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Showing posts from January, 2009

Microsoft Songsmith: So bad it's good...well, nearly!

You’ll definitely need your earplugs for this one, no matter how broad your taste in music might be. I first learnt of this monstrosity from listening to the latest TWiT (This Week in Tech) podcast and the snippet of the video they played was cringe-worthy enough the first time around.  Still, it's such a brarmer that I thought I just had to share it on Law Actually. The ad, for what it's worth, is not an official Microsoft one but rather one made by a couple of Microsoft employees.  Quite how serious they were about it, I don't know.  They've probably been laid off by now in any event.All together now:“I’m singing with my laptop…Making up new songs…”Sigh.

'Tasered' Pensioner Under Review

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From: CPD Webinars 26/01/09:A police watchdog has been reviewing the case of an 89-year-old man, who was shot with a Taser gun by officers. Police claim they used the 50,000-volt stun-gun as the pensioner was threatening to cut his throat with a piece of glass after he had walked out of a local residential home into the street in Llandudno, Conwy. The attending officers fearing he might kill himself shot him with the taser as a preventative measure. Afterwards he was taken to hospital to recover from a minor glass wound.North Wales Police received an official complaint from the pensioner’s family and have was referred it to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).North Wales Police said afterwards that the officers had made a judgement to protect his life and it was now up to the watchdog to decide whether to hold an investigation.
They said that the use of the Taser was the "safest and most appropriate" option.  It is understood [the OAP's family] fe…

The Penlee Disaster

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After finally completing my dreaded Corporate Governance assignment on Thursday night – it was ‘RTM-d’ (Released to Manufacturing) as I still inappropriately refer to it a little before midnight - I’ve taken it relatively easy since.Other than my two staple company law lectures, the rest of Friday was given over to reading the excellent book ‘Penlee – The Loss of a Lifeboat’ which I was sent as a belated Christmas present. While the disaster occurred before I was born, having grown up in Cornwall I was more than au fait with the tale behind that fateful night. For those who aren’t so familiar, the thrust of the tragic story is as follows. On the night of 19th December 1981 and in terrible weather, the lifeboat the Solomon Browne went to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star which was drifting without power towards the shore. Having courageously rescued 4 of the 8 crew and passengers from the casualty and while attempting to recover the remainder, both the lifeboat and the Union …

Necessary Prerequisites

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With the understanding that I’m certainly not above making the odd error of grammar or rhetoric here and there, I was nonetheless struck by this interesting piece of tautology yesterday in my reading for an IT seminar: “a necessary prerequisite”.Aren’t all prerequisites necessary by definition? If a prerequisite wasn’t necessary it wouldn’t be a prerequisite, right?I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just being ‘pedantic’ - which, while we’re on the subject, is a good example in itself of a word which is all too frequently misused.In fact, I’d go as far as saying that ‘it frequently happens all the time’. No, I’m just joshing now.Sigh.Happily I was able to overlook this early faux pas and, despite the article’s rather inauspicious start, it turned out to be a belter.

Nothing's More Simple than a Single Giant Button

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard I meant to post this a last week when I first discovered it.  It's too good not to share..In a painful moment of self-reflection for Apple, their products and the ubiquitous Apple-fanboys and this news feature is painfully good satire.  The video speaks for itself but I'll flag-up my favourite lines:"Everything is just a few hundred clicks away"."I'll buy almost anything if it's shiny and made by Apple" -- this is uncomfortably true of a lot of Apple fanboys.The newsreader closes with arguably the best line of the show: "It remains to be seen whether 'the wheel' will catch on in the business world where people use computers for actual work and not just dicking around!"Fantastic stuff!

When Procrastination Bears Fruit

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I’ve been making heavy weather through my Corporate Governance assignment. I’m not usually much of a moaner but this paper has been horrific. Such was my lack of motivation just to get on and write this damn paper, I took to looking up a couple of (quite random) articles that certain lecturers at my previous university had written. Naturally, I turned to trusty Zetoc.Well, as it turns out, a lecturer at the university I attended as an undergrad (and one I didn’t much care for at the time) had written some refreshingly succinct articles on a subject not entirely unrelated to my corporate governance paper. As I idly skimmed through the PDF of his paper, I remember being hit by an ‘oh-my-God: I COULD USE THIS!!!’ moment. Sitting bolt upright, I grabbed the mouse, snagged the citation of the article and had added it to my bibliography in a matter of seconds.Someone’s looking out for me, I guess.

Term 2

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Today is an important one. It marks the start of a new term, the date my rent is paid (ouch) and, most importantly, the date the new Ferrari F1 challenger is launched. Dubbed the F60, this new car isn’t as horrible as I feared it might be, in the wake of a raft of dramatically new regulations for the 2009 season.  Anyway: enough of that. Having only one lecture today, it was a graceful re-entry into the academic year and all of the scheduling nightmares that go with it. So far, at least.I’m heavily occupied at the moment with my second assignment of the year: Corporate Governance. This first topic is very ‘theory’ based and for a non-economist like myself it can be a little heavy-going at times; I’m not used to seeing formulae in journal articles, even less trying to interpret it.I’ve been researching this thing for over a week now, though my wandering attention has made progress particularly slow. I started the 'writing process' on Friday and have been struggling ever since …

Skier's World Turned Upside Down

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From: The Smoking Gun 06/01/09:[A] skier at Colorado's ritzy Vail resort was left dangling upside down and pantsless [sic] from a chairlift last Thursday morning. The January 1 mishap apparently occurred after the male skier, 48, and a child boarded a high-speed lift in Vail's Blue Sky Basin. It appears that the chairlift's fold-down seat was somehow not in the lowered position, which caused the man to partially fall through the resulting gap. His right ski got jammed in the ascending chairlift, and that kept him upended since his boot never dislodged from its binding.I saw pictures relating to this story in the Metro this morning but it didn't detail at which ski resort the incident had occurred. Then, hours later, I stumbled across the same story via Digg.  Metro’s account of the incident suggested that the skier’s misfortune was due to the fact he was not sitting in the ski-lift correctly – unlike his son. However, that doesn’t seem to be reflected in the Metro’s co…

Snow Business

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At the risk of being accused of publishing another misleading picture to accompany my blog posts, I couldn’t let the first (and probably only) dusting of snow that the Michael has encountered this year pass by without making mention of it here.Like the majority of the nation this morning, I was greeted with a (semi) white winter wonderland outside and, unlike many of the poor souls slipping, sliding and skidding out there, thankfully didn't have to commute in it. As I drolly observed: “it only takes a couple of snowflakes to bring the country’s infrastructure to its knees”.And talking of erudite observations, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, posing as the Comte de Bleuville, observed in the Fleming novel ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’:“We are going to have snow. It will be a good day for work. No distractions.”In theory, then, this dusting of the white stuff offers me an excellent opportunity to get the hell on with some more work, save for the distractions unaffected by the elements - s…

The Start of ‘09

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I was drafted in to do some overtime in the last couple of days, despite having still not finished my IT law paper and still being plagued by the pesky cold/virus – whatever it is. Nevertheless, I could use the money. I’m hoping to have the paper finished in the next couple of days, after which time I’ll move on to tackle the rest of my holiday workload. Yes, I'm badly behind schedule at the moment.2009 should be an interesting year for me. It will also mark the end (for the moment at least) of my adventures in academia. I further recognise that, sod’s law being what it is, my prospective entrance into the permanent job market coincides with the period when one of worst recessions in modern times is predicted to be at its worst. Sigh.So, against a backdrop of Gordon Brown’s staunch warnings of the difficulties ahead in 2009 – nothing like a cheery start, is there, Gordon – the first day of 2009 is one of writing law papers and nursing my flu-like symptoms, all while a feeling of …