Aug. 6th, 2018 02:34 pm
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
*waves* at people reading. Happy to interact on Dreamwidth with BiCon-attending people though I'm not very good at posting to Dreamwidth these days.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
The fire at Grenfell Tower is amongst all sorts of other things, a reminder of something I learnt on 9/11.

Sometimes people, seemingly in authority, get it wrong and give out advice that is wrong for the situation. Blind obedience to advice can kill. Equally, in other circumstances, not following good advice can also kill. I know if I'd been in one of the World Trade Center Buildings and had been told to stay where I was I'd have done that. I'm older and less compliant nowadays. What would I have done if I'd been in Grenfell Tower? I don't know:-/

So, my advice, for what it's worth goes like this:

1. Nearly always you are the best judge of the situation on the ground, because you are there. There's an amusing pseudo-safety sign I've seen online that says something like "in the event of fire, evacuate the building before updating Facebook" and it's right. In an acute situation don't phone/email/poke the internet for help from friends or family instead of acting to get yourself somewhere safer. [Phone/email/internet for getting help if you *can't* help yourself to somewhere safer without help is different]
1.5. Teach children autonomy by stages as they can cope with it; the correct response to fire is to get out of the building and phone 999 before contacting a parent. You don't want your children not knowing how to act without your assistance, because there may be circumstances when you aren't there.
2. Advice from authority figures who are physically present with you vs. being on the phone stands IMO, a better chance of being accurate to your situation, but should still be subject to critical evaluation. Part of that critical evaluation might be that it's best to go along with for now, but that you need to keep the situation under review.
3. Advice can be perfectly good advice for most situations and still be wrong in your circumstances. Assume good faith, but remember they're people too and they make mistakes/don't have the same information you've got.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Joining the crowd and stopping cross posting to LJ after this post.

Not sure what I'm going to do about content that's on LJ - I probably want to (re)import comments, but I don't know how to do that and won't have time to look at this till the weekend. Probably not going to delete my LJ account but just won't use it. But not making a decision about that now.

I'm karen2205 on DW as well as LJ.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Rambling onto a screen. Won't ever get to actually do this Read more... )
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Hello world, first public post in ages.

Hayfever and sunglasses

I have suffered from hayfever for years, and have been aware that one of the recommendations to stop pollen getting to your eyes is to wear wrap around sunglasses. It's hard to get prescription lenses in wrap around sunglasses because of the shape of the lenses, so when you look in standard opticians you don't tend to see many wrap around frames. I am a full time glasses wearing person, so normal sunglasses aren't an option.

At the end of last year I finally worked my way round it (I think with help from commenters here) at a reasonable-ish price.

I ordered these frames then used that company's recommended reglazers, Ciliary Blue to have the lenses in the glasses replaced with tinted prescription lenses. I now have prescription sun glasses, in a wrap around frame for about £95, which while not being as cheap as some ways of getting prescription sunglasses, isn't IMO, bad, given that some places I'd been looking were advertising sunglasses at £300-£400.


Somebody on LJ pointed me at Dakine as a brand of rucksacks that are hardwearing and are a bit more interesting than plain black but with patterns that aren't out of place in an office, rather than ones that are more obviously designed for walking or camping. I now have one that I'm liking a lot.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
One of the things that keeps us safe from fraud/identity theft/other crimes of deception is the ability to think "wow there, something's not right here" and act on that feeling that something isn't right and at least needs further investigation.

Banks seem to be going out of their way to undermine people's ability to keep themselves safe, by behaving in ways that replicate the behaviour of those who are trying to take advantage of us. They phone us and ask us to confirm security information. When we phone them they ask us for security information before they even know what question it is we want to ask (it might be "what time does the branch in $foo close on a Saturday?" - they don't need to know who is asking that question!). They send us text messages from numbers that cannot be verified online - how am I supposed to trust that a text message apparently containing details of my transactions is genuine when there is nothing to link that mobile number to the bank in their contact details page of their website?

So no, banks:

1. You do not telephone me and ask me to confirm who I am. Ever. Bad practice. I won't do so, I will hang up and report the call to you, on a number I can verify as belonging to you, as a potential fraud.

2. I will avoid dealing with you by telephone whenever possible, because it is so fucking frustrating. I don't ask clients who phone me at work to prove they are who they say they are before I'll talk to them! You could make the process much less frustrating by employing staff who speak English to the standard of a native speaker and by not asking security questions until you know someone wants information about their own accounts.

3. Publish your contact information. All of it. If a text message claims to come from you, I should be able to verify it.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
This year I have:

1 x leaflet from the Conservative party = 0 spelling errors.
1 x leaflet from the English Democrats = 0 spelling errors. I am an agnostic atheist who is British, not English and Christian and find this leaflet borderline offensive.
1 x leaflet from the Green Party = 0 spelling errors.
1 x leaflet from the Labour Party = 0 spelling errors, far too many annoying cliches in the first paragraph, focused on next year's general election rather than this year's European election.
4 x leaflets from the Liberal Democrats, two addressed to me, the other two not = 0 spelling errors, but dubious mix of fonts within both leaflets, which duplicated each other a lot, rather than one expanding on the other. The third document was set out in the form of a letter addressed to me - they could have done with printing something on the back. The forth paradies the UKIP/Conservative/Labour leaflets.
1 x leaflet from No2EU = 0 spelling errors, correct use of an apostrophe, content incorrect [I simply don't believe that public services are being privatised within the EU because of EU legislation]
2 x leaflet from UKIP = 0 spelling errors. Elides the difference between the EU and the ECHR in a naughty fashion. [One of my pet peeves - the ECHR was drafted by Brits (and others) shortly after the end of the second world war - the jurisprudence of the ECtHR grew up around what was the EEC and became the EU, but is separate from it]. Clever of them to include a window poster within their leaflet though.

Given the lack of spelling errors [normally a feature of local election leaflets], I suspect this material has been prepared centrally by the parties, rather than by local parties.

None of the material has altered by original plan to vote Liberal Democrat though.
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?

This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth. Please either comment here, or go there to reply using OpenID. There are currently comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.
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


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).


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.

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