Monday, September 29, 2008

Just another day in Glasgow, Scotland

Scenes included a character being shot in the head at close range, a victim having bleach forced down their throat and a fatal glass attack.

Shocking violence, aired in a 3.30pm slot, also showed the charred remains of a man killed with a blowtorch and a man upside down with his fingers cut off.

Is it a documentary? No, far too tame for that.

The Financial Crisis Explained

On Wall Street, financial crisis destroys jobs. Here in Washington, it creates them. The rest is just details.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

US Virgin Islands

I'm chilling out for a few days in the US Virgin Islands. These were bought by the US in 1917 for $300 an acre to prevent the Germans getting their hands on them.

(There are also British Virgin Islands nearby. They are quintessentially British: to guarantee an authentic British experience, all visitors to the British Virgin Islands are greeted at the airport by a large, bald, semi-naked, drunken, tattooed man, who punches you in the face after asking "did you spill my pint?")

In the US Virgin Islands, driving drunk is a way of life. On St. John, there are only two roads, so it's impossible to get lost. Most of St. John is a National Park.

Some toilets eh? The $4 entrance fee is not being wasted! Ten coachloads of tourists can dump simultaneously here.

I sat through a few episodes of "Lost". I was amused to see St. John has its very own hatch!

Careful of the plantlife - these could bring tears to your eyes

The financial problems on the mainland have reached here - the St. John Stock Exchange has closed

What's a good laptop to buy?

I just bought a Lenovo T500 ($2000) with

- Core2 DUO T9400 CPU (2.53GHz)
- 160GB 7200 RPM hard drive
- Vista Business

I've heard people complain about Lenovo deliveries. This machine took 2 weeks to build and 1 week to ship, and arrived on the date originally predicted.

After using it for a couple of weeks, and comparing it with my previous machine, a Dell D620 with 2GB RAM, I can tell you I am delighted with the Lenovo.

Here are the highlights.

- Runs cool. Developing with the Dell, or watching videos, the fan was always blasting and it ran so hot that when an external monitor was plugged in, the image would shake. You rarely hear the Lenovo fan on the other hand and you can have the machine on your lap without being cooked.

- Runs fast. I have four or five instances of Visual Studio running, and switch between them, Word, and Firefox, with no delay at all.

- Well built. The Dell felt flimsy and poorly made. While the T500 does not feel as well built as a G40 and a T60 I had before, it is better built than the Dell. I broke out my 2004 era G40 recently while I waited for the T500 to arrive, installed VS 2008 on it, and although it was slow it performed faultlessly despite having spent most of the last 2 years under my desk gathering dust.

- Awesome screen. The display is beautifully clear and crisp.

The only problems? The 3 USB ports are too close together on the left hand side of the machine, as is the Ethernet port. If you are left handed cables hanging out of that side might get in your way. Fortunately I'm right handed.

Other than that and at the risk of sounding like a shill for Lenovo I think this is an absolutely outstanding machine and I am very satisfied with it.

How long does it take to rebuild a RAID array?

So at home I have a file server which consists of a 2005 era Compaq PC I bought from Wal-Mart for $300 with 192MB RAM and a AMD Sempron CPU.

For storage I added a Highpoint 1540/1640 RAID card driving a RAID5 array of 4xSeagate 400GB SATA drives. I have always liked Seagate drives. One of the drives was faulty on arrival and was replaced. The initial four drives have been operating on a 24x7 basis ever since. Now another has failed.

So how long does it take to rebuild this array?

Well, I started the rebuild at 6.30 PM on September 25th and I'm projecting it will take a shade over three full days - so should finish before Monday morning.

Businessman of the year award

Alan Fishman of WaMu, who was CEO for just 17 days before the company failed and was bought by JPMC, has walked away with a $19.1M payout.

Assuming he was on an eight hour day, that works out at $140,000 an hour.

Now that's a savvy businessman.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is this idiot still rambling about the War on Terror?

Bush : World must stand united against terrorism

So in the past eight years we've seen

- The US massively in debt
- Senior US government officials dissembling about torture, which is despicable no matter who is doing it to whom
- Illegal wiretapping on an industrial scale
- Detention without trial
- Kidnapping people and delivering them to foreign countries to be tortured
- Billions wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan and thousands of our best people either killed or condemned to spend their rest of their lives as hospital cases

And like a monkey on an organ, still this idiot is banging the same drum. Come off it George, "War on Terror" is _so_ 2002.

Can you not just go quietly into the night and reflect on how disastrous the past eight years have been for the nation and constitution you swore to defend?

Monday, September 22, 2008

It uses software built in Bangalore! It must be perfect!

Indian courts use brain scan output as evidence of guilt

How long till the bozos at the Committee for State Security realize this would be a perfect way to convict the beardies they have locked up at Gitmo?

Friday, September 19, 2008

War on Terror scores another victory

A woman in Scotland has been arrested under the Terrorism Act for walking along a cycle path

Keith Berry, the harbour master at Forth Ports Dundee, said yesterday that Ms Cameron had been seen as a “security risk”. Speaking about the incident, which took place in May, he said: “We contacted the police in regards to this matter because the woman was in a secure area which forbids people walking. It was seen as a security risk. We were following guidelines in requirement with the port security plan set up by the Government.”

So let's get this straight.


(A) We now have reliable intelligence that Bin Laden and his cronies cannot ride bikes
(B) The Dundee harbor master is a stupid cunt

Answers on a postcard, please!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Three Cheers for the French

Ordinarily I regard the French much as a mountain climber views a broken limb.

But I firmly believe in credit where it is due.

Therefore, this blog raises a hearty cheer, and clinks a couple of glasses of Chateau Lafite 1945, in the general direction of the 'Commando Hubert'. Now it doesn't sound as cool as 'Delta Force', but these brave lads jumped out of a helicopter in the red sea and retook a 2-man yacht which had been captured by Somalian pirates


There should be lots of decoy yachts off the horn of Africa, manned by Special Forces.

They could let the Somalians get within hailing distance and let them have it with everything they've got - M203 grenade launchers, RPGs, whatever. Or better yet, let them board and then cut them to pieces with a .50Cal machine gun.

The operations could be self funding - I predict that videos of these actions, if crisply edited, would top the Christmas bestseller lists in most countries.

And we'd be ridding the world of scum, who when they have made enough from piracy to afford the air fare, mostly wind up in London, living off the proceeds of state benefits and crime.

If these people did the Oscars, Paul Walker would get an Academy Award

At the regional World Travel Awards on Saturday, American Airlines was named the top North American airline, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was the top North American airport

JFK is actually collection of airports bodged together over the years, some falling apart, located miles out of town in an area verging on a war zone, constantly subject to bad weather, notable mostly for being a never-ending construction zone.

Despite stiff competition from fellow dinosaurs US Airways and United, American consistently rates the worst of all US airlines for punctuality. If and when your plane does finally take off, the interior likely looks like it's seen service as a troop transport. As for the staff, after years of layoffs, downsizing and benefit reductions, the only people remaining are those who are unable to find a job elsewhere. And let's face it, pushing a food cart down an aisle is no job for a grandmother, no matter how foul-tempered she may be.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The politburo's take on the Lehman debacle

For card-carrying dyed-in-the-wool leftie (is there anybody not fitting that description at the BBC?) Paul Mason the cause of the Lehman bankruptcy is simple. Ruthless exploitation of a politically voiceless minority. That's right - those fat cats were forcing debt down the throats of low income people like foie down the throats of a gras

That statement tells you everything you need to know about the BBC's world view, and the privileged upbringing of its correspondents.

The prat's even got in references to the destruction of the UK mining industry (not that he's ever been within 100 miles of a coalface) and the obligatory reference to so-called "global warming".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Institutionalized Stupidity

In the UK they have had sixty years of the state running education. This means that the children of the wealthy and well-connected, such as politicians (who introduced this system to promote 'equality'), get to go to fee-paying schools of high quality, while the children of ordinary folk are warehoused in vast establishments, watched over by graduates of the same system who can barely string two words together, until such time as they are old enough enter the justice system.

'Equality' is the watchword. Nobody is allowed to fail, succeed or be better or worse than anybody else. Because life's like that, right? Well it is socialism we're talking about - it just has to sound good and give lots of publicly funded jobs to boneheads. No matter whether it makes sense or not - the elite get their private schools anyway, and a huge generation of idiots ready for their leadership to rule over, who will believe anything they are told.

Sometimes the results of this institutionalized idiocy can be rather amusing, as in this case from the island of Crete. I bet the girl in this story couldn't find Crete on a map!

A teenager from Teesside has vowed never to drink again after a holiday cocktail caused her head to swell to the size of a football.

Corinne Coyle reacted to the 10 euro mixture of Baileys, chilli, tequila, absinthe, ouzo, vodka, cider and gin.

Funny that! I had a bit of a strange reaction the last time I downed a quart of carpet cleaner!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More research from the university of the bloody obvious

From this Times article about adultery

the paper also found that a woman calculates the cost benefits before hopping into bed with another man. She assesses his financial stability, education and fathering skills. A man, however, does not undertake such lengthy evaluations, say the researchers.

No shit, Sherlock! I believe the thought process is along the following lines:

  • Five minutes to spare? Check.

  • Breathing? Check.

  • Great wobblers? Check.

  • Not a close relative? Check.

  • Let's go!

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    "This procedure is attributed to a routine banking software update"

    I think this is the new "all your base are belong to us"?

    It comes from this email

    Dear BusinessDirect client,

    Security and confidentiality are at the heart of the Commerce Bank.

    Your details (and your money) is protected by a number of

    technologies, including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

    We would like to notify you that Commerce Bank carries out

    client details confirmation procedure that is compulsory for all

    our customers.

    This procedure is attributed to a routine banking software update.

    Please visit our Client Confirmation Page using the link below

    and follow the instructions on the screen.

    I have received three of these today with different bank logos in each!

    How can people still be so stupid as to provide their bank details in response to these emails?

    As for the people who send these, I'd just love the opportunity to drag one away from his terminal by the hair, and kick him in the bollocks! What a worthless bunch of pimples on humanity's anus. Rather like politicians.

    Sheer Brilliance from the Onion

    Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

    "Hang on! I count three things!"

    Vin Diesel Does it Again

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Bangkok: The world's most appropriately-named city?

    In the interests of research and in spite of the just-imposed state of emergency I thought I would take a trip to Thailand.

    Parts of Bangkok are amazingly advanced. When you arrive at the brand-new Suvarnabhumi International Airport, a stunning glass and steel edifice, for example, you are less inclined to throw around terms like "Third World", especially if you've passed through LaGuardia recently. A decent wind and most of New York's airports would fall down by themselves. And in contrast to Asia, the boot-faced staff at most US airports clearly missed their vocations as POW camp guards.

    Bangkok is full of construction. There are two rapid-transit systems both only a couple of years old. Take a trip down the Chao Phraya river and you see buildings like this

    and here, the Bangkok Peninsula. Ideal for all types of extracurricular nookie.

    I misheard, and thought this was called the Temple of Doom. It's actually Temple of Dawn.

    The deeply religious significance of this place was slightly undermined by the street vendor who pursued me, trying to interest me in buying a clutch of enormous wooden willies "for luck".

    In Thailand etiquette is very important.

    Presumably, Pearl herself is up for touching!

    As a farang (foreigner), it's critical to know your place.


    And NOT here:

    The statues talk, for instance, this one is saying: "Not more bloody tourists! And no, you'll have to try to grow a beard like this for yourself!"

    There is a real building boom going on in Bangkok right now. I did ask the COO of a large company here, what Thailand's economy was based on. She wasn't really all that sure, but Agriculture definitely figured in it. I hope things don't go pear-shaped for the Thais like back in 1997. Here's a building where they ran out of money back in 1997 and now people only live in the finished half!

    There are chic pavement cafes, like this one, almost Parisian in its ambience

    Speaking of food, this reminded me of how consultants tend to gather in large numbers around badly managed client firms, and all government entities.

    And with the whiff of trouble in the air, I bade farewell to Thailand

    Note: it's usually a bad idea to take photographs of soldiers and police, even in the US. I did this subtly. Also, of all the soldiers I saw guarding the Grand Palace, not one of their rifles had a magazine in it! Make of that what you will.

    As a final note, here are my main takeaways from my trip.

    1. English is not widely spoken. Assume anybody who has troubled to learn English is a scam artist until proven otherwise. Try to learn some Thai for yourself.

    2. Every time you visit a tourist attraction, people (including the guards/staff at the attraction itself) will tell you it is closed and to come back later. Or in the meantime, hand them your map and they will draw on the location of somewhere better... or, they'll hail a tuk-tuk for you and tell the driver how to get there. Ignore them! The place is most likely not closed, they are just trying to earn a commission from the proprietors of the other place.