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With the death of Gerald Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster, various places have been quoting his advice on how to be as rich as he was: 'Have an ancestor who was a very close friend of William the Conqueror'.

His billions come from the family's ownership of 300 acres of Mayfair and Belgravia in London. But it wasn't William who gave them to the family - he gave them a chunk of Cheshire.

Rather, it used to be the marshy farmland that made up the manor of Edbury. The owner of that left it to a nephew, a clerk, who died in the great plague of 1665. In 1677, his widow sold the sole heir, their 12 year old daughter, Mary Davies, in marriage to the highest bidder. That was the 21 year old Thomas Grosvenor, who paid £5,000.

In terms of business advice, 'Buy a 12-year old heiress' doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?
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'Facebook wants to kill off clickbait FOREVER – and here's how it's doing it' was the clickbait subject of an email today.

Amusingly the site that emailed me that can't even get its clickbait consistent: the article is '.. And you'll never guess how its doing it'.
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WP knows of six 'spree' shootings in Great Britain:



There are doubtless more multiple shootings - the 1995 Essex 'Range Rover' drugs killings and the 1966 'Harry Roberts' shooting of three police aren't in the list, for example, as they're seen as purely criminal - but it's a fair reflection of the frequency.

After the latest massacre - fifty plus in a gay nightclub in Orlando - Twitter tells me that there have been seven multiple shootings in the US this week.

Dunblane effectively ended the private ownership of the majority of guns in Great Britain outside some very strict limits, regardless of the 1689 Bill of Rights still saying "That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions", not least because its authors had the foresight to add "and as allowed by Law".

Unfortunately, the authors of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution were not so wise, and - with the lobbying help of the National Rifle Association - nothing effective will be done. Again.
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I wondered where 10cc's 'The Original Soundtrack' album would be in the list if I searched Spotify for 'original soundtrack'.

'Further down than I'm prepared to scroll, and I went pretty far' is the answer.

I did find the French version of 1960s Disney The Jungle Book though... I suspect the French audience noticed the clunky joins between Louis Prima / Phil Harris and whoever the French vocalists are (they're not credited for this one).
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List 12 albums that made a lasting impression on you, but only one per band/artist. (No compilations.) Don't take long and don't think too hard.

1. Autobahn - Kraftwerk. They did better ones, but this was when the electronic future of pop was made clear. One of the first batch of four albums I bought, back in 1974.

2. Don Giovanni - Music Theatre London. Sadly it's a 'highlights' rather than the complete opera. There are ones with much better musical playing (this was a very small band rather than an orchestra) but this is the translation I hear in my head when listening to a production in Italian.

3. Kimono My House - Sparks. The second album from 1974, this one is intelligent guitar pop starting with the best song to ever get to #2.

4. Shockheaded Peter - The Tiger Lillies. The album of what remains the greatest theatre show that has ever existed.

5. Chicago The Musical - 1997 US cast. Better than the original US and UK versions, and the UK one of the same time, and vastly better than the dire film version. Listen to the performances and musical direction on this one!

6. Mishima - Philip Glass. Wonderful soundtrack to a great film. Akhnaten (opera) or Koyaanisqatsi (soundtrack) would be alternatives.

7. Welcome to the Glitterdome - Erasure. One of my favourite concerts was broadcast on BBC Radio 1. This is the bootleg.

8. Billy Bishop Goes to War - John Gray and Eric Peterson. It's the album of the show, a two person piece on the liar and cheat who became the greatest Canadian hero of WWI, the pilot Billy Bishop VC. I saw it in Edinburgh in the early 80s, the BBC did a version which I still have a VHS copy of, and I see there's a DVD of a later production by the same duo. A quite amazing look at what it was to be a pilot then '.. and maybe you'll get.. a little older!'

9. Escape From New York - John Carpenter with Alan Howarth. One of the great Carpenter soundtracks.

10. The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table - Rick Wakeman. Another one from the 70s, but '75 rather than '74. Over the top prog rock.

11. Carmen Jones - UK cast. Superb version of the Carmen adaptation.

12. Lola Rennt - Tom Tykwer, Klimek, Heil. Soundtrack to the film. Most of it is great techno, but I skip the remixes.
lovingboth: ([default])
Spotify has a playlist of the Eurovision Song Contest entrants. While I can't be bothered with the show, I thought it'd be an interesting listen... Read more... )
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Despite the attraction of the action from The Crucible, with the ever fascinating mix of physics and mind sport, two series have ended recently and as they made up about 2/3 of the TV drama watching, I'm missing them both.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson was very good, despite John Travolta's "mesmerizingly bad performance from the eyebrows down." It's fiction - amongst other things, you can't cut an eight month trial down to under three hours and claim it's completely accurate - and didn't bother with several important aspects, particularly Ron Brown. It also failed to say why LAPD detective Fuhrman had to 'take the fifth' when asked if he had planted any evidence: having done so in relation to his perjury about using racist language, he had to do it to everything in relation to the case or he could have been forced to answer questions about any aspect of it.

But it got so much about how someone so 'obviously' guilty was acquitted. One of the other things I liked about it is how few characters came out of it well: the main exception being the arc of Robert Kardashian, from friend of Nicole and OJ to going 'what have I done?' for his part in the acquittal as he realised the truth.

Speaking of morally dubious lawyers, Better Call Saul finished its second series. (If you're watching on the US broadcast schedule, anyway.) As with the first series, as well as being excellent in its own right, it brilliantly works despite the problem of prequels. Here, we know that at least four characters must survive, due to their appearance in the 'later' Breaking Bad, but the 'how' remains a fascinating mystery and the journey is great to watch.
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I know there's plenty of other news today, including the junior doctors strike, the Tories honouring the memory of the kindertransport by... denying admission to three thousand child refugees, and the verdict of the second inquest for the Hillsborough disaster, but I'm surprised to see so little coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

The consequences still continue today. Even though Western Europe got over a third of the radioactive fallout, it's Ukraine, Belarus and Russia where about five million people are still living in highly contaminated areas. The replacement cover for the remains of the reactor, originally intended to be finished by 2005, isn't in place yet...

Perhaps they're waiting for the 28th, which is when - prompted by the Swedes going 'there's been a major nuclear incident upwind of us, i.e. in the Soviet Union' - the Soviets admitted that it had happened.
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I upgraded (sic) to Android 6 aka Marshmallow recently and I am somewhat regretting it. Two issues in particular are annoying:

1. You can turn off audible alerts for any app. (I seem to remember being able to do so in Lollipop, but maybe that was turning their notifications off.)

But how do I stop wi-fi alerts ('sign in to..' or, happening quite a lot in Greece, ones about losing actual internet) making a noise? There's no corresponding app to say STFU to.

2. You can format an SD card and use it as internal memory. Great. The downside is that you lose the contents and I have quite a bit on the SD card that I don't want to lose, so it needs backing up. But as part of that change, it looks like how USB access works has changed. I can see, using a file manager where the files I want to copy are, but I can't - because of where they are - copy them. I also can't properly see stuff that is on the SD card when I set USB access to MTP (i.e. treat the phone as a USB stick) but some of it appears in allegedly 'internal storage' rather than 'SD card'.

Oh, I could remove the SD card and copy using an SD card reader, but as they've lost the 'move to SD card' option in Settings / Storage & USB, I can't get stuff from the real internal storage onto the SD card first.

So am I expected to turn off the phone, remove the SD card, copy that, turn on the phone, hope that it works despite several apps having important stuff on the now missing SD card, and it will magically be visible?

Clearly, you're being expected to either use the SD card as storage for something or format it and do the new Marshmallow pretend internal memory thing. (Oooh, the chance to lose random stuff when an SD card fails...) What that completely ignores is that the vast majority of Marshmallow users are people like me whose kit was running an earlier version and have SD cards used in the way that they enabled which is neither of those two.

We're left with being unable to copy everything from the SD card to internal memory before doing a format as a) it might not work - I have an indispensable app with data on the SD card and I really do not want to find that it will only work there / loses data if it is moved and b) it won't fit: that's one big reason for having it on the SD card!

Having lost one set of text messages recently, I am also not about to lose another (mine). Are they on the SD card? Where? Dunno.

Grrr.
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When I was at school, if you didn't have free school meals,* you paid for your lunch in cash every day.

I think L22 had a card, onto which payments were added.

The first year at JA's secondary school was when they introduced a cardless payment system - you're recognised by your fingerprints. On the one hand, eeek, on the other, you just know that losing your card is going to happen.

Until this school year,** if you ran out of credit then you had to go and borrow money from the Pastoral office. Next day, you were expected to pay it back in cash.

Now, you're allowed to go overdrawn on your account - as a parent you get a 'please top up the account' email.

It turns out that you're only allowed to go overdrawn if you start with some credit. So if you have 80p credit in the morning, and spend it all on a drink in the morning you're stuffed: because you have zero in your account, the system won't let you go overdrawn.

As well as emailing to say that's silly, my solution has to been to top up the account with £x.01 - as everything is priced in multiples of 5p, she will never have zero money in the account again...

* One of my memories of the fire service strikes is that they meant I qualified for these one time.

** It may be the side-effect of having a new head.
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I once did a 'whose lecture are you in' guide, in case of waking up in the middle of it and not remembering. Now the Marshmallow update for the 2014 Moto G has finally arrived, my phone is now fully up to date with... 6.0.0 patch date 1st Jan 2016.

Anyway, a recent history of Android versions, AKA how to tell which one you've got.

Kit-Kat

Your clock looks like this:

10:44

Lollipop

That was clearly too easy to read, so your clock looks like this:

10:44

Much more stylish - who cares that it's not as clear?

Marshmallow

Perhaps someone did, but rather than return to Kit-Kat's clarity, your clock looks like this:

10:44

Chunky... Anyone want to bet that it won't change yet again with Nutella?

Some other stuff might have changed too. The one thing that would be really useful - removing crap you'll never, ever need from the system without rooting the phone (and losing stuff that's not backed up*) and using a custom ROM - isn't there.


* Which, I recently discovered by accident,** includes all your text messages. WTF those aren't synced to your account, I don't know. There's no obvious way to do it in the Motorola Messenger app either.

** On someone else's phone. They weren't amused.
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I've finally seen this. I quite enjoyed it, down to just missing stepping in one of the prequels as I was leaving...

Longer comments later.
lovingboth: (Default)
I'm feeling fine, as I have been before.

The grandparent who survived past my childhood was my maternal grandmother. We were close - we lived with her until I was seven. Unfortunately, she developed Alzheimer's in her mid-late 80s and she died a couple of years before her body did. I'm still a bit annoyed at being pushed to see her in the months before she died: no recognition of me at all resulted in disturbing her and not being good for me. The funeral was good, a chance to catch up with assorted cousins.* I can even remember when it was, because we went to the first bi activist weekend I organised from it, clutching baby JA, so it must have been Feb 2002.

My mother had a colon cancer that spread to her brain. If you end up with brain cancer, from what I (and Susie Bright) can see, do not go for surgery unless you like being a guinea pig for surgeons to practice on with almost no benefit - and plenty of downsides - for you. At least the NHS means we didn't pay (directly) for the unnecessary surgery and the consequent loss of quality of life, but death was still a release. My sister, after some faffing around with changing dates, scheduled the funeral for the one day JA couldn't do (very first day of school) so September 2006, but I enjoyed seeing someone from my father's side of the family after losing touch and that developed into several visits to Newcastle to see them before they died a few years ago.

This time, my father's death has followed a decade or so of increasing Parkinson's. Although the last couple of months were good (albeit with some hallucinations), the previous couple of years were horrible, particularly in the mornings, and he was very comfortable with death.

So while I've been sorry to lose them, the preceding disease has been more upsetting than the inevitable and prepared-for conclusion.

* Only one male cousin from that side of the family doesn't have male pattern baldness: I had the second most hair of all of them!
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When I started doing it, I didn't know the answers to two questions, but... Read more... )
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It looks like bicon2005.org.uk expired in 2007. It was then used by someone to appear to have a page apparently about a data recovery disk, but which actually had the (obfuscated) javascript:

document.write('<div style="position:absolute;left:-9000px;top:-9000px">');

.. hiding something off the screen?

Then in 2010, it started showing the text from old front page plus "There are many sites on the net for gay men and women - too many in fact! We would encourage all our readers to check out the reviews before joining any to make sure they're not being duped. These lesbian dating sites (link to website) have been thoroughly reviewed and come highly recommended by the people at No1Reviews.com. Sign up for free in order to perform searches in your local area and see who's online right now!"

.. before claiming to be a site for 'Building Industry Conference 2005' (yeah, right, a 2005 conference getting a 2005-name domain in 2010...) that was really there for a couple of links for new car leases, complaint.co.uk and carpet fitters. By the next year, it was pushing mortgages in Spain (good luck with that!) but the people paying for the latter spam links obviously stopped paying (unshock) because those disappeared by 2012, leaving just house-related ones.

.. before claiming to be 'Bitcon Expo 2005' a bit later, but still saying "Your house defines who you are. Let the Identity be strong. Providing construction services that stay true to your expectations" etc.

Sadly, although that site's still there, the advertised phone number is dead, so I can't ask WTF and who they paid.

Oh, and 2005.bicon.org.uk is now live :) Again, the formatting isn't right, but trying to recreate the output of a content management system you're not familiar with without the source to the site isn't easy. Given that the same person did both, it's probable that 2009.bicon.org.uk should look more like this one, but...
lovingboth: ([default])
The registration for several old BiCon domains has ended up lapsing and several have been re-registered by other people. Links to your domain are useful in terms of Google listings and there tend to be plenty of links to BiCon sites.

bicon2009.org.uk is one such. Its second registrant had a small education website. Looking on archive.org, there were only a couple of pages with a few low quality but not obviously spammy links... and it started with "Welcome too bicon2009.org.uk". Oops.

Since July, it's now on probably its third registrant but they don't seem to have done anything with it, beyond putting it on a parked domain service that's probably showing ads to visitors. (Thank you AdBlock for sparing me those.)

Anyway, this is mostly to say that 2009.bicon.org.uk now has most of the real site. Unfortunately, I can't find any of the pictures it once had or the downloads (like a PDF of the programme booklet) so if anyone has a better copy than archive.org's...
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Taking advantage of Compare the Market's '2 for 1 on Tues/Weds' cinema offer (if you don't otherwise qualify, book travel insurance for a one day trip in the UK - mine cost about £2 - and you save more than that on first use) recently, what have I seen?

Spectre )

The Lady in the Van )

Bridge of Spies )

Star Wars: The Force Awakens )

notes )
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Along with someone else, I do websites for escorts. Confidentiality is a Big Thing in this market, and one thing that's been useful is taking payments via Amazon gift certificates. You can only spend the money at Amazon, but that's not been any sort of problem.

Their big feature in this context is that they're anonymous: if you don't add a note, there's no clue as to who sent it to your email address...

... until recently, when Amazon have started adding what they think the sender is called, in the same way that PayPal have always done.

I'll probably continue accepting them - my Amazon spend is not zero, cough, and no-one cares about having Amazon appear on bank statements etc - but is there a useful, simple and stable anonymous remote payment method left?

Some people use mobile top-ups, but my mobile spend is zero plus the five or six quid a month for data plus more calls than I use. Bitcoin's lack of stability rules that out, plus there are too many steps involved. PayPal is possible, but I'd prefer something that doesn't do refunds.