All entries for April 2006

April 20, 2006

The end of Peugeot

Writing about web page

The long predicted demise of Peugeot's Ryton plant has happened

There will be the ritual hot air from the politicians and the Trade Union chiefs, but in a years time there will be a lot of unemployed ex–Peugeot workers. Some might find good jobs, but many won't.

Isn't the real problem is that there's no real career change culture in this country? People work for years in one job, getting ever more specialized and then, when times change, are thrown on the scrap–heap.

In a 2005 survey of Warwick University staff 52% of respondents answered 'disagree' or 'disagree strongly' to the statement

My development needs are regularly reviewed with my chair/head of department/line manager/supervisor

April 14, 2006

Stop sending me publisher files!

I don't like receiving microsoft publisher files.

As far as I know the only way of reading them is to get hold of microsoft publisher. That means either buying one, making Bill Gates even more rich and powerful or getting hold of an illicit copy. Handling illicit software is a very good way of getting infected with malicious software.

If people feel they have to use microsoft publisher they can download pdf995 (or similar) which will allow them to convert the printer output to pdf format. A format for which a free reader is legally available and which is used extensively on the web.

pdf995 can be downloaded from link

Use is legal. The only drawback is putting up with a short advertisement every time the user converts output to printer to pdf format. Readers of the pdf output suffer no drawbacks.

April 10, 2006

Fuel Poverty

Writing about web page

The recent hikes in gas prices are hurting hard-up pensioners.

No doubt there are some who think that the daft old buggers should stop whinging and go onto direct debit. But that seems to ignore the fact that an important reason for poverty is that some people just can't manage money very well.

Before the 1970's it was unusual for working class people to have bank accounts. I'm sure that many of the working class elderly still find them strange and awkward. Pay-as-go is a convenient way of keeping track of costs. Of course the middle classes would have difficulty in grasping that, as they don't need to spend much effort managing their gas bills, they can afford to keep all their heating on constantly.

A solution has been suggested that plastic tokens should replace the coins with government paying the fuel bills directly, taking the money from social security payments. With the need to handle cash gone, billing costs would fall. Every summer the meter reader would return the plastic tokens to the pensioner, enabling the pensioner to easily keep track of fuel use.

April 2006

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