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26 Dec 2007


Family Christmas. Its like living in a a zoo.

Well, I'm back from travels for the old folks sake. But it's like you know everything they would ever say. And so a coping strategy.

Been on the net far too much. I've just disassembled my laptop, soldered the USB port back, replaced the speakers, reassembled the laptop, replaced the camper bulbs, installed another 12v port, assembled a toolbox for the camper, arranged insurance and kitted out the camper all in one afternoon.

Clearly I need to get laid. So now I'm on `The Rules of the Game` by Neil Strauss. Will see how it goes. Girlfriend doesn't want to see me. Ca la vie

23 Dec 2007

The Awesome Power of Community

I'd pretty much say the secret of happiness is community. Plotting my own personal happiness over the past I notice that as I've got happier so has my involvement with community.

Things that make for a strong community. A shared interest is good. A shared interest that is a bit unusual is better. The more contact and communication between members is good, facetime is even better.

Get involved with a community. You know it makes sense.

Some communities:
- car owners clubs
- work, some types of work especially. Drawback is you usually only have one arena
and it tends to last a long time
- charities
- DIY motorhome builders club
- OpenSource software movement like Ubuntu (computers)
- surfing and travel clubs
- hobbies, scouts, airsoft
- radio ham & cb
- social clubs
- pick up

20 Dec 2007

Intellectual Property

Addressing Intellectual Property. The notion of assigning a value to a thought; usually an idea. I will refer to it as IP for short now.

It's something I think about a lot. It needs work.

Across the board IP effects every part of our lives. As the world changes the impact of a notion of IP is pivotal. What is IP? Should IP exist?

Consider the following scenarios.

A restaurant creates an innovate Molecular Gastronomic dish. It's a sensation. A rival restaurant begins to serve that recipe. Should they be stopped? Should Joe Public at home also be stopped from serving to his family?
If we reward the innovation this costs energy and stifles competition. But if don't the innovation gets little support.

Another example.
A fan listens to a new song at his favorite band's gig. The melody remembered, he stums it back on his guitar at home. People are impressed. In fact, friends encourage him to play for more people. Eventually he plays at the local open mic night and this may be involved in attracting more business for the venue. The guitarist gets no money for this. Should he be stopped? Should he be jailed? Should the venue be fined or shutdown?
A different fan makes a bootleg recording and remixed the tune so that it is enjoyed in a different way than previously possible. Should that be prevented? Would doing so help the original writer?

What about software. That's a common situation.
A company develops a way to process customer information in a very fast way. The program to do this has some protection. It is very expensive. Only international corporations can afford this technology.
A programmer, inspired by this investigates the program and releases a free version. Now the public can all benefit from this technology. With small companies using the technique used in the software the economy is visibly boosted.

Medicine. Lives are at stake here. Don't think this is some airy intellectual discussion. People are dying because of IP, so consider this real example.
International mega corporation has a cure for disease X. However, Mega Corp also produce treatment for the symptoms of disease X. As a result they patent the cure and but never produce it to protect the profit that can be gained from leaving the problem as it is.
Aids drugs are make-able for much cheaper than current price but this is not allowed. In fact, when Venezuela tried to manufacture aids drugs for Africa on the cheap countries on the beneficial from the drugs companies made threats. A quiet political discourse hidden from unified media.

Am I getting through? More examples!

Cosmetics. A less serious example. A chemical formula is available for perminent hair removal. This and any attempts to develop another formula to do this are patented and bought up by the cosmetics industry who have developed a massive industry for hair removal - eppilators, razor blades and waxing strips. Permanently easily remove that hair and the industry is gone.

Piracy. If you would never pay for a product then what damage is done? Most computer users have collections of IP on storage that are greatly in excess of their wage; 300gb of mp3's, is that £9,000 of CDs? DVDs at £15 each how many on your hard drive? What about software? Would you pay for Excel/Office at £200, Photoshop at ~£120, Dreamweaver £300, Cubase ~£200 and all the rest? Imagine we could force everyone to pay - I would wager that everything would come to a halt such a large majority is built on pirate software. Not just infrastructure where licenses can be tracked to businesses but the creative industries like music, media, TV. And all the creative day to day things like when someone needs to make a poster for a local jumble sale. It would effect everything. What can be done? Programming has to be funded somehow.

Trademarks. In time words like ipod, perspex, hoover, oakleys & tomtom get absorbed into everyday language. It becomes tenuous to communicate without using a trademark. This benefits the trademark owner and that is good but it means that people are censored on free speech. I have a Vaccum to sell on ebay, yet no one uses the word vacum, instead using Hoover. I can't communicate. For some words there isn't even an alternative. Ebay's Vero scheme is in a way good because it rewards the efforts of the brand... but how do people find the competition if there is no common word to search for? How do we find the alternative for Perspex and Selophane? Answer: We no longer can because we are censored. So IP is damaging communication here too.

At the moment there's lots of madness about round IP. Fair and efficient, where? Strange situations are occurring. What can be done?

There is one possible unifying answer.
- drop it in all forms.
But I don't think this can happen. I just think it's too much and someone is leading us to try to do the opposite. Perhaps it is workable for a micronation but with compromise to avoid wars on politics like drugs (should all be legal).

In the mean-time education helps. Publicize and educate to bring the world forward on this. Tell everyone you know. Watch for this in everything you see.

On a similar thread of thinking, isn't it best to legalize use of drugs and allow an arena for this kind of thing in sport?

4 Dec 2007

3G Three UK Mobile Internet, Linux, £5/month & 100kb/down, 40kb/up

I'm blown away by this.
Here I am sitting in a campervan getting 100kb download speeds for £5/month on linux.

Here's the setup:

SIM Card: Three Pay as you go from ebay ~£2
Credit: £10 credit with £5/month for 2000gb add-on from Three
Phone: Nokia N80 flashed to internet edition £60 off ebay
Computer: Bluetooth dongle is a blue `linksys USB100` (~£20 because you can extend the range of it by chopping the antenna). Software is Ubuntu using kppp to dial up on an IBM Thinkpad (£200).

Computer settings:
#sdptool browse > find n80 bluetooth address and correct channel (mine was channel 1)
#rfcomm bind 1 1 && edit /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf to add something like
rfcomm2 { bind yes; channel 2; # MAC address of your phone: device 00:00:00:34:F6:25; }
^ this sets up /dev/rfcomm2 as a bluetooth link to the phone, just like a normal tty rs232 serial port. Test the connection with kppp and `test modem commands`. Pairing the phone helps - I had to do this from the phone and set the computer as authenticated

Now kppp settings.
Username = 3
Password = 3
Init string 1 = ATZ
Init string 2 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP"
^ you can get to change the modem init strings under modems > edit > modem > modem commands

Phone number to dial = *99***# (this dials the default connection on your phone. You can dial a different connection if you like with *99***2# for connection 2 in the que for example)
Auth = pap/chap

--- and it works for me! Stoked! Now to investigate the same thing but traveling globally. Any info on that?

update 17/1/2011::

I've heard the APN is `three.co.uk` and some sources say user:pass is to be left blank.

Ubuntu has the mobile broadband connect helper in NetworkManager now too. This appears to work with a Nokia E55 and so should do the business on Android Froyo too.

All these settings can be made not needed by using a WiFi 3G access point such as the MiFi,

Solwise EnGenius Wireless 11n 3G Travel Router, or

Novatel 2352

Intellinet Wi-Fi 150N Portable 3G Router 524803


also, wise man once say:
""3services" is the one for 3 content (planet 3 etc) and the internet one is 3netaccess.

if you get the x-series data pack you use 3services.

if you have a 3 broadband modem thing you use 3netaccess"

21 Nov 2007

I find I'm dyslexic after 17 years of education

A discovery I made a little earlier whilst at university. I had heard of some people receiving free computers to help them with their studies. But alas these people were dyslexic. I love computers, and I really need a new one. How can I wangle myself a free computer? Although I haven't found it particularly hard this year, I have had trouble with the way it is taught. It just doesn't seem to match me. It just seems that these some subjects are inherently hard. And in fact, I always seem to be running out of time in exams. In a way, I had been having trouble with my work. Isn’t this service designed for the mentally handicapped, disabled or with learning difficulties? People really in the shit?

But then again, perhaps they give out help to anyone who is having just basic problems with studies. Might as well check it out. I might even be exaggerating on the test a little.

I find the place I need to be to get my free computer. Hidden at the bottom of the open access computer building I find a whole area I hadn't seen before. Looking at the walls this must be a support place for the mentally handicapped and disabled. Billboards advertise support for all manner of ills. Wheelchair advertisements, support groups, charities, religious groups.

All of a sudden I feel cold feet.

I wasn't planning on pretending to be disabled for the sake of a £800 computer. The thought of this is momentarily forgotten as I notice a message on the wall `If you are blind or partially sighted, we may be able to provide assistance during lectures. Contact us for advice and support on the following number…`

Shit. I'm called in.

Well, no backing out now. You wanna lie? Well here you are, you're in and now you better lie good. Start limping and do it good because this is for real.

Fortunately the woman in the office is very amicable. Very amicable indeed. No. Not amicable. A saint. A true saint. The sort of person you see on TV receiving the Mother Teresa Heart of Gold Award for being a kind and selfless person. This isn't helping my conscience.

I feel dirty.

The student support woman explains what help is available for people with learning difficulties. Involuntarily, and as soon as she mentions the phrase `Learning Difficulties` my mind immediately wanders to the Goonies and that horribly disfigured character. Dropped on his head as a child this hunchback of notra-dame, but fully grown... growth of a man is completely dependant on his mother for support. He scares small children with a face like a fried breakfast. He knows not right from wrong. He can do no wrong and he has done nothing wrong. Yet he is treated as a freak.

This will be the hopelessly inflicted from whom I will be stealing from.

I feel ill.

Never-the-less an `appointment` is made…


My god, a qualified doctor is going to examine me. You've played some ruses in your time sister but this takes the biscuit. Desperate measures are required. Perhaps I should bash myself with a breakfast frying pan to echo it's nutritional contents to my face?

After having time to sleep on it I look up some details on dyslexia. I don't do much looking but perhaps this is not what is as first appears. I'll read more when I get time later, it’s time to go.

I can't back out. I decide to attend my appointment. Besides, I feel cocky. Nothing to lose. I don't know these people. Could be interesting. Let's have some fun.

Waiting for the examiner to arrive I begin to consider my actions. Will I lie? Will I exaggerate? What if I say I was dropped on my head as a teenager? – would damage at a later age be plausible?

Let's just take it as it comes.

I am not a con-man. As a child it was a thrill to eat penny-sweets without paying for them. I still feel guilty about that. That was the limit of my criminal ways.

There comes a time when a man is given the chance to serve for his sins. Now is my time. I conduct the test with honesty.

Indeed I pass the spelling test with flying colours.

Somehow the examiner seems non-judgemental.

This test it seems, is in fact one test of many interesting and some unusual tests. The term `Learning Difficulties` I infer, must be a general heading for a series of problems of which Dyslexia and spelling is but one. The tests continue.

By the end of testing I am very much intrigued. Some of these tests are really very basic. I ask the examiner and my world begins to change.

"Yes" he says. Some of these tests you will find easy. People with dyslexia are often talented in different ways to the majority.

I had been tricked! Instead of failing the tests to get a free computer, some of them I needed to do well at!

Crafty psychology types indeed.

The examiner only explained a little. Things start to change. Later I would learn that Dyslexia isn't a disease. In fact Dyslexia is not a disability. Dyslexia is a side effect to a type of intelligence. By being intelligent, that is, talented at associating data, here there is a compromise on memory. And there is much more to memory than spelling!

Instead of wangling a free computer on the sly, I ended up with MUCH more than I bargained for. I learnt that I am, in the words of my former self, `a spacko`.


I have learnt, without he aide of any sod, that I associate widely. And in the process of being so open minded, the cost of this talent is that I lose address to sequence and order. Especially with numbers. This can be annoying, and it has cost me many opportunities, job interviews and careers. But I am proud, because I am different. In fact, it is a hallmark of all that is interesting and cool about myself. Interesting people don't pass examines at school or win spelling tests. Interesting people are creative by associating the data that enters their` everyday experience. This is talent, this is the urge to be creative. This is the kind of thing that makes us human.

I think it's amazing that I've gone through so many years of education and not one person spotted this. It wasn't spotted at first school, middle school, upper school or college. It wasn't even spotted at University. Only when I'm just getting to the finish line do I find out why I despise education so much!

So what now? What now to do with this new knowledge? For one, I am going to find out as much as I can about the gypsies. Perhaps I can find something about that oast that I haven't investigated. Something that feels odd and unusual. Where this feels strange, that is the area to pursue to make new discoveries. Here this is clear because of the contrast to where I grew up but what of my other side of the family? Can I learn anything there too?

16 Nov 2007

Secret history Part.1

keywords: ancestry, family roots, family tree, genealogy, genes, gypsie, gypsy, romani, romanichal, travel, traveller

Turns out I have a secret family history, hidden from me for all my life. It was totally shocking when I realized. It's funny when you think I started writing this blog with absolutely no knowledge of this at all.

It happened when I was using stumbleupon to find new sites. I was reading an article about the history of the Romani people when I suddenly relised that I act a heck of a lot like a gypsy. Here I am traveling across the world about to buy and live in a caravan, out of choice rather than necessity. Not only this but my attitudes to Intellectual Property (Peer to Peer networks) echo gypsy sharing morals and I am able to adapt to cultures like a chameleon, even feeling respect and identifying with religions across the board without animosity. I have a propensity for music and I am highly skilled with my hands. Here I am reading about magic tricks and NLP.
Then I remembered back and picked up some coinsidences from family situations. I remember my father showing some disdain for traveling communities - `They are not real gypsies. The real gypsies are a highly good and moral people`. I remember a family air loom of a Gypsy Varda caravan.

Can I ask you to look inside yourself and ask `Do I have prejudice here?` I add that the only thing I ever stole was a chocolate bar in a newsagent following a very long que -and I got guilty about that! Also our family is quite rich, I'm educated and successful. I don't think this is so rare. I think there are many people around the world in all sorts of cultures and economies who have some Romani genes and this has influenced the world in subtle ways.

So now it seems I have some ancestral base in... North West India?!? I don't look even remotely Indian!


I don't intend to reveal this intentity in the current racist cultural climate. I think my family were wise to hide.

Anyway, I felt compelled to write this. It's unfinished; only the beginning of a draft. But I hope I still connect with you.

Sitting on a rock I looked out over the vista.

Breath taking. A thousand miles of hills and valleys. I guess this is what I've supposed to have come for.

In the distance I can hear the others running around and generally being loud. It's been a a nice aspect of this trip. Community.

This trip hasn't been the adventure I had planned. For whatever reason, it hadn't quenched my thirst for adventure.

One of the popular bunch comes over to me. `Ah, here you are. The guys are going to the waterfall later. Just thought I'd let you know`. Nice of her to let me know. Why am I always out of the loop? In fact, why do I never feel seem to have what they seem to? Why don't I have that sense of community?

I'd come two thousand miles looking for adventure. Why had I not found it? Was I looking for something else?


That's the memory that I am reminded of as I look out the top of this tree. That's the memory I recall as I look

over the field, the field of my relatives gathering, drinking wine and playing rounders.

Kind of funny to watch these gatherings. Looking back it has to amuse me. My mother fussing like a clucking mother hen. This was her domain now and as much as she stressed around, I relised that really, she enjoyed it. I used to hate traveling in the car to such functions. Now I look out of this tree as a fully grown adult, I begin not just to find this cute, but I start to actually appreciate such things.

Strange how attitudes change. Do attitudes change? -or does the entire world change to match those attitudes?

Money. I want to travel. No, in fact it is more than that. There is something out there I have to do. Some kind of pilgrimage! But where? Where am I supposed to go?

The money problem. I could go on a major traveling bender round the world but do I really want to do that alone? It wouldn't come cheap. Probably a years wages, possibly a lot more if I was to borrow to do it.

No. I won't travel. Not yet. Every middle class kid wants to go on a round the world part these days. This is not what it's about. I'm looking for something. I know the value of money and I won't be friverlous with MY money like them. I won't travel. Not until I know what this thing is about. There will be time or this later. All good things come to those who wait.


The story of the girl in the jungle. Lost by her parents in , she is found by a tribe of tree people. Or was it Apes? Well, jungle people. Native, stereotypical, me-Tarzan-you-Jane-let's-sit-around and each other's body parts, untouched Tree People. That will do. That's the real view people would prefer to recall. Really this is to massively simplify the situation and possibly worse. But it makes for a better story.

As she grew up this girl is raised completely cut off from the world into which she was born. Her parents, meanwhile, think she is dead.

It is only 10 or 20ish years down the line that this girl wanders into a local village from the jungle. I don't know why she would do this, but in any event, she doesn't speak.

Does she retain an echo of where she is from, even though she has no conscious memory of it?


Now I am looking out my port cabin window. A circular, small window about 12" in diameter it's just enough to give a connection to the outside earthly nature. The smallest antidote to living next to diesel engines and heavy lifting gear is amplified larger than life.

From the texture of the water I can tell we are traveling fast. Not fast for a plane, not fast for a car, but fast for a boat. Brisk cycling speed.

I have been working and living on boats now for nearly a year. It's certainly unexpected. I started on a whim. I’d never sailed before. In fact, I'd never been to sea before. How so quickly did it seem like home? Was I a Viking or some such in a former life?

Remember how I posted that I have hearing as sensitive as a dogs. How I am able to hear a dog’s whistles, bat echo location and underwater positioning equipment. It's a rare thing. When you find an undiscovered thing like this out about yourself, it's amazing. But it makes you wonder more than that. How can I get all the way into my 20's without noticing such a thing? How can anyone get past childhood without noticing such a thing? What other discoveries are there to be made about one's self?

Just imagine what untold discoveries you have to discover!


Before getting carried away, let’s exercise caution.

I remember a tale of a politician looking into her ancestry. She was proud of her Celtic ancestry. It was part of her identity. To confirm her convictions and to learn more about herself she took part on TV with a test to that indicates genetic markers to areas of the country. With this confirmation she could be sure of her suspicions and be proudly with conviction

`I have Celtic blood in me`.

But when the test came back it turned out she had no Celtic genes. `You are… English`. Seeing the disappointment on her face the scientist added

`I suspect a little German roots before this, if that helps?`

So be careful. Given a romantic incentive, the mind can draw conclusions and then look for evidence to support those assumptions. An illusion.

Update:: Asked my grandma. She said no. Well there you go!

I had all these things supporting the idea:

- Nomad nickname - saracen bicycle choice? - music tastes rhythm over melody - wanderlust - desire top live in a campervan - identification with people along migration route - tendency to come up with creative and sometimes controversial plans noting security? - grandfather worked the land - my name is a gypsy name as is my girlfriends - varda model airloom - religious flexibility/compassion picking up aspects of each - business thought over employment - secretive over knowledge, yet sharing to a community I trust - door to door salesman talent - attitude to property and modern equivalent in p2p online networks - warrior caste interest? - I can do the Asian squat - realise price of travel

Have you ever discovered something about yourself that shocked you?

29 Oct 2007

The travelers phone - cutting call costs & roaming charges. Dualsim & smartphone android combinations

Summary: Get 2 phones. A smartphone(or tablet) and a basic phone. You keep the smartphone offline and use it for offline maps & WiFi. The basic phone you use with either a local simcard or a global sim like sims2go and a callback provider like VoIPDuniya.
^ this is gold, and since I've never seen anyone come up with it, prehaps you read it here first!

I'm currently sniping on ~80 auctions to win a Nokia N80.

This should help someone with my lifestyle in multiple ways:

1) GPS for navigation
2) Cheap VoIP calls over WiFi
3) 3G is now ~£5 a month for 2gb

I'm using JBidwatcher and sniping at £50. It seems my discussion of the phone may have brought prices up in the last week, from average £55 to about £70 so it may take a long time.

For anyone interested in such a phone the battery is a pain, you need to work at saving battery time. Personally I'll keep a camera phone as spare.

If you need advice for Internet or phone calls on the move get in touch.


Could this be useful?

All solutions have drawbacks. Why can't we just go anywhere and be have free incoming calls??

1) Local simcard (need to be there a while)
2) Find internet/WiFi (Fring or VoIPCheap online call initiator)
3) International simcard that doesn't charge incoming calls for the country you're going to
4) SMSBug txt and ask them to call you back to a phone box or hotel reception
5) Commit to Voda passport or similar (need to travel the whole month as it's only on a month by month basis)
6) Some countries (i.e. Madagascar) have stalls with mobile phone where you can hire someone's phone to make or receive a call
7) 3G internet local to the country
8) Satellite internet and VoIP

2nd update:

The best solution I have found is to use:

simstogo.co.uk in the mobile, they have good rates but the main thing is that they have managed to secure free incoming calls in quite a few countries but very regretably, not all by a long shot.
It works something along the lines of you attempt a call, which is not allowed, this is sensed by them somehow, and they call you back. I don't know quite how they've done it but it's very clever.
You can combine this with initiate calls with SMS or internet (voipcheap phone-to-phone), however, with the SMS solution you will have to configure the message centre number everytime you use a new network(and country). Network switching can happen quite a lot. Also, some networks don't work with simstogo.co.uk so if you have a problem you have to select the network manually.

As a result simstogo is great thing to have but it's still far better to get a local simcard if you can and go with that. Just make sure you get the person selling it to you to show WAP/internet and SMS txt messaging working first.

Hope this helps!

3rd update:: 17/1/2011

The best I have found is to use SimsToGo in combination with a callback service. This can be initiated by a website, by calling a set number (which doesn't complete and calls you back), or by sending an SMS. The best of all those of course is the Callback option.
Thus, the best out there is SimsToGo in combination with a callback service.

4th update:: 23/12/2011

In terms of choosing a phone it might be a good idea to have 2 phones. One you use for smartphone stuff and one for... a phone! Just keep the smartphone offline to save battery and credit.
And the normal phone you might want to go with something ultra small. You might use one phone for a local simcard and the other for your home network just in case; if charged to recieve calls you reject it and call them back on the local simcard with a callback service like VoIPDuniya.
You might use a watchphone, or perhaps just a really small phone. Both can be cheap, but are they useable enough?

...I'm currently using a Nokia E71 & SE W850 (got a rooted NookTouch N2E but haven't used it as much as I'd hope)... I'd prefer a Cellphone watch and mirasol display android tablet.

The speed of GPS fix is really important too. I find the E71 is way too slow. Sometimes it won't even fix. I find by the time you got a fix you've found another way to do it! The only one I know that is a lot better is the iPhone4S. I'd like to know how this is on Android tablets. The advantage of the $50 tablets is if it gets stolen it's less of a pain... but is the GPS actually usable?

moneysavingexpert.com DDOS

keywords: DDOS, Moneysavingexpert

Ack! http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ ( MSE ) is DDOS attacked

A simple demonstration of how the internet is a double edged sword. For every power it gives you, you should be aware of what is taken away.

Meanwhile 1.6% of Facebook sells for £160 million. Nearly all users don't have the brains to realize why that might be and exactly what it indicates.

New World approaches.

21 Oct 2007

Future Food

keywords: comedy, future, predictions

In the future, people won't eat.
Well, not as they do now.
Rather, eating will become a pure luxury, an optional leisurely pursuit like smoking or drinking.

Instead, to justify the pleasure (aided by glucose absorption inhibitors), nutrient delivery is the dish of the day.

The main obstacle to becoming popular was siting this technology and making it acceptable.

The toe hold was the privacy of the homes of the wealthy elite. But now anyone can top up after they drop off, including public rest rooms.

To top up, you simply squat over a disposable tube. This reclines to a relaxed position. Next, there is an option for colonic irrigation. Then the plethora of available nutrient options. Not just Vitimins and Minerals but, drugs, medication, tailored amino acids.

Though expensive, the user may then socialise with peers over a sugary blow out of a meal.

20 May 2007

Campervan fulltiming

keywords: bed and breakfast, camper, campervan, contractor, fulltiming, holiday, road trip, smbcc, travel, vacation, van

I am considering fulltiming.
I thought that my budgeting could be interesting to someone considering the same.

It may at first appear that not paying rent will save lots of money but it may not be so simple. The conclusion is not as I expected.

Here are the basic figures, rough and ready.

Previous Rent:
£350/month (all inclusive)

£350 rent / month saved
Current vehicle is next to worthless = £200 saved

Recoup on cost-
£7000 = 20 months
£5000 = 14 months
£3000 = 9 months

But if only £200/month saved;
£7000 = 35 months
£3000 = 15 months

£90 a week x4 = £360/month + £40 for mistakes = £400 / 2 for 180 days (here for half the year maximum) = £200/month

2 years of b+b = £4,800
2 years of rent = £8,400

But interest on investments is also lost with Van:

2% / month on £7000 = £140
2 years at 2% = £3,360
2% / month on £4,800 = £96
2 years at 2% = £2,304

Using a £4,800 van for 2 years could cost me about £2,000 more than B+B. I think this is worthwhile `luxury`[sic] to pay for, but you have to remember that it is negative equity and not saving money.

It is a saving of just £200/month at max in b+b. This saving will be even little less if I stay in some other kind of free accommodation.
Selling on the vehicle not taken into account.
Insurance tax etc remains the same as it is a replacement vehicle for something costing similar.

All the freedom of a camper. And I can actually cook!

Cost. Clearly this is not an economic move.
To get a cleaner vehicle than what I have now I have to spend inordinately more. The longer I can drive around in a cheap vehicle delay making that change the cheaper it is. However, if I am changing the vehicle anyway this cost is reduced.

8 May 2007

I'm a dog

keywords: hearing, supersonic, ultrasonic

I seem to have ultrasonic hearing! This is especially interesting as I've been in quite a few loud nightclubs (came out of one with my ears literally ringing and couldn't hear properly).

I wonder how good my hearing would be if I had looked after my ears!

I'm 26 but my hearing is apparently that of a dog...


edit:: I asked my Dad if he could hear the sounds and he could too. So perhaps it's not reliable? Well, turns out he can hear bats squeaking too.

If it's true it's amazing that you can discover something like this about yourself after all this time. Amazing.


keywords:: 1984, orwell, orwellian, privacy

I read 1984 for the first time the other day (2007).

As someone growing up in the 80's I didn't find it that shocking.
Part of it was because it wasn't completely on the nail (i.e. I think it takes a human face to make the boot).

But also these things I have always known - credit ratings (and credit underclass), CCTV, email logging, phone tapping, search at airports, passports, credit card, insurance prejudice, sham democracy, privately owned national banks, powerful media, no privacy.

I already feel and have always felt like the character in the book - so I identified with it but didn't feel how I was supposed to.

I wonder, does anyone else feel this way?

30 Apr 2007

The strange east England seaside

keywords: emit, groccles, holiday, holiday makers, materialistic, Norfolk, seaside

Ever had a clear out and wondered why you bought the crap in the first place?

Well here it all is in one place.

Miles and mile of sprawling tacky, tacky shops. Arcades, junk food and other amusements. I couldn't see anything of any value? Yards of sweets, deep fried food. Plastic, lots of plastic. Gollywogs and other racist fluffy toys. This pic really doesn't capture it.

Here Londoners drive up and spend a cheap holiday I guess -and so does the north; is this their south? At least it's not gridlocked Cornwall I guess.

This was a greater culture shock than Nepal. Amazing.

Having said all this it would be great if I was 15... but then you'd never get in the clubs.

-8 to 26 Celcius

keywords: snow, spring, summer, sunshine, weather

This is what I left from in Scotland - Stags and snow, quiet and deserted north sea.
4 weeks later I come back to packed out Pleasure Beach and it's 26 degrees.

What a shock. UK weather is crazy.

Pollution at Padstow Cornwall

keywords: cornwall, kernow, newquay, Padstow, pollution, sewage, surf, surfers against sewage, surfing

Is this pollution? After one friend surf friend now has an eye infection and another recovers from an ear infection I would like to know.

Meanwhile, I am a member of SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) yet I have no idea of the water quality around our coast.

Does sewage get ejected over the winter and cut back in the summer?
Is this brown poo like sludge sewage? What about the froth that blows over the cliffs?

I must add that as a kid in the late 90's we were swimming at Bournemouth beach and a full human turd went by. Lovely. I'm no tree hugger but this is different.

I want one of these

keywords: media, news, satellite, Vito
2 media vehicles parked outside Plymouth council for a news story.
It's a Mercades VITO with a Satellite dish on top.

The gyro on ships is required but these here could be fashioned for less than £500. If you wanted something to work on boats that would be £20,000-ish, but without the gyro it could be as little as £100 and then £40/month. This could be 2 way Satellite, or GPRS using T-Mobile £1/day pay as you go for the uplink.

Of course, not as plush as this though.

Rickshaw in Plymouth

keywords: cab, omg-bak, plymouth, pouspous, rickshaw, scooter, taxi, tuk-tuk

New Taxi in town. He kept following us so I gave him what he wanted and took a pic.

Looking like Britneys Spear, not. Very posh vehicle too.

Would have been good in the chase from Omg-Bak.

Remember this?

keywords: exercise, gym, keep fit, sport, training

Good grief I haven't seen on of these in 20 years! This typifies Great Yarmouth.

The pic was taken at the local gym in Yarmouth; this kind of thing adorns the walls everywhere. There are Skis from the 70's, boxing gloves from the 80's and misceallanous gym home style equipment piling up everywhere. Never seen anything like it. Remember those air compressor static gym equipment from the late 80's - they got it. The guy who runs it looks like he trained Barry Mcguigan when he was 8 years old. I'll have to take some pics of the wooden rackets on the wall next time I see the place.
keywords: boat, cabin, homeless, marine, offshore, quarters, seaman, ship

This is my room for most of the year. It is why I am at no fixed abode - I get free accommodation on the boat so why rent accommodation on land when I won't be there for most of the year?

It's really noisy here. The bed rocks usually by 30 degrees. Viration from the diesel engine next to your head but earplugs do help. Oh, and your boss can knock on your door at any time.
keywords: billabong, surf, surfing, wetsuit

Just look at this, after just 10 sessions my wetsuit is falling apart. These tabs are coming off exposing the unfinished thread underneath.

Is it deliberate?

Who know, but I've been gluing over the threads with wetsuit Black Witch glue. Now I've switched to a cheaper clear stretchy glue, thanks to a friend.

I wouldn't buy Billabong again. This was a Billabong Ocillator. I suggest only buying suits double sitched but also with preglued seems both sides. The extra money spent is worth it.
I only paid £100 for this suit but it would be worth spending £170 for this extra durability I guess as 70% extra use would just be about 17 surfs instead of 10.

Update: about 30 surfs later and it's still holding together - the trick is to nip it in the bud before by catching the thread with the glue before it unravels. But now the neoprene itself is coming thin and separating!

Mobile food

keywords: health, surf, surfing

It's not easy to easy healthy food on the move.

But here's 2 things that are easy, cheap and healthy: Long Life Milk and dried fruit; apricots are cheapest, mine from John Graves; always cheapest.

Facebook deleted account nightmare

keywords: facebook, privacy, social networking

Just deleted my Facebook account.

Why would someone do that?

Well, first of all my girlfriend doesn't like my ex'es getting back in touch with me. Understandable yes, fair no.

But also here's the core of the problem there are legitimate reasons for privacy. However, if you block someone from seeing who else you know they get pissy.

Imagine the husband who had a gay spell at University, does he want his children seeing previous bumchums - hopefully it's fine but you can't rely on perfection in others. What about prior convictions or a mis-spent youth?

I learnt the hard way. I suggest you don't. Get the emails you need off there and leave.

So, from now on I will attempt to keep roughly anonymous. And this Blog is the start.

A lesson has been learnt on how to justify privacy - it is needed because other people are not perfect.

Update a few months onwards:

1.6% of Facebook sells for £160 million to Microsoft... please tell me people have th brains to know what that means.