Archive for the ‘BATTLING WITH EVERYDAY LIFE IN MODERN TIMES’ Category

LEGAL BASTARDS

July 27, 2015

LEGAL BASTARDS

(that’ll be the government then, for preventing access to any form of justice for most people by denying legal aid to almost anyone needing it )

or

The Legal Aid System and Access to Justice as Explained in a Letter to My Legal Aid Lawyer, who is unlikely ever to actually work for me at all in fact.

Dear Legal Aid  Lawyer

Concerning the matter of my buy to let landlord wishing to evict me within just two months  so he can sell his house, (more…)

USELESS SOFTWARE FOR APPLE IPADS

October 15, 2013

Written in exasperated desperation to Apple about their appalling software for iPads

 

I have been using Apple computers since about 1990 & I  currently use an iMac desktop with OS  10.6.8 & recently acquired an iPad for my 15 year old son to use at school.

 

Firstly I am annoyed that I should be within a 90 warranty period for telephone support, but seem to have been conned out of that. We have only been in possession of this iPad for a few weeks.

 

But, never mind. The real complaint is the appalling lack of intuitive functionality of the Operating System on the iPad. I am utterly disgusted. It is simply idiotic, unnecessarily primitive and totally unacceptable.

 

As a journalist I have been writing about computing since I first worked for  US hardware manufacturer  MAI as a public relations consultant in 1979.

 

Hardware in that time has advanced magnificently. Software functionality barely advanced at all and seems to have frequently gone backwards. Generally, all software is unforgivably lacking in intuitiveness and very badly written.

 

Bearing in mind that all life forms on the planet are coded by just four DNA letters and this produces such a large variety of extremely detailed, exacting, & precise instructions for very intuitively modeled complex life forms, it throws into sharp relief the utterly sloppy nature of software writing which provides such childishly un-intuitive software for computer users to use. It should be infinitely better than it is.

 

This message box, for instance, is irritatingly, unnecessarily too small – a very common (& stupid) problem.

 

But, back to my use of the iPad. I have so far spent hours groping around it’s pathetic software, trying to work out how to use it and with very limited success.

 

Focussing only on the last problem I was trying to deal with, which made me lose the will to live & at which point I had to just give up, was setting up email.

 

I wanted to add my son’s BT internet email account & did so. But somehow the address was quoted as @ icloud without explanation. At first it seemed to not send and receive, but then, apparently, relented as emails then appeared in both the account on the ipad & my desktop from where I had sent an email to the iPad.

 

Then, unaccountably, the ipad inbox became clogged with hundreds of old messages which had been long ago deleted from  the bt internet account. This would be nothing more than a slight annoyance if I was able to delete them. No chance of that though.

 

I can only delete them one by one (there are hundreds, remember) because for the life of me I cannot find out how to select all of them & then delete all of them in one go.

 

That it should be so difficult to find out how to do this very basic thing is ridiculous and appallingly unforgivable and typifies the problem with using nearly all other parts of the ipad Operating System.

 

And that  I should have to waste time by writing emails like this to beg you to tell me the hidden secret of how to make email work on your iPad is ridiculous.

 

That basic functionality like this is so hidden only goes to show your software is so poor is is simply not fit for purpose, which potentially is a cause for legal action in simple commercial terms.

 

Annoyed ? You bet I am. And not just about this one problem, but about the generality of bad software making it difficult for even the Apple technical support people to have the slightest idea of what they are talking about when having to deal with iMac OS software.

 

This relates to another problem I had about a year ago which completely defies belief. Apple accepted fault for this and even offered me a “free’ iphone in compensation which I have so far not bothered to collect as I just find it rather insulting really.

 

A RADICAL NEW WAY OF HOME OWNERSHIP

April 15, 2013

April 15  2013

I have an idea !

Well, actually, I partially nicked it from the Co-op movement. It is already up and running; I just want to do it bigger & better, so to speak.

I want to organise an alternative way of  both renting and buying a home. The idea would be to make it easier and cheaper to either rent or buy, completely bypassing the banks and other traditional mortgage lenders or private landlords.

It will almost certainly be a housing Co-op which would be a non profit making organisation with members having an equal say and equal voting rights in how it is run.

My ambition, ideally, is to set up an organisation which will ultimately attract money from Joe public (internet based crowdfunding ?) to assist it’s funding and it will tap the usual mortgage lenders available as well. As time goes on  the organisation will be able to build up it’s own capital and increasing funding abilities. The general aims are:

– To offer an infinitely more reliable and attractive rental model than the vagaries of the current private landlord  buy to let market, whereby tenants can choose to remain tenants on  exceptionally attractive terms compared  with what is currently available in either the private rental market or the social housing market, or they can become homeowners utilising only their rental history if that is their only source of funding.

– To enable tenants to become homeowners by means of using their rental incomes in an appropriate manner, probably exactly similar to a rare but existing model already set up by a housing co-op.

– To actively expand the organisation as far and wide as possible to make it very widely available – ultimately ideally throughout the country.

– To use marketing and publicity skills to do this in order make the public widely aware  of an alternative method of a more ‘user friendly’ concept of accessing housing, sweeping away much of the expensive nonsense which has been largely generated during the past few decades in both the rental market and the house purchase market.

The housing market, whether buying or renting, was utterly different sixty or seventy years ago. Since then layers of utter nonsense have been imposed on it, making it increasingly expensive to either rent or buy. Most of this expensive, restrictive & thoroughly poisonous nonsense has been driven directly and indirectly by the banks who have been the architects responsible for shaping the entire housing market as it currently stands.

Because of this the cost of buying a house has soared from about three times  a person’s annual income to about ten or eleven times today. Equally, rental costs have soared to unaffordable levels too. The only beneficiaries are really only banks and private landlords. All other classes of home occupiers are disadvantaged and will continue to be so until something changes this.

All this is only likely to get worse until the stranglehold of the banks on the housing market is broken. The only way this can be achieved is to provide the sort of alternative I have in mind, whereby, ultimately, funding for housing will be increasing taken away from the banks and put into the hands of existing homeowners and ‘Joe public’ who will find it attractive to place savings to be used to fund home purchase because their savings will be safer than with banks and return a higher amount of interest on any loans made for home purchase than the banks normally pay to savers.

It becomes possible to understand this can be done simply by imagining a private landlord setting up in business to borrow money to buy homes to rent to people and instead of the profit becoming  owned by the landlord, the profit is used only to expand the business and enable the tenants to both rent on far more attractive terms than elsewhere or to eventually own their own home.

I would wish to explore the possibility of turbo boosting what I have in mind by enrolling high profile help from others. Possibly, for example, certain existing housing trusts, charities and others to be considered in due course.

There are ‘social lenders’ out there who lend at low interest rates for housing purposes. And, interest bearing shares can be marketed in a ‘Community Land Trust’.

Is anyone interested in becoming involved in this ?

Here are some interesting web sites to have a look at.

Leave a comment if you might be interested in becoming involved in any way – either by becoming a member or just helping to organise it.

http://www.somerset.coop/landtrust

 

http://www.somerset.coop

http://www.uk.coop 

http://www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub

BEWARE LAZY & INCOMPETENT NHS DOCTORS

March 1, 2013

And a  food industry making us ill with processed and adulterated food as well as contaminating beef products with illegal horsemeat.

Having just looked up what exactly naturopathy is, I cannot necessarily claim to be a disciple, but my immediate thought was that nearly every medical intervention I have experienced at the hands of doctors has been a disaster, many being unwanted & unnecessary & with consequential damage.

My fault has always been to trust the superior knowledge of the doctors and it has only about now that I can pinpoint accurately many instances of them being just plain wacky and not actually applying proper science, but more their own personal and often misguided opinions based on their own prejudices. I no longer trust them at all !

The most serious problem they have caused is quite interesting as it applies to so many people.

Doctors insisted in brainwashing me from the age of about twenty into believing I had firstly a duodenal ulcer, then they morphed that into  a hiatus hernia causing acid reflux which after utterly mismanaging for several decades they said medicine had now advanced so much that an exciting new surgical procedure could solve the aggravations caused by acid reflux. I stupidly believed them & had the op –  a fundoplasty.

A year afterwards a camera peering down my oesophagus showed that, in the words of the surgeon, “there was no sign of the fundoplasty ever having taken place”. But meanwhile, what had been a manageable problem has now become worse in that the hacking around of tissue with a sharp knife  etc has resulted in some scar tissue  and distortion of the end of the oesophagus which now means acid trickles slowly out of my stomach the minute I lie down – even if I haven’t eaten for hours. This causes extreme pain and would burn a hole in my oesophagus & kill me within weeks, or in the longer term kill me with cancer. All this means I now have to rely on taking a magic drug every day which stops my stomach producing acid.

So, should I find myself suddenly marooned on a desert island without access to the drug I will almost certainly die in a short time period. I am condemned forever to rely on the availability of this drug, without which it’s curtains. Thank you very much doctors.

And the mean minded paucity of the “wonderful” NHS insists on only (more…)

FOOD INDUSTRY DECEIVES PUBLIC

February 13, 2013

February 13th 2013

Processed Food Can no Longer be Trusted.

Public Deceived on a Massive Scale by Food Industry says BBC Radio Four Today Presenter Evan Davies this morning as Horsemeat is Discovered in Many Processed Food Products.

What a surprise ! Horsemeat illegally in our food, cunningly and sureptitiously mixed in by criminals to many different types of processed meat products sold by supermarkets all over the country. There are serious worries too, that it may contain dangerous drug residues and diseases harmful to human health.

“We now have an industrialised food processing system” reports the BBC. Nobody checks what goes into all this processed food. Nobody polices it, the BBC continued, except the manufacturers themselves. These are the very people who make more money by adulterating our food with rubbish.

But this is only the smallest tip of a huge iceberg of bad, bad food sold to us all by every supermarket.

“Should we still be eating processed meat” says the BBC. “Is it time to admit that processed food can no longer be trusted”.

Actually it is no surprise to find Horsemeat and other rubbish adulterating our processed food because ever since supermarkets grabbed control of the food industry, forcing traditional, local food suppliers and shops out of business, they have been systematically destroying the quality of our food to satisfy their greed to make increasing profits.

I noticed recently that the horribly standardised, mass produced and basically revolting pate I bought at Sainsbury’s says in very small print which is almost impossible to see, that it contains only about 40 per cent of meat. The rest is basically rubbish, fillers etc. just to bulk it up. I no longer buy it; it is just too revolting.

Because this filler is produced in huge quantities, by the hundreds of tons in filthy, nauseating, disgusting industrialised food factories, it is used in all the different pates in the range. So I have noticed they all taste rather the same, whether they are labelled as duck pate or pork pate or mushroom pate or any other kind of pate etc.

The same is true of many, many other entirely different products sold by supermarkets. They try and make as many products they sell as cheaply as possible to satisfy their pathological greed to make ever more money out of us. To do this they constantly reduce the quality and amount of key ingredients and bulk things out with cheap fillers whenever they can get away with it. They con consumers with cheap marketing tricks and lies to make them believe the inferior products they sell us are OK, are worth buying.

Consequently, many of their products are just plain disgusting and bear absolutely no resemblance to the real, original product.

But they get away with all the time. And now they control nearly all food sales in the entire country, having destroyed the traditional food industry and put local shops out of business. Consumers now find it really difficult to find anywhere to buy quality produce from anywhere any more because the shops that sell it are becoming as rare as hen’s teeth.

The supermarkets have entirely destroyed our traditional food industry and are foisting utter rubbish onto us. People now grow up having no idea what decent, unadulterated properly produced quality food should actually taste like.

It is a scandal. The criminal dishonestly inflicted on us by horsemeat being illegally foisted onto millions of consumers all over the country by the supermarkets is just part of the regular daily rip off we all endure from these rapacious thieves.

What are we going to do about it ?

BAD AND BUREAUCRATIC STATE EDUCATION SYSTEM

December 14, 2012

To the Head Teacher of my son’s school.

 

from a parent exasperated with the appalling quality of State education  in the UK.

 

Dear Head Teacher,

 

With regard to the detention my son received for writing a ’cheeky’ comment when the IT ‘technician ’ logged him off the internet yesterday.

 

I spoke further at length to my son about this incident and I am unhappy about the issue as follows.

 

I understand that he is being punished for being cheeky and I have absolutely no argument with that, but I am unhappy about him being logged off the internet because it appears to have been ill considered, inappropriate and, perhaps, downright silly & bureaucratic if his explanations are correct – and they seem to be.

 

My son tells me that in the IT lesson he was required by the IT teacher to produce a powerpoint presentation, to include illustrations. This involved legitimately accessing the internet to acquire relevant images to illustrate the presentation.

 

He wrote the two words in the Google search box  ‘Troll Comic’ to specifically access an image he had previously seen which he wished to use for this presentation, the subject of which was racism. I questioned him closely about this and he showed me this image when I googled it and it is clearly exactly the right image that would be appropriate in my son’s mind to illustrate the presentation as he  explained to me. He told me it was a suitable cartoon image which clearly appeared to be a ‘black’ person and my son intended obtaining a similar type of image but illustrating  a ‘white caucasian’.

 

It was therefore quite wrong for my son to have been arbitrarily logged off the internet and the ‘technician’ should have had the common sense to enquire of him why he appeared to be just googling comics to apparently – in the mind of the technician – read them in a lesson which would have then constituted an inappropriate use of the internet. But the technician failed to do their job properly in this respect.

 

It is therefore quite understandable why my son thought this was stupid and was consequentially irritated. This triggered my son’s response of ‘cheekiness’ in writing a silly comment  – ‘stop watching me you pervert’ – as his natural response.

 

I have pointed out to him that he should have written a non-cheeky, more intelligent reply and perhaps bothered to explain why he had googled that search term. But he didn’t because children are immature and behave accordingly. He now agrees with me he was wrong  and that it was immature and he should have written a more mature comment which would have resolved the issue more intelligently.

 

My son also told me he thought it was always pointless trying to defend himself against ‘wrong’ disciplinary accusations from the school and he never did this because it had always been his experience that it just got him into even more trouble in the end – even if he had been blameless in the first place.

 

This is something he has often repeated over many years and different schools and I know of some past incidents whereby my son has been absolutely blameless about something, but ‘has accepted the rap’ rather than try and defend himself. I think this is wrong and demonstrates an inadequacy of disciplinary procedures and it was not the generally the  experience I remember as a child.

 

This demonstrates the law of unintended consequences which is probably the single most defining evil of bureaucracy and the stupidity of the bureaucratic mind.

 

When my son explained how the school has a system of ‘policing’ the internet by means of having a full time ‘technician’ sitting hunched up over a computer all day randomly monitoring any IT lessons or other computer access by pupils, I was, frankly, astonished at the waste of money this represents and the nightmare overtones of Orwellian surveillance and thinking and apparent need to battle with the pupils perceived remorseless disobedience in inappropriately accessing the internet.

 

It seemed to me inconceivable that the average private school would waste the cost of a full time salary in this manner, or that it would accept that pupils were so uncontrollable that this was the only suitable option.

 

I just found it offensive to see what I perceive as the sort of State type control freak bureaucracy being used to deal with an issue, as opposed to the more sane solutions used by the more sensible world of the non-governmental, non-State world which tends to do things more sensibly and effectively.

 

I would make the point that simply making efforts to physically prevent pupils from accessing the internet inappropriately is probably utterly pointless because while you can do this in  one  environment such as either school or home, this will merely encourage pupils to be even more determined to inappropriately access it elsewhere, such as friends houses, mobile devices etc.

 

It is quite obviously physically impossible to completely prevent pupils inappropriately accessing the internet for this reason and therefore it is simply pointlessly bureaucratic and actually more harmful in the longer term to waste time and money to effectively actually encourage pupils to do the very thing you don’t want them to do in the first place.

 

Like drugs, it can’t be stopped in this blunderbuss, mindlessly coercive & bureaucratic kind of way; only by properly educating people can appropriate behaviour be achieved.

 

 

The only way to prevent any form of ‘crime’ or inappropriate behaviour is to train  people’s minds to be moral and law abiding etc and not to seek to achieve this effect by force, fear or the violent and repressive coercion of authority, because this will almost certainly achieve exactly the opposite effect.

 

It has always been the responsibility of the teacher taking a class to ensure any pupil is not doing anything ‘inappropriate’ and to employ a third party ‘policeman’ sounds horribly Orwellian and 1984’ish – with these unintended consequences I mention which have been wasting money on a salary, wasting your time, the time of the class teacher, my time, and alienating the pupil and the parent, and generally leaving a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. All the typical consequences of bad management and bureaucracy.

 

Which is why I am writing this.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

From a  parent exasperated by the futile and bad management of State schools providing a lousy standard of education to UK children by the mindless pursuit of bureaucracy instead of getting on with the real business of genuinely trying to provide a decent education.

 

The State education system is idiotic, bad and utterly sub-standard in just about every respect and, like many parents I am completely appalled at it.