Archive | April, 2008

the irregular photo of the day

28 Apr

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tallinn

28 Apr

As regular readers will know, I travel to Tallinn (Estonia), several times a year for a week or two.

This year it looks like I’ll be going for the whole summer. I fly out in June, with no return flight booked. The kids are going into Nursery, and I’ll be doing some private English tutoring. If I can make enough to tick over, then I’ll probably be staying until at least the back-end of the year.

I’ll post the occasional piece here, but I expect I’ll be doing most of my blogging over at Rational Geekery – Tallinn is Europe’s tech haven, after all. I’m not sure how this will affect my daily blog review, but if my diary permits, I’d like to continue. Although I’ll probably take a “holiday” while I settle in at the apartment and try and get some work.

Also, If anyone needs a freelance tech correspondent in the Baltics – drop me a line.

i have a dodgy dongle

24 Apr

More me(!) over at Rational Geekery: –

Anyway, upon excitedly unwrapping my dongle I found that even though the instructions were idiot-proof and all the software was auto-installed from the device itself, I couldn’t connect from my iBook.

I tried several things, including downloading and installing different drivers and playing with the settings. Yet nothing, I repeat NOTHING, would bloody work. As usual, when technology fails me (or I fail it), I may have used a fair bit of blue language and banged the desk a couple of times. We all have our faults, get over it.

defending the indefensible

22 Apr

Northern Rock proved that “irresponsible” lending is dangerous game for banks to play. If a bank has too many debtors who are over-extended, then it leaves itself wide open to punishment if suddenly the economic climate cools. In America, where mortgages are traded between banks and investors like coffee beans, bad debts have created a financial crisis on a gargantuan scale, with the entire US economy peering over the precipice of a long and painful recession. It’s now very easy for all and sundry to point at the banks and crow that their chickens have finally come home to roost. Everyone, it seems, is desperate to see the first banker throw himself 34-floors to his splatterriffic death.

But is this fair, and is this a progressive position to take?

We live in a capitalist society. There are few mainstream Western politicians who still promote a truly socialist economic model. We are now, is seems, locked into market economics. So surely now our aim as progressives, is to make the system as open and as equal as possible? And this is just what the banks, with their reckless lending, have done. I know, shocking, but please stay with me…

Lenders have empowered people to buy into a growing economy. We have seen astonishing growth over the last decade, and house prices have rocketed. What could be more progressive than enabling every hard-working person to enjoy the good-times? Why should people without ready access to capital be denied the opportunity to invest?

The reality is, as banks tighten their belts, young families and professional singles will be forced to rent their homes. They’ll be paying rent to landlords, rather than investing in a property. Large scale property investors will get richer, while their tenants will be cut out of the housing market for the foreseeable future.

Also, I’m not convinced we’ll see a considerable fall in prices. There are plenty of investors willing to pick up empty properties, especially when they know more and more people are looking to rent. And as the economic outlook grows more precarious, home owners will sit tight to see how the situation plays out, so reducing the number of houses on the market and stabilising prices. There are too many factors, including a national shortage of homes, that suggest a collapse in prices is unlikely. So if the predicted dramatic fall in prices doesn’t materialise, and banks are unwilling to take risks, what chance do wannabe homeowners have?

Easy access to capital is the greatest liberator in a capitalist society, and what our so-called reckless banking system has actually done, is enabled people to get onto the housing market and enjoy the growing equity in their properties. Why should it just be the rich who benefit from an economic boom? As progressives we should celebrate cheap capital, and prey that our banks don’t become so “responsible” that they deny hope to so many aspirational families.

it’s just water

22 Apr

Rachel writes it up.

postman pat

21 Apr

It’s just dawned on me that the hateful bastards in charge at Postman Pat PLC, have changed the the bloody theme tune. No longer is it “Postman Pat and his black and white cat”,no, it’s been replaced by a forgettable generic effort that washes over you like elevator muzak (hence why i just realised it had changed). It’s awful.

But why change it? By all means bring back Pat – one of TV’s more genteel and honourable characters, but why change one of its classic tunes and replace it with god-awful aural tedium?

Mind you, the new theme is more suitable than this intro (seriously, NSFW).

this blog is boring. fact

17 Apr

It seems I’m a bore.

Gus of 1820 has decided that this blog is a yawnfest and will be removed from his blogroll. I can’t say I blame him.

I just don’t seem to have the energy and vigour for political blogging that I once had. I spend most of my day getting stressed out that I can’t get a minute to myself to write, and when I do finally get the baby to bed, I’m knackered. Now Mrs. tyger has returned to working after her maternity, this working from home just isn’t going very well. Looking after two very-young kids is a full-time responsibility and I think I’d be better going back into industry and putting the kids into childcare again. At least then I’d be getting out of the house, rather than being a sulky house-bound grinch. I simply don’t have the time to “work”.

Mrs. tyger is also clearly fed-up listening to me whinge. As am I.

Also, politically, I’m not sure what I think anymore. Labour have consistently proved their incompetence and slyness. Anyone who thinks that working for the Labour Party is something of value is mistaken. The Tories, Liberals, and Labour are all fighting for the same political oxygen in the centre of British Politics. There is no ideology left in our political life, and therefore no difference between the “managers” who govern us (I would be much happier if they could actually manage, but alas…). So let’s drop the pretence that they’re different, and elect proven managers instead of partisan incompetents who couldn’t organise a cutlery draw.

My personal story wasn’t always like this, there was a time when I believed that government could be a force for good – indeed in some Northern European countries it still proves to be. So let’s be straight: the British body politic is poisoned. It’s cancerous. It’s terminal.

So thanks for the previous link-love, Gus, but yeah, I think another blogger deserves my spot. I’ll make a decision regarding continuing this blog over the next week or so.

*current mood: nihilistic*