karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I have been of the opinion, since I was around 11 or 12 or so that my name is my name and I will never change it. My name is a key part of my personal/individual identity [I get that this isn't the case for other people, who see names as things binding them to particular parts of their closer family]. I spent my childhood dealing with the disadvantages of a name others couldn't pronounce or spell (certainly primary school teachers of mine would spell it incorrectly and tell me I was wrong when I corrected them) or would make fun of. It was reasonably clear then that it was unusual/an identifying feature and as an adult and particularly with the creation/expansion of the internet, a name that isn't easily muddled for someone else is one hell of an advantage to have.

Other people have different views/experiences on this, which they're perfectly entitled to have, where names are perhaps a more fluid part of identity, connecting people with close parts of their family of origin or to a particular partner or to their family of choice and the bit of family they are most connected with changes over time. Other people use different names in different parts of their lives - a name for work and a name for home. I suspect there's considerable influence on some people's choices by institutionalised sexism, but you don't deal with that by removing or discouraging particular choices.

My main complaint here is not what people choose to call themselves in different times/different places, it's that systems/structures are not in place to reflect what people are choosing to do in terms of names. With some obvious exceptions, most of the time people who have altered their names want to be findable by both old and new name (or both home name and work name) or by a number of different names all at the same time and social media is not geared up for this. It expects people to have one name only. The same is true of things like passports (GB driving licences at least provide space on the paper counterpart for alternative signatures) - why can't passports and driving licences show someone's current preferred name and then give a list of previous names/also current names?

A lot of the problems that come with changing names (think serious professional ones, like publication records for academics and more mundane ones, like trying to cash a cheque addressed in the wrong name, the administration and paperwork involved in changing your name) primarily affect women, because it tends to be more women than men who alter their names could be avoided if we set up systems to explicitly recognise that Mrs Bloggs is also Miss Jones and that Miss Jones is still one of her names, even if she now prefers to be addressed as Mrs Bloggs, so colleagues, at the level of acquaintances she's not dealt with for some years can still find her on LinkedIn and she can cash cheques made payable to either name. Systems are easier to alter than human behaviour, so why not adapt systems that work better for current trends?
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Google isn't being a very good friend at the moment.

Does anyone know how I can alter the size of partitions of a hard drive on a computer? There are two partitions at the moment, one is very small and contains Windows and other software stuff and I want to make it bigger as there's only 9% free space on it. The other contains lots of unused space.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I've been using TweetCaster as an Android client for Twitter for ages and generally like it, but it's now taken to showing me retweets from people from whom I've unsubscribed from retweets. This is a minor annoyance, but one that is sufficiently annoying that I want to find an Android client that doesn't do this.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Edit - I'm happy to use a paid for app. I read enough Twitter that it's worthwhile spending money to get an app I like.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I wrote about today back in 2005.

I've already unfollowed about four people on Facebook and one on Twitter for suggesting her death is something to be celebrated. I'll keep doing that. *shrugs*. I feel very strongly indeed that:

(a) death is not something to be celebrated, ever [sometimes it's a relief]
(b) there's no good reason to be insulting a newly dead person. The insults can wait for a couple of months.
(c) how we treat and talk about the dead is important.

I see *celebration* of her death and insults directed at her as an ethical failing; a lack of compassion and of respect. [Disagreeing with her politics is an entirely different matter.].
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Have a post with screened comments, should you want to say anything to me post BiCon/for any other reason.

Will unscreen unless you say otherwise/the contents obviously shouldn't be public.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Yesterday evening, I went out to bring the blue (recycling) bin in and take the black (landfill) bin out. I discovered a red sticker had been placed on my bin indicating that the bin men had refused to empty it as it contained non-recyclable items.

I dug into the bin, removed the coat hangers, someone had placed there, noticed there was a beef burger in a bun and then began to see the cigarette butts. Lots and lots of damp, smelly, cigarette butts, someone had decided the appropriate place to dispose of was my reycling bin. FFS.

Why do people do that sort of thing? There were lots of black bins in the same place as my blue bin and I cannot conceive of a recycling scheme that might accept cigarette butts for recycling. Surely, if you're going to use someone else's bin, because it's convenient, you at least have the courtesy to pick the correct kind of bin for your rubbish?
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Feeling both that I disagree with a lot of the policital points being made and the means of making them within online circles of people I know whilst also seeking approval from others. The two don't go together. I've misplaced whatever it is that enables me to be a good lone voice or a good dissenting view. So, in an attempt to find some of that again:-

1. I think public spending cuts are inevitable in the current economic climate.

2. I don't agree with where some of the cuts are falling as there seems to be a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable in society.

3. Whilst I agree that everyone (companies and people) should pay the tax they owe, I consider that it's an enormous oversimplification of several different issues to suggest that unpaid tax from particular large corporations magically fixes the national debt or removes the need for public spending reductions.

4. I agree people have the right to protest by marching through the streets if they want. But I'm pissed off at the justifications I'm seeing for damaging property. No, it's not OK. And beyond that, I find it very hard to understand why people put themselves in harms way like this to make this particular point. If we know the police will use 'kettling' and we can reasonably assume within a very large event that there will be small groups of people out to cause trouble, then why join a protest march?

5. I'm reasonably happy with the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition so far. [There are individual decisions I would criticise, but over all they're not bad].
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Before I spend money calling a plumber.... there is currently a hammer sitting on my toilet to aid with flushing it as it is not flushing well and has to be pumped with a hammer to get it to flush.

I can't work out how to take the cistern lid off. I have a dual flush system with buttons flat on the top of the cistern. I have already:

*cut through the grouting holding it to the wall behind it

*taken the metal coverings off the buttons on the toilet.

Under the metal buttons are two pieces of plastic, each connected to a short spring down to a further circular metal base. I can't currently work out how to take the plastic off the springs (if you're meant to do that) or how to take the springs out of their holes so I can get to the bit beneath the springs.

There's got to be a way of lifting the cistern lid off and I'm finding my inability to work it out frustrating. Anybody got any ideas?

Car buying

Oct. 8th, 2010 08:41 pm
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Am thinking quite seriously about buying a car again. I am becoming less enthuastic about cycling in this weather and it's only autumn - we've not yet reached winter/properly dark mornings. I don't (whatever the 'ought to's are) see this changing. And what's happening at the minute is that I'm taking cabs to and from work a lot, which means I'm tied to ordering a cab for a specific time and leaving at that time (assuming the company can supply me with one when I want one).

Stuff I want to know about cars:

Am I right in thinking that finance deals offered by car selling places are generally very bad value and that it's better to borrow money elsewhere and pay cash?

Is it possible to pay for a car on a credit card?

How long should I expect to be able to keep a car in good working order for? If I buy a car now should I be expecting to replace it in 5/10 years time?

What's the best trade off between cars made in the UK and cars made elsewhere with expensive replacement parts? ie. how do I weigh up the expense of replacement parts vs. potentially greater reliability?

I see road fund duty is for cars after 2001 based on CO2 emissions with a different table for 2001-2009 cars and a new one for post 2010 cars. How much emphasis should I put on low CO2 emissions vs. other stuff? We can't predict govt policy, but would it be reasonable to assume that the trend towards taxing the more polluting cars more heavily will continue and thus buying something with low emissions is a good plan? [trying to give that appropriate weight vs. the attempt at making myself feel less bad for joining the car owning masses 'cos 'my car doesn't cause much pollution']

What is good performance in terms of miles per gallon?

What is best practice in terms of winter/summer tyres? Can you buy snow chains in the UK? What other sorts of safety equipment belong in a car [on my list already: fire extinguisher, first aid kit, hammer for breaking windows/seatbelt slicing, jack, spare tyre, flourescent jacket, kitchen roll]

What's your magic piece of equipment in a car? [context: I'm trying to think about what sort of things I should think about asking a garage to fit before I buy a car from them - I don't know what sorts of things these might be - maybe strategically placed drinks holders? hands free kit? etc]
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
X marks will close fairly soon. Does anyone have any personal recommendations for bookmarking stuff either firefox plug ins or otherwise. Criteria:

* I don't want to change browser, I like Firefox
* I don't want something aimed at sharing bookmarks with other people

Lemming

Sep. 1st, 2010 09:55 am
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Since everyone else is doing it and I see no particular reason not to, if you have stuff you want to say to me in a screened comment, go ahead in this post. I've never worked out why people like these things rather than email, but there we go. I don't care if it's stuff about BiCon (maybe you didn't find me to talk to me about something?) or other stuff (maybe there's stuff I write about I've failed to give context for or similar).

Egg

Aug. 19th, 2010 10:23 am
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Was really not very amused when the phone rang just after 8am this morning. I was expecting it to be someone-important-for-work-reasons not a computer generated voice with some sort of voice recognition system.

It's fundamentally bad security for a bank to be phoning me asking for security details. How am I supposed to tell that it is the bank and not a criminal scam?

I phoned them back about an hour later and again got an automated answering system, wanting me to talk to it before I could get through to a person who confirmed the automated phone call was Egg and that I had to go through to their security team.

Egg is only worth putting up with because Egg Money Manager is useful. Otherwise they could fuck right off with their computer generated speech calls at uncivilised hours of the morning and lack of alternative provision to the automated answering system to enable one to speak to a human.

Eee PC

Aug. 18th, 2010 03:43 pm
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
<abuse of internet>If I want a roll up, flexible keyboard to go with my Eee PC (which runs the ASUS operating system, not Windows) which sort of keyboard do I want? </abuse of internet>
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Posting so that I can put these leaflets in the recyling bin and cutting for boredom Read more... )
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Cutting for boredom to those not interested in UK politics Read more... )
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Cutting for likely boredom due to politics overload. Read more... )
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
If you're a member of Convocation, you can now register to vote in the election for the Professor of Poetry.

I'm still willing to consider nominating anyone wanting to stand.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I've been feeling fairly exposed on LiveJournal, in relation to the numbers of people able to access my locked content who weren't (apparently) reading it and to a lesser extent in relation to people able to read my locked content whose content I wasn't reading. For this reason I've removed a whole pile of journals from my LiveJournal friends list and removed a number of journals from filters I use to post to. I've also removed some journals that look like they've been abandoned.

I'm almost certainly willing to add back anyone who was reading but not commenting much or anyone with an abandoned journal who comes back and starts using it again.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I don't really want to continue with British Gas Homecare as British Gas, as a company, have irritated me enormously over the past year. The cost of what they propose for the next year "Homecare 200 Flexi" is £150. This includes an annual service.

Google has led me to Homeserve and I like the look of Easy Pay Gas Central Heating Cover. I know there is no cover for the first 28 days of the policy. It will cost £86.30 for the year. [The cost for the alternative product including an annual service is £153.42]

My boiler is at least 19 years old, if not closer to 29 years old. It would be eligible for the £400 government grant for replacing it, but that isn't something I want to do right now.

Given the age of the boiler, am I right in thinking that I should probably find insurance cover/a service contract that includes an annual service? [I'm not going to go with Homeserve's product as it's more expensive, but will keep looking].

Does anyone know anything about Homeserve?

Anyone have any other pearls of wisdom regarding heating cover products they want to share?

Edit

AOS are more expensive than British Gas and require someone to come out and see the system before you can apply for cover.
Domestic and General won't cover my boiler as it's a conventional boiler over 15 years old.
EON won't cover my postcode
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
If you are in the UK and didn't register to vote during the annual canvas in October 2009, you should register to vote soon, as there must be a general election on or before 3rd June 2010. The deadline for registering will be 11 working days before the election and it's possible that an election could be called at short notice (rather than May, which is when I would expect it to be called).

Also, if you are in England and Wales, some counties have opened library registration to people who don't live within the area but live elsewhere within England and Wales - Westminster (has a number of reference/special interest libraries), Southwark, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire (to those in neighbouring counties, not all of England and Wales).
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I know other people have tried to do similar things to this in the past and not got very far because comment conversations are still very LJ centric, but I'm going to give it a try. What I'm trying to work out is who I can stop reading on LJ and read on DW instead. I still don't have any intention of not reading LJ any more, but I want to try to move over to reading more stuff on DW. For the purposes of the poll I'm assuming people are using the same usernames on both sites - I know that's not true, hence why there's a second poll. Very unusually for me, I am screening all comments to this entry to allow people to tell me about what they're doing with any other accounts/anything else they're happy to tell me but not the whole world. I will unscreen comments on request.

Poll #2102 DW + LJ usage
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 21


From the account/username I'm answering this poll from I

View Answers

post the same content to DW + LJ
11 (52.4%)

post different content to DW + LJ
2 (9.5%)

only post to LJ
5 (23.8%)

only post to DW
1 (4.8%)

do something else
2 (9.5%)



Poll #2103 DW + other usernames
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 0

I have a different user name on DW. It is:

I have a separate blog/website you should know about. It is:

Mapping

Jan. 10th, 2010 03:20 pm
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
I didn't know about Elgin till Friday - it's the electronic local government information network and fascinating, if you're into this kind of thing - some LAs show gritting routes, others bus stops and nearly all show roadworks on a much more local level than I've seen elsewhere.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
The reporting of this story on the BBC Radio 4 1pm news today (no transcript available) is worse than the webpage itself. The obesity experts (from the Obesity Forum) are explicitly saying 'we don't care what the science says' - they're not saying 'we're not sure if the study was conducted properly and we need some more evidence to be certain', but are openly, (and indeed without adequate challenge from the journalists), wanting to willfully ignore recommendations that are coming from scientists, because of the 'obesity epidemic'.

It's 2009, research looking again at recommended calorie intake that was done in 1991 is now 18 years old, so it probably is time to look at it again with the benefit of new developments/research techniques/knowledge gained in the past 18 years. The report is from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition - that's a link to a summary of the findings. The report itself.

It's entirely possible to consider, on the balance of the evidence, that obesity is bad and wrong and evil (or simply to consider as many do that being a 'normal' weight is healthy and being an 'abnormal' weight is unhealthy) and still be opposed to the mangaling of science like this - namely, wanting to suppress and ignore the research stating that the recommended calorie intake should be increased by 16% from the 1991 recommendations.

I'm quite surprised at the lack of critical challenge by the BBC journalists - I expect better of Radio 4, because the point being made is so clearly wrong. I'm also quite pleased at the huge hole the Obesity Forum is digging for itself. It's (in this instance, leaving aside generalised fatphobia) leaving itself so open for attack, it should be child's play to shoot it down. Though that said, the SACN summary findings are clearly written against a background of DangerDangerObesity, so they perhaps aren't all that confident in their own recommendations cf:

Revised reference values should not be interpreted to mean that individuals or groups should increase their energy intake. Energy expenditure needs to increase in relation to energy intake from food to reduce the number of overweight and obese people.

I do actually agree with the point that a change in the reference values shouldn't lead to people concluding they automatically now require an extra slice of bread or portion of chips. On the other hand, one has to wonder at the culture where grown ups would rather trust a government recommendation about how many calories they need to consume rather than their own body's signals of hunger. And their second sentence is a linguistic nightmare. We go from the individual to the national without proper thought. Even if it is accepted that reducing the number of overweight and obese people is a good public policy goal, it makes no sense to jump from recommending increased exercise in relation to food intake - which is an individual recommendation to the effect this would have on the total numbers of people classed as overweight and obese without linking the two things together and considering the other complex social factors involved.

SACN fully endorses current recommendations on physical activity that adults should participate in at least 30 minutes of activity of moderate intensity on five or more days a week, while children and young people should aim for 60 minutes every day.

And the expertise of SACN to endorse that recommendation comes from where? It's an advisory committee on nutrition, not an advisory committee with expertise in appropriate exercise levels. It's not recommendation different reference values for people who have particular high energy expenditure eg. Olympic swimmers, coal miners, breast feeding mothers, people recovering from surgery etc. It's toeing the party line, despite its evident lack of expert knowledge to make such an endorsement.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
On Friday I finally received my Law Society Membership card, having been waiting for it since July 2008. It doesn't really entitle me to anything I couldn't have got in other ways (use of the Law Society's library in Chancery Lane/some discounts the Law Society has negotiated with companies) but it's nice to finally have it.

Television

Oct. 12th, 2009 04:55 pm
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
In more important news, over the weekend, I've lost reception for Channel 4, so I now have BBC1, BBC2 and ITV and that's it:-( I've tried searching through the whole spectrum and can't find Channel 4 at all (apart from something very blury at about the place it always used to be). I don't imagine there's anything else I can do to get it back? I'm already using an aerial booster. [Freeview doesn't work, I have the wrong sort of aerial and the aerial company couldn't fit me one that would work because the sugar beet factory is the way, I'm intending to set up Freesat at some point in the future (once the satellite decoder boxes are cheaper), so I'm after a temporary solution]