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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Why I support the Qat ban

From the Guardian;
"They are always talking about a ban," said one Somali man in his 20s, who chewed qat from a blue plastic bag while sitting on a table where paperwork recorded the day's deliveries. "But if they ban it, I will go back to my home country," he said.

All your vinyl belong us

I've still got a shelf-full of fine vinyl; all the Floyd's early albums, everything by Bowie pre-1990, all the old standards and a good selection of embarrassments (Shakatak?). There's no question in my mind that it's all mine - subject to fair restrictions, of course. It's fair to digitise it so I can listen to it on different machines. It's not fair to sell copies on the interweb, or even to give copies away anonomously. 

I'd be pretty miffed if the record companies wrote to me to say that Oh no, I didn't actually own that music at all; and that to continue to hold onto my vinyl, I must pay an annual license fee or give the records back.

But this is exactly the pricing model that the information industry is now working towards. The first step is 'cloud' computing - moving both programmes and data from your own magnetic memories to their server farms. Then instead of buying a programme you'll pay an annual fee instead to use the latest version - Microsoft has already gone over to this for new Windows versions. When sufficient people have signed up they'll implement a no pay - no access policy - guaranteeing them an enhanced and secure revenue stream.

And they're all at it. Google Chrome's thuggish and crooked efforts to install itself covertly on my machine every time I updated some other programme, or the efforts of some positively repugnant search engine called 'Babylon' to replace Google as my default did neither any favours in my mind. I have become more committed than ever to open-source software running from my own hard drives. You can't trust any of the buggers.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cull the gluttonous scum

The reckless abandon with which the BBC threw around the TV tax in a series of pay-offs and golden handshakes, with faceless and pointless executives troughing hundreds of thousands each, unearned, unjustified, is really just the tip of the iceberg of feckless gluttony from those who have their grubby little fists on our public funds. For an organisation that so pompously sets itself up as a guardian of the public morals and a model of rectitude, the reality is a grubby, chiselling crooked peculation of public funds by managers for whom probity and stewardship are moral concepts as alien as modesty and humility. 

This latest episode must surely now convince everyone that the BBC simply deserves no place as a tax funded body in its current form. Only when those gluttonous scum are taking the money from the pockets of their shareholders rather than from the helpless British public will there be a chance that their greed can be curbed. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Public Sector 1% - MPs 32%

Yep; at a time when, quite rightly, we're holding the public sector down to a 1% pay rise MPS have told the IPSA that they're grossly underpaid and deserve at least £86,000 - a whopping pay increase outstripping any corporate current pay deal anywhere.

Let's allow them to do it. In fact, let's encourage the purblind, snuffling shit-faced toads to go for £100k after the 2015 election, with increased subsidies for their bars and restaurants. But let's also demand from each candidate standing in those elections a statement on whether they'd support or oppose the proposal - and cast our votes accordingly.