Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Number One Job on the Number One Day

I hadn't seen this little gem of a cartoon for I don't know how long. I hope you like it.

If you're celebrating, have a good time. Merry Christmas.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Talk Talk the latest, it's official - they ARE crap.

Talk Talk voted wankiest internet provider and most complained about bunch of internet scam artists and tossers in entire history of the on-line world;

No news really.

I've moaned about this before. Here's the local proof;

As you can see the magnificent Talk Talk, with their pardners in cowboy hats and jangly spurs Openreach, manage to deliver an APPALLING  one thirtieth, rising to one twentieth, of the expected and paid for service speed.

Lets review:
  • Their fault reporting system is debilitating and wearing. Deliberately so, I am sure.
  • Their complaints process is exhausting and impenetrable - and relies on web access to use it HA HA HA HA. Oh my aching sides!!!
  • The transfer and switching process to a new ISP frankly does not bear thinking about.
  • OPENreach, who's fault some or all of this abomination still 'technically' COULD be, (who knows), are UN'reach'able except through one's ISP (see above).
Frankly, dear reader, I am so sick of this shit, and much else to be honest, that I might just cancel the accounts, rip out the plugs and return to 1989. Opting out of the information super-ditchway really appeals to me now.

What do you think? Drop me a postcard and let me know.

Oh and if you are reading this, TalkTalk, do please sort your shit out once and for all. It's your problem, not mine. We're not 'all in this together'. I am not your friend, nor your 'colleague', just a soon-to-be-ex-customer.

Thank you for tuning in to Pest Media Updates.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Talk Talk = Walk Walk

Now, if someone was to have said to me awhile back, when Tiscali (who I was with) were taken over by Talk Talk  I'd one day be looking back on the Tiscali Years like they were some kind of Golden Age, I'd have laughed in their face.

Yep that's right folks, the service from Talk Talk is officially worse than Tiscali's. And it's not just the technical stuff that doesn't perform, it's the reporting and resolution process as well - almost as if they don't want you to tell them that they're El Crappola. OpenReach are part of the problem too no doubt, but they won't talk talk to me, only to Talk Talk - who you just cannot get a grip on. So everybody gets away with it.

Currently 'enjoying' a 0.2Mbps download speed, off a supposedly 5Mbps service (which at it's best only reaches a tolerable 3.8, but I'd settle for that today).

The Talk Talk fault resolution process seems to revolve around a self-help forum 'moderated' by people with avatars like the one above. The very sight of which is enough to tell you that it's going to take forever to get anywhere, and not end well.

Useless, useless, smug arrogant bastards.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Listen Lads, I've Got a Great Idea

In these angst-ridden days what we really need is less Murdoch lies and corruption stories, less Eurozone economic crisis stories, less Dollarzone debt default stories, less corrupt police and politician stories and more Fluffy Kitten stories. So here you are then, and please don't ever say I won't show you a good time, loyal reader.

These little guys and gals were born on the 22nd June, so have almost known a life without The News Of The World. Lucky them. They do have their own agenda though and it's fuelled by greed and excitement 24/7. When they're not sleeping that is.

"Hey look! There's Mum"

"Come on, he's spotted Mum"

"Get out of my way, kitties, I'm coming through"

"Nice one, Number 6, get that headlock working"

"Cheers yeah, Mum. Now, where shall we go next?"

"Six. SIX! Do I really deserve this?"

Sunday, 10 July 2011

... and relax, on the Longest Day

Northamptonshire poppies as currently showing; slightly blurred and colour shifted as these 70's camera Lomo & hipster enthusiasts would like to have it.

The real story - low light in the last light of the Longest Day - getting on for 10pm, the old Spotmatic, 35mm lens and using an old roll of Ektachrome up which should have been finished and developed years ago. Never mind, looks alright I think.
This light and at this hour seems unbelievable, a fantasy, in England after the beginning of October and before the middle of May...I post this to reassure myself it's really possible, and true, and will return.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

It's Space Age Britain - and he's John Hodge

Congratulations to Louis Barfe for successfully identifying our Mystery Man. Almost making it off his planet to orbit was Mondo . Piley is still on the Pad ,we started the lift-off without him.

Yes, it's John Hodge. Originally from Leigh-on-Sea, then via Avro Canada to Nasa, becoming amongst other things, the second Flight (or Mission) Controller appointed, during the Gemini programme.

The story of the Avro Arrow project cancellation and 'what happened next' to a group of highly talented engineers and scientists is told very well in the book Arrows To The Moon As the book description puts it:

"On 20 February 1959 the Canadian government shut down the CF-105 Avro Arrow jet interceptor programme, putting the cream of Canada's aerospace engineering talent out of work. Many of the Avro engineers had just arrived in Canada from Great Britain. A brand new U.S. organisation called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was charged with putting U.S. astronauts into space, and in 1959 it desperately needed engineering talent. Within 10 weeks of the demise of the Arrow, 25 Avro engineers were working for NASA, and another seven joined them later.

Other Avro engineers found work with the aerospace contractors that built spacecraft and boosters or NASA. A little more than 10 years later, US astronauts were standing on the surface of the Moon in the climax of one of the greatest stories of technology and exploration in human history. This book tells for the first time the story of the Canadian and British engineers from Avro Canada who played key roles in putting Americans on the Moon and in building today's US space programme, including the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station."

Hodge became deputy to Chris Kraft and effectively number two in the Mission Control business. He was the second Flight Controller appointed, by, and after, Kraft himself. More here:

Perhaps the most famous incident that Hodge was involved in was a potential disaster scenario in space, as Gemini 8, crewed by Neil Armstrong (yes that Neil Armstrong) and Dave Scott (later Apollo 9 & 15), attempted the first docking between two spacecraft in Earth orbit, an essential precursor technique to achieving any lunar mission.

All went well until a manoeuvring thruster jet stuck 'on', resulting in the whole spacecraft spinning up to about one rev/second, approaching the danger level for humans, even test pilots, to endure. Armstrong kept his cool and stopped the spin by using the re-entry thruster fuel to do so; unfortunately, it meant an early return for Gemini 8. Hodge made the call, and Gemini 8 returned to an unscheduled, but safe landing. You can hear him in action here. You can tell who's who pretty easily.

For those people who ever wondered what it would have been like if Britain had carried on with it's own space programme, then I guess that the old recording of an English voice running the show would give you a little flavour.

The longer film of the incident itself is below. Incidentally, the CapCom in this film (an astronaut who's job it was to be the only direct point of contact to the astronauts in space, to prevent confusion) was Jim Lovell, later to fly around the moon on Apollo 8 and 13).

A few more links here -

(Good to see that the Southend Timeline is on to him, I'm looking at you Mondo and Piley)

(Flight Controllers - Clockwise from lower right: Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz, Glynn Lunney and John Hodge).

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Who Am I ?

Born in Leigh-on-Sea in 1928, or 1929 (the date and year is disputed), this man's career took him all over the world. The work he did enabled others to go even further. He's still walking on the earth at the time of writing.

But - Who is he...??

Today's Horoscope:
"Gemini - Long-distance and foreign connections, exchange and trade will be favored. You'll travel a fair amount and may strike up a chance acquaintance who shares your views, ideals and ideas. A period of happiness, true spirituality, intellectual and moral growth — a truly cosmic gift comes to you.

The preceding period had lots of highs and lows for you to reckon with. This month reorients you to your lasting values, and greater idealism is the result, in conjunction with heightened consciousness and conscience."
A little music for a Sunday lunchtime I think..

So then, from William Tell to an Arrow. We'll come back to Gemini presently.

Our man was involved with the design and production of this little beauty:

Then he was caught up, like thousands of others, in the chaos which ensued from its sudden and untimely cancellation. But from that dark period, a new dawn was to break for a lucky and talented few; for whilst one great technical project was suddenly ending, almost simultaneously another was being kick started to urgent the USA.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Tell Me When The Work Is Done / Tell Me When The Day Is Through

Mick Karn died on 4th January. I guess all those of us of a certain age would remember Japan, some more fondly than others. Me, I loved Japan, and amongst a group of talented musicians Mick Karn was a very individual bass and woodwind player, respected by his peers and well beyond the 'New Romantic' scene (which Japan significantly pre-dated, by the way), as well as by the fans.

I had the pleasure of seeing Japan play live a couple of times in the early '80s (yes Piley, I'm that old) and they were of course superb.

Hard for me to pick out a favourite track from one of the pillars of the soundtrack to my youth, or indeed one that shows Mick's talents using his fretless bass, above all the others - but here's a couple whilst I think about it a bit more:

God keep you Mick, you really were one of a kind.
Condolences to the family and I hope you get all the support you need.

More info here:

Sunday, 9 January 2011

What a Bloody Shower

The BBC have sacked Rob McElwee from doing weather forecasts. I didn't know about this, and no one asked me if it was alright to do it. It isn't. We all know that the weather forecasts are sometimes a bit wrong if not wholly fanciful, though I think they are quite accurate these days as it goes.

But that's not the point. As the weather forecast is only partially viewed for an actual prediction, and more often than not looked at to see what the weather's been like elsewhere in the UK or the World, to remind one of other places in the islands that we might like to visit and also to see how bad others have got it, it falls into the 'entertainment' category of programme. So then, to sack the most idiosyncratic and entertaining of weather presenters on the BBC is classic 'missing the point, BBC', BBC.

Get rid of Top Of The Pops because of 24 hour music channels? Missing the point - I don't want to watch 24 hour music channels to see what's in the top 20, I want a review show. On that reasoning, the BBC would have got rid of the 9 o'clock News, because there's 24 hour rolling news. 'But people want a round-up', they bleat. Exactly, idiots, so give me a pop round up, and make it entertaining. Also, give me an entertaining weather review/forecast, and make that amusing as well. I pay you for this shit.

Employ an entertaining weather forecaster/presenter, not a robot or a crazy man. I can get all that if I want it from ITV or Sky.

I only caught Sir Rob's last show by accident. I'd been out at work (don't ask), came back, put the TV on at just gone midnight to see what was on and saw that the Weatherview was coming up. Essential viewing. At the end RM goes and says, 'that's it from me', then adds 'that's really IT from me', winks, and he's gone!

The year before last, I handed the bankers all my money for the next 25 years (how's the loan repayment plan going on by the way, Mr Shitbag Clegg?). Last year I get handed a right wing coup d'etat instead of an election result. This year the BBC do this. I pay you all, for this kind of shit?

I'm becoming quite unhappy about this sort of thing.