Thursday, July 27, 2006

The further insanity of the Home Office

Some recently revealed statistics ...

  • Home office to spend a few years, and many millions of pounds building 8,000 more prison places
  • Home office does not know how many prisoners are actually people with mental health problems who should not be in prison; but some estimate that it runs into 10's of thousands
  • Home office admits to 10,000 prisoners (out of a population of 74,000 or so) are illegal immigrants awaiting deportation.

Go figure...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

R.I.P. the crazy diamond

So Syd died yesterday.  Having seen Roger and David live quite recently some of his material, notably Arnold Layne, has been in my conscious rather than subconscious.  What surprised me was the attention it got in the media - headline at the 5 o'clock news on Radio 4, front page mention of the Telegraph.  As a fan of a band or artiste it can be quite difficult to get a perspective on the relative significance/importance of your idol; so it was pleasing to see that the rest of the world thought he was important.

I just fear the speed with which EMI will 're'-release your material, or someone cover a song of yours.

So Syd, so sorry to hear you died, but you'll not be forgotten.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Believe me, I've nothing against bikers.  In fact if it were not for a back injury sustained at school I would probably be one.  But I wish they would do the 'do as you would be done by' school of driving.

Earlier this week we were on our way west, we ended up amongst a group of bikers.  To keep up with his mates, one overtook us, leaving about 1-2 feet between him & us, and a further 1-2 feet between him and the oncoming (60mph area) car.  He then pulled in in front of us, with only about 5-6 feet to spare in front; and then stayed there at 50mph when there was plenty of space ahead so he could have gone at 60 easily.  I hooted, he gave me the finger.  I later overtook him.

Now if I were to overtake a car with motor bike oncoming and give him 4-5 feet of road to work in (at 60mph), or overtake a bike and pull in nearly grazing their front wheel they would be justifiably angry with me.  So why the hell can't they drive to their own standards?  It's happening far too often these days, and one day there will be an accident, and some poor driver is going to feel guilty for being an innocent participant in the death or serious injury of a biker.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The modern shopping experience

Today it's generally acknowledged that shops have to offer service to survive, and whilst they are not at American service levels, the British high street has made some progress, or so I thought.

Earlier this week our digibox for Freeview decided to revert to factory condition, and I spent about 10 minutes setting it up again.  Then it did it again, and again and again....  So it was to be replaced.  I decided that given HD and Freeview HD and HDMI connections and so forth are imminent for the Bryant household, it's not yet right and so something better than a digibox, but not a full Windows MCE machine or a full recoding DVD/Hard Disk recorder was called for.  A bit of research later and I was interested in the Ivnerto Hard Disk record with 2 Freeview tuners from the Superfi web site was interesting, and they had a store in Coventry very close to where we were going a few days later.

When we got to the store and made our request to see the unit we were told that it was a web only thing.  Great.  So "why not put that on the web site?" Erm, possibly...  On the way out we say a very similar unit in the window.  We did not go back in...

So to the Sony Centre, they had a nice sleek, functional, slightly more expensive unit on display.  Knowing that Sony were a good brand, we decided a few extra quid would be worth it for reliability and quality.  Oh were we wrong...  The unit makes more noise than a rewinding video recorder, ALL THE TIME EVEN IN STANDBY MODE!  it is definitely not fit for purpose.

So it's going back.  But hey, despite the "if you have a problem you can go to any Sony Centre" answer - I cannot.  Sony Centre's are not 1 chain, they are franchises and I am supposed to drive 4 1/2 hours there and back to the town of purchase to get my money back.  Alternatively if I ship it back they'll pay for half the postage.  And what's more, when I rang Sony they were neither worried about the unit being noisy, nor about me being misled by the Sony Centre Shop; they say they have nothing to do with them, even though the Sony name is above the door, and they only sell Sony products.  Apparently I should have noticed the small sign on the wall behind the tills telling me all this.

Well I didn't, and I told Sony I didn't, and I no longer regard Sony as a reliable brand, and I told them.  And they don't care.  Enough said, it's going back.