Social Media

Comment: The Ugly Face of Disability Hate Crime

Following the documentary on BBC Three last night about disability “Hate Crime” I feel I must add my comments. Sorry this is a little long.

I hate the term “Hate Crime” Gene Hunt expresses this best.

How are we ever going to move on, live together and integrate as a society if crimes against any group of people are labelled in such an insane way. It’s justifying why someone committed a grievous act against someone else, reporting a “hate crime” produces two groups of people. Those who support the victim, and those who support the perpetrator as they agree with his or her politics. If a murder is reported as a “murder” one person killed another, we can all pull together and agree that that is a bad thing regardless of our backgrounds.

This approach removes the often incorrect assumption that “he only killed him because he was disabled/white/black/green/gay” No he got killed because he was sleeping with his wife/husband/girlfriend/mother/tortoise/guitar.

Last nights show was presented by Adam Pearson who has neurofibromatosis which causes excess growth of the skin. Which gives him a striking and unusual appearance like many disabled people. Now I like to think that when I’m sat down or propping up a bar I look pretty “normal” I don’t of course, the way I hold myself up, my movement that is both ponderous and jagged are both clear giveaways that I am “different”.

As kids we stare at “difference” it’s a survival technique present in most inhabitants of the earth. Don’t believe me? Walk slowly into a field of cows. They will all look at you, “Who are you? Will you feed us? Will you kill us? Where are your trousers?” If no-one batted an eyelid at things out of the ordinary we and the cows would get killed.

Of course we like to think we have evolved, it makes us feel superior and for the most part it helps us fit in and not be different as the environments we inhabit are largely about inclusion and acceptance, on the surface anyway.

A place where our true feelings are often is expressed is here on the internet. This very page has a comments section. Upon which you are free, with varying degrees of anonymity to call me whatever you like. The comments section can bring out the very worst in people and statements or poor attempts at humour can be misinterpreted.

One of Mr Pearsons TV interviews was posted on YouTube and seemed to be a significant part of the programme. One comment was nasty suggesting that he should have been burnt to death at birth. Harsh you have to say, but the comment was sent to YouTube who didn’t do anything about it. Mr Pearson mentioned “genocide” and I turned off.

It’s a comment on YouTube! The person who made it is probably 12 and as he accompanied his comment with “lol” he was hardly suggesting people hunt you down and burn you. So to suggest genocide is giving this comment much more credence than it deserves. Much better to laugh at it or reply back taking it further “Yeah hideous burns might improve my looks” Thus disarming any malice and perhaps leaving the commenter with a “See him there, he looks a bit weird but he’s alright” feeling winning him over and maybe stopping such comments in the future.

There are times in everyones life where we need to pack our thickest skin (no pun intended) regardless of which groups we align ourselves with. There will always be people who prey on easy targets or promote hatred but we should never underestimate the power of our response.

If you are in the UK or use a VPN (shh!) you can watch the program here.

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Overly Social Media

I’m a old curmudgeon. My mother says I was born an old man. I hate people until they prove worthy of my time, once you are in the circle you pretty much stay there until you choose to leave. In the circle you have benefits like unlimited lifts in the car at pretty much whatever time you like, beer money on the rare occasion I have it, IT/AV assistance, access to slow roasted Lamb and most importantly you can have my last Rolo.

Outside of my group you can pretty much, keel over and die without me batting an eyelid.

Selfish, yes.
Self preservation also.

Social media flies in the face of my survival strategy. Twitter and Facebook (moreso) forces you to form relationships with people you knew 20 years ago, or people you met once on a drunken night out in Rhyll. These people in the cold hard light of day mean less to you than your clan members in Clash of Clans or the members of your faction on Last of Us but because you have seen Barry’s daughter Stacy (whom you never met) take her first steps you feel somehow compelled to write some vapid response to Barry’s status. Which Barry will maybe read, smile and then ignore.

Using Facebook to plan a social gathering is like trying to find a TV presenter from the 1970’s that isn’t in prison. Possible, but hardly worth the effort. The people most likely to attend are your best friends, who whilst on your facebook, are also in your phonebook and textable. Those same people probably ignore Facebook event requests because they are as regular as someone on a fibre rich diet.

Those friends who see the event will also assume that because the Facebook event is visible to all of your 800 “friends” that at least 70 bods will show up. Now friending Dominos in is a great way to get 10% off Pizza but I doubt their CEO cares you are having a “Summer Shindig” so won’t turn up.

I left Facebook long ago, not missed it. All the people near and dear to me, write or talk to me. Not a wall or a time line. Facebook and any online platform, this included, is all too often used to foster a persona, a façade of the frothy. Don’t get me wrong, not everything has to have deep meaning, but it has to be real otherwise we may as well all pretend to be Astronauts.

No-facebook-me

Your Scheduled Programming Shall Never Resume

The 80’s a fine decade. Well maybe I don’t really remember it, being born in June of 1980 as I was I pretty much spent half of the decade crapping my pants. I’ll let you decide which half that was. In the UK we had no remote control on the TV and when you got up to change the channel (Yes kids) you had the choice of 3 channels plus the new upstart Channel 4 from 1982 onwards.

On demand TV was how loud you shouted “I want to watch…” and your Sky Plus was a scuzzy Scotch VHS tape that allowed you to watch one thing and record another. The Internet was around in university computer labs, although Netflix was a while off and even if it was around they would still be waiting around now to see the opening frame of Breaking Bad given the speeds of the connection.

Fast forward to now and we have a multitude of things to watch, on a plethora of channels, platforms and devices. The BBC at the time of writing has ballooned from 2 channels in 80’s to 9 channels. All of which air via digital TV in the UK. It was announced yesterday that one of those 9, BBC Three, is going to go “online only” prompting lots of twitter outcry and #SaveBBCThree hashtaggery.

Why save something that isn’t going?
BBC Three is the corporations “Youth” offering, serving a demographic which I am still just part of. The same demographic (to generalise) have access to a smartphone, are computer savvy, have access to high speed broadband, regularly watch on-demand content. So for BBC Three’s target audience very little will change, especially if they have a smart TV. If it was BBC 2 or BBC Four I would understand the concern. Given the older target audience, again to generalise.

I believe that in the next fifteen to twenty years the only programming that will be scheduled, as it has been since the very start of TV, will be live sporting events and news programmes. Everything else will be delivered as you want it when you want it, in a similar way to how Netflix works now. So BBC Three is ahead of the game on this one, and although it will still run to an online schedule, if viewing figures are good I see other channels following suit.

The revolution will not be televised. But it will be downloaded.

Enjoy

Enjoying the now. You wouldn’t think it’s difficult would you? To enjoy what you are doing, live in the moment. Before I started writing this I was thinking it was just me, but all of us to some degree fail to grasp fully the wonderful things that are occurring. Right now.

Modern life doesn’t help full of distractions and noise. Long time readers of this blog (thank you and that ambulance outside is probably for you) will know that I love my tech. My iPhone much to my bosses displeasure hardly leaves my sweaty palm. But does it let me enjoy my life knowing that a footballer I follow on twitter is talking to another footballer about “Take Me Out” yet I consume.

I have been to many a gig. The focus for many now is not to let go, be absorbed in the music but to video it in full HD, so they can enjoy it later. The later that never comes, or the later that you only enjoy when one of your fellow gig goers dies. Then you’ll sit and look at it and go, “remember when you filmed this.”

Contentment goes against human nature. We will always want more, faster, higher. It’s what has moved us on, moved us out of our caves. But the human race has pretty much gone as far as we can now, and the reality is that most of us aren’t gonna make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Recently I have had good cause to try and live in the now. I find my myself making plans, plans that would be amazing, but plans that I know I actually have very little control over. These plans then take my focus away from what is happening now, robbing me of not only an unlikely future but an exciting and inspiring present.

Enjoy the now, after all you probably planned this moment ages ago..

Thats how to enjoy the moment.

(WMB4X) Numbers. Oh My (Time) Lord

Numbers ruin things. If you can remember the amount of times you have done something you either haven’t done it enough or it was terrible when you did. Numbers are devoid of emotion and feeling, they cannot be used to convey anything other than hard facts. A constant in the world of grey areas. At times bringing un-needed order to the world.

One of the main fall outs from the wonderful “Day of the Doctor” and the less wonderful Doctor Who Live: The After Party, seems to be “Is Matt Smith the 12th Doctor now because of John Hurt?” Or varations upon that theme adorning many a fan forum or podcast. As arguements go it’s pretty stupid. Numbers again ruining it. You see and this is a point that even the most ardent fan will miss (or argue with me about).

There is only one Doctor.

In a similiar way that there is only one James Bond or Joey from Bread, Eric Draven from The Crow or Miss Marple. Only one. There have been multiple actors who played the part bringing with them different facets of the characters personality. When it comes down to it at a core character level there should be no differences between the Bond of Sean Connery or the Bond of Daniel Craig. The same should apply to the Doctor, he only changes based upon life experience in his relative time strand. Hartnell, Hurt, Smith and soon to be Capaldi all playing the same man at different points in that characters life.

The numbering then, Hartnell 1, Troughton 2 etc given that the Doctor is the same man, matters not a jot to the story. Yes there is a limit to the amount of times the Doctor can re-generate but that will be explained away in the clever writing of the Moff maybe in the upcoming Christmas episode (The only Christmas TV I want to see) It only matters when referring to the actors who have taken control of the TARDIS.

It seems strange to me that given that this show is about an alien with two hearts who can travel through space and time that such a mundane debate has emerged. I am aware of the irony of me writing this piece about it, adding to the debate. If you really must organise “timey wimey” may I suggest a better system. Names. In the same way no-one says the 3rd Bond when they are referring to Roger Moore’s James Bond, I suggest we adopt the same system. Matt Smith’s Doctor, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor etc. Doing away with the numbers and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Doctor Who Experience (8105543304)


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(WMB4X) 90’s Geek vs Geek of the Millennium

1980. Year of the birth of Austin Mini Metro and me. By the mid 90’s I was a spotty mullet topped computer geek. Much has changed, I’m not spotty anymore and the computer that sits in front of me of is more powerful than I could even have imagined.

My PC then was a Pentium 166mhz, with 16mb of RAM. I had a massive hard drive where I could store up to 2gb of data. When I first got the machine I didn’t have access to the internet of any kind, so I spent my time playing Championship Manager 2, in-between homework composed using MS Works. Then the internet came along, in the shape of a beige box with some red flashing lights on it. I was lucky, the blistering 56.6 modem. My friend had a Pentium 75 and 14.4 connection. How I took the piss.

Then came mIRC a text based chat system which I spent far too much time on. My parents let me stay online long enough (hogging the phone line) to make good acquaintance with most of Ohio, America (so it seemed). FiveOhTwo one of the Ohio clan introduced me and my real life friends to MP3. We each then spent hours trying to download Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” via Napster.

The browser of choice back then was Netscape, which had to be searched for via Yahoo on Internet Explorer 4.0. That is if it you could keep it from crashing for long enough for the download to complete. Windows ’95, then Windows ’98 which pre-service pack was as stable as me on ice.

The geek of the Millennium. Has it easy.

Geek-chic now is all around us. It’s fashionable to be geeky, nerdy and know what TARDIS stands for. Geeks today live connected. No waiting for your Mum to get off the phone to download that latest blockbuster movie. Yes movie. It would have taken months to download full length HD movies via a 90’s dial up connection.

Although mIRC still exists, the rooms now are largely populated with people who used them first time around. It’s now all Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The 90’s geek was all about identity security and low profile. The millennium counterpart is more “out” than a Pride Parade.

Napster has now long gone legit after spats with Lars Ulrich and others. So geeks now have Pirate Bay to be a freeloader. If your ISP allows. If not there is iTunes, which began life as a humble music player. The music player of choice in the 90’s was Winamp. It was superb, you could download skins for it to change the way it looked, add-ins to change the sound, stream online radio using SHOUTcast and some skins even included reel-to-reel tape Skeuomorphics that would have made Scott Forstall cream his pants.

Winamp was best when it was simple. As time passed by it tried to compete with iTunes and Windows Media Player, becoming bloated and seemingly unaware of the world where people were taking their music out and about as opposed to being sat in chat rooms.

I have just learnt that Winamp is to be shut down forever on the 20th December. Whatever will whip the llamas ass with now.


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(WMB4X) QuizUp

Something new for these fair pages an App Review. Or more likely as it turns out me saying “Look at this cool App” So look at this cool App.

IMG_0739

QuizUp is a pretty damn sweet quiz (clues in the name people) game from Plain Vanilla. It’s a very simple premise, download the App from the App Store (Android version on the way) create an Account, you can use Facebook, Twitter or email address for this then you are off and running. Choose from over 250 different topics anything from Family Guy to Myths and Legends or Logos to Harry Potter, you then get to answer 5 questions multiple choice questions for a maximum of 20 points followed by a sixth question for a maximum of 40 points.

The longer you take to answer the lower your score will be, getting the answer wrong will mean you get nothing. It may also mean you want to launch your iPhone or iPad across the room. Oh of course you are not playing against your phone. You are playing against your friends, if you link your Facebook, Twitter or Game Center, or if you are a loner like me random strangers from across the globe, so it does require an active internet connection. However if you want to challenge one of your friends who happens to be lets say hard at work or busy contemplating their navel you can set a score for them to try and beat later on. In addition you can also find players nearby to play.

I did think initially that it was going to be too Americanized (note the “z” in homage) for me. And yes some of the TV rounds will have people without the “right to bear arms” perplexed, as will some of the Logos. However I have noticed the very English (now owned by GM) Vauxhall (known as Opel elsewhere) pop up. This game will only get better as time passes because they allow the community to apply to submit their own questions. The key word here is “apply” implying that there is a vetting process so, “Whats the largest landmark in Sweden?” Answer “Yo Mamma.” quite disappointingly won’t occur.

My advice. It’s free, give it a bash. Then when you have finished that play QuizUp. You might even end up playing me. Be warned its addictive. (They aren’t paying me)

IMG_0740


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(WMB4X) Gamer Growing Pain

I remember how I felt Christmas 1991. I had opened all the small boxes and cards, very disciplined for a 10 and a half year old. There was one big box under the tree, I thought this was strange because I had asked for and Atari Lnyx (Atari’s answer to the Gameboy) and that was tiny. I tore off the paper to reveal a Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. My parents thought I would enjoy being able to play on a bigger screen with my friends. It was a good call as the Lynx disappeared from market very quickly.

However my parents didn’t keep their eye on the market because just over a year later in April of 1992 the Super Nintendo was released. Sounding like a spoilt kid now, but I got one Christmas 1992. I was hooked. I have always liked Sports games, so one of the first titles on my SNES was Super Soccer, an international football game. The first team you had to beat to progress through the game was Cameroon. I must have played Cameroon 50 times before I finally beat them. I stuck at it for hours after school and weekends. Fast forward 21 years and I now have a PS3 and I wish I had that determination.

The Last of Us, is a tremendous game. Cinematic immersive game play. It sits on my shelf, unfinished. My friend who has completed it tells me I am close to the end, but I’m stuck. I have played the same bit 6 or 7 times and I can’t get by it, so out it comes. My 10 year old self would have been blown away by the graphics but would have sat in front of it forever until it was done.

Why do I not have the same drive now?

It’s not like I have a major social life or better things to be doing. I do enjoy gaming and although it still gets bad press, it’s a legitimate a hobby as gardening or reading or whatever. It’s great for me cos it raises the heart rate and improves my dexterity.

Is it the games? Super Soccer was me vs the SNES, no online play, no linking to Facebook or a depressingly low Game Center score. On the PC, Grand Theft Auto for example, I completed GTA and GTA London and even more recently on the PS3 GTA IV (not with 100%) but that took me ages to get over the finish line. Years I didn’t play. Now GTA V, you have three protagonists, a fully functional stock market and massive online environment. Now instead of enjoying beating up Whores I’m looking at a stock market screen. I miss the simple fun.

Maybe games aren’t for me. Maybe they are for people with more dextrous fingers and unlimited free time. Like me when I was 10.


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(WMB4X) Pain in the Analysts

I would like to think myself creative (but I’ve tried and it didn’t work) I was never too good with numbers (which is why I work in stats now) there are people who love the numbers, get lost in the spreadsheets and can draw a pie chart quicker than I can draw my curtains. They love the fact that there is no grey area with numbers, it’s either right or wrong off or on. Binary list of 0’s and 1’s.

Know your numbers and you can make some serious cash. As a banker, a broker or Carol “I’ll sell anything” Vorderman. You can even be a market analyst, a gazer into the financial crystal ball. These people are telling us what we want before we even know we want it, and they have huge influence over the finances of the world and where money is invested, what with buy-ratings and the like.

In the world of business an equal amount of creativity and market nous is needed to make it. We can’t all be Jonny Ive. However it is important to get right people in the right roles. Money people, are not experts on lets say consumer electronics.

In 2008 analysts said that Apple needed to make a Netbook. (Remember those)

Netbook popularity in 2008 (PriceGrabber)

In 2010 Apple released the iPad, which is definitely not a Netbook. The rest as they say is history. Now in 2013 analysts say Apple need a iWatch, an actual Apple TV (not just the great set top box) a larger iPhone, a Smaller iPad, a larger iPad, A social network, a video games console the list is endless.

Apple may or may not make some of these things. But thanks to analysts we now get stupid headlines like this “Apple TV set reportedly delayed to at least 2015 over content deal trouble” So a product that hasn’t been announced is delayed. I mean even First Great Western couldn’t be accused of running a late train if it wasn’t announced. So what harm do these stories do?

Share price dip. These analyst wet dreams can wipe billions off companies share price. Why should we care? Well companies may rush things to market to keep the analysts happy and share prices high. Meaning we get to spend our hard earned on something thats half finished. Also analysts aren’t creative, they are more like a jealous neighbour “Keeping up with the Joneses.” ‘Well they have one, so you should too.’

All companies (Apple Inc included) are worryingly conforming to market pressure. This may lead to a very boring future. Like letting Bob from Accounts design your website. Scary very scary.


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Don’t Worry Your Pretty Little Head

The picture below is that of the husband of Rachel Reeves MP for Leeds West in the UK

This guy went on Twitter to say how great it was that his Missus had made it to front benches of the opposition. The press in their even handed level way thought that this picture was the most suitable. Except they didn’t… he’s just a guy in his budgie smugglers and is not at all connected to Rachel Reeves.

I mean if she is married, you expect the guy to be permanently in a tweed suit and occasionally claim for porn on expenses. If a male spouse of a politician tweets something along the lines of “My missus was unlucky to get sacked.” any accompanying picture would be of him in the aforementioned suit. Why then, if the ex wife of a politician does a similar thing does a major newspaper for real do this.

Now I’m by no means “modern” man. I think it’s good that women tennis players get paid less than men (they play less) I think page 3 is a good thing. I think a beautiful woman is much nicer to look at than a handsome man. I believe the genetic differences between men and women should be celebrated for the good of the human race. In general terms there are some things women are better equipped to do genetically than men and vice versa. Why not use these natural skills instead of fighting against them?

However if a woman is talking about politics or sport or the price of fish. A picture of her in a bikini is not appropriate, unless the interview is from the beach. Now I will be honest here (sorry chaps) If a woman on TV is attractive and fully clothed I will look. Often regardless of what she is saying I might even think “Nice tits.” I’m a horrible person, but I am not the editor of a daily newspaper.

Now you may ask. How can you think Page 3 is good, but think random pictures of women with opinions in bikinis is bad. Well Page 3 girls know they are Page 3 girls, they get their tits out, pics get airbrushed and they get paid. Random women are unaware that the selfie they are taking will be used against them to discredit any serious point they were making. Not because people disagree with the point but because they think she doesn’t look good in the bikini.

News paper guys need to take a look at themselves and the example they are setting for kids namely you the idea that you can write for a paper and get paid to copy and paste from Twitter as long as you have bare skin somewhere. Imagine the memorable news stories history reported today:

@JackieO Devistated for John RIP
Jackie Kennedy tweeted about her grief for President Kennedy

Mailreader1: Crap dress, where are her tits.

Breast size has no relevance to intelligence. Thank goodness. Despite how things are reported in 2013!

There has however been a link discovered between penis size and spelling ability, I wil lat you deside if thas gud or bod for dis blooger.