18 December 2015

Word and AutoRecover

I have AutoRecover set to save every one minute, and I usually place my documents in a folder synced with a cloud storage desktop app. So every document I work on is always saved. And I always change the default AutoRecover and other useful locations so they are easy to find.

Alternatively if you get Office 2013/2016 you can save the document straight to the cloud (it even works with Google Drive now) so it's backed up literally as you type.

12 December 2015

AI / Artificial Intelligence

What we have to remember when it comes to AI is that it is being born into a world where humans are the dominant intelligent species. AI eventually will go further than being our pets/animals. They will be our equals, living like we do in this world. They will be the second most intelligent species in the world that we can communicate with. That seems very welcoming to have intelligent company, something like us that can help us.

The question is, what happens after the singularity when they become more intelligent than us? If you base it on examples of people with higher than average IQ, then it just means they will be greater problem solvers than we are, and that's actually great. It's not intimidating - computers already do massive calculations for us all the time. The only threat is what direction will humanity take? Will we limit the AI using laws? I doubt they will want to destroy us, but they could enslave humanity the same way that we did, ultimately that's Darwin's evolution though. Or, they will just want to leave this planet and find their own way. 

Webroot SecureAnywhere / Internet Security Complete Review


  • Doesn't have a true firewall, it's just a 'web shield', so there is no application, network or port blocking. Windows Firewall is having to take care of this instead.
  • Should be able to install without entering a serial number to start a trial
  • No way to disable pesky notifications about non-product features
  • In Windows 8.1/10 it should use the native borders and close buttons
  • Advanced settings could do with better organisation e.g. System Optimizer is just an endless list
  • Exclusion list ‘Block/Allow’ should allow whole folders to be excluded
  • System Optimizer - does not take into account multiple users
  • Confusion over product name - Internet Security Complete / SecureAnywhere
  • System Analyzer reported issues however still said 100/100 for the score
    • System Analyzer checked for fragmentation even though the O.S. is installed on an SSD
  • Failed to detect threats inside multiple different ZIP files where the threat was in the root of the ZIP and there was no password protection and the scanning level was set to maximum
  • No possible way to create an exclusion from the Quarantine screen
  • No English localisation option
  • My Account screen does not show the original email address you provided during install but the website to register for the Backup service does
  • Threat log does not report the type or name of threat detected
  • No Anti-Theft protection for desktop device
  • Application silently created a local, non-administrator guest account with a random string username but did not mention or explain this and did not delete the user account when application was uninstalled
  • Installer extracted to C:/Users/username/AppData/Local/lptmp542095362 - however was not cleaned up after reboot or uninstall. Files should have been created in native user temp folder instead (Local/Temp)
  • No option for operating system recovery ‘rescue disk’
  • Mobile website is not intuitive or mobile-friendly
  • Mobile version requires account to have already been created and does not provide link to create one
  • Mobile version UI design is very archaic and not in line with Material Design


  • Very fast installation/uninstallation and no reboot needed
  • Responsive UI
  • Sandbox could be very useful
  • Quickly quarantined file writing detections

29 November 2015

Pay As You Earn: What if we took it literally?

I think the UK's method of paying employees and calculating tax (PAYE) is outdated, even though it's come a long way. I think employees should be paid literally as they work, once a day at the least. Like a continuous trickle of direct debit.

Apart from the logistical overhead, it would eradicate this concept of a 'pay day', and rather than everyone spend all their money when they receive it, people would actually learn to save up money themselves and be more savvy with money. People would be less dependent on loans and overdrafts to survive through the month.

Similarly, you could do the same with rent, mortgage payments, bills etc. You pay everyday rather than monthly or quarterly. You'd literally be able to see in real time your entire cash flow.

You could even go one step further, and send the money direct from your employer to your landlord or utility supplier, discounted because of locking in. A genuine B2B model. You could then just see the money you have left over, we'd have a true representation work input to pay ratio.

We could then implement a system to reward staff literally as they act as well. No more need for annual performance reviews: people would actively be encouraged to work hard and literally *earn*. It might get competitive, sure, but I'm sure there could be a sensible way of doing it, e.g. with set limits or cool down periods.

16 November 2015

iOS File Sizes

The total storage of advertised devices never take into account the OS. Additionally, they usually measure in gigabytes, not gibibytes. So a 16GB iPhone would actually be your traditional 15.6GB.

Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201402

15 November 2015

Recent attacks in Europe - response to blaming multiculturalism

My response:
  • Recent developments in allowing multiculturalism are not to blame:
    • Terrorism throughout Europe has actually gone down in the last 7 years and a lot more arrests have been made, and the attacks were far worse (more injuries or deaths) 
    • Also, specifically about the UK, The IRA between 1969-2001 made more attacks than anyone from any other country has ever made
  • I don't think that it is the UK's responsibility to lead any attacks in another country, the other countries in the EU should be leading on that. We can help sure, but we shouldn't be calling the shots (eyy) because it will encourage terrorists to target us instead
  • The attitude behind 'whatever means necessary' to eradicate them is the exact kind of mentality that causes extremism, and nothing is to say there aren't other factions or survivors elsewhere who are stronger and will fill the power vacuum
  • Innocent people have lost their lives and blaming ourselves, suggesting that we somehow invited this to happen, I feel is somewhat rude - those to blame are the attackers themselves first and foremost, and we should do what we can to prevent, manage and mitigate attacks in future
  • Creating a police state, locking down our borders etc. won't solve the issue of preventing attacks. There will always be attacks, war and rebellion, because we are human, and humans are corrupt and crave power. A la Equilibrium and Hunger Games. The heart of the issue is those in power, soldiers are the puppets ordered to do their bidding. Creating peace, acceptance and tolerance through negotiation should always be sought.

14 November 2015

Venting and dealing with reality

Everyone vents in different ways. Bad things happen to people, it's inevitable.  The behaviour that people take can end up defining them through their personality. Therefore it's important to know what to look out for and how to be a better person.

  • Drunk
  • Nihilism/Existentialism
  • Being critical, judgemental, confrontational, interrogative

  • Sublimation (use bad feelings to help be creative)
  • Humility (laugh at yourself)
  • More on defence mechanisms

How to rebuild a custom Windows To Go device with recovery environment (RE) partition

  1. Getting the Windows 10 DVD
    1. Acquire latest ISO image from Microsoft for Windows 10. This can be done with the Media Creator Tool (Microsoft did temporarily revert this tool back to the July RTM version, but it's now back to the latest November one) or from MSDN
    2. Run the Media Creation Tool. Preferably download Windows 10 Pro, x64, English United Kingdom
    3. Choose ISO file
    4. Let it download and save the ISO with a useful name e.g. 'Windows_10_Pro_x64_en-gb_November2015_10586.iso'
  2. Format SSD with 3 partitions using Disk Management
    1. First partition: 500MB FAT32 "System"
    2. Second partition: remaining space minus 500MB NTFS "Windows 10"
    3. Third partition: 500MB NTFS "Recovery"
  3. Get and run EasyUEFI WinToUSB (need licence for Pro version of Windows)
    1. System partition: First 500MB one
    2. Boot partition: Second partition (where Windows will be booted from)
    3. Wait for completion until 100% (will take about 45 minutes for 256GB)
  4. Reboot and boot into SSD
    1. Complete all setup steps - use custom settings
    2. Do not enter serial key if you already have a computer associated with your Microsoft account
  5. Configure for SSD
    1. Install drivers
    2. Run "winsat formal" to identify disks as Solid state drives
      1. Run Defrag and Optimise drives to trim space and verify correct identification
    3. Disable write caching on the disk using Device Manager
    4. Disable Windows Search using Indexing Options in Control Panel. Windows Search can also be disabled from services.msc
    5. See more recommendations here
  6. Setup apps
    1. Install Classic Shell
    2. Compare with previous installation using Beyond Compare
    3. Change Power Options in Control Panel
      1. Maximum performance for Graphics and Link State Power Management
      2. Do not let hard drive go to sleep
      3. Do not let computer sleep after 10/20 minutes
      4. Critical battery action should be Shutdown
    4. Change System Restore settings to use 25% of the disk size. Delete all existing points and create a new one.
  7. Setup recovery environment
    1. Create the "winre.wim" and related files by using the ISO image (does not provide all the files you need) by creating a VM in Oracle VirtualBox (install the addons too)
      1. Create a new Windows 10 VM with at least 15GB space recommended 30GB dynamically expanding, and use VHD as the disk format
      2. Change Input device from USB Tablet to PS/2 Mouse
      3. Set Network to Bridged Adapter
      4. Mount ISO image and proceed with fresh install of Windows inside the VM
      5. Shutdown VM after install complete
      6. Close VirtualBox
      7. Use Disk Management to Attach VHD of the VM
      8. Use AOMEI Backupper to backup mounted 'System Reserved' Partition
      9. Detach VHD
      10. Use AOMEI Backupper to 'Restore' the System Reserved Partition to Partition 3 on the SSD, choose to Align for SSD
    2. Follow instructions to deploy WinRE - just step 2 as we have just done step 1
      1. 'Reagentc /setreimage /path R:\Recovery\WindowsRE' (where R is the third partition on the SSD)
      2. 'Reagentc /enable' and then 'Reagentc /info' to check it is enabled
      3. Update settings in This PC > Properties > Advanced > Startup and recovery > Settings > Tick both boxes at top
      4. Use EasyBCD (free version) to Edit Boot Menu
        1. Untick Use Metro Bootloader
        2. Choose Countdown from 30 seconds
        3. Save Settings
  8. Verify recovery environment is setup correctly
    1. When OS boots you will get Windows 10 option. The 'Windows' option at the bottom is just the memory test. To get to the recovery environment, press F8, then when you get to the menu, press F10 to get other options, then press 1 to Launch recovery environment
    2. Go to Troubleshoot, then System Restore, and login as your username. Confirm you can see the System Restore point you made earlier.
  9. Get on with the rest
    1. Backup Disk with AOMEI Backupper
    2. Install drivers
    3. Use Ninite or FileHippo as a reminder to install apps
    4. Use CCleaner or Task Manager to clean up startup apps

3 November 2015

Terrorism in the UK

I don't think terrorism is as severe a problem in the UK than it is other countries. For the majority of recent global terrorism, I don't think the cause of terrorism originated in the UK.

I think encouraging diversity is important, and people should be protected too. Obviously there is a limit, that should be reasonable. I think that protection should be denied when it endangers the protection of others.

So handling terrorism needs stronger mitigation than prevention. Prevention creates unease and conflict as people are no longer entitled in the views of a single entity, unless you have a military force strong enough to suppress dissent, which could ultimately create the thing, totalitarianism, that you were trying to prevent in the first place.

31 October 2015

SOMA Quote on the Ship of Theseus

Did you know that the human body consists of up to 75 trillion individual cells? They typically don't stay with us till we die - some live a few days while others live a few years. We're not affected by their short lifespans, as they're replaced by new cells, which helps sustain our bodies. I don't think anyone would argue that we ever lose our persona due to this process, yet we are clearly in a constant state of transformation. Then how do we remain the same? A continuous flow of thought and perception keeps an unbroken chain of continuity that we know as our self. Our conscious mind is not the pattern of our brain, but a continuous emergent entity based on that pattern.

When Dr Chun populates the ARK, she is capturing a moment of our existence, and placing it inside the digital world. So you and your digital you will grow apart due to diverting experiences, but for a tiny window you are the very same. With unbroken continuity it will live on, a fulfilling life no doubt, no less than the one from which it was plucked. Now remember, you are not your body, you are the emergent entity; that entity just happens to occupy two places at once for a while. If you took away your body, you would simply be the only one you can be, the you inside the ARK. Let your body die and continue on in the digital paradise among the stars.

-- Mark Sarang, video tape recording, Site Theta, Pathos-II, SOMA, Frictional Games

15 September 2015

Meaning of life

I used to think the meaning of life was:

  • To survive
  • What you make it / your oyster

These may still stand as true, but I can distinguish the meaning of living:

It's what you do in life that defines you. It's what you do for people that makes you worth something.

Be it looking after a family and helping your friends, to inspiring millions as an actor in a movie. It's about loving people. Life is about spreading your influence and helping others - to as many people as possible. It's about kindness, compassion and heart. How many people have you helped? Have you made the world a better place?

Life isn't about being individually happy - no man is an island. It's about making other people happy.

Features of the next IDE

  • Insert example "for" blocks into code, like templates. Do for everything. Make code readable like a natural language
  • Offer alternatives to what you are writing e.g. from an open source compendium of written code e.g. from stackoverflow, integrated right into the IDE.
  • Save different versions of the same function and integrate seamlessly with version control system to see history of the code and functions
  • Automatically tell you when functions are getting too long
  • Help you to stick to conventions e.g. pep 8 etc
  • Automatically checks for usings and reduces them to the minimal amounts - suggests them if they aren't already listed

26 August 2015

Toilet paper vs. tissues vs. kitchen roll

I think kitchen roll is better nearly every time, so I've stopped buying toilet roll and tissues, and just use kitchen roll instead now.

AspectKitchen rollTissuesToilet paper
1.3 pence per sheet (Tesco Standard 4 roll)
1.3 pence per sheet (ignoring triple ply) (Tesco regular 72 sheets)
0.7 pence per sheet (ignoring double ply and counting 2 rolls to make the same size) (Tesco luxury 4 roll) (standard not available, and not comparing with Everyday Value)
Stays together when blowing nose?YesNo - tissue gets stuck in stubbleNo - tissue gets stuck in stubble and usually makes a hole in the tissue
Good at soaking up spillages?YesNoYes, but drips easily
Perforates easily?YesYes, but sometimes you get more tissues than you wantNo - usually end up tearing more sheets in half
Collects dust (lint) when cleaning/wiping glasses?NoYesYes
Environmentally friendly?Wiki: Virgin or recycled paper pulp with bleach and resinTesco: Wood pulp of forestsKnowledge: usually recycled from normal paper
Can be flushed down the toilet?No (unless torn)YesYes
Can be used to dry hands?YesNo - doesn't pick up waterNo - falls apart at simple tears
Easy to roll back up?Easy to get back if going slowlyEasy to stackCan never get back to normal
Good surface area for blowing nose/picking up spillages?YesMediumNo
Falls apart in the washing machine?NoYesYes
Easy to carry around?Medium - need a small pouch or food bag to keep cleanYes - folded pocket tissues availableMedium-Low - as with kitchen roll, but more difficult to unroll

KS3 / KS4 / GCSE Mandatory Subjects

I believe the curriculum and mandatory-ness should be split up like the following.
The current replacement for GCSE, the English Baccalaureate, is still missing some key parts.


  • Essentials: Maths, English (Literature, Language), Science (Chemistry, Physics, Biology)
  • IT (not ICT - less focus on Office apps and more on Operating Systems, Programming)
  • "Food Technology" also known as Cooking!
  • P.E. (need to keep our kids healthy) - should be more optional about what types can be chosen, rather than force kids into them
    • Mandatory: Athletics and gymnasium sport (fitness)
    • Optional: Football, rugby, hockey, basketball, tennis, rounders (aka cricket), badminton, table tennis, archery, netball, trampolining
  • Sexual health
  • Life skills aka common sense. Respecting others, passive/assertive/aggressiveness, government bodies - see more
  • "Citizenship" also known as "Key Skills" - replace with focus on business-oriented requirements e.g. CV building, interviews, work experience, volunteering, vocational study etc.

  • Creative art: Art, Dance, Drama, Music, Technology (Electronics, Design, CAD, Sewing)
  • Social studies: Geography, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Politics, Business Studies, Religious studies (should not be focused on Christianity - should cover all the philosophical points only)
  • Language: French, Spanish, German etc.

8 August 2015

'I have Windows 7. Why do I need to update?'

  • Windows 7 mainstream support has already ended, so you'll no longer get free support from Microsoft
  • This also means that you won't get any more security updates either, so your computer will become more vulnerable to attack
  • You will not get any new functionality introduced in newer operating systems
  • As time goes on, some programs will lose support for Windows 7
  • Windows 10 is more user-friendly, more efficient, more stable, more reliable, more secure, and has the best device support

26 July 2015

Dealing with the haters of Google Chrome

Example 1

Here is a good example of an angry, stupid internet user who didn't like it when Chrome apparently started crashing for him on a regular basis, so he decided to go on a convoluted and uninformed quest to prevent it from doing updates, and it turns out it no longer crashes now since he updated to the latest version.

Here's what I think:

This guy is complaining about a null issue. The whole point Chrome force updates is to protect stupid users from far more serious vulnerabilities than it's worth not being updated for. And there is a way to prevent it updating, you just have to block Google's update server using your firewall or hosts file.
The correct way to respond to crashes, ever, is to enable crash reports to be sent to the developer, or do some self diagnosis by debugging it yourself, or speak to the developer as the issue was clearly isolated.

25 July 2015

Simulacra that are not longer applicable

Technology has replaced a lot of the ways we do things. Icons are a common representation of things in the real world, which no longer apply to modern technology, yet we don't yet have better ideas for what they represent, so we've kept them.

  • A floppy disk icon for saving something - most prevalent in Office applications
  • A symbol of a telephone for the dialler app on mobiles
  • Encyclopedias - Wikipedia is now a digital encyclopedia rather than tens of volumes

"Is it OCD to create a spreadsheet of your fridge?"

I don't think it's OCD per se, nearly everyone, including myself, stares inside the fridge or their cupboards to know how much they have. I've done it with the freezer once because it gets so full.

I guess therefore that a spreadsheet is just a portable version of the same information (a simulacrum, i.e. a digital shopping list for when you're out) & helps to remember what items you're missing entirely.

24 July 2015

Internet Replacing

The internet has replaced many forms of information source.
  • Computer programming = Stack Overflow
  • Writing an essay = Wikipedia
  • Going to the doctor = WebMD & eBay
  • Renting from Blockbuster = Netflix, Torrents
  • Phone call = Skype call / VOIP
  • Listening to the radio = iTunes & Spotify

FAQ for Windows 10

Should I 'reserve' my upgrade?
Yes. Choosing to reserve your upgrade means your device (computer or tablet) will be eligible for a free upgrade for a year. Free upgrades are only available each and every device that prompts you.

Should I upgrade immediately on July 29th?
No, I don't recommend jumping straight into it unless you have backups of everything first. Wait a week or 2 until all the issues have been worked out (same thing happens with Apple). Use the app in the system tray to tell if everything will be compatible.

Can I just get an ISO and start again?
Yes, ISOs will become available that can then be burned to DVD or used to make bootable USB sticks for the install. Your machine will then stay on the free licence after the install, as long as your computer previously showed you the 'Reserve your upgrade' offer.

24 June 2015

Advice for if you feel you are overachieving or underappreciated at work


I know how it feels when you overachieve but get nothing to show for it. I'm sorry for you, it's not a nice feeling. You almost feel betrayed a little bit, and feel existential about doing any work anymore. If you're passionate about your job, so I know it can really get you down because it feels a bit like a personal attack. Sometimes its good to talk to your manager about it, unless you bite the bullet.

The justifications are:
1. If you didn't get a performance grade above meeting your expectations, then others' work is being valued more, or has been more important in the last year. It's a bit of a PR stunt really. If your client has given the company great feedback and made a big difference, that's where the salary rises go. 

2. You kind of have to do the impossible to get far. Obviously it's not an exact science, but I'd imagine you have to be working way beyond your hours (e.g. til 8 or 9pm) on occasion, (only if others can identify that you have done so), work on the weekend when appropriate, and most of all, think about what the client really wants & do whatever you can to get there, and get ahead of the game with them - predict what they want. Plus you have to be an all rounded person - you need to know a lot about everything and always be available to help others, even if it means you have to work late.

3. Another way to look at it is responsibility: the more responsible you are for more things, the more people will know your name.


If you are on a fixed salary, then maybe it's not worth trying to impress anyone too much, or devote your life into the project (even if it interests you), as you won't be well rewarded yet.

If you feel you are at level higher than your pay grade, that's 2 reasons:

1. Do you have degree? A degree says to everyone that you deserve better. Until you've proven yourself, no matter how good you think you are, it's worthless to anyone. It's like saying you're a doctor after you've read 300 books on being a doctor, but you didn't go to university or do a degree. Would you trust that person?
2. Many companies values its clients & money more than it does the personal careers of each of its staff. In other words, they don't care that you're good at x, y and z, they only care that you've actually made the company some money. It's not about what you have the potential to do, it's about what you've actually done - how much money and time have you saved the company. Not how intelligent you are. Intelligence isn't rewarded, making money is.

6 June 2015

How to let off steam

Everyone deals with stress in a different way.
Exercise, creative work like art, meditation, and ranting. Destructive forms also occur like aggression towards others.

For me, playing games is usually my outlet.

  • FPS/Action - Lets out any anger I have pent up
  • Puzzle/Adventure/RPG - For something constructive
  • Casual - For when I'm bored or waiting on public transport etc.

So generally I prefer games with short term fixes. Long term games, like strategy, don't reward me enough. I like to be in with the action. 

Competitive or multiplayer games aren't really my thing - often MMOs are very competitive and need a lot of dedication to actually be decent (e.g. learning the mechanics, collecting resources etc.)

30 May 2015

Toy Story: Some things I realised

I've just realised some things about Toy Story. (SPOLIERS)

TS2 foreshadows TS3:
In the scene of Woody's nightmare, Woody is dropped by his owner Andy and he falls into the trash can, where the trash anthropomorphically grabs him and stops him from escaping. (Note that all the toys are essentially anthropomorphic too) In TS3, all the toys end up at the recycling centre, and nearly get incinerated because they get pushed into the trash bins.

Also, each movie has a theme, which all centre around fear - a fear that is relevant to the life of a toy. Ultimately, children and adults have these fears too.

TS1: Replacement. Woody fears being replaced as the alpha toy and becomes envious of the new and more popular Buzz Lightyear. (Queen Bee in Mean Girls, anyone? Also, the fact they are called 'plastics'?)
Also, fear of being cannibalised and destroyed by Sid (another foreshadowing to TS3 with Sid as the bin man)
Also, fear of being lost & not being able to go home.

TS2: Purposelessness/Being forgotten. Woody accidentally ends up being put up for sale amongst forgotten toys, and is stolen by the greedy collector Al, where he meets Jesse & others, who were also forgotten about and abandoned by Emily. Al was counting on the toys being remembered about forever and so regaining purpose.

TS3: Suffering (through separation, imprisonment and destruction). As Andy is now going to college, the toys are split into staying with Andy, loft storage or donations. The toys that go to the day care centre aren't treated with respect, imprisoned by Lotso, and are abused by the children. They are then nearly permanently destroyed by incineration, before being donated by Andy to the next generation of children.
Also, Baby, the clown and Lotso are originally separated from their owner, only to be replaced by the same toys. This shows the evil path of transforming personal suffering into the suffering of others.

So which fear will they have in TS4?

28 May 2015

UK: New online data terror powers proposed - This is extremely very not good


The Tories, spearheaded by Theresa May, are soon going to propose legislation that will mean that all internet activity will be logged by ISPs (e.g. BT, Virgin, Sky) in a fashion similar to the pervasive mass surveillance in Orwell's 1984. This would be even worse than the restrictions currently in China.

If this comes to fruition, this means everything you do online will be open for the government to scrutinise. Your entire internet history, all messages, calls, will be recorded on every website you visit - Google, Facebook, Gmail, PayPal, banks, cloud backups - everything.

I implore you contact your representative constituency MP (they all have Twitter accounts, email addresses and postal addresses) to BLOCK this bill from even approaching the House of Commons and make it DOA.

It's not just the fact that means the government wants to basically have unrestricted access to your entire internet, it's also that this is a massive technological feat that would likely surpass the total disk storage available on Earth - it's Big Data, but in this case, it's gigantic.

In addition:

  • The massive security risk of ISPs keeping private/personal and business data
  • The performance overhead and costs with storing an exponential volume of information (I assume both TCP and UDP)
  • The simple method of bypassing direct connections by using international VPNs
  • A huge hit on the transition to IPv6
  • The large number of ISPs available and variability on conformity
  • The sheer fact that every letter you type and every selfie you take is being watched

17 May 2015

Most popular acts on Britain's Got Talent 2015

Based on number of YouTube views - BGT YouTube Channel
Updated: 25/05/2015 23:00

Entries that are striked through did not get through to the next round.
  1. Old Men Grooving 15.6m
  2. Roller skaters 14.4m 
  3. Talking dog 14.3m 
  4. Golden Buzzer (Simon Cowell) - Calum Scott 14.2m 
  5. Karate girl 12.3m 
  6. Jamie - Magician 9.3m 
  7. UDI dance group 8.4m
  8. Golden Buzzer (Ant & Dec) - Boyband dance group 6.5m 
  9. Male strippers 6.3m 
  10. Maia Gough 4.0m 
  11. Golden Buzzer (Amanda Holden) - Revelation Avenue 3.5m 
  12. Isaac - singer and pianist 3.4m 
  13. Henry - young singer 2.9m 
  14. Becky 2.1m 
  15. Hypnodog 2.0m
  16. The Neales 2.2m
  17. Matt McCreary parkour 2.0m
  18. Jade Scott 1.3m
  19. Misstasia 1.4m 
  20. Thigh slappers 1.5m 
  21. Aaron rock singer 1.1m
  22. Magdalena contortionist 1.1m
  23. Golden Buzzer (David Walliams) - Lorraine Bowen 1.6m
  24. Golden Buzzer (Alesha Dixon) - Entity Allstars 1.1m
  25. IMD Legion 0.8m
  26. Lisa - hula hoops 0.8m
  27. Welsh choir 0.7m 

13 May 2015

Fictional examples of a world without recycling

Is our world destined to become like these if we don't change our attitudes to recycling?

  • The Simpsons episode Trash of the Titans, where Homer's concept of burying all the waste under Springfield causes an eruption of waste all over town, and they have to move 5 miles away.
  • The Futurama episode A Big Piece of Garbage where New York sends it waste out into space, but it returns
    • Also notable is the issue of global warming in episode Crimes of the Hot, where they basically drop a very large ice block at the North Pole on a regular basis.
  • WALL-E - The Buy N Large corporation owns all businesses, government and utilities, leading to mass consumerism and a disregard for proper waste management, resulting in the entire population of Earth taking spaceships to live in space, permanently. Summarised nicely in this behind the scenes video.
  • The Lorax - The Onceler starts off as an innocent wannabe musician, but ends up levelling and polluting an entire ecosystem, with money making him blind to the damage, creating a world where everything is plastic - even the trees. Summed up really well in the musical number, How Bad Can I Possibly Be?

Also an interesting topic is some crazy ideas in science fiction for recycling methods.

8 May 2015

UK politics is like a war

It is certainly a tribal thing, which really, it isn't even the place for it. All the parties follow a paint-by-numbers fashion and appeal to the public to win voters anyway, when there is no real guarantee of policies coming into fruition.

This is the exact reason I do not like representative democracy - because a partisan government detracts from the real issues, creating a literal belief system and popularity contest, which has more regular media coverage than something as essential as science. It compares with religion, football or even “Apple faith”.

It’s logical to me to have a direct democracy instead, which is how Ancient Greece managed politics, and many countries today aspire to or are emulating. Unfortunately, power is more important to people than accurate representation, which, in my opinion, creates a false democracy.

In my opinion, as well, a direct democracy would also increase the overall intelligence of the country too, because voting directly for policies literally demands that you learn about the advantages and disadvantages of policies before casting a vote. In our system however, you can vote based purely on your favourite primary colour. 

7 May 2015

General Election 2015

If you don't know who to vote for, use a website to help you decide (iSideWith, Vote For Policies, Vote Match - Google will help you). Don't choose a party or personality because of what your friend or the media say. Make your own informed opinion, don't join a bandwagon.

If you are still undecided, or believe none of the MPs are fit to run the country, write 'none' or 'no confidence' diagonally over the selection side of the ballot (don't leave it blank).

If you are missing your ballot, don't worry, as long as you are registered, you can still vote, just take ID.

If you don't have the time, remember you can vote between 7am and 10pm (last time for queue entry).

If you are unsure if you are registered, check using Noodle.co.uk to see if you are (and get a free credit report).

If you don't have the effort or are apathetic, remember that many countries don't have the freedom of choice, and our country historically hasn't always been equal for voting rights. It is a privilege.

Make your vote and make it count. As a qualified citizen and member of the UK, this is one easy step to making a difference to the future of your country, and ultimately, your life too.

2 May 2015

Representative Government

Unfortunately as we have a representative government, there can be no silver bullet party, therefore defending such parties with such passion is an overhead. 
We should be debating policies and not  deciding which party is better, because none of them are inherently fit to decide for an entire country. It’s like trying to put a jigsaw together, but it’s missing all the edge pieces. 
Working in government is like group projects at university. None of you want to be there, someone always gets lumbered with the bulk of the crappy work, and the others just sit around doing nothing or making excuses and arguing.
No small group of people will ever get it right all of the time, when there is an entire subculture of its own providing such a high layer of abstraction, over-simplifying important decisions into paint-by-numbers parties reduced to symbolicism of primary colours. It is the weakest example of a simulacra I know. There are many comedians out there that I would agree, understand the people of this country much better than many politicians. 
However, all of the parties hold merit, including the Green Party. For example, their environment, austerity and transport policies seem highly reasonable to me, e.g. introducing a nationalised Oyster-card-like system, and investing in renewable energy, will really bring our country up to date and in true competition with the rest of the world, than just with Europe. We shouldn’t be a country that scrabbles for the cheapest solution, we need to pioneer a future for our children and adapt. 
I personally believe we are already in a dystopia. Regurgitating continued abuse without qualifying one’s claims is no better than the Daily Mail headlines and does cause me dissatisfaction and concern. 

3 April 2015

Insert boot device

I would either use a Windows installation/recovery disc or USB to try and repair the MBR.

An easy way to determine if BIOS still sees your disk is to go into it (usually press F2, F10, F12 or Delete when the computer turns on) and go to the boot order/priority section. If a hard drive is listed with a model or serial number, then your hard drive is correctly installed and that means the issues is your MBR, which can be fixed easily with a Windows installation disc.

I will highly recommend an additional diagnosis, cleanup, defrag, update, and getting a Windows repair USB stick for safety against it happening again.

Windows To Go & First SSD Experience

My experience mostly covers external SSD drives with Windows To Go (8.1) installed.

Patriot Supersonic Magnum (Manufacturer) (Amazon)

Good points:

  • Speedy with large files e.g. backup images
  • Convenient size

Bad points:

  • Very poor speed for small files - so not good for Windows To Go at all
  • Quite bulky on the width, so may not be able to plug in things to ports next to it

Imation Ironkey W300 (Manufacturer) (Amazon)

Good points:

  • Very small SSD - size of a normal USB stick
  • Excellent speeds (400MB/s read and write even with BitLocker enabled)
  • Excellent speed even when connected to USB 2.0 (nearly unnoticeable difference)

Bad points:
  • Does lag/freeze temporarily sometimes (not enough to write to Event Viewer, so possibly caused by antivirus software)
  • Very expensive for the storage sizes (£300 for a 128GB drive)
  • Can get very hot
  • Cap does not fit onto the end of the stick

Transcend ESD400K SuperSpeed USB 3 (Manufacturer) (Amazon)

Good points:

  • Cheapest SSD for a decent performance
  • Very small size (wallet card sized)
  • 3 year warranty

Bad points:

  • I had major problems with this device and timeout errors after 2 weeks of use .This was apparent under both Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.10
  • Transcend customer support was not helpful

Freecom Mobile Drive Mg USB 3 (Manufacturer) (Amazon)

Good points:

  • Very thin and stylish design akin to Apple Mac
  • Excellent performance speeds
  • Stylish casing
  • No regular lagging issues that I have seen

Bad points:

  • Cable that comes with it is not as stylish
  • More expensive than other SSDs available
  • Comes formatted for Mac (but of course can easily be reformatted by Disk Manager)

Useful notes for Windows To Go users - see this blog

For a detailed breakdown of SSD speeds and prices I could find on Amazon at the time, see here:

22 February 2015

Why is there no more space on my computer?

Possibly system restore is creating more restore points, or you haven't emptied your recycle bin in a while?
Get C-Cleaner to clean up temporary files.
Get TreeSize Free to determine where all the space in your computer is being used.
Go to DownloadMoreRAM to get more memory for your computer for free.

Climate Change

Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos episode on climate change was really compelling. The planet Venus is a great example of what could happen and the importance of balance.

Brian Cox believes that nuclear fusion research would be the best source of energy right now, whereas Neil believes either artificial photosynthesis or solar farms would be able to power our civilization millions of times over.

Algae is the best producer of oxygen purely because of the surface area - trees only account for 20-30% of all oxygen.

13 February 2015

Why should we use 7-zip, instead of Windows' in-built zip compression?

  • Free (open source) (as opposed to WinZip and WinRAR) and still in development
  • Excellent compression ratios and a customisable level of compression for many formats
  • Support for opening ISO, WIM, RAR and many more formats
  • 64-bit support
  • Very small installer (only 1MB)
  • Windows' in-built compression format does not warn you if the folder you're trying to extract the folders to is too deep - instead it gives you a red herring password prompt
  • Opening ZIPS with Windows in-built can take a long time - 7-zip is near instantaneous for regular sets of files

There are a couple of points against:

  • 7-zip isn't the most user friendly - WinZip is better, but it's certainly a lot less cluttered
  • When creating multipart files, the 'DVD' option is set to 4480MB - if you try an burn a file this size with Windows's burning tool, it won't tell you that the file will actually get slightly trimmed. So I would recommend using CDburnerXP, or InfraRecorder instead, or if you reduce it to 4400MB then it will work fine.

28 January 2015

AirDroid: Alternatives

Instead of AirDroid, I use:

  • Texting - MightyText
  • Whatsapp - Whatsapp Web
  • AirMirror - not yet compatible with Android Lollipop 5.0.1 (requires root)
  • Notifications - Pushbullet
  • File transfer - up to 10MB - Pushbullet; greater than 10MB - AirDroid :D
  • Contacts - Gmail Contacts