A fabulous picture

Tom Raftery shared this picture on twitter this morning:

“Lead me not into temptation” by Tom R

Tom was kind enough to give me permission to reproduce it, his flickr stream is here

I could write a thousand words on what this picture means to me, but I’m more interested in learning what it means to you…

[Ed : Tom's original caption was "see no evil!", but he improved on it by re-captioning it "Lead me not into temptation"]

Google Gadget Writing

So… having built a pretty dandy benchmarking engine, how do we make it easy for other people to consume it? Blathering away over a triple-grande-caramel-machiato-with-enough-extra-caramel-to-kill-a-dog, I happened to mention to Jonathan, that we could create a google gadget interface to the application… Naturally, this statement ended with “How hard could that be?”

Well, I’m in the process of finding out…

As it happens, I’m off to a great start – Thanks to this – an utterly superb intro to gadget writing.

If you’re at all gadget curious, I’d recommend the seoish tutorial… it rocks.

CGT Reform : Still a nice big bung for corporate raiders, not enough for the small business

The chancellor’s announcement last year that there would be a a flat rate of 18% for captial gains tax was pretty stupid.

Heralded (by the government) as a poke in the eye for the fat-cat corporate raiders and private-equity millionaires it was, in fact, a great big bung for people who make their money out of short term speculation.

The chancellor has “revised” the CGT plans – and while they are slightly improved – under the revised scheme small business-owners selling their businesses will pay only 10 per cent CGT, as long as their lifetime gains do not exceed £1m. But to qualify you have to own at least 5% of the company – so most employees will be excluded.

This revised scheme still benefits the raiders, and still penalises small business owners – and (more importantly in my view) employees who invest in their employers.

I’m with Mr Holway on this – I think it is silly.

It’s a tax that benefits the rich, at the expense of the less wealthy.

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Broadband via your sewer

The Times online is carrying an article on plans by a company called H2O networks, a Welsh firm, to lay fibre in the sewerage network – the Times reports that H2O networks is already in talks with a number of local council.

The key benefit is that it makes it possible to deploy broadband with comparatively little disruption (fewer roads being dug up for starters). The company estimates that it woult cost a maximum of £24 million to connect a small city compared with £80 million in cost via traditional routes.

This idea isn’t without precedent. In the 1980′s Mercury Communications (a subsidiary of Cable and Wireless) acquired the defunct London Hydraulic Power Company which was originally founded by act of Parliament in 1883 to provide high pressure water to buildings in central london to power elevators, machinery etc. Mercury used the old water pipes to deploy their network in central london – offering the first “alternative” to the monopoly of British Telecom.

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Online retailers to avoid – Computerwebstore.co.uk

I ordered something from an on-line retailer on Boxing day, the item was shown as “in stock” and I received an “order confirmation” on the same day. They debited my visa card – and then I waited.

On the 6th January I sent an email to their “customer support” email address asking for an update. I received no response. On the 19th I used their “contact form” to tell them that I was cancelling the order, and requesting a refund. I received the following automated reply -

This is an automated response confirming receipt of your email.

A member of our Sales Team will deal with your query as quickly as possible.

Usually you should receive a reply within 48hrs although this may increase during busy periods such as Christmas.

In the meantime please DO NOT send the same email more than once or to other departments this will only slow down our response times.

Computerwebstore Sales.

 Not a particular promising response…. and it goes without saying that they didn’t respond within 48 hours, or 72… or even 96.

So I did a web search.

Now I feel really stupid – This company has been blogged about, commented on, and complained of many many times…

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Orlando Florida – Like a "low fat" Vegas

Swan HotelI’ve been trying to figure out what it “is” about staying at a disney resort in Florida… I haven’t been able to shake the sensation that it feels a little like Vegas – A place I’ve been lucky (or unlucky – depending on your point of view) to visit ten or so times.

Orlando has many of the same attributes – A charming falseness… my hotel has a “beach” for example, and you can take a ride on a motorboat around the faux lake..

The faux beach.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Orlando is just like Vegas… but a “healthier” version. And, honestly, I’m not sure which I prefer…