13 February 2018

Force Awakens vs Last Jedi

  • Indigenous species
    • Ending of FA shows black seagulls occupying the island
    • LJ replaces with with Porgs. Add the crystal foxes, and the toad creatures on the island
  • Plot
    • FA reveals the plot of Luke Skywalker vs Ben Solo shortly after we meet Han Solo again and why Luke ran away.
    • LJ revolves around the reasoning behind Luke's story
    • In LJ, Rey learning the light/dark side of the force even though she'd mastered it in the first film
  • Villains
    • FA reveals Snoke as an intimidating but not formidable character.
    • LJ reveals him in detail, but he is easily killed by Kylo Ren.
  • Powers
    • FA introduces Rey picking up her powers really quickly, never recognised by herself before, compared to Luke doing weeks/months of training
    • LJ introduces new never-before seen powers like:
      • Snoke bringing Kylo and Rey together
      • Leia flying through space
      • Luke creating an interstellar hologram
      • Ghost Yoda is able to cast lightning
  • Fight battles
    • FA has the fights with Kylo (Rey and Finn), and Finn vs the 'Traitor' Stormtrooper
    • LJ has the Praetorian Guard scene
  • Starships
    • LJ introduces the Dreadnought and Snoke's ship
    • LJ introduces a hyperspace jump through a ship to destroy it
  • Humour
    • FA has BB-8, C-3PO providing quips, and Kylo attacking the computer consoles twice
    • LJ has Chewie preparing to eat roast Prog, the toad creatures getty angry, Yoda making quips, and Kylo attacking the elevator

13 December 2017

"Windows Update cannot currently check for updates"

There is a known issue with Windows Update for some users (see Computer World, ZDNet, Microsoft Answers), I got stuck with the message below. The issue occurs because the update repository appears to have expired on 03/12/2017 and Microsoft didn’t renew it. I don’t see this issue resolving itself though and just rebooting it doesn’t work. There is also a FixIt from Microsoft, however this doesn’t resolve the issue either.

To fix this:
  1. Start - Run - services.msc
  2. Stop the services ‘Background Intelligent Transfer Service’ and ‘Windows Update’
  3. Go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution, and delete everything in the folder (but not the folder itself)
  4. Restart the PC
  5. Check for updates again – it may take 30-60 mins to scan and rebuild the repository
  6. Your updates will now be valid from 01/12/2017 to 01/07/2025 - this can be found in the file C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\AuthCabs\authcab.cab\authorization.xml

New dates, which is probably enough seeing that patches end for 7 in April 2020.


If you can get past this, but it sits saying "Checking for updates" for a long time, then try this KB update.

16 November 2017

What's wrong with politics?

Focusing on UK government but extending to cover other systems where necessary.

  • Individual leaders (prime minsters, presidents, chairmen) have too much power and use it to make bad decisions. For example, spreading fake news, creating a cult of personality, and controlling sectors like military. 
    • Example: Kim Jong-Un is a selfish dictator
    • Example: Putin took Crimea, permitted fake news stories about Hilary Clinton and Brexit
    • Example: Donald Trump, someone unqualified to make good decisions, had influence in all bad places, is sexist, misogynist, and corrupt, and generally had no respect for others
    • Solution: No country is appointed a single individual leader.
      • Method: A jury is selected at random from the electorate. Collectively, they must all agree to a decision. This is called citizen oversight.
        • Compare to: An oligarchy. Oligarchy are typically considered to be comprised of wealthy individuals with power. However, a randomly selected set would not have this issue unless individuals are promised returns after their roles. In this case, all decisions must be recorded and checked for ulterior motives. Communication outside is not permitted and warrants immediate removal.
        • Oligarchy means anarchy can be created and the system overthrown. Solution would be to appoint a new person, randomly selected, from a prepared group, who again, are randomly selected.
    • Solution: There are no leaders, and all decisions are purely down to the public.
      • This leads to the tyranny of the majority - people who are uninformed or able to exert influence can cause poor decisions.
  • Countries fail to comply with agreed laws
    • Example: Kim Jong-Un plans military weaponry
    • Example: Several countries including US, UK, Japan etc have nuclear weapons
    • The UN have very limited power, and being a member is optional
      • They do have the power to cease trade
  • Countries fail to make progress on meeting demands of climate change
    • Example: China is a developing country which gives it free reign to use fossil fuels like coal, even though this is hypocritical to other countries already reliant on renewable energy. The entire world suffers because of making exceptions and excuses.
      • Related: Black cabs are exempt from congestion charges in London, even though they are perfect candidates for hybrid and electric vehicles on short trips
  • Referendums can end up with highly negative consequences
    • Example: Brexit
    • Cause: Improper education to the public on both sides of the debate
    • Cause: Lack of promise or clear definition as to the consequences
    • Solution: Think tanks x 10. A better description would be 'Idea Banks'. Anyone from any background or age, regardless of being in the electorate, is able to submit ideas for policies and decisions. No education is required. Such a system would require curators, who sort, de-duplicate, organise, and qualify every idea submitted. Ultimately this results in a more manageable set of ideas, grouped into topics such as education, health and transport. Each idea then is classed with an upvote system.
      • Additionally, certain groups of individuals are expected to feed ideas into the system. Example: historians, futurists - people who know what bad decisions have been made in the past, and what decisions are most likely to help us to a better future. There is no longer a concept of a politician.
      • To become a curator does require knowledge and training, but all actions are observable and traceable by the public.
      • Platforms such as debate.org an be used to discuss topics and sides, on a bigger scale.
    • Solution: Electorate are required to demonstrate an understanding of consequences of their decisions, by passing competency tests and ensuring they are shown how any decision they make can influence. For example, swearing on a Twitter account looks unprofessional and means poorer career choices. There should be a compendium of these nuances of society, and people should be tested to ensure they are aware of these 'so what' consequences.

27 October 2017

Pixel 2 issues and fixes

Summary of reported issues with the Pixel 2 /XL
  • Low saturation = feature of lower gamut - Update to add setting for high saturation
  • Burn in = common in OLED - Update to handle this by fade out
  • Fix:  https://support.google.com/pixelphone/forum/AAAAb4-OgUsFRyoLZZjXvo/?hl=by
  • High pitched sound / clicking = NFC - Update to fix this
  • Fix: https://support.google.com/pixelphone/forum/AAAAb4-OgUsXuQgtm5dK8I/?hl=by
  • Black/gradient crush
  • Grain
  • Blue tint

19 October 2017

Life philosophy

Some good recent videos about life and its meaning.

My thoughts summarised:
- Life is a chance to experience, to enjoy, and to discover. We might be the only life in existence, but that gives us the power to define our place and our destiny. If we can all do something to advance our species towards a hopeful future, be it solving problems or having fun, and potentially become the masters of the stars themselves, it will have been worthwhile.


27 July 2017

Thoughts on issues attributed to social justice warriors (SJW's)

Cultural appropriation

Culture cannot be copyrighted or be subject to intellectual property rights. I think the offence taken comes from people who lose the meaning behind something, though, which is still vague to me.

For example, an American Indian headdress is a symbol of the greatest respect in a tribe; it is something earned. However, wearing them at festivals and so on, I can see how it can be disrespectful to real American Indians.

I am uncertain on which way really. I can understand the disrespect, but I can see that a physical item of clothing is not necessarily important. However - there are cases where clothing must be adhered to - for example, I can't go around wearing a police uniform, or wearing a crown that looks like the Queen's. So this is quite a complex issue.


Behaviour cannot be copyrighted. Mannerisms, gestures, etc., belong to individuals, not a culture or race. Which is why if I say 'My name is Michael Caine' in the accent, that's an impression of an individual. Things like gestures, mannerisms, and accents, can only be tied to an individual - they are not part of a culture. Yes there are stereotypes, but those are only stereotypes. They do not define a culture.


Labels are human creations only. They do not define us. They are only to help us categorise, summarise and predict. Trying to label everything is futile.

23 July 2017

Walking Dead - Best Quote from Michonne

Have you ever had to kill people because they had already killed your friends and were coming for you next? 

Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward?

Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn't know if it was yours or walkers' or your friends'? 

Huh? Then you don't know.

From Season 6, Episode 3 "Thank You"

8 July 2017

Reading Council Complaints

A comprehensive but incomplete list of ways that Reading Council annoys me, proving the council is incompetent and wasting taxpayer money.
  • Plants pots added to prime streets (since 2017) which are completely unnecessary
  • Trees and bicycle rings on Blagrave Street (continuously added and removed multiple times in 2010-2011)
  • Jackson's corner traffic lights added and then removed
  • Sending 5 applications to vote by post for the same person, all dated the same
  • Recycling limitations compared to other counties
  • Lack of pay and display at permit zones / slow applications for permits
  • Taxi rank at the horseshoe outside the station moved to Station Hill, but there is a temporary reprieve
  • Extreme levels of homeless people - increased by 700% over last 3 years
However, some good points too:

5 July 2017

Thoughts on intelligent design of life on Earth

How does this explain the billions of other planets that have no life on them? Why go to the trouble of creating an entire infinite universe populated by no life, and then just do it on one planet (and not even that well - the dinosaurs were nearly all killed before, you know).

Life is an accident, humans are imperfect (fish will always have better eyes than we do because of evolution), you should be lucky you are alive at all. We only put meaning to our lives because we are intelligent enough to ask the question.

But we are also stupid because we believe in things without evidence. If we rejected any form of science, we'd be dead, because we never would have invented the first tool (a carved rock) to kill animals better than other species.

If there was a God, why would he give children parasites that burrow into their eyes, or terminal illness, or famine, poverty, rape, malnutrition, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and a polluted earth. I would never sign up to a God that thinks his utter cruelty and infliction of pain is justified. Why punish individuals who know no better?

If God does exist, he is a sadist, not a loving character. I could never live with myself knowing that God continues to be a destructive force to the innocent, when the true criminals are rapists, murderers, theives, etc.