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Sunday randomness

I took this picture on August 1st, and I have been waiting to hear if any other sources would mention something in amongst the stage-managed manipulation of foreign terrorism (notice how "ISIS" is now "IS" which means "Islamic State", as if to suggest Islam equals Terrorism). Well, not a mention from anywhere else so go figure...
Of course, if the marriage did fall apart... well, like father like son, eh?



In my last entry, hagbard replied that the EU conditions of entry are clearly spelled out. The problem is, I see phrases like "When a country joins the EU" and it seems fairly clear to me that the membership conditions are intended for a country that wishes to join the EU. What we have with Scotland is a country that is already a country in its own right in addition to being a part of the UK that is already a part of the EU.
If Scotland wishes to go ahead as an independent country, is the EU really going to say to the Scottish people, all five million of them, that they are European citizens today, but maybe not tomorrow? Especially given that Scotland is probably the most pro-EU part of the UK? If this is so, I'm afraid it would make me question the point of the EU project.

That said - Mr. Salmond absolutely must make a contingency plan that if the referendum result is a "no", then it will be written into law that any significant change in the UK's world status will trigger an independence vote the following day.
Why do I say this? Because I fear that there are too many lingering questions and too much FUD to make a Yes vote a certainty. However the worst possible outcome would be if Scotland votes to stay a part of the UK, and the clueless majority south of the border vote in a year or two to leave the EU. That would be a disaster for Scotland. I fear that if David Cameron leads the Tories to a general election majority, they might just be dumb enough to actually hold a referendum, and years and years of blaming the EU for anything and everything could well "come home to roost".

Well... We'll know in a month or so whether I can upgrade my British passport for a Scottish one... or not.

Yeah - I'm not just a "Murray" by name, I was actually born in Scotland. But since my parents found work "down south" shortly after I became, I spent but a tiny fraction of my life in the country. So most of what I know of Scotland is my friend Ewen pointing out where the Highlander films don't quite match reality. ☺


Asian PlayMo

A local supermarket had bags of PlayMo people. Obscured, and colour coded for boys (firemen, pirates, etc) and girls (princesses and such). I picked up a girl-bag on the chance that I might get the Asian character.

What luck! (why can't I be this lucky with lottery numbers?)

It isn't a kimono she's wearing. But, then, it is neither a qipao nor a cheongsam nor an áo dài, though it has similarities. I suspect it is a composite Asian character leaning toward Chinese.

She's on eBay for around £5+post (I paid €2) and they seem to think she's Japanese or Chinese; although the person that thinks she's a Japanese Princess could do well to learn about the Hime hairstyle...

Mom got an Egyptian Princess which is about as cliché as you would expect.


Vide grenier (another - it's a Sunday!)

I found a Bluetooth keyboard in an iPad/iPad2 flip-case for €10. After picking it up to verify that it would pair with and connect to my iPad Mini, I paid for it.

First thing, the case was way too big for my iPad, so a pair of scissors dealt with that. The back of the keyboard has a film of sticky gunk and I really couldn't face trying to peel it all off, so I just stuck a piece of printer paper to the back and cut around the profile of the keyboard. Much quicker.

The keyboard is French AZERTY (ugh!), but when switched to English it behaves as an English (US) keyboard. After all, the keyboard doesn't know, it just sends keypress codes and leaves the host computer to map those accordingly. The change to English meant I needed to print out some labels on my labelling machine. It will suffice for now, but I do make mistakes between the English and French layout since they're all visible on the keyboard.

The additional characters that you can see (such as the omega on the Z key) are the result of pressing the key with the alt/option key down. The keyboard navigation of the iOS interface is practically non-existant until you turn on the VoiceOver option, but that significantly alters the UI behaviour. It'd be nice to have the ability to use those shortcuts normally. Having said that, it functions as a keyboard with the usual cut'n'paste sort of facilities, so it should make it a more pleasurable experience writing stuff instead of poking a solid piece of glass. Because the keyboard is built for an iPad of standard size, it is reasobably large. The width is only an inch and a half less than my traditional keyboard, and it is bigger than the eeePC's one. Thus, it shouldn't be difficult to use. The keypress action feels okay from the little that I have used it so far - though to be honest I don't think I've ever experienced a proper switched keyboard since the BBC Micro. Everything since then has been rubber and membrane.

Attempting to use the keyboard with Android was a pile of fail. My phone is Android 2.3.7 (yeah...) and it was possible to pair the keyboard as follows:

  • Switch the keyboard on and press the pairing button.
  • Tell Android to pair with the keyboard.
  • At the prompt on the Android phone, enter the code 0000 and tap on "Pair".
  • Immediately press 0000 on the keyboard, then press Enter.
However, it will pair but not connect. It seems Android (at least, not this version) can't cope with something as obvious as a keyboard. Well duh.

Pairing with Windows XP was a doddle, basically just plug it in and off it goes. Unfortunately I keep getting "This device can perform faster" prompts, but that'll be the crappy Bluetooth hardware. At any rate, it works - I'm writing this paragraph using it. ☺

Back on the iPad (and with re-pairing, it can only cope with one device at a time - probably just as well), there are additional function buttons across the top where you'd normally expect to find the F-keys on a normal keyboard.
From left to right in the picture:

  • Go to the home screen (double-press to switch tasks, long-press to call up Siri)
  • Call up the search thingy (which I find useless as it doesn't seem to include searching the browser history)
  • Photo album / Slideshow (doesn't seem to do anything?)
  • Bring up the on-screen keyboard (useful for accents you can't work out where they are on the bluetooth keyboard!)
  • Copy (works in Mail but not in Google Docs?)
  • Paste (works in Mail but not in Google Docs?)
  • Home (go to document top)
  • End (go to document bottom)
  • Switch language (though English UK seems to think the keyboard mapping should be English US?)
  • Take a screenshot
  • Previous track / Rewind (if held down)
  • Play / Pause
  • Next track / Forward (if held down)
  • Sound on or off
  • Volume down
  • Volume up
  • Lock / Unlock (or turn display on/off if no code; hold down to invoke shutdown option)

In order to make things easier for me, I ordered myself some big bold keyboard stickers (€4,41 all in) that I can place over top of the existing keys. Better than something made on a labeller! It's the same company I got the katakana labels from a while back.

I wanted a keyboard option for my iPad, so I'm pleased to have found this.


Mid-season animé review

As we're a tad over halfway through the season, here's what I have been following:


The story of a group of friends who seem to be in love with each other, but not in the pairings that the other would prefer. The main character has flashes of seeing the future, but the story is generally slight and slow and this is not being expanded anything like as quickly as would be desired. I fear the series will be over by the time any of that part of the storyline makes sense. To be honest, I have pretty much lost interest in the characters, I watch it now for the beautiful Fukui scenery.

Tokyo Ghoul

In an alternate reality where humans and ghouls live side by side, a naive boy is seduced by a charming girl, who turns out to be a ghoul. She is killed, he is horribly maimed but is put together by using parts of the girl. Which makes him half ghoul. It's an interesting series, looking at the positions of ghouls and humans and their interactions. It could be quite violent and graphically gory if it wasn't for the excessive censoring of the blood squirts.

Zankyou no Terror

This is the hardcore series of this season. Two teenagers with a shadowy past (and numbers for names) commit various acts of terrorism in Tokyo, after giving clues to taunt the police using the pseudo "Sphinx". Their actions are fairly carefully stage-managed to try to prevent civilian casualties. Enter a wrinkle that is a crazy girl passing herself off as some sort of American Fed, she herself carries a number, and she seems to be quite happy to cause maximum damage and casualties - including sticking a bomb in a passenger jet and trying to ram it into the terminal at Haneda airport, leaving the Sphinx and the police to have to do something together to avert a disaster. This looks to be an interesting direction in which to take the series; with the police hunting Sphinx and now maybe both of them hunting the fake Fed?

Tokyo ESP

The Japanese seem to think that "ESP" (and a user of such being an "esper") is somebody who can use some sort of inbuilt process to warp reality around them - making objects pass through themselves, teleportation, force fields, and so on. The first episode is an all out esper slugfest. As of episode two, we backtrack a little to the start of the story and how we get from normal to, I presume, the goings on of the first episode.

Rail Wars!

In an alternate reality, the Japanese railway network was never privatised and blah blah blah - a bunch of young adults are on security duty, blah blah blah, fanservice, blah blah blah. What we're really here for are the trains, am I wrong? If trainspotters could make and animé, it would be this. It's quite fun to watch, and also fairly informative.


Let's face it, this series runs as a collection of short stories. It is dumb, stupid, and totally the highlight of the week. Why? Because it is dangerously genre savvy. In the first episode, and the second, and the third, the narration reminds us that the girls are using legal pellet guns and what is actually happening on-screen is just in their imaginations. What is happening on-screen? Gun fights that would please Quentin Tarantino and John Woo both. Homages to The Matrix and other films. A yellow sort-of-Platypus thing that just "is" but is never explained. About halfway through, the narration says that if we viewers are expecting a beach episode about now... There are so many reasons that this series is extremely funny.


Himegoto (dropped with EXTREME prejudice!)

Yup, this was every bit as bad as I expected. It is a short, running it at around five minutes per episode. The boy dresses like a girl, all the girls think he's cute, and his a boy. Oh for God's sake...


Looking ahead

No solid confirmations yet, but these sound interesting for the Autumn season:
  • Terra Formars
    Action sci-fi set on a terraformed Mars; I sort of imagine a kind of Venus Wars vibe; but the PV suggests giant bugs?
  • Sora No Method (Heaven's Method)
    I don't speak Japanese, so the PV looks to me like some schoolkids meet an alien that looks like Hatsune Miku who parks a big spaceship over their country town...
  • Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso (April is Your Lie)
    TVTropes says "A depressed former child prodigy meets a Manic Pixie Dream Girl", however the PV is watercolour cherry blossoms, a big-eared cat, and a blonde girl?
  • Psycho-Pass 2
    If I ever find time to finish watching Psycho-Pass 1!). The PV is insane, like watching the entire first series in fast motion.
  • Ushinawareta Mirai O Motomete (In Search of a Lost Future)
    No PV to watch, this appears to have been a game? Astronomy Club deals with strange goings on. Something like that.

And a special "WTF?" mention goes to "Ore Twin Tail Ni Narimasu" (I Will Become a Twin Tail) which is described by TVTropes as "A boy becomes a genderbending warrior to fight against aliens that come to Earth to steal twintails. Yes, you read that right.". Who thinks up stuff like that!?



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Gavin Wraith, 25th August 2014, 12:32
Unfortunately I live in England not Scotland. For lots of reasons I am jealous of the more enlightened Scots. Leaving the EU would be a disaster. How many families, like yours and mine, have roots both in Britain and in Europe?  
If Scotland escapes Westminster, perhaps England could too? What a tyranny geography has been!
David Boddie, 25th August 2014, 17:45
I hope you stocked up on ready-to-tear royal wedding stamps: ;-)
hagbard, 26th August 2014, 03:45
"that is already a country in its own right". That's the point of the referendum - Scotland is not a county in its own right. If iScotland becomes a country after the referendum then the conditions for entry in the EU are as per the Lisbon Treaty. If the EU wants to fast track iScotland via a derorgation of Lisbon then that will require the assent of all member states and probably referenda in several. 
There is no such legal concept as European citizenship; you can only be a citizen of a member state. After the referendum citizens of iScotland will, on day 1, not be citizens of a member state. 
This is exactly what happened when Algeria got indepence from France in 1962. They were citizens of an EEC member state one day and not the next. The same thing happened to Greenland in 1985 and Saint-Barthélmy in 2012. Their citizens ceased to be members of EC/EU member states as they got increased autonomy or independence. 
There is a case for Scottish independence but the way it has been presented is a combination of a pack of lies and wishful thinking. There are whole range of issues where the status quo ante (currency and EU membership) cannot be maintained easily or at all. The dishonest implication that it can by the YES campaign is one of the reasons it's going to fail.
Rick, 27th August 2014, 20:59
Indeed Scotland is tied to England at the moment, however with a separate (tied) currency and its own legal system, Scotland is already more of a country than the regions of other countries looking to gain their own independence. In this respect, Scotland is somewhat different. 
The Lisbon Treaty concerns the entry of a new state, and also the option for an existing state to choose to withdraw. It does not cover the situation of an existing state splitting into two existing states. 
You state that, on day 1, Scottish people will cease to be EU citizens as Scotland will cease to be a member state. Can you please point to an authoritative source that states such a thing? I don't mean the opinions of the current commissioner, I mean an actual legally binding agreement that is part of the current EU legal framework. 
Greenland became a member state when Denmark did. They subsequently held a referendum and elected to withdraw from the EU. The Greenland Treaty of 1984 was drawn up specifically for this, as the current legislation did not support the option of withdrawal (that was introduced in the Lisbon Treaty). Saint-Bartélemy separated from Guadeloupe in 2007 BUT REMAINED AN OMR of the EU. Due to various difficulties in maintaining EU standards in such a remote place, they themselves requested a change of status. 
The two countries you mention did NOT get kicked out of the EU due to a change of status regarding separation from a state previously associated with the EU. They themselves voted for it (something to do with fishing rights for Greenland, standards compliance for Saint-Bartélemy). This is the 21st century, it wasn't hard to find out this stuff. 
Meanwhile, this year, Mayotte became a new OMR (which is a full part of the EU). 
Of course, if you have authoritative sources to back up your statements regarding EU membership and currency, please feel free to provide them.
hagbard, 29th August 2014, 02:05
"an existing state splitting into two existing states" This is not what will happen if YES wins the referendum. There is currently a state (United Kingdom) which is, for now but probably not much longer, an EU member. After YES there will still be the United Kingdom which will still be an EU member. There will also be a new state called Scotland which will not be an EU member. 
Now, it can be argued, that in the two or so years between a YES vote and actual independence a way may be found to keep Scotland in the EU - and this may well be the case. However, doing this would mean significantly amending Lisbon. A propspect which doesn't seem that likely or desirable while the EU economy stagnates, its Eastern flank is in flames, a possible British exit and its beset by illegal immigration than the South. Frankly the EU is going to have far more important things to worry about than getting Scotland into the club with the minimum of fuss and delay.

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