Common sense analysis of this, that and the other

Archive for January 2009

We’re not in a recession…

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…we’re in a correction. And it’s a biggie. Unlike the actual recessions of the 1970s and 1980s that came about as part of an approximate 11 year cycle, the current correction covers more than just matters fiscal. Yes, the dubious investments helped bring about the current financial woes, but it also (thankfully) exposed flaws in other areas of life and society – everywhere! Any entity built upon a lie or unstable foundations will eventually collapse or be forced to re-boot. It’s not all bad news, we just messed up in some areas and need to make ammends.

Lack of credit had pulled away the supports that propped up businesses that should have adapted or died earlier. For example, a major high street music and video store here in the UK is shutting up shop. How did they expect to compete against online media and ‘survive’ as long as they did? Another sold trashy goods that can be purchased in other more versatile branded supermarkets or online. The branded coffee shops are suffering too – no wonder, £2 for what would buy a months worth of ground coffee. No surprise people are in debt, that’s over £500 a year! A dumbing down of youth (in particular here in the UK) has lead to a whole generation of people who lack the intellect to create anything with value to themselves or society. And with nothing to sell, our nation is forced to raise ‘taxes’ through collective punishment of the middle classes (very very dangerous) with insipid fines and pointless (& sometimes callous) politically correct laws or attitudes. High street banks have imposed crippling fees on consumers for minor oversights. Said fees cause cheques or direct debits to be returned which in turn sometimes incurs a fee, causing things to spin rapidly out of control. So the bank is swimming in consumer fees, but the consumer has no money to spend and oil the wheels of the economy! We have also spent the last 50 to 60 years being sold products that are not only pointless, but over the long term exceptionally damaging to our health and that of the planet. For example, everyday household cleaning goods, industrial pollutants, medications and more collect in our bodies, groundwater and oceans. Deteriorating environment aside, all the resultant weird and unwonderful illnesses effecting people of all ages today are costing our health services and/or individuals a fortune – if one may set asside the suffering for a moment. The media exaggerate everything too, for example, a day after I made this post (this is an addition), snow covered much of the UK and the press made it out to be a disaster, when in fact, it’s fun (for kids and kidults like me), clears the air, looks lovely and happened frequently a decade and more ago. And if America can keep going in 5 feet of snow, we can handle a foot or less. We were given plenty of notice by the weather forecasters. Finally, we have failed to invest (on a Manhattan Project scale) in practical, commercially viable and efficient alternatives to a carbon energy based economy. If we have, when – and where?

Why did this happen? Greed and lack of vision aforethought. Basically, we’ve made a number of naive or nefarious decisions, depending on who we are. So, we’re in a complete mess and are now going to be forced to think carefully, plan wisely and act with an affirmation and confidence before losing the resources and guidance necessary to complete the tasks at hand.

Fight back club: Banks, think about lending to viable businesses that generate capital assets from effort and intellectual property – not consumers who want a nice sofa or plasma TV that devalue the moment they are purchased. People, consider studying science and technology in depth and work towards a solar economy based on market driven concepts. Try to wean yourself off buying all those plastic and processed goods. You don’t need it. Use honey instead of sugar to help save the bees – it’s good for you anyway. Avoid dwelling on the past or allowing those with interests in it to attempt to stop you. These are the essential corrections that will get the ball rolling.

“I think we agree, the past is over”
– George W. Bush

On the food front, Jamie Oliver is doing much to improve things and his efforts to replace crapfluff with goodstuff are paying off already. Way to go.


Written by Oflife

January 31, 2009 at 11:27 pm

This man is spot on

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Hard to believe this is published in The Independent, but it’s very true.

(Dear WordPress, Why can’t we include hyperlinks in posting titles?)

Written by Oflife

January 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Capitalism, Economy, Finance


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Last night I was in a particular Sainsbury’s supermarket here in wet and widny Oxford. As usual, I exchanged pleasantries with the happy bubbly Caribbean checkout ladies that are a welcome end to lining up with the regular throng of students whose only purchase appears to be six packs of lager, white bread and large bottles of fizzy drinks. (The stuff brains are made of.) Anyway, last night, the check out girls were especially bubbly – chatting amongst themselves while blindly scanning brain fuel. I asked the bubbly one scanning my produce “Was it Obama?”, she beamed back, “Yes!” with an enthusiasm so rare in this dull grey hopeless country. I felt genuinely happy for her.

Whilst in the US I got the impression that African Americans do not really feel part of ‘the system’ or feel represented ‘at the top’ – despite any token appointments.

Whether or not President O delivers salvation to the world, his election means a huge amount to a people who feel a connection to his chocolaty half, and let’s just hope that while Obama may not carry out any changes (America is already extremely ‘PC’ and opportunities do abound for people of all types, else how would he have got in?), The President will finally provide a role model and incentive for those who have felt downtrodden or ‘out of place’.

I am not sure if I am explaining myself very well here, but those who comprehend the way African Americans feel will probably understand.

As a footnote, in the US, politicians (currently) play a far less important role in everyday life than here in Eurasia distopia. It is a country where you are expected to weave and tie your own bootlaces – or at the very least, if you are given or born with bootlaces, tie them for as long as you are able. Here, your boot laces are tied for you by the state. (Not a good idea.) So, let’s hope O’s appointment doesn’t lead to complacency on behalf of the populace, but rather, way more weaving and tieing of boot laces by the people with the confidence that the beneficiaries of said hard work are of the same ilk. (And being The President is half and half, everyone can feel satisfied!) Perhaps this will finally lead to that ‘hope’ that Obama has mentioned once or twice of latte.

Fight back club: Give the new Pres a chance to motivate by example – because that’s true trickle down incentive. (That you can believe in!)

To the conservative reader, yes, there is a concern that some nafarious nations or causes may exploit any apparent niave libralism, but chances are, he’ll be disuaded before too much harm is done. Checks and balances…

Update: This more recent article goes a lot further in explaining my point. © 2009 Newsweek, Inc.

Written by Oflife

January 22, 2009 at 1:52 am

Posted in Politics, USA

Crazy runway idea

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What a co-incidence, just after posting about one runway, a rather brilliant pilot improvises another one! Nice to have a good news story amongst all the doom and gloom.

This water born landing has just proven that if you get it right (speed, angle of descent etc) it is possible to land a heavy, complicated machine on water without it falling apart – in particular if any items liable to ‘catch’ (such as the undercarriage) were retracted. The engines are (apparently) designed to break off on impact.

What if we turn large aircraft into ‘sea’ planes and build special water runways that were surrounded by windbreaks to keep the surface calm? One major pro of water is that it does not require re-surfacing and likewise imposes no wear on things making impact with it. I’m busy now, but will post some further ideas and thinking on this after doing some research. With birds being more common around water, there may be some problems with this idea. After all, it was birds that bought down flight US 1549. Hmm…

Fight back club: Think about the idea. In the mean time, here’s to Sully(3rd), the first real proven role model for us all in years! No hype, no reality TV, just real world action!

Written by Oflife

January 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Heathrow Runway 3

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Having opposed this from the start, it is no surprise however to see that matters fiscal are being put over human rights (ever lived under a flightpath?), logistics and clean air. The visionary and environmentally better suggestions from Mrs. Thatcher (where’s common sense when you need her?) and Boris Johnson to locate an all new airport in the Thames Estuary are just what this country needs. An exciting venture that will not only create even more jobs than R3, but provide major opportunities for architects, planners, designers and those in the construction industry – while at the same time, relieving the people of London of a messy noisy poluting uninspiring airport held together by ducktape and cardboard.

The land where Heathrow sits today could be turned into a huge wildlife park including a sport and recreation centre – away from the polution of central London – and not too far from Windsor and other places of interest.

Fight back club: Buy or donate to causes that are buying land to block construction work.

Sadly, as per my prior posting, I am not confident R3 opponents will win. Britain has lost all concept of vision and good sense, so will continue to become a really nasty place to live and aspire.

Written by Oflife

January 15, 2009 at 11:42 am

Posted in Economy, Politics, Transport

Just a reminder…

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…of this hot issue – before it is too late. The Gord really is insecure.
©  2009, The Independent

Fight back club: Simple really, don’t communicate electronically on matters that if you discussed privately in person you would not really want others to know of – even if the subject of said communications was innocent banter. Oh, and write to your MP if you are worried about this. Else, if you’re a subservient Brit (like most alas), who enjoys being in the hands of an untrusting government, go about your day.

I for one have given up with regards to the UK and shall no longer be posting on this matter. I believe that evil is currently winning with regards to propaganda and the general direction of the world. I’m an optimist, always searching for solutions to make things better, but at present, things are spiraling depressingly out of control.

Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

Written by Oflife

January 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

An example of outstanding design

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If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, download the USA Today app. Like the Bloomberg app, it is a showcase for how Apple’s iPhone OS makes navigating and exploring content a pleasure. Kudos to Mercury INTERMEDIA who created the app for USA Today. It really does harness the iPhone OS well – including a slick picture browsing feature. It is the natural intuitive manner in which these apps function that leads me to strongly believe (as I posted on MacRumors the other day) that Apple, Inc. should (yes really!) take an industry shaking paradigm shifting flame waring step and scrap OS X desktop edition and instead create a range of devices based on an improved version of the iPhone OS running on larger models of the iPod Touch. The versatility, quality and processing power of the iPod Touch (V2) is incredible, it even runs a flight sim (X-Plane) that allows you to fly an Airbus 380 if you like – and it’s all very realistic and smooth. I emphasize the iPod Touch, not the iPhone because we all know deep down in out digital hearts that P2P wireless is the future, not being held hostage by the musty old air time providers who have about as much relevance to the future as b’oil.

If ‘Macs’ and ‘PCs’ operated as does the iPhone OS (itself based on OS X) the productivity of humankind would increase significantly overnight due to the intuitive and efficient nature of the interface and the robustness of the firmware.

Here is what we need – and yes, I would like us to develop this, but I don’t think we’ll get there:

To start, 7″, 9″ & 12″ dockable ‘iPad’ models, including:

  • Magnetic clip on mechanical keyboard that can be left behind if need be (I have the design in my head)
  • Faster graphics processor for running power user apps on the larger screens
  • Proper gesture based GUI
  • Multitasking and all the other items missing from current iPhone OS
  • A more open networking architecture, including Bluetooth/WiFi/4G P2P connectivity
  • E-INK display for ease of reading in sunlight and less eye strain in low light conditions
  • Wireless charger/dock, like the fabulous new Palm Pre
  • Video out for driving a larger display – effectively, the iPad would become a dockable CPU when at the desk

Just imagine operating apps like Garage Band, Photoshop, Excel/Numbers using your finger and/or a stylus – with the benefits of multitouch? For Apple to enhance OS X desktop edition to emulate the iPhone OS will be a lot harder than scaling iPhone OS up to desktop. Look at what Google are doing with Android.

It is much easier to squeeze a little ship into big bottle!

Fight back club: Buy an iPod Touch & a Mac Mini, not a MacBook – they almost suffice as a pair and Apple may get the clue. Despite looking sweet and being built to last, the new MacBook Pro models are way overpriced and exactly not what is required in an age of cloud computing and fiscal responsibility.

This is a controversial comment, but I have always believed that affordable gesture based ‘computing’ to be the way forward and that the industry got it all wrong from the start.

Written by Oflife

January 12, 2009 at 12:21 am

Introducing my first ‘campaign’…

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…yes, we face threats to the environment, the beginning of ‘the final conflict’ in the Muddle East, financial meltdown, solar radiation threats (quite serious actually), crazy weather, loss of wildlife, and a rather depressing outlook in general. But rather than solve those problems immediately, I thought it worth testing my ability to bring about change by dealing with a less important issue, but one that is kind of related. After all, many of our current woes have been bought about by deception and a general lack of truth, from financial screw ups, a diet rich in simple carbs, dangerous cleaning fluids and pointless ‘medications’ that seep into our water supply to other ‘crap’ that to be blunt, we never needed in the first place!

The issue? My favourite company, ( here), offers many useful everyday items that are way overpriced in the high street – such as USB cables, SD cards and much more – for prices that appear fantastic! However, as we all know by now, this is all an illusion. Order an SD card for example, and while you may pay £1.95 ($3.00 approx) for the item, the ‘shipping’ charge will be between £2 and £5! Huh?

If you put several SD cards into an envelope and post them firsty classy, it will cost you less than 50p at the very most. And they WILL arrive the next day.

Yesterday we ordered four of these. Yet only AFTER paying £8 in shipping (yes, eight quid), I have been informed they will be delivered between the 10th and 14th of January. Why not the next day? There was NO notification of charges or delivery date BEFORE the final step. Yes, the final price was confirmed before the order was processed, but the delivery date was not specified until after – on the order tracker within Amazon’s account control panel.

Fight back club: Can anyone who wishes to bring an end to this naughtyness post below so I know there are other angry buyers (beyond the masses who post on the actual Amazon site) – and I will then organise a petition and drop a line to Amazon using old fashioned print media. For my part, this will be our final order from Amazon until they rectify the situation.

Amazon really are/were my favourite company. Their business model, service and sensible use of technology has been exemplorary – until this issue that may well be due to their partners, but Amazon are ultimately responsible for who and what they promote. Jeff, my hero? Are you listening?

Written by Oflife

January 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm

This morning…

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…I went to play ice hockey on a large frozen flood plain. (An awesome experience.) On arrival at the car park around 8am, I discovered approximately 10 cars that had been broken in to. The lack of overnight snowfall under the cars indicated they had been there all night. Just as I was preparing to leave this morning people began to return from their Christmas and New Year break. It was very distressing for them to return from the holidays to find their belongings trashed or stolen. (Of course, leaving valuables in a car is madness, but just the invasion of ones space/property is heart breaking enough.) Here in Oxford, where parking is almost impossible for a lengthy period of time, one is forced to park out of the centre of town.


Just two of the ten or more vehicles that had been broken into overnight

My question is this, if the police are to be given powers to spy on our computers, and Oxford can afford to flood each neighbourhood with blue coated traffic wardens at dubious hours (I see them on the streets at 10pm) in what is in my opinion yet another infringement of consumer privacy, why don’t they patrol the car parks or why doesn’t the council install CCTV in the car parks? The latter would be one application of CCTV where no one’s privacy will be infringed – except that of the thief or thieves.

Fight back club: Contact your council and suggest such common sense changes. Shall I start the ball rolling?

Written by Oflife

January 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm

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