Archives for category: Conspiracy

Around 4am I was awoken by a soft bleeping noise and a small flashing blue light. As the world came into focus in the eerie half light of pre-dawn, I realised that it was coming from my new pen. It’s a pen I’d been given by a random salesperson at Starfleet who was trying to get me interested in mobile phones at the time…  Badman will tell you all about it, he was there at the time. 


As it is, I’d thought no more of the pen, which at first sight is a non-descript disposable biro until this interruption to my sleep pattern. I staggered out of bed and over to the dresser where the pen was sat merrily chirping and flashing. On closer inspection, it appears there is a tiny LED inset next to the nib. As I put my finger over it, the pen clicks and a tiny aerial emerges from the other end, this time with a red flashing light on it. The light flashes red then green a few times and then becomes fixed green. It’s connected to something……

Suddenly my phone starts buzzing to alert me to an incoming call, and the caller ID ?  “Mission Headquarters at Starfleet (via your cheap pen)”. Uh oh!… Something’s going down.

Tentativly I answer the phone and hear the following message in a voice I don’t recognise: 

“Good morning Mr Ball. Sorry to disturb your sleep, but we have mission details for you and the Badman.  Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn 6 weeks worth of work into 2 starting immediately. As always, should you or any of your Starfleet force be caught or killed, the Christopher Robin will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Badman and Golfy. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds…..”

Oh for the love of wisdom!!! (see what I did there? – if not, read more greek). Instantly I recognise that we have a fundamental problem in need of studying and that dear reader is why, it’s all about philosophy in the end.   Well, that and this Wikipedia article:

I’m off to town with Mrs G our faithful chain driven steeds. It’s a bank holiday weekend, I’ve spoken with the Badman, we’ve exchanged emails and are making our position clear.

If we had the option I wouldn’t accept the mission, but then this is Mission Impossible and we are the best bear and tiger for the job…. erm, actually, the ONLY bear and tiger, but as I always say in times of trouble….. whatever.


Todays post was brought to you by the letters “F”, “E”, “C” and “K” and by the website:


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
There’s a bunch of stuff going on that I’d like to share with you but I’m afraid I won’t. It’s been niggling at me since last week and it’s starting to annoy me. What’s more is that I’ve now found out that very sadly I wont be able to write about it for at least another week and even then it could be longer.

If it was some sort of super secret I wouldn’t mind but it isn’t. This is a self imposed vow of silence that I have to conform to or I’ll say something I really shouldn’t. As I’m sure you can tell, this is not a position I like to find myself in. Interestingly I have written about it at length, but it will for now remain for ever in draft, until such time as I feel it deserves the light of day.

Apologies for being so cryptic however this in part explains some of my recent silence on the blogging front. I’m trying to set all that to one side and focus on normality though and that dear reader is how we find ourselves here.

In other news: some colleagues from a previous role are having a get together tomorrow. I really wish I could be with them for loads of reasons, not least that it’s been far too long since I’ve seen any of them. Unfortunately current work commitments mean I won’t be with them this time, but they are trying to make it an annual event so I will be doing all in my power to be there next year. In the mean time I’m raising a glass of red to them over this evenings dinner (curry, if you wondering). All best and good luck and good health all round.

I’ve always loved January. Just because it’s my birthday month and that serves to brighten up what would ordinarily be a depressing month. So close to Christmas most people have no money left, are over weight from the merry making and generally feel depressed with cold weather and long dark nights. This year, I’m right with them. I was hoping for an International feel to the year, but so far, its been a really fudgy start to 2011. I’m hoping it all improves for all our sakes.

Ho hum. Glad to have you back. More coming very soon. Take care. G.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Snow stopped… Looks beautiful, if cold.

Tried to get a hair cut yesterday, and after a bit of ringing round, discovered that all the barbers within walking distance of home were closed. However, I do have it on good authority that “Foxes” is going to be open until at least lunchtime today, so with any luck I can get a trim in there.

Just going back to my Eggs Benedict notes from earlier in the week….  Daughter has found a fantastic cheat that’s going to make the whole process sooo much simpler…

Strictly speaking it’s cheating, but she’s a star.

Interesting bit of Vince Cable bashing going on.  Mr Cable is one of the few politicians I have any respect for and I’d hate to see him loose that especially as a result of trying to save the british people from Rupert-bloody-Murdoch of all people. The fact that Vince was honest with a member of the press just goes on to prove why I hold him in such high regard.

“Following comments made by Vince Cable to the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister has decided that he will play no further part in the decision over News Corporation’s proposed takeover of BSkyB.”

“In addition, all responsibility for competition and policy issues relating to media, broadcasting, digital and telecoms sectors will be transferred immediately to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.”

“This includes full responsibility for OFCOM’s activities in these areas.”

“The Prime Minister is clear that Mr Cable’s comments were totally unacceptable and inappropriate.”

But just how did this story come to light?? Radio 4’s news last night said that it was release to the BBC’s Robert Peston by a “Whistleblower” who was concerned that the Telegraph hadn’t publish the full transcript of Mr Cable’s “private” conversation.  Who is this Whistleblower? Surely the public should be told!!  Where’s “Wikileaks” when you need them ??  Julian Asange must be smashing Peston’s door in!

Who benefits from the news that Vince Cable doesn’t want Rupert Murdoch to have a majority control over BSkyB ?? Not really anybody to be honest. I don’t want him to either!!  and it’s quite likely that neither do you, although you may not know it… or even care.   More likely that the Murdoch team feel their position infront of OFCOM has been strengthened and that OFCOM are more likely to find in their favour. For the British public, this can only be a bad thing.  How so??  Have you ever watched “Fox News” ? as owned by News Corporation as owned by Rupert Murdoch… (Not that Sky News is a whole lot better)

What got me scared about the Fox News situation is the John Ellis story from the US Election in 2000.

It’s said that “Having control of the media, is having control of the people”.  But we do have our own brain cells.  Just remember to use them for yourself, although let’s not get all David Icke 🙂  Conspiracy is everywhere they say… but they say all sorts of things.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

“Enough whinging and moaning.  Time to get off me harris and do something about it!!” , is what I said last week to myself during a particularly strong bout of taking myself to one side and having a serious word in my shell-like. There was some whirring and clicking and things sort of fell into place which led me to finding this path that I now find myself upon and I’m trudging forward along it to see where it takes me.

As employees within Starfleet we are very lucky to be able to move around to differing roles within the business without too much risk to your career in the longer term. Of course it’s never quite as straight forward as that, but in theory it’s pretty simple.  The long and the short of this means that sometime in the next 3 months I will probably be doing something different. But I won’t hold my breath just yet.

OK – that’s enough work talk – Let’s see what else is going on…

Scobi’s looking for some guidance for his Home Theatre setup and managing his media, so I figured I’d share a short write up on the way I’ve been doing it for the past few years. Any questions, drop me a note or post a comment.

What’s the goal? To begin with, the goals were simple:

  • Listen to different music in different rooms
  • Watch different movies in different rooms
  • Watch family photo albums on a big screen

Back in the day when I was a believer of Microsoft, before I moved to the Mac world, the answer for me was Microsoft XP Media Center Edition (MCE). I had a smallish tower PC with a TV card in it that would capture my analogue signal. The MCE front end with associated remote was a nice way to watch, pause and rewind live TV as well as being able to watch DVD’s (via the DVD ROM), my own videos from the HDD, listen to MP3 music, and view photos. This after all is what you want your media center to do.

However, back then, the support was patchy, drivers and codecs were a headache and believe me there is nothing quite like a “General Protection Fault” or the “Blue Screen Of Death” during the recording of Coronation Street if you really want to feel the wrath of a woman scorned. On top of this, although it was possible to get it running with Sky, satellite TV could only be view via the analogue port due to tuner constraints meaning is was out of step with HD TV by the time that arrived on our shores.

It was these problems that led me away from the Microsoft solution and into the world of Apple TV. A shame, because there were two killer features, that I haven’t been able to replace as yet which I’ll come to in a moment.

This is the current setup.  

Sky+HD for the main TV in the living room. This takes care of the Corrie recording issue and allows for some decent HD content. There’s also a PS3 to provide Blue Ray content. 

The media Library sits across 2 Terabyte hard drives (1 Internal and 1 external) on the back of an iMac running iTunes – tucked away in the office. This is the core of the network and stores all of the data. Media that arrives at home get’s converted (the geeky phrase is “ripped”) to a suitable digital format and imported into an iTunes library. This is then available to Apple TV which sits silently and unobtrusively in the living room connected to the WiFi Network.

All of this is rigged to a wall mounted HD LCD and Dolby 5.1 Surround system which the Apple TV supports nicely.

Other rooms in the house have TV’s with iPod/iPhone connectors or the iPod/iPhone Composite AV Cable attached to them. This means that it’s possible to stream movies or music from the iMac to a remote iPod/iPhone (should point out we’re talking about “iPod touch” in this context, which has WiFi connectivity) and use a TV or other docking station for output. Furthermore if you want to move from room to room, well that just works because you’re on the WiFi Network and you can even sit outside with it if the mood takes you and the turbulent weather has subsided. The key to it all, is having the library central and available on the Network – it’s that simple.

This all works like a dream at the moment, but I have concerns. The downsides (which are only slight) are thus:

  • No true (1080p) Hi-Def support in the Library (Apple TV does 720, but my source is only as good as DVD)
  • No Skype in the living room
  • No Social media in the living room
  • Live TV still provided via Sky

Now, I can hear you saying the HD support is a bit of a bind, but not a problem. Skype & Social Media in the living room!!?@!?  What are you on Golfy?

Well, I’m not just running a Home theatre here, this is cutting edge stuff. In the Old MCE world, I have a small camera mounted above the TV and Video Sky calls could be neatly integrated because the whole thing was running on XP. I also had a wireless keyboard and could use MS Messenger for chat while watching the TV.  

In the future we’ll have something to fix that, be it Google TV, or Apple TV with Apps on it (which I think is highly likely), or something else altogether. But the key piece of technology there is the Internet, and so Internet connectivity to your TV in your living room (at least!) is a must have for future-proofing (or at least attempting to).  There are TV’s out today with some Internet connectivity already, but this is the new frontier for living room dominance and not (I repeat NOT) 3D-TV. But that’s another story.

Any other stuff to get off my chest?

X-Factor!  Seriously, What the feck is going on there ??  I’m done with it now that it’s been clearly shown up as an advertising campaign thinly disguised as a telent show. Just in case you were wondering where my logic comes from. It’s really down to last nights show that selects the final 12. The first seven minutes of this contained nothing but the previous days show. And when I say nothing I mean nothing save one very short voice over to say this would be when we find out who the final 12 are. Other than that it was Saturday nights show in 7 minutes. And this is what really galls me – they then went into an ad break!!!  7 minutes of old TV and an ad break! I’m sorry but you lost me right there.  

As I’m sure you’ve heard me say before it’s car crash TV (meaning you don’t want to look but you can’t take your eyes off it) so I allowed my rubber necking to continue to see who had actually been selected. In short, the judges decisions were simply appalling. And the most blatant of these is the selection of Katie Waissal who it transpires, already had a recording contract which Mr Cowell bought her out of just prior to the start of the series…. Goodnight X-Factor. Info here:

And finally, finally….  What a game of Golf that was!!!  Damn close in the end even after all that.  Without doubt the Ryder Cup is my favourite competition in the golfing world.  Europe v’s America is just great fun. Well done all involved and of course Graeme MacDowell for finishing it off.

Ta ra.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Now I know a lot of people are very dissapointed with a draw. After all, one all was not in the original game plan for the England squad, especially against the good old U S of A. The special relationship is quite strained at the moment as things stand what with BP oiling up the Gulf so perhaps it’s just as well for international relations that we didn’t kick the living daylights out of them although with what little knowledge I have of the game, it looked to me like it might have been quite a surprise if we had.

And then there’s this….

I mean – do they think they’re hard enough!!?? They certainly seem to want to come and have a go.

On the plus side in 1966 England drew their first game (0-0 against Uraguay) and we all know what happend in that tournament. History does have a habit of repeating itself but it remains to be seen if it will or if the sentiment is actually wishful thinking. The other two teams in our group are playing at 12.30 today, so I think I’ll give that a look just to make sure they don’t score huge numbers of points making it that much harder for us to get into the next round.

Oh yes, and ITV HD. Shocking!! Just before the first goal the dropped to an advert, then black, then back to the game to see the celebrations. After that they switched the transmission back to SD to avoid any further breakages. I’m sure Stretch is over the moon with his HD experience! If I was a conspiracy theorist (and I often wish I was – the fun I could have!) I’d be suggesting that the man at Sky had something to do with it, because they really do hate eachother. It’s just a theory.

For now there’s an air of bacon eminating from the kitchen, so it must be time to get up, break the fast and go get the papers. No idea what else the day will bring, but then it is Sunday!

I’ve mentioned before how disinterested in football I am. This remains the truth, but a couple of football things have been unavoidable this weekend. I’m also not a fan of Simon-high-trousers-Cowell. It would seem however that he has become as pervasive as News International as he’s manipulating, sorry, I mean producing everything….

I wouldn’t mind, but I’d rather make up my own mind about what I like or dislike rather than be told by some bloke with a £10 haircut that’s trying to rule the world (the bloke, not the haircut).

Here’s a case in point.

Simon says

“Hey ITV! I see your ratings are a bit crap aren’t they. I’m here to save you. Here’s my next idea for a show. It’s called Britain’s Got Talent, it’s the same as the X-Factor (remember, you liked that didn’t you) but with other acts as well as singers. Anyone who is any good, I’ll sign up to my production company. The winner can have £100,000 and 5 minutes on the Royal Variety Performance. The £100k comes from all the plebs at home who phone up to vote for whichever act they want too win (that’ll be the takings from the first nights phone vote) and the rest we’ll split 80/20 – 80 for me, 20 for you. The spot on the RVS is easy because they come to me for their talent because I’ve got the sodding big production company with anyone who’s any good signed up to it.

Once the wannabe talent have done their bits and while the plebs are all phoning in their money…erm.. I mean votes… We can put on some of *my* A-lister’s to promote their current piece of crap that they’re releasing onto the unsuspecting plebs. This will generate just a bit more cash because the plebs will go out and buy it. I win, you win, some wannabe talent will win, the public WILL be entertained because I said so and everyone’s happy…. oh except maybe for the wannabe talent that get’s kicked out or looses to a dancing dog, an acrobat or some sh*t like that.

It’s Genius. I am a Genius. Bow down before my Geniusness…”

It’s a clever trick as long as us plebs aren’t paying attention. But hang on, what’s this??

Simon goes on to say

“Hey ITV!… You’re doing some of that World Cup stuff aren’t you? My A-listers for this week then, will be….. Dizzee Rascal (coz he’s so down with the kids) and James Corden (coz since he did those two things for Sport Aid or whatever it was, he’s a good football bloke) that lots of people think is quite funny, although I think he was funnier in Gavin & Stacey. Anyway, I’ve got a song for them – I say got – bought really off of some blokes that the kids won’t remember (Tears for Fears – Shout) which I’m putting up as my unofficial World Cup Song. It’s just a lot of shouting and some blokes of some football stadiums chanting and sh*t. The plebs will love it.”

And that dear reader is how we end up with this on Prime Time Television:

But then this is what you get from the man who chose to take “Hollywood Wives” by Jackie Collins and a mirror onto his desert island in desert island discs.

The production company he owns is called “Syco” which has 3 divisions, Radio, TV and Film. I think it would be a fair guess that both Mr Rascal and Mr Corden have signed some sort of deal with them. Afterall, everyone else has….and Mr Corden isn’t stopping there. I’m sure you’ve missed the adverts for his World Cup Live which has all sorts of “after party” mentality going. What’s really annoying about this is that I really like the song they’ve used (which is probably owned by Syco), and the clever use of slow-mo and a few famous faces makes it look pretty good. Fear not – I’m certain it will be crap, but judge for yourself.

….and there’s more. Soccer Aid 2010 last night featured James Cordon all over the place as the assistant to the Manager (Redknapp). It’s Robbie Williams’ show, but once again Simon Cowell has had his fingers in it, with Olly Murs (The bloke who didn’t win the x-Factor) playing on the England squad.

This week…. more reality TV in the form of the last ever ever ever Big Brother. Honest, it really is the last one. Series 11 apparently. Here we go again….

More Slow-mo and good tunes. Sneaky that. It appears that this is the death toll chiming for “Endemol” (who at one point pretty much controlled the TV schedules) and I guess this leaves a hole which is all set to be Syco’s time. I just wish I was in BB11 this year so that I wouldn’t have to put up with Mr Cowell’s influence all over the World Cup. Football AND Cowell??.. Bleughhh!!

The weather has returned to glorious sunshine now that the bank holiday has packed up and shipped out until the end of the month. Haven’t heard yet but no doubt Scobi would have had a sleepless night with the constant drumming of rain on the roof of his ‘van over the weekend.

The Ash is back! and I’m not talking about Paddy Ashdown, although it is interesting that the volcanic ash cloud is currently effecting Northern Ireland… Paddy Ash Down… geddit.. Oh dear. Perhaps it’s a sign (of your pish-poor joke telling. Ed.) There’s one in there somewhere.

And at last the end is in sight. There’s only two days left until #ge2010 and the three potential leaders are all guns blazing for the final push. Suddenly it’s getting interesting again. It’s definitely been flat since the last debate. I was of the opinion that either the LibDems were heading for a landslide or the majority of Internet users were LibDem judging by the various polls, voting websites and twitter but all of a sudden last night there was a massive influx of Labour tweeters on the back of Gordon Brown’s speech to Citizens UK. Quite bizarre and makes me wonder just what the hell is really going on. If I was prone to conspiracy theory (and occasionally I am) I think I’d be seeing things like this…

Gordon was clearly on the ropes with such low popularity at the beginning of the canvasing. The Conservatives thought they had a shoe-in, but just to be certain they’d organise a media mogul’s support just like Mr Bush in the US. I fully expect Sky news to broadcast a result in favour of the conservatives long before the count is finished, just like George W’s term was announced by Fox news. Interesting that the same man is behind both organisations. The Sky News Poll of Poll’s has had the same percentages on it for over a week now, suggesting that the Conservatives are way out in front. Gordon’s speech was shown on the BBC, but Sky’s version of the story focused on the member of the audience that heckled and stood up with a “No Nuclear Power” sign in the middle of it. The Times, The News of the World and the Sun have all come out as conservative (They follow their bosses instructions reasonably well) and this morning we have Labour candidate Manish Sood. He claims “The prime minister’s recent policies are a ‘disaster’, including the rise in income tax” he tells Sky News (oh??). “True Labour values have ‘gone missing'” he adds arguing that “the party needs to be cleaned up”. I’m not disagreeing with the sentiment per-say, but why’s he telling Sky ?? Money well spent there Bobby. It seems pretty clear that Mr Murdoch (owner of News Corp) wants a Conservative government and is doing everything in his power to get one. Of course I should point out that this is a conspiracy theory with the key word being theory – Just in case Mr Burns utters the immortal words “Smithers! Release the hounds!”

What Mr Burns – sorry I keep making that mistake – Mr Murdoch seems to be forgetting about is that the Great British public while being able to display extraordinary levels of dumbness on occasion are by no means stupid. His bullsh*t tactics might have worked in the US, but I refuse to believe that the same can be said of the UK. If Monty got his way we’d have a Conservative Majority, but if things are as close as the pundits and pollsters would suggest, then I would expect the outcome of Thursdays votes to be a hung parliament with a Lib Con split. This is all conjecture though – so we’ll just have to wait and see. Unless you watch Sky News or are in Bristol East where the postal vote has already been announced!!!

Well it’s back to the grindstone and a three day week for me as I’m recovering from shock all day on Friday. Not the shock of the result but the shock of the fact that I’ve taken such a huge interest in politics!! Last couple of points…

This website is yet another interesting take on tweets and elections. Why not join in and cast your vote.

And if you want a proper grown up well thought out take on the whole kit and caboodle (as opposed to my inane, immature, misunderstood, diluted and over simplistic view – probably) then you could do a lot worse than read Mr Fry’s take on it, who always as something interesting to add.

How the hell did that happen ?? I’ll leave you with this final thought: Of the 16 AAA rated economies in the world 10 are governed by coalitions – and 12 by Proportional Representation – why isn’t ours?