Tax Credits re-evaluation

June 20, 2007 at 10:21 pm (house, moan) (, )

What is it with these people?  You get a whole bundle of forms through the post that you have to check and send back … but on the way you have to dig out statements of earnings, savings, other benefits and credits … surely the people within the tax offices already have all this information?  Instead you have to spend around a hour reading, digging stuff out, filling in, etc.

I’ve never known such a weird, convoluted system!  I’ve not yet managed to fill the wretched things in without a mistake!

Kevin.
(fed up with filling in forms)

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Tron – 1982 film

June 18, 2007 at 10:12 pm (computers, kids) (, , )

This was a surprise – picked this up this weekend for 50p on video.  Haven’t seen this film for 20 years!  This is a real blast from the past.  I remember seeing Tron fairly soon after it came out.  I was in mid teens and into computers and games (I still have my Spectrum 128 in the loft).  Never did really understand it much at the time, but thought it was a great film anyway.  The thing I remember most is playing the video games whilst on holiday – it wasn’t long before you have the music and similar graphics in the arcades and lets face it, the graphics in Tron are pretty unique.  Apparently this was the first real use of computer graphics in a film, but it wasn’t exclusively CG – most of it was still traditional animation and special effects.

Seeing it again now, it really feels like it was ahead of its time.  I remember wondering at the time if all computers were somehow connected in the ‘digital world’ but then that didn’t really make sense in a time of tape drives and standalone machines.  I ended up concluding that the world of Tron must have been inside a single computer, and there would be other worlds in other computers.  Of course, 25 years on, with every computer connected to every other one (well, nearly anyway), the concept behind Tron could be expanded so much, and potentially be much more sinister!

I read on wikipedia that Disney were thinking about a new Tron, based around the Internet, but the collective opinion seems like it won’t happen.  Actually, I don’t think they should anyway.  Tron is a child of its time and is all the better for it in my opinion.  I wonder what my kids will make of it.

Enjoyed watching this one again.

Kevin.

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Messages from the air

June 13, 2007 at 9:28 pm (interesting, internet, security) (, , , , )

Have you seen Google Sightseeing yet?  Its a fascinating site – its a picture blog of interesting places that have appeared on the satellite pictures of google earth.

What interests me the most though, are the messages viewable from the air, like this or this or this.

Of course, the privacy issues associated with these sites just doesn’t bear thinking about.  Is it so different to CCTV?  Hmm, there’s a debate to be had maybe.  Also these people are out in public anyway, but of course, like many things, the Internet can amplify the situation and things are extrapolated to the extremes.

Anyway, privacy aside (and it is a big aside of course), google sightseeing is good fun.

Kevin.

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Northampton Lift Tower

June 5, 2007 at 9:56 pm (interesting, places) (, , )

Despite living in Northampton for some time, I’ve never actually been up close to the lift tower.  Well, that changed last week, when I had some time to kill, so drove into the estate to have a look.

Its quite breathtaking really, standing at the bottom of the thing!  Its a shame that there’s no information about it though.  I had to turn to its wikipedia entry for help.

If you’re local and never been there, its worth a quick 5 minute diversion next time you are driving by.

Shame we can’t go to the top though.  We have to make do with pictures from the top instead..

Kevin.

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