Thursday, December 27, 2012

Regression of Society

I don't know if it's some kind of hidden human trait, but just when you think we're becoming a more enlightened society, more caring and compassionate, we somehow completely regress ourselves.

As an example of our regression, take a look at onesies! It is the ultimate, I want to look like a baby, motif. Comfortable is one thing, but do you have to borrow clothese from your kids? What next, nappies? Oh wait, some people already do that.

Can't we invent something going forward that is actually a bit more adult? What's wrong with looking like Barney Stinson?

Unfortunately though, this is just an indication for me about larger issues in society.

Ironically Im posting on Blogger, and Im actually becoming largely against electronic communication in favouring a more human response.

The problem I see is echoed by the recent tragedy in America with the shooting of all those children.

While it is easy to look at the surface and talk about banning guns, tighter control, and wishing the perpetrators are rotting in hell (hrm - how enlightened), we must look a little bit under the surface.

What was it that allowed that gunman to slip through the cracks in society, where nobody was concerned about his mental health and welfare, where nobody gave him the help or support he seemingly needed. Society has become isolationist and rather than checking in with the neighbour and forging friendships with those around us, we use technology and travel to keep in touch with a select group of people - mostly on the internet. Facebook calls them "Friends" - but you probably wouldn't recognise them in public.

Why couldn't we prevent this tragedy?

I've touched on it in previous blog posts, we can take away his guns, but at the end of the day, there would still be an individual, a man out there who needs some help.

Im not saying some people aren't just evil. but we're too quick to turn a blind eye instead of getting stuck in.

We close the curtains and get on line and gossip about how we want the world to be instead of actually doing something transforming the world we live in ourselves.

Facebook is a tool. Sitting on it won't change the world, for that you need a message, but Facebook and other social media can be used to help spread the message.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mucknell Abbey

Ick. Blogger has a new look, which just goes to show how long I've been away from here.

Wow.

What a mad year. Weddings (not my own), House Moves, my trip to the monastery, starting a band, leaving the band, wanting to join a new band, singing lessons, norovirus, Samsung Galaxy S3, and constantly rolling depression. Lack of money, lack of hair, lack of inspiration.

It's had its highs and lows.

Today I want to talk about the monastery.

I visited Mucknell Abbey and I had a great time. I went for a retreat to try to determine my path in life, what I should do. I heard a voice tell me that I should be a Christian in the world and just do what makes me happy.

I've somewhat failed to do that, confined as I am by the trappings of modern day life. There's a certain question about whether to be foolish and do something risky against what society wants, or trusting in God if he really is telling me to get on with my music career! Well I can't do music without money.

I left that monastery with a great idea of what I wanted to do.

Three months on, the monastery is calling me. It's quite odd. In many ways, I would be suited to a monastic lifestyle. The thing that I find so inspiring, is the community aspect, living in community for the benefit of God, devoting yourself to his work.

No distractions.

While you're in the world, you need the trappings of the world to survive. It can be argued you don't need all this food and technology, but in some lines of work, you do. You need cars.

What a great thing the monastery is.

I will inevitably be going back to see what it's like, was I looking through rose tinted glasses? Is that really God's call?

Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Samsung

For my birthday on 28th May, I would like you to somehow expedite my order with Expansys and bring me my new Samsung Galaxy S3 as quickly as possible. That'd be a swell present. What do you say?

Please please please please please.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X

They are both quad core processors, the Samsung at 1.4 Ghz and the HTC at 1.5 Ghz, they have the same ROM and the same ICS.

The thing that swings it for the Samsung Galaxy S3 in my opinion is its raft of additional features.


  • Super AMOLED screen. The screen was pretty amazing on the original Galaxy S and even better on the Galaxy S2. Samsung without a doubt know their screens.
  • HTC One X Problems. OK, Samsung could have problems on launch, but still several months into the release of the HTC One X, we still hear stories of screen issues when playing things back on YouTube, or screens that go Yellow or badly fitting on the left hand side so you press lightly and you get screen discolouration like you would on an LCD monitor. Mmm, no thanks.
  • Memory Card Slot. The HTC doesn't have one, but the Samsung does.
  • Samsung Features. Amazing features - S Voice allowing you to talk to your phone much like Siri, there sharing features, the ability to put the phone to your ear and have it automatically answer a call, Social/Buddy Tagging. Some real great added value services.


The thing that could swing in HTC's favour however is Samsungs appalling track record of upgrading the OS. I wonder how long the wait will be for Jellybean on Samsungs flagship device.

The other problem with the Galaxy S3, is the fact it looks like a Nokia N97.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Election Shmection

What a disastrous night in politics last night.

Have people forgotten what Labour left us with?

Labour spent money like it was going out of fashion, they spent with little regards to cost, in the vein hope that creating jobs would lead to spending to boost the economy.

The only way we could make money, is to actually make things, but under Labours watch, many of our industries were shut down and went abroad as the steadily increasing costs forced people out.

We spent on PFI initiatives which give shiny new facilities but cost us more in the long run. We spent time making things look nice instead of tackling the issues. The billions spent on ID cards, security, political correctness and the Electronic Staff Record on the NHS defies belief.

Everything was so much more inefficient as we needed to justify the extra levels of staffing with bureaucracy.

If we take heath as an example, there are still no sports physios on the NHS as far as I can see, and they'd much rather direct you to a surgical route instead of trialling a different type of drug which costs a few quid more. I was put on Lansoprazole for Acid Reflux and didn't notice too much difference. Eventually I had a scope under general anaesthetic which would have been a good cost for the NHS. Finally, under my own research, I convinced my doc to switch from Lansoprazole to Esomeprazole, noted an immediate improvement and the doc has to put a note against my account as NHS policy dictates they must save money by prescribing the cheaper Lansoprazole. Doesn't matter that they wasted an operating room.

Anybody can agree we ne
ed efficiency, but efficiency has to mean job losses because you no longer need all those people.
But if the economy can be switched from service based to manufacturing and export then we get jobs reinstated from the private sector as it should be.

Cut the costs, clear the debt, cut the taxes (or invest it elsewhere), we'll become more attractive to employers, jobs are generated.v
There is a transition period, but people don't want this. They want everything to be provided by the government, free this, free that, free the other. YOU pay for this. Or more accurately, every working person pays it.

And what is so objectionnable about high earners paying the same rate of tax as low earners? Maybe those born into money should pay a little extra, but we shouldn't be looking to penalise those who have put in the hard work, time, and effort to achieve what they have achieved, by saying you need to pay more. We should be rewarding hard work and effort. But that's not Labours style is it. Education is still the most important think in my book, getting people to change their mind set that despite low taxes, if they are super high earners, they don't need million pound houses, they don't need to live a flamboyant lifestyle and they could use their surplus for community based initiatives and helping those less fortunate.

But I don't think we should be encouraging that change through taxation. This is the reason why people with money want to take their money elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

HTC or Samsung

Im well and truly sick of the lack of any information from Samsung. All we hear are rumours and speculations, nothing concrete, nothing from their mouths.

Put it like this, the HTC One-X looks stunning, and it's real and with us now.

If Samsung continue to pull and twist and not give a firm date, I may well end up going down the HTC One-X route. It's Sense integrates nicely into Ice Cream Sandwich, so I hear, and being HTC, they're likely to give better and faster updates.

Should I feel the need for a newer phone on my birthday, or should my phone start giving more problems, I'll be going with the HTC One-X unless Samsung can confirm that the Galaxy S3 will be released on date "X".

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rising Fuel Costs

Just in the past week, fuel prices have shifted from 1.37 to 1.44 per litre in some places.

I have been considering for a while getting a new car, but it's a case of finding something economical, and equivalent to my Nissan Primera in terms of reliability.

This rules out pretty much all Petrol Engined cars and I'd go with a Diesel. I had my eye on the Toyota Avensis D-4D 2.0 and 2.2 litre cars, but they have such staggering problems with Head Gaskets blowing, heads warping, water pumps dying. It's crazy.

There is some degree of warranty, but Im not being left with a £3k repair bill of a lump in 3 years outside of the warranty.

However right now based on fuel economy, with a diesel, I could save £100 on tax and insurance per year, followed by a further £400 to £800 depending on economy.

At only 5mpg difference in fuel economy, every time fuel increases by 5p, I save £12 a year. If fuel went up 20p over 2 years, by year three, Im saving £48 a year.

The savings keep improving. So although changing my car now to a £6k beast would sound expensive, paying £160 a month on a loan, I balance that with having a newer cleaner smarter car, saving upwards of £500 a year. Depending on use, I could even find myself saving around £700 a year, and by year three after a further 20p hike in prices, £750.

I'd half rather pay for a less expensive car now and pay a loan off faster, than pay towards keeping my current car on the road and save less.

But it does dpeend on the state of the economy.

Cheers
Simon

Justice

I was following a woman today with her mobile phone clamped to her ear.

I shouted "Get Off Your Phone" as I drove past her turning right into McDonalds which some people would consider road rage.

After McD's, where everybody decides to drive the wrong way down a one way road, and following a couple of people who ran red lights, I saw a police car in the distance.

Rather aggrieved they took no action on the red light runners, my anger turned to elation when I saw that the woman on the mobile phone had been stopped.

I was shouting for joy.

That really did set me up for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 Release Date Rumours

Following the apparent leak that the Samsung Galaxy S3 will be announced in March and released in April, Samsung have now scotched those rumours by denying them completely.

But they have denied these rumours in such a a roundabout sort of way. They haven't said "We expect the phone to ship in Q2" or "it won't be on sale before May at the earliest".

What has been said by other online sources is that the phone won't be announced in April or released in March. Samsung meanwhile just say they haven't got anything set in stone and have no details to give.

Assuming it is announced on 15th March and released in April, then it will not be announced in April and released in March.

Essentially though, as far as this blogger is concerned, if the phone is not announced with a release date by the end of March, I'll be buying a Samsung Galaxy SII as my current phone keeps crashing.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 Can't Come Soon Enough

Speculation is growing with regards to the actual release date of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

With nothing new to report other than the results of Google Searches, here's some bits in my own words.

Samsung did not show off their new device at MWC in February, but their new device is rumoured to have its own show towards the middle of March. Samsung is believed to want to roll this out globally at the same time, which will mean a lot of phones need to be made as well as a a huge effort to synchronise advertising. How exactly a global release works with pathetic phone operators who need months to tweak firmware and add their branding, lock down the phone, produce their own packaging and what not, Im not quite sure.

The rumour was that as Samsung is heavily involved in sponsoring the Olympic Games, that a release sometime around then (June/July) is most likely expected.

But there are several indications from people in the know as well as an apparent leak from one of the lead marketing companies working for Samsung, that the device will be released in April.

If you are in my position and need a phone ASAP to replace your failing Samsung Galaxy S that keeps powering itself off, randomly rebooting and at times can't even get a GPS signal, then there are two choices with an April release date for the Samsung Galaxy S3.

You buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 and hope that your current S doesn't die. April is around 4 to 8 weeks away, so not too long in the grand scheme of things.

If however the S3 does not materialise in April and is expected in June/July, then you're looking at least 12 to 20 weeks away for the S3, and if your S is really that bad, you're just going to get the S2 and not even go with the S3. And lets face it, the S2 will last a good 18 to 24 months, so there's a nail in the coffin for a potential sale of the S3.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Cricopharyngeal Spasm

I had a big metal tube put down my throat a couple of weeks ago under General Anaeshetic.

I woke up gagging and unable to breathe. I had to try to choke out the words "Can't Breathe. Phlegm." at which point the doctors whipped out a sucky instrument and I could finally breathe.

Over the past ten years, I have been suffering some odd symptoms from congested sinuses, post nasal drip, tired eyes, throat tightness, sore dry throat constantly. It's like I woke up one morning with a cold that didn't go away.

Ten years I've been suffering with this until a couple of years ago, I went to see the head GP at my local surgery who just kept fobbing me off with one excuse after the other, even giving steroids for post nasal drip when a simple home made saline (salt water spray) works much better.

The Acid reflux is largely under control, the thyroxine levels are well adjusted, there's nothing I can think of to cause this problem.

So last year, I finally had my referral from my head GP to the hospital where I had a groovy time on the big X-Ray machine that tilts you all over the place while the Barium Swallow lines the inside of you to check for ulcers. I also had a camera down my throat and also went to voice therapy.

Nothing much worked.

But two weeks ago, I had my panendoscopy which thankfully shows nothing major, but there is a muscle spasm in my throat. The consultant failed to mention which muscle was spasming, but assured me nothing can be done.

Which is quite rubbish.

A muscle spasm in the throat can be caused by all sorts of things from acid reflux, to anxiety and there are a whole host of options based on what spasm it is.

From my own internet diagnosis where my throat feels better when I swallow, I suspect it is a cricopharyngeal spasm, a spasm of the esophageal sphincter.

My first attempt at a resolution, is switching from Lansoprazole to Nexium as in some cases, this is more effective at keeping acid reflux, gerd or lpr, in check helping to prevent further damage and allowing healing of any other damage more effectively. I guess it changes from individual to individual, but as I have been taking Lansoprazole for a year, I guess Nexium, or Esomeprazole would be a great idea.

After eight weeks though, Im going to push for a trial of Xanax, as a spasm can be caused by anxiety. Xanax is also sometimes used as a muscle relaxant for bad backs.

There is also Flexeril which is another muscle relaxant.

On top of this, there is warm liquid (well I drink enough tea to realise hot liquid won't work). And then the last two possibilities which I think I will draw the line firmly before, is a Botox injection in the muscle, the same Botox they inject into foreheads to stop you wrinkling your forehead and showing any kind of surprise, or finally, a small bit of surgery to effectively stretch the muscle.

I hope this post provides some useful information to anybody else in my position.

Ta
Simon

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barney Stinson

Im turning into Barney Stinson mark 2. Anyhow, I've just ordered a few shirts for myself so I can look brilliant. Just need a few more suits over the coming months.

I placed my first order last month with NYM Suits who, despite being in America, provided a faultless service and really great products.

So I've just ordered a few more.

Why is it oh so difficult to find a plain bold vibrant colour in the UK that isn't white, blue, purple, grey or black? Or you pay some hideous price for a floral or stripey shirt. I mean come on! Just ridiculous.

Can't wait for my shirts to arrive, especially my specially tailored one for £20 from Thailand (I think) courtesy of iTailor. Supposed to be a load of garbage, but for £20, but good to check them out.

Apple Suck.... Booo.

As a technological company, Apple suck.

Don't get me wrong, they should let their technology speak for itself. Their devices are simple to use, look good, functional, they're perfect.

Unless you're a geek like me, or you want to do a little more like use your phone as a mass storage device, or email yourself attachments and open them.

The problem with Apple, for me, is the way that they patent everything and stifle competition then copy everyone else in the mean time. Patents aren't such a bad thing, but it's the range of patents that Apple have - it's not just the design, or a couple of the features, Apple have actually patented menu scrolling techniques, the familiar bump at the end of the page, they have patented search techniques which search your entire phone for the information you search for.

They actually won the scrolling patent against Samsung who had to revert to a Blue glow, and they're trying to enforce the patent against Google.

Who has been in the search business longer? Google? Remember Google Desktop, the thing that indexed all your documents on your computer? Would that not be the next evolutional step in their Android platform from a global search provider? Not according to Apple. Apple have rights on searching.

What about Windows Vista and Windows 7 that allow you to search right from the desktop? Is that illegal?

But then Apple go off for iOS5 and copy the scroll down notification centre from Android.

IF we listened to Apple, we would believe that Apple invented the touchscreen! But touchscreens have been around for years prior on PDAs, XDAs, touchscreen computers. It's not new.

Apples tactics of patents upon patents and stifling the competition like this, is a business model more than a technical community. It's one reason I will never buy an Apple. Should Android die because of Apple, I will move to Windows 8! Steve Jobs turned Apple into Microsoft quicker than Bill Gates turned Microsoft into, erm, Microsoft.

Apple should let their technology speak for itself. I think them patenting everything and stifling the competition suggests to me that they are scared and actually have no confidence in their products.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Give me a free phone... or at least a pre-release to test with

Dear Samsung,

When it comes to phones, your phones are the best. My Samsung Galaxy S, which despite having teething troubles initially, is nigh on flawless and a brilliant piece of engineering.

Samsung is the only device for me, and so I happily bypass every other device out there and due to be released, knowing that I will buy the Samsung Galaxy S3 (unless of course you take your sweet time to release it and something else comes along in the meantime substantially cheaper and with more features).

I think my loyalty should be rewarded and I will happily wear a Samsung T-Shirt to every personal event advertising your phone if you can see your way clear to providing me a free S3. Heck it doesn't have to be free, let me pay for an early release so I can talk about the Samsung goodness.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Suit Up

It's been all over my other media outlets, but I've finally bought a suit. Im inspired by Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother Fame and how dashing he looks in a suit. No, Im interested in him in that way, but I figured that his look would suit me, no pun intended.

So I've bought myself a suit from Marks and Spencer and a couple of really nice shirts including a suave Royal Blue (Polyester) Satin shirt.

Mmm. Lovely.

Fab Capello

I don't know what the UK is coming to. Whether John Terry is guilty or not, we get to find out according to due process and a court of law. It is not the FA's job to punish him ahead of that process and Fabio Capello should be within his rights to state his opinion.

Fabio is supposed to be the manager, and if he thinks John Terry would suffer in the media spotlight then he is free to make changes as requested.

But the FA has just stepped in, overruled Capello, and our sickening papers are criticising Fabio for his freedom of speech.

The thing they should be criticising him for, is how useless he has been for the England football team. This mess is just an easy attack using "technicalities".