Posted by: scottisafool | May 8, 2010

Time for a change, the end of this incarnation

I have made the decision after a lot of grief to move my blog away from here and put it in a new home. My reasons for doing this included constant spam comments and no way of preventing them, and for an unexplained reason, I was actually unable to post to the blog for Live Writer. Imagine that.

Please make your way over to http://www.scottisafool.co.uk and be sure to update your bookmarks and rss feeds.

SL

Posted by: scottisafool | May 5, 2010

The Times, They Are A-Changing

Hi, I’m Scott, I’m 27, and I’ve never voted; but all that will change. Tomorrow (or today, depending on when I’ve managed to get this post up) marks arguably the most unpredictable General Election in the UK. There have been lots of interesting points in the election build up: the first time the main party leaders have taken part in a live televised debate (ala US Presidential Election debates); the media seems to have been less influential than previous with the advocation of social networking; this election doesn’t appear to be simply a two horse race between Labour and the Conservatives, with the Liberal Democrats firmly in the race; there’s a real possibility of a hung election (the first since 1974); it’s the first election I’ve actually cared about.

I think it’s safe to say that there is a pretty high probability that Gordon Brown won’t be in office come Friday morning, which means one of two outcomes (three really but one is one that I cannot see happening): The Conservatives have one the overall majority and David Cameron will have become the UK Prime Minister; None of the parties won an overall majority and we go to a hung parliament. The third option which I’ve dismissed is, despite 3 very good debates by party leader Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats take office.

Now, one of the big things that Cameron has been talking about (seemingly at every single opportunity) is that this country needs a change, Labour have been in power for 13 years, we need a change, change, change, change. Quite honestly, it’s become a bit monotonous.

Cameron wants a change for the country (there’s that word again), as he thinks this is what’s best for the country. But it seems that he wants a change for the country on his terms. And his main term is that the change has to involve him coming to power (By the way, as I’m typing this, Newsnight is on BBC2 and Cameron just said change six times in about 30 seconds). It was very interesting how much Cameron was using this word before the first TV debate, and then after Nick Clegg’s huge success after that debate, how little it was used, speaks volumes (“We need a change, a younger person as Prime Minster, just not Clegg” not an actual quote by the way). So it seems that a change which would be good for the country is only good if Cameron says it is, which means a hung debate is something he does not want and so has been vilifying it throughout the campaign. So a change not necessarily a good thing then, Mr Cameron?

So why would this be? A hung parliament would be a big change for UK politics and arguably a good thing. The ability to maybe overhaul the current parliamentary system is no bad thing. This is how I see a change working, personally. But I can understand why Cameron et al wouldn’t want this. Why would they? The system currently works, for them; for the politicians. Maybe this is a cynical view, I don’t know, but it’s certainly how it looks. Someone said to me (note: he was a tory supporter) that if it does go to a hung parliament, then it just won’t work and we will have another election within 12 months “guaranteed.” And that was his main point for not having a hung parliament, “it won’t work, so why try.” Well I think with the situation that UK politics finds itself in that surely it’s got to be worth a try. Call me naiive if you want, but it has to be worth a try.

Speaking for myself I just don’t like the idea of one party having control of the country when they might have only got the third highest number of votes, or to put it more easily, I don’t want a situation where over half the country doesn’t want a particular party running the country and yet there they are, running the country.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Cameron isn’t the only one doing this, but quite frankly, he’s the only one I can be bothered to write about.

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Bob DylanThe Times They Are A-Changing

Posted by: scottisafool | January 14, 2009

Windows Live Platform MVP 2009

With all that has been going on lately (Mel being in and out of hospital, etc), I forgot to post to say that I got re-awarded the Microsoft MVP award for my work in the last 12 months on the Windows Live Platform. I was reminded of this yesterday when I picked up my gift pack, which included my certificate, and a nice glass “thing”. I have put some pictures below of them.

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Scissor SistersKiss You Off

Posted by: scottisafool | January 7, 2009

Comment Spam still rife

A while back I commented on how bad the comment spam was on Live Spaces, and I haven’t been the only one to be a little annoyed with it. Well, the Live Spaces Team blogged about the recent changes to Live Spaces, and included a little FAQ about Comments. One question in particular is worth noting:

What have you been doing to reduce comment spam?

We recognize that comment, invitation, and private messaging spam has been a real problem recently. In this release we’ve added a number of anti-spam measures behind the scenes. We don’t want to go into detail about how these measures work, as any information we provide may help spammers out. So far we have seen a significant decrease in the amount of spam in the last 2 days since the release, but we recognize that fighting spam and abuse is an ongoing battle, and we will be continuing to invest in methods to prevent and remove spam and abuse from our network.

This sounds great. However, certainly for me, it’s rubbish! Take the following screenshot (full image is 3mb if you click it):

You can see from that image just how bad comment spam on Spaces still is. The real downside is that on this blog and my developer blog if anyone leaves a valid comment, unless I check for comments several times a day, they could get lost in the ether because of these ridiculous comment spam.

So if you have left a comment and I haven’t responded, I apologise, but you can see what I have to deal with!

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to John WilliamsIndy Follows the Ark

Posted by: scottisafool | December 6, 2008

Why so quiet?

I know I haven’t posted much recently, which sometimes is nothing new. However, in this instance, it is because when I’m not at work, I’m spending pretty much all my time at the hospital with Mel (girlfriend). She’s been in there now for almost 4 weeks with a multitude of different problems. So you’ll have to forgive the lack of anything on here.

SL

Posted by: scottisafool | November 10, 2008

End of an era/Great loss to the world/Sad, sad day

Last week a truly great man lost his fight against cancer and died on November 4th, aged 66. I am of course referring to the tragic loss of Michael Crichton. I found out just before the Bryan Adams gig started on Wednesday night, which made the gig very hard for me.

I’ve actually spent ages trying to work out how I’m going to write this post, and now that I’m actually writing it, all my thoughts about it have gone. This news upset me, a lot. This wasn’t just a case of this being my favourite author, he was my childhood idol! I talked about this when I reviewed his last book. His death has a big impact on me not just because of that, but because I’ve actually met him!

When State of Fear came out, he did a book signing at the Waterstones in Piccadilly and, not wanting to miss the opportunity of meeting him, I drove all the way up to London, just for that one thing. I was actually later getting there than planned, and was worried that I would miss him, especially if there was any kind of queue. Fortunately, there was no queue and I was able to just walk straight up to him and get my book signed, and even had a chat with him. I told him about how he  had inspired me to write my novel when I was just 15, and that fact actually impressed him! That was an amazing feeling that will stay with me my whole life. Although only brief, I found him to be a really nice guy, who enjoyed chatting with his fans, which to me makes all the difference in the world to fans. I was so nervous about meeting him but his casualness just helped to alleviate that. Having said that, my nerves were still there, and looking back, there’s so much more I wish I’d told him, like how one of his books actually plays a part in my own novel as a plot point.

Crichton was due to release a new book in the States next month, but the publishers have said they have postponed that indefinitely, presumably to get the permission of the family and let them have some mourning time. I’m sure the book will come out, and I hope it’s better than Next! I would hate for his last published book to be shit!

I think what I liked most about him is he didn’t give a crap. He got so much criticism for State of Fear and his views on global warming, but he didn’t care, he stuck to his point of view. I just have so much respect for him and it’s just not going to be the same without his new books.

Michael, you will be missed by so many!

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Girls AloudThe Loving Kind

Posted by: scottisafool | October 24, 2008

MVP Rugby Shirt, The Pictures

Yesterday I got a surprise package in the post, it was an MVP rugby shirt. I promised some pictures, and here they are

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to David ArnoldOil Fields

Posted by: scottisafool | October 2, 2008

Momentous Day: The Sequel

3 and a half years ago, I blogged about a Momentous Day when I shaved off the goatee I had. Well, as you know, I have recently had quite a long goatee again. Well, yesterday I decided I was bored of it now (I’ve had it since December!) and got Mel to cut it off for me, cos afterall, we all know that I like change. So like the first Momentous Day post, here are some before and after pictures:

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Hans Zimmer & James Newton HowardWhy So Serious?

Posted by: scottisafool | September 12, 2008

This Is A Nice Touch

I have something very cool heading my way (more on that when it arrives), and I received an email yesterday saying it had been dispatched and gave me my UPS number to track the order. Well GMail gave me something that was more useful that the last time I blogged about GMail:

 

As you can see, on the right hand side I have a link which actually takes me straight to the UPS tracking site with my tracking number already in there. It’s things like this that just make that small difference (I’m all about the little things!). Are you taking note Hotmail?

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Bon JoviLittle Bit Of Soul

Posted by: scottisafool | September 9, 2008

AutoCollage 2008, Very Cool

Microsoft Research released a cool program last week called AutoCollage 2008, which, as the name suggests it automatically creates a collage of pictures, and does so really well actually. So in a predictably vain moment, I made a collage out of my 10 most recent profile pictures on facebook. This is the result:

I have done better examples, but I don’t have them to hand.

As you can see, it does a very good job, and I personally think this would make a great addition to Windows Live Photo Gallery, or as a Mesh App (imagine if you had a folder synced with Mesh that you could drop the photos into, then when it’s synced with Mesh, an AutoCollage Mesh app then makes all those pictures into a collage and puts it back in that synced folder!). The only real criticism I have about this is the size of collage. At the moment, the options for that are as follows:

Which is fine, except it would be nicer if you could do a custom size. For example, screen resolution is fine, but when I’m on two monitors (like I am now), and I want to do one for say my home computer which is just one monitor, then that resolution isn’t really that good. If I want to share my collages with people, I either have to choose a size that is either too small for a monitor, or two big for most people’s monitor. Having custom sizes would alleviate this I feel.

But other than that, it’s totally worth a try, and you can download the 30 day trial from http://research.microsoft.com/research/downloads/Details/6f9325c6-cf4f-4408-8cab-8b1f0cabe0bb/Details.aspx

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Def LeppardRock Of Ages

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