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The first vide grenier of the year!

A town not so far away held a vide grenier (lit. "empty attic", it's a sort of boot sale that usually takes place in the roads of the town) in honour of St. George's Day. Obviously, as the festival might suggest, it was an affair run by Brits.
I got myself a DVD of "Gothika" (€2 - haven't seen it) and a keyboard for €3.

The keyboard is a "tiny" keyboard. It is bigger than my previous one so it isn't exactly tiny! ☺ My main reason for wanting it was that my other keyboards predate the Windows-logo key stuff. This keyboard has some additional control keys, but I can't find a way to assign which key does which function. Some appear to be predefined by the OS, so the button on the left does Mute (not Tiny Online (or whatever else). HK1 starts Firefox. HK4 starts calc. HK3 turns the volume up, and the back-a-track button turns the volume down. I can make some use of these buttons, but it'd be better if there was some sort of tool to permit customisation...
Below is a picture of the keyboard. It is model KB-9805, serial #OIO6607888. I am using XP SP2.

I took the keyboard apart, but there was nothing inside to indicate who exactly manufactured this keyboard, and it doesn't appear possible to auto-ID a PS/2 keyboard...
Can YOU help?


Frenchie BMI

One thing you can say about French women is that they are often quite thin. There are always exceptions to the rule, but on the whole they are both lithe and svelte (probably both French words...). It is now official that they are the slimmest in Europe, with an average body mass index of 23.2.
On the other hand, weighing in with a hefty 26.2 BMI, and the heaviest in Europe, are the Brits.
Perhaps not a coincidence, BBCi says that Brits eat 25 times more chicken than in 1950. Not 25 percent more, 25 times more.


The Gurkhas

While I won't cry on camera and wail and refer to those-in-charge as "the administration" (a very Americanised term) as did Joanna Lumley recently, I certainly feel that "those pricks in charge" (a very Rickised term ☺) are doing their best to short-change the Gurkhas.
For those who haven't heard of them, they are Nepalese fighters that take their role extremely seriously. With the gung-ho of a US marine and Asian honour ("Better to die than be a coward"), in some conflicts their presence alone has had a severe psychological impact on the enemy. This, of course, is probably not helped by a smiling bloke who unsheathes an 18" knife ("kukri") which is said to need to 'taste blood' before it can be put away. And why is he smiling? Because you as the enemy are ranked "trivial".
You can see why having Gurkhas on-side has been useful, and they have been part of the British armed forces for nearly two centuries.

So somebody please explain to me why they do not have right of residency in the UK? The slimy minister-of-spin-and-balls (I don't recall his actual title) on TV was suggesting that permitting the Gurkhas to reside could potentially open the door to thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of residency demands.
From who exactly? You know what? I think it is quite simple. A person who serves in the armed forces and is willing to put their lives at risk to defend king/queen/country should damn well be granted all rights to live in that country. And if these potential hundreds of thousands is actuality instead of a lame attempt at FUD, well, blow me, won't Britain have an impenetrable and unbeatable army with so many people fighting on behalf of the UK. We could almost say "oi, Obama, you think you've got problems? we want our territory back and sod your war of independence". And those poor Americans, they won't stand a chance as the might of the British army and those hundreds of thousands roll in, knock them all flat (the Gurkhas can deal with the marines) and declare the US to be British once more. And the best bit? A whacking great country in which to dump all of those aforementioned immigrants. You wanna be British? Fine, sod off to Colorado!

But that's just fiction, as are, I suspect, most of the excuses for not giving the Gurkhas a warm welcome.
I do have one question, why haven't they all said "up yours" and gone back to Nepal? Why are they defending a country whose government obviously doesn't value them?


Economic meltdown? Why bother worrying...

...after all, in six months we'll all either be oinking or dead.

On the plus side, those who win big have lost big. The UK's overly-endowed now have a fortune of £258bn between the top 1000 of them. This time last year it was £413bn. [source BBCi]
At the top is an Indian steel tycoon whose family are worth a not inconsiderable £10,800,000,000 which is down 61% from the year previous.
Of course it is all relative. If I had 10bn in the bank, I don't really think I'd be overly worried about fluctuations in the order of billions (even +50% ones) because there's only so much you can do when you know the cheque won't bounce before it starts to be all a bit boring. I mean, what? You buy an Ecureil (it's a type of helicopter) on Monday, a Learjet on Tuesday, the entire Smart (car) company on Wednesday... You could buy and furnish a comfy little place in just about every capital city worth visiting, and do obscene things to the environment spending probably more time flitting around the world than actually in any one place. The Russians could take you sight-seeing on the ISS. And you'd still have only made a small dent in the finances.

Let's face it, for most of us winning the lottery is the sort of stuff we dream about. But I think an important question needs to be answered first. How much? How much is a good win? How much is useful? For me, personally, I would like upwards of around 300K. Enough to get a new car (yes, probably a Smart..!), a decent computer setup, and some cash to do up this place and make it nice and cosy. I am happy doing my job, I quite like my job, and while if I won a big amount I'd make a beeline for Akihabara, I wonder how long I'd dick around before I got bored and wanted my life back?
So ~300K would be good.

Of course, there is no upper limit. This isn't because I am greedy. It is because I have a five-part teleplay sitting on my harddisc that I wrote and am rather fond of. If I won millions, or tens of millions, I would definitely want to see it take form, and I rather suspect the effects and such would eat up big chunks of the cash. I'm not one for using 'name' actors and actresses. I mean with that sort of money you could employ somebody who has already been on the big screen. Bring in a director with serious prestige. This doesn't mean that they will be any good. You need actors and crew who are on your wavelength, know where you are going, and click with the idea. I'm sure you can all think of a film that was miscast, or a case of "oh my God, did they actually bother to read the book?". There's no reason why you cannot make an acceptable creation using unknowns, provided you reject the moody, the sulky, and those who can't act period. More cash means a better class, as opposed to the film school rejects that often end up in excrutiatingly bad "cult" horror movies. When I look at the characters in my teleplay, they are all, with one-and-a-half exceptions, fictional. I don't think "oooh, Russell Crowe here and Jennifer Anniston there". The exception? Morpheus. It doesn't actually have to be Laurence Fishburne, somebody who does the who Morpheus vibe will do (though I wonder if anybody will do it as well?). It's a rather blatant reference to The Matrix. So sue me for throwing in some otaku culture...
The half exception? Lucy Brown. She's extremely cute. I don't have a character for her, but if I had that sort of budget, I'd definitely want her to pop up somewhere!

...and I'd still do up the house, buy a Smart, and a decent computer. Only this time I could point to the names scrolling up the telly screen and say "that's me" while everybody else thinks "yeah, right...". Only we'd know better, huh?

Back in the sucky land of reality, I'm in a minimum wage job and mom's pension would be an insult even before we go into exchange rate losses. And, well, we're all gonna die. That flying pig? It wants even. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Pee a little. Actually, pee a lot. Wet's wet, the amount is of little consequence, especially when you're a corpse.

Government advertising.
And in a few months time we'll have all moved on. After all, SARS and Bird Flu didn't wipe humanity off the planet despite the dire predictions and Fionnula Sweeney consistently saying "SARS" as "zarz". Likewise this 'potential pandemic'. A whole bunch of people will die of Swine Flu, or what will be suspected as being Swine Flu (on a global scale, we might even make it to treble digits †; and to put it into perspective, how many people will have died of cancer in the intervening period?) but it will pass.
Because October 2010? That's when we will discover the Bee Maggot Virus (an evolution of the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder - if only people had taken it seriously years ago...) and that's the one that will kill -9 us all.

† - developed nations only; others will suffer a higher mortality
      rate due to differences in health/medical care/sanitation.



Go look up the words to "Industrial Disease" by Dire Straits. Spookily appropriate nowadays, wouldn't you say?


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YogiCK, 25th February 2010, 22:04
There's small app from M$, called InteliType Pro. It's designed for Microsoft keyboards, but it works with other kbds, like my sister Labtec Media Keyboard. InteliType could assign every extra key to any action, for example running any .exe
Rob, 25th February 2010, 23:52
Hmm. I hadn't seen this post until YogiCK's comment above appeared on the RSS feed. My better half had Tiny PC with that exact keyboard, ten years ago.. Although the PC, and keyboard, are long gone, I've still got all the discs that came with it, including the keyboard driver. If you still need it, mail me, and I'll go root through the big box of old discs in the bottom of the wardrobe to get it..
Allan Smith, 1st March 2013, 12:33
The current version (8.20) is available from

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