Sunday, 29 March 2009

HOW MUCH?!?!?!

They have surely got to be bleeding kidding? Eight Hundred sobs a month?!

I bought my first place, I will freely admit, for a shade under fifty grand close to fifteen years ago. I still live there. My mortgage is around HALF what these folks are demanding of new buyers. Where the hell is the "affordable" housing for first time buyers? No bloody wonder the housing market is stuck - no poor sod can afford these outrageous prices!

Here's your food for thought: The housing market directly fuels the rise and fall in the domestic economy. Reduce housing prices for first time buyers, and, so the thinking goes, you will help us out of the global recession by first prodding our own economy up the... ahem... parts... and into motion; this will in turn help us to earn more, and thus buy more, thus increasing the flow of money (and probably inflation, but that's another matter entirely), and again improving the domestic economy. With THAT sorted, maybe we can then get the world economy jump started with increases in global (free) trade.


To the folks who built, and are marketing, the place referred to in the photo above...: Wanna rethink that apparently profiteering-like 800 quid bill?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Ban clogs - they're hurting the trees!

I was perusing one of the many and varied forums I'm a member of today (it's a day off for me), and blundered into a discussion about someone purchasing a new satnav... the discussion meandered around a little, and then I caught this snippet regarding the way satnav units show the route to the driver of the car (van, truck, etc)...


What happens if/when the EU says no front seat screen can show ANY moving picture while underway?

My reply was somewhat sarcastic - you were expecting maybe a sensible reply? This is me, remember!

Hopefully the same thing as happened to the Dodo

Frankly, the way Brussels is, I can see those morons trying to introduce a no moving parts ruling as well - hence no steering wheel, no pedals, no speedo, tacho, etc etc etc... then they'll ban shoes as harmful to the environment due to the processes involved in manufacturing them, demand we all move to clogs, and then ban those too as harmful to trees

Kinda makes you wonder why the hell you got up in the morning, eh?

Seriously though, I'd imagine that a "no moving pictures in the front" ruling would require the mandatory use of versions of the "safety screen" while in motion.

Got me thinking for a few moments thereafter, too. What WOULD we satnav users accept in a safety screen? Would we require enhanced audio confirmations, speedier responses from the satnav units to compensate for the loss of the visual confirmation content of the screen, and so on?

More to the point, would we allow Brussels to rule from the stupid again, like so many times before in this country of ours?

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

What on Earth?!

OK... I'm driving my bus, and I spot this in a tree. No sound came from it, it wasn't moving, and I was blown if I know what it was. I had passengers on board, so, still wondering what the damn thing was, I kept on driving. Each time I passed it, I could not figure out what the hell it was; either it was too dark, or the sun was in my eyes, or I was concentrating on not being run off the road by some dimwit in a Fiat Panda, or running said dimwit off the road instead...

Anyhow, it's been there three days now...

Anyway, today, for the first time, I had no passengers, so was able to briefly stop the bus, and take the admittedly grainy photo (digital zoom on the measly 1.3 megapixel phone camera. Sorry)...

No-one has moved it...

No one has apparently called the RSPCA (or if they did, they arrived while I was elsewhere)...

No-one thought it was a big cat, and called the London Fire Brigade to get it down...

Any ideas?


Took me those two complete shifts to figure it out.

There are a number of possible options. The more printable ones are shown below...

  • Someone got tired of their pet, and threw it into the tree, where it's remained.
  • It's a University/School mascot that got kidnapped and stuffed in the tree
  • It's someone finally getting revenge on the local yahoos who cause mayhem in the area
  • OR, and this is more likely, it's someone having a laugh, by stuffing an oversized stuffed Toy Gorilla into the tree.


Reasons I’ll not miss the day shift...

Come the weekend, I'm changing rotas. Out goes three completely mixed up shift patterns (Earlies, Mids, Lates, the three of which seeming to transpose at a whim, resulting in messed up sleep patterns, and the associated troubles that causes), in comes me on permenant Nights again (last time was when I was on the minicabs). So, in no particular order... here are a few reasons I’ll not miss the day shift...

  • The way the rota's been set up - it should be Earlies - Mids - Lates - Mids - Earlies, etc.... In close to six years I've been on the various day rotas, It's never worked out that way, and my sleeping cycle has regularly become completely fouled up to hell and back as a result...
  • Chucking out time at the schools, and the bedlam when they board the bus (can you say "quart into a pint pot"?)
  • Evening rush hour, because those mad women in their Chelsea tractors are still shifting all those little Johnnies and Janice’s home from detention, by way of the railway station to collect Dad, who has to sign the report card tonight...
  • Courier bikers and courier cyclists (take yer pick as to which is more dangerous)
  • Commuter cyclists ("highway code? What's that?!")
  • People standing on the platform of my single-decker, blocking my view to the kerb and the left in general.
  • People not waiting until it's clear to get on - there's one set of doors, and folk have to get off, before you get on - result? Mayhem. Won't miss that in the least.
  • Last, but by no means least, buggy bitches. These are the - and I use the word advisedly - ladies who refuse to fold their buggies when the bus is full before they try to shoehorn themselves and their buggies onto the bus, ignoring the driver as "you don't know nuffin', jus' drive de bus" then sucking their teeth at you, when you have the temerity to tell them "I told you so - it won't fit!" - I positively will not miss those arrogant plasticine-for-brains idiots at all - most especially because in the vast majority of cases, these women aren't shifting a baby in the buggy. Oh, no. They're more creative than that. It's their blasted shopping!!!

Monday, 16 March 2009

It's probably advertising...

Recently, there's been something of a minor religious advertising war, with, in the blue corner, Christianity, and in the red corner, a somewhat organised conglomeration (Oops! almost called it a congregation!) of atheists...

The ding dong war of words began with a poster advertisement, prominently placed on a number of buses around the country, proclaiming that "there's probably no god, so stop worrying," ect.

Evangelical Christian groups were horrified, outraged, and a few probably wanted a crusade to remove the adverts.

Probably better for all concerned, more wordy-wise (and frankly wiser all round) heads appear to have prevailed in the response... vis the latest poster, photographed on a bus today... which takes the Atheists text, and adds "And pray you're not wrong" on the end!

Very neatly (and drolly) done, folks :)

Friday, 13 March 2009

The next go-kart is due in four years!

So... There I am, doing an eleven and a half hour shift (for those in the game, it was 1/1/break/1, all on different buses!) in my exceedingly well-deserved lunch break (I didn't throttle, mutilate, tear to shreds, reduce to tears, spindle, mangle, discombobulate or even yell at anyone this morning, honest Guv!) and decide, the crew room being somewhat smelly (the pong from last week's Chinese / Curry / West Indian / whatever *still* hanging in the air), to grab a bit of fresh air. As I left the room to walk over to the newsagent to get a copy of the local rag, I almost walked through a very personable young lady - oops! We both anchor up, me starting to apologise for almost bouncing her into next week when, smiling, she says "Ah. You're on the buses, not the go-carts, aren't you?" (I should mention that there's a go-kart track right behind the crew room)...

My reply? Right out of my excessively twisted and warped sense of humour...

"Yeah, sorry, love, I'm on the Buses, and the next go-kart is due in four years!"

Thankfully, she also had a sense of humour, and laughed.

Y'know.... One of these days my sense of humour is gonna get me right into the smelly stuff!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Spotted in a local petrol station near where I live today...

My eyes caught sight of it, and screamed in pain. My brain nearly shut down in shock at its' ugliness. Birds avoided dropping their bombs on it, probably in fear of acid bounce. Even the rain seemed to stay off it, as I didn't see any steam coming from the bodywork. I even had to perform a hot reset on my phone after taking the photo, as the phone then locked up solid!

I didn't even catch WHAT it was, I only caught that it was pug ugly, and in hot pink. To misquote Golem... "It hurts, put it back!"

About the only thing going for it, is that in that damn colour, my other half'd want to learn to drive in it!

Monday, 2 March 2009

TomTom score another own goal...

My disgust at TomTom's board of directors got ramped up another step today, while I was catching up with the events of the Mobile World Congress event, which was held in Barcelona over the 16th to the 19th of February.

Hells bells, in their efforts to avoid answering questions that will aid potentially loyal customers into staying with TomTom products, their marketing director ducked away from the guys from Pocket GPS World when they tried to talk to them about TT7 for PDA/PPC, citing "drinks with friends", a rather pitiful and typical "I don't wanna talk to you" move.

I'll remind you all that following the last retail release of TomTom for PDA/PPC, version 6, the only v7 release has been available in Germany only, and on ONE specific model of HTC cellular phone. Again, the last retail version was version 6, and that was nigh-on THREE YEARS ago. In all that time, there have been no map updates for v6 PPC/PDA users, and no commitment to release any form of upgrade to the next version, or even a release of the next version come to that.

Now, there have been rumours that TomTom might - emphasis MIGHT - be looking at releasing a retail PPC/PDA TTv7 (the current version of their Personal Navigation Device firmware (PND) is version 8.302, I should point out), but given their shoddy treatment of PDA/PPC users over the last couple of years, I wouldn't hold your breath.

Frankly, the above shows TTs entire attitude to the core of loyal customers that helped them get to where they are today (the PDA/PPC users), before they'd even sold their first stand-alone Personal Navigation Device (PND). Frankly, I think that kind of attitude on the part of TT really sucks, and deserves to be treated with the contempt it deserves, by moving ones loyalty (and hard earned money) to another manufacturer.

Frankly, for a stand-alone SatNav product that does not require an active internet connection in order to function, I'd look at CoPilot, or something similar; the latest release of CP can handle OV2 POI files, which is a definite plus if you use Point Of Interest files on your current TT SatNav.

So. In summary, Google and the like march on with the hot-downloadable GoogleMaps (and similar) free navigation tools, and the other stand alone manufacturers are supporting PDA/PPC users.

Can one say TomTom scores an own goal?

One can.

Ptptptptptptptptptptpt to TomTom, then