“Basic IT for Idiots”

[Scene: a classroom. there are people staring blankly at the computers before them. Teacher enters and faces them]

“Hello Class, and welcome to day one of ‘IT for total morons’. If you look you will see that in front of you is a sheet of paper with the operating instructions for your computer. The words are all of one syllable so you do not get confused. The paper next to it has diagrams about how to use your PC. This if the words are too hard for you to comprehend. NOW, if you look carefully you will also notice that I am holding in my hands a BASEBALL BAT with a Spike through it: This is for when you don’t understand the diagrams! Any questions?”

WHAT will happen next? You decide!

1AM and Sober: Insomnia strikes!

When I was a kid (far too long ago) I and my compatriots watched a lot of TV. TV back then wasn’t as slick as it is now, but it wasn’t as bloated either, and they made some very good programs of all stripes, be it drama, documentary, or Comedy: Ask anyone that has seen the ITV documentary series “The World At War”, or laughed themselves to death watching “The Goodies” (which happened, by the way!). And this was in the days when BBC didn’t broadcast before noon (except during party conferences and the TUC conference), and all TV stations shut down by 11PM. Then as now, though,  a lot of the stuff was American, and being 6 years old you’re easily impressed, and things like “The Streets of San Francisco” or “Hawaii Five-0” really managed to do that! I thought America was GREAT! All these GADGETS you saw them using; Televisions with a REMOTE CONTROL! We didn’t even get a colour telly until 1974! And these ones would change channel without the words “Liam, put it onto BBC2 will you?”. Those wonderful HUGE cars with so much chrome you got Arc-Eye if you looked at them in strong sunlight, all that variation in weather; to me back then it looked like THE place to live……

However (and you knew there was one of those coming along, didn’t you?), after watching the  USA for the last 25 years, and the last 2 Presidential Elections in particular, and watching the Republican Parties response to both those losses, along with the actions of many of their supporters and elected members, not to mention people like Ted Nugent and his tweets, or those other people that think it’s fun to throw around the “N” word, I have REALLY changed my mind. We have people like that in the UK, but they’re generally members of Neo-Nazi or Far-Right parties, NOT one of the groups that is considered mainstream! The language used would probably pull up even the most ardent racist in this country, and although I’m sure there are more than a couple of racist nutballs in the various parties that exist they’re not the REPRESENTATIVE group, and they’re certainly not the ones even “Call Me Dave” Cam-Moron would shove in front of a TV crew to pledge their support for him. America always called itself the”Land of Opportunity” and “The Land of the Free”, but somewhere along the line they seem to have dragged the middle of the 19th century along with them where the term “Free” can be twisted according to whatever the latest Eugenic theory on “Inferior Races” was, and made it into a TV spectacle. “Obama was born in Kenya/Is Muslim/Eats Babies”; what you’re saying is “HE AIN’T THE SAME COLOUR AS US!”; well guess what, there are LOTS of people around the world that aren’t the same colour as us, and a lot of them were born in the USA, so you either have to adapt to it or die. America is a nation of Migrants, originally from Europe, but when the English slavers decided Tobacco and Cotton were big money they took their “Property” with them, and eventually even they realised that this “Property” was in fact Human. Then other people that had been enslaved in other parts of European empires started to move to the USA; West Indians, Indians, Hispanics from the former Spanish colonies, Africans from the British Commonwealth…  When you’re descended from Migrants yourself it doesn’t matter how long ago they came over: YOU ARE STILL DESCENDED FROM SOMEONE NOT BORN IN THE USA!

It all made me very angry that my illusions were destroyed about America, and it seems the “Land of the Free” needs to loosen up a bit before it does itself an injury.

Facebook, Activism, and Censorship.

The following is a C&P from a group on FB. Read this.

Facebook attempts to shut down the voice of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World

Nov 7, 2012 – On the morning of November 7, 2012, the 5 admins of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World log into Facebook, to find out that one’s account has been blocked for 30 days, another for 3 days, 2 others for 24 hours, and 1 other received a warning notification.
According to Facebook, those persons had violated its policy by sharing a post asking for supporting Dana Bakdounes on Twitter. The message that was sent to the admins as the reasoning for the ban from Facebook was: “You have posted a content that violates Facebook Community Rules, the post says: Follow us on Twitter @UprisingOFWomen. Support Dana with hashtag #WindToDana”

Dana Bakdounes is one the hundreds of women and men who participated in the Uprising of Women in the Arab World campaign, holding a sign expressing the reason why they support this uprising. Dana’s slogan stated: “I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world because for 20 years I wasn’t allowed to feel the wind in my hair and on my body”, and her picture showed an unveiled woman carrying her passport with her picture when she was veiled.

Dana’s picture was initially posted on October 21, among many other photos and statements of women and men of various religious beliefs and practices (some women were veiled, some unveiled, some in niqab…), all demanding women’s rights and equally enjoying the freedom of speech, in a secular space that promotes tolerance and embraces the differences. But on October 25, Facebook chose to censor Dana’s image and to suspend for 24 hours the account of the admin who posted it. This incident provoked an outrage among the defenders of freedom of speech who started sharing Dana’s picture all over Facebook, Twitter and other media channels.

On October 28, persuaded that Facebook had mistakenly taken down the photo due to abusive reports of haters of the Page and that the photo held no offensive content, and seeing that it was all over the web, we uploaded it again. A few hours later, Facebook removed it again and blocked another admin’s account for 7 days.

However on October 31, Facebook restored Dana’s censored photo to The Uprising of Women in the Arab World page without any notice nor explanation, although it didn’t lift the ban on the admin’s account which ended on November 5.

On November 7, all 5 admins of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World’s Page received threats by Facebook for the reasons mentioned earlier that their accounts may be permanently deleted. The repeated temporary blockades on the admins’ personal accounts with no clear motive or explanation show a direct attack on The Uprising of Women in The Arab World’s Page. It also raises serious questions about the true intentions behind FB’s policies, and whether Dana’s “controversial” image is a mere excuse to shut down the voice of the Uprising of Women in The Arab World. 
(Note that during the past 3 weeks, we have wrote to Facebook several times asking for explanation about their censorship but received no response at all.)

Today more than ever we want to say to the world that our voices will not be silenced, not by Facebook, nor by patriarchy, dictatorships, military rule and/or religious extremism. They may be temporarily denied, overlooked, censored or whitewashed, but only to be uttered once again. We will continue to write on the dividing walls of fear, submission and defamation, if not tear them down. 

The Uprising of Women in the Arab World has already hit the streets! Our slogan is printed on t-shirts in Damascus, riding bicycles in Marseille, being tagged from walls of Mohamed Mahmoud street of Cairo to private home walls in Riyadh, and will soon be all over the world. Schools and universities are organizing workshops inspired by the campaign, films are being shot, music composed, as tens of thousands of women have decided that enough was enough. The wall of silence has been broken. The revolution continues. 

– Ends – 

For more information regarding The Uprising of Women in the Arab World page:
Email: arabwomenuprise@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/intifadat.almar2a
Twitter: @UprisingOfWomen

Amateur Radio and the RSGB

I am a licensed Radio Ham. I’ve been into radio for years, and a few years ago manage to pass the Foundation License test, and then the Intermediate. I love radio communications; the ability to contact someone several hundred, or even THOUSANDS of miles away using just radio waves can bring about a great feeling (one which you won’t get on the Internet or telephone). Then you find out that the organisation that is supposed to look out for and represent the interests of Radio Hams have done something VERY nasty to a long established Radio club. There now follows an open letter to the RSGB from a disgruntled Intermediate license holder about the treatment of Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Club at their long established site in Bletchley Park. 

******

Dear Fellow Radio Amateur,
My apologies for emailing you in this way.
Practical Wireless have, today published a letter on the background to the impending departure of Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society from Bletchley Park .
On the 19th October 2012 I submitted a similar letter to RadCom, the magazine of the RSGB. After an email exchange with the Editor, they offered to publish a short summary of the letter only (600 instead of 1500 words) and to publish the letter in full on the RadCom page of their website.
After careful thought, I declined to give them my support in so doing. The letter is as long as I believed was necessary to tell the whole story. My view is that the wider amateur radio community should be be given the full picture, so that people can come to their own view based on all of the facts.
The RSGB may go ahead and publish a summary in RadCom. Or they may, after all, decide to publish in full. That is a matter for them. But, on the assumption that they will not, I am forwarding it to known amateur radio clubs and contacts.
I consider it an “open” letter – so please distribute or publish as you wish.
Here, is the full letter:
“The Editor
Radcom
3 Abbey Court
Fraser Road
Priory Business Park
Bedford MK44 3WH
19th October 2012
FOR PUBLICATION
Sir,
I should firstly clarify that I am writing in a personal capacity and not on behalf of MKARS.
Graham Coomber’s comments in November’s Radcom, that the RSGB has “considerable sympathy” for Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society (MKARS) following the decision to evict the Club from Bletchley Park in January 2013, might be more welcome had the RSGB’s played no part. But the real story behind the Club’s eviction, after almost twenty years, make his comments disingenuous, to say the least.
MKARS was formed in 1958. Its members had long campaigned to save Bletchley Park from the bulldozer and, to support its public opening, the Club took up residence at the Park in 1994. Since then the Club has worked tirelessly to support Bletchley Park , to explain the part radio amateurs played in the War and to raise the public profile of amateur radio in the context of the Bletchley Park story. Our efforts at Bletchley Park will best be known to many Radcom readers through GB2BP which is, today, one of Britain ‘s best known resident museum amateur radio stations and through which the Club has made many friends all over the world.
>From the outset it was clear that the RSGB’s decision to come to Bletchley Park represented a threat to the position of MKARS as the resident radio society at the Park, not least because the site occupied by the MKARS hut was identified by the RSGB as their preferred location for the NRC. Despite the concerns, MKARS worked closely with the then RSGB General Manager who, to his credit, recognised the RSGB’s responsibilities towards the Club and prioritised the Club, both in negotiations with BP management and in the planning of the NRC. On the back of assurances given to the Club, MKARS fully and publicly supported development of the NRC.
To make way for the NRC, MKARS vacated their hut (which was subsequently demolished), handed over their antenna site on top of B-block and dismantled their GB2BP station in B-block, the museum’s main building. In return, the RSGB’s then GM supported MKARS in first securing and then renovating alternative accommodation (at Generator House 2). To set the record straight: – the RSGB paid for a new wooden floor in the main hall and side door to the premises, MKARS fitted the floor in the smaller room, redecorated, installed new electrics, heating and installed the MKARS shack.
At this time MKARS and the RSGB had a close working relationship born out of mutual respect for the requirements of both organisations. The RSGB needed to complete the much delayed NRC and to make it operational for which it required volunteers – MKARS needed a strong advocate in its negotiations with Bletchley Park management to bolster its position at the Park.
One of the agreements reached between the Club and the RSGB at this time was to integrate the Club’s station (GB2BP) into the NRC, with MKARS/GB2BP on the air from the new NRC shack most weekends, and the RSGB/GB3RS operational during the week (along with the RSGB’s planned education, outreach and archives etc).
However, following the unexpected departure of the General Manager in 2011, the RSGB’s approach to the NRC and its attitude towards MKARS and Bletchley Park changed. The RSGB imposed a strict house style on all operations at the NRC and limited operations to GB3RS, excluding the use of GB2BP from the NRC. This forced MKARS operators, who wished to keep GB2BP on the air, into running the station at Generator House 2, undermining the Club’s visibility and profile at the Park.
Since the Club’s priorities were, out of necessity, to support Bletchley Park events (which it continues to do – at least for now) and to keep GB2BP on the air, fewer volunteers were available to assist the RSGB with GB3RS and the NRC. This situation wasn’t helped by the attitude of certain RSGB personnel -comments about the ability of MKARS members to run a `professional’demonstration amateur radio station (odd, given that it had been doing so for almost twenty years) and the need to avoid the NRC becoming a “club shack”,among others, served to alienate an already troubled MKARS membership.
>From a position of working in partnership with the RSGB, MKARS found itself excluded, as a club, from the NRC and having lost its position at the centre of the museum, increasingly marginalised at the Park. From Bletchley Park ‘s perspective, they now had a bigger resident radio society and a better radio exhibit in the NRC, notwithstanding the fact that the part amateur radio played in the Bletchley Park story was omitted from the NRC exhibit.
For its part the RSGB gave every impression of having one concern and one concern only: – to get the NRC finished and open, at all costs. MKARS had been of value to the RSGB in so far as it provided a source of volunteers to help run the NRC. When the volunteers didn’t materialise in the expected number (for the reasons discussed), the Club had presumably outlived its usefulness so far as the RSGB was concerned.
It would, of course, be unreasonable to lay the blame for the eviction of MKARS from Bletchley Park at the door of the RSGB. And it is only fair to acknowledge that after the decision to evict the Club was announced there were, apparently, some discussions between the RSGB and Bletchley Park about the Club’s position. It is also fair to acknowledge that an interim RSGB board member, who is also an MKARS member, did what he could to support the Club in making detailed and lengthy submissions to the Bletchley Park Trust.
But from the moment they decided to locate the NRC at the Park, where MKARS had been the resident radio society for almost twenty years, the RSGB had a moral responsibility, as a our national radio society (and, by the way, one to which MKARS has been affiliated for many years) to act in the best interests of MKARS, as well as their own. Your readers will have their own view about whether they think the RSGB met those responsibilities. But readers might also like to know that at no time, since the eviction was announced, has there been any acknowledgement from the RSGB that they are in any way responsible for the Club’s present plight nor indeed, any direct assistance.
The eviction of MKARS from Bletchley will be a tragedy, not least because of the impact it will inevitably have on the Club. But Bletchley Park isn’t some featureless business park in downtown Bedford . It is one of few major museums in Britain with a direct relevance to the history of amateur radio. Much of the intelligence decoded there was obtained through radio and, in particular, through the efforts of radio amateurs who joined the Radio Security Service and who worked for the “Y”Service during the War. The RSGB has no interest in telling these stories -certainly, no attempt has been made to do so at the NRC. Neither will it support the many Bletchley Park events – month in month out – supported by MKARS over the years (even if Bletchley Park is under the impression that it will). What the RSGB doesn’t seem to understand is that the decision to come to Bletchley Park carried with it responsibilities not just to MKARS but to the heritage of amateur radio at Bletchley Park .
Because of the inability of the RSGB to staff the NRC, it has already become a mainly static exhibit, although due to the efforts of a small number of volunteers who have persevered regardless (some of whom are, believe it or not, MKARS members), GB3RS is occasionally on the air from Bletchley Park . Sadly, after 17 years of regular operation, GB2BP will, from December 2012, only appear as an occasional special event station, if indeed MKARS is invited on to the Park to operate it.
Instead of standing idly by and expressing his sympathy while MKARS is evicted, Graham Coomber could explain why the RSGB came to Bletchley Park in the first place? The RSGB may have their 25 year lease, but there are 120 members of MKARS wondering how the RSGB has acted to support their local club in this sorry affair. Perhaps Graham could explain that too.
Some of us are also wondering whether, in the years to come, there will be anyone at the Park to explain the part that radio amateurs played in the Bletchley story. It would be the ultimate irony if it was the arrival of Britain ‘s national amateur radio society that signalled the decline of an active amateur radio presence at Bletchley Park .
Andy Brown 2E0VPX
andy_c_brown@hotmail.com

The Danny Baker being dropped by the BBC thing…….

There’s been a lot on Twitter about Danny Baker having his company dropped by the BBC just as he enters the Radio Hall of Fame. Now to be fair I don’t care for his work: He always struck me as a Cock-Er-Nee bloke that got lucky and ended up as a “Media Sleb” for reasons that nobody has ever explained to me, but the way some people are banging on about this is outrageous! Prodnose IS NOT going to be scraping to pay his rent because the Beeb have dropped him, and he’ll probably be snapped up by an Indy in a moment so he’s not likely to be unemployed for long; OTHER people working in less noticed areas however (like the NHS!), are losing their jobs EN MASS, and they WILL have problems with paying rent, feeding themselves, heating their homes etc. and they actually DO something other than sit in a studio playing records and waffling about whatever vapour enters their vacant minds! And some of the people “Up In Arms” are the kind of fuckers that wouldn’t have given Baker the time of day 30 years ago; Stephen Fry is complaining about it, ffs! Fry uses more talent when he’s taking a shit than Baker has displayed in the last 30 fucking years! You may have noticed that last weekend a small HURRICANE knocked the shit out of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba before moving across to the USA and demolishing large parts of infrastructure and property in NY/NJ and parts of Canada, but you are more concerned with a fat cockney cunt losing a cushy little number. Stephen Fry, Mitch Benn, and others have dropped in my opinion, but DB was never even ON that list so they’re safe for now, which is more than can be said for the residents of Havana.

Chaucer

…  He was a man with a wicked satirical edge to his work: Here’s a sample.

 

THE SUMMONER’S PROLOGUE

High in his stirrups, then, the summoner stood;

Against the friar his heart, as madman’s would,

Shook like very aspen leaf, for ire.

“Masters,” said he, “but one thing I desire;

I beg of you that, of your courtesy,

Since you have heard this treacherous friar lie,

You suffer it that I my tale may tell!

This friar he boasts he knows somewhat of Hell,

And God He knows that it is little wonder;

Friars and fiends are never far asunder.

For, by gad, you have oftentimes heard tell

How such a friar was snatched down into Hell

In spirit, once, and by a vision blown;

And as an angel led him up and down

To show the pains and torments that there were,

In all the place he saw no friar there.

Of other folk he saw enough in woe;

And to the angel then he questioned so:

“‘Now, sir,’ said he, ‘have friars such a grace

That none of them shall come into this place?’

“‘Nay,’ said the angel, ‘millions here are thrown!’

And unto Sathanas he led him down.

“‘And now has Sathanas,’ said he, ‘a tail

Broader than of a galleon is the sail.

Hold up thy tail, thou Sathanas!’ said he,

“‘Show forth thine arse and let the friar see

Where is the nest of friars in this place!’

And ere one might go half a furlong’s space,

Just as the bees come swarming from a hive,

Out of the Devil’s arse-hole there did drive

Full twenty thousand friars in a rout,

And through all Hell they swarmed and ran about.

And came again, as fast as they could run,

And in his arse they crept back, every one.

He clapped his tail to and then lay right still.

This friar, when he’d looked at length his fill

Upon the torments of that sorry place,

His spirit God restored, of His high grace,

Into his body, and he did awake;

Nevertheless for terror did he quake

So was the Devil’s arse-hole in his mind,

Which is his future home, and like in kind.

God save all but this cursed friar here;

My prologue ends thus; to my tale give ear. – –

HERE ENDS THE PROLOGUE OF THE SUMMONER’S TALE