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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 03:56pm on 09/06/2017
Why are hung parliaments greeted with the expectation that the large parties will do a deal with whatever small parties will make up their numbers? This puts undue power in the hands of fringe political movements (and associated pork-barrel politics).

Wouldn’t it make more sense for there to be an expectation that the two largest parties should do a deal, and hence find a compromise that matches the largest number of voters. We’ve had a National Government work for us before.
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 08:33am on 06/06/2017
We use a Harmony universal remote to control the hifi and TV at home. But recently the button to turn the volume up has stopped working.

I found the amp remote, put some batteries in it, and now I can turn the volume up. But the volume down button on the amp remote has stopped working.

Currently we need to use two remotes to control the volume; one to turn it up and the other to turn it down. So much for making life easier.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 11:03pm on 10/05/2017
Watching Doctor Who last weekend, it dawned on me that the fundamental problem with modern Who is not the nonsensical stories, the feeble characterisation of the Doctor, or the emotional outpourings. The problem is the 45-minute episode length. Barely has a story started before it is ending, and there is no space for middle, for development, for subplots, or for a change of pace.

The typical length of a classic Who story was four 25-minute episodes, giving a total story time of just over 90 minutes. Which is a far more natural length for visual drama.

Having watched the first four seasons of Elementary earlier this year, I came to the same conclusion. It would have been a significantly better television programme if there were half the number of episodes, and each was double the length.

I think the same goes for most televisual drama; we are stuck in the wrong format. The 100-minute length of television films is far better for story telling than the 45-minute length of episodic television.

Of course, in the world of Doctor Who we are spoiled with Big Finish creating a steady stream audio plays, many at the optimal length of between 90 and 120 minutes.
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 09:04am on 24/04/2017
My most frequent interactions with the NHS are collecting repeat prescriptions, for me and for the rest of the family. For the last few years I’ve used the pharmacy at our local Morrisons supermarket; it is friendly, efficient, has good parking, and most importantly, is open long hours. It cannot be overstated how important it is that pharmacy services are available in weekday evenings, and seven days a week.

The existing pharmacies in town — Boots, Lloyds — seem happy to collaborate rather than compete, and still close at 5.30pm. It took a new entrant to the market to add a better level of service.

This is private-sector delivery of NHS services, free at the point of delivery, and providing a better service that anything that has gone before it.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 09:37pm on 18/04/2017
Friend me on Nintendo Switch! My friend code is SW-5497-5999-8077

So far I mostly have friends from the office, but I must know more Switch owners than that.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 07:13pm on 18/04/2017
Two of the most poisonous political philosophies of the past hundred years are socialism and nationalism. I find it disturbing that many of our mainstream political parties can be identified, to some extent, as socialists (Labour, Green) or nationalists (SNP, UKIP).

I could never consider voting for such a party, although I’m sure that most of their politicians, members, and voters are well-meaning and don’t subscribe to the nastier side of their parties’ political heritage.

The only mainstream political parties without the taint of political evil are the Tories or the Lib Dems. Both, I suspect, will do very well in the forthcoming election.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 05:27pm on 18/04/2017
Televised leaders’ debates are bad, because they focus attention on party leaders rather than local candidates.

They’re bad because different parties stand in different parts of the UK.

They’re bad because there isn’t time for policy detail, and challenging questions.

They’re bad because they’re terrible, unwatchable, television.

So I’d be happy if they don’t occur, and wouldn’t watch them if they did.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 10:33pm on 10/04/2017
Well, that was a fine film.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 03:18pm on 10/04/2017
A Birmingham number — 0121 014 2875 — just called me, and told me that they were contacting me because of my recent road accident. This happens far too often, despite my number being on do-not-call lists. And of course I haven’t had a recent accident.

As usual, I told the caller that they should be ashamed of themselves, calling a number that they shouldn’t and telling lies. I told her how upsetting it would be to be called like this if we’d had an accident. And I told her that she should be ashamed to do such a job, and should reevaluate her life.

We got rid of our house phone a while ago, when I worked out that we were making and receiving approximately zero calls on it. Now I’m wondering whether the phone functionality of my mobile is worth the bother; I receive far more junk calls than real calls. Almost all of my real communication is done through FaceTime, Skype, or Slack.
location: St Andrews, Scotland
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posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 05:27pm on 07/04/2017
I subscribe to the Daily Telegraph web site. I’m a long-term reader of the paper, and although I haven’t picked up a physical copy in years, and it is now a feeble shadow of its former self, I still find enough premium content for the subscription to be good value. And I think it is important to pay content creators and service providers.

But they’ve started adding pop-ups telling me to turn off my ad blocker. I find it hard to describe how annoying this is. I’m paying them money, and yet they are nagging me to let them show me adverts that I don’t want to see. There is something very wrong with the world. And with companies driven by advertising.

(On a more positive note, I’m hoping that YouTube’s changes to disallow smaller channels from joining their advertising programme will mean that many fewer of the videos I watch online will have ads.)
location: St Andrews, Scotland



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