...sunny, sunny, Basrah...

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Want to lose weight? Not so fast, enjoy this bonus first.

Well, its been a while since I last wrote but I felt so enraged by the story above I felt I must.  If you read the article above and have anything to do with the health service, the military or any department that relies the governments small budgets to continue doing the best we can, then I can imagine you will share my rage.

Giving people money to lose weight?  Give people money to stop smoking?  What next, will the government paying my wife and I to go for a run?  Do I fill a form in to say I have been running and require a refund for spending my time away from the fridge or cigarettes and keeping fit?  Ridiculous.  If anything these people should be required to pay for their own treatment for allowing themselves to reach the state they are in.  Lifestyle choices are exactly what it says on the tin.  A CHOICE.  If these people have decided to eat/smoke and not take part in exercise or attempt to stop smoking then the choice has been made.  The government could put the money into schemes to help people and give them options, not simply pay them as an easy way out.

If they really want to impress those that work in the sector I'm sure they would prefer more nurses being trained to lighten their current hours.  Or a payrise (Or at least a pay freeze if cuts are coming) to help the nursing staff through a difficult times.  Another option would be to put the money into the current system for helping injured service personnel returning to full fitness, instead of allowing an independent charity do all the work required.

Or if all else fails, give the money to the MOD so they can distribute it evenly throughout those that require it to keep them alive in a warzone.

Rant complete.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Rise of another free rag?

The Financial Times, The Times, The Independent, all newspapers I love to read.  The FT providing news, nothing else.  The Times providing news with a side of culture and The Independent providing that little bit extra showbiz news compared to The Times, but not in a way that makes it complete tripe like The Mirror or The Sun.  Then again it could be even worse, blame immigrants for everything and claim a humungous number of things either cause or cure cancer.  For more information on this other piece of tripe please look for The Daily Mail.

The news today of The Independent being sold for just £1 (With various behind the scenes financial dealings) to London Evening Standard (LES) owner Alexander Lebedev made my heart sink a little.  Mainly because of the final line from the article above.

There is speculation that Mr Lebedev also plans to give away copies of the Independent titles for nothing.

Oh dear.  Have we got another Metro on our hands?  Another small newspaper that is read very loosely by very bored people on the train/tube and discarded once they leave the carriage?  After recently visiting London and picking up a copy of the LES, I don't feel we necessarily have that situation when it comes to a free version of The Independent.  The LES is a well written paper, especially for something that is free.  I am surprised though to see how many people seem to refuse the LES on the streets of London.  Compared to The Metro it is a free paper with some decent articles about your local area.  I just hope The Independent manages to hold on to its writers even though it could be going free.  However, I'm guessing my usual read of The Independent on Sunday won't be available from my local newsagents in the near future.

Now, back to The FT and its huge budget edition special. YZY998GVMQGG

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

All smoke and mirrors, signal, manoeuvre.

Disclaimer: I am not a smoker.  I have had the odd cigarette when rather stressed on detachments but never had a 'habit'.

What a ridiculous news story, but I don't blame the BBC as they are just reporting the calls of the Royal College of Physicians.

I'm with the RCoP on the calls for not smoking around children, why make them suffer for a choice you made?  As an adult you can ask the person driving/passenger in the car not to light up or to put it out before you get in, a child probably wouldn't say anything other than a bout of coughing.  But to ban it from cars completely?  Daft call, as it can't and probably won't happen.  Can you imagine a policeman pulling over a car of a 70 year old man, with his pipe, on his own, giving him an on the spot fine or a caution?

Don't get me wrong, if you have children in the car there is no way you should smoke anyway.  Regardless of any planned laws in the future.  Thats common sense, then again some people in this modern day seem incapable of displaying such sense.  What happens in your car is generally your own business and up to you.  I understand the rules on mobile phones and congratulate the law for it being passed, but smoking being banned?  Whats next? A policemen pulling me over because I have an old BigMac box on the backseat?  Its presence there adding to global warming because it is adding more weight to the car, therefore reducing my MPG and also being wasted in the big picture as it hasn't been recycled yet?

I commend thee for trying Royal College of Physicians, but I can't see you getting the victory you want.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Being detached from your iPhone

I am a little worried.  I'm off to a hot, hostile and sandy place soon.  Its not the place that's worrying me though, Its stemming my boredom that is worrying me.  If I'm bored at the moment I will whip out the iPhone and have a read of a few passages of Sherlock Holmes, throw a few long ones in Madden 10, destroy a few structures in Crush The Castle, or just simply catch up with the latest news, stocks and reports with the fantastic Financial Times app.  But when I reach this hot, hostile and sandy place I will be iPhone-less as all mobile communications are banned. An option would be to buy an iPod touch, but then when would I ever use that back in the UK?  The big question is, what did I do before iPhones?

Now I can take my MacBook, but there is only a certain amount of Civilization 4 you can play before you go mad.  There are only a certain amount of 'diaries' you can write before you go mad.  There are only a certain amount of scathing email/forum posts/books you can write before someone in the chain of command looks at it and says 'Stop that'.  So I need some creativity ideas to keep me going for around 10 weeks.  The gym will be used fully during that time but I would like to do something to help pass the slow moments, the moments away form the aircraft when it's all nice and calm.

All else fails, smuggle the phone out and leave it on airplane mode.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Excitement building, but who will buy?

As the excitement builds for the big 27th Jan announcement, most if not all are expecting to see the first real images/video/Jobs holding of the (Name hasn't grown on me yet) iSlate.  The (unknown) spec of the (potential) iSlate means you will be able to watch videos, play music, iPhone/Touch games/apps, play mac games...the list seems endless.  But the big question is, who will use it over a laptop? Or as well as a laptop?

I don't want to piss on the big Apple fire (as if they are bothered anyway), but I'm just not convinced this will change the way we use our laptops or computers.  I cannot imagine what type of person will use the iSlate in the current rumour form, unless we're looking at rich business chaps who just find that an iPhone just isn't big enough.  I expect to see an abundance of people using them on trains in the next few months but I also expect to see the police issuing statements saying 'Take care of your iSlates'.  I expect to see people making all sorts of apps that utilise its amazing features,  but I expect to initially be fairly 'Meh' about it all.

Then again I was exactly the same about the iPhone, I couldn't see how Apple could change something that had been working so well for so long and revolutionise something.  Well, they did it and my god they did it well.  Maybe I will change my views on the potential iSlate, but for the time being, I'm not convinced.

Mac Gaming

A long time ago I used to be a big fan of gaming.  So big it used to take up most of my evenings, into mornings then most of the afternoon.  The days of sitting in front of an Amiga 500+ with SI Games - Champ Manager loading for hours on end are long gone.  Playing Legend Of Mir for so long my hands and wrists began to ache.  No longer do I spend 4 hours asleep and 20 hours gaming.

We now jump to the present day.  After various PCs, laptops, Xbox and Xbox 360's being played constantly I find myself owning a Macbook.  It was purchased 12 months ago and sees me rather restricted on my games.  But should that be the case?  Gone are the days of Macs being purely for image, video and music editing, the machines have become much more than that.  A user friendly, crash free (99% of the time), beautiful looking and fast loading beasts.  Beasts that game developers and publishers don't seem to be harnessing.

Blizzard have shown that Mac gamers are also part of their ever expanding empire.  The fact you can download a Mac client of World Of Warcraft and receive second to none support when its required.  Diablo 2 and its expansions were all Mac compatible, long before the days of the Macbook and the trendy image Apple now portray.  CCP have also joined the party and developed a Mac client for Eve Online (A current game of mine).  EA releasing The Sims phenomenon onto the Mac has only boosted their sales.

Now I'm no game developer or designer, however I know how to make money.  You have to hit the market hard and open it to all avenues.  So with games developers spending huge amounts on games that are full of graphical pleasure and no gameplay (FarCry 2 with its annoying 'You're in my radius' drone enemies coming in a straight line for you), how about they look at getting some people in to develop these games for the Mac?  I'm not saying they will solve the gameplay issues, but they will take some of the budget away from stupidly good looking scenery and add more heads to the storyline/gameplay.  You already have Virtual Programming Ltd and Feral Interactive doing their best to port games over, why not get these guys in during the development stage and make the games cross platform?

I'm not saying Macs will take over the world, I'm not saying that the Mac should be a gaming platform, but what I am saying is that I would love publishers to take the leap and get these top titles out on the Mac as well as PCs.

Now, time to try and get Star Trek Online working via Bootcamp...