Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cambridge Evening News

Ellee and I (well mainly Ellee) have had our second blogging article published in The Cambridge Evening News today (over 40 column inches!).

The article is currently on the internet at this page it will be interesting to see how long it remains there. before disappearing into the great CEN silo never to re-appear.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Blogs or bogs

I've decided to venture up to the land of peat and bogs to make a second attempt at The Pennine Way. George, Steve and I made a start 41 years ago in 1965. We packed up at Malham having completed 66miles, Steve decided he had enough . (Following week I cycled from Blackpool to Edinburgh in the day!).

Will be interesting to see how far I get this time. Suzie in Hebden Bridge (41miles) and George in Kendal (101miles) have been put on red alert in case of back up.

After reading the experiences of David Gibbins and Justin Turner I go to bed a slightly worried man :-(

Apparently a high pressure is building up forecasting good weather for the first few days. Although I'm sure the bogs will be very deep.

Microsoft's blunder and IE7

Excellent article from John Dvorak clearly stating why Microsoft blundered when they suddenly went into the browser business.

Afraid I have uninstalled my IE7 as it caused Firefox to seize up and anyway it didnt seem to offer any advantages over Firefox.

IE7 download

Downloaded the new Internet Explorer 7beta this morning all 12MB of it plus all its 'updates', after all it was released yesterday.

I thought I would see what extensions were available:-

Wow just look at the size of those downloads! and they expect me to pay for them too!

Interestingly the default search engine is Google:

I also can't see a way of displaying a directory in the links bar. Also the links bar seemed to not be there after install. You have to fiddle like in the old IE to get it to appear as a complete bar.

So far I can't see any reason to change from Firefox

Monday, April 24, 2006

NHS Blog Doctor: British GPs win Eurolottery

NHS Blog Doctor writes that British GPs win Eurolottery: "A full time partner in my practice currently earns about £140,000 year net of expenses. Over the last two years, we have had a pay rise of between twenty and twenty-five percent"

and of cause, he states,you can increase your pay by these lovely ruses too by using "Trainee GPs are better than free labour; GP trainers actually get PAID to have them" or "get a full time salaried GP for £70,000 a year. That is half the income of the GP principal" or even better get a nurse to do the work "You can afford six practice nurses for each GP" and of cause you need someone for the "administrative job of organising and presenting data" to maximise your wealth.

No wonder Ellee's xGP partners are making her stick to the retirement age in their partnership agreement, when they stand to gain so much with these sorts of 'pay' rises and ruses courtesy of nulabour.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Anyone for tennis? Real of course...

Took myself off for my first lesson in Real Tennis today under the guidance of Kees Ludekens the senior coach at Cambridge University Real Tennis Club, yep a bit of a mouthful and rather offputting as you don't have to belong to the university at all to join.

Really enjoyable especially under Kees eagle eye, spotting all my mistakes (Using the racquet like in badminton - just doesn't work!). Things I have to remember is to imagine a camera in the racquets handle looking at the oncoming ball, serving slower and serving sideways on - plus all the names of the parts of the court!

I notice in the Wikipedia article that there is a court in Australia at Ballarat where my friend, from infant school, Stan Jeffery lives. Will have to convince him to take it up.

My next session is Wednesday 26th April at 12.30 if anyone fancies joining me for group instruction under Kees.

A barrage of hope.

At last the green power community have homed in on the right thing for us folks on this sceptred isle to do. One project that can provide upto 7% of the UK's electricity for the next few hundred years with no pollution greenhouse gases, radiation or fuel costs.

The BBC report today that the Severn Barrage is under active consideration again. I remember the earlier attempts and the report in 1975 which came out against it (I'm pretty sure, rather unbelievably, no consideraion of fuel cost was allowed in power station building, so the fact the 'fuel' was free was ignored rather like the Scottish hydroelectric schemes which produced 'the most expensive' electricity in the UK and now of cause produce the cheapest.

The fact that we could have had a Severn crosssing for 'free' instead of the £300,000,000 that was spent on the second crossing plus all the other tourism benefits means we have already lost out considerably.

Lets hope the ducks don't win this one and that sanity prevails.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hear from your MP

Following on from my recent post where I was one of 162 (now 168) people who have signed up for the Hear from your MP service.

Last week David happened to turn up at the door promoting his local bod (Steven Cooper whose interests I note are ethereal - Music, Singing, Film, Holiness, Justice rather than the hardworking local campaigner as on his flyer.) in the Cambridge City council elections. I harrangued David about his failure to reply to emails (denied even getting them) and pointed out Ellee's comments about him been an academic and hence aloof.

So imagine my delight to receive from him today a letter and also that he has posted its contents to the hearfromyourmp website.

Apparently he is on the committee that is poring over the “the Abolition of Parliament Bill” or its more arcane title "Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill"; yep the one that will allow ministers and their lackeys to produce laws that allow you to be locked up for 2 years without parlimentary scrutiny.

Unusually we had the current incumbent for our ward, Kevin Blencowe of Labour knock on the door last night. He thought maybe he knew me - I've only lived here for 20 years and stood as an independent canditate a few years ago!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Feeling cold in Cambridge UK

I wonder if this is why I have been feeling the cold more than usual "They also found that volunteers who restricted their caloric intake by 25% or achieved similar results by cutting calories and upping exercise had a reduced average core body temperature at the conclusion of the six month trial. Lower body temperatures are also associated with longevity" from the New Scientist

Here is my weight loss chart from the Treo650 created by the excellent Eatwatch programme. Not quite in the same league as the volunteers. About a 7% reduction in weight over a year. (The screenshot is taken using the Screenshot utility from Linkesoft).

But then again it could be that the UK has been having more easterly winds this winter (As a result a cold east to north-easterly flow dominated the weather, strong at times across southern part - UK Met office or even since "The White House"redecoration, the windows are no longer sealed shut with paint!

The blogosphere today (maybe)

Two takes on the role of the blogosphere.

First post by Morgan McLintic reflects on Dale Wolf's post based on people who are subscribed to rss feeds on Bloglines where apparently there are "only" 36,000 feeds with more than 29 subscribers. Personally I think this is a gross under estimate. As off the people I know who read blogs etc only one (apart from me) use RSS aggregators. Also I suspect Bloglines is very USAcentric whereas blogging isn't.

Second post is on The maturing of the blogosphere by Mary Hodder which uses link counting as an indication of popularity particularly on the relationship between inbound and outbound links. with 4 blogs having more than 10,000 links.

Interesting how both exhibit similar long tail effects so vividly. With millions of people having just a few links or a few readers. But the fact is people are gradually turning away from big media and spending more time on their own media.
/>Which to me as a true anarchist is excellent.

My Van survey results are in...

Many thanks to the 41 folks who completed my survey. A synopsis of the results can be found at

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Commentors and fair use

Thanks to Jyoti one of my blog commentors I found myself listening to this video on The Tube. Lawrence Lessig is one of my heroes especially in the way he is fighting for sense in the copyright debates at the moment.

The video seeks to explain why the Publishers Guild v Google fight to stop Google digitising the worlds books is such a bad thing . The Publisher Guild are trying to emulate the BeamIt example where the music industry forced it to close down and paying $110m damages. Lessig sees hope in the Kelly v Arriba case which allowed linking by way of thumbnail images as an example of fair use.

To me its seems crazy that anyone should prevent the digitisation of out of print books. Where there is no way of contacting the author or original publisher, which represent over 50% of the books Google were going to do. These associations (and don't get me started on the RIAA) are really modern day Luddites, except governments seem to pander their whims, even when it is clearly to the detriment of the electors.

An excellent video if you have 30mins to spare and a really smart way of giving a lecture allowing you to hear the speaker and see their slides.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Podcasting and The BBC

This is to me is pretty amazing. the BBC has released some figures on his podcasting trials. these have revealed that in Feb 2006 there were 329,888 downloads of the Radio4 programme "Today's 8.10 interview". Note that the Radio4 reach is 10million per week (and I would guess a middle aged audience profile) so the podcasts represent quite a significant fraction of total listeners especially given how new podcasting is and what is involved in doing it.
The most downloaded podcast at the BBC was "Best Of Moyles" on Radio1 with 364,265 downloads. The show has a weekly reach of 6.66million listeners.

Thanks to memeorandum and EuroTelCoblog for alerting me.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

One day in the life of my blog.

Yesterday I inserted the code that Statcounter gave me so that I can track site visitors. Tons of interesting information and graphs.
This pie chart shows the percentage of visitors who stayed for varying lengths of time.

Visit Length
drill down25Less than 5 secs
drill down2From 5 secs to 30 secs
drill down4From 30 secs to 5 mins
drill down3From 5 mins to 20 mins
drill down1From 20 mins to an hour
drill down2Longer than an hour

Other information was that I had 67 visitors yesterday and the most visited page was my write up of the technology2.0 event with 25 visits. The most used search expression was pees on earth. With 9 out of 13 using google for search. 69% of visitors were from the UK and 31% from the USA. 33% used Firefox and 55% using IE
However, the free version only tracks 100 visits, should I upgrade!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Please take my quick survey!

UK Single party rules, OK?

Wow, what a great opposition we have here in the UK. If this comment by Spy Blog on the Samizdata post "We have not yet begun to fight right", is correct.

""I still can't quite figure out what happened, but am starting to think the timing is a matter of Tory electoral and media strategy."

Has there been any explanation from the Conservatives why most of them abstained but 24 of them, including their front bench Home Affairs team voted with the Labour Government on the final vote ?

If they had all abstained or had all voted against the Bill which, due to the lack of enough Labour rebels would still have been passed, I might have understood their position.

To appear not to understand that the crucial and most evil part of the scheme is the centralised biometric database rather than the ID SmartCard, after all the letters, articles and briefings which they have received seems very fishy.

Now I just feel betrayed by the Tories as well as by Labour.

Posted by Watching Them, Watching Us at April 1, 2006 01:57 AM"

Maybe they didnt want to upset the consultant gravy train that this is going to provide.

MySpace statistics

Steve Rubel has some great statistics on Myspace that he received from his work colleague Marilynn Mobley.

Fascinating that the take up of over 61million (Yep thats the whole population of the UK!) is as close to 50/50 Male/Female as you are likely to get. Be also interesting to know how many of the 1.4 million registered bands are male and the sex breakdown in the 50,000 groups they have.

So Murdoch paid under $10 per person to get contact and interest details for the key spender 16 -35 age group.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Childhood Experiences and Adult Lives

Just received this invitation from Suzanne. One of her post-doc students needs help with a survey on the way we experienced our childhood and the impact it can have on our current adult lives.:-

Hello my name is Wendy and I am a trainee clinical psychologist currently in my third year at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK. As part of my final Doctorate qualification, it is necessary to undertake a piece of relevant and original psychological research. As such I am looking at the link between the way we experience our childhood and the impact it can have on our current adult lives. The study has been given full ethical approval by the UEA Ethics Committee.

You are being invited to take part in this research study. The aim of this email is to open up the study to as many people as possible, and you would have received it because you either know the researcher or someone connected with them or alternatively because permission has been granted by your employer or student body.

The research is being conducted online (the attached link below takes you directly to the study) and will involve filling in a range of short questionnaires, which will take around 20 minutes to complete altogether. We need to capture a wide range of childhood experience; therefore the study is relevant to you whether you had a very happy childhood with no problems or whether you had a very difficult and unhappy childhood. However you do need to be 25 years and older to participate. The study is totally anonymous and confidential.

Finally in order to gather meaningful results we need to get as many people as possible to take part in the study. Therefore we are also asking everyone to forward this email on to other people who you think would be interested in helping with this project. Please feel free to email me at childhood.experience at if you have any further questions or queries.

Thank you for your time over this, it really is appreciated. Please click on the attached link below now if you would like to continue further with the study.


So come on blogosphere lets get her the couple of thousand replies she needs.
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