* Posts by Norman Bowring

13 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Mar 2007

Mac security update leaves users open to ugly Flashback

Norman Bowring

I installed an updated Flash last week and the only difference I saw was that the operating temperature rose from 60 - 62 degrees celsius right up to 75 - 80 degrees.

The only way to have the temp drop down again was to de-install

Does anyone have any idea on what happened here and how to get around the problem?

Agincourt: The sensational truth

Norman Bowring
Thumb Up

Mais c'est magnifique!

For once, the comments are worthy of the actual piece in question!

However (isn't there always one?), I could only count one Longbowman and one Knight! Perhaps it's because the historic photo (which is delightful) is in colour but my vision, since I'm a Luddite at heart, is still in black and white!

Thanks for such a good laugh so early in the week!

Bloggy thing signals iPhone FM radio

Norman Bowring

Why oh why...

Why doesn't someone write and app which "listens" to the music playing on your (as required - laptop/iTouch...) and then tell you what key it's being played in.

(Great for budding harmonica players - of which ever-enlarging group I have been a member for decades!!)

Brits and Yanks struck with embarasment embarrassment

Norman Bowring

Some mistakes aren't mistakes at all!

I took the test four times and had two "errors" according to them! I wrote "tale" (as they gave in answer) as "tail". It seems they can't even write a programme to allow for alternate spellings of the same sounding words! I also had a typo in the word "conducive" - hitting the "i" to the right of "u" by mistake. I thus conclude that the Koreans I taught in Seoul last year were in good hands!

Incidentally, the students I taught there had, on average, far better handwriting (in English!) than most English speaking people! Students there also have a proper work ethic which is probably why they are on the upswing while we are on the slippery slope to oblivion!

As for spell checkers the one in this version of Safari on a Mac computer always tells me that I misspell words like programme and harbour or neighbour!

Norman Bowring

Why does the world speak English?

Because it's the easiest language in the world to speak poorly - and STILL be understood!

This is partly because it's still a "living" language which can change nouns to verbs at the whim of the speaker/writer. As long as the listener/reader understands what is intended by the communicator, all is well.

eg. "Google" - originally the proper noun name of a company which in very short order has become a verb. Some of you may of heard of it!

South Korean prez turns on the internet

Norman Bowring

@ James

But I do agree entirely with your comments on what the internet is all about and the only reason for the rise of the wikipidiots!

Norman Bowring

@ James

""The government wants action to stop "infodemics" - false stories which spread rapidly via websites and blogs." and what about TV, radio and newspapers?

Almost sounds like a good idea until you realise that 99% of our medias output would be stopped by this type of restriction."

But that 99% figure doesn't hold true in Korea. When I was there last from December 2006 to March of this year, one of the things I most enjoyed was the fact that newspapers (English editions of the local dailies) were extremely good. They were well written (by Koreans!) and generally followed the tried and true (but now sadly lacking in UK, US & Cdn publications) format of:

- X, the CEO of Y Co. Ltd. was arrested late yesterday for (insert misdemeanour of choice).

- The prosecutor said "(details of whatever)" and that he felt sure that the courts would agree.

- When interviewed by our man on the scene, a spokesman for Y Co. said that there were aspects of the case (aspects A, B & C) that the prosecution had failed to appreciate and that "When they are explained in court we are confident that our CEO will be completely exonerated."

- The trial is expected to start next ***.

They still put forth the simple facts and one can almost read, as though it was tacked on to the end of the piece, "Those are the facts reader, make of them what you will."

And that's all I ever wanted (and am now becoming desperate for!) from a newspaper or other media.

They do have editorial pages which are properly used to express opinions, but the local news section of the paper is not contaminated by the snide and scarcely hidden opinions of the journalist who wrote the article. It was a delightfully refreshing experience - which I miss!

(When I want a journalist's opinion, I'll tell him what it is!)

King Arthur was English 'propaganda', French claim

Norman Bowring

Tales of Camulod

I've read all(most) all of what's above and was surprised to find that there was no mention of what I consider, in my humble opinion, to be the best of the series of books on the Arthurian Legends - The Camulod Chronicles.

This is a series of 8 or 9 books, starting with "The Skystone" which covers the period of British history from roughly the departure of the Roman legions (scuttling back east in an eventually vain attempt to save Rome from the hordes from the north and east) up to the time of Arthur, Merlyn, Guinevere, Lancelot et al.

They were written by a Scot (no less) who had the good sense, some 40 years age, to do what all good Scots do - emigrate to Canada and (thankfully) educate all those squabbling Beefeaters and Frenchies! They also organised and managed (for the Maudits Anglais) all those lands that had been opened up by all those fun loving (I mean fur loving) Frenchies who were beavering along and shooting rapids - and any animal that had a furry coat! (Mlle. Bardot - notez bien QUI, au début, voulait tuer tous ces petits animaux adorables - y-compris des phoques!)

His name is Jack Whyte. (Remember - he's Scottish - which explains why he can't spell!)

I digress!

The body of work is extremely well written, amazing in it's scope and intriguing in its blending of historical fact, legendary figures and well known historical or legendary events to the extent that you can't tell one from t'other.

For those of you who have an interest in this type of work I can say, having read most of the books which have been mentioned above in these comments on... er... (Oh dear! What were these comments about now? I can't remember!), this series is superior to them all.

For those of you who have no interest - this is a good place to start!

To have a look at the author and his works you would do well to visit the following site.


I hope you enjoy them. I certainly did - as did all those to whom I have recommended the series.

Vonage shakes off patent disputes

Norman Bowring

Why... @ Tony Troole

Because with Vonage you're not tied to your computer. You plug your phone into the Vonage provided phone/computer router and then use your phone as you would normally.

I have used it now for about three (or is it four?) years from the southern Caribbean, Canada, France and Korea. All you need is a high speed internet provider, wherever you are, and you pay a flat rate to call throughout North America on the basic plan or to Western Europe as well on the higher rate plan.

It's brilliant!

Law & Order takes on Second Life

Norman Bowring

@ Anonymous Coward

"I can confidently state that even a mediocre episode (by their own high standards) beats anything UK TV has shown into a cocked hat."

You have GOT to be joking!

L & O is the best (sorry - the only half-decent) US show, but to say that it beats anything from the UK into a cocked hat simply boggles the mind!

There are plenty of shows on either side of the pond which are pure and simple rubbish, no doubt about it, but I would certainly prefer what the UK has to offer over what the US has so often stolen from the UK and usually ruined in the process. CSI(put your own town's name here) being a prime example.

L & O is one which runs counter to this trend (All in the Family, Three's Company, Sanford and Son etc.) and has an enviable record of dealing with current themes in an intelligent manner. Methinks Dick Wolf(?), the producer, is the probable reason for their better-than-most track record. I can only hope that it is he who produces the inevitable re-make of Red Cap!

BBC to advertise to foreigners

Norman Bowring

A commercially sponsored BBC?

Now here's a subject I can warm to! I was born with both British and Canadian nationalities and carry both pasports. For my sins(!) I married a French woman and lived for almost 20 years in a small corner of France. For the past 10 years I have spent most of my time in the southern West Indies (St Vincent & the Grenadines) and, for a change of pace, I'm now in Seoul, South Korea.

I have therefore been subject to television programming from many different parts of the world, but I am most familiar with television productions and culture from the UK, Canada and France as well as what passes for culture and content in the US.

In spite of all its shortcomings and its recent slide towards the depths of mediocrity (which slide was greased by the same slippery spin doctors who gave you the well known tragi-comedy called "The Blairite Years" - often confused with "the Lost Boys"!), I can say, without ANY doubt in my mind, that the BBC has provided viewers in the UK with BY FAR the best television compared to what viewers must endure in all the above mentionned countries.

For this, UK residents, you only have to pay a niggardly US$270 (that's Cdn $290, €200 (FF1320!), EC$740!). As an extra bonus, it all comes commercial free - and more importantly, it comes free of the contraints that are imposed on any and all commercial television producers who have to supply the viewer numbers to support the costs! Invariably those numbers are maintained at the cost of quality - not to mention interesting and innovative programming.

In Canada, in the mid fifties, the CBC was set up based on the BBC model and for many, many years it provided Canadians (and those Americans lucky enough to live within the broadcast range) with nearly equal quality programmes which covered a wide and varied range of subjects and interests.

At some point the bean counters in Ottawa intervened and it was decided to make the CBC "pay for itself" by introducing advertisements on Canada's national braodcasting service. The result is the relative disaster that is the CBC today - where "bums in seats" is far more important than good programming.

Much more difficult to assess objectively and definitively is the effect that a "commercial CBC" has had on its journalistic integrity but it's my opinion that it has suffered also. Simply thinking of the old saying about "biting the hand that feeds you" would make one tend towards this conclusion.

En bref - I would gladly fork over Cdn$500 (that's... but no...!) to have the old CBC back on air as a fully funded national braodcast service. The other commercial television operators in Canada would certainly welcome such a move and their programming would likely improve with the extra cash freed up by the CBC's removal from their ranks.

To my mind, the best way to do this would be to have the relevant legislation drafted in such a way as to "require" the government of the day to provide "adequate funding" to the CBC with the definition of such "adequare funding" to be determined by a neutral, non government controlled body. The benefits of this, I am sure, will be apparent to most people who, like me, crave decent television once more.

French television is OK and has some interesting programmes but (surprise!) it is nothing like as good as the Beeb for international coverage in a basically independant way.

As for American television I'll limit myself to saying that I've long felt that CNN should be brought before a "truth in labeling" tribunal for the misleading advertising apparent in their name!

"Cable News Network"? "CEN" would be more like it - "Cable Entertainment Network"!

"Switch over now to see that latest car chase in your neighbourhood"...

or perhaps:

"Don't miss the latest sniper shootings - brought to you live and in colour (opps - sorry - color!) by our, greatest in all the world, reporters, stolen for your greater viewing and listening pleasure from - you guessed it - BBC WORLD!!!"

Networks who specialise in Law and Order (year 12 or whatever - with the occasional new face for variety - but don't dare change the plot!), or other gems such as CSI (place your own town's name here) - well they hardly need and further comments.

As for new ideas in American television, consider the American shows which were in reality copies of British hits of the past - and present! The list is long and covers several decades. Here are the names of a trio of British shows from the past - can you give the names of the American copies?

"Til Death do Us Part"

"Man About the House"

"Steptoe & Son".

Sorry about that - I failed to limit myself!

Soooo... as for the BBC - increase the funding, untie their hands, order them to ignore the expression "Politically Correct" and be thankful they exist!

Oooo... twas lovely to get all that off me chest!


G-Wiz electro-car fracas leaves Top Gear blubbing

Norman Bowring

Tales my father told me!!

Defensive driving - why do we need it?

"He was right, dead right, as he drove along - but he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong!!"

When I was of an age to learn to drive, my father constantly drummed the fore-going into my feeble brain. I did the same with my own children when they were learners too!

French succumb to Franglais

Norman Bowring


In Korea, where I'm teaching English at present, like many southeast Asians, local people have difficulty differentiating between the English pronunciation of F & P and V & B. Korean does not employ the sounds of "F" or "V" - which explains why I was asked to meet some friends at a supposedly Florida-type bar called (and spelt) the "Jackson Bille"!

In addition there is confusion between L & R - a fact not surprising as in the Korean alphabet the Korean letter, shaped like a backward, squared off "S", is the same for both sounds in spoken Korean. It is only the context and placement of the letter which dictates how it is pronounced in any particular word. (cf. "It's" in English, being the contracted form of "it is" or "it has".) Thus a chain of French style bakeries called "Mont Blanc Brangerie" (sic) is in fact the "Mont Blanc Boulangerie"!

There is also a sub vocabulary of words, called "Konglish". Each time I asked for an example, "Hand Phone" was the reply - otherwise known as a cell phone or mobile phone, depending on which side of the Altlantic you reside. But here, it's a hand phone.

The largest web-based community is at www.naver.co.kr! A very friendly naverhood! (Remember a "V" is a "B here!)

But, of all the countries I've lived in (England, Canada (both inside and out of Quebec) and France) Korea is the one least worried about the pollution of their language and their culture by others. They've been occupied by the Chinese and the Japanese at various times during their 5,000 year history and have had Korean banned in the school system on more than one occasion. But a distinct Korean language and a distinct culture still exist here and they have no fear of any other culture taking over their own.

I live just above an underground shopping centre which stretches for many blocks beneath the main street here. ONE of its names is the "Bupyeong Underground Shopping Centre", and this I know for a fact! The other three I'm not certain of as I don't read Korean - or Chinese - or Japanese for that matter!

But if you stand with three friends at the top of one of the twenty or so stairways leading down into the shopping centre - a Korean, a Japanese and a Chinese, they will be able to tell you what the other names are - in their native tongue! All four of you can read out the name to the others from the carved nameplate of the place which is set in plain view for all to see - in each of the four languages!

Koreans have long accepted the fact that English is the international language of pipoles(!) all over the world and instead of "manging the merde" and griping about the various "wogs", depending on your vantage point, they have created a far-more-than-cottage-industry in the field of language instruction. In order of preference they learn English, Japanese and Chinese - because it simply makes good sense to this practical and business oriented country.

This may(!) well explain why they are now the 11th largest economy in the world, coming from I know not what position at the end of the Korean War!

Other countries (or would-be countries within countries!) would do well to take heed!

P.S. My paternal grandmother was German! I'd hate to leave anyone out!