BCS
Balgove
tobyaw
Is there any point to BCS (British Computer Society) membership?

I’ve been a member since forever (MBCS CITP), but the fees are high and have been increasing at a rate far ahead of inflation and wages. I’m finding it hard to see any professional or personal benefit from membership.

Anthrax
Balgove
tobyaw
Delighted to have tickets to see Anthrax in concert in February.

I noticed they were touring this year when Beth’s latest issue of Metal Hammer fell open at an advert for the tour. I thought about the Barrowlands date, but that is in the middle of Beth’s half-term when we are due to be down in Nottingham. It turns out they are playing Rock City in Nott’m that same week. Perfect.

When I was at school, I had classmates who regularly went to Rock City. Never been myself (most of my school-era concerts were at the Nott’m Royal Concert Hall, or at the Birmingham NEC once I was driving) — so quite amused that I’ll be matching that teenage experience at the age of forty-four.

This will be the first time I’ll be seeing Anthrax live, despite having loved their music since the 1980s. Pretty sure the first Anthrax album I heard was 1988’s State of Euphoria, although I’ve probably listened to Among the Living more than any other.

Sadly the concert is 14+, so we can’t take Beth to this one, but kateaw should enjoy it.

Reader
Balgove
tobyaw
I read almost all web pages using the “reader” mode in Safari. It would be great if pages could open automatically in reader mode if they have suitable content; it looks like Twitter are testing defaulting to reader mode in their iOS app, so perhaps we are seeing movement in that direction.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/31/twitter-tests-ad-blocking-reader-mobile

It is refreshing to read content from news sites without seeing menus, logos, adverts, sidebars, downloadable fonts, popups, comments, or, for that matter, any aspect of page design.

Voting for independence
Balgove
tobyaw
Before the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of country I wanted to live in, and how it should relate to the wider world. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t possible to make a decision based on facts, well-argued analysis, and expert predictions. Rather, I identified the issues that were most relevant to the way I thought about our governance, and made my decision based on how I felt about those issues. And I was happy to vote for independence.

Looking at the key issues that drove my decision:

  • I believe in localism (in a positive way). We ought to have smaller political units that are more closely connected to the people who live in them. A smaller country is a better country. And that power should be devolved down to the smallest practical political unit.

  • The Westminster government is distant from Scotland, and from Scottish priorities. (This is not to say that it is undemocratic, but rather that Scottish priorities are not well represented).

  • National institutions inevitably have an English focus, and Scotland is often regarded as “them” rather than “us”.

  • Immigration is seen as a major problem in much of England. It isn’t regarded in the same way in Scotland, and as a nation we would welcome more immigrants.

  • The emphasis of our tax system needs to be different. Scotland has a much smaller percentage of top-rate tax payers, and needs to be more active in adapting our tax system to encourage inward investment (perhaps by offering a different model of corporation tax).

  • Scottish industries — oil, whisky, ship building, fishing, finance, technology — need specific and active support from the government.

Thinking about those, and similar, issues in relation to Britain in Europe, I’m convinced that voting to leave Europe is the right decision on Thursday. This is not an anti-European or anti-foreigner stance, but a genuine belief that we are not served well by further European integration. A belief that Britain can prosper, and indeed push ahead of Europe with economic performance and with social issues. An escape from the pervasive belief that a larger institution always knows best. And an escape from the bureacracy, cronyism, corruption, and lack of democracy in many of the European institutions.

I can understand arguments from both sides of the referendum, and can see many different points of view on each side (and many distinct reasons why people would vote to leave or vote to remain). But I hope that everyone votes for a positive reason — because they believe in the direction they are voting for, rather than because they are afraid of the alternative.

Collecting platinum points in My Nintendo
Balgove
tobyaw
There are 120 points to collect on a weekly basis. From observation, the week starts on a Monday.

PointsActivityInstructions
30Visit the official Nintendo website while signed in to your Nintendo AccountVisit http://www.nintendo.co.uk
30Collect the My Nintendo sign-in bonusVisit https://my.nintendo.com then click on the coin that appears next to your Mii
30Sign in to MiiverseVisit https://miiverse.nintendo.net then collect the points at https://my.nintendo.com/missions
30Sign in to Nintendo eShopVisit the eShop on Wii U or 3DS then collect the points at https://my.nintendo.com/missions


There are 35 points to collect on a daily basis, from playing Miitomo. Once each of these has been achieved you’ll usually get a notification in Miitomo, which collects the points, but if you don’t, then the points can be collected on the Missions page.

PointsActivity
10Get 5 comments on your answers in one day
10Get 5 hearts on your answers in one day
5Give 3 answers in one day
5Listen to your friends' answers 10 times in one day
5Change your outfit once in a day


There is another (possibly weekly) activity, “Answer the featured question”, which nets 25 points. I’m not yet sure when that changes.

Check your point earning at https://my.nintendo.com/point/history

Big Finish
Balgove
tobyaw
Away from home for a few days, and my entertainment of choice is catching up with some Big Finish audio plays. I only buy them when they’re on offer, but I’ve amassed quite a collection over the years, and there is satisfaction in knowing that they keep producing drama to such a consistently high standard.

And it is a pleasant escape from the mass of miserable-looking people, to be able to wander around Shoreditch of an evening, headphones on and a smile on my face.

London
Balgove
tobyaw
On the train to London at the moment, for a few days of work. Does anybody fancy meeting for dinner in or near Shoreditch this week? I’m around until Friday.

Phone book
Balgove
tobyaw
A dull thud in the hall as a new phone book came through the letter box this morning. For years now we’ve put the phone books and yellow pages straight in the paper recycling as soon as they arrive — they provide no value to us.

I left kateaw peeling vegetables in the kitchen while I followed the delivery chappie down the road; I flagged down his car as he was leaving the street and handed the phone book back to him. He seemed rather cautious while winding his window down — I wonder whether he is used to getting a negative response to his junk mail. Or maybe me waving a phone book at him wasn’t a welcoming sight.

Ad blocking
Balgove
tobyaw
Years ago, when I actually bought physical paper magazines, I remember the routine of shaking a magazine in the newsagent, before buying it, to get rid of all of the advertising inserts. Pretty sure some newsagents provided a bin for that purpose. I suppose that was primitive, physical, ad blocking.

Now I can’t come to terms with buying something that will be disposed of when I’ve finished reading it. It is mad that we create so much printed material that will meet the recycling bin.

Political opinions, and shy Tories
Balgove
tobyaw
I look at my friends and colleagues, and see a wide variety of political opinions. I might disagree with somebody’s politics, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have good reasons for their beliefs, and it doesn’t stop me valuing them and liking them. And arguing with them.

It seems to me this is a basic requirement for living in a democracy: the acceptance that other people’s opinions are as heartfelt as one’s own, and that just because they see the world a different way, it doesn’t make them bad. I strongly believe that most people are honest and caring, even though that may be expressed in different ways.

From observation I think that many people on the right of politics look at that on the left with a little condescension, perhaps with a belief that most people grow out of left-wing politics as they assume the responsibility of life, but see them as being well-meaning if misguided.

More worrying is the intolerance of some of those on the left of politics, who use hate language to describe those on the right. This has always occurred, but is more apparent than before on social media. There is a disconnection between lefties using words like scum, evil, and fascist, and the reality of Tory voters’ concerns.

Which has to go a long way to explain the “shy Tory” factor; Tory voters are less likely than others to identify as such in opinions polls, in normal social interactions, and online. It is saner to avoid rather than engage with the intolerance and bigotry of those who fling around insults yet make no effort to understand others’ politics.

I wonder whether we will see a parallel “shy Labour” factor in Scotland, since so many anti-Labour insults have been flying around.
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