Friday, October 24, 2008

JP's World at One - Taking the Michael

Today I'm going to break with my recently developed tradition of referring to articles from the BBC News Page.  I'm not even going to talk about trains.

 

I had to do a demonstration for a customer first thing this morning, which didn't start quite as well as one would have hoped for.  I felt that the only thing I was demonstrating successfully was Murphy's Law, when one of the Windows computers decided that it was a good time to lock up, and other various minor problems all occurred just as the customer arrived.  You might have said "it was one of Those Days".

 

Someone evidently has a sense of humour though.  Whilst I was getting the show back on the road I logged in to my email.  Those of you who use Gmail might know that sometimes a 'Quote of the Day' appears at the top of the inbox, and starting me in the face was "If at first you don't succeed then maybe failure is more your style - Quentin Crisp."  Talk about Taking The Michael.

 

Fortunately failure is not my style and if I were to log in to my email again now I feel that "All's well that ends well" would be an appropriate thing to see at the top of my message list.

 

 

Who is Quentin Crisp, anyway?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

JP's World At One - Speed Cameras In Swindon

It's lunchtime, and from my current base in Amsterdam I like to keep an eye on the world through the lens of the BBC News page.  It's gone one o'clock as I write this, and it's probably not one o'clock as you read this, but I hope you'll forgive me and allow for a bit of Artistic License with the title.

 

You would have thought that I had far more interesting things to talk about in Amsterdam than what's happening in Swindon, and - fortunately - you'd be right.  I do.  But I haven't yet had time to perfect my writings, so you'll have to wait for JP's take on the Dutch capital.  In the meantime, I can't resist passing comment on this BBC News Article.

 

Specifically, I want to draw your attention to the quote by Labour councillor Derique Montaut, who apparently opposed the decision.

 

"I think speed cameras locally, nationally and internationally, have shown that they're one measure - one of many measures - that can be used to regulate speed," he said.

"It hasn't always been popular, but it's proved, and shown, to have saved lives."

 

The rationale behind the decision is that the death toll is rising and that speed is not always a factor in road accidents.  To me, it would seem fair enough to put money in to other safety initiatives instead.  Besides, even if you are set on controlling speed what would be wrong with trialling one of the other "many measures that can be used to regulate speed?"

 

Finally what's the difference between proving something and showing something in this case?

 

That is all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

one word weather with JP Mandela

Cloudy.

 

 

 

 

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This is for Gareth's benefit.  I couldn't resist, but I really must get to work now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

just a stranger on the bus

I read this BBC News article with some interest.

Obviously I don't agree with what the advertisement says, but I think that anything which prompts people to consider God can only be a good thing. That said, I did smile at Steven Green's comment:

"Bendy-buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large."

In this case I have to say that the advert makes some very misleading claims. To claim that 'God probably doesn't exist' implies that the possible existence of God can be quantified in some meaningful way. Let's face it, although the writer of the advert is entitled to claim that they don't think God exists they cannot prove anything.

Secondly, I would like to question the implication that not believing in God will stop you from worrying and ensure that you enjoy life. What rubbish.

It will be interesting to see if the usual 'don't preach at me brigade' object to these adverts in the same way as they object to Christian advertising, but I won't hold my breath

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Double Dutch

I have taken to using Google Chrome as my preferred web-browser, and I rather like it.  It's got a clean, clear interface and I find it quite intuitive.  Admittedly I felt a tinge of sadness when I decided to uninstall Firefox but I didn't have any use for three browsers.  I don't really like having more than one web browser, actually, but like it or lump it there are still one or two sites which are too archaic to support anything other than Internet Explorer.

 

Anyway, despite all the things I like about it, I have now inadvertently discovered something which annoys me.  Maybe I've missed something here, but the fact that I'm in Holland does not suddenly mean that ik spreek Nederlands and always wish to search google.nl.

 

Hello from Amsterdam, by the way.

Friday, October 03, 2008

hoping for the final countdown

In recent weeks my Facebook Mini-Feed has been increasingly populated by countdowns for one thing or another.

Invariably when I log in I learn that someone is one day closer to their wedding than they were when I logged in yesterday, or that someone else is 9 hours closer to their loved one than they were when I checked on my way in to work, 9 hours earlier.

Maybe this sudden trend has been encouraged by the wet summer, or a new feeling of Autumn Blues, but nevertheless some people need to get out more.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

variations on a theme

If you've been keeping up with my new found blogging pace recently, you will have known that the last three posts on Tuesday centred around my experience with a jobsworth Revenue Inspector and the hour and a half I had in Swindon thanks to his mean mindedness and lack of any reasonable human judgement. Not that I'm bitter, or anything.

Anyway, whilst I was on the train home today my quiet reading* was rudely interrupted by a gaggle of yobs** who boarded the train. They were shouting at each other up and down the carriage, swearing, banging on the windows and generally acting as though it was some kind of mobile zoo.

Unsurprisingly, when the conductor made his way in to the carriage he discovered that most of them were travelling without a valid ticket. I watched in anticipation hoping that he would throw the book at them and was disappointed when the mild confrontation with the first group only led to them being thrown off the train at the next stop with no further punishment. I'm presuming that they got back on further up the train, or failing that wreaked havoc on the following service.

At the other end of the carriage, the second group refused to alight. As they fled in to the next carriage the conductor came back through, threatening to ring the police. He did just that but I then overheard him telling the man serving refreshments that they weren't going to do anything about it.

Brilliant. I get treated like a criminal for asking politely if I could remain on a fairly empty train whilst the apes I saw today enjoyed free travel. Paid for, presumably, by the Penalty Fares some of you have collected due to lack of provision for buying a ticket, or the obscene rise in prices which happens periodically.



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*thelondonpaper. What else?

**One could presumably use the term 'hoodie' here but there were no actual hoods in sight.