Soup and cappuccino at Krema

October 22, 2016


I was pleased to find, now the weather has turned cold, that soup is back on the menu at Krema.

Excellent tomato and pepper soup, with a I think they said Wenslydale cheese. Big chunk of bread. Generous portion size.

A trip to the butcher, then back for a cappuccino and flapjack.

I noticed cascara on the board. I asked. Yes, it was a new addition.

Krema serve as tea, in a tea pot. Contrast with Coffee Lab who prepare and serve cold.

Afternoon in Farnham

October 22, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

Pleased to find soup in Krema. Popped to the butcher, then back again for a coffee.

The greengrocer opposite, which closed some months ago, a sad loss to Farnham, now a shops selling home furnishing tat.

A cold day.

Phileas Fogg travel app for Ayia Napa and Protaras

October 22, 2016
Phileas Fogg travel apps

Phileas Fogg travel apps

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded and had a play. I was not impressed.

Who wants an app that is advertising?

If being generous, a directory of generated content for which the contributor pays.

50,000 downloads has been claimed. Not true. 1000 downloads for Android. If we assume same for Apple, then a couple of thousand downloads.

But even if 50k, how many would see as worthless and delete?

The glowing reviews appear to be fake. No way is this a 5* app. And the names are all Greek, reinforcing impression of fake reviews

If assume a thousand downloads, five months May to September, that is omly 200 per month.

If nothing else, explains why no one has seen or heard of.

And of the thousand, myself and a couple of friends account for three.

Design is bad. Like something from the digital Dark Ages. And why lump together Ayia Napa and Protaras? These are two distinct areas and municipalities.

No mechanism that I can see for businesses to add content.

Very strange and suspicious someone going round selling content. Even more so a presentation, well actually hype, to which local businesses were invited.

Not the norm for apps. Spread by word of mouth or articles and reviews.

How would anyone learn of existence? From other businesses? Why would they direct to rivals?

To find places?

Let us assume at Windmills Car Hire. Do you say download app to find a coffee shop? Or do you say go to end of road, turn down opposite Nicolas Tavern to Fig Tree Bay, find on the left excellent Miyu Coffee, and next door excellent Nia Boutique?

Similarly, why would Windmills tell clients to find on app, when any information they require they can obtain direct by asking whilst in the office?

On the other hand to suggest follow us on twitter makes a whole lot of sense, as can then keep clients informed.

Categories are bizarre.

Coffee includes anywhere and everywhere serving coffee. Not restricted to coffee shops.

Fusion is Lemongrass, pan-Asian, all of everything, all of nothing, bearing little if any resemblance to the dishes the countries are claimed to come from. Fusion is not Olympus on the corner opposite Nicholas Tavern, they are Greek-Cypriot and international.

For Windmillls, maybe worth throwing away 75 euros, recovered with one car hire. For a coffee shop, a lot of coffees to sell.

Who is going to use an app to find somewhere to eat rather than simply walk down the street and see for themselves? Who is going to trawl through advertising? Who is going to trawl through advertising for Ayia Napa when they are in Protaras or vice a versa?

Businesses are already on the edge. Extra cash outflow is not going to help.

This will do nothing to halt let alone reverse the collapse of the tourist industry.

Far better is to establish a network of quality business. Find one get directed to others.

This travel app is something a kid could have knocked out over a weekend.

TripAdvisor does a far better job, with the caveat be very wary of fake reviews.

UPSat: The first open source satellite

October 21, 2016

At Libre Space Foundation all our projects (currently Sat NOGS & UPsat) are open source hardware and libre software. We consider it our mission to develop, advance and promote open source technologies in space applications. All our work was, is and will be open source. — Eleftherios Kosmas

As I often explain to people, capitalism ended in 2008.  We are now in a postcapitalism phase.

As Paul Mason explains in PostCapitalism, we have waves 50 years long. Mercantile Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, Financial Capitalism.

As David Graeber explains in Debt, we have mush longer waves, pre-classical period, classical period, Middle Ages, Capitalism.

We are now in a period of transition.

The market self-corrects or so we are told.

The market did not self-correct for the banks and they had to be bailed out.

Price gives a signal on the market.

Cost according to classic Marxism, has has three components, labour, land (raw materials) and money.

We can now add a fourth factor, information.

Information flows freely, the cost tends to zero.

We see this with e-books, digital music.

If there is zero price, there is no signal in the market, the market cannot function.

We think of markets and capitalism as the same, we use interchangeably. As David Graeber shows in Debt, they are not the same.

During this period of transition we could have many different outcomes.

Serfs working for apps, is one possibility. Uber, task rabbit, Deliveroo, atomised workers  bearing all the risks and capital costs, working for a  pittance, bidding against each other in a negative auction,  often working for less than the minimum wage.

Or bullshit jobs,  McJobs, mindless, deskilled jobs, workers cheaper than robots.

Or we  could have open source, sharing, open coops, collaborative commons.

We have open source software, designers contribute for free, the software is available for free. The Hive in Dalston. There are are open source cars, tractors.

We now have an open source satellite,  UPSat, Greek QB50 cubesat, which the Greeks have just delivered. Open source software and hardware. A Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft will deliver UPSat to the International Space Station.

Launched earlier this week, the Cygnus supply spacecraft en-route to the International Space Station after a successful launch of Orbital ATK‘s Antares rocket. It’s next launch, scheduled for the 30th of December, will carry UPsat, the first open hardware and first made in Greece satellite to the International Space Station.

Do we want the future of UPSat, collaboration, sharing, free flow of information or one of atomised workers working as serfs for apps?

The choice is ours.

Afternoon in Guildford

October 21, 2016
Angel Inn

Angel Inn

Over half an hour late getting to Guildford, as the sick bastard guard on the fast train thought it a great joke to leave passengers stranded. Then further delay waiting to buy a ticket at Guildford as the guard on the slow train could not be bothered to walk through the train to collect fares.

But at least an excellent cappuccino by Chase at FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station.

Too late to eat. Ended up at Thai takeaway at top of High Street, but did not mind as their food is great.

On my way I popped in Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage and had a chat with the owner. She owns both.

She now closes Friday afternoon. Too costly to remain open, employing five staff. They also closed a month in the summer. Sadly a sign of the times, everyone struggling.

I mentioned to her the pop up shops opening in shipping containers in Guildford. A good idea but entirely wrong location. Opposite where the disastrous farmers market was held when the High Street was closed.

Pomegranates very expensive on the market. Two for £2.  Even more expensive in Waitrose, £2-75 for two. Yesterday 75p each in Lidl.

pomegranates on market stall in Monastiraki

pomegranates on market stall in Monastiraki

To think a little over a week ago picking fresh from the trees.

I regret I dd not buy from a market stall in Athens a couple of days ago.

Disgraceful behaviour of guard on 1234 Reading-Gatwick train

October 21, 2016

There is a problem  at North Camp Station, a known problem, barriers drop and passengers cannot cross the line to catch the train.

Today the  barriers dropped five minutes early.

When the 1257 (1255) train to  Guildford pulled in, the barriers did not open immediately.

The guard could see passengers waiting to cross the line, with at least one person waving to indicate they wished to catch the train.

As passengers crossed the line, hurried to catch the train, the guard signalled for the train to leave and waved and smiled at the stranded passengers.

Maybe he thought it a sick joke, to pull away deliberately leaving passengers stranded.

His action cost one passenger at least £20 in taxi fares to get to Guildford. She was starting a new job and could not afford to be late and lose her job.

This guard should be fired.

1334 (1332) train from North Camp, guard never came through the train to collect fares. This necessitated further delay at Guildford queuing to buy a  return ticket. The ticket office at North Camp was closed.

Train companies complain of fare dodging, but make no attempt to actually collect fares from passengers who wish to pay.

The display on the platform was indicating trains running two minutes earlier than shown on the timetable. There was no poster or other information to indicate there was an amended timetable in operation.

Do Not Buy The Sun

October 20, 2016
John McDonnell Do Not Buy The Sun

John McDonnell Do Not Buy The Sun

Brilliant comment by John McDonnell.

The Sun is not a newspaper, it is a vile rag.

It does not employ journalists, it employs hacks.

It is part of the Evil Murdoch Empire.

In the past The Sun has smeared Charlotte Church and Russell Brand.

Recently The Sun launched an attack on Paul Mason, who unlike the low life scum who wallow in the gutter at The Sun is a reputable journalist.

If you read The Sun, it is like raising a flag you are a complete moron.

Take direct action against The Sun. When you see it in the bins at a  supermarket or W H Smith, turn the top copies back to front and upside down, then pile other papers on top.



Cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy

October 19, 2016
Coffee Lab Academy

Coffee Lab Academy

barista champion Dan pouring the milk

barista champion Dan pouring the milk



Coffee Lab had no date slices, I tried instead Coffee Lab Academy around the corner.

I was privileged to be served by Dan, one of the top baristas in the country.

He showed me the milk they use, sourced from a dairy in Wiltshire to get the best quality milk.

It was interesting to watch him doing the latte art. Usually a single movement, he used three movements.

To one side espresso machines for beginners. In the corner training. Learn how to be a barista. Then buy the beans and milk and come in at any time and practice.

Seems like a great idea. Maybe I will give it a try one day.

I prefer Coffee Lab. Coffee Lab Academy very noisy and lacked the ambience.

Afternoon in Winchester

October 19, 2016
cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy

cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy

Catching the train down to Alton the weather was fine. Alighting at Alton, cold. Rain all the way down to Winchester. Winchester colder still with temperature dropping all afternoon. By late afternoon more like November.

Pleased to see the falefel stall is now using card boxes not polystyrene.

Would have had a coffee in Coffee Lab, but no date slices. Having never had a coffee in Coffee Lab Academy, decided to try there instead.

I was privileged to be served by barista champion Dan.

Too cold to hang about, a bite to eat, coffee and then catch return bus.

Window of bus too  filthy to see out, no heating, no wifi,  all too typical of the contempt Stagecoach has for passengers.

Reasonable chicken curry and rice at The Station Cafe at Alton Station.

Train no heating, wifi did not connect to internet.

Stagecoach: Where do passengers leave their luggage?

October 19, 2016
Metro bin in luggage compartment

Metro bin in luggage compartment

Stagecoach has decided to place a metal bin in the luggage hold. Where now luggage or shopping or a buggies when it has to be stowed when a disabled person occupies the space?

The metal box is for holding copies of the Metro. Unable to sell the rag, it is given away free.

Where the luggage compartment is small, the size of roll-on hand luggage, where then the roll-on hand luggage? Similar for a buggy? If balance on top, have serious health and safety issues if falls off and injures a passenger.

On small buses a bag for the Metro. Passengers are using for rubbish.

Stagecoach receives public subsidy to convey passengers, not distribute a free newspaper.

Engineers were asked to load the Metro on the buses each morning. They refused. Bus drivers have now been told to load onto the bus, even though not part of their job description.

Once again we see the contempt Stagecoach has for staff and passengers.