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Still not here June 9, 2008

Posted by krisN in Internet, Misc.
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I just thought I would post a reminder that I am here, but not doing it here.

Mostly though I wanted some more recognition for my band’s website (opiumtoad.com) which is getting abused by Google at the moment. They so mean!

Of course I’m still maintaining the blarg over here.

So yes, that is it.

Moving off to my own domain August 14, 2007

Posted by krisN in Blogs, Happenings, Internet.
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I decided to move this blog to my own domain lackingthewords.com as I’d like to have the extra layer of control over my blog and its not like domains are expensive.  Since I already have hosting for tehdurka it was easy enough to add it on to that and although setting things up has taken a little while everything has been going ok.  I’m hoping to write some stuff people might actually want to read in the future (wow, think of that!) and hopefully develop some steady traffic. Maybe I’ll see you there, metaphorically speaking, of course…

I knew things were bad but this… August 14, 2007

Posted by krisN in Rants, Thoughts.
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I just stumbled on this article from Time magazine. I’ve known for a while that being poor in the US is harder than here in the UK although I never truly understood why. I remember seeing an episode of Morgan Spurlock‘s show 30 days in which he challenged people to do various things out of the norm of their lives for 30 days, this particular one involved him and his fiancé spending 30 days working minimum wage jobs. It really shocked me to see how difficult it was to live on that little money and the strain it had on them as well as how a small event can completely screw them over money wise. I’m pretty sure in the show they both worked two minimum wage jobs and it was still a very close thing. Now the thing that shocked me most about the article wasn’t reading about the worst jobs in America (although that was pretty bad in itself) it was the discovery of the minimum wage in the US, it’s never something I’d looked up so I never knew what the minimum wage actually was until now.

Wow. $5.85. Lets just compare that to the UK, here the minimum wage is layed out like this:

* £5.35 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older
* A development rate of £4.45 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive
* £3.30 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, who are no longer of compulsory school age.

(Source: HM and Customs National Minimum Wage)
Before even converting the currency thats $0.50 more, I think we’ll work in pounds since its less converting. Currently (according to Xe.com) $5.85 = £2.80, that is £0.50 an hour less than I would get paid, right now, as an (almost) 17 year old. That translates to a whole £1000 when spread accross a year and at my age that minimum wage isn’t designed to be enough to support someone with their own rent, bills and food. I think I’d always known being poor was hard in America, but this…this is just silly. It seems so wrong somehow that a country so founded on the “American Dream” can basically crush people like this. It’s all very well people getting out of poverty themselves but how can they do it? Seriously. How is it even possible? It’s a wonder survival is even possible really yet people struggle on. And you’ve got to remember that these people are the ones on the tills in the supermarkets or handling your dry cleaning, they’re not lazy and they are probably having to work extra hours just to get by.

It wasn’t that long ago that I basically decided that I didn’t think it was personally worth it for me to bother with a soul crushing job down in one of the shops. I don’t think I’m really the kind of person who can just take that, well, not without needing to and at the moment, I don’t need to. I’d like more money sure, but I think I do have enough. Now that I look at this my own arrogance seems shocking, here I am complaining about that (and being lazy) when there are people working full time for 50p less an hour than I would be getting (more than that actually, since most places pay above minimum wage). People who are struggling to survive. Really, I don’t know how you can possibly justify that. I don’t claim that escaping and making yourself rich is still not possible but it would take a very rare luck and talent that most people don’t have and denying others the possibility to live a live free from the constant fear of financial problems hardly goes about damaging the wealth and well-being of the rich. Hell, giving these people a bit more of a chance might even enrich the economy and actually enhance your country.

Disclaimer: I know that such direct comparisons don’t really work properly as cost of living depends on many factors but I have always been under the impression that living in America is expensive. Also, I know this post is pointless and won’t affect anything but I’ve always believed in standing up for things, regardless if you’re even in the right country to be counted.

The left and the right seem all confused August 4, 2007

Posted by krisN in Rants, Religion, Thoughts.
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Recently I was thinking about all this and I realised how stupid this all is. It really makes no sense. Now, basically, liberals are generous and promote freedom whilst conservatives are selfish and seek more control. Neither of those ways are inherently good or evil but that’s essentially what we’re dealing with. In America it generally seems to be the liberal atheists versus the religious right(basically all Christians). This really seems quite strange to me.

(more…)

BBC iPlayer Beta July 31, 2007

Posted by krisN in Entertainment, Happenings, Internet, Technology.
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Well the BBC opened up the beta for the new iPlayer a few days ago, I signed up for it on the day it came out and got accepted yesterday. I’ve been excited about it for a while, the idea of on-demand BBC programming is a very nice one in my mind. Having given it a bit of a spin I guess I can talk about it a bit.

When I was accepted I got an email telling me my username and password, which are both rather awkward and pretty much impossible to remember (and I think impossible to change). I headed to the website on IE (since its not firefox or any OS other than XP friendly) and logged in, through what seems like a bit of a strange pop-up box similar to what you get when logging into FTP. I had to run a few activeX controls but it seemed to be working.

When it came to downloading the first show I first had to download the library which is the part of the program on my computer which manages all the downloading and viewing of the material. After dealing with some connection problems (Firewall etc) I finally got into downloading the first show. It was kinda difficult to tell whether it was actually doing anything though as everything seemed very inactive for a while. You don’t get any info about your kb/s or how many peers you are connected to (it uses P2P technology, presumably to lower strain on the BBC servers) so its difficult to know whether its not working or whether its just slow.

As well as the snails pace downloading my computer had basically ground to a halt as well and I couldn’t really do anything. I tried to close the iPlayer but it wasn’t working. I just got pissed off and reset the computer and didn’t start it back up until a while later. When I did start it up I was pleasently surprised to see that the first of the shows had finished and the others were getting there.  This is pretty strange considering that the program hadn’t even been running but I guess it was a blessing really.

At this point the app seems to be quite clunky and slow but otherwise ok after the original crushing of my computer responsiveness. To be honest I think the whole system needs a complete re-write as it seems completely incompatible with other browsers and operating systems in its current form. The BBC are getting a lot of flak for having it only available for windows XP users and although I didn’t think it was such a big deal since they have basically just targeted the biggest demographic to get it ready sooner the way it seems to operate doesn’t seem to be very multi format friendly. Ultimately it needs to turn into something a bit more like Joost, with no need to go fiddling around in IE to download the shows. I think this will make it easier to put it across different formats and hopefully make the application a bit better in itself.

I just finished watching last weeks episode of mock the week, which I missed. The iPlayer uses windows media play to play the shows, its not exactly the greatest player ever made but it works and I’m familiar with it, which is something.  At the moment the iPlayer is a bit bare and clunky but I’m hoping with time it will turn into something more enjoyable to use.

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