Posts by Barefoot_Surfer

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    A good one is always maps. One such anachronism is in the world map in the conference room for the film Downfall (The one famous for the Hitler parody memes). The boarders shown are all post war, it is particularly ironic with the Soviet Union boarders, given that the Soviet Union at the time that the film was set in is practically banging on Hitler’s bunker door.

    This was supposed to be my ten years post treatment all clear, no more need to worry year, but they found swollen lymph nodes that needed biopsy at my final scan, thankfully no sign of recurrence, but I'm still back in the yearly cycle of checkups, once your body has gone through that it's hard to trust it fully.

    This is something anybody who has gone through the mill with cancer can relate to. They say once you have had a cancer diagnosis, you are never really rid of it.


    This is where I stand on the matter. I have been diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. It was actually by chance that it got discovered at the beginning of this year after a blood test revealed that I was extremely anaemic, so much so that I needed a blood transfusion. There was none of the classic signs that I had bowel cancer, such as blood in my poo. This was because the tumour was growing much higher up in my colon. Anyway I have had surgery to have the tumour along with a large proportion of my colon removed. So technically at the moment I am cancer free; however I am due to start a course of chemotherapy, because as things stand at the moment, the risk of a re-occurrence is around 50%. The chemo will only reduce the risk of re-occurrence to around 20% according to my oncologist. I will be having regular check ups, some which I don't look forward to because to prepare you are given a drink laced with laxatives, which makes the experience of subsequently having a camera poked up your jacksie a walk in the park.

    Bowel cancer is becoming more and more treatable, particularly with the screening service that is done. If you are over 60 you have probably had in the post the kits for poo samples. However for people with young onset colorectal cancer, the story is different. It is often diagnosed at a later stage which is harder to treat, particularly when it becomes stage 4 and you get secondary metastasis. This can often be down to a lack of understanding that bowel cancer can affect people under 50, I was only 39 when I was diagnosed. It is more worrying that this lack of understanding can come from GPs who sometimes dismiss possible patients who have bowel cancer as having IBS or piles, instead of referring them to have a colonoscopy.

    As a rule I never ever use an SSD drive for data. SSDs have a finite number of write/erase cycles, you can however read from them as much as you like. So I mainly use my SSD for my OS, games, and applications. Data I would store on a mechanical hard drive.

    Also with regards to backing up, if your data isn't in 3 places then it doesn't exist.

    One of the potential future issues with smart meters is going to be the way you get charged for electricity usage. At the moment you are just charged for the true power that goes through the meter. In the future though there is a possibility that electricity companies might start taking into consideration power factor and with smart meters this is perfectly possible and all they will need to do is just make a small change in a database somewhere.

    You might be wondering what power factor is. The appliances we have in our homes are not just made up of resistors, they also have capacitors and inductors as well. Take for example a washing machine: this has a motor in it which is an inductive load. This inductive load changes the AC voltage wave so that it lags. This lag is what the power factor measures.

    An alternative to banking would be to put more emphasis on mutuals. That way you buy in to the society as a member. Profits made by the society are then redistributed by the society to its members. That way you can do away with banks owned by share holders screwing everybody over.

    If everybody decided to withdraw their money from the bank, this would only lead to panic. The banks would run out of money causing a run. People will be queuing up outside the bank to try an get their money out. The end result is the bank will quickly collapse taking the money owed to the people who weren't so lucky to withdraw it on time.


    If you think things are shit now, once that happens things will get a lot more worse. There will be rioting and looting on an unprecedented scale, so much so that the government will declare marshal law. All the freedoms that you enjoy today will be gone in a heart beat.


    However crap the system maybe, it is the lesser of evils and we just have to play along with it.

    As far as stability goes, you cannot get much better than an iPhone as the software is designed specifically for one type of hardware, which tends to take out a lot of the variables. Blackberries are set to become rarer as they have pulled out of the smart phone market.


    The inherent problem with smart phones is that they are basically a mini version of your desktop computer, in fact the processor in my iphone runs at an equivalent speed to the computer I had 10 years ago. As they run a sophisticated operating system they are vulnerable to malware just the same as any other computer. Updating your phone on a regular basis will get you the latest patches, a lot of the time these are due to vulnerabilities being found which an attacker can exploit.

    Ive got an ipad and its great, took ages to get used to but now i have its almost retired my laptop. My flatmates a computer whizz and swears by his nexus 7, but hes got a bit of an issue with apple. Only prob with ipad is it takes an age to charge, oh yeah and dont drop it. Mine fell about 2feet from my bed n smashed the screen when it hit the floor. £140 to get it replaced, ouch but when i took it to apple shop they gave me a new replacement instead of repairing my one.
    Ive also got an archos 5 500gb, dont get one of them if u want a tablet, there usless. I use mine as an mp3 player and its great for that.


    The parts to replace the screen if you were to do it yourself would set you back about £40. I would only advise doing this if you don't want to worry about any warranty repairs in the future and that you have some idea about what you are doing. One of the annoying things about the ipad is that the wifi aerial is actually half stuck to the front screen and half stuck to the chassis, so that if you are not careful in lifting the screen you will break the aerial: which then means that you need to practically dismantle the whole thing just to change it.


    The wifi aerial is located next to the home button on the right hand side. You can check this by putting your hand over that area and watching the bars on the wifi signal drop.

    People who can't keep their eye on their damned kids! Went to work today in a shopping centre and found a wee girl of 2 wandering around the walkways with no one in sight looking for her. Called out everywhere to try and fine if she'd just gone astray from one of the nearby shops-nothing, I bet they didn't even notice she was gone! Scooped her up and took her security but she didn't protest going with a complete stranger. ANYONE could have just carried her off.


    I find that very concerning. People who allow their 2 year olds to wander off like that should be made to read about James Bulger, then perhaps they would take a great deal more care in future.

    Motorways, I have no choice but to use one to get the 18 miles to work............why or why are they so badly planned that they only move at 3mph on a good day?


    I don't think they are that badly planned, just that when they were planned the volumes of traffic that uses them today was inconceivable back then. They have been victims of their own success in a way.


    The best mode of transport for a jammed up motorway in my opinion is a motorbike.


    I would strongly advise against doing this as it can damage the battery. To connect a solar panel directly to the battery does not give a gentle charge. In fact you would over charge the battery causing permanent damage. There is also the risk of overloading the cables and causing a fire, which is something I have seen the aftermath of, certainly wasn't pretty.


    The charge controller on a solar panel is their for a reason, it acts like the regulator on a car. It also looks after the battery and monitors its current charge state.


    If the electrodes are too badly damaged, then the battery is no good to anybody and would discharge rapidly if not kept on a charged state.

    With regards to a solar/battery system, what you have to remember sometimes is that less is more. It is no good having a big bank of batteries and then expecting the solar panels to charge them. Sometimes it pays to have a smaller bank of batteries and let the solar panels do the work during the day and the batteries during the night.


    As for the capacity of a battery, it is a little more complex than the number of amp hours available. Your actual capacity is largely dependant on how much current you are drawing from the battery. This relationship is known as Peukert's Law, for example a 100Ah battery with a Peukert constant of 1.2 being drawn at 10 ampers would be drained in 8.7 hours making the actual capacity of 87Ah.


    Furthermore, the capacity of the battery can deteriorate over a number of cycles, depending on how deep the battery becomes discharged and for how long would affect the life of the battery. Too deep a discharge for too long will cause the plates to erode and when recharged form a sludge at the bottom of the cells.

    The iPhone can be turned into a wifi hotspot in much the sameway as the mifi. When ever I am out and about and want to surf the net, particularly on my iPad I use my iPhone as a hotspot to connect to the 3G network. However, I avoid doing anything that would be data intensive as I would imagine my data charge would go through the roof, but generally for things like checking my email, facebook and twitter whilst on the train it is ideal.

    Finding out that a company that charges an extortionate amount of P&P for the Highlands is actually based in Stirlingshire... are they taking the piss??! :curse:


    What they charge for p&p is usually down to what the carrier they are using is charging them. For instance a company based in Glasgow will still be charged the same amount as a company based on the Isle of Wight to post a parcel to the Highlands and Islands. Unfortunately that extra needs to be recouped from somewhere.


    Working for a company that sells things over the phone and internet, I get to see some of the really extortionate charges some carriers charge to send to places. For instance a 3Kg parcel to Ireland is about €40 and takes about a week to reach its destination. There are some places where the p&p can cost as much as the product, that is before any customs fees and the products I am talking about are pretty high end stuff.

    Surely if Microwaving food was bad for you, then surely somebody would have noticed by now. They use less energy than a conventional oven to cook food, so in that sense they are good.


    TBH what makes them bad is this. Put a gourmet meal in both the oven and in the microwave, the one cooked in the oven would taste delicious whilst the one put in the microwave would taste like shite and be a soggy mess.

    Anyone setting up their own vineyard will get a raw deal out of this unless they are sitting on their own pot of gold. The time limit they have given is to short. A vineyard takes 2 years at least to establish and it is usually 3 years before you see any return from the wine you sell. Under this scheme, if you get approval, you will find your self having a choice of having to abandon the vineyard to go to a job the advisor finds you or loose your benefits. Both are not options.

    This really bugs me. It doesn't take a genius to realise that somebody who has their own business might at some stage find that the business grows to the point that it is too difficult for them to handle by themselves, so decide to take somebody on thus making an unemployed person employed.


    I have skim read the article. If I am honest it will be a total disaster for the economy. It is good that somebody who is starting up sets out a meaningful business plan. One of the biggest down falls I see though is that businesses that have seasonal variability it will cause a lot of problems, some of which would have implications for us all.


    For instance farmers would be badly affected by this. They can't afford to do regular hours, often it is a 24/7 job, particularly at critical times. Also they only make their money when they can sell their produce, either after an animal has gone to market or they have harvested their crop. With crops it can be difficult to predict yield sometimes as it is dependant on largely on the weather.

    I have had some scum bag try and take money off me, thankfully my bank was on the ball and called me as soon as it happened, a couple of the transactions they listed were ones that I did make, however there was a couple that were made that were for vodaphone top ups. Firstly my phone is with Orange and secondly I am on contract, so my card was stopped.


    I racked my brain over where my details were stolen from, however I came to the conclusion that it was probably likely from an online retailer who were storing card details on their own server which got hacked.


    When shopping online, my best advice is to look for online stores that uses a payment gateway service. This way your card details are never seen or handled by the merchant and also this ensures that your card details are not stored on some unsecure server. The payment gateway services also have algorithms that will spot any anomalies and reject a payment if it is suspicious.


    Holding your hand over the keypad will keep your pin secure only if the pin numbers are being harvested by a camera, however it will not keep your pin safe if the keypad has been hacked and a key logger is being used.

    Fucking morons who slag off hard working teachers :curse: I swear I think I'm gonna hit the next person who complains about how easy teachers have it :bang:


    I wonder the sort of person that would say that, obviously somebody who has never been anywhere near a class full of children since they have left school, quite possibly privately educated as well I suspect.

    I would love to see the day the Lib Dems decide that working with the Tories in the current government is untenable. Nothing shouts louder than no confidence motion than this. Better still if the Tories themselves are divided. Almost certainly a general election would need to be called. If David Cameron cannot get the Tories together going into a general election, then he will have to go also, which makes me wonder what would happen if a political party went into a general election whilst still having to elect a leader.


    Going on opinion polls, if a general election was called today, then the most likely winner would be Labour by a healthy majority. However, there is a spoiler in the shape of UKIP.

    Housing counts for far more, and that needs something doing about housing, as in building houses for people to live in rather than as a vehicle for the fucking financial services industry.


    This is something that gets me, it is also a problem that was directly caused by Tory policy when they were last in Government. Although the Labour government could have built more houses to replace the social housing deficit caused by this, but now there is a shortage of social housing, so the waiting list have become incredibly long. The alternative if you are a first time buyer and priced out of the market is to rent. More people wanting to rent means that landlords can charge higher rent and therefore the housing benefit bill goes through the roof.


    Putting a cap on housing benefit is going to make a lot of people, particularly in London, homeless.

    Currently running Mint with the Cinnamon GUI on an old test rig just for shits and giggles. Kinda toying with the idea of a Linux fileserver, but then I reckon I'll be better off with a decent NAS enclosure really. Mint/Cinnamon is a decent user experience, but the bottom line for me is that there still isn't sufficient third-party software to make a switch to Linux viable. GIMP is still nowhere near Photoshop, and there's a ton of audio apps that I can't get on Linux. And let's not even talk about games :p


    The way the Newall has talked about Windows 8 being a catastrophe for anybody in the PC space, Valve are developing their Steam platform for Linux, which can only mean the availability of games for Linux will only get better.

    It is usually best to have the panels so that you can rotate them to the southern horizon. Anything other than pointing south, then the panels are IMO useless. Also you will need to be careful where you are sited. A partially shaded shadow will give you next to no charge, the solar panels need to be fully exposed to the sun.

    I think a lot of this comes from the fact that benefit claimants are seen as an easy target. And yes there are people who play the system and take the piss, however the statistics do not back up the crap spouted by the anti-benefit brigade.


    The whole economy is teetering on the edge as a whole, to get us out of this mess there needs to be somebody in power who has the balls to do something radical to get the economy moving again.


    About the self-employed claiming back taxes, given the state of the economy, there are a lot of small businesses that are really really struggling at the moment that are finding it hard to just keep going from one month to the next. Given the demise of Jessops, HMV, Woolworths, even some big businesses are not immune. Being able to claim enough money back to have enough cash to keep the business going for another month without needing to close up and add their workforce to the jobless numbers is a bonus. And to say that they are wealthy and claiming them back is just like saying all benefit claimants are lazy layabout scroungers.

    I prefer communication through email. At work I much prefer it customers communicate to me through email rather than calling up and asking to be dealt with there and then, because I am dealing with hi-tec equipment, I quite often get the odd customer who would throw a curve ball at me. It is quite hard to help them on the phone, but with email I can leave it in my inbox for half a day whilst I have a think about their problem and then get back to them when I have a solution.


    I also do dev work as part of my job and when I am trying to work out a particularly difficult solution, it gets extremely annoying when I have to deal with somebody who needs to learn what an on/off switch does.

    This is something that has occurred to me a number of times when I have been to another country. As a vegetarian, one of the biggest hurdles I seem to face is how I am going to feed myself. I usually manage, but not as well as I would like.


    This thread is to share tips on how to eat well in places where vegetarianism seems to be almost unheard of.


    My first tip regards travelling on Eurostar. If you choose to travel in standard premier, they will provide a cold meal at your seat. Normally this would consist of some sort of meat dish. You can however get a specially prepared vegetarian meal by stating this when you book. It can be a bit pot luck as to what dishes they will serve you, but there is a tofu dish that they do serve which I have found to be particularly nice.


    So any more tips for vegetarians abroad?