The Anonymous Widower

Lost In Translation

This story from the BBC illustrates the perils of translating.

Two years ago I saw a really  mixed up sign in Swansea.

Mixed Up Signage in Swansea

Mixed Up Signage in Swansea

I think road signs should be in one language only and understandable to everybody who drives past them. Obviously in this one, it should only be in metric units.

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Syria Debate on Radio 5 Live

I was invited to be a member of the public at this debate on College Green by the Houses of Parliament today.

I didn’t say much, but it was an interesting experience. I found it fascinating to see how they set it all up and I think I learned something, if ever I get interviewed by the media again.

I don’t think we contributed much to the debate, but then only time will tell what will happen in Syria.

August 29, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | 1 Comment

Boots Marches Into Fast Food

Boots at the Angel have taken over the Burger King next door.

Boots Marches Into Fast Food

Boots Marches Into Fast Food

Now there’s a way to promote health!

August 29, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

It’s All Dropping Into Place

If I look at my father, he had breathing problems and I suspect so did his father as he suffered from asthma and died of pneumonia and other complications in his forties.  Both were pretty heavy smokers and my grandfather was a heavy drinker too. My father used to tell stories of picking his father up late at night from various clubs in a very bad state and that’s probably why my father was a sensible drinker and why he brought me up to be the same.  I never for instance ever saw my father drunk. My father’s only addiction other than his pipe, was  industrial strength menthol catarrh tablets, which he consumed virtually all day, to try to get his throat clear.

As a child, I suffered similarly with my breathing and throat at times, but then we lived in a cold house, heated by electric fires, which must have made the air exceptionally dry. From about the age of eight, I had a south-facing room with big picture windows, which was very warm at times. I regularly, lost a term, usually the spring one, in my schooling. My doctor had no idea, about what was the problem, so they took my tonsils out, which was an all-purpose remedy in those days.

Things improved when I got to about twelve or so, and my parents just felt, I’d grown out of it. It could be that we were spending increasing time at Felixstowe, where my parents had bought a house to retire to, or it could be that I spent more and more time at my father’s print works in Wood Green.  Who knows why? I don’t even have any medical records from that period, as my medical records restarted some time about 1969.  So you can see why I’m all in favour of computerised medical records, which the patient can access when and where they want through the Internet!

I can remember my late teens very well and can’t ever remember going to the doctor or feeling unwell, especially at University in Liverpool, whilst working at Enfield Rolling Mills or in The Merryhills, or generally riding about on my bicycle.

I certainly didn’t feel ill, either in the early years of my marriage to C, either in Liverpool or in Melbourn near Cambridge. The first entry on my medical record, is a visit to the doctor in Melbourn about excessive diarrhoea, which looks like a classic glutening.

However things got a lot worse, when we moved to Shannon Place in St. John’s Wood. The flat was damp and cold and I can remember going to the doctor with lots of knee and arm pains.  He recommended knee surgery, which I didn’t accept.

But then when we moved to the eleventh floor in Cromwell Tower, everything got better and in the three or four years we lived there, I never saw the doctor on my own behalf. But the flat was comfortably warm and the air was very fresh.

We then lived in Suffolk for forty years and only at odd occasions did my breathing problems come back.

That is until Celia died and I think in certain ways I reverted to my childhood habits; like wrapping myself in the bedclothes, keeping the house as warm as I could and avoiding going out. I started getting what looked like hay fever soon after C died in 2007.

Since my stroke and also since moving to London it has got a lot worse, but I’m now in a particularly airless house with little ventilation.

It might need to have heat recovery ventilation.   Wikipedia says these are the benefits.

As building efficiency is improved with insulation and weather stripping, buildings are intentionally made more airtight, and consequently less well ventilated. Since all buildings require a source of fresh air, the need for HRVs has become obvious. While opening a window does provide ventilation, the building’s heat and humidity will then be lost in the winter and gained in the summer, both of which are undesirable for the indoor climate and for energy efficiency, since the building’s HVAC systems must compensate. HRV introduces fresh air to a building and improves climate control, whilst promoting efficient energy use.

Certainly, a proper system will be better than I’ve got now.

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

The Peer-To-Peer Invisible Firewall

I still have some money on deposit with my bank, as I need it to pay builders and things like that, but I don’t think I will have it there for much longer.

This morning, I got a load of messages trying to target my non-existent NatWest account. As I have never had a message targeting any of my peer-to-peer lending accounts, it would seem logical that any fraudster will more likely get my bank account details than say those of the peer-to-peer lenders.

But suppose they did break into my peer-to-peer accounts, they could only transfer money back to my main bank account, which was used to load the money to the accounts. So I doubt it would do them any good.

So to get any of my money out of the peer-to-peer sites, they’d probably need to take complete control of the site and replace the software with their own.

With my software hat on, I would propose that that is virtually impossible.

So in my view in addition to the obvious security on peer-to-peer sites, there is an additional invisible firewall, due to the design of the sites.

This would make them a very unlikely target for a sophisticated criminal. They would find it easier to set up a completely bogus site and get punters to deposit money with them, for onward transmission out of the country. Hopefully, that would be spotted, given the high-profile nature of sites like Zopa, Funding Circle and Ratesetter, who have been through the mill on credibility with the media, regulators and politicians.

They can’t all be wrong!

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment