Slave to the 11C

4 Every 40 minutes at peak times...

Thursday, July 29, 2004

BBC NEWS | England | Essex | Cake ban for hospital patients

Medicines kill 10000 people

I think there may be some confusion over priorities here.

Prepayment of NHS prescription charges

Just what the doctor ordered :)

Is the national programme for NHS IT set to be 'the biggest gamble in the world'?

More on NPfIT. This is an enormous project. Given this and previous Government's record on public sector IT rollouts, shouldn't we all be a little worried?

John Reid : "Everyone will have an electronic health record that they will be able to read from their home computer".

That's all well and good, but who else?

One York University student informs us how to tackle terrorist threats.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Privacy foes named and shamed

The NHS national programme for IT gets a bit of a pasting....

Monday, July 26, 2004

Wanadoo II

I've just been on the phone to Wanadoo, and I can't cancel my contract. However, the woman did imply that 2gb referred to actual downloading. I have to say I'm a little sceptical. The what does 2gb mean? page on wanadoo lays it out in terms of 7 hours (or so) of surfing a day, 400 emails a week, etc. This would suggest that the information being received through the modem is being metered (and would sound like the most commonsensical way of measuring activity).

Anyhow, enough about this, I may post another vitriolic rant in the middle of the month from my work machine when I get kicked off the net....

Wanadoo - Today

And idiot of the month award goes to..... me.
Wanadoo Broadband - 17.99 a month. What a great deal, eh?
2 Gig download limit - I'll never download that much in a month.

The thing is, thats *not* what it means. 2 gigabytes a month refers to the bytes received through the modem. All the pictures and html being downloaded in web pages are included in this. Multiplayer games - all the info passing to my computer is logged.
And yes, I am an IT professional so I've no excuse. I have to say I was dubious about Freeserve to start with, but I was giving them the benefit of the doubt with the price they were offering. I've let them into my home and they've paid me in spades. Hey ho.
AOL, FreeServe/Wanadoo, BT - they're all out to make a buck. If they offered the service to go with it, I'd be happy.

What I should have done was went to plus net, who offer unmetered broadband access for a few pounds more
(this bearing in mind that Telewest is unconnected at my flat).

OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism

Hmmm.. another film worth a look....

Friday, July 23, 2004

Is Iraq a True Threat to the US?

Another nail in the coffin of WMD.
Thanks to Bob for this.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

AltaVista - Babel Fish Translation - Translated Text

Hmmm.. not brilliant, but a useful tool. Translates a variety of language. I gave it a whirl on Rammstein lyrics (German metal band - featured in xXx and the car advert where the clouds are chasing the car?)

I hadn't realised they wrote such sensitive lyrics :

My heart burns,
now dear children give eight, I are fine are correct from the cushion

(The original german was mein herz brennt, nun liebe kinder gebt fein acht, ich bin die stimme aus dem kissen)

Anyone got a more faithful translation? :)

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Australia's Iraq war case damned

Three cases criticised. Or was it just one?
In every report though, the politicians are cleared, and the intelligence community takes the brunt of criticism. So has is been a case of the politicians pressuring intelligence to reach their conclusion, or has the allied intelligence community exerted its own influence in the equation?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Quick!!! Hide the pot!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Alien vs Predator movie review/preview

Not a bad starter review... its a relief that they've decided to use minatures over CG.


The trailer looks good, but will the film deliver the goods?

BBC NEWS | UK | Extent of child net porn revealed

BT blocks Child porn

"BT Do not track those trying to log on. We have no way of knowing who reached the sites by accident."

I think this is a fair enough policy. I don't agree with them displaying "Website not found" as it fails to notify the user that the ISP intervened.

ISPs have to be careful how they regulate enforcement of child sex web browsing. If a paedophile has been caught bang to rights accessing a series of illicit sites (with clear intention) then this is fair enough.

As many of you are aware though, this isnt so simple. There are many illegal sites which popup off other sites, even in cases where the originator would be considered to be respectable.

I appreciate the need for paedophilia to be cracked down, but once you start shackling the internet, you then have a controllable, taxable resource.

Monitoring people's choice of websites on the internet is already commonplace. If you download spybot (or a similar sweeper) you will probably discover that your computer is infested with Adware, the purpose of which is to send any sites you visit to a third party advertising company.

Monday, July 19, 2004 DVD: Dungeons And Dragons - Vol. 1

Ohhhh yersh!!!! And Ulysses 31 is out too.... | The Human Equation

Bought this double album CD/DVD over the weekend.. 11 singers, 20 songs.. metal/folk/jazz/diggery doo. Bombastic Rock Opera.
One of the best albums/music videos I've bought in a long time.

Future Blog Plans :
1) Fix the sidebar so I can put the links back in.
2) Start a second blog, focussing on converting a spectrum game to the PC. This has been an idea for a few years now, but I've not dedicated the time or the focus into learning how to do it. Hopefully, you guys will visit it. I appreciate its quite a geeky subject, but Im hoping to provide bits that may be of general interest. From a personal development perspective, some of titbits of knowledge I've picked up over the last few weeks have been fascinating, in particular in respect to electronic architecture. A computer is essentially lots of really simple principles put together, the most basic being the control of electricity between two points.
Anyhow, I digress. I'm hoping to get stuck in this week, but as I'm going to be doing lighting at the theatre for 'Allo 'Allo (blatant bit of name dropping there - Oldbury Rep Theatre) so it might be difficult to squeeze it all in. 

Stag Do
I've spent the weekend up in Newcastle on a stag do for one of my mates back in Northern Ireland. I have to say, Newkie is a pretty amazing city. It has built itself a reputation for hosting stag and hen nights, which have their advantages and disadvantages (pro stag/hen members, con anyone looking for a good night's sleep).
The Metro in Newkie is top notch and isn't far off from the London Tube.
We went paintballing and go karting, both great fun (yes the paintballs do sting, but thats half the fun). A good weekend had by all.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Eye On Moseley

They don't like the liberals either :)

Eye On Moseley - Missing Conservative Councillor

He's a bit shy

Irish Post: Tears for a true prince

The Death of a Legend - Cider Willy

One of the many colourful characters in Moseley - Immortalised by the Eye on Moseley site.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Melting ice: the threat to London's future

And we thought the Day After Tomorrow was Science Fiction...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Turning the tables on Nigeria's e-mail conmen

419 - The Email Conmen

Saturday, July 10, 2004


A site dedicated to remakes of "Lords of Midnight", a Tolkienesque classic for the Spectrum. Included in the site are PC remakes of the midnight series, and source code, a good starting point for anyone considering taking up games programming.

Friday, July 09, 2004

posted by Jim | 8:56 AM |

Something Awful

Attack of the Movie Posters Part 2

Something Awful

Movie Crossovers

The Gallery of Super-Dudes

I'm not saying anything.

BBC Online

Just found this with my new toy. The BBC from 1998. Amazing all the links seem to work!

MoreGoogle (not from Google): add features to Google - including Thumbnails

Oh yes. This *is* the dogs nether regions. After installing the download, when you go to google searches, it shows you a thumbnail of the web page in the search results. There are also some other interesting features, such as viewing an archive of how the site looked in previous incarnations. The Heartlands Hospital site is embarrassing :)

An essential add-on.

Warthog Launch

Warthog Launch

Fiendish game. The idea is to place the right number of explosives at the correct angle to launch the buggy into the air, hitting all the blue monster type things.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Bush and Blair Motivation

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Prong Home

Prong are a seminal thrash outfit, their first album "Primitive Origins" being released in 1987. Despite the less than endearing title, "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" is one of my favourite metal singles ever. According to one site, they've did sessions on John Peel.
Their style of three piece rhythm guitar driven metal has left its mark, and has influenced many bands like Therapy?

Anyhow their new album "Scorpio Rising" is out now, and sounds typically metal-tastic.

Channel 4 Film - The Grudge film review, interviews, filmographies and more

The Grudge - My Review

After hunting down the only cinema that was showing the film last night (Star City) I was surprised to find that Carolyn and myself were the only people watching the film. The hype machine musn't have been in gear. One thing I did know, the staff were looking to knock off early, and were adding some of their own effects in the hope of scaring us out of the cinema (at least I *hope* it was them and this definitely wasn't the film to be playing pranks during :)

I've included the Channel 4 review as it pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'm not going to waste time trying to divulge the plot as C4 have already done it, and it wasn't one of the aspects of the film which was particularly outstanding.

In the film's defence it was very very creepy. Throughout the entire performance, the close quarter camera angles and eerie music did their job, constantly putting the viewer on the edge of their seat. One of the major problems was that this was all it did. While I respect the director's ability to invoke deep feelings of dread, he did very little to raise or drop the levels. It was basically 92 minutes of the same pitch.

The actual shocks when they came were a tad disappointing. Most of them were flawed by amateurish visual effects and prolonged camera shots. The major protagonist in the film was the little boy, Toshito, who disappeared during the original tragedy. Toshito's main role in the film was to pop up in camera shots were you least expected him (Shimizu had picked him out a particularly apt spot between the banisters coming up the stairs). As the film went on, his skin changed from the normal colour to a corpselike white. This caused some particularly effective jumps when he appeared under tables and in the banisters. Rather than building on this, or jumping to another scene, Shimizu focussed on the boy, which eventually would leave few in little doubt that it was a young boy covered in white paint.

All the gags from the Ring were here, the long black hair, the animalistic advances across the floor on all fours (initially terrifying), the altering video images (could have been better) and ear piercing squeals. These were never combined into a cohesive intelligent threat and after a while the fear levels dropped as I became more comfortable as I knew the film wasn't going to challenge my accepted thresholds.

When a new director/screenwriter brings something new to a genre of the arts (particularly in films and music), it can energise the medium, and create an anticipation of what they can come up with next. Unfortunately in most cases, this results in rehashes of the same material without the same soul or thought-out theories behind it (Austin Powers springs to mind).
Sometimes these classic albums or films are a collation of life experiences of the artists, and when faced with a year to create a followup, they venture back to a tried and tested formula or have insufficient time to create a new and cohesive formula to try out. I think this is what may have marred The Grudge.

Still, I wouldn't recommend watching it in an empty cinema, and if on video I'd leave the lights on if I were you.

Friday, July 02, 2004


Ju-on - The Grudge

From the Japanese Director of the Ring. The trailer gave me the shakes. Well worth watching the first 8 minutes trailer, though not as scary as I thought I would be.

I'm sure in Hollywood, before they release a scary movie, they hold screenings and ensure that the terror level doesnt go to high (except in an election year) as the prospects of lawsuits from audience fatality must no doubt have crossed their mind.
Few American scary films have had me not wanting to hide my eyes or leave the cinema. Well actually, quite a few of them would make me want to leave the cinema but for different reasons (You can happily point out the films I have shamefully overlooked in the comments).

And then there was Asia Tartan Extreme. Ho ho ho. Diaper needs changing. Either the Japanese have really strong constitutions or shitty consumer rights (or more than likely the director has total freedom in his work). I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on all this, having seen only Ringu, Ringu II and Battlefield Royale, but its obvious that these guys know terror. Not the false alarm, go quiet again, big jump type terror, the seething rising pit of dread type terror (with a few jumps to send you into palpations).
I had to turn Ring II over in places I was that freaked (eg the freeze frame black hair scene.. *shudder*)

The good news is that Hollywood didn't make too bad a job of its conversion of the Ring. The bad news is that there'll be clones. Lots of them. And they'll all suck. And the wonderfully refined idea will be diluted beyond recognition. It'll get to the point where the original will not have the same effect as youve seen it all before.

A quick apology for the IFilm site. This has to be one of the worst sites I've seen for advertising ever. The Spiderman trailer pops up if you put your mouse anywhere near the ad bar. Which is swell if you're on dialup. Unfortunately, the trailer didn't appear to be availbel elsewhere (according to IMDB). Its worth seeing the first 8 minutes trailer, but bear in mind this is a sneak preview, and these 8 minutes are scene setting (ie no big scares).

Thursday, July 01, 2004

ic Birmingham - Fears as green belt is sold off

The green belt under threat.....

Cidade de Deus (2002)
City of God

IMDB Top 250 Films - #28

I watched City of God for the first time last night. It follows the lives of several children growing up in the slums of Rio de Janiero during the 60s, 70s and 80s, contrasting two kids "Rocket" and "L'il Dice".

L'Il Dice wants to make a name for himself amongst the hoodlums, becoming an ultraviolent gun-running drug dealer who rapidly eliminates the competition in the drugs trade.

Rocket eventually decides he wants to become a professional photographer, recognising from his own experiences and those of his family that Hoodlums have a short life expectancy.

The film concentrates on both the micro and macro aspects of the slum (Valeda) called the "City of God", and the fortunes of the kids who grew up together. It also brushes on the following generation, and their path into the continuing cycle of violence.

This film is a directing, acting and storywriting tour de force. Violent, emotional and heartwarming, it illustrates many of the causes and social consequences of the booming drugs trade in Rio.

The DVD also includes a documentary on the real life drugs war in the Valedas in Rio, giving a very balanced view and interviews to both sides. The hoodlums see themselves as protectors of the community, and as even the police chief points out, the hoodlum way of life pays far more than any conventional job available.
Many of the people there believe that the war will never end.

Seriously eye opening stuff, and if you can stomach the violence, a must see film.