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Showing posts from June, 2012

Mayors do the funniest things

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fnar fnar From this is Lincolnshire 29/06/12: The Mayor of Louth has made national headlines after an Olympic Torch Relay stunt - with many people saying her novelty sausage costume was mistaken for a penis. Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders, 61, wore the unusual 8ft-tall pink costume to promote the famous Lincolnshire sausage on the national stage.Is it really that penis-like? Not many have two sticky legs at one end – or a cheeky face, eyebrows and a penchant for carrying literature around (so far as I know, anyway). Despite this plea, Coun Makinson-Sanders secured the 'phallic' costume and stunned many residents in the Lincolnshire town who branded it 'obscene'.Oh get over yourselves. Comments on Wednesday's story on This is Lincolnshire included: "The costume makes her look like a gentleman's appendage," and "she is clearly deluded if she thinks that costume looks anything like a sausage."What would make it look more sausage-esque? A few …

RBS/NatWest-gate – incompetent offshore team to blame?

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Well, sort of. But let’s not let fine detail get in the way of blog post titles. From the Register 28/06/12: Cost-cutting RBS management had halved the team within which the banking group's recent data disaster happened, sources have told The Register. The sacked British employees were replaced bystaff in India, and there had been concerns about the quality of the work done in India for a lengthy period prior to last week's catastrophe.Damn offshoring – it gives me the utter squits. Mishandling of batch schedule data while backing out of an update to CA-7 batch processing software last week caused the disruption that led to 16.9 million customers at RBS, Natwest and Ulsterbank being frozen out of their accounts for days, and ongoing issues in some cases.As luck would have it, I closed my RBS account (of nearly 10 years) right at the beginning of last week – right before this fiasco occurred. I’d been lured by Halifax and their attractive switching deal and monthly payment in …

Ofcom releases draft code for online copyright infringement

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From Ofcom 26/06/12:Internet users will be encouraged to download music and films through legal channels under measures outlined today by Ofcom.Oh no! Don’t open that spectacularly nasty can of worms again. I remember attending the Parliament & Internet Conference back in 2009 when the (then) ill fated Digital Economy Bill was the talk of the town and BIS’ inconsistent use of the terms “legal” and “lawful” resulted in a lot of head-scratching and looks of bewilderment amongst attendees.Surely they knew there was a difference? I don’t think anyone dared ask the question for fear of what the answer might be!But that wasn’t just an exercise in pedantry; the ill-conceived and half-baked ideas that (sadly) came to fruition in the Digital Economy Act were bad enough, without adding confusion and ignorance into the mix.Ofcom has published a draft code for consultation that would require large internet service providers (ISPs) to inform customers of allegations that their internet connect…

Floormats that suck

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Literally!
From MSNBC (no date):[T]his floormat [...] vacuums dirt off the soles of your shoes when you step on it.No. It really does.Each mat is about 20 by 40 inches, and comes attached to a vacuum unit and sensor. The sensor detects when someone gets close and turns on the vacuum, but no air is actually sucked in except where a foot depresses and opens the tiny nozzles.Naturally it's not quite as useful for snow, mud and other sole hazards, but it could probably handle those with some modifications. As it is, it could be useful in labs and clean rooms where outside particles are carefully safeguarded against; the bottoms of feet are popular vectors for contaminating dust and bacteria, so a system like this might be considered by places making such considerations.Actually, I think we’re missing a trick if it’s only being considered for specialist applications in labs and hospitals.I think it would be very useful for more widespread use.  How about removing excess wetness from the…

Why, Lexis, why?

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Sometimes it’s the simple things in life which puzzle me.For instance, why do Lexis continue to measure the estimated time of your download in relation to a 56 kbps connection (i.e dial-up)?  It’s been saying the same thing since year dot (oh and it’s always “<1 minute” isn’t it).  Fancy that.So, Lexis, I think a little house-keeping is in order.  Just get rid of it.

Screen Slaves all the rage! Lawyers among the worst?

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From BBC News 19/06/12:People are risking their health by working on smartphones, tablets and laptops after they have left the office, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.God bless ‘em!It says people have become "screen slaves" and are often working while commuting or after they get home.The society said poor posture in these environments could lead to back and neck pain.Oh come on - and all the rest! If my work just resulted in neck pain I’d be happy.An online survey, of 2,010 office workers by the Society found that nearly two-thirds of those questioned continued working outside office hours.And of those office workers, I’m guessing lawyers are amongst the worst for ‘workaholism’.She said: "While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck pain, as well as stress-related illness.Doing a bit of work at work leads to all that…

Blogging, Blogs and Blog Posts

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I like to think I’ve been a fully fledged blogger (you know, as distinct from a half-baked one) for quite a few years now.  I’ve always thought I was comfortable in using blogging terminology – comfortable in the sense I knew what it all meant.  So, when I’m blogging, I update my blog (Law Actually) with blog posts (like this thing I’m writing).  I might update my blog by writing a blog post, but it doesn’t seem quite right that I “write a blog”.  Does it?So, “to blog” is a verb, “a blog” is a noun (a portmanteau of web log) which is the whole shebang (i.e. the site), made up of individual “blog posts”.So why do people seem to take delight in knocking the universe out of kilter by referring to “writing a blog” or even “doing a blog” (yes, really!) when what they mean is to write a blog post.  It just doesn’t sit quite right with me - no matter how much I try to ignore it.So, have I got this horrifically wrong, are they wrong, or are we both right?   Or does it not even matter?  Please…

Reconceptualising the over-supply problem...

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From Roll on Friday 08/06/12:Michael Todd QC, chairman of the Bar Council, claimed on Wednesday that over-recruitment of students wasn't doing the profession, the students or social mobility any favours. Todd said it was a "great concern" that law schools were pumping out a hefty oversupply of grads with "no realistic prospect of pupillage". And he worried about those chucking £16,000 at a qualification which, for those who fail to obtain pupillage, adds little to employability.Shhhh! Shhhh!Michael, just because something’s painfully true and glaringly obvious, doesn’t mean it should be said out loud. Yes, there is a massive disparity between the number of students studying on the BVC (ahem) BPTC and LPC compared to the number of pupillages and training contracts available. Oh my GENTLE JESUS – are lawyers a dying breed?But why the sudden fuss? We’ve had this sorry state of affairs for years and years now. Surely law schools haven’t suddenly grown a conscience …

Masters of the Universe - London Business School

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Contemplating a Master’s degree?  I can sympathise – I have been uncomfortably placed on the horns of that particular dilemma myself.  In the end, I decided to take the plunge and I’m very glad I did.I strongly believe that my Master’s degree made a huge difference to me.  Although I decided within the first semester of being an undergraduate that an LL.M was something I’d like very much, the twists and turns of my law degree (which included participating in ERASMUS for a year) meant I very nearly didn’t get chance to fulfil my LL.M desire.  Thankfully, when it mattered, the stars aligned themselves correctly and everything came good.I don’t think it was a total coincidence that on completing my Master’s, I walked into the very first job I applied for.  I had barely submitted my dissertation when I had snagged an opportunity I thought was too good to be true. I’ve a lot to be thankful for.Whether you’re a contemplating a change of direction or want to supplement your knowledge or incr…

Exploiting aftermarkets – the curse of printer ink

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From Fool.com 16/03/12:  At today's prices, HP represents a solid value, driven in part by the value of HP's printing business. Printing is a cash cow, and according to my estimates, its milk accounts for 40% of the value of the company.No kidding. It’s a bitch of a cow (and my udders are sore!!). HP is No. 1 in the printing market with 42% market share, which is more than the next two competitors combined. HP uses a razor blade business model: printers are sold at low cost, encouraging frequent upgrades to a wide array of printers with non-standard ink cartridge or toner fittings. HP then generates a recurring stream of revenue from cartridge sales. The economics of HP's printing business are phenomenal. To put it in perspective, printer ink costs more than blood by volume and more than caviar by weight.I’d far rather fill empty ink cartridges up with blood than pay the odious printer suppliers ridiculous prices.  The cost of printer ink has always wound me up. Bring bac…

iPads, iPhones and drafting legal documents

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In several meetings recently I’ve noticed just many of the solicitors present had iPads with them. Suddenly, from once being a fancy plaything confined to over-paid partners, editing legal documents on mobile devices is clearly becoming an established way of working. And it’s not just the more junior staff; seasoned lawyers of maturing years love nothing better than slipping their iPad out of its expensive leather pouch, hoping to be met with glances of envy and approval from those present.A word of caution: having an iPad doesn’t necessarily increase competence or common sense. One particular solicitor who never has his iPad out of arm’s reach has also been known to mark up hard copies of agreements (and make corresponding notes) with a chunky permanent marker. Yep, you read that correctly. Well, some mothers do ‘ave ‘em – let’s hope the iPad wasn’t just for show.While an iPad isn’t necessarily the tool of choice for hardcore drafting -- you probably won’t be minded to start a fresh …

Impoverished lawyers … practising law on a shoestring

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From Business Insider 01/06/12:While in law school … Erin Gilmer developed a passion for health law and policy, but pursuing that passion has made it exceedingly hard to pay her bills.Since her 2008 graduation, Gilmer has completed a variety of health policy-related fellowships and other advocacy work, but all have been time-and-funding limited. Since this fall, she has been on her own, attempting to build a practice, Gilmer Health Law, in the areas of patient advocacy and health care technology. Good on her! It’s just stressful, really stressful," she says. "But it gives me a new angle to when I’m helping people. I can understand exactly what they’ve been through. I know how hard it is to apply for food stamps. I know how hard it is to apply for medical assistance."Geez Louise!!  [A]t times she has her doubts. She can't afford a car, so she has to rely on the bus to get around Austin, Texas, where she lives. And currently unable to pay back her growing pile of law …

The scourge of geo-tagging

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Sad but true.

I generally avoid apps which reveal my location and I disable geo-tagging on any apps I do use.  I think I’m less paranoid risk-averse than I used to be about this stuff but I prefer to try and stay reasonably un-trackable.  

I fear it’s a losing battle, though.

Found here at How to Geek 02/06/12