Ever thought about the influence geography has on the way you vote? You probably ought to, it's had a massive effect on me. Y'see, I grew up in the 80s and did my GCSEs and A Levels in the 90s. that's under Thatcher and Major. But that's not the main reason I distrust the Conservative party, nor the main reason I hate the Tories[1]. That can be explained by a very simple statement.

Anthony Steen was my MP. He's still the MP for my parents, both surviving grandparents, two aunts and four cousins. Yes, that Anthony Steen. For a very very simple reason to hate the git[2], have a listen to this[3]:
BBC flash embed of the audio of the interview. I can listen to this again and again and again, it makes me happy ) I've met him. He visited my school a few times when I was a kid, and I met him subsequently. He really is like that. That interview has effectively ended his fairly undistinguished career. The great shame is that he's been forced out, because despite him representing one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, his behaviour since re-election in 2005 has been, well, interesting, and I reckon he'd have lost without the most recent revelations. Here are some highlights:
A summary list of some of the more egregious idiocies he's managed )

So, there you go. Due to the nature of the first-past-the-post electoral system, if you have a git like that as your MP, if you want to get rid of him, you have to vote for the candidate most likely to beat him. If you get used to voting for that party time and time again because they're the best chance of beating the incumbent git, many people begin to consider themselves supporters specifically of that party.

In 1997, I voted in my first General Election, and specifically voted against Steen. It was a vote for the Lib Dem candidate, but also broadly a vote to get the bastard Tories out and replace them with Blair. I often wonder what, if any, my partisan allegiance would be if I grew up in a part of the world where the Lib Dems were a distant third and Labour were challenging the Tories. Let alone if I'd grown up in a safe Labour area where the Tories had no chance.

One of the stupidities of the UK system is that where you live matters a lot more than who you support. I think it's about time we changed that, how about you?

Footnotes )
Dear Govt.

We haven't exactly been on good terms for some time now, but even so, please understand that if it gets to the point where I read a Mail on Sunday scare story entitled "Stasi HQ UK" and find myself agreeing with them against your actions? You're Doing It Wrong.

Seriously, know any vegetarians? Or someone involved with a "foreigner"? How about a fear of flying so you prefer sitting above the wing, or a tendency to make last minute decisions on travel plans?
An internal Home Office document obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveals that during testing one 'potential suspect' turned out to be an airline passenger with a spinal injury flying into Britain with his nurse.

'Suspect' requests likely to cause innocent holidaymakers to get 'red flags' as potential terrorists include ordering a vegetarian meal, asking for an over-wing seat and travelling with a foreign-born husband or wife.

The system will also 'red flag' passengers buying a one-way ticket and making a last-minute reservation
There are, we know, nasty people out there. And some of them want to try to blow up aeroplanes. But treating those who believe animals deserve a little bit of respect as potential terrorists?

That's fucking stupid!

I tick so many boxes on this system it's silly. And I know several friends (including those reading this) that tick even more.

FFS. My friend Dr Packula has created a Facebook group, which essentially will share information and link to WriteToThem. Contacting your MP about this insanity would probably be a good thing.

I need to go hit something. Oh, wait, the bread is rising downstairs, I'll go hit that before it goes in the oven. I have photos. If they come out, a post may be pending.
This one made me laugh. Dramatis Personae: The story? Well, it got Slashdotted:

Collapsed UK Bank Attempts to Censor Wikileaks

In their legal demand to Wikileaks, Northern Rock's well-known media lawyers, Schillings, invoke the DMCA & WIPO, claim it'll be 10 years in prison for Wikileaks operators for not following the UK injunction, but then, incredibly, refuse to hand over a copy of the order unless Wikileaks' London lawyers promise not to give it to Wikileaks.
That's right, not content to try to censor a blogger for republishing stuff already in his book, they've now managed to attempt to censor a website specifically set up to stop censorship, by claiming copyright on the documents. Now, of course, they may have a legal case, but, um, guys? Don't you think you could learn from your mistakes?

Odds of me looking at the document in question before today? Minimal. But I've read it now. Nice try guys.
At the beginning of last year during the Bantown cracking incident, I posted about the sucky LJ customer relations. For those wondering why I, and a lot of other unaffected people, are pissed of this time, [livejournal.com profile] liz_marcs has done a very similar explanation, thus saving me the effort. Summary:
  • The fans who posted the pics were idiots
  • LJ/6A still haven't clarified their policies
  • The policies have been implemented badly, in a very cack-handed manner
  • The Powers that be still haven't managed to understand the way the LJ fen can and will network and react
Key point:
However, LJ/6A continues to treat us (the customers) with contempt, or like we were drama queens with entitlement issues. To be fair, some people are acting like drama queens with entitlement issues, but it's not good customer service for LJ/6A to lump everyone into the same drama queen category. It's really bad customer service to act like that's the case. It's horrendous customer service to not respond to questions and repeated requests for clarification or to respond with vague statements that could be interpreted any number of ways.
I have other posts planned, on real world meaty issues. But I'm reading my new books, and wrestling with install scripts, and screaming at idiots. So they can wait until I'm in the mood.
Hey, guess what? You'll never get it. Six Apart are useless! Oh, wait, you've heard that one? Ah, well, here are the new details of this one anyway. Y'see, they've managed to mess up a perfectly good idea by a really badly timed and poorly worded announcement, and they've got a bunch of sockpuppets plugging a new film.

So, short version. Funny version. Long version )

It made Slashdot. It even made Making Light. Damage control, but  ) don't think Brad liked going in to post stuff on his day off.

Things are looking up? More damage control, some rollbacks, and some changes )

What do we learn from this? )
Now, sponsored Comms, that show up at the top of an interest search for basic/plus users? Run by marketing people and LJ staff? Could be great. Um, could also, well, be absolutely awful. Don't believe me? Look at [livejournal.com profile] scienceofsleep. Any of those posts look like they come from real people?

Where's the fangirling?

I'm told that one of the male actors is hot. LJ + new film + hot actor = fangirling. Always. Analysis and ego stroking )To which [livejournal.com profile] firefoxfey responded:
I think you're right.
Of course I am, I'm me. [livejournal.com profile] uniquewonders:
they need to hire someone who can write these posts
Yup. I'd volunteer, but don't really feel like moving over there. Even if it is San Francisco.

Plug This post brought to you with the aid of [livejournal.com profile] the_lj_herald. Friend it.
Economics should be taught at a basic level right from age 11. Understanding the ruules of supply, demand, a free market and a free economy are essentials to get on in the modern world. Otherwise?

You get this sort of thing. Still, it killed time while I was eating lunch.

You either believe in a free society with markets, or you want a command/control economy where everything is fair and there's no dynamism or diversity. This little socialist gets it, why can't the 'normals'? Seriously, there are some obtuse people in there. Apparently, touts are killing live music? WTF?

ETA: Link fixed. OK?
Ladies and gentlemen. I present the death of intelligent humanity. Three posts, on the same LJ community, all of which boil down to a complete inability to either look things up, check the help files or indeed think!

I'm normally very willing to help give advise, but just look at her comment responses "I can't restart my PC, I'm watching an eBay auction that will end in under an hour", etc.

It's not that she's asking for help. It's her complete inability to think for herself and/or understand basic answers that really got to me...
Hey everyone, guess what? Yup, you've got to log in (again) and are probably going to encounter some more problems for a bit longer. It appears that putting [livejournal.com profile] news, [livejournal.com profile] lj_dev and [livejournal.com profile] lj_maintenance on your main friends page is currently an esential plan.

Great. You see, the thing is, from what I can tell, they could've predicted some of these problems, they could have warned us, they could have... You get the picture.

So, here's how to deal with this sort of thing and not piss off your paying customers. A list of what they should have done )
Here's what Livejournal have instead done:The list of what they did do )
Yup, I'm pissed. Keeping your paying customers happy is something that businesses need to do. I love LJ, I like the flexibility, the utility, the community. But the management and PR people suck. I effectively work in marketing/PR (it's a significant part of my job), and I know pissing people off by not keeping them informed is a bad idea. When the people you piss off most are the paying customers that your business model relies on heavily? Clusterfuck.

Short version: log in (again). Oh yeah, one good thing, Manage your login sessions (if they get it working...)
In their infinite wisdom, LiveJournal have expired everyones cookie without warning us. There were already some logout problems due to the new subdomain as well. I didn't realise until page 2 of my friends page, clicked reply; reloading got me 3 friends locked posts from people.

They're doing it all for our own good, but, well, they're announcing things so badly it's pissing people off. Why doesn't that really surprise me?

Change your password

Seriously, according to this blog/news post:
several Bantown members spoke at length in an online instant-message chat with Security Fix. During the chat, members of the group claimed to have used the Javascript holes to hijack more than 900,000 LiveJournal accounts..."However, we have only used approximately five hundred of these cookies so far, so it is impossible to tell whether this sample is statistically valid. Still, a massive number have been compromised."
In other words, they know 900,000 passwords, but have used 500 of them, so they may have yours without you knowing it.
There's a perfect community to post this to, but, well. In a discussion on price rises on stamps, a few of us Brits explain the superiority of selling stamps as "1st" and "2nd" insttead of by value for letters. In contrast to other countries which sell them only by value, so you need to buy more when the prices go up. A few random comments down the line, and a response I get is:
here, the first class stamps have the amount on the stamp, it doesn't just say first class.
Why, yes, we know, that is indeed the whole topic of the conversation.

I would put this comment on [livejournal.com profile] mock_the_stupid but, well, it was on [livejournal.com profile] mock_the_stupid. So I share it here, just because.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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