Because I forget stuff. Part of

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February 2007

Posts made in February 2007

It’s Uncle Tony Again

If Mr Blair keeps this up he’ll be on the GMail quick contacts list! So, he’s managed to “respond” to the road charging petition. Actually this isn’t a response but a spin doctored restating of all the things he’s already said, with very minor tweaks, just like the the response to the ID card petition. This is seen as a “stealth tax” not because it isn’t out in the open but because of the historic precedent of road taxation not actually contributing towards anything to do with transport improvements. That’s not my main personal objection anyway though. I believe this is the wrong approach to start with. “Congestion charging” isn’t a magic wand to wave, especially before a much much better public transport infrastructure can give real alternatives. If you increase the cost of motoring (and not that most people travel at the greatest times of congestion through necessity, not choice, which is what makes them congested) then all you do is force people to pay more to do things they have to do, and leave them with less disposable income. That is of course bad for the overall economy. My second and biggest objection is the “big brother” nature of the whole scheme however, and how that would be disproportionately affect the private motorist (those going by public transport aren’t checked). No matter what the government tries to spin it is an obvious fact that for this to work you must track the movement of every car in the country, nothing less than that would allow the taxation scheme to work effectively. In his response the Prime Minister addresses this as follows:

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The Prime Minister Just Spammed Me

Or rather his team of spin doctors, public relations gurus and brain washer’s did.

The UK government launched an experimental (and probably, from their point of view, regrettable) “ePetition” experiment. Anyone can set up a new petition and others can then “sign” that petition to show their support. It’s actually quite a commendable effort even if it does suffer from all the expected problems of vocal minorities, an obvious lack of proper debate and those who believe the prime minister should stand on his head and juggle ice cream. There are actually a few series petitions on there with which I agree with and have signed (I tend to have a problem with petitions because while I’ll be in general agreement I’ll find myself unable to agree with certain details of the wording…) One of the those petitions was against ID cards. I don’t intend to go into the problems with ID cards here (they won’t work, they’re intrusive…see No2ID for instance), I want to talk about the “response” I just got.

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More Flickr Favourites And Me

Bah. If things sit in draft too long, just push ‘em :-)

About a year ago I wrote a post called Flickr Favourites And Me which pointed the attentive reader towards some of my favourite photographs on Flickr. I think that post marked the sating of my appetite somewhat because I haven’t favourited anywhere near those sort of numbers since (certainly I’m not exposed to so many RSS feeds as I was). As I seemed to be clicking that favourite button a bit more recently though I thought I’d have a quick look back over what I had noted, to see if tastes have changed.

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You Know You’ve Been Using A Keyboard Too Much When…

You write something using that old fashioned pen and paper method and find yourself pausing, confused that the auto-complete hasn’t kicked in…

Photo Map

I’ve been meaning to have a play with the Google Maps Module for Gallery for a while now. Quite a few of my photos contain location information thanks to the power of Picasa and Google Earth. So I grabbed the module and then grabbed the latest code from the subversion repository so that grabbing data from the exif headers actually worked properly. A few tweaks to the default templates and its actually working though. For instance, you can see the location of the photos I was talking about last night, along with other Newcastle/Gateshead photos, mapped for your pleasure


Just a quick note to say I uploaded a bunch of photos to the Photo albums. You can always find the latest here but there are so many that they don’t all show up there. Check out the NewcastleGateshead pages to find them all!


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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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