Category Archives: Ranty

I might start buying real books again

It saddens my little heart when I pickup a book and see my Kindle lying unloved next to the bed, but until some quite fundamental things change, I think I will be do that more often in the future.

A Kindle, they're very good.

Don’t get me wrong, the Kindle is an amazing reading device, it really is one of the best thing to read on, ever. I prefer reading on it to books by quite a long way, but the efforts of the publishing industry and the reluctance of government to move with the times is beginning to get in the way of what should really be a pleasurable experience.

At the moment there are 4 main reasons why I am turning back to real books

  1. Tax: in the UK there is no VAT on real books, because sometime ago we decided books are a necessity for society to function and flourish, ebooks however are an electronic service, and we tax them – so all ebooks have a 20% VAT on them.
  2. Publishers: The net book agreement was broken sometime ago; mainly because it was price fixing, but that hasn’t stopped publishers putting a ‘pricing agreement in’ that means the publishers are setting the price of ebooks. (The EU are looking in to this)

    That is why eBooks are sometimes more expensive than the print ones! – Why? It can’t possibly cost more for me to download something; compared to it being printed on paper, stuck in a van, sent to a warehouse, put on a shelf, taken of a shelf, put in a package, put on a van, sent to a sorting office, put in a bag, carried to my house and shoved through my letter box!

  3. Publishers don’t like eBooks: That can be the only reason they are still not putting half the books they print out as ebooks.
  4. Copyright law: Copyright law is stifling ebooks. Now I am a firm believer in copyright as a principle, but the current law is way too aggressive. Copyright remains on a literary works for 70 years after the author dies, even if the book goes out of print! 

    Books: these a very good also.

    For the ebook world this means there are loads of books, that you can just not get, because they are out of print and no one can legally scan them in and sell them to you, and because of point 3 the publishers won’t let this slip.

    This to me is a bit of an economic nonsense, you are a publisher / author your 30 year old book is out of print, someone wants to without expense to you, digitise your book, then sell it online and give you some money – where previously you had none.

    This (oversimplified) is what the publishers and authors don’t want Google to do with it’s Google books library project.

The net effect of all this is:

  1. Books that cost more as ebooks , for example Freakenomics (paperback £5.51, eBook £7.99)
  2. Classic Books you cannot get eBook copies of for example Catcher in the Rye
  3. Books that have just fallen out of print, that can’t be revitalized online.
  4. Books you can’t share because publishers are scared of that too.

And I am being driven to put down my kindle and start buying real books again.

this post will cost the UK Economy…

It winds me right up – every time anything, and I mean anything is seen as getting in the way of people being chained to their desks, it costs the UK economy. Never a mention of how driving people into an early grave or mass depression from unrealistic demands would cost the UK economy.

We worship at the alter of productivity, if something isn’t seen as productive (and who knows what that means) then it must be demonised and ultimately we must put a price on it.

Today it’s facebook at £14bn, but what else costs the UK Economy?

Google Pacman - it will cost you
  • Free downloads £12bn
  • Twitter £1.38bn
  • Social Housing Squeeze £2.5bn
  • Sickness £16.8bn – (because people wilfully get ill)
  • physical inactivity £8bn
  • Dementia £23bn
  • Agisim £72bn
  • bad weather £600m a day
  • Dry central heating £200m
  • Criminal Gangs £40bn
  • EU Membership £60bn
  • delivery problems in online shopping £1bn
  • truancy £800m
  • poor middle management £220bn

and Google’s Pacman doodle cost the UK $120m – so here is the link to play it some more

out of the darkness

It’s like a huge weight has been removed from my computer – or someone has given the hamster some performance enhancing drugs! after almost 6 months of dodgy internet Virgin Media have actually got around to fixing the problem in the local exchange and Me and 600 of my closest broadband neighbours can all use the internet again, without being thrust back into 1996.

It all started back in October when I began to suspect our wireless router of being pants / getting interference from the other 11 wireless networks you can see in our house. In hindsight it was just the beginning of the problems, it was so hard to diagnose because at the time it really depended on which way you held your face. I phoned virgin media, but because the wires where all in daisy’s room I never actually followed it through.

Now with super-slow-wet-string

When I did get to sorting that bit out routing all the wires into another room so I could call at night when it was broken –  all ready with wireless and wires and laptops – the man on the phone said – oh yes its a known problem, have £5 – it was like I got a small prize for spotting there was something wrong and bothering to phone.

Then it got really bad – at the end of November beginning of December I got “super-slow-modem-broadband” installed in my house – the wet string was obviously drying out. So I went on a campaign of social media attack and twittered and forumed virgin until they basically admitted it was all broken and stopped charging me for broadband. but event that was in January*.

So since then I’ve been moaning to anyone who comes within 5 yards of me and mentions the internet -” my broadband is naff ” it’s a great shame because back before October I was a Virgin Media evangelist. I would have recommended it to anyone, the speed is always what it says it is, never slows down at night, always fast, no connection problems for well over 10 years.

Now? I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone – not because the product isn’t good – it is fast, it doesn’t slow down and it doesn’t cut out – when it works – it’s just if Virgin Media over sell their broadband in one area – you could loose your broadband for 1/2 the year! .

* moving for us was a pain – we have no BT line – and that takes 6-8 weeks, which is how long i was told the fix was going to be (to be fair it was from when they said that)

Grrr Arggg Slow Internet

Having slow broadband is like having your arm cut off; well that might be a bit harsh. It’s more like when you trap your thumb in the door, and then it swells up a bit and then every time you do something it you knock it and start to realise just how much you actually use your thumbs for picking up stuff and holding on to things.

My Friendly Broadband Provider Virgin Media have told me that it’s something more complicated than they are willing to explain and it will take 6-8 weeks to fix – which is a long time to have a swollen thumb.

I’ve thought about moving to some other way of getting the internet into the house but the lack of physical BT wire means it would need reconnecting and surprise surprise that takes 6-8 weeks.

My Insecent moaning on twitter and in emails has gotten me £15 of my bill – but i still don’t have broadband I would call in any sense of the word broad.

Sorry for the rant I just need write that down.