Rant Archive

Need to Put my Time to Better Use

I have been considering this for a while and the more I think about it the more I get annoyed at myself for wasting time that is pretty limited at best. What is it that I refer to? …well it’s the interaction and checking that I seem to do far too regularly on Twitter and Facebook. And why do I do it? .. I think it’s because if I don’t then I might miss out on something that’s going on. And do I miss out on anything that’s going on? … not really.

Dave often asks me “What’s going on, on Twitter” and I often say “Nothing”, which kind of sums it up really. I follow 473 people on Twitter, and I’m followed by 1322 people. Really .. I don’t know all these people and if we met in the street I wouldn’t know who on earth they are. Why do 1322 people want to follow what randomness tweets that I post … are they really that interested in what I have to say? The people who I have actually spent any decent length of time with, am related to, or have had a real conversation with in person would be less than 200 people I reckon and these may be the people that I want to share stuff with. But stuff that I would share with staff would be different to what I would share with family, and different again to the stuff I would share with industry friends compared with total strangers, so in that sense I do at times feel the need to censor what I am tweeting anyway.

And then there is dear Facebook, which I kind of left alone for a couple of years and then decided to publish my tweets to Facebook recently. I have 207 friends on Facebook, but again would I stop in the street and talk to some of them .. the old work colleagues, the old school acquaintances… probably not as we don’t really have much in common anymore. You may think that you know me because you kind of have a channel into my life, but you don’t really know me.

There will be some real friends that I will miss the odd back and forth chat with on Twitter and Facebook, but as you are my real friends you have my mobile number to contact me, my IM to message me, or my email address… and you never know I may be back, but will hopefully have some more time to blog. But while I’m not there I hope you enjoy the random tweets from strangers where you pick up snippets of conversations, catch up with what people are having for lunch, and where people are checking in at on Foursquare .. but for a while I’m going to keep myself to myself and see what it was like before Twitter and Facebook again. :)

The SOPA Blackout

So the SOPA blackout has started.

Wikipedia now looks like this

Along with many other sites who have decided to blackout their sites in protest over the proposed SOPA ruling against piracy on the web.

We all know that Wiki is a great resource for information on the web and tends to rank #1 for a million+ searches but its not the only website out there with information on it, but a massive collection of all the worlds knowledge. Maybe if Wiki wasn’t around it would allow the in depth research and knowledge sites to actually get a look in. Personally I don’t think the blackout will really do much to sway the US government on the ruling and I’m sure if SOPA was passed they certainly wouldn’t blackout their websites for good.

Added : If you do actually want to access Wiki just turn off Javascript

The High Speed Rail (HS2) White Elephant

So today the government has given the go ahead to the controversial high speed rail link that will be built between London and Birmingham at a whopping cost of £33billion for the 90 mile route, equating to about £336million per mile. There are a few crazy things about this.

The first phase of the high speed rail link will not be completed until 2026, some 14 years away. The rail link has been pushed through as it is said that it will boost the economy. Has anyone in government done a proper study on what the economy will be like in 14 years time? Do they really think business people will be spending all this time commuting to London or hopping on a train for a meeting? Have they not considered what the digital landscape will be like in 14 years time and that we will all be so used to having virtual meetings, video conferencing, and working remotely from home, that there won’t be this demand on the rail services as there are today. It’s hard to imagine what the digital revolution will bring in the next few years never mind over a decade.

The second phase of the high speed rail line will be extensions to Manchester and Leeds but not until 2033, that’s 21 years away. Crikey, by then my oldest son would be 32 and will probably be married, with kids and well into his career.

The rail link has been pushed as the “most significant transport infrastructure project since motorways” and will cut the journey time from London to Birmingham by 33 minutes (a billion pounds for each minute) down to 49 minutes from 1 hour 22 minutes … well worth the massive expense wouldn’t you say! The crazy thing is that because of all the objections that have sprung up there is now going to be nearly a quarter of the line (22.5 miles) in tunnels, so it will be unpleasant, ear popping and dead phone signal fun all round.

Why on earth haven’t the government used the investment to increase the number of carriages on the existing rail network, done more to stop cable theft and scrap metal dealers to reduce the delays, and then invested the billions in high speed broadband networks, Wifi areas, better power sources for the increasing demand on electricity from all these devices we are glued to and got 4G going.

Pitch side Parenting

We’ve just spent a few hours at the local rugby club watching an Under-11 tournament with about 8 teams competing for a trophy. I thought it would be good for the kids to see some real junior matches as they have both signed up the rugby club and start training next week.

Some of the matches were really tough especially the first match we saw between Ripon and Harrogate. Now there has always been a rivallry between the two towns politically, but this has seeped down into many other things including it seems the junior rugby team too. I was quite surprised, and a little bit shocked by the level of hard tackles in this match of 10 year olds. There were plenty of injuries with some kids having to be carried off the pitch in tears. It certainly made Miles and Ethan think about what they are getting themselves into and Ethan, who is 9 started to get quite nervous about matches.

But what made me feel quite intimidated, and the kids did too as we stood at the touch line watching, was the pressure being put on the team players by the pitch side parents. Not only were the coaches shouting at the team to get across the tactics (which you expect) but the parents were all adding their thoughts too. Shouts of “break them in two”, “get in there”, “tackle hard” were all coming from both the dads and the mums. I can only think that this makes the junior team more fired up and in turn more agressive to the point where the ref had to give both teams a calm down talk as it was getting out of hand.

Of course you want your kids team to win but I just don’t think they need the sort of pressure that the parents bring to the touchline. Each parent is trying to coach their kid and you can see if something goes wrong they feel they have failed. Do matches really need to be this competitive at such a young age, or should it be more about learning the skills and rules rather than injuring the opposition.

I did wonder if there is a different level of coaching in schools as there is as part of a local team. Personally I would prefer my kids to enjoy their sport, but as a priority be fit and well to study at school the following week, whereas perhaps club teams are just all about the win and aren’t thinking about the education side of things which is a top priority at that age. Lets hope that all the kids that took a knock today are all ok and that there were no serious injuries.

Data Protection Drives Me Crazy!

This is only going to be a short post, but it totally drives me CRAZY that companies that you have services from like mobile phones, bank cards, or insurance always want to speak to the “account holder”. What utter nonsense … especially when I am named person either on the phone contract, the bank card or the car insurance. So if I ring up to make a change on something or ask advice, they confirm who I am but then want to speak to the “account holder” which on the majority of things its Dave. (Not sure why its just the way things were set up). So what would happen if I just put any male on the phone who might know Dave’s date of birth .. would they accept that as being speaking to the “account holder”. It’s utterly stupid and I suppose if Dave just rings up to change something that may affect me he just gets total authority to do it, so even as a married couple I don’t have any rights over the services that we both use.

The purpose of this post is to vent the frustration I have endured this evening trying to get my Blackberry Internet Services username from Orange that I have no clue what it is as it was set up about 18 months ago, but oh no they need to speak to the “account holder”. Ridiculous!