Parking Tickets

From the BBC News website :

A bus driver was issued with a parking ticket after stopping to pick up passengers. Driver Chris O’Mahony pulled in to Lever Street in the number 77 bus and was handed the £40 ticket for stopping in a restricted area. The ticket was cancelled after the bus company confronted Manchester City Council about what had happened.

A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council said the issuing of the ticket had shown a “lack of judgement” by the warden, who works for parking enforcers Control Plus. The warden has been ordered to undergo “appropriate retraining”, she added.

I have an image of the retraining that involves the traffic warden being shown pictures of large two storey vehicles with lots of windows and usually painted red and being admonished:

This is a bus. Repeat after me “Don’t give tickets to buses”

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 28, 2003

Virus Updates

I just recently purchased a new Dell PC (a Pentium 4 2.4Ghz to upgrade from my older dual P3 450 MHz).

A non-optional part of the bundle was a 90 day free subscription to McAfees VirusScan software. I (touching metaphorical wood) have never had a problem with Virus’ on my PC’s (I put it down to good clean living habits). So I turned the software off (no point wasiing cycles) though I left it installed.

Leaving it installed means that it still does it’s regular online update process. Something like 9 out of the last 10 days I’ve sat down at my PC there’s a pop-up from VirusScan suggesting I go online to update my virus software. I can only think of three reasons for this :

1) VirusScan is full of bugs
2) There really are a hell of a lot of virii out there for Windows (clearly more than the PC media picks up)
3) ‘They’ know this is a short term bundled subscription and want to use possibility number 2 to scare me into paying for the continuing service (they also remind me at each update) that I should send them 9.95 to get a CD with the software ‘just in case’

Sorry guys – I’m not buying !

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 27, 2003

More Vocabulary

Sylvie has always had a good sense of rhythm almost as soon as she could sit up she would ‘bob’ in time to music, and when she started walking it wasn’t long before she would ‘dance’ (walk with a bounce) and wave her arms in time to music too.

Just recently however she’s realized that dancing isn’t necessarily a solo thing. Sitting at the kitchen table this morning catching up on email whilst Sylvie was watching Teletubbies she came over to me twice during musical pieces held out her hand and said ‘dance’. Nope there’s no video (yet) of me bopping around the living room to the tunes on Teletubbies – probably only a matter of time though 8-)

Posted under Sylvie

This post was written by awk on February 27, 2003

Is Cynicism the real danger ?

This mornings Forum program on KQED Radio included Stephen Webber amongst it’s panelists. Mr Webber is an advisor to the ACLU and made a great comment about the current state of ‘preparedness’ for Terrorist Attacks – paraphrasing somewhat :

‘Recently in New York the NYPD said that it had insufficient resources to provide safety for both the current threat level and safety for an Anti-War protest. However the lack of clear information regarding the facts behind the threat level and how truly severe it is to lead people to draw their own conclusions. What’s happening now is that people are progressing from skepticism to cynicism in the actions of the government’

Catching up on my blog reading this morning I also found this piece in Frank Boosmans weblog from Juan Benito. It too seems to have significant air of cynicism about the motives of the US government.

Is not the real threat to US democracy the increasingly cynical attitude of large amounts of the population to our own government. Decreasing turnout in elections has lead to a situation where the government could be adjudged to no longer be very representative. Will a loss of faith in the government damage the democractic process even further ?

Healthy skepticism is a good thing in the political process – but when skepticism becomes outright cynicism what is the path of recovery ?

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 27, 2003

Speech development

Sylvie is now just over 18 months old and her speech is gaining new recognizable words. Nothing too surprising about that but what is interesting is her current pre-occupation with words of one syllable ending in ‘t’ ie, wet, foot and cat. In particular she places great importance on strongly stressing the final ‘t’ sound.

She says these words a lot – even when they’re not true (wet is a particular favourite), and although she knows other words (frog and dog for example) she uses them only when appropriate to identify the animal in question in a book or outside.

Is this because she likes the sound ? Or is it the feel of her tongue on the roof of her mouth ? Or simply that we as her parents seem to find the words entertaining so she ‘performs’ for us ?

Posted under Sylvie

This post was written by awk on February 26, 2003

Death Penalty

I listened to an interesting interview this evening on Freshair on my way home. The majority of the program was an interview with Scott Turow who recently served on Illinois commission on the death penalty. He made many fine arguments about the unbalanced way the penalty is applied. You can listen to the show here

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 18, 2003

Hiding Things

A new development in Sylvies behaviour. We have quite a few large area rugs around our house and Sylvie has taken to pulling up the corners and looking underneath. She can’t move the rugs since the all have large immovable pieces of furniture on them, however she can hide things under them. Mostly she hides what ever she happens to be playing with – a ball, or a block but it has included things of great value to her such as her pacifier.

She doesn’t leave things hidden for long and usually goes back to retrieve them quite quickly. Luckily she’s not yet taken to hiding really significant things like keys or her parents wallet etc.

Posted under Sylvie

This post was written by awk on February 16, 2003

Skiing

Some fine skiing at Heavenly this past weekend. Bright blue sunshine and below freezing temperatures everywhere except right at the bottom. Many of the runs were fairly hard-packed and even a little icy. The bottom of gunbarrel was in amazing condition, just perfect for that end of the afternoon ‘rush’.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 10, 2003

Credibility

Why is it that I find Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN this morning far more credible than anything any other member of the administration has said recently on the subject (notably more credible than the Commander-In-Chief).

It’s not simply that what was said was backed up by some evidence, it’s his tone, style of presentation and choice of language.

I’m still not sure that war with Iraq is the right solution to the problem, but it’s clearer to me now that there are significant issues with the Iraqi regime’s approach to the UN’s resolution that Iraq should disarm.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 5, 2003

Columbia

Please spare some thoughts for those who perished today in the search to expand human knowledge. Let’s also not forget those who’ve gone before them, both onboard Challenger and the countless other ways that those dedicated to the pursuit of expanding mankinds understanding of the world have lost their lives.

Posted under Personal

This post was written by awk on February 1, 2003