Archive for the ‘communications’ Category

Telling the truth is a revolutionary act

January 22, 2017

In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — George Orwell

The Party told you to reject all evidence with your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. — George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

The point is that the attacks and the attempts to delegitimize this president in one day — and we’re not going to sit around and take it.  – Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff

The method for taking over the state and for it becoming a totalitarian police state, is always the same, and it’s always the identification of ‘the other’ as the enemy. In Trump’s case, it’s the Chinese, the Mexicans, and Islam – it doesn’t matter who it is. With Hitler, it was the Jews, the Communists, the Gypsies, anybody who had a physical deformity, or whatever it might be, the homosexuals – they were all lumped together. — Roger Waters

The resistance begins today. — Roger Waters

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, war is peace.

On Inauguration Day, the crowds in Washington were far fewer than for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. The anti-Trump protest, Women’s March, the next day, dwarfed that for the Trump Inauguration.

Estimates of the Women’s March put it at three times for the Trump Inauguration.  The Metro reported it carried three times as many passengers on Saturday as on Friday.

In cities across America, massive anti-Trump demonstrations.  No only in USA, across the world. There was a massive demonstration in Sydney.

But no, according to Trump the media was lying.

If Trump lies on the size of a  crowd, can we believe him on anything he says?

His White House press mouthpiece repeated the lie.  Repeated the lie and launched an unprecedented attack on the media.

When White House chief of staff threatens the media, says will not tolerate media questioning  legitimacy of the Trump presidency, this has shades of Nazi Germany.

What is he going to do, lockup up journalists as they do in Turkey, kill journalists as in  Russia?

In Mexico they have a phrase for Trump, Trump Eres Un Pendejo, Trump, you’re an arsehole.

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.

TechStart granted a temporary reprieve

April 18, 2016

TechStart obtains a temporary reprieve

TechStart closed its doors for the last time on Saturday, but as can be seen from the Rushmoor press release, at the 11th hour an outbreak of common sense has prevailed, it has been granted temporary funding for four months to allow time to put something more permanent and sustainable in place.

Rushmoor Borough Council and housing association First Wessex are putting together a funding package to provide a four-month extension to the TechStart project in Aldershot.

This will allow the partners involved in TechStart and its management committee time to review the project and possible options that could enable it to continue in a more financially sustainable way in the future.

The review will also look at future management and governance arrangements and consider if any other organisations would like to be involved in the future.

The move follows the reluctant decision by TechStart’s management committee to close the project in The Galleries at the end of April because the current business model has proved not to be financially sustainable.

This business model was that the not-for-profit social enterprise would sell recycled desktops and laptops at a low-cost to residents, particularly those who were more disadvantaged, to help them get online and develop their computer skills.

It would also build a workforce of volunteers who could support the project and, for many, get valuable work experience to increase their own employment chances.

Rushmoor Borough Council, First Wessex, Jobcentre Plus and Rushmoor Schools Plus provided initial funding and support to get the scheme under way in 2014 and negotiated a rent and rate-free unit for TechStart in The Galleries.

Over time, the aim was that income from the sale of computers and laptops would increase and cover TechStart’s costs so it would become self-financing.

Since the project opened in May 2014, it has been rewarding to see how it has met its initial aims, both in terms of computer sales and skills and training, with more than 1000 customers served and 135 volunteers provided with practical work experience.

However, over the last two years, there has also been a growing digital trend towards the use of tablets and mobile phones to access the web and a decrease in the demand for desktop and laptop computers.

As this trend is likely to grow, it has become increasingly clear that the current business model for TechStart is therefore not viable. On that basis, the management committee took the reluctant decision to close the project.

Over the next four months, the partners will work with the management committee, TechStart and others who can provide business expertise to revisit the original aims of the project and to see how it could continue in a more financially sustainable way.

It is likely that proposals on the way forward will be presented to Councillors and partners for consideration in the late summer or early autumn.

This is the minimum that is required.

But, the press release begs more questions than it answers.

Is TechStart to remain open? It closed on Saturday.

From reading of the press release, four months funding provided, it then it becomes less clear.

TechStart needs to become a trust. Alternative funding has to be explored.

A review yes, but by who? Neither Rushmoor nor First Wessex have the capability to carry out a review and we do not wish to see yet more public money squandered on consultants.

Who are the management committee? It does not say. What is their expertise?

Do they have any understanding of the fastest growing sector of the economy, collaborative commons, open coops, sharing economy?

At the very least there has to be an exploration of what the The Hive in Dalston are doing. Hive started with just £250.

As a showcase building, The Hive in Dalston has demonstrated the feasibility of such a model and in only nine  months has seen over 4000 people, held 17 art exhibitions, numerous performance, environmental, political and cultural events and helped about 50 local charities. Has enabled people to start businesses and even had a skate park. This has all been achieved using a system that is self-sustaining and utilises volunteers, donations, up-cycling, recycling and sharing. 

Hive are holding a ReSpacing Conference on Wednesday 20 April and Thursday 21 April. Tickets are free (but need to register).

The dead shopping centre has to be reclassified as ReSpace, units let at peppercorn rent, no businesses rates levied on the developer. Peppercorn rent is better than free, as it places legal obligations on both sides.

There is nothing wrong with the businesses model.

TechStart does more than stated:

  • prevents toxic waste going to landfill or incineration
  • provides a net café
  • provides workshops
  • carries out repairs

Universal Credit requires on-line application. Where? The computers in Aldershot Library are unusable, there is no expertise.

Either Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) or JobCentrePlus should provide funding, or have computers in JobCentres.

There has to be a proper cost benefit analysis, not look only at the funding.

What is the environmental costs of disposal of toxic waste?

The trend to smartphones and tablets (a market already saturated) does not mean there is no demand for desktops or laptops.

These devices are complimentary, not mutually exclusive.

I have e-reader, tablet, smartphone and laptop.

This is not the problem TechStart face.

Their problem is they are in a dead shopping centre and few know they are there, as no one wanders through. There is no footfall, no passers by.

More has to be done to raise the profile.

Fliers and posters in JobCentres, libraries, other social ventures and community centres. Could have something in Rushmoor Arena, except it is seen as junk mail, and goes straight in the bin.

TechStart has to be seen as the core of a hub, there has to be more social enterprises and community ventures in the dead shopping centre.

TechStart should form the basis of further expansion.

This has to be more than saving TechStart, is has to be how do we build on the success of TechStart?

If we have a network of social enterprises in the dead shopping centre, it will draw people in.

  • TechStart
  • social enterprise café
  • repair shop
  • tool swap
  • credit union
  • start-ups
  • conferences
  • exhibitions

By repair shop, do not repair, people take stuff in, volunteers show them how to repair.

This can be wiring a plug, scanning computer for viruses …

In principle, Morrisons will supply waste food to a social enterprise café.

If very ambitious, could have a FabLab, this is where have machine tools and other high-tech equipment, where people go and try ideas.

The plan in Barcelona is to have a FabLab in every neighbourhood.

A craft fair? Where? In car park.

Are lessons never learnt?

Car park was a disastrous location for Thursday street market. Out of sight, out of mind. Down a stairwell used as a public urinal, dark and damp and cold.

Putting the market in the town centre was one of the few intelligent actions by a dysfunctional council. It is unfortunate it is a bad market and the council is doing everything to kill it. A good market pulls people into a town. Look for example at the Friday and Saturday street market in North Street in Guildford or the farmers market on the first Tuesday of the month in Guildford High Street.

Craft market, if dead shopping centre handed to local community groups, the empty central space ideal location.

It is unfortunate that money that has been spent on Aldershot has not been spent wisely, and has made not a jot of difference to attractiveness of Aldershot.

The approach that has been taken by the council to date, top down does not work, and has to be recognised. Also the failure to consult.

Alternative approach is bottom up.

There was understandable public anger that TechStart had its funding pulled. It was seen as a tiny ray of hope, a real attempt to turn Aldershot around. The idea of a hub of social enterprises, start-ups, etc is welcome.

Less so in the UK, but certainly worldwide, fastest growing economic activity is sharing collaborative economy.

You do not hear about this because it generates no GDP, and as Paul Mason said recently in I think Italy, economic and political journalists are clueless.

Android 5.x.x update

April 17, 2016

Google Nexus 7 2012, an excellent tablet, or at least it was until I upgraded the operating system to Android 5.x.x then it turned into an expensive paperweight.

It became useless, minutes to turn on, unresponsive apps. It had been rendered useless.

The only option appeared to be, implement a factory reset, but first, try this idea of clearing the cache.

I had not used my tablet since the beginning of the year. Long wait whilst 120 updates to apps.

I went through the procedure to clear the cache, then reboot.

One and a half minutes to reboot, similar sort of delay on the apps I tried. But this was probably because they were still requiring further updates, plus synchronising and updating messages

I ran CCleaner, Avira Antivirus and Optimiser.

Still around one and a half minutes to turn on, but all the apps I have tried, are now responding within a few seconds, and within the app, seconds more or less instant response when I tap.

This though does beg a big question: Why, when carrying out an upgrade, does Android not clear the cache then reboot?

mini Panther

February 22, 2016
mini Panther

mini Panther

A little self-contained speaker.

  • bluetooth
  • li-ion
  • micro SDHC memory
  • usb memory stick
  • fm radio
  • flashing lights

Not bad for 15 euros from Kyoto, electronic shop overlooking seafront in centre of Puerto de la Cruz.

The Phone Co-op appalling service

February 8, 2016
free sim card from The Phone Co-op

free sim card from The Phone Co-op

Not knowing, if Three would be working, during the day, a voucher for both Three and The Phone Co-op.

No problem with voucher for Three, but The Phone Co-op big problem.

No one has heard of The Phone Co-op.

Co-op Mobile? I assume so and say yes.

With Three voucher from PayPoint, large typeface, code the numbers in blocks of four. One reason why I do not top up in a supermarket, printed out on till receipt, illegible,  tiny typeface, 16 digits in a row, nigh impossible to type in without making a mistake.

Where is the code? I see no large numbers in blocks of four.

Guy in the shop looks, points to tiny type face, no separation into blocks of four.

I query this, why is it not like Three? Guy says it is the phone company, not PayPoint.

Whilst in Waitrose drinking my free coffee, I dial 1250.

  1. check balance
  2. top up with voucher —> type in the digits, followed by a hash
  3. top up with credit or debit card

I type in the numbers. It fails, incorrect code. I try three times, each time it fails, incorrect code.

No option for help.

On the bus I scroll through a long text message, received when the sim card was registered, and find I can dial 500 for help.

Why was this not on the PayPoint voucher? Why is their no option for help on 1250?

I call 500. I try several times. All I get is a dead line.

I try option 3, credit or debit card. This works, but why 1 for £10, 2 for £20? Why not 10 for ten pounds, 20 for twenty pounds?

Now I have a problem. I want to buy a data bundle, but how? If I use data, I will be charged some extortionate charge.

A confirmation text is sent. I click on it. It takes me to what appears to be a scam, a site selling Chinese website addresses.

I try 500 later. This time I get someone. He tells me no mobile help, they went home at three. I ask what is he, if it is a helpline. Landlines and broadband.

I ask what are the data bundles? He tells me 500MB £5, 1GB £7-50.

This is taking the piss.

During a previous call, I asked why are they selling FairPhone II, a 4G phone when they are only offering a 3G sim. The person I spoke with, could not grasp the logic of my question.

I asked when was their mobile support. Try Monday. It is Saturday.  No one available after three o’clock.  No one available on Sunday. Try Monday.

I need access to the internet, with great reluctance I decide to buy 1GB at £7-50. It is not possible to do on the phone with a link. Nor can I do it when I go to their website. I have to send a text to 1250 with BUNDLE DATA 1000. I receive no confirmation text.

I try connecting.

It is slow, unbelievably slow. I thought Three was slow, this makes Three look fast.

Although nothing to indicate I had received a text, when I check later, I find I have a text. I also find, I have spent over a pound, in addition to the rip-off £7-50 for data. Where did this go? I assume extortionate data costs before I bought the bundle, and that was only accessing to discover how to purchase the bundle to avoid such cost. No calls have been made, other than 500 for help, no texts sent.

This was Saturday. Sunday, I found data was somewhat faster but taking long time to connect.

The Phone Co-op is giving co-ops a bad name. They really need to get their act together.

Three gets worse

February 8, 2016

Three gets worse, if that was at all possible.

Three offer 2GB of data for £5. Or did.

I checked, now 500MB for £5.

Not happy, I called Three. Yes, we do offer, but we are having problems, you have to call us. Well if not, you are going to have a lot of customers changing networks.

I checked in the evening, it was still 500MB for £5. I called, it was a little before 8pm. Already closed down.

That was Saturday, I tried calling again Sunday. A helpful young Indian lady (makes a change for Three call centre).

She confirmed they still have problems, and that yes, 2GB for £5-00.

Connection speed appears to have improved from last year. Maybe they have finally addressed the problem of mast lacking the capacity.

Android 5.x.x

February 4, 2016
Android Lollipop ver 5.1.1 running on Google Nexus 7 2012 edition

Android Lollipop ver 5.1.1 running on Google Nexus 7 2012 edition

The last few days I have been updating Android 4.x.x on a Google Nexus 7 2012 edition.

Each time I update, it tells me there is an update waiting to install.

I went through this process several times.

Eventually I get to Lollipop, Android 5.0.2.

The look and feel entirely different, and so unbelievable slow as to render my Google Nexus 7 unusable. A long wait to boot up, tap, and a long wait for anything to happen.

Update to Android 5.1 for improved performance. Understatement of the year.

And yes, it has improved performance, but still not as good as before.

Yet another update, Android 5.1.1 to improve performance and deal with bugs.

Why is it slow, it is running on a quad core processor?

At a guess, padded out with unwanted garbage to communicate with overpriced watches.

I would rather have a real watch.

There should be an option, not to install this unwanted garbage.

The Laptop Shop

January 28, 2016

This afternoon a visit to Springbok Computers, the laptop shop.

Refurbished laptops and desktops for sale up and running with Windows 7. I do not know if they come with Open Office installed, but I am sure they would install if asked.

Not that I was in the market for a refurbished machine. They also do repairs.

My laptop was running hot, very hot. I hate to think how hot the processor was, as externally was burning hot, too hot to touch.

I knew what the problem was, ingestion of dust, maybe the fan needed lubricating, maybe it needed a new fan.

I had tried to dismantle, but had not got very far. Best take in for a service.

I was pleased I did not dismantle. To get at the fan, the entire machine had to be dismantled. Luckily it was in safe hands.

I assumed the fan drew air in through a vent, through the laptop, blowing over the processor, possibly with a massive heat sink.

I was wrong, the fan self-contained, a massive copper heat conductor draws the heat away from the main processor and from what I assumed to be the graphics processor, to the fan.

No sign of any dust or dirt, apart from what could easily have been dismissed as a felt gasket, maybe a millimetre in thickness, around the fan. That was all that it took to block the flow of air and for the machine to run red hot.  The fan was spun, ran freely. No need for a new fan.

Thermal conductive paste applied between processor and the copper, and put back together again.

Machine turned on, and it worked.

Next task, upgrade memory from 6 GB to 8 GB.

This was done, memory recognised by the BIOS and yet not recognised by Windows 7.

From new, cool air flowed out of the laptop.  After running for several hours, warm air flowing out, also running near silent, not a high pitched whistle.

Prior to taking it in, a couple of days ago antivirus software run, and today CCleaner and Anti-Malware software.

The machine should now run much faster. To prevent the processor melting, the temperature is monitored and it slows down when overheating.

There are are very few people I would trust to go anywhere near my laptop.  Springbok Computers is one of those rare exceptions.

Springbok Computers is located off the High Street below The Stonebow in the centre of Lincoln.

Nearby is Coffee Aroma Coffee House. A takeaway coffee was a must.