hbarnard's blog

Grow Easy, plants and seedlings

Well, my web site doesn't really have adverts, usually. However my friend Allison has just started to sell plants and seedlings in the East End. The site is: http://www.groweasy.co.uk/ here. I'll leave this for a while.

Opendork AMR reading from Estate Boilers

This is a little bit of a project to provide real time feedback on energy [mis]use on council estates that have communal boilers.

Waitrose: Securing All Fruit

I should be blogging to 'explain' the rioting, but I'm letting the Guardian and the Daily Mail etc. etc. do that. That is, it's very difficult to separate explanations from celebrations of particular prejudices, isn't it?

Anyway, braving the yahs and yuppies went to Waitrose at the Wharf this morning to buy grapefruit. I like the red ones, I know, I know but they are part of my five-a-day and, at least, they aren't Boris or Barclay blue.

At the grapefruits, I chance upon some Chinese tourists who are taking pictures of the fruit and conversing. I try some very rusty mandarin, they laugh delightedly and they don't slap me [easily possible because tone-error changes question-mark into 'horse', for example].

Dorxmas Mini Talk: Open Source Computer Suites

I've attached a mini-talk about the Debian/Ubuntu based drop-ins created on the Exmouth Estate and the Barleymow Estate in Tower Hamlets. This is meant to occupy about five minutes during dorxmas: http://dorkbotlondon.org/event/dorxmas/

Both of these were created with very small [in the case of Barleymow, none] amounts of funding and will not disappear because of artificial upgrade cycles either. Both of them use older PCs, some between five and ten years old. It costs an enormous amount of energy and physical resource to make a PC and therefore their lifetime should be as long as feasible.

Actually that applies, pretty much, to everything that we make: Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle.

Goodbye Fruit and Nut: Hello Chocolate cheese spread

Well, I'm not buying anything from Cadbury as of today, another US buyout. Of course, the advisors are apparently RBS, so mummy's boy will pocket another big wad from this.

It also turns out that they were busy stabbing Cadburys in the back. Good going for a publically owned bank and mummy's boy who didn't let anything approaching ethics or accepted practice restrain them.

Incidentally the sleazy 'half-truth in advertising/teaser rate' Direct Line are an RBS subsidiary, don't buy anything from them either, at least until some of these parasites are thrown out.

We lose one of our last big manufacturers and see nothing in return. Would you like chocolate cheese fries with that? Nice foreign war maybe? I don't think so..as they say.

Election Season: Top Tips

Well, it's the election season again. Having been harangued during a TRA meeting and door-knocked by the massing hordes bearing a kind-of (pace, Jimmy Hendrix) wisdom. Here's my top tips for everyone from the conventional parties:

  • Don't attack each other and conduct 'campaigns', we're not stupid and have grown out of Punch and Judy
  • Tell us what you are actually going to do, at local level, you can provide quite a lot of detail
  • Symbols and symbolic action are nice but only when everything else is perfect
  • If you are standing, it's nice if you are local and we have detailed bios
  • Even better if you participated in local life during non-election periods, don't be a stranger, as they (we) say
  • Listen, don't justify, you may learn something
  • Don't be 'politicians', we're sick of it, try and be servants/representatives of the people
  • Be bold, break out of the Mulberry fortress and Westminster bubble to make contact with actual change

East End Life: From Spin to Misuse of Public Funds

Well, the last round of discussion about the execrable, spintastic, inaccurate and childish (hey, choose an adjective!) East End Lies, the local Pradva produced by Tower Hamlets Council, met with some childish stonewalling from the 'complaints' department to quote Ms Dowden:

The Council has answered your complaint and is not willing to enter into further correspondence on this matter

Actually, all I've received is evasion and changes of subject, rather like a child caught in some trivial wrongdoing (except that council officers who create democratic deficit on purpose and try to ruin the local newspaper, that's not trivial, is it?).

So I'm happy to see the battle has broken out elsewhere in a more high profile way.

Democracy in Action: Control agenda style

It's a warm afternoon, so, instead of working, I though I'd surf on down to the wretched No 10 e-petition site (more, let's pretend to engage stuff) and make a little random trouble. However to my disappointment, I found:

Notice: Submission of new petitions will be closed until 7th September while the Prime Minister is away from Number 10. You can still sign any petition during this time

Public Choice Theory and the Olympics

Well, Coe-baby's £10billion egg and spoon race is a really good example of public choice theory at work. Public choice theory describes why politicians mainly do things that are against the public interest:

Public Choice theory is often used to explain how political decision-making results in outcomes that conflict with the preferences of the general public. For example, many special interest and pork barrel projects are not the desire of the overall democracy. However, it makes sense for politicians to support these projects. It may make them feel powerful and important.

Don't use Raileasy

Just booked my first and last rail ticket from Raileasy. They nickel and dime you a 'booking fee' and a debit card 'fee' and then provide 'phone lines' at £1 per minute, in case you want to ask anything.

Also, they are in breach of European spam regulations, since the 'spam me' box is ticked on the submit page.

Should be called Railsleazy, in fact, can everyone call it that from now on? To use the technical vocabulary:

another bunch of sleazy corporate tossers

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