* Posts by Peter

24 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Mar 2008

'Sunshade' global-cooling plan would ruin solar power


Plan B

Quick, back to lobbing rusty ELV motors in the Atlantic!

BBC has newsgasm over Obama's dog


It's understandable

OBsession - between love and madness


There will be more. Much more. Journalism has entered a new phase.

EU parliament says yes to hydrogen cars


Less is mo... well, not on the table. Different though, gets subsidies

Dontcha just love having our kids' eco-futures decided by guys driven round in 7-litre cars? Next thing you'll be telling me is Arnie uses a Hummer.

UK's top boffin: Renewables targets were 'a mistake'


Whoops, he said. From his cosy study.

Fortunately, the poor loves 'confused' by such complex issues will not be likely to suffer the consequences as much as those who have paid them all their lives to get to grips with such things.

Along with, apparently, CEOs of vested interest energy supply companies, etc.

As to my dear old Mum, however...

Sainsbury's and HP buddy up on recycling jamboree


Better than nothing?

However, a day at a store smacks of a stretch.

For those so motivated to look further:


And if you know of any to add an IT section here that would be nifty:


Plus any more for here:


Carbon Trust: Rooftop windmills are eco own-goal


Say what, Sancho?

Now there's a thing. Who'da thunk and why did no one mention this before? Could have spared all sorts of eco-savvy folk money and looking like enviROI-numpties... like our next PM, for instance. Arthur, bring up more coal from the bunker, if you please! George, throw a few more rods in the reactor! Gives me a warm glow (I hope that's all it is) just thinking of the brain power being deployed on our behalves.

Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership


The how high club?

What is being smoked here?

I gleaned the following from the right-on eco cheerleaders such as the BBC and Guardian about this PR stunt, with not a peep about what comes out as it goes up:

Guardian - 'Among the first to fly will be the physicist Stephen Hawking, the environmentalist James Lovelock and former Dallas actress Victoria Principal.' I guess the paper will be selling tickets. Business is business. Maybe not on the eco page when they rail against 4x4s or plastic bottles, though.

Then BBC - Branson unveils space tourism jet - Ahh... now I get why: '... It has enormous weight capability, so if there were a [humanitarian] crisis in Africa it could carry enormous loads [for aid]'

I am obviously missing something here as this effort is getting a heck of a pass compared to some others of 'confused' e-value. I think it's a potentially awesome technological leap, but having it under such a banner seems hard to wash as green.

Doctors: Third babies are the same as patio heaters


Immovable objects and irresistible forces

Why do I suspect a canal barge of green nappies is headed for a converted windmill as we gaze on.

The Guardian's excellent Web 2.0 blog-up


The sweet smell of, um, er...

Actually, I give anyone credit for trying anything positive in this regard, but have to say, as somewhat of a veteran in such areas now, a pledge seems something only a box-ticking, bonus-seeking measurement junkie could love. That, or a good name for some stuff that puts a nice-smelling, shiny gloss on a tired surface.

Frankly, from the off I thought many were daft and some plain insulting. And by putting my name to it what, exactly, happened, or changed? Especially if I did, but then didn't, if you get my drift.

I didn't even bother checking it after the first few, much less sign up.

Just a pity such enthusiasm, time, money and effort might not have been better directed, bearing in mind a willing an energetic target prepared to get on board.

Government kids website pays £6 for every visitor


Tip of the iceberg?

As a matter of interest, is their a public/FoI-type thingie to find out what has 'been blown on creating'/'gets blown on running' such Govt./quango sites and how this all equates to actual usage?

UK.gov launches data mash-up competition


Giving it away?


However, I am a little concerned about IP/idea protection.

Yes there is the potential of a £20k prize, but if it's a goodie then surely the idea will be worth/generate a lot more?

The FAQ on the site clearly outlines the first, and most major danger in this regard, namely (and unlike a patent or trademark) an 'idea' a lot trickier to protect.

It's one thing to be viewed by a limited number of judges (though in the case of some gov/quango efforts I have been part of, possibly even worse), but here your concept is laid out raw and ready to rip.

And I'm hard pressed to think how many decent notions involving the use and/or manipulation of data won't be essentially web-based ideas and rather open to... 'homage'.

The trick would seem to be to tempt in the submission enough to generate a bite, but without giving away too much.

Brown goes YouTube


'I'm glad you asked me that, Me'

'...I noticed that Nodrog was NOT promising to answer anything, merely stating that the wider population should have an opportunity to pose questions.'

Ahhh, there we have it. More listening. No actual hearing. And certainly no blooming answering, unless it's to very carefully vetted questions from doubtless seeded questioners. Just like, as pointed out, DC.

But big up to Dear Lead...er... follower for waiting long enough to ensure something is safe to emerge from the bunker when the rest of the world has moved on to deal with more pressing issues.

BBC's Today Programme shutters message board



I do concern myself when those who believe they know better 'protect' me from the thoughts and opinions of others so I may be better guided to the 'correct' viewpoint that they seem to believe they are in a better position to judge... and moderate.

Whilst trolls and the like can be very wearing, one can always skip and/or delete grotesque viewpoints. But in seeking information it is often interesting what diamonds may be found in the slurry. Which makes wallowing solely in one's own comfort-zone mud hole a rather restricted exercise in navel-gazing.

Hence I lurk (and occasionally pitch-in, which can be... 'testing') across all sorts, from Biased BBC to Guardian CiF.

As to the BBC... well, I think they opened a Pandora's Box with 'free' (subject to moderation) comment, regretted it, and are trying to either kill it off or reduce it to a more manageable entity.

Under the guise of 'resolving' what was a totally inexplicable, but certainly woeful system (Error messages all the time), they have instituted a whole new effort that has reduced both numbers and quality of comment to a dribble... of mostly dribbling numpties. So where once I enjoyed participating on the BBC2 Newsnight blog, on top of the 'regulars with a bit too much time in the day' it's hardly worth it any more (lack of preview, no more hyperlinks, no user ID links, concerns of data security, etc). Certainly I have better ways to spend my day.

Just, one might imagine, what the were trying to achieve. 'First they ditched HYS because of all the nasty righties, and so I could not post....'

No-fly list grounds US Air Marshals


Same old, same old. Don't worry, the UK is keeping pace.

About 30 years ago I shared the same surname, age and car as a rather unfortunate young man who was the new boyfriend of a young lady who had dated an armed robber.

Poor lad (and lass) left her home in the blagger's motor of choice, a Mini, and ended up with the Sweeney ramming them. Can't recall now, but I believe there was more to it, and a gun was discharged (by a hapless plod), resulting in all the rest letting fly. Luckily, I think they missed.

Then (totally unrelated) last year I lobbed up at Bristol Airport, and on presentation of my passport was ushered to one side by a very large, if pleasant and chilled out, guy in a suit who it turned out was a police officer.

One hour later I was given my passport back with an apology and carried on. Turns out I shared a name with 'a person of interest to Interpol'.

All handled very nicely, but I did opine at the time that whatever else such a chap might do, lobbing up in their own name was surely not going to be one.

With the IT/database power we have I cannot for the life of me understand how that, on presentation of the correct documentation (with, one presumes extra ID such as a picture at least) it is not a matter of seconds to resolve these issues.

If it's all on a name, pity any flame-haired, pasty-complexioned, stumpy Irish laddo who lobs up if they're surname is O'binladen:)

Green data center threat level: Not green


I'd comment on this, but then it seems I'd be killing all of you... us:(*

Where is Dilbert when you need him?

*Oh, darn. Too late.

UK government websites out of control


Sites unseen, heard... or accounted for

Does this include quangos? I'm guessing not as they don't have the suffixes indicated. Yet they, and their comms budgets, still drain the public purse, do they not?

It's certainly not easy, especially when there are those who serve more niche social areas that may well be worth supporting... way up to those that really feed a major information interest and could be nice little earners if commercial.

Hence ROIs must be hard to judge, but I think the public deserves better in being able to assess them, from what they do, for whom, with what, at what cost... and to what effect.

Otherwise many seem no more than conveniently vague and unaccountable ways to employ lots of folk at best keeping them busy... or less nobly pushing agendas.

I recently had an emailing from one eco-effort, that seems to have been set up with a massive wadge of wonga with many noisy bells and confusing whistles, staffed by all manner of nifty titled folk, claiming a monthly visitorship of '50,000 hits'. Now I know what the average Reg reader can carry in a fingernail about IT and the web, but this doesn't sound like the best way to share such info, and even if it was doesn't sound like a lot.

And let's not forget, when thinking of bigger (and possibly 'better') sites such as http://www.dft.gov.uk/ActOnCO2/ or recyclenow.com, you are also talking massive ad budgets in support to drive traffic.

It would be great to really challenge these in the same way those not so blessed by 'more benign' funding models are, yet can find themselves competed with for audience... often unfairly. I certainly have experience of going to one quango for help in an area their remit required, only to be rejected but then find what I pitched got cranked out subsequently as part of their offering.

Yet private sites often are much better in delivering public information at much better value, especially by not being constrained by the dead hand of public service agenda, committee mentality and ministerial oversight. You just have to start with some URLs to see how they have not exactly got what it takes to push the buttons of a public used to pretty exciting and entertaining fare.

I find it amazing those we do have to pay for seem to have no way currently of judging their performance and/or worth.

Asus Eee PC 900 Linux Edition


Still tempted, but ...

Came to this thread after a weekend jaunt where I saw what I presume to be the earlier model in PC World. At £250.

Hardly 'what the heck' price, but as I now need to walk with one foot on the pavement and one in the gutter just to lug a 'normal' lappy, and moblys or PDAs just don't cut it for serious surfing, emailing or even the odd bit of actual work on the move, it is in my zone of interest. Jase, are those you scoped also as small?

As the purple shirt and and pink spots didn't know at the store, might any gurus here know if the thing works with a 3 wireless dongle?

Great if it does/would. But having bought the latter from phone4U on the assurance it would work on my 12" MacG4 running 10.2.4... and it doesn't (and let's not go into all that did, and didn't go down to try and make all that evolve - it can't) I don't want to make another daft travel-friendly PC purchase on poor sales info.

O2 PR calls Reg readers 'techie nerds'


Telling folk where to go

I used to think that those 95% awful competitor/5% 'we're not like that' ads from some bank or other were also daft because no one will believe that PR/marketing/customer service folk are that inept/insincere/rude/dumb to get paid what they are to do what they do.

'Guess not.

It's proving a rich week for PR foot-shooting. First that lady posting how she got the BBC to change a story to her, perhaps now less than fondly-viewed as a consequence, preferred take. Now this.

I wonder what will be served up next?

Ofcom slaps Beeb for Live Earth swearing


Sticks and stones...

Nice one, Richard Wharram. LoL.

Shame they didn't have a machine to bleep out various celebs standing up to proclaim the were 'Doing it for the future/their children/my children/not the new album out next month/new tour....' and then climbing in a Lear with their entourage to do a Hello spread on saving the Tesco turtle in the Maldives next week.

Send your loved one's ashes to the Moon for $10k


The ecological impact of a few grams

Just got to this via the post above regarding the production of cocaine.

I guess you'll need to sell a few keys of one to afford to boost the other!

With luck it's an early April Fool, but I doubt it.

T5 opening turns into Airplane 3.0


What's the name of Dilbert's company again?

I bet they could turn this into a software/hardware/management/outsourcing/engineering/marketing/MBA triumph.


Pork and politics energise the biofuel delusion


RE:porting RE:hashed

'And the prize for GW claptrap reporting goes, once again to, the BBC.'

To this statement, at the very least... Amen.

Whatever else one might think about the various issues surrounding 'Probably man-worsened climate change', I am still trying to get around our national broadcaster's total lack of irony.

Around the ice shelf story they had no problem advocating moon burials and a crew flying to Midway Island to go beachcombing for plastic to show how a bag ban will solve the various e-crises.


ps: Back on-topic, kudos for a most worthwhile story for those simply keen to avoid waste and reduce unnecessary greenhouse nasties going up - no matter what - 'in the name of green'.

Bag tax recycled into eco-PR slush


Just the facts, man... such as they are... er, so far

It has all rather got folk excited, for sure.

A while while ago I decided to have a rummage into what was what because I really didn't know. But I didn't feel I was as well informed as I could.. or should be.

I am now older, a tad wiser, but still getting to grips with the fact that whatever 'we' may or may not 'need' to do, it sure won't be easy, or the journey eased well in any way by our government, media and corporate establishments.

If you have 5 mins to share my journey...:


UK gov unveils 'Innovation Nation' plans


Dole (out) queue


What is first required of course is the creation of more vast swathes of overlapping, job-creating, pension fund-consuming but totally unproductive agencies, to assess and administer and research and dole out this largesse to those deemed most deserving (criteria may vary from those normally considered of value to profit... or planet, in this case) by those who have never actually done any work in the real world.

And the first things these must of course do is:

a) Build a tower (with regional satellites)

b) Create an empire

c) Establish a well-stocked leadership structure (a board of all the talents)

d) Set out clear targets, based more on process than result

e) Match them with nice bonusses

f) Make sure d) is met asap (with a massive comms expenditure, so make sure you have the COI and a v. expensive PR mob on speed dial), so e) goes to c)

g) And make sure that - if there is any chance of things going the shape of a pear or some dozy media do fly a quick awkward headline for all of a day - it's all deniable and/or complicated and/or obscure enough that no one actually understands anything enough to try and stay with it all.

Critically, and this is key, the government paymasters/meddlers setting all this up and running it by nod and wink must be somehow nothing to do with any of this.

And then, if there is any money left over from the 'fund' the taxpayers are fronting in theory to actually DO something positive and proactive, you make sure you are very diligent in crushing any innovative spirit in possible applicants/beneficiaries by drowning them in mountains of pointless paperwork, bean-counter jargon and 'must-haves' (which all innovators love to do each day) so they stop even thinking of having good ideas and join the drones clocking off at 4.29pm.

I tried once for an award that was something like 'The Creative Innovation Fund'.

Didn't get it, so to learn for next time I pressed for why.

The crux of the explanation was (now remember it was the... 'Creative'... Innovation'... Fund) that the concept was 'too left field' and 'had never been done before'.

I forsee simply more of the same, and it seems they are now not even trying to rebadge it all anyway.