Tech News - Telepathic Microchip

Publicity still emulating screen shot.Image via Wikipedia

From today's Telegraph: Telepathic' microchip could help paraplegics control computers.
Great news for paraplegics - Dr Jon Spratley has developed a chip to enable paraplegics to control devices using "brain power".
As Dr Spratley, aged 28, puts it himself:

"We are just trying to help people with severe communication problems or motor neurone disease - like Dr Stephen Hawking or Christopher Reeve".

That will need to be quite a powerful chip - given that Christopher Reeve is not only paraplegic, but distinctly DEAD.
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Boiler News

I am from England. I live in Sweden. In England we fear employing contractors to do little jobs on / in our houses because, by and large, they are fucking useless. Well, in Sweden, they are exactly the same, except that they don't insist on having a portable music system everywhere that they work.
As I mentioned below, I have been expecting my new boiler to arrive (and be fitted). The boiler arrived on time at 9:45 yesterday morning. Unfortunately, the plumbers didn't arrive until 24 hours later, did 2 hours work, trashed the house, then buggered off again.
Swedish boilers are big things - they run on trees, as opposed to gas, and so they don't just hang on a wall in the corner of your kitchen. They require a boiler room, two massive tanks of water (1.5 tonnes of water, in my case), two pumps, miles of piping and a 200 litre (bloody big....) expansion tank. One would expect that, with that much bulky hardware to deal with, a degree of planning would be involved but I was very impressed with my local plumber (we'll refer to him as "Kenneth", because that's his name) when he paid me a visit to assess the job. He was so good that he was able to spend all of approximately 25 seconds working out what was required. In my case, I also asked him to remove the 3000 litre oil tank which is taking up a lot of space in the boiler room (now required for my two 750 litre water tanks and 200 litre expansion vessel). "No problem", he said, but in Swedish, of course.
Imagine my surprise, today, when Kenny's two oppos informed me that the oil tank would be removed "after" they have finished fitting all of the other gear. So down to the cellar went the boiler, the two massive tanks and the expansion tanks. After a long period of silence from the boiler room, they emerged to tell me that, surprisingly (to them), it was a bit "tight" in there and maybe the oil tank should be removed first. Only problem is, the oil tank job is the responsibility of a specialist contractor (it contains environmentally hazardous diesel) so now nothing more can happen until they turn up (allegedly "tonight") oh, and a another problem.......they have filled the room with all of the new equipment, plus all the crap leftover from the old installation and the old boiler, so now it is nigh on impossible for the other contractor to get at the tank to remove it.
Still, they seem like nice blokes.


Blog Fade

Didn't take long did it? Couple-o-months of incisive posts, than nothing for 5 or 6 weeks. I am in danger of losing my 12 page views per month, unless I get my arse into gear.
I have an excuse, though - I blame the trees. The wonderful Mrs Slagg has been up here at "the other house" and helped me terminate approx 35 trees. Don't worry, green chums, there are still about 60-70 left (we have big gardens in Sweden).
And when my beautiful wife is here, I am not able / allowed to blog, for reasons that I outlined in post number 1.
Anyway, the upside of all this chain sawing, is that I have enough firewood for several years, a nice view of the river, and some precious sunlight reaching my beer drinking terrace. The downside is that I have crippling "tennis elbow" which makes even drinking a cup of tea quite painful.
Then on Monday, I will wave goodbye to all the cash that I earned, the last time that I had a proper job. This is because I will be receiving a brand new Nibe Vedex 3300 (turbo charged wood powered central heating boiler) to replace the 1964 vintage, not terribly efficient, heap of crap, currently languishing in the cellar.
Actually, my ex-girlfriend was a 1964 vintage, not terribly efficient, heap of crap. And she used to languish in the cellar.
The languishing was all voluntarily, I might add. This is Sweden, not Austria.
How does one "languish", anyway?
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XBox Update: Boredom sets in

That's a relief then - I soon got bored with PGR4 so therefore have been able to find time to do the things Mrs Slagg thinks I am doing - cutting down trees.
The problem with PGR4, for me, is that, despite having the word "racing" in the title, you spend three quarters of the time driving around fucking cones. And some races can only be won by earning "kudos" (doing slides and "burnouts"). Eh? What is this, Tony Hawks Learns to Drive a Car? Why couldn't we just have races? Races are fun. Races involve racing cars. Not swerving around cones like some high speed version of the cycling proficiency test.
Anyone wanna buy an XBox 360? Going cheap, but must collect from Sweden.
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Idiot Watch - The Death of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's Star Close UpImage by tleonard1 via Flickr

The death of arch kiddie diddler Michael Jackson, means that this is "The Happy Time", as they used to say on German U-Boats. The internet is truly awash with glorious stupidity, a happy hunting ground for The Idiot Watch department of miserableoldbugger.
Our stupidity reference library is, of course, the comments section of the Times Online.

Let's kick off with "jayil, london, uk". Lower case "jayil" is quite possibly certifiable:
"In memory of MJ I have been on a 48 hour continuous moonwalking marathon. People on the streets are giving me funny looks, but my dedication for MJ must continue... I'm devastated."
I was going to say something satirical like "Get a job, you twat" but, I suspect that he is already doing the late shift at a McDonalds, somewhere near you.

"KONRAD, SANDIEGO, AMERICA", mental age of 3, shouted this:
Wise words KONRAD. I would have personally added that he also had fabulous hair though it transpires that the hair wasn't actually his, so can't technically be counted as a positive feature. The "piece", mounted on a bucket of shit, could fill in for him at the O2 shows.

Lower case "robert, denver, usa" paints a beautiful picture for the typical god bothering fan of the small boy buggering, plastic surgery afficianado:
"....Moonwalking through the Pearly Gates. All the Saints marveling at the sight. Jesus coming up to meet him. "Show me how you do that thing, Michael." "Sure Jesus, you just..." A sweet image in my mind......"

Only to be cruelly shot down by the higher moral tone of fellow "believer" "CIL, London, United kingdom":
"Actually, I don't think michael will be showing JESUS how to moonwalk. I think michael will be bowing down to THE LORD JESUS, thanking him for giving him the talent to moonwalk in the first place.
michael, your talent was truly GOD given. Rest in peace, I can't believe you are gone."
You can always rely on christians and Apple marketing men for the random insertion of capital letters - whilst spelling "Michael" with a lower case "M". Also, given that Jackson was, alledgedly, a muslim, does he still get to meet Jesus?

"Richard McVay, El Paso, TX, USA" goes someway to PROVING my POINT about random CAPITALISATION of important WORDS:
"May you rest in peace Michael. I remember being 6yrs old wearing the red Thriller Jacket with zippers all over and going happy to school. I still cant believe this happned. Your LEGACY will live on forever. Every musician now owes you for being the pionere of the dance. May JESUS hold you in his gra"
And leaves us with the mystery of Jesus and his "gra". What exactly is a "gra", Dickie? It sounds interesting but can't be that good, or it would be in BIG letters.

And finally:
"Michael, you changed the world with your music. In return we isolated you and ended up calling you a wacko. Forgive us, for we lost sight of the human you were and the art you gifted to us. Rest in peace."
Thanks for that, "JLD, Los Angeles, USA" but may I point out that he was a kiddie fiddling, pill popping, baby dangling, mask wearing, nose losing, skin whitening, nut case?
And therefore may, quite reasonably, be referred to as "wacko".

Has everyone forgotten that my teenage wank fantasy, Farrah "Foreskin" Majors died on the same day?

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Product Fascism

Following on from my previous post......I am utterly sick of this product fascism that pervades the interweb.
There are two stinking beacons of this, both directed at Microsoft Inc of Redmond. The first is the Apple vs Microsoft thing and the second is the Sony vs Microsoft thing.
Why do Apple and the owners of their products feel the need to constantly belittle and berate the owners of competing products (or even non competing products)? The Apple fascista often get confused though, and direct their ire towards companies like Dell, Acer or Asus - presumably for associating with the arch foe - Microsoft...sorry "Micro$oft" (ho-ho).
The same is true of PS3 owners, though I would imagine that many of the people buying PS3s are the same people buying Macs - given that very few Macintosh owners could countenance owning a product made by The Great Satan. Having said that, Mac owners probably lean more towards the Nintendo WII - given that it shares a similar design philosophy to the products of Apple.
I am sure that the same kind of arguments ensue over every other consumer durable from cars to fridges. In fact, I know that it applies to cars because I read Jeremy Clarkson's car reviews at Times Online. Jeremy will review, for example, a Lotus Elise, or something. It is guaranteed that somewhere in the comments, some Mac owning, Roger Irrelevant will say something like "What you really need, Jeremy..." (as if he reads the comments, or listens to the advice of these twats)..."is a Mercedes S Class Kompressor. I am on my 7th and it is extremely reliable, can carry 9 children and I regularly get 143 MPG on the school run".
The only conclusions that I can draw from this is that the people who have bought the more expensive products either:
  • Don't truly believe in them and need to constantly justify the outlay for their own benefit
  • Are mentally challenged to the point of being unable to buy something based on rationality
  • Actually believe the advertising (same as previous point, mentally weak).
I may post later to explain why your Apple product, made in China, with a chipset from Intel, is not technically superior, or more reliable than a Dell product, made in China, with a chipset from Intel, just because it has been put in a white plastic case.


The Brand New Xbox!

Well, it's new to me, anyway. If you read some of the other entries here, you will see that I revel in being behind the times. Given that I have just bought an Xbox 360, we can safely assume that it is now obsolete or, at least, about to become obsolete.
I have only ever owned one games console before - something called an Amiga CD32, or something like that. And I only ever had two games for it - one of which was a bit like "Fantastic Journey", flying through human veins, and shooting things - the other was a lovely pinball game.
It would be almost true to say that I hate playing video games. This is not due to me assuming some moral high ground over the gaming community - it is simply that I am utterly useless at them.
Anyway, I had a change of heart when I went on a booze cruise to Denmark, the other week. Part of the on-board entertainment was something called "Sega Rally". Now I love driving, riding and flying things - and this game, with its force feedback controls, was truly enjoyable. So, when I came back, I did a bit of investigation and concluded that I could have a similar experience (without a big pile of 10Kr coins) from an XBox with the lovely Microsoft force feedback steering wheel. I also bought a game called Project Gotham Racing 4 (PGR4) because it was cheap (240Kr) and the picture on the cover looked quite nice.
Now, I know I am behind the times, and all, but I have to say that I was utterly "blown away", as they probably don't say on the street anymore. How have I managed to miss this? At some stage, the games have become as realistic as movies, fantastic graphics, sound and game play.
So I played it for about 2 days solid, then had to go back home (my other home) to Mrs Slagg's open arms. Now I'm going through cold turkey, itching for Wednesday, when I'll have a couple of days back at my (other) other house and more driving fun.
In an effort to satisfy my PGR4 itch, I was reading Internet reviews and (old) previews of the game. All well and good until I got to the comments section "ps3 rapez xbox ass with gT5" "xbox has the wurst fukkin grafix and U kno it". Oh dear....console wars.....having spent all of my life avoiding products made by Apple (because of their fascist beardy fan boys) I suddenly realised that, by purchasing a games console, I may have joined another bunch of fucking morons. Then, I remembered, - XBox is made by Microsoft ("M$", ho ho ho), is considerably cheaper than the PS3 and thus unlikely to be purchased by anyone remotely fashionable.
Close call.


Crashing Bore

An Air France aircraft has recently crashed in the Atlantic and, while the victim's relatives try to come to terms with the tragedy, they will almost certainly learn nothing from the (UK) media.
Is there something about being a journalist which prevents even a basic understanding of the laws of aerodynamics, engineering or....just about anything?
This particular crash was well out of sight of any eye witnesses, and we can be thankful for that because it means that we are spared the inevitable stories of the "hero pilot" fighting the controls, not to save himself, or his passengers - but to steer the stricken craft away from a school.
A couple of things are certain in air crashes overland - aircraft are magnetically drawn towards schools and, irrespective of what has caused the accident, there is always just enough freedom of control available to the pilot to steer the aircraft away from those pesky children. Oh...and there is always an eyewitness with such phenomenal eyesight that he can somehow see (through aluminium) the pilot "wrestling" with the controls.
It is always enlightening to read the NTSB or AAIB accident reports because they often record these eyewitness statements and the fact is that two eyewitness to a crash can, and will, give completely opposing accounts of what happened. Later when the facts emerge, many of those witness accounts turn out to be utter bollocks.
In fact when you read the quotes from these witnesses, they are full of the uninformed hyperbole of a typical air crash report in The Sun or The Times. I think that the media inadvertently brain wash the public into reacting in certain way to certain events and the man in the street (or near the school) dutifully spouts his tabloid friendly description of events "The engines stalled..." etc. Talking of which, every journalist should be made to take an examination to show that they understand what an aerodynamic stall is and why that is nothing to do with the engines.
In the case of the Air France accident, about the only thing anyone has to go on is the automatic status reports from the aircraft. Unfortunately it is all a bit complicated for a pissed up journo to understand but there is enough there for some fantastically wild and uninformed speculation. Of course, Airbus aircraft have fly by wire, controlled by evil computers, rather than "hero" pilots - so the passengers were doomed anyway. The millions of safe flight hours in the A330 are instantly forgotten and, suddenly, it turns out that flying in an A330 is about as safe as flying the Icarus way, on an exceptionally sunny day.
An then, being the Internet age, we have the comments section. Inevitably the comments fall into two unevenly divided categories - incredibly stupid, and stupid. Usually split about 90-10 in favour of the incredibly stupid. As this was an Airbus, there have been a large number of comments from Yanks (usually in Seattle) proclaiming that this would have never happened to a Boeing, due to superior "strength", "traditional" engineering etc. Given that there have been one or two accidents to Boeing aircraft over the years, and that both makes of aircraft are certified by the same authorities to the same set of standards, I think that we can put those comments in the former category.
Then there are the armchair technical experts - I saw a comment from a bloke with an authoritarian tone who informed us that "big aircraft can't glide". His conclusion was that the engines had stopped, therefore pitching the aircraft into an uncontrollable dive. Really? So a big aircraft flies using different laws of physics to all other fixed wing aircraft? A quick look on Google for the glide ratio of the A330 reveals the following (after a total power loss due to fuel exhaustion) "The A330 referenced below went from 34500 and 85nm out to 13000 feet and 8nm out from Lajes. So 90 statue miles dropping 21500 feet or a glide ratio of 22:1 ..." Flying 22 metres for 1 metre loss of altitude doesn't exactly sound like a screaming death dive to me, mate.
The really frightening thing for me is not flying, it is the knowledge that, statistically, no matter where I sit, I am likely to be surrounded by complete fucking morons.


Idiot Toys = Extra-Last

I've been in mourning for the last few days, commiserating the death of my favourite website - Idiot Toys. 
Idiot Toys has always been the first port of call for technology professionals requiring the latest, incisive, breaking news from the industry. Unfortunately, it seems that Shiny Media may no longer require the services of the brilliant Gary Cutlack, so IT is effectively consigned to history.
However, great news this morning - Gary is back, with a new Hard-Fact-Vehicle (HFV) - Extra-Last.  And it was off to a cracking start with a brilliant post about an automatic-tit-milking-bra for busy professional mothers.
Well done Gary, and welcome back!


Idiot Watch - Louise of London

Today's Times has the tragic story of a teenage army cadet who drowned in a Scottish loch.
Fast forward to the comments........Andrew of Godalming: 
"A tragic event but unfortunately not surprising given the level of incompetence in our armed forces."
Good point Andrew. Then, 2 comments later, an idiot turns up:
"Andrew this happened in the US so how can you refer to 'incompetence in our armed forces.? "
Says Louise of London, mental age of three.
I re-read the article to see how poor Louise got so confused......."Loch Carnan, South Uist..." it sounds distinctly Jockanese to me but, hang on, what's this....it mentions a "sheriff". Poor Louise, who probably knows how to handle a mobile phone, has a Facebook account, and a degree in media studies is blissfully unaware that Scotland has sheriffs too. When she reads that "sheriff" word she sees Kevin Costner in a big hat and disregards every other detail in the story, including the fact that the poor child concerned was from Aberdeenshire (that's in Scotland, Louise).
Louise I take my ten gallon (sheriff's) hat off to you. You are an idiot's idiot. Well done.


Phone Masts and Physics for Dimwits

Are you one of those people campaigning for the removal of phone masts because you believe they are a risk to your health? You are? Oh dear. You need to read a physics textbook and learn about density of radio frequency energy and how that varies with distance.You will soon come to understand that you receive a much larger dose of RF from that thing you are pressing to your ear than from a mast at the end of your lovely garden.
Then read a book about how cellular radio works. If you have more than three brain cells left, you will realise that the less phone masts there are in your area, the more power your Iphone needs to emit and therefore the more your brain gets fried.
I was going to take the tack that this is another example of people expecting safety regulation to provide them with a risk free life but, on reflection, I've concluded that this "fear" is another example of the pseudo science that does the rounds on the Internet, is picked up by the thick as shit media, and feeds the subconscious desire of dimwits to either be scared of, or  outraged by something, or other, every bloody day. 
It is the modern equivalent of the medieval fear of witches though, so far, no one has been burnt at the stake because of it.
Then there is the hypocrisy element: how many of those screaming for the removal of phone masts have thrown away their phone? Not many I would guess.
Sometimes I feel that we are drowning in a sea of stupidity, but that is my own fault for reading the UK papers - as I have previously believed that we were drowning in a sea of feral children, while having our faces bitten off by millions of pit bull terriers, but my anxiety went away when the media moved onto something else - a nice feel good story. 
Like Katie Price and Peter Andre's upcoming divorce.

"For Sure, Murray"

Ahhh wonderful, we are only six races into this years F1 season and the FIA Forsureing championship is very close. World Forsureing champion Lewis Hamilton threw down the Nomex gauntlet on the 14th with this skillful bit of gobbledygook:
"For sure when we get to mid-season if we've still not scored many points, then we will have to knock it on the head,"
Nice one Lewis, showing every bit of the form that made you last year's champ! And this years title contender Jenson Button could only muster this lacklustre response:

"They've been competitive today  and they're one to watch over the next few races, for sure."

Bit disappointing there Jenson, even Nelson Piquet Jr knows that the "For Sure" is most effective at the beginning of the sentence! Despite many years aways from the cockpit of a racing car, Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner came out with this today:
"There were signs that they'd woken up in Barcelona and for sure 11 points on the board here is a good team result for them."

Well done Christian, however the FIA have controversially decided to disallow your submission as you have a suspiciously Frog sounding name, and being Johnny Foreigner is an unfair advantage when Forsureing - Rule Number 141a (Mansell's Rule): 
"For Sure" only sounds ridiculous when spoken by native English speakers.


The Rehabilitation of Mr James Allen

I am a huge Formula 1 fan, in a very discreet, not painting my face, not going to the pub in 4 year old team jackets with all the wrong colours and sponsors, sort of way.
I have had a strong disregard for Mr Allen since ITV took over F1 and introduced motor racing fans to football style punditry and, non-football style adverts, throughout the event.
Maybe it was those things, or maybe the automatic association with Jim "Spear
Chucker" Rosenthal, that led me to believe that he was a bit of a twat.
Nowadays, the BBC present F1 coverage in the UK and James was, apparently, surplus to requirements.
Mr James Allen, please accept my apologies. Now that James has gone back to being a print journalist, and not shrieking "Gooooooooooo!" at the start of each Grand Prix, I have grown to like the old boy and his excellent blog. Well done James!

Hang on, I've just remembered that he named his son "Enzo". Silly twat.

Shite Journalism Num 141

From today's Times, What a lovely example of shite journalism. 
A screaming, sensationalistic headline which is then completely contradicted by the text of the article that goes on to point out that, as WolframAlpha isn't actually a search engine, it is absolutely no threat to Google whatsoever.
I suppose that we can always blame the subby for the headline, but this is a typical example of FactLiteTM journalism. Then read the TwatLog at the bottom. Some bible bashing yank submitted a query about god bothering and got no answer:

"Well, I just punched in "john 3:16" (no quotes) and got... nothing. I then changed my search to "bible john 3:16" (again, sans quotes) and again... nothing. So much for beating Google."


Iphone Marketing

Attention Apple Marketing experts: notice that I wrote the word Iphone using the English language, where a real name begins with a capital letter.
I am sure the Iphone is absolutely lovely. Absolutely sure. However, I will never own one, for the same reasons that I will never own an Ipod.
These reasons, in no particular order are:
  • I couldn't bear to put money in the pocket of Steve Jobs.
  • I am fervently anti-fashion.
  • I have cunt-lag (constantly behind the times).
  • I couldn't bear to join the legions of the Apple fascista with their propensity for regurgitating Apple marketing sound bites as a justification for choosing their particular product. “It just works!”. Fuck off, dimwit.
I recently saw one of those adverts for the Iphone – you know, the ones that are all speeded up so that it looks like web pages and applications load in milliseconds and only require some incomprehensible swipe of the screen to activate? The advert concluded with something that did catch my eye – a spirit level application. Very impressive. There is just one thing though – are they seriously suggesting that any of the Iphone owning metrosexuals out there would actually know what a spirit level is, how to use it or how to actually put up some shelves?
Iphones are owned by skateboard riding students who have lived at home too long, who stay in bed till at least midday and get their mums to do all of their laundry (mostly jeans, to be strapped around the thighs just below the arsehole of the arsehole who is “wearing” them). 
Or sales representatives..... 
They belong to a generation that will never put up a shelf. Even if they ever grow up and leave home.
Shelves are erected by men called Neville, men with monochrome LCD Nokias. And correctly fitting trousers. Possibly with a bit of a gut hanging over the belt. 
The adverts would be better aimed at the parents who are actually buying the things for little "Jake". Perhaps a shot of a student, rising from his bed at midday and then looking slightly less sullen when he realises that his pathetic parents have stumped up another couple of hundred quid on something to make him fit in better with his happy slapping peers.
And he can keep his old Nokia for when he needs to take pictures, video, or send an MMS.

Behind The Times

Like all miserable old buggers, I'm years behind the times - and proud of it. And tonight I saw The Fifth Element for the first time - a mere 12 years after its release. And now I don't feel miserable at all- because of a lovely young lady called Mila Jovovich. Not only is she the sort of person I would very much like to have full sexual intercourse with, she gets full marks for simply being cute as a button. Her lovely smile makes her far more attractive than any of the dodgy, fake tanned, clamydia riddled, chav slappers, favoured by the footballing elite of the UK.
Attention W.A.Gs! You don't need to be orange and have the loose skin on your chest filled with silicone in order to be beautiful. Put out that fag and learnt to speak, to read, to write.
Sorry, where was I? Oh yes. Mila. Would. Definitely.
And the film is quite good too if you are able to mentally block out Lee Evans doing his oh so hilarious impression of Norman Wisdom. And an even worse impression of an american accent. But I don't need to tell you that because, unless you are a miserable old bugger, you already saw it 12 years ago.


Serving the miserable old bugger demographic....since 2009

So here it is....my first ever blog post.
It's taken a while - I was all ready to begin frothing at the keyboard when Mrs Slagg put a stop to my online publishing ambitions (on account of "now I'll NEVER see you"). 
That was about a year ago, and I'm hoping that she has forgotton all about it. Anyway, I'm at my house at the moment, my forest hideaway, and she's at least 200Km away...so I can do what I like - stay up late, drink wine, fart in bed and, best of all....be a miserable bugger!
Anyway.....the raison d'etre of this blog is to serve the under represented miserable bugger demographic. The internet is very much an extension of the USA and subsequently is full of terribly earnest, positively thinking, american types (with some imagination, I could have made a "TWAT" acronym there, but couldn't be arsed). 
Anyway, all this can-do attitude is all well and good but, after a couple of weeks, it really starts to become annoying......step forward fellow miserable buggers. My mission, our mission, is to save the world from all those cheery, have-nice-day, twats out there....to challenge the earnest dimwits with a bit of humour -  without terminating a sentence with a fucking smiley face or "LOL" (whatever that means). To show those from beyond the Sceptred Isle that self deprecating humour makes you a man. A funny man. To be proud to call yourself a miserable bugger and to truly understand what that means.