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Thursday, June 12, 2008

When is buying bulk more expensive? At the supermarket.

Screenshot of Tesco prices showing that a larger jar of coffee is more expensive per gram than a smaller jarThis is something that really annoys me. Why is it that, at the supermarket, it is often cheaper to buy two small containers of produce rather than one large container of an equivalent size? I'm not talking about two for one offers here.

If you enlarge the picture you will see a screen shot off of the Tesco web site. It took me about two seconds to find an example because it is very common both online and in store, not just for coffee, but all goods. In this example buying coffee in the larger jar is 5% more expensive than buying the same coffee but in smaller jars. This means that to get the best deal you end up having to buy lots of smaller jars.

This makes no sense at all because of the waste of packaging, two jars, two lids, two labels etc. When the supermarkets make claims for how environmentally friendly they are this gross waste astounds me.

What are the supermarkets playing at? Common sense would say that a larger volume purchase should be cheaper. Do they think that customers will just buy the larger jar thinking it will be better value without checking the price against the smaller jars? Is this a deliberate tactic by the Tesco, Walmart etc to trick their customers into spending more than they have to?

Makes me mad every time I visit the supermarket. I should be able to know that when I buy a larger jar/ packet/ tin or bag of produce then that means I am getting the best price by volume. I don't always have the time to work out comparative prices by unit weight for products and I shouldn't have to.

Supermarkets that make me take home twice as much packaging than is necessary are demonstrating how cynical they are when it comes to the environment and are driving me round the bend

Walmart, Tesco, Sainsburys et al use some common sense and get this sorted!

How to get (to) Lost

Picture of sign to Lost Continuing my series of photos, of the signs in my locality which amuse me, we have the sign to Lost. Local legend has it that if you follow this sign you are never seen again...

This was Scotland's most stolen sign until special anti- theft measures were deployed a couple of years ago. My neck of the woods made the news, for once, because this sign was so often stolen. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3720848.stm


Paul Robinett (renetto) blacks up on YouTube

renetto as normal and renetto blacked up
Renetto White Renetto Black.

Paul Robinett AKA renetto (wikipedia)

I'd like to show you the video of renetto blacked up (blackface) but he has taken it down from YouTube, and it does not seem to be held on any other servers, so we will have to make do with the still.

He says in his vlog that he took the video down because in it he had used copyrighted material from an audio series "This I believe" and that the copyright holders had made a complaint to YouTube. renetto reads excerpts from the email he received from the copyright holders and is at pains to say that they were very reasonable and only wanted videos which contained their material taken down. renetto also, pointedly, says that the copyright holders would be interested in him promoting their material in the future.

renetto is a smart media savvy guy who has built an online presence which makes him valuable to advertisers. In particular he a partner in YouTubes revenue sharing scheme. This scheme expressly forbids the use of copyright material without permission.
http://ca.youtube.com/partners

Because of renetto's obvious intelligence and business experience you might conclude that, just maybe, he was using the copyright material with its owners consent because to have done otherwise would be out of character and utterly stupid. renetto describes himself as an inventor. Inventors are very clued up on copyright.

Blacking up is very controversial and has offended a significant number of YouTube users and would have had the potential of offending many more people if the video had been left to stand. renetto actively courts the media and it would not have been long before his blacking up would have run as a negative story against him, this in turn would inevitably lead to advertisers dropping him.

Subsequent videos posted by renetto have critised copyright law, many YouTube users have voiced there opinion that this is diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the fact that renetto blacked up in a video.

If you watch renetto's video's you can see in his eyes that something has clearly gone wrong with his game plan. He has failed to acknowledge the offence he has caused by his blacking up, instead he has been angrily banging on about copyright law. I invite the reader to draw their own conclusions.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The most unfortunate brand name ever?

Arcelik corporate photo showing banner I first encountered this Turkish kitchen appliance brand while on holiday. I have a picture of me licking an arcelik fridge buried somewhere. Until that turns up this pic from their web site will have to do. Arcelik must be one of the most unfortunate corporate names ever. Well it is if you are from a country where people say arse rather than ass.

If you want to check them out then visit them at the even more hilariously named arcelikas.com

http://www.arcelikas.com.tr/Cultures/en-US/Kurumsal/?MENUID=1

Forget speedos wool is in this season.

Picture of wool swimming trunksClick image to see them in their full glory.

You see before you the original woolen swimming trunks. They lurk in a cupboard in the house and occasionally I threaten to wear them.

You really need those draw strings on these, that wool is going to be jolly heavy when you come out of the water.

Made by Admiralty they boast go faster stripes, cotton gusset (the chaffing would be unbearable otherwise), draw strings, and a badge of a woman riding a flying fish. Pure class. You can't beat wet wool against the skin.

Just goes to show our forefathers were much tougher than us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The energy for the future. Nuclear Power.

In a world with dwindling energy resources it is insane to ignore a proven source of energy which emits very low levels of carbon dioxide. Public perception of its safety and concerns for the storage of radioactive waste are holding back the redevelopment of nuclear power for the 21st Century.

80% of the worlds electricity comes from fossil fuels. Fossil fuel power stations just pump their waste products, millions and millions of tonnes of CO2, into the atmosphere. In comparison nuclear power waste is minute in volume and it's storage is extremely closely monitored.

In terms of safety, considering the technology the first generation reactors were built with, nuclear power has a good record. There has been one major incident at Chernobyl. Chernobyl's design has been found to be flawed and unlike nuclear power stations in the West it did not have a containment dome. This design omission allowed the discharge of radioactive material following the explosion.

New nuclear facilities are being built with the superior technology compared with previous generations of plant. They are ever safer and ever more efficient.

Nuclear power is not the solution to meeting the worlds future energy needs, but it is an essential component of the solution. Energy conservation, renewable power sources (wind, tidal etc) and nuclear are the way forward. Nuclear power fits well with renewable sources because it is as natural as they are and does not emit CO2. Consider where the Earth and all life gets it's energy, from The Sun, a gigantic nuclear power plant.

Why not to go to Glastonbury

Glastonbury tickets sold out in a few hours in 2005 and 2007. This year you can still buy tickets months after they went on sale. I can understand peoples reluctance to go. In 2005 one day of rain was enough to turn the event into a massive stinking slimy cess pit. We still enjoyed ourselves because we had pitched our tent on the hill so were not amongst the poor sods who had their tent submerged effectively losing all their gear and it was our first visit so there was some novelty value to the mud.

We went to Glasto 2007 thinking that surely the organisers have learned a lesson after 2005. They claimed to have improved the irrigation for the site. Well maybe they had, but with rain every day over the event, and 100,000+ people trudging about the site was a slurry pit from day one. The site is basically a big plug hole, all the rain water washes straight to the stages and the soil type means that very little rain is needed for it to turn to mud. The organisers are fully aware of this but in my view have not done a few common sense things to counter the mud threat.

Why oh why could they not put down walkways for pedestrians, they put down temporary roads for vehicles to get about. There is nothing worse than having to step off sound footing into deep mud to let some impatient git go past in a vehicle. Also it would be very easy to put out some kind of seating. One of the worst things about the mud is that its impossible to sit down anywhere. Even if you have a camp chair its going to sink into the mud.

How about some kind of flooring in the toilets? Falling into urine soaked mud is not fun in anyone's book.

The last straw for me was the terrible sound quality at some of the stages. I was so relieved when it was over. Sure I enjoyed seeing so many of my fav bands but this was outweighed by the miserable mud trudging.

A picturesque spot for a car crash.

The aftermath of my last car crash during which I was a passenger. That's not me in the picture, I am behind the camera. Climbing out of the drivers side window was quite fun. The actual crash happened too quickly to recall much, the car spun in snow through 180 degrees, went off the road backwards, rolled a couple of times before coming to a stop on the fence. It was a bruising experience but no major damage done. Not much was said during the crash, the driver said "Holy sh*t!". I remained stoically silent.

The only time I felt scared was when I realised I was not going to be able to get out of the door on my side and I briefly worried about the risk of fire. I suppose there was not much opportunity for fear during the crash, just after it.

I always used to think that whiplash was a made up injury to claim compensation. Well I can assure you it does exist and involves a bit of pain for a few months.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Parents of ill vegan girl may face police (timesonline).

Picture of a human skeleton I can just about tolerate vegetarians but I draw the line at veganism. Vegans have to be one of the worlds most self righteous groups, they are dietary fundamentalists whose views border on fanaticism. Here we have yet another example of vegan parents inflicting a starvation diet on their child at a time when it is crucial that their growing bodies receive a good balanced diet.

Have you ever met a vegan who has been vegan all their lives? People take up veganism as adults, these convert vegans have had the benefit of a balanced diet while growing up, yet deny this to their children. In my view vegan parents who force their diet on their children are being criminally negligent.

Mysterious evaporating diggs.

digg logoA strange phenomena I've been noticing recently is the disappearing digg. I think it must be due to people digging then undigging something I have submitted. I could understand that if they had discovered that the information I had submitted was wrong, or misleading. However a resent post of mine was a picture I had taken of, I thought, an amusing sign. How can you digg a photo of a sign, then decide you don't like it and undigg it? Maybe if it turned out to be a duplicate story I had ripped of from somewhere else, but this photo I took myself and the sign is hidden away in the highlands of Scotland so I can't imagine that many other people have photographed it.

This leaves me with three possible reasons for the diggs disappearing.

1. The people who digged it only want to be associated with very popular items. If they digg and the item does not go on to get hundreds of diggs they undigg. If this is the case then this behavour would seem to damage the idea of digg being a tool which can highlight good information from sources which don't have the clout of say, CNN or the BBC.
2. The people found something else I had dugg that they disagreed with and as a protest undugg my other submissions. If this is the case then it's against the spirit of digg and what is the point of this kind of protest if no one leaves a comment to explain why they have undugg.
3. Maybe some people just like digging stuff then undigging it?


It's not something I am going to lose sleep over, I'm just curious. I would suggest to digg that perhaps they might encourage people who undigg leave a comment to explain why. If nothing else this would help other diggers decide if they want to digg an item or look at it at all.

Anyone out there got any ideas?

Invading Iraq was completely justified.

2008 interim flag of IraqPolybore has changed one's mind about the invasion of Iraq. It is very important that the justification for this war is sorted out, in respect for those thousands who have lost their lives and those who will bear the scars for the rest of their lives.

When the war started it was pretty obvious that the weapons of mass destruction argument for invading was a false one. This has been borne out by the failure to find any significant evidence of WMD in the years following the invasion. It was also evident that the invasion would cause chaos and anarchy in Iraq, there have been plenty of lessons from history demonstrating what happens to a country after invasion.

The new reason justifying the invasion of Iraq after a bit of Orwellian rewriting of history is the removal of Saddam Hussein. This argument does not wash either, how can you justify removing one dictator when you allow others to stay in power like Mr Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Of course the elephant in the room is Iraq's oil resources. Why can't the US and UK just come out and say this was the reason for the Iraq War? It is the one justification that will stand the test of time. Invading Iraq to secure the oil resources was a good idea, look at the oil price just now, imagine what it would be if Saddam Hussein was still in power.

How can war be justified for oil? Look at the effects high oil price are having, a world food shortage is developing that could result in the deaths of millions of people. If Saddam were still in power, with the ever present threat of war, the price of oil would be far higher.

My new favourite ad.

IRN-BRU made in Scotland from girders. Forget Coke. Forget Pepsi. Get Irn-Bru.

Their web site is awsome and videos of their ads can be found there. They make Pesi and Coke ads look like they were produced by a 4 year old. Well I guess they probably were.

Check it out at http://www.irn-bru.co.uk/adverts/favourite-ads.html

A sign impossible to ignore.


Can you believe I hired a limo off a guy who had this sign on his shed? I made sure I paid him in cash no questions asked. Got a good deal and no explosions.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

How to make a screen recording of PC desktop activity.

There are three methods that I use. Note that only Screen Recorder Gold will capture video activity but only with graphics hardware acceleration disabled. I use them for real time recording of windows activity to create tutorials.

1. Screen-cast-o-matic (completely free)
2.
Screen Recorder Gold (free trial)
3.
Adobe Captivate 3 (30 day free trial)



1- Scree-cast-o-matic works just with your browser (firefox, opera 9, IE6, IE7, and Safari are supported) and the latest Java plugin. Supported OS are XP SP2, Vista, and MAC OS X.

Main features:

Real time recording of adjustable area of desk top (max 1024 by 768)
Free hosting of screen recordings, no software install required (apart from Java if you don't already have it).
Export screen recordings in quick time format.
Allows for recording narration/ sound.
Limited annotation facility.
Is completely free.
Very easy to use.
2- Screen Recorder Gold.

Main features:

Real time recording of adjustable area of desk top or snap to window/ application.
Screen recording outputs in avi format.
Can record video from desktop provided graphics hardware acceleration is disabled.
Annotation facility.
Sound recording/ narration.
Free trial is not time limited (small water mark in top left of recordings)
OS supported: Windows versions 98/NT/2000/Me/XP. (Vista not mentioned)
Very easy to use.3- Adobe Captivate 3

Main features.

Many many features, here is a brief summary.

Real time recording of desktop, adjustable area, or snap to window/ application.Automatic annotation.

Recording is converted to slides which can be fully edited, annotated and interactive content added.

Recording is published in flash format.Sound recording/ narration.

30 Day free trial.

The new version of Captivate is much more expensive than in predecessors but has increased interactivity/ multimedia functions. I'm using version 1. If you need a spot on annotated tutorial this is the software to do it. At a price.