Thursday, October 09, 2008

Good money after bad

So the UK is also resorting to fund and forgive the past bad practises of their banks. 

What surprised me, was not that we are bailing out the Merchant Bankers (cockney rhyming slang pun fully intended) but that the amount of money on offer is almost the same as what is being offered in the US.

Is the size of these two nation's banking sectors really equivalent?

I bought the flat where I live in Brixton, for £18,000 in 1985.
There was a time when it became worth a large fraction of a £million!!!
In fact there were several years in which the value of my flat increased by more than I earn working!!!
This always seemed particularly mad to me ...... I was left wondering “what does that mean?”, “where does that money come from?”, “what does that mean for the currency?”.

Well it is a bit clearer now, we have been living in a “consensual hallucination” of a functioning economy. All this so called wealth has been an illusion, one that future generations will pay for, along with the price of our profligate environmental impact.

All we have to look forward to as we get older, is being despised by the young for our lack of foresight and restraint. Yummy!!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rare Opportunity

We are living through one of those deeply rare opportunities in history.

A time when it is possible to make a paradigm shift in society.

The last one I remember was the fall of the iron curtain, there appeared to be a slim window of opportunity in which those countries and their people could have found some new way, that was not socialism and not capitalism, but alas the moment was lost.

Now we have a situation where it is very clear to everybody (not just intellectuals, pundits and experts) that the foundation of our current system of economics is deeply flawed.

A moment in which we widely understand that our economies are deeply unsustainable, not only from the point of view of capitalisation and wealth but also from the point of view of environmental impact.

Even national leaders like Sarkozy are calling for structural change.

. . . lets not just leave it up to them . . .

Friday, October 03, 2008

Google's CalDav

Google have an implementation of CalDav for use with iCal on MacOSX, I just tried it, it's pants, don't go there.

I have been using the OpenSource Darwin CalendarServer for nearly a year now. I runs it on my old Mac Cube at home (it works on most OSs), to share several calendars between multiple machines. While there is lots of missing functionality, the important stuff works.

I thought I'd give the Google implementation a go, as it saves me having to run my own.

Not good.

Basically, if you have more than one calendar (I always have had more then one eg.  Home, Work, Admin, Holiday, Project, etc.) then you'll find the Google Calendar integration into iCal a real mess.

Unlike Darwin CalDav, a lot of important stuff in Google's CalDav really does not work.
Firstly, if you have multiple calendars, each will be in it's own section in the iCal sidebar, this reeks of a really big hack IMHO.
You cannot make new calendars from iCal. 
Each calendar needs replicated account details (username, password etc.).
There is no support for alarms or ToDos etc. etc. etc.

There appears to be such an enormous impedance mismatch between iCal and gCal that I don't see how they will ever get this stuff working smoothly, much like the terrible mess caused when I tried using the new 'Sync with Google' functionality in Leopard's Address Book application. I think Google's models for this kind of info are too simplistic, they only support the simplest possible scenario and then not well.

Since I stopped using the appalling Dot Mac service for syncing, I have tried almost everything I could find to keep this kind of data synced between multiple machines and nothing is really reliable (except CalendarServer). I am not tempted to try MobileMe, it sounds even less reliable then it's predecessor.

It is a real shame, I would happily use Google for this stuff, if it worked with the built-in desktop applications, but GMail is the only Google App that works well enough IMHO. Even then coupled with GMail using IMAP can be pretty ropey!!!

So while I am please Google is trying, my assessment is : Could Try Harder.

Euro * Bad

Beware booking Eurostar tickets at the moment. The channel tunnel suffered a bad fire a few weeks ago, but Eurostar are acting as if nothing happened.

I am off to Paris next week, to help some friends setup an exhibition of the work of Australian artist Tim Maguire

As usual, I booked tickets via
They take you through the whole process, book your tickets (I book mine based on arrival time), choose my seat (so I have a power socket), make my payment etc. etc.

Then, after I have completed my non-refundable, un-alterable ticket, they say that the timetable is completely irrelevant due to the fire and my train may or may not leave at the allotted time, that for sure it will take at least an hour longer than planned.

WTF do they think they are doing!?!?!

OK so the fire was not their fault, they are obviously struggling to cope with it, but to sell something they know they cannot provide with no warning up front, this is unbelievable!!!

This feels like fraud, like selling under false pretenses, like totally shoddy and incompetent behaviour!

BAD Eurostar!!!!