WordPress.com has listend to its customers

Earlier this year WordPress.com changed its pricing table from five to just two plans (Free and a $15/month Pro plan). At the time I was worried that this would prevent new people from joining WordPress.com as the cost or reduced service would mean that less people like myself would be able to join and experience all the benfits people on a plan liek mine could have.  

WordPress.com has now bravely in my opinion reverted back to the previous pricing model that attracted me to join when I purchased my blog. Hopefully WordPress.com appreciating that what they have now and what they had before worked just fine and as with the invention of the wheel if it’s not broken don’t fix it.

Certainly in my present work place and places I have worked in the past prior to that it is very rare to get the chief executive of any organisation to listen and adapt to circumstance in a way that benefits others let alone me and that is exactly what WordPress.com have just done so respect to them for that.

Amy MacDonald – Slow It Down

Birthday holiday cools

Well I have a well earned week off work this week and I also celebrated my birthday with a night out with friends too. Went to a local bar where we drank, talked, laughed and had a bloody good night out. Lots of people that I used to see regularly prior to covid where able to make it out although that is not to say that covid is not a risk in Exeter now though. But it was a real treat to see them all at the same time.

Its so hot in Exeter this week and seeing as how I was born in a heat wave in the summer of 1976 you would think I would be used to the heat by now but sadly the opposite is true. So I am in my somewhat cool lounge where I have a fan on through much of the hot part of the day. Typing away on my keyboard.

The week is not over yet so I am planning on meeting up with my parents tomorrow evening for a meal and then I will be going to the same local pub as I was at earlier in the week for a karaoke night where I might even get up and sing a song myself.

Sting – Desert Rose

Racing Ahead in time

So I have been quite busy for me over the last few weeks, no major dramas, which is nice and working hard in the office and at home, socialising when I have the energy and ability to and also visiting family now that my mum is back in Devon. It’s been enjoyable but I need to make sure I look after myself and rest at times like this too.

I have a new colleague in work that I am training up. His soical life puts mine to shame he was off to a stag do last weekend and he is off to Glastonbury Music Festival later this week then he has a wedding to go to the following week. Where as I’m just chilling in the local pub and visiting family. Though to be honest post pandemic I am still enjoying the simple things and times of freedom that I get to spend with people that I enjoy the company of.

It’s my birthday in a few weeks and normally I just dont do anything special, but this year I am hoping to have a meal with friends and family in Exeter and I have also just seen there is a horse race at a place called Newton Abbot in Devon and so I might go there too.

Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill

Faster, smoother and cooler – my PC that is!

So new computer upgrade today, the graphics card was eye-wateringly expensive but half the price of the card that the computer tech chap wanted me to buy. He built my last computer which has been working fantastically but I needed to do some changes to my computer specification as it would only be upgradeable to Windows 11 with the help of a tech chap and my internet card was a little dodgy and sometimes cut out. So I thought I would do some upgrading of my PC at the same time as installing windows 11.

So it’s all done now sitting back and pressing a few buttons trying to reinstall what was on the last PC. The main changes so far is the internet connection no longer crashes when doing lots of downloads. Plus I have music streaming and downloading a big game and it all seems to be working fine so far.

I have been told it’s all so much faster but not sure yet and have yet to play a graphics hungry game to test graphics card yet. It seems when I do a computer upgrade I appear to be trying to stand still where I can still play games old and new and also still use a computer that does not break down on me and works just fine, oh and not fill it up with stuff on the hard drive too.

It is great though that as our computers get older we can save what’s on them upgrade them make them faster and even improve their memory. Sadly they are not able to do that for us humies and even if they could do such wondrous things to us would we still be human then anyway!  

Anyway our future computer overlords will be happy with the computer I have built for them at the altar of info technology. I am going to put a YouTube song at the bottom of this page to play now I was really tempted to put on here welcome to the machine by Pink Floyd, but opted for a weird trippy number called Sea Shell by sky Lab a top Tune from my misspent student days.

Seashell by Skylab

Hired or no longer required?

Such a wonderful quote and attitiude from Anne Frank

Well some upsetting news last week in my team at work, as they have been recruiting for a fulltime employee to come along and work with us. We have had two temporary members of staff doing an awesome job at getting work done in the office and really going the extra mile in order to get things done and answer the phones so that things get done and customers are served. Not every customer is ever happy, but to be honest in our department over 50% of the calls that come through to us are complaints anyway and it’s a matter of managing those complaints and signposting their enquiry to a person that will take them further or tell them that we can’t help.

Two of my colleagues went for the full time job that was being recruited for and they both were unsuccessful in their interviews and both told there services were no longer required at our office and one of them has until the end of this week to leave and the other will leave at the end of the first week in June.

I must repeat myself they were both very good at what they did and had undertaken a lot of training (mostly by me) which helped them be able to be as good as what they did. They were not only well trained they were keen to get the job done and jump in and rise to whatever challenge was presented to them in the job.

So we gain one new employee at the expense of losing two and our managers will call this progress. I will again attempt to help train up the new employee and ensure they are competent enough to ensure they can do the job properly but ultimately whether they are any good will be up to the new employee and will only be seen in time.

When I started in the team that I worked my two colleges had nearly 20 years each of experience in the team and were therefore blood good at what they did. I am now the most experienced member of the team and I have nowhere near as much experience as my predecessors. I know who to ask for help but will never know all the answers, though my job is not to know all the answers but to make sure I know who to assign a call or case to that will be able to provide those answers to and I can just about do that!

On the terrible day last week that my colleagues found out that they no longer had their jobs I also got in a bloody terrible argument in my local bar and that argument has hopefully now been resolved and out of respect to the person that I was arguing with I will not go into it further here, but at the very least I can say I hate disagreements and arguing with people.

But the situation in the bar my morose mood all combined into an unpleasant evening for one and all. I do hope the situation that led to the argument does not resurface again. Both myself and the person I was arguing with left on good terms after the argument and with any luck no further troubles will occur. I think with what he was going through it was probably a crap day for him too.

It was the icing on the cake to a really crappy day last Thursday.

Thinking about life the universe and everything today!

Trying to look up a spelling I just googled what time era are we living in and even Google has an answer to that. According to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the professional organization in charge of defining Earth’s time scale, we are officially in the Holocene (“entirely recent”) epoch, which began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age. Well you learn something new with every random Google search.

What I was really thinking about was what would the greatest minds from our history have made of living in this world today and how do we or don’t we live together and why.

Marx got pissed at the elite of his era and mass production of suffering and exploitation of human beings for the generation of profit. Jesus got pissed of at the bankers profiteering around the house of god. Imagine how pissed off they would both be today living here knowing what we have access to know and see witht the mass industrialisation of war and the sheer volumes of profits made through the suffering of others. Russia, China, USA, Britain and many unnamed countries have made vast profits from the selling of huge amounts of armaments around the globe and sometimes using them in their own wars to be it in Africa, Middle East or now even in Ukraine. Do those profits then go on to build our schools and pay for the lighting of our streets?

Though everyone’s side (depending on who your selling arms to or profiting from the sales of arms for or who your media owners and political masters portray to you concerning what is a just war, just sale of arms and a just profit (scrap the last one we are taught there is no such thing as a just profit all profit is good right?) and what is a righteous side of a war or what is a war that we don’t even have to look at or witness the suffering off due to a media blackout instead by again said media barons or politcal leaders.

This warmanship has been ticking along throughout the 20th century and also spilling over into the 21st century and the mass profiteering of said wars from the so called civilised and industrial nations of the world is also relentless.

It’s like the world has gone mad and no one in power has either bothered to notice, bothered to care or bothered to believe there is any point in changing what is clearly a very damaging system of industrial and economic development and growth.

Religion often states that sins and evil deeds are in the hearts and minds of mere men or women and we often are seen to make our decisions on how we descend to hell or rise to heaven on the micro scale of small acts of goodness, kindness or wickness and evil.

But we dont here so much about the macro acts of evil such the selling of weapons by our goverenements to known corrupt regimes in the middle east or africa in order to make profit and generate the production of further weapons for which ever next war that comes along. And what happens if people are being born into systems where those in power at the top of the state load the dice so that any that stand against them, whether righteous or fair or immoral and wicked are all doomed to fail or fall.

Whether it be being called to arms in an unjust war and asked to shoot innocents or be shot oneself, where is there God in these micro moments in time or which side is God standing upon when the men pulling the trigger are themselves potential victims of the system that has groomed them since birth by old men in charge of buying and profiting from the weapons their youths are trained to then fire potential one day at us.

I have heard a phrase a lot recently when people talk about a variety of issues which seem unjust, unfair and deeply worrying. Those words are this like in this day and age in the 21st century things like this should not be happening. Well unfortunately bad things should not be happening at such an extent that they are, but they are.

The mechanisation and industrial scale of sustaining human existence as it stands presently is vast and we don’t try to stop and say why should we produce profits to sustain our lives, how do we produce said profit to sustain our lives and what are the consequences for humanity for the way we vote, live and produce products and expolit others.

We assume that on our little micro level if we are lucky it’s a little bit of a shitty world, where bad things happen to other people and if we are lucky they don’t happen to us. Is that the best that the 21st century has to offer the people on this planet, is that all that what history has taught us all.

Well I hope not – there must be more to life than the chaos that is created right in front of our eyes or hidden out of our sight.

I pray for the future of all life
Hozier – Take Me To Church

Move, eat & sleep

Well the title pretty much sums up this week. Mum has finally moved back to Devon. It took her a while in many ways, but she is so pleased to be back. She has made some wonderful friends in Conrwall and I also really loved the village that she lived in called Breage. But with the death of my brother who also lived in Cornwall and with the development of Coronavirus and household lockdowns it made mum feel more isolated than ever and needing to have a move to a place where she felt more at home and settled and so has now moved back to Devon.

The home she is living in is in a village called Yoeford and she is renting a property until her new home is built in Cheriton Fitzpaine. Yeoford is easy for me to reach on the train from Exeter, although Cheriton Fitzpaine where she will be finally moving to, has no train or bus from my home city Exeter so will be a little bit more difficult for me to get to as I do not drive. But will need to see how that goes when she moves in later in the year to her house move into the place she has bought that is still beign built at the moment.

Mum also has a dog called Milly, she is very sweet and gentle but also nervous and very, very shy. She does not let me get neat her even though mum has had her for 3 years or more now. But hopefully the more I see her the more she will get used to me. Some of mums friends in cornwall were wonderfully patient with Milly and were able to get close to her and she would always look forward to her treats from mums next door neighbour.

The dog has really surprised me with how resilient she has been in the move I was worrying that she was going to have a mini melt down in the move but hopefully that does not appear to happen.

We think that Milly was abused before being rescued by a charity and she has not had an opportunity yet to have any intensive training to develop her and I think if she were a human she would certainly be considered very autistic and incredibly shy. At one time she would go on hunger strikes and stop drinking when new people would come into mums’ house to stay and she will always be somewhat of a fussy eater. But it seems the only means of control she has over the situations she finds herself. Luckily she has continued to eat and drink during the move and although she will be a little confused by what is going on she seems happy to be where ever mum is.

One of my favourite songs of all time if you have never herd it before have a listen its awsome – Casey the Wonder dog by The Villagers

Life in an unemployable working world

What has your chancellor done today to make you feel good. Well nothing. If you are a pensioner, disabled or unemployed, with the biggest fall in living standards since the 1950’s there is nothing in this budget mini statement for you. Those that are vulnerable and suffering will only suffer more and be more vulnerable.

When I work and have a roof over my head that I can afford to pay for, I never have a problem with paying taxes this is partly under the naive assumption and understanding that I hope that my taxes are going to where they need to go to and arriving in good time to make a difference to those that need them. Well they say charity begins at homes and so should taxes.

My mum is a pensioner on a fixed income and so there is no help for her in this budget. I also really can’t afford to be out of work and even though my employment is at risk in the council that I work for again due to conservative party cut backs and savings need to be made by my employer I must still aim to look after my health and stay well and keep in work as the alternative of being out of work is just not an option.

One of the key employment threads that I have seen throughout my lifetime is that if a job is important and needs doing that is not a guarantee enough to ensure that someone is willing or able to pay for that work to be done. I have worked for a wildlife charity that ran out of money to pay to it’s staff, a recycling centre that sold its remanufactured products to customers that failed to make enough profit from its works that it did that then went bust and also worked in government organisations that have been shut down due to changes in political parties in central government. None of these business, charity or government closures are in any way a measure of progress and improvement to the economy or even to society.

British capitalism is weird, incompetently wasteful and institutional corrupt. Though I Will still ironically support it over a regime in which I don’t even have a say or a vote. On the one hand we belch out huge sums of money to the monarchy for knighthoods (knighthoods to people that stand in our second house of power of government or house of lords). The house of lords still exists as it suits those in power to not have a second house that actually wields any power that would be a threat to those in the house of commons thus the status quo remains and reform does not appear to be an option, as the politicians at the top on the political right continue to line their own pockets with money exploited from the governing system as it exists with the purchasing of power and influence from those in power to those formerly holding power or in positions to financially benefit from the decisions made at the top. It’s a kind of old boys network that stinks with the smell of corruption and jobs for the boys mentality.

On a separate note the British monarchy also are people that inherit lands and earn profits off their own lands that do not deserve or require a penny from the state or from the common man or women of society and yet we fund and employee them as if our very lives depended on the patriotic cash with which is given to them from the state or the lack of taxes they pay for the resources and incomes that they earn. Our head of state is not elected; they are born into the role. Also unlike many modern European countries we do not invest in modernising infrastructure and political socioeconomic infrastructure as a given. We cut it down rather than build it up, again its easier to throw a pound in a budget statement to the queen than it is to the poor or to social and economic infrastructure projects. People will vote to spend money on the wealthy whilst spending on the poor is a vote losing issue.

Those at the top of the income pyramid continue to profit at the expense of those at the bottom. There is more chance of a person releasing themselves from this horrible and damaging system though the action of committing suicide than from earning enough money to no longer need to worry about money and get out of this socioeconomic trap that as rats we appear to run around the wheels of and face the trials and tribulations of only blaming ourselves when we fall down in a system designed to let us fail.

Do not worry I am in no way at risk of suicide myself but have born witness to many souls due to themselves seeing no way out from the chains of debt and an inability to earn money in this society due to the difficulty of holding down or even getting a job that you can do that pays the bills. Suicide of those that see no economic way out of there circumstance should be seen as politically sanctioned crime and murder and not the fault of the actual victim themselves.    

I will continue to try and keep a roof over my head and work in an economy that no longer wishes to employ me with areas of work that I am able to undertake, whilst trying to keep my head above water and myself healthy and sane. Please wish me best of British luck in these weird and difficult times to live and try to exist.

Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man

6 Step Disinformation Guide

Don’t Get Swept Away by Falsehoods about War in Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine opened the floodgates to disinformation. Follow our 6 step guide to protect yourself and avoid being swept away by untrustworthy news stories.

by Eleanor Brooks –  https://www.liberties.eu/en/stories/disinformation-guide/44093

Disinformation is playing an outsized role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and there is mounting evidence that Russians are being deliberately misled by their government and state-controlled media outlets.

Disinformation poses a major threat to democractic societies in peacetime as well. Conflicting versions of events muddies the water, which makes it difficult for people to know the truth about what is happening. Without an accurate picture, it is harder for citizens to speak out and make their voices heard about issues which matter to them. Disinformation can also distort public debate, threatening free and fair elections.

What is disinformation?

Disinformation is false information that is shared with the intention of misleading people. The sharer of the “news” knows that it is false and intends to deceive their audience. Unlike misinformation (misleading, inaccurate or completely false information that is shared without the person knowing it is incorrect), the sharing of disinformation isn’t done in good faith. Rather, it is a deliberate intention to create division and stir up fear by knowingly spreading content that is incorrect.

6-Step Disinformation Guide

Conspiracy theories have become more sophisticated as of late, so in order to be alert to disinformation it is essential that you adopt a critical mindset to all the online content you consume. Before sharing anything, take a pause and go through this checklist.

1. Know your author

As a first step you should consider, who is the author?

Is the author regarded as credible? Is this person simply stating their opinion or sharing anecdotal evidence? You should be extra cautious about information circulated on social media, messaging apps and messaging boards.

Just because someone has a high follower count or a verified account on social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean their content is trustworthy. You should be particularly wary of accounts that have recently joined the platform.

2. Know your outlet

On which platform or outlet did you find the information? Consider the trustworthiness of the outlet you are using and verify the information against other sources.

3. Verify the evidence

Is the claim supported by reliable evidence? Look closely at the evidence that is offered – do the details match the current story e.g. location, weather, setting? Watch out for repurposed content from an older news article or an entirely different event.

4. Crosscheck images and videos

If you have a hunch that the evidence provided is dodgy, listen to your instinct. There are plenty of tools and strategies available to verify whether an image or video is legitimate.

·Check to see if an image has been photoshopped: by checking an image’s metadata you can see if it has been doctored. Use EXIF tools on your smartphone such as the app ExifWizard

·Reverse image search – take a screenshot and search for the image using Google’s reverse image tool, or other similar tools such as Tineye.com or the Google extensionRevEye

· Use an Amnesty International tool which verifies YouTube videos

5. Check your facts!

If a story seems fishy to you, there are plenty of trustworthy fact-checking websites who debunk conspiracy theories and misinformation.

·Snopes

·FactCheck.org

·Bellingcat

·Google Fact Check Tools: lists recent fact-checks by various online publications

6. Report it!

If you spot a fake story online, report it to the platform and send it to a fact-checking website. If one of your friends posted the story – send them this guide!

If you read something on social media, check to see if the same story is also published by larger, well-established news outlets. If you read a story in a politically extreme outlet, are other news outlets running the same story?

Emili Sande – Read All About It Pt. III

Putin’s mass rally

Putins mass rally for his one man war, where truth becomes a lie and lies become truth. How ironic that he claims to be anti nationalist and fascist when his actions show his true self. Truth in Russia is no longer a form of communication sanctioned by the state. Putin at first enslaves the truth and information in his occupation and invasion of Ukraine.

As the war in Ukraine continues, Putin addressed tens of thousand of Russians filling Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, to celebrate eight years since the annexation of Crimea, oh boy what a party.

Putin has regularly used the anniversary to highlight love of the motherland.

Officials said more than 200,000 people had gathered at the stadium, although the numbers could not be verified. The stadium’s official capacity is 81,000, but there were also large crowds outside.

Many people at the rally told the BBC they worked in the public sector and had been pressured into attending by their employers.

One man who works in the Moscow metro said he and other employees had been forced to attend the rally.

“We know what we have to do next,” the Russian president told the crowd. “We’ll definitely carry out all the plans we have made.”

But his address on state TV suddenly cut to singer Oleg Gazmanov belting out the words “Forward, Russia”, in what the Kremlin later called a technical glitch.

In Ukraine itself, the plight of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol was the focus of renewed concern.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said 130 survivors had so far been recovered from the basement of a theatre in the city, but hundreds more remained trapped,

Civilians were sheltering underground when the theatre was bombed by Russia on Wednesday.

The city council said that so far, rescue workers had found one severely injured person, but there were no reports of deaths.

Mr Zelensky said Russian shelling prevented the city authorities from establishing effective humanitarian corridors to the besieged city.

Mariupol’s mayor, Vadym Boichenko, confirmed Russian reports that fighting had reached the centre of the city.

“There’s no city centre left. There isn’t a small piece of land in the city that doesn’t have signs of war,” he told the BBC.

Overall, however, military analysts say the Russian invaders have made little progress in the past week.

DAvid Rovics – How Far is it from here to Nuremberg

What happened at the Nuremberg rally?

The Nazi Party Rallies, held annually from 1933 to 1938 at a specially designed site in Nuremberg, were carefully planned propaganda events. Marching contingents, parades, memorial events for the dead, and displays by the armed forces were intended to demonstrate strength and communal spirit.