Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ed Balls - deficit denier and now personal debt denier

Guido has the scoop on this odious individual's attempts to deny liability for personal debts. Not as dramatic as the debts he and his erstwhile boss Gordon "deficit denier" Brown have left the country with, but it is an interesting insight into the delusions of this socialist fantasist.

عيناك خالد الشيخ

خالد الشيخ (Khaled El Sheikh)

- I've been listening to Khaled al-Sheikh's music for about 20 years. I'm posting this because of what is happening just now in Bahrein and various other countries in the Middle East.

الحزن لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Problems with television cable connections - solved

A couple of months ago I had problems getting a decent picture on one of my televisions, the one located in my living-room. The television is a pretty new set (less than 2 years old) and is an LCD unit from a 'good' maker; it had worked well in another location, but I seemed to have trouble getting a reliable, decent-quality picture. The unit I had there before (a conventional, but now obsolete CRT unit) had given a perfectly good picture. I traced that to a defective TV-antenna socket in an intermediate VCR/DVD-player, which was little used, but needed to be powered-on to feed the signal to the TV. I dumped the VCR/DVD player, as I had another DVD player in reserve (and rarely watch video-cassettes any more). In addition I replaced the SCART cable from the DVR unit in that room with an HDMI cable to connect to the TV, so that only the DVD player is connected to the TV using a SCART cable. Perfect, stable picture in all modes.

Now in another room, my dining-room/kitchen, I have another LCD TV (less than a year old, also of a 'good' make), to replace an equally-obsolete CRT unit. I replaced all my televisions last year with LCD units to prepare for digital switch-over in this area (which I wrote about some months ago). Prior to my departure to Spain for a few weeks last November the new television performed well, but ever since I returned home it has been performing poorly on an intermittent basis. I had assumed it was a defective unit that needed replacing (preferably under the guarantee), but I had been too lethargic to take definite action as it did perform OK some of the time. In the last week, however, it had begun to 'play up' more and more and earlier this evening the picture was breaking up persistently, so even I was spurred into action! Yesterday I went so far as to do research on-line on TVs I could replace it with. In the interim, this afternoon I thought I would replace it temporarily with another very new LCD unit from one of the bedrooms, which I brought through ready to do the switch. Of course I had to move the stand the TV sits on and, lo and behold, the picture became perfect. I think the problem was a loose SCART cable and the general jumble of wires behind the stand (for various items of equipment) causing interference. I think I may have cracked the problem! I'm also releived to know that the television itself is probably functioning perfectly normally. I won't 'count my chickens' too soon, however - assuming it's working well, consistently, over the next few days then I think it safe to assume the problem is solved.

Moral - the importance of ensuring cabling (even shielded SCART and HDMI cables) are fully connected and don't overlap too much with power cables.

Monday, 14 February 2011

At Walmart, the Customer Really Is Always Right

I make no apology for lifting the title for this article and this link from the kenneth in the (212) blog. Four Walmart employees have been 'let go' for having disarmed an armed robber.

I have never before thought Walmart (or its Uk subsidiary Asda) overly afflicted with the dreaded 'political correctness', but I think I will have to reassess that judgement.

You may think it crazy. I certainly think it crazy!

What a depressing tale this is!

Blogroll updated - at last!

(Please see UPDATES at end)

Since the blog-listing utility 'Blogrolling' closed some months back, I haven't had a proper public blogroll for the blogs I read which I select to list here. I don't like using the standard Blogger blogrolling utility (for various reasons I won't bore you with), so have instead created my own in a format which will be relatively easy to keep updated and which is readily exportable for other purposes (for example to appear in my other [Spanish] blog and in the links page of my main website).

Now I have done the work from A-B, but as this includes blogs which I classify as American, Australian, Belgian, Brazilian and British, that covers probably three-quarters of the blogs I read regularly. I'll get the rest of the blogs that I'm going to add to the list done in the next few days. You can see the blogs so far added in the right-column under the header "Blogs you may like".

As part of this exercise I have taken the opportunity to remove quite a large number of blogs both from my old bloglist and from the rss feeds I monitor, because many of the really brilliant blogs I once followed have, like the parrot in Monty Python, ceased to be, an inevitable result of having been blogging for nigh on nine years. However, I've also had the pleasure of reading a number of much more recently-started blogs and some of these are now in my blogroll, too.

By the way, and as I have written here a number of times before, I do not have a policy of reciprocity for my blogrolls - requests to include a link in my blogroll usually push that blog to the bottom of the list for inclusion, and I NEVER ask for my blog to be included in anyone else's blogroll list, although obviously I am grateful to those who have chosen to. In particular, those who ask me to place a link in my blogroll to their blog with the promise that they will in turn place a link to my blog in their blogroll will be sent away "with a flea in their ear" (to employ a Scottishism); attempting to increase the number of blogs which link to one's own blog by such base means cuts no ice with me (on the few occasions I've made an exception to this rule I have always come to regret it later - I'm far too polite to name names). On the other hand, when I do add a blog to my blogroll I often highlight the fact with a brief article here, specially if it is what I consider to be a particularly interesting blog.

UPDATE (Monday 14FEB2010 19.15 GMT) I've now added the blogroll from C-Z for my main blogroll. I'll be putting the blogroll for Spanish blogs in place shortly.

2nd UPDATE (Monday 14FEB2010 19.50 GMT) As always with this kind of exercise there have been a couple of errors [of omission], for inexplicable reasons. A couple have been corrected; there may be more, unfortunately.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

My brother named "Carnival Prince of Sweikhuizen"

My brother becomes this year's "Carnival Prince of Sweikhuizen", South Limburg, The Netherlands, the village where he now lives; it is quite a big event locally. You can see a video-clip of the event as shown on a local television station in the Netherlands by clicking here.

You can see a local print article about it here (obviously the article is in Dutch, which I'm afraid I can't help you with, but there is a nice photograph); the young lady in the photograph is the Carnival Princess for this year, Lorelle I.
Congratulations to them both!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Are bacteria the future of data storage?

Extraordinary research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is being carried out into storing vast amounts of data in bacteria. It sounds like science fiction, but maybe this is the way for the future - I won't make any pretence that I have even the vaguest understanding of how this technique works, however. How many of us really have any understanding of how data are stored in silicon-based media for that matter?