Hedders' Ramblings

Gaming, home tech, politics, music, whatever really

Category: Ranting (page 1 of 2)

Just as I predicted …

… Google’s response to the so-called “link tax” (aka article 15 of Directive 2019/790):

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/09/more-controls-on-search.html

Which – leaving aside for the moment that fact that art 15 expressly doesn’t apply to links per se, and in fact is aimed at the practice of scraping snippets of third party websites for aggregation and presentation in search results, so calling it a “link tax” is kind of bollocks – is exactly how I predicted Google would respond. Here’s what that blog post actually means:

“Hey there publisher buddies! Great to see you! Love your work! Say, some European dudes are saying we’re not allowed to scrape all your stuff for free without asking any more, so if you’d just opt in to letting us carry on doing it then that’d be great. What? No, we’re not going to pay you. Don’t be silly. We’re Google. No, of course you have a choice. But, y’know, I bet all your competitors will be cool with it, and you wouldn’t want to drop down the search rankings now, would you? No. Thought not.”

Google, 2019 (possibly)

I mean, I don’t know what the people who framed art 15 were thinking. Did they really think Google wouldn’t spot the lacuna in their precious new law? Well, I call it a lacuna. It’s really more in the nature of a massive loophole you could drive a fucking bus through.

It’s such a burden, being right all the time.

Very good article on the hubris of “unicorns”

I come across a lot of startups in my work. This article is pretty much everything I could ever want to say on the subject, but expressed far more artfully and concisely than I ever could. Read, enjoy, and possibly get very cross:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/unicorn-delusion/598465/

FFS Labour

I woke up this morning to read this:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/20/momentum-bid-to-abolish-deputy-leader-tom-watsons-post

Seems those Momentum clowns have decided that purging the party of doctrinal impurity is more important than any of (1) effectively holding the government to account (2) dealing with the national crisis or (3) y’know, actually winning an election so as to start undoing some of the last decade of abuse.

The spin coming out of the bots and the parrots this morning seems to be that this move is all about party democracy and organisation, nothing to do with the person involved. Puh-lease. Frankly that’s about as convincing as the government’s protestations that proroguing Parliament for 5 weeks is necessary to prepare a Queen’s Speech. Or indeed the Gamergaters’ claims that “actually it’s about ethics in journalism”. The fact of the matter is that Momentum won’t tolerate anyone who stands up to Saint Jeremy.

Yes, Watson is a bit of a rent-a-gob who’ll go to the opening of an envelope. He is, after all, a politician. Yes, he gets it wrong sometimes. He is, after all, human. But he is a formidable speaker and campaigner and an effective administrator, and whether or not Momentum likes it Labour will need to win back the moderate centre-left if it is to have any chance of winning an election. Spitefully kicking Tom Watson out of the leadership really isn’t going to achieve that.

I need a new project

Sooooo … I’m bored. I have no right to be, but I am.

I have a great job. It’s really well-paid, I work more or less when I want to, where I want to, on what I want to. My team are amazing.

I have a great family. My wife is a wonderful woman and I love her to distraction. My children are clever and funny and brilliant and adorable.

I am in the fortunate position of being able to indulge my hobby. I have literally every retro computer and console I could possibly want. I’ve built a really great home network, with Plex, and pi-hole, and great telephony, and mesh WiFi, and the fastest broadband available in my postcode.

And I’m bored. I need something else to work on. I need a project.

Christ, what an ungrateful shit I am. Aaaargh.

Eton Mess

I am not Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest fan. Not at all. I have a whole ribcage’s worth of bones to pick with him, on subjects ranging from his apparent tolerance of anti-Semitism in his party to his utter uselessness at the dispatch box. Rarely has Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition been so thoroughly ineffectual at holding government to account. Corbyn is a formidable campaigner and there is no denying the devotion he elicits in some quarters, but I would much, much prefer that the Labour Party I have voted for all of my life were led by someone who can manage people as well as inspire them, and who can get things done as well as protest about them. Someone like Yvette Cooper or Tom Watson. Hell, someone like Ed Miliband would do (although I still think the wrong Miliband brother won that contest, and I still think that a lot of the reason we are in this situation comes down to Ed looking a tit while eating a bacon sandwich).

Nonetheless, right now I would roll out the red carpet and hang up the bunting at the prospect of a Corbyn government, because it would mean an end to this inept, obnoxious, divisive, vicious and ever-shrinking cabal that is all that remains of the once proud Conservative and Unionist Party.

It comes to something when a former Conservative prime minister is so strongly opposed to the policy of a current Conservative prime minister that he actually seeks judicial review of that policy. Yet that is exactly what John Major is doing.

When John Major and Jeremy Corbyn are on the same side of an argument, you know something is up. When the Prime Minister deliberately sets himself on a collision course with the House of Commons and its Speaker (another Conservative, as it happens), you know these are not normal times. When a sociopathic SPAD threatens every Conservative MP with deselection if they try to stop the government proroguing Parliament in order to prevent it averting a national disaster that the government is hell-bent on pushing through for no reason that anyone can really remember any more, we are really in unprecedented territory.

A colleague told me on Friday about a restaurant he went to recently, where on their dessert menu they had renamed “Eton Mess” to “Brexit”. Rather apt, I thought.

Anyhow, floreat Etona. And fuck everyone else, apparently.

TFW …

… your wife and children are off on a lovely camping holiday by the sea, and you’re scrubbing dogshit out of the dining room carpet. For the second time in as many days. That.

(Srsly, poor doggy is clearly not in a good way. Can’t get him to a vet until tomorrow though. Hmph.)

I think I know what’s gone wrong

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that This Sceptred Isle ™ is in deep, deep doo-doo, and it’s easy to blame social media, or jingoism, or the endless stupidity of The Great British Public, or Aaron Banks and his odious “Bad Boys of Brexit”, or the Tories, or Corbyn, or whatever. And I’m sure that all of those things have played their part in our spectacular downfall, but I don’t think they’re the root of the problem. I think it’s this:

The people in charge are just like me.

Now, I’m a reasonably “successful” person; partner in a law firm, big old house, two kids in private school etc etc etc. And the thing is: I still don’t know what the hell I am doing, I do not have a handle on life or on my responsibilities or on the world or my place in it. Not at all. I am just making it up as I go along, winging it and somehow or other I seem to have got away with it so far.

And the government – the proverbial “them” – ministers, MPs, civil servants, senior officials of one stripe or another – they’re all, all of them, doing exactly the same thing. There is no secret cabal of calm, well-spoken chaps (because let’s be honest, they’re all chaps, right?) in good suits with their hands on the tiller, who will somehow make it alright. There are no adults in the room. There’s just a bunch of people like me. And they’re all terrified, and not one of them has the slightest idea what he or she is doing, any more than I do. They too are just winging it, telling people what they want to hear, and hoping for the best.

God help us.

On Boris Johnson

I was going to write a great long screed about how Godawful this man is and how dreadful it is that a handful of complacent parochial Boden-clad shitsacks from Tunbridge Wells, who can’t describe someone as “black” without whispering the word and who secretly think we should bring back hanging, are going to make him our Prime Minister and there is absolutely nothing that I or anyone else can do to stop it.

But really, it boils down to this: Boris Johnson is basically a slightly more rubbish version of Donald Trump. If that doesn’t make your blood run cold, then I don’t know what will.

Although, he does have slightly better hair.

UPDATE: Please don’t make this ludicrous mendacious vacuous tit Prime Minister. Please:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-48766451/boris-johnson-i-make-models-of-buses

You utter, utter fools

34% of the vote for a far right populist party with no policies beyond some half-arsed notion of sticking-it-to-Johnny-Foreigner-because-we’re-British-dammit, led by a sort of cartoon mashup of Roderick Spode and Alan B’stard. Seriously?

I am truly, truly disgusted by my countrymen.

When I say “my countrymen”, I am talking specifically about the English. I suspect there will now be an even stronger resurgence of the Scottish independence movement, and who can blame them? They’re handcuffed to a lunatic.

Meanwhile, those of us in England who have not entirely taken leave (and indeed Leave) of our senses can only look on in resigned horror as the swivel-eyed demagogues, talentless chancers and spivs of the far right revel in their victory before gleefully marching the country off into the cold, and the dark, and the unknown.

I love my country dearly, but right now I despair of it. Winter is coming, as they say.

Eurovision

Is it just me or has Eurovision got really dull in recent years? It always used to be a bastion of tongue-in-cheek camp, but over the last few years it’s become more and more po-faced and earnest.

Take last night, for instance: a cluster of tired four-on-the-floor Europud, wholesome kitsch, bloated balladry and sub-Gloria Gaynor me-against-the-world humourless bleh. Absolutely no fun anywhere, not a single drumming granny to be seen, and to top it all off we were subjected to the heartbreaking spectacle of Madonna grimly murdering Like A Prayer despite it being very obvious that a) her range has dropped over the years to the point where she actually can’t consistently hit those notes and b) she was painfully aware of that fact but felt duty bound to give it the good old college try anyway.

Losing the high notes happens to all singers, of course – it’s a fundamental unfairness of being a vocalist rather than an instrumentalist that you don’t get better with age, no matter how much you practice – and to be fair to Madonna she sounded fine on the new material that followed, presumably because she wrote it for her vocal range as it is now, rather than as it was 30 years ago. I think she should have stuck with the newer stuff to be honest; her voice may not be what it once was but she is a skilled and clever songwriter, and her newer songs are strong enough not to need bolstering with old hits that she can’t reliably perform any more.

Oh well. I don’t think I’ll bother with Eurovision next year. Another bright spot in the world reduced to dullness.

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