The Information Superhighwayman

I am small and I don’t eat much…

Browsing Posts published by Michael

This morning, as I have increasingly found myself doing, I logged into Facebook to see who had invited me to groups that I will never join and who had invited me to add applications that I will never use. There was nothing – Soooo, being slightly bored and random I found myself looking at my own profile. There was a box on it which asked people to click whether they were interested in me or not (although it didn’t say interested in what way… Which is odd in itself). I investigated this further, but in order to proceed I had to invite some friends to join the application, 10 to appear on something or other and at least 20 to appear on listings. At the cost of not appearing on any searches I eventually found a skip button and found the bits which would tell me whether any of my friends were interested in me. They weren’t. For a brief moment there my self-esteem levels dropped and I felt a little miffed that not a single one of my 148 friends found me in any way interesting.

There is another bit that I had never seen before too, though where do these boxes come from? I am sure I ignore and block most applications I am invited to join. The other section was something called “Compare People” in which your friends compare you with their other friends, in order to produce league tables.

The top of this section told me the rankings of lots of my friends in categories such as Hottest (Laura), Smartest (Johanna), Most Desirable (Johanna), Best Personality (Johanna) and Best To Work With (Johanna). In case you were wondering, it also tells me that this apparent all around Goddess called Johanna is also the most organized and the most punctual. It doesn’t tell me that she is the most likely to be mistaken for an 8 year old Munchkin which is where I would list her (Nothing personal Johanna, I love you, but you won’t ever have to pay an adult fare until you are about 30).

This unusually large section now moves onto “Where do I fit?” and proceeds to give me rankings that my friends have given me.

This is where my friends ranked me:
Pos Category win%
1st is more confident 100%
1st is a better listener 85%
1st is funnier 83%
1st is more famous 100%
1st has a better profile picture 100%

3rd is more likely to win in a fight 83%

Right! I object! I can accept “More Famous” (though I would correct it to infamous) and I can feel flattered by some of the other ones but what is this 3rd “Is more likely to win in a fight”? Which of my friends couldn’t I beat in a fight? Why do my friends think I would lose these fights? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? I SHOULD CORRECT THEM AT ONCE!

Aaah, and here’s the rub… I am falling for the psychological hooks of social networking, something that Facebook are very quickly mastering and overtaking Myspace in leaps and bounds with (Oi, leave my trailing prepositions alone). I am starting to compare myself to other people on the site and being tempted to do something about it – Next I will be writing about it in a weblog, and urging more people to vote for me or something and then I will be part of the whole social networking avalanche and heading quickly towards the shitty coloured pile at the bottom of the mountain.

I have found the “hide box” button, I no longer see the application and I am no longer tempted to go deeper into its bowels to see a full breakdown of who has placed me where, and why; nor am I tempted to rank my friends or be mean to the ones who ranked me differently to how I would have liked.

Facebook… You can have my intimate personal details but for now, at least, you can’t have my soul.

My Day

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No don’t worry, I haven’t gone completely mad. The title was meant to be somewhat sarcastic.

Somebody commented that I didn’t update my weblog very much so I thought I would respond. I don’t update my weblog very much because I don’t really have anything of much interest to babble about that seems to fit into a weblog. I don’t want to go all Stephen Fry and write undoubtedly interesting articles (he calls them blessays I think) which are simply too long to read and I don’t want to write 10 posts a day describing every bowel and bladder movement I have like a lot of other bloggers seem to. After all, I use IRC for that.

Mostly I write something when I feel I have something to say that may interest my regular audience of 3 or 4 readers or the few random people that the search-engines pull in after a few weeks. I don’t write it immediately – I wait a few days and if I haven’t forgotten about it then there is a possibility that it may actually be worth a few minutes writing it down and maybe worth a minute for somebody to read. This isn’t to say that every post will be interesting but hey, I try.

To try and add some value and interest to this post, I think I will add some things that wouldn’t really have warranted a post of their own…

Firstly – I was wrong, and the controller of Radio 2 was right. When he announced that Chris Evans would be taking over the afternoon drive-time slot I was one of those grouchy folks who said that they’d never listen to it again. The controller chap told us to give him a chance and we may be surprised but nooo, I didn’t believe him. In the end, I forgot it was Evans presenting the show and accidentally listened to it and, amazingly, I carried on doing so. I am never going to become a Chris Evans fan but I have to say I don’t hate him and he really does do a very good show.

Oh yea, and since I am babbling – I am reading all these things about Microsoft and Vista’s “Kill Switch” for unlicenced copies with amusement. Every one of my copies of Vista is licenced and legal and this is a novelty to me. It’s almost become a slightly perverse hobby watching people complain at Microsoft getting more and more evil while I sit in my little cloud of smug, legal self-satisfaction at it not being my problem at all. It’s rather nice not having to keep up to date on all the little cracks and workarounds to stop Microsoft breaking my computer any more than they already have.

Right! That’s it… Shoo now, get back to whatever you were doing, don’t let me get in your way.

Kindly ignore this.

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Please feel free to ignore this post. It is nothing but a test to see if Giolla’s machine is happy with me once more having a Weblog. Of course, if it isn’t you will never see this post anyway.

Accuracy be damned!


I don’t see myself as a Luddite but something about the obsession for accuracy these days is starting to piss me off. When I was being educated, on the occasional times I deigned to attend that is, there was always some bright spark who could quote Pi to god knows how many decimal places. To my mind, Pi is generally 3.14 – Usually, I am more than happy with Pi being 3.

Bear with me, this is going somewhere.

It’s all the fault of the sodding electronic calculator. See back when I was younger than I ever really was, there were slide rules, and a slide rule looked like this:


I appreciate that many people reading this won’t have ever used a slide rule in anger, but the principal behind them is that most of the time, you more or less guess the answer, as opposed to have it displayed to 9 decimal places in monocolour LCD lettering. Look up a little from here… See the third scale down? Just to the right of the 3? There’s Pi marked. It’s marked roughly between 3.1 and 3.2 – It’s about 3.15 in fact. If you want to multiply Pi by 3 you pop the two numbers together on the correct scales and read off about 9.45 on the result scale; if you want to multiply it by 30, you multiply that by 10 in your head… If you want to multiply it by 3 million, you do the same only with more zeroes and your error rate has gone up considerably, but it doesn’t matter much really, does it?

Why is this annoying me? Apart from the fact that I want to shoot people who can quote Pi to more than 6 places? Well it’s the post office, that’s what it is. They have digital scales now, and when the parcel you are posting weighs 501 grammes, they charge you for over 500 grammes. Generally speaking by that point, I just rip a corner off and make them re-weigh it but even so, when did we become so obsessed with this “down the nearest gramme” accuracy? I don’t like it. Make them stop. I am not even going to start ranting about their new letter size measurement devices which very much depend on the operator’s skill at getting parcels through a little plastic measuring slot – Well I am not going to rant YET, at any rate.

I want markets back where they plonked stuff on scales and weighed it in pounds. If it was 4.4 pounds, and cost 30p a pound, they’d charge you about £1. 30 because that was roughly what 4.4 * 30 is (a slide rule would confirm this to you, if you were to ask it, especially a W.H.Smiths one with the little clear slider thing missing like most of them are these days). These days they pop things on digital scales, tell the scales that the things you want cost 78p per 100 grammes, and when it weighs 264.5g it prints a label that says £2.08 (yes, the bastards round it up too).

I blame the Common Market.

As an Englishman from the North of the country; I have been raised in the secure knowledge that the pinnacle of human achievement was reached with the invention of the shed. Men need sheds as much as they need air, water and Marmite – It’s as simple as that. A shed gives men independence, freedom, and a place to sit, drink tea and watch the world go round.

Having been raised in this belief, I would consider it sacrilege for somebody to suggest that there may be something better and more practical than the shed. It doesn’t seem possible, does it? Well far be it for me to try and improve on the shed, but I do think I have found a possible contender for the next generation of shed. The Ambulance!

Shed Trek

Before you scoff, think about it! It’s a huge shed, with lots of twiddly things in it, loads of cupboards, built in seats, and and and… AN ENGINE AND WHEELS!

You can drive it away and have your shed somewhere else. Think about that! Ok, so now the more naive of you may be asking “Why an Ambulance? Why not just get a camper van?”. Camper vans are gay, that’s why. People who have camper vans are generally utter knobends who should be banned from the road and then shot. Ambulances on the other hand… Well, you can tell people you got it because it’s a big van, whilst secretly dreading the idea of ever actually having to use up all that space in there. When you get really bored, you can hunt for the sirens, and work out how to reconnect the blue lights. You can try and work out what all the data cabling is for, you can even try and work out why the interior lights only work sometimes. AND THERE ARE BUTTONS! LOTS OF BUTTONS!

Trust me on this one any Northern Men out there… Before you go out to the Shed Shop to look for a new hideaway; have a look in Autotrader and see if there are any old ambulances for sale first. You will thank me.

Oh yes. Here’s one I made earlier:

I know I used to have a book and TV section, and I know I merged it into this and thus more or less completely did away with it, so in penance I thought I would briefly babble about a couple of books I read lately. Since one of them is the new Potter book I am going to put one of those read-more thingumys… continue reading…

Yummy… Fried Food.

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Prometheus’s lesser known little brother stole butter and a frying pan from the Gods. His monumentous achievement was overshadowed by the cheek and audacity of his older sibling’s theft but none the less, was a major milestone in the relationship between man and his Deities.

Fish and Chips

If I were that sort of person, I would be double checking my various calenders to check what century it is; purely for dramatic effect in the introductory paragraph of this weblog post.

The problem is, I know it is the Twenty-First Century; I know this because I am not, as far as I know, insane and have a fairly firm grounding in the real world (some of the time anyway). I just wonder if the same can be said for the Church of England’s Bishops.

As I am sure most people reading this know, England has been suffering from some very major flooding lately. Today’s long term weather forecast indicates that we won’t get a summer this year; in fact the one single day we had with no rain last month was probably our summer. Lots of England is still under water and they are being told to expect more rain, and more flooding.

Obviously, the people who think that the world is just starting another climate change that really has very little to do with carbon emissions (that would be me) are looking rather smug at the moment. If this is Global Warming then Tony Blair is an honest man.

But back to the Bishops. They have another explanation for this unending rainfall and flooding. God is punishing us. I kid you not, in the year 2007, the bosses of one of the most liberal Christian churches in the world have suddenly started to preach Hellflood and Damnation upon these damp isles of ours. God is pissed off with us, and is apparently pissing down on us in bucketloads in His revenge.

I have a few questions.

  • If God is annoyed with us, why is he only taking it out in the poor? The people who live on cheaper housing in the flood plains, and the people who cannot afford good insurance or defences for their homes. Why is he denying summer holidays to people who can’t afford to just get onto a plane and have a few weeks abroad.
  • If God is annoyed with us, what have I done for it to be nice and sunny where I live, when the rest of the country is being flooded – Why have you spared me, the grouchy farmers, and rich-townie-wankers who want to live in the country; Mister God?
  • If God is taking his wrath out on Great Britain, and only on Great Britain, then doesn’t that mean that the Islamic Jihadists who have their own little Holy War raging over here have God fully, and completely on their side? That is what you are saying, right? If this is the case, then I am converting. Just in case. If you want my help Allah, just give me the raisins and I am yours!

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.


Apparently, in the spirit of protecting us from a new generation of communicable diseases; O2 have started giving away condoms.

Hello Jonny

I am not sure I think too much of the jokes, but it’s a nice touch.

Fish Milk

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I had been pretty much ignoring recent milk adverts; after all, Milk is pretty much just Milk unless it is Wiseman’s “The One” which only has 1% fat but tastes pretty much the same as normal 4% milk. (No, this is not a sponsored post I just like the taste and the fact that it is purple).

Anyway,  I saw some of St Ivel’s new Omega-3 milk, reduced to 40p in Tesco last week so I decided that I may as well try it.


St Ivel, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that what milk really needs, is added Omega-3. Of course, being moderately sane I figured that they would make this tasteless but apparently, I was wrong.

The first thing I did with it was to make a Latte – I was still being naive here and I thought the fishy taste was just my imagination but then I had a pint of the stuff, cold and fresh. It tasted like herring in a milk sauce! I am not exaggerating, it really did.


I checked… I didn’t believe it so I took a photo of it because I knew you wouldn’t believe me either. St Ivel got perfectly good milk, straight from a perfectly happy and innocent cow, and then squeezed the innards of a fish into it.

I don’t think I can say any more, this is just madness! Mind you, the cats love it.

** Update: That last statement was a lie, they were just being polite because I was watching them. I just went back into the kitchen and the rest of has been left untouched by a pair of greedy felines who will eat just about anything; alive or dead.