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Saturday, 30 April 2005
pink sunset

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We had these pink clouds at sunset today. The sunsets and sunrises are generally quite impressive around here. I wonder what the pollution levels are like.

You have to laugh: apparently the Green Party election broadcast on the BBC was dubbed with the (anti-Europe) UK Independence Party’s subtitles and they are livid.

Posted by bigblue on 30/04/2005 at 12:02 AM
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Thursday, 28 April 2005
Flickr Zeitgeist

This is supposed to be my zeitgeist, but it doesn’t link very well to my photos.
Edit: I removed the html breaks in the script and it now points to my own photos! (30.04.2005)

Posted by bigblue on 28/04/2005 at 09:52 PM
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Little sister is watching

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The above is a fire I spotted in a field near Ravenstone. I am sure it was nothing to be alarmed about.

I recently read a Wired article, Amazon knows who you are, found via Welsh View.  The article explains how Amazon tracks and stores as much information about its customers as possible.

For years, Amazon has collected detailed information about what its customers buy, considered buying, browsed for but never bought, recommended to others or even wished someone would buy them. It has built ever-more sophisticated tools to recommend more purchases, direct your searches toward products it thinks you’re most likely to want, or even stop the forgetful among us from buying the same book we purchased five years ago.

For example, a customer who buys the movie Lost In Translation might also be prodded to buy 21 Grams or Kill Bill, Vol. 1 because others have made similar purchases. And customers who searched several times for a Laurie R. King mystery novel might find a book by her the next time they visit Amazon’s home page.

More recently, the Seattle virtual retailer has launched a web search engine, called A9, that can remember everything you’ve ever searched for—and the site reserves the right to share that information with its retailing arm.

The article reminded me of my university lecturer who said that while a single Big Brother computer system to track us and record all our private information was not on the cards, we already have a Little Sister scenario with many small systems storing different private information about us. What the article highlights is a trend towards consolidation: little sister is growing up.

The article also reminded me of my own experiences with Amazon’s recommendations.  In the last two or three years I bought two hardcover editions of (separate) Harry Potter novels.  I subsequently had a problem where, every time a new HP novel was released, Amazon gave this to me as a recommendation. They did this even with a new edition of one of the books I had already bought. Now why would someone who has HP4 in hardcover (children’s version) want to buy the hardcover adult version, and the softcover child and softcover adult versions of the same book? The words in the books are identical.  The way to stop this madness was to inform Amazon (there is a link in their reccommendations page) that: I already own this book.  I had to do this for all the HP novels, DVD’s, etc.  All versions. 

I’ll brace myself for another round of this craziness when the next HP book is released. I hope that little sister’s IQ will have improved by then, but I won’t count on it.

Edit: With thanks to my colleague Lynn for her careful proof-reading of my blog, I have corrected the perennial error of typing seperate instead of separate (28.04.2005).

Posted by bigblue on 28/04/2005 at 12:34 AM
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Tuesday, 26 April 2005
la manifestation

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I came across this demonstration in Redhill on Saturday. I have no idea what is was for (or against), and the only clue is the word keep on the banner. The best I can come up with is the suggestion that they are campaigning to keep a local post office open.

If you are having a demonstration in your area, I would like to suggest that you don’t stand in front of your banners.

Posted by bigblue on 26/04/2005 at 10:23 PM
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Hits and

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This is a large warehouse in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. I believe the company is a distribution company, and that there is another view of this building here.  They are next door to the building that recently went up in flames.  I was interested to read that the separate terms Mrs and Miss date only from Victorian times.  Before that the form of address Mistress was used for both married and unmarried women. 

Edit: With thanks to my colleague Lynn for her careful proof-reading of my blog, I have corrected the perinneal error of typing seperate instead of separate (28.04.2005).

Posted by bigblue on 26/04/2005 at 12:37 AM
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Sunday, 24 April 2005
Caravan

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I was looking at the posters that other people created at the Your own Conservative Poster site and the above was the first I found. (I assume it’s a joke about the Conservative’s anti-immigration stand). When I looked, there were other posters that promised free blood on the NHS, which I assume refer to the creepiness of the leader of the Conservative Party. The posters that you create are only stored for 30 minutes on the above site.

Posted by bigblue on 24/04/2005 at 11:31 PM
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Saturday, 23 April 2005
Canola

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This is a view of Ashby-de-la-Zouch from the surrounding farmland.  The crop in the foreground is oilseed rape (sometimes called canola).

The crop, which has just started flowering around Ashby, produces a dramatic yellow colour, as can be seen in the following photo album.  They sky was hazy again yesterday evening when this photograph was taken.

Posted by bigblue on 23/04/2005 at 10:50 AM
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Friday, 22 April 2005
That is Lehr Pahrj to you

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This is another view of the Tory poster. The top half of the image seems to be based on an Olympic theme, with a retro touch.

I found a new UK Political Survey which assesses your position against real poll data, provided by YouGov.com.  Channel 4 have also set up a FactCheck site which is to independently assess the politicians’ claims during the campaign.

Posted by bigblue on 22/04/2005 at 11:09 AM
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