Speaking of the dead…

Posted By on May 17, 2017

They say you should only speak good of the dead. He’s dead. Good.

Hard to watch…

Posted By on May 6, 2017

I haven’t posted in a while, due to it being very hard to read, but it looks like my eyes are finally clearing up.

Last night’s WCPW show was good right up to the end which was…disappointing. The group I watched with ended the evening seriously discussing whether to cancel our Whatculture Extra subscriptions and turned it into an overnight on video games.

It was fine up until the last match, where Martin Kirby received a (worked or real) concussion, and his opponent proceeded to attack his head repeatedly. It was not fun to watch. The crowd on site wanted the match stopped. We turned off. Twitter and Reddit blew up afterwards.

You see, whether it was storyline or real, the WCPW crowd is smarky, and what they showed was not taken as a heel beating an injured face, it was taken as a wrestler failing to know how to work a good match with an incapable opponent, or show the judgement to end it quickly.

Exhibit A: How to have the best match of all time with an opponent who is beyond concussed. Hell in a Cell ’98 after Foley’s second fall. Note the lack of shots to the head, the Undertaker taking time over moves to let Foley recover after the drop through the cage, and the fact the crowd are still completely into it.

Exhibit B: How to end things fast on an incapable opponent? Jeff Hardy vs. Sting at Victory Road. Was that a bad match? Yes, but the difference between Victory Road and this is that in this case the fact one participant could not continue was bloody obvious and the crowd wanted it ended.

Otherways to end it fast include getting a submission hold on the injured man, grabbing his hand and tapping with it, or tapping with your own hand where the audience can see it is you but not the ref (Bad guys cheat. Who knew?), allowing a countout (no title, but no further damage to the opponent), punching the ref, outside interference, and a humiliation pin (foot on chest etc.). He chose “belt an injured man in the head repeatedly”.  He  got heat but as far as our group goes, it is what is called X-pac heat. We don’t want to see him win. We don’t want to see him lose. We don’t want to see him at all.

And whether real or storyline, seriously, there’s something from my TV days that applies here.

If you don’t show what people want to watch, they will turn off.


Posted By on September 12, 2016

This is the first time I’ve been able to really get back to PC work, using a lot of assistive technology – a posh way for saying screenreader and Viavoice.

The eye? It’s not good. I have a plastic cornea bandage in the worst eye, and over the last couple of weeks things have finally stabilised enough for me to get sleep. By the time I wrote my last post I was on under an hour a night’s sleep, so not feeling happy with the world or me.

I’ve had to go private, as the NHS sat on things since June, I was warned it would be months at the same time I was told the dressing had to be changed by medical staff every three weeks… and I finally got my NHS referral after I’d already had the private consultation which was on the last day the dressing could be changed. It costs but seriously: running up credit bills against losing my sight? I think any one would make the same choice.

My computing time is limited and will be for the next four months. If I am lucky, treatment will not need surgery and they can fix the other eye the same way. If not, then really I don’t want to think about it.

The prototype is completely stalled. I did look for Venture Capital to fund a coder to finish the job. Oh boy. I got little response when I submitted it myself, having a chat that seemed promising only to be asked if they could talk to “the real coder” and didn’t believe me when I’d told them I had built it. I did have one ask to view the algorhythm for the AI component, and then back out when I asked them to sign an NDA first (guess what they would have done if they’d seen it – and you get no points for “hire their own coder and cut me out of my own project”). Having heard some of them had women issues I even submitted it under another name: “Les”. Good ol’ Les. Well ‘Les’ certainly got a lot more callbacks, apparently from people who didn’t realise Leslie was also a woman’s name. On the other hand, at least it makes it easy to spot the people I never want to work with.  So, anyone interested in a full flexible, scalable, ad system that can take sites of any size and doesn’t require intrusive person details, let me know. 

And finally David Cameron just quit. As an MP.

Life and everything

Posted By on July 22, 2016

Well, I have SQLite working and the prototype is now running entirely off it. Billing and credit allocation is built and ready to be wired in. There’s zero validation of course, but then its still in alpha for the database and I want to be able to update things quickly.

My computing time is strictly limited due to an eye injury. There’s an extremely good hospital looking into it, but it is going to take the next three months before they know if surgery is needed. Meanwhile I get very little sleep.

And Suicide Squd is out. The problem is that I don’t want to take time away from the Labour leadership election to see it. With British politics in its current state, I suspect the Joker’s bodycount will have nothing on the bloodbath May just inflicted on the Cabinet.

PM without mandate?

Posted By on July 11, 2016

So Leadsom has apparently left the leadership race. It is somewhat unexpected after she fought so hard for Brexit and then to be the alternate candidate to May. However the person who should be really worried is Theresa May, as Leadsom quitting takes away May’ mandate to govern.

This was why May originally rejected the idea of a coronation. Now, no matter what she does, there will be doubts over her position and the party’s suitability to govern since it couldn’t even run a leadership election.

A Prime Minister gains their mandate in two ways:
1) From their party by victory in a leadership contest
2) From the people by victory in a General Election

May has said she will not call the second, and now has no chance of the first as she is running unopposed.

There has already been one PM in living memory in this position: his name was Gordon Brown. He didn’t see out a full term.

It is not enough for democracy to be done, it must be seen to be done. A vote with only one candidate is no vote at all, and we’ve already seen that it causes voter revolts at the ballot box. On my own behalf, if we end up with a second coronated PM, whichever party I vote for in 2020 it will not be the one responsible.

And finally, I’m not the only person to think a coronated PM has no mandate:
“…whenever Gordon Brown chooses to call a general election, we will be ready for him. He has no democratic mandate.”
Teresa May, Conservative Home, August 2007

You know, I agree with her.

Chilcot – oh boy…

Posted By on July 6, 2016

Chilcot is damning, not for the report itself, but for what the sources it contains reveals. The emails in particular stand out. Cameron seems to be trying to whitewash it, saying MPs must take responsibility and that Chilcot is not accusing Blair of misleading the house. I suspect that despite the contents of Chilcot’s report on Blair, Westminster may try to close ranks to protect him from consequences. That would be a mistake, with faith in government currently so shaken.

First because it is not enough for justice to be done, it must be seen to be done.

And second because the only way to make Chilcot’s request that “Care must be taken” impact on future government is to make the consequences of being the person that breaches it severe enough that no future government would ever consider it.

The mood of the country is for change. Trying to revert to coverups and whitewashes will produce a backlash. What is imperative now is that there is a fair and equitable response, whether by impeachment (Galloway) or the House (Corbyn) or the Hague (the families of the victims), and that what happens after that is justice and not vengeance.

Vengeance eventually makes people regret and think “I’ll never do that again”
Justice should always remain, now and always, “He will never do that again.”

I find myself curious though: of the 244 labour supporters who voted in favour of the war, how many still sit in the house. Could it be 172? Details here.

The Mirror has a check your MP vote here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-mp-vote-iraq-war-8355179

Reading between the Lines

Posted By on July 5, 2016

It begins to seem as though “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” needs to add a fourth category: the mass media.

The one thing that has really come out of this current political mess (apart from popcorn entertainment) is just how carefully you have to read articles in the mainstream media. It is not just reading between the lines, it is having to track down multiple sources and read between the lines on all of them to get something approaching the truth.

The labour issues were obvious and rather unsubtle. First it was with “Trade Unions not supporting Corbin” – oh wait, they are (Union News). “500 labour councillors sign letter opposing Corbyn” – followed by several of them demanding to know why their names were on it (Buzzfeed). “The membership not supporting him” – oh wait, 60,000 new members signed up this week to support him (Independant). “Corbyn is unelectable” – except for every by-election and the mayor of London…(Guardian)

The level of bias is fascinating. The Conservative reporting isn’t much better, but at least it is a little less obvious. Regarding Leadsom:

“…She alienated officials by continually complaining about poor drafting.” The National
Note, the sentence says the problem was her complaining about poor drafting. It doesn’t say that there wasn’t poor drafting. Now, I don’t know about you but, as a Project Manager, I complain about poor drafting. It slows the entire thing down and you have to start the project again or do it yourself.

Also, note this comes from a Treasury Official and if you know how well Leadsom didn’t get on with Osborne (Independent), that may imply bias. Likewise when the Senior Cabinet was virtually all Remain, it is not a surprise to find one slating a Leave candidate for PM – particularly when it is the leading Leave candidate and main threat to their choice.

Then there’s the issue of whether you can read the article at all. Four days ago an article critical of Teresa May appeared in the Telegraph online, and then vanished. It was still linked to from Google, but 404’s. It then vanished from the wayback machine but fortunately it is still in the googlecache. For the curious, Google “Theresa May self-promoter” and hit the cached version by using the green downward pointing triangle – or just visit one of the many sites mentioning this. What we don’t know is who pulled it: claims of pressure from May’s team are unproven and yet they are appearing everywhere with no hard evidence. The Press Gazette has details.(pressgazette.co.uk)

What I’d give for an honest unbiased news site. Instead I am left trawling five or six sources to get as much truth as possible instead of the narrative they want to sell me. It is a total waste of time, but completely necessary to remain informed.

Unexpected coding delays…

Posted By on July 4, 2016

Because that is what happens when you get an unexpected corneal abrasion.

I’m typing one-eyed because the other one is seeing rainbows and blurs at the moment, and by the time my vision clears, every half an hour, it is time to dump something else into my eye.  Hurts like hell.

On the other hand, yellow eye dye is good for accidentally terrifying small children on the way back from hospital.


(And for those who like gore, this is all to stop the eyelid ripping the top off the abrasion on the eyeball every time I blink. Sleeping is fun… )

Out of Alpha…

Posted By on June 29, 2016

Well, it seems the prototype went down well. As in, “where’s the beta?” well. Come on guys, I’ve been building for a week. Even I can’t do an entire ad network from back-of-envelop to beta in that time. Be glad you have a working alpha – especially since building the beta means I’m about to break it completely…

I’ve pushed the flatfile to its limits, as the new cron needs to update it every fifteen minutes for the next set of upgrades. It’s great for storing and retreiving data, but a heavy server load for frequent, sizeable, updates.

So I now have access to SQLite on the server, and I’ll be updating into beta.

Is it bad that my coding music right now is Glados?

“Now these points of data make a beautiful line,
and we’re out of beta, we’re releasing on time…”
(I wish)

The Referendum and Educated Voters

Posted By on June 24, 2016

Since I was asked, what I was doing during the Referendum? I believe in an educated electorate, and I was upholding my principles.

This meant running a site that actually called both sides out on their rubbish and scaremongering.

For Leave – focusing on Immigration when there are a whole host of other issues, and getting surprised you were called racist? Really? And for Remain, when people have raised reasonable issues like the tampon tax, VAT Place of Supply, Animal welfare, overdevelopment, no affordable housing being built… ignoring all these and insisting they could only object because of racism? Insulting people and refusing to debate issues never gets them round to your point of view.

As for young voters, most of them seemed to be speaking from the same playbook taught in schools or colleges. Once it got beyond immigration and the claim of preserving peace (and a few didn’t know there had been a Cold War for heaven’s sake) they were lost. Raise the issues I mentioned above that Remain was ignoring and, well, they didn’t only not know about them, but most were horrified.

No one on Twitter seemed to realise that no one had a problem with EFTA – the European Free Trade Association – or that the EC and EFTA were not the same things as the EU, and that Leave was objecting when integration went beyond trade.

So I answered a few of those questions, with links and neutral cites. £15 turned into three solid days of Q/A.
  • 78,730 confirmed unique visitors  
  • 643 direct click outs    
  • 590 sign-ups to ask more questions    
And if it meant a few electors were persuaded one way or another, or simply persuaded to vote, then it was worth it. Now I need sleep.

And as for Twitter now, Leave seems to be asleep or celebrating, and Remain is not putting their best foot forward:

Saying that because they lost the referendum, “it was never a good idea to hold one.”
Is it better to keep over half the country run by overseas officials they can’t change and do not want to represent them?

“This is what you reap for putting a complex, nuanced, economically critical decision in the hands of cretins with a yes/no vote.” or perhaps the inevitable result of months of intelligent people being ignored over every concern raised, by the same EU officials who think someone’s email address tells you what country they live in.

“I’m saddened to live in a country that favours bigotry and isolationism to co-operation and prosperity” And not ashamed, for many years that you lived in a country that favoured European majority-white immigrants over Indian, African, and others?

“Just heard this referendum is NOT legally binding and parliament don’t have to act on it!” And would you be celebrating that if your side had won?

I am assuming that this is the first shock of the result (it certainly had me reeling), but I am sincerely hoping that common sense and manners will eventually prevail. Right now we need pressure on Cameron to act and act sensibly – just remember one of the more cheerful comments I’ve read from Lexit.

“In 2016 we just got rid of one set of conservative politicians. In 2020 we can get rid of the rest.”

and on a parting note from a B5 fan:

“Until now I felt like Londo Mollari: ‘My shoes are too tight and I have forgotten how to dance’. This morning I kicked them off.'”