cure for cancer its easy to see why people would become dissolusioned. Similarly, People say there is no point in giving money to famine in africa because it just comes back.

Charities are to blame. They have raised the expectation that its possible to defeat world hunger, when maybe we have just have a moral obligation to keep feeding people when these disasters happen.

Who will be the first charity say they can't actually fix anything, just make things better in the mean time?

Friday, May 20, 2005


I thought it was time to start a new blog as I had not had time to maintain the old one.

So here it is: life, loves and Livingston - three compelling subjects for the price of one (and why not).