Tuesday, 30 November 2010

PC stuff

I won't bore you with the details, but I've been having more computer problems. So I've decided it's time to really roll my sleeves up, and sort it out.

Previously, when I've had problems with my C drive, I'd just lump everything over to my other, D, drive and do a clean install.

This, of course has led to a very messy D drive.

so, I've had to try to get hold of some DVD burning software, and now I'm copying all my important files into logically arranged folders ready to burn. Once that's done, I can just totally wipe both disks, and make a fresh start.

I want to make it a sort of dual boot thing. Install XP onto C, and some variant of Linux onto D.

Alternatively, I could partition the C drive and put both systems on there, keeping D as a data disk.

It's going to be a long job however I do it.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Bigger than the USA, but smaller than India

What am I talking about?

Well first of all, I'm talking about population rather than geographical area. The thing I'm talking about would fit comfortably in a large building. Sort of.

I stumbled upon this thing.


What it does is it takes websites, has a look at the amount of daily hits they get, and ranks them against the populations of countries. It also breaks down those hits into what countries the hits come from.

So it does have some relevence to this blog's raison d'etre I reckon.

What's bigger than the USA but smaller than India?

Google.com of course!

I suppose if you add google.co.uk, google.fr, google.nl, google.co.in, and the rest it's probably bigger than the whole damn world put together.

Not found anything bigger. Facebook, Youtube, Wikipedia. They each get entire nations visiting them each day, but not as many as google.

Monday, 22 November 2010

On the other hand...


And from there to http://anagramtimes.blogs.wordsmith.org/  which I have added to my blogroll.

Rubbish blogs!

Walk into any bookshop, and you'll find amazing, beautiful, thought provoking, poetic writing. You'll also find horrible derivative throwaway tat.
Not saying your average Mills and Boon has no merit, or place. Not everyone wants to have to work hard when they're reading.

So I suppose it's also true of the blogosphere. Some people will put a huge amount of work and research into what they post. Others will have a different rationĂ¡le.

So here's my own contribution! - A totally unoriginal idea that has been done a hundred times before. Rubbish or what?

Just google "crap blogs" or similar, (I typed crap logs by mistake and got something different) and you'll find millions of results.


This blogger isn't just doing a post about them. S/he is doing an entire blog about them. And has 37 followers, which is 37 times as many as me. Clearly hit the blog big time.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that I should quickly encounter the same thing Sherlock distains. Third entry down is about Freebie-Whore blogs, which is exactly what prompted me to do this post in the first place.
There is increasingly a number of blogs dedicated to promoting dreadful products by so-called 'Housewives' or 'Home-makers'. In exchange for a free sample, these freebie-whores inform their sycophantic audience how wonderful this product is.
 And here's one of them!


Law Schools, Healthy pillows and digital photo frames are all eulogised. Thrill to the wonder that is an extended warrantee on a minivan! Bask in the golden glow of having been told about the latest acne treatment! And just think back to how boring your life was before you heard about granite tile counter tops!

I was going to post to tell her how much pleasure I got from hearing about the latest travel deals from Crash and Die airlines, but sadly, she has a strict comment moderation system in place.

I can't imagine why.

[Next Blog»].....

And would you believe it? The very next blog turns out to be...


This person has been  motivated to blog 168 times so far this year. I wonder if they'll break 200 posts for 2010? It's just a post a day, even if they spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day doing something less sad, like masturbating or collecting snot.

We're 2/3 of the way into November, and can be assured that our lives will be made richer if only we take a look at this person's prom dresses, Epsom printers, HTPC Keyboards, Medicare plans, Cellphones and.... Acne treatment again.  Truly there's no better time to have an unsightly skin condition!

Once again, this person is moderating their comments. I can imagine the flood of gratitude they must recieve, and can only assume it's modesty that prevents them from sharing the joy they've brought into other people's lives.

[Next Blog»].....

Meh. Some fat person's search for her innter, thinner self. Last updated 12 months ago. She either gave up or starved to death.

[Next Blog»].....

Ah. More commercial bollocks.


This one even has a bloglist. Bet they're a barrel of laughs. Starofgigi felt compelled to tell the world about her love of cigars, slimming body wraps, country pine beds and... Yes! Acne treatment!

She describes herself as "God fearing person Blessed with a loving and supportive husband. Contented with the life I am blessed with. Loving , compassionate, respectful, Good nature, humorous, witty and honorable!".

She too is far too compassionate and good natured to allow people  to express their pleasure unmoderated.

See a pattern emerging here?

One more.

[Next Blog»].....

Another dead blog. A contented Christian housewife, but she ain't selling anything. She would just like me to know that she's grateful to most of all, to "a God who loved me enough to give His Son so that I might know Him." Fair enough.

So, this started off as a lighthearted blog post on account of some linkwhore I found on pressing my [Next Blog»]..... link.

60% of the 5 sites I looked at were just arse-gravy. The other 40% were less offensive, but pretty mediocre.

It was supposed to be funny, but I found myself losing the will to live.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

How do you make a Swiss roll?

I've just been doing a bit of flying.

I found Geneva airport on Google Earth, and then looked for a different airport in the area. The one I found was Turin airport, in Northern Italy.

That meant I had to fly over the alps. Fortunately, my little SR22 was well up to the task. It climbed slowly but steadily, and eventually was 20,000 feet above sea level, and well above the highest alpine peaks.

The highest point in Europe isn't in the Alps at all. It's Mount Elbrus, and it's in Eastern Europe, in the Caucasus range. Its' summit  is 18,510 feet above sea level. The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc. That's a mere 15,782 feet tall.

Either way, I'd have got over them. Unfortunately, after safely getting over the mountains, I lost control of my final approach, and crashed on the runway of Geneva airport. There were no survivors. Bummer.

One of the things I can't find on Google Earth is a particular mountain.

You see, I've been to Geneva airport in real life. When I was a teenager, I went on holiday with my school. I flew in a Hawker Siddeley Trident.

I was autistically obsessive about aeroplanes at the time, and it was the first time I'd flown. I loved every minute of it.

We landed at Geneva Airport, without the pilot losing control of the final approach, and killing everyone on board, and disembarked through underground tunnels topped by round terminals that are still there, 30 years later.

We stayed in a hotel in a place called Leysin (not Lausanne) and spent a lot of time at the local ice rink. Leysin is about 4,500 feet above sea level. I think it's a ski resort during the winter, but when we went it was summer, and there was no snow.

But we did get some snow. We went up a mountain, after a journey that involved a funicular railway, a chairlift, and a cable car. I don't know how high we were, but there was certainly deep, blindingly white snow. Sticking out of the snow were the posts of a fence, and I looked down over the other side of this fence to find myself looking at a sheer drop of what seemed like thousands of feet. My toes are curling even now, just thinking about it.

It's certainly the highest point on the the whole damn world that I've stood upon. Ben Nevis doesn't even come close.

But I don't know what the mountain is called, or where to look for it.

I suppose I could try to remember more details of this 30 year old journey. Look for a railway. Look for a cable car, etc. But for now, this particular mountain eludes me.


Well, I think I've found my lost mountain! I think it was a mountain called Plaine Morte (or at least it's associated glacier is called Plaine Morte) It's just under 10,000 feet above sea level. It has ski runs. It has a cable car terminal. It has a cafe. And it has some terrifying drops. I can't be certain, although the photos of the cafe look right. So I reckon that's the one.

Here's a picture of how it looks on Google Earth.

And here's a KMZ...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Damn the Whole World!

I've opened up a free account at WordPress. Unfortunately, thewholedamnworld was already taken. Possibly by me, while drunk. So I've gone for damnthewholeworld instead.


Feel free to take a look. I've done a post there.  The name suggests nihilism or at least pessimism, and as such is taking me towards something more overtly political, and I'm feeling both more politically motivated than usual, and at the same time more disillusioned than usual, it seems appropriate to do this, if I do anything at all.

Apologies to Pete and John, who have both taken the time to comment without my taking the time to respond to their comments.

Not got much to say right now, which is why I'm setting up another blog!

Actually, I'm interested in what it can do more than anything. If I like it I will  use it. If I don't, it will languish.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Riot Porn

One of the most entertaining things I ever attended with an amateur photography society was something called a slide matching competition.

The way it worked was thus: 3 different local photography groups met up in a room with three projectors and three screens. Each group had selected 100 slides, and in rotation a group would select and display a slide, after which the other two groups would have to find a slide from their own collection that was as close as possible to it. Much hilarity ensued and our group won. Hurrah!

Anyway, Mr Bliss, over at The Quiet Road has written an article about recent events at student demonstrations in London and Dublin, and how they were covered by the media.

He also included a picture.

And so, in the spirit of the slide matching competition that I enjoyed so much, I felt compelled to put it together with this image, culled from the BBC's coverage of the London demo.

What do you think? Do they match?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Quickest way to drive through 5 counties

Someone posted something somewhere. The something was a post asking what would be the quickest way to drive through 5 states.

He wondered if this would be where some of the big, square midwestern states border each other - 4 corners and one other if you will; or whether it would be quicker to go through some of the smaller North Eastern states.

My best bet was to go from Clayton, New Mexico, to Elkhart, Kansas, or something like. It worked out at about 85 miles. The New England States may have a geographically shorter version, but I think there'd be more traffic on the roads.

So a couple of assumptions have to be made.

Firstly, you have to drive along roads. Unless you're driving some kind of tank, a direct route would be impossible.

Secondly, the post specified the "Quickest" route, and that's not necessarily the shortest. Speed limits, urban (and by extension, traffic) density, and road quality all have to be taken into consideration.

So the Clayton - Elkhart route (with a tiny foray into Texas, and a slight diversion into Colorado) is what I've come up with.

But that's the good old U.S of A.

Here in Blighty, we have counties rather than states. But the same principle applies.

What would be the quickest way to drive through 5 counties?

I'm looking at Kent - East Sussex - West Sussex - Surrey - Greater London as one possible solution.

Merseyside - Lancashire - Greater Manchester - Derbyshire - Cheshire is another possibility.

But the favourite right now involves Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Or possibly Peterborough, which is a Unitary Authority. Does that mean it's a county? I may have to make an executive decision on this one at some point!

More later, when I've had time to get my piece of string out.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

new look

Something about how Blogger does things has changed, and I'm having a lot of problems with formatting using my existing template.

So I've made a few changes to allow what I've posted to be read. Not really happy with the look right now and will be making further alterations over the next few days. If you're one of the 1% of people reading this using a monitor width of 800 pixels or less, I apologise, but I'm going to be sticking with the more spacious format, regardless of whatever other changes I make.

Old old story

"As Owen thought of his child's future there sprung up within him a
feeling of hatred and fury against the majority of his fellow workmen.

THEY WERE THE ENEMY.  Those who not only quietly submitted like so
many cattle to the existing state of things, but defended it, and
opposed and ridiculed any suggestion to alter it.

THEY WERE THE REAL OPPRESSORS - the men who spoke of themselves as
`The likes of us,' who, having lived in poverty and degradation all
their lives considered that what had been good enough for them was
good enough for the children they had been the cause of bringing into

He hated and despised them because the calmly saw their children
condemned to hard labour and poverty for life, and deliberately
refused to make any effort to secure for them better conditions than
those they had themselves.

It was because they were indifferent to the fate of THEIR children
that he would be unable to secure a natural and human life for HIS.
It was their apathy or active opposition that made it impossible to
establish a better system of society under which those who did their
fair share of the world's work would be honoured and rewarded.
Instead of helping to do this, they abased themselves, and grovelled
before their oppressors, and compelled and taught their children to do
the same.  THEY were the people who were really responsible for the
continuance of the present system.

Owen laughed bitterly to himself.  What a very comical system it was.

Those who worked were looked upon with contempt, and subjected to
every possible indignity.  Nearly everything they produced was taken
away from them and enjoyed by the people who did nothing.  And then
the workers bowed down and grovelled before those who had robbed them
of the fruits of their labour and were childishly grateful to them for
leaving anything at all.

No wonder the rich despised them and looked upon them as dirt.  They
WERE despicable.  They WERE dirt.  They admitted it and gloried in it."

This was written in 1903, by Robert Tressell. From what I've been reading recently, it's clear that nothing has changed. For every tyrant or careerist politician, there are a million well meaning people who are sure that everything will be ok if only we vote for that nice Mr Xxxxxxxx.

The issues are different to some degree, at least here in the affluent West. And ultimately, I suppose, the motivations are different.

It's extremely rare for anyone in this country to starve. For now at least we have a safety net that ensures that the old and unemployed get at least a bare minimum. It's flawed, and is under attack, particularly at the moment, but things are better than they were a century ago, by far.

The increase in the standard of living is not because of capitalism. It's because of the massively increased supply of energy and raw materials. Capitalism has merely squandered much of the benefits on a mountain of shit. But as the limits to such fossil fueled growth near, who knows? How long will such a safety net survive?

But for now, we're doing fine, thank you very much, with our wide screen tellies and maxed out credit cards. Sure, we're concerned about the starving millions in Turkmenistan. If we give £2 a month that will make it all ok.

If the starving drudges of Tressell's book were prepared to defend the system, it should be no surprise that the well fed workers of today see no need for a revolution.
I suspect that by the time they do, it will be far too late.


Things have moved on a little overnight, but hardly at all. To me one side keeps on misrepresenting the other, despite that other's attempts to explain, clarify, add detail, provide alternatives.

It's like it's just too alien an idea for him to comprehend. I can understand this. When I first got involved in politics, I felt the same way. It's only that I got involved with a bunch of Trots, who's insistance upon a revolutionary transformation of society trumped all my reformist arguments that I don't feel the same way now.

We are immersed in the Big Bad System from the day that we're born. It's like a room with no windows. It takes a certain type of eye to see beyond it.