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).