Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Don't tell me you've got it bad!

I'm a regular reader of Oddee.com and they've posted an item called "8 of the World's Most inspirational People" today. Each of the people who are featured on this page are truly inspiring. Ben Underwood who could "see" with his ears, Patrick Henry Hughes who is a virtuoso musician who cannot see, Sean Swarner who has repeatedly beaten the odds to survive several bouts of cancer and Jessica Cox who was born without limbs,but gained her pilot's licence, Nando Parrado who along with 16 others survived 72 days in freezing conditions in the high Andes and Randy Pausch who suffering from pancreatic cancer made an impact on so many people with his talk on how he accomplished the thing in life he wanted to do.

One however stands out for me and that is Australian Nic Vujicic. He to my mind deserves pride of place at the top of the page because of his attitude to life. With all the so-called problems I have, they pale into insignificance against any of these people and Nic in particular. He was born without limbs and had to learn to live without them. I will eventually lose the use of mine and have to do the same.

Please watch this video and then visit his website at


Friday, 17 July 2009

We don't care! We're Google! We're the Web!

Actually, no you're not.
What you are is a company that seem to want to emulate Microsoft's sales division.

To what am I referring?


Someone somewhere within the corporate nightmare that the company has become has decided "Hey we can give everyone Google Chat - whether they want it or not!" And before anyone responds, "but you can disable it!" yes, you can... but you can't hide it!

I suppose what's worse than this is that person - in their infinite wisdom/stupidy (delete as appropriate) has decided to move the tabs from the top to the side of the page, thus making the layout awkward - to say the least.

A point here people! Not everyone out here in Webbyland has super splondicious 16 x 9 widescreen monitors yet and have to put up with old-fashioned fuddy-duddy 4 x 3 instead!

PLEASE! - give people a choice or you are going to find a lot of people no longer using iGoogle!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

How I hate the night.

Have you any idea what's it like to walk around as if you're drunk all the time?

I am now suffering from yet another auto-immune problem (those of you who have seen my diabetes blog may be up to date with this) which means that my spinal cord is losing it's insulation - known as myelin. This is turn results in some inflamation around where the problem exists.

So how does this relate to the title of this post? .... Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Marvin constantly complains of having a terrible pain in all the diodes down his left side. I now constantly have what I can only describe as an "un-pain" down my right side.

The title of the post comes from a song that Marvin composes at one point where his life is particularly sour:

"Now the world has gone to bed,
Darkness won't engulf my head,
I can see by infrared,
How I hate the night."

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
Try to count electric sheep,
Sweet dream wishes you can keep,
How I hate the night.

Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Marvin the Paranoid Android's "dolorous ditty", composed after being attached to the Krikkit War Computer.

Whether his pain is similar to mine, I cannot say.

I describe it as an "un-pain" because it isn't really like any other feeling I've experienced. It is essentially an absence of sensation, but it has all the mental overtones that pain would normally give - there is discomfort, there is the inability to find anywhere comfortable to alleviate the feeling. What is worse is that pain killers do not relieve it.

Because the inflammation results in anything from minor numbness to having my foot stop working at any one time. It is startling to say the least to be walking along perfectly normally then suddenly lurch sideways as your right leg either doesn't go where you were expecting it to go, or just not support your weight correctly.

I've taken to carrying a walking stick at the moment. How much of it's aide is physical and how much is psychological is debatable, but it does seem to help.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Your targeting is Off!

"The farce is strong in this one."

So Phorm could be getting the push - businesswise - with British Telecom's decision to ditch their part in Phorm's Webwise product. I would suggest that since they were the major partner in the entire project - if not holding Phorm's purse strings, at least holding their wrists - pulling out at this stage means it's unlikely that either Virgin or TalkTalk will take up the baton in the UK.

As being the type of person who considers web advertising as a necessary evil, actually having my browser awash with badly targeted ads as it is (Google ads anyone?) is enough already!

The "personal privacy" brigade have got it slightly wrong - these people are interested in your browsing habits, not you in particular. What they're really interested in is the big advertiser's budgets and how much they can screw out of these people.

Think on this, how can these companies prove that it's Phorm's software actually boosting their sales as against any other fluctuations in the market? They can't. All that can be proved is that a certain group of people visit these particular sites at anyone time. However, having something sitting in the back-office part of your ISP's system, trying to second-guess what you are looking for is not a good idea, for several good reasons.

One, if your are as mercenary a browser as I am, I'm not interested in the same old thing, day after day. I want my browsing experience to be fresh every time: all that Webwise will do is make my experience stale and uninteresting.

Two, how are the ISPs and Phorm going to ensure that the data they collect/intercept is secure? Let's be honest, there's a lot of hackers out there that would find it very easy to put hooks in this software to harvest the personal details of the ISP's customers, especially when these people are making on-line transactions of any sort, encrypted or otherwise. When you register with a site of anything, it's your browser that holds the passwords. Unless the site uses Secure Server authentication, that password is sent in plain text.

Phorm? No thank you. It'll just turn into a phisher's paradise.