Unite Against Fascism

February 22, 2005

Thunderbird teething problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 8:00 pm

I installed Thunderbird last week as a replacement for Outlook Express. The principal reason was security, a secondary reason was to reduce the amount of bloated Micro$oft software on my computer and a third reason was to see if it was a big an improvement on OE as Firefox was on Internet Explorer.


  • Easy to install
  • Easy to copy email from OE (and other mail tools)
  • Easy to copy server and account settings from OE (and other mail tools)
  • Superb junk mail filtering that probably means I can ditch my knowspam account
  • Good keyboard navigation and keyboard short cuts (eg, ‘n’ takes you to the next unread message, ‘j’ marks an email message as junk)


  • Impossible to copy OE message rules to TB filters.
  • TB filters are defined on an email account basis so if I wanted to put all my CSS emails into a single folder for each of my 3 POP accounts I would have to define the same rule/filter 3 times. Under OE I would only have to have done this once.
  • Can only define one SMTP server

And today I had a particularly annoying problem. The same newsgroup posting appeared 4 times, I could not mark 2 of these posts as read. Then all the messages from that group were marked as unread. Then TB crashed. This happened several times. In the end I had to unsubsubcribe from the group, subscribe again and mark all the messages as read. A particularly annoying feature is that when you restart TB after a crash it displays by default a feedback form wizard so you can tell the folks who wrote TB about the problem. This is probably a good idea but really irritating when you just want to get back to work. I switched that feature off.
I’ll stick with TB for a while longer but at the moment it seems to be a moderate improvement over OE, not a quantum one.

February 20, 2005

The Aviator

Filed under: Uncategorized, General — Deryck @ 6:18 pm

Went to see The Aviator last night. An impressive film alright but didn’t really give you too much information about the man himself. A quick look at the Wiki entry for Howard Hughes revealed more that the film left out: 2 marriages, syphillis that may have been the cause of his OCD in later life and so on. But even the Wiki has probably just scratched the surface, the man was obviously very clever but why did he never get his high school diploma?

January 31, 2005

End of January

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 12:12 pm

The end of January…hooray! Already the days are getting longer.

January 13, 2005

Time on your hands?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 5:29 pm

Want to know the time and date?

January 9, 2005

Channel 4’s “War on Terra” season

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 9:40 am

Watched the Marcel Theroux (how many more Theroux’s are there?) documentary The End Of the World as We Know It last night. Pretty depressing. Irreversible damage to the planet may be done in as little as 20 years from now (i.e., within our lifetime but longer than the lifetime of most political administrations) due to high carbon emissions and what little we are doing about it is simply too little. Various alternative energy forms (tidal, wind, etc) were looked at and rejected as not being efficient enough as well as having other problems.

James Lovelock, father of the Green Movement and originator of the Gaia Theory proposed that nuclear power is the safest and most effective energy source. Marcel then visited Chernobyl to see what it’s like there nearly 20 years after the disaster there. That was pretty harrowing but we were told how the “occasional Chernobyl” would still be less harmful to the planet than our current usage of fossil fuels. I felt encouraged by the return of animals and plant life to an evacuated town near Chernobyl: at least flora and fauna could survive our attempts to break the planet even if we don’t.

Whilst “safe” nuclear fuel may be possible it is currently a political kiss of death for any political party. so who will build them? If countries do build new nuclear power plants, how will they dispose of the waste? What happens if the waste gets in the “wrong hands”?

As if this wasn’t enough Marcel then flitted over to India to point out that as developing countries like India and China become more affluent and more industrial their energy demands will increase and further add to climate change effects.

Sadly, most people in Britain wanted to complain to the BBC about the screening of Jerry Springer The Opera rather than hassle their MP about saving the planet.

January 8, 2005

MRSA in Addenbrookes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 2:08 pm

It should be no surprise that Addenbrookes comes near the top of MRSA league tables. I have a friend who works there and is often told to clean a ward to “MRSA standard” by herself despite such a task requiring 3 people. Moving cleaners to different wards on different days (which also happens) suggests that the hospital is short of cleaners, not good. It is also damaging to morale for the cleaners, with the same ward(s) to clean people can take pride in their job and be held responsible for their work. Now Unison has highlighted this problem too saying that the fight against MRSA needs more cleaners.

January 4, 2005

Christmas blues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 7:50 pm

There is nothing more depressing than taking down the Christmas tree and decorations. Even more so if, like me, you have had a great Christmas. If you’ve had a crap one then you can take the decorations down and console yourself with things like “bah, humbug” or “let’s get on with the new year”. If you’ve had a good one then you’ll just wish it was still going on.
Anyhow, the tree has been taken to the recycling centre and the decorations are in various carrier bags waiting for me to find somewhere to stow them for the year. So long Christmas 2004, you really were a great one.

January 2, 2005

Romanian Orthodox Church Service

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 6:57 pm

I attended the Romanian Orthodox Holy Liturgy service today (and part of the Morning Mass too) at St Dunstan-in-the-West church in Fleet St, London. It’s very different to a Baptist or Anglican service. The biggest difference perhaps is how traditional or “untopical” it is. Apart from a few brief words at the end about the tsunami it could have been a service held at any time over the last 500 years. At a time when when Anglicans, Catholics, Budhists and Muslims are working together to provide aid and having to deal with the question of “why does God allow such suffering?” The Orthodox Church seems to have side stepped the question altogether and made the comment that “we should help these people even though they are not Christians”. I believe there was a collection point in the church for the tsunami although I didn’t see it. Having said that it was a lovely church, full of worshippers and the bit where all the babies being spoonfed wine was a cute thing to see.

January 1, 2005

A Good Holiday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 6:58 pm

Left it too late to book something for New Year’s Eve but managed to get into Anatolia’s which had a very attractive belly dancer dancing around (and on) the tables…I wish I’d taken my camera. Good food too. The only downer was that the place wanted to close before Midnight. Anyhow, it was a good night out and we got home in time to toast in the new year and watch some of the plenty of fireworks at midnight too.

Some random recollections of Christmas 2004…

  • Getting all the gift shopping done in good time
  • Tesco’s not being too crowded on Christmas Eve
  • Watching A Christmas Carol
  • Decorating a real Christmas tree that doesn’t seem to have lost a single needle in over 2 weeks
  • Getting some lovely presents (and no duff ones!)
  • Having the ‘fridge so full of food that some food had to be kept in the boot of the car
  • Cooking my first turkey and it turned out perfectly (thanks to Saint Delia)
  • Eating far too much

And of course the Asia Earthquake/Tsunami disaster; watching the initial and hopelessly optimistic death toll estimate of 500 rise to over 120,000 and realising just how minor the emergencies in my last post really are.

December 24, 2004

Christmas Emergencies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Deryck @ 5:08 pm

1. Yesterday morning I was walking back over Midsummer Common after buying the last present for someone. I started to cross the bridge that leads to Mitcham’s Corner when I heard a child scream. The scream was followed by a man shouting. My first instinct was that a child was being shouted at and that I probably didn’t want to get get involved. A moment later I saw a woman running away from the child and man and the I assumed that this was a major domestic argument that I definitelly didnt want to be involved in. Another moment later and I saw the still screaming child, his face covered in blood. I ran across the road still trying to process the data of the situation. Man -father- hysterical shouting English and German, trying to comfort the boy. To me: “you have a phone?”. Yes, I said as I dialled 999 and handed it to the woman “you talk to them”. I found a pack of unopened tissues in my day-sack and passed them to the man who trying -in vain - to stem the blood escaping from the boy’s forehead. More people appeared. Everyone offering to help but no one knowing the name of the road that we were on and the Emergency Operator insistent that she needed to know exactly where we were. Someone else had called 999 too and I found myself talking to another Operator on someone else’s phone while the boy’s mother talked to the first operator on my phone. Oh well, it wouldn’t hurt if they sent 2 ambulances would it? Slowly the boy calmed down and his bleeding slowed too. His father calmed down too which was good, his German shouting was annoying me. As well as telling the Father to maintain pressure with the tissues I suggested he do up the boy’s coat to help prevent shock which he did. One passer by kept waffling about the risk of infection from the tissues and everyone managed to avoid saying “fuck off mate” to him. Another person said that the ambulance shouldnt take him to Addenbrookes because that was “so far away”. Yeah, like 5 miles, 5 miles in an ambulance with flashing lights and a siren. Where else would you take him? An ambulance turned up (very quickly I thought) and I said my goodbyes. A few minutes later I saw another ambulance racing to the scene. Hopefully the boy (4 years old) is fine now. I guess he might have a scar on his forehead but then he’ll be like Harry Potter so he’ll be cool.

2. Came back from Tesco’s this morning doing the last of the food shopping. Couldn’t get into my flat, one of the locks on the front door jammed. Had to force open the bathroom window and climb in. Surprisingly difficult: high window, opens from the top only and only a small amount. Also had to avoid all the lotions and potions on the window sill inside. I knocked one which fell into the bath. Did it break? No, but it chipped the enamel of the bath, curses. I ache all over after that. Burglars must be very fit. Door lock has worked perfectly since then. Grrr. Still, at least I didn’t have to pay for a locksmith’s call out fee.

Both these things (for me anyway) are minor in the Grand Scheme of Things and had (for me anyway) happy endings.

Best Wishes for Christmas.