Archive for February, 2011

Is the iPhone Flash?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

I have had my iPhone for over a year now and have to admit that I wouldn’t swap it for any other phone on the market, BUT, and it is a BIG BUT, I really hate the arrogance of Apple in point blank refusing to include any version of Flash player on the iPhone or iPad and I understand has even vetoed efforts of third party developers to create apps that would allow iPhone / iPad users, through their own choice, to be able to display Flash content on their devices.

I do have an axe to grind, as among other things, I design web sites and do like to use Flash content, as it is great to create animations that can really enhance a site. I have researched what alternatives are available and the answer is pretty much zilch for me. Some Flash content could be replaced by Java script, but there is no easy way for a design based web designer, as opposed to a programming based web developer, to create such content. I have invested a great deal of time and money to learn the workings on Flash which has been a great component in web design for many years, and do not want to completely start again and learn another type of program from scratch because some jumped up tosser in America wants to go on a giant international ego trip eliminating one of the cornerstones of web browsing.

Originally Macromedia produced Flash, though I don’t doubt, as is the way of most major software, that they in stole it from some super geek back in the mists of time. The publishing software giant Adobe bought out Macromedia and added Flash and Dreamweaver to their all ready comprehensive portfolio of design and publishing titles. I use Dreamwevear and Flash to design web site because they are aimed a designers who want to create great looking sites keeping the hassle of mind numbing code writing to a minimum. Arty people are not programmers and the sort of mind that makes things look attractive and stylish are not the sort of brains that write huge lines of computer coding.

The main argument Apple uses to defend it’s refusal to allow the use of Flash on the iPhone / iPad is that Flash is said to be resource heavy and argues that HTML 5 with Javascript is faster for a said piece of equipment eg. the iPhone. After one of my clients said that they wanted no Flash on their web site because of the iPhone / iPads issue, I decided to research HTML 5 and Javascript and found that whilst HTML5 with Javascript in some scenarios was quicker, this was by no means universal and as often as not Flash was markedly faster.

So, from my research on the internet reading what the knowledgeable and independent geeks, who, lets face it, know more than anyone else, it appears that Apple are talking corporate crap. So why will they not allow it’s use? Adobe have written the software, it’s ready to go. Perhaps Adobe wanted a lot of money? I don’t know, but I am truly pissed of being a pawn in their games. I will continue to design with Flash for viewers with superior browsing capabilities and at the end of the year, when my phone contract is up for renewal, I will see if the other manufacturers have caught up with Apple. I certainly don’t want an iPhone 4, as I have heard too many unhappy stories from 4 owners. Apple admit that they have screwed up, but instead of recalling the improperly built products they give the unhappy punters a case that will mask the problem. More Apple arrogance.

Apple released a new operating system some years ago called OS X (Operating system ten). I bought a brand new Apple computer that was bundled with said operating system, but also the previous one. You had the option to dual boot, so you could run the new system, with the old one in the background as they ensured that none of the software that ran on OS 9 or before would work on the new system. Hmm. It was released with a huge fanfare as these computer giants always do. I tried to use it but the main problem was that it didn’t work. You’re bound to be thinking “he’s a Mac hater and is exaggerating”; to use the modern parlance “I shit you not!” – it really didn’t work; it was very pretty, but it truly made your Mac unusable, so I had no option but to use OS9. Even the most devote Macys who were about in those days cannot deny that. What is even more extraordinary is that Apple Corp actually charged heavily for the subsequent releases of the OS that supposedly did function as promised. Yes, it does work now, even I cannot deny that. I personally don’t like the way it works and have always found it very clunky, not liking the difficulty in loading new fonts or the way you can so easily click somewhere on the screen and be transported to another program without wanting to; but there are plenty of folk out there who like the system and find it easy. Microsnot has released a few very iffy operating system – Windows ME, which I always thought was rather aptly named – they took all the good bits of 98 and broke them, but at least there was the choice of using Windows 2000 which was a very good stable system. Then of course there was Vista, which was truly dreadful. It did work and was usable, unlike the early handful of OS X releases, before they started naming them after predatory cats in the hope that people would disassociate them from the previous not working releases folk had paid good money for. I only had a week of Vista before I moved to Windows 7 which is very good, and that was enough for me.

Whilst I do hate Apple Corporation as a company and can’t see the point of the iPad, being too big to put in your pocket and has really hasn’t got the balls of a proper laptop, I do really love my iPhone and so don’t want to change; I JUST WANT FLASH ON IT!!!!!

I wonder if I could work out how to make an on-line petition, get it promoted via social networking to the point where it has millions of signatures, and send it to the arrogant arse-hole Jobs. If any reader of this knows the technical methods of doings such a thing please e-mail me!

This is a fantastic video which I have just discovered that really says it all

Taxing Issues

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I am concerned in a report I read in a trade magazine the other day which suggests that the revenue and customs are planning to start persecuting small businesses with regard to tax. I suffered an inhuman tax investigation some years ago that lasted for almost three years. The stress of it nearly drove me to take my own life. In the end it all panned out and the outrageous demands and spurious allegations aimed at me were eventually put down, but not before I had spent some considerable sums of money I could ill afford on accountancy, which damaged my business and nearly put me out on the street. If coalition administration is planning to ‘pick on’ smaller weaker businesses as the previous government did, I think that I might very seriously consider emigration. A friend of mine did just that, after his wife’s reasonably successful hairdressing business suffered a tax investigation. She had five employees, and whilst didn’t make a great deal of money, it contributed to the family budget and kept six people in employment. The revenue demanded £60,000 from her on the basis that they ‘suspected’ she was working outside regular hours. In the end it cost them in excess of £10,000 to prove her innocence, which made her business unviable, and she made five people unemployed. My friend couldn’t face the possibility of another dose and closed his second generation, family run printing business, adding another three to the dole queue and emigrated with his family to Australia.

Get Britain working?

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Whilst I am not an expert on taxation issues and international trade I can’t but help feeling that the proposed changes to the taxation for companies with branches abroad will do nothing to encourage manufacturing businesses to make stuff in the UK. George Mombiot wrote an article in the Grawnyad about this.

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/02/07/a-corporate-coup-detat/ This link is from Mombiot’s own site which gives the stories references.

Whilst Monbiot has a definite left wing leaning, which you would expect from a Guardian correspondent, he is also a well respected journalist and I have followed all his references and read through them. I was very disturbed and so telephoned Carol Johnson on number one of the government documents gives. She has explained to me that the purpose of the proposed legislation is that the government are trying to attract very large corporations to have their head offices in the UK. This is can be seen as being great, but as far as I can see it will also encourage British companies to set up branches in foreign countries, and that when they do we, the UK, will not even benefit from getting some tax revenues. I appreciate that this has been possible using subsidiaries and all the legislation is doing is making it easier for them; but surely the government should be encouraging companies to start manufacturing in this country again. Taming the insane Health and Safety legislation we have here would be a start.

Is it not insanity that British companies are having their telephones answered by people who barely speak our language, the other side of the world, with the inevitable international phone costs, because our previous government made the business environment so uncomfortable, despite the fact that the vast majority of British people are massively pissed off by trying to communicate with people about local issues with people who they really struggle to understand. Triumph motorcycles are mostly manufactured in Thailand now!!! Why????

This government needs to put in place measures that will encourage companies to manufacture in THIS country. We have massive unemployment, some of which is being masked by 16-18 year old ‘studying’ in sixth form colleges to collect EMAs (see previous post) and other such Labour party ‘smoke and mirrors’ strategies. Health and safety in this country is pure insanity along with the new blame culture which also raised it’s ugly head with the Blair/Brown administration. Kids leave school with the impression that employers are a bunch of bastards out to exploit them, and that they must defend themselves and sue whenever possible. It’s true that in the old days the tables were reversed and the wilful neglect of the safety of employees by greedy companies was criminal, but it has gone too far the other way now and companies are unable to compete with the world any more.

Globalisation would be fine if we all played on a level playing field and sensible health & safety and environmental policies could be agreed world worldwide. Perhaps governments could refuse goods into their countries if they were produced from environmentally damaging and dangerous, exploitative factories? In this country companies get sued for the most ridiculous reasons by the army of ambulance chasing lawyers that have sprung up in recent years.

The main problems with those in control of large companies and governments is that they are really only interested in their own careers and lives which is why most policies implemented are plagued by short termism.

Further Education

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth recently over the coalition governments decisions regarding tuition fees or more importantly the tax payers contribution to funding these fees.

In my view one should stand back and ask what is the purpose of education and who should be funding it. Primary and secondary education in this country has for some time been publicly funded. Everyone in this country will to a greater or lesser degree benefit from this level of education and it is perfectly reasonable that it should be funded by the public. On the whole ‘A’ levels are a preparation for university or other forms of further education and were traditionally the preserve of the most able students. Successive governments have lowered the standards of the examinations taken during secondary education and the last administration basically told the populace that a very high percentage of sixteen year old should be going on to take ‘A’ and as many as possible should be ‘doing’ degree courses.

The examination results show that the education system is pouring out highly educated young people, but the reality is somewhat different.  When Lauryn, my girlfriend’s daughter,  joined her 6th form college she was gob smacked by the educational level of her fellow students. They have no knowledge at all of current affairs and their standard of reading and writing is abysmal. A friend of mine was teaching at a local FE college, teaching ‘key skills’ and was horrified by the lack of basic numeracy and literacy of the kids he was supposed to be teaching. These students weren’t bottom of the pile numpties, but carrying numerous  ‘A’ grade GCSEs. They couldn’t spell to save their lives, had no idea about grammar and punctuation was no existent.

I personally left school at sixteen having had enough and went on to do an engineering apprenticeship. I am not especially academic and really had too many bad experiences at school. In later years I did regret not having taken the opportunity to take advantage of a university education, but as they say youth is wasted on the young.  I did, however, get a good solid secondary education which stood me in good stead for life with seven good ‘O’ levels. ‘O’ standing for ordinary and ‘A’ standing for advanced. The clue is in the names – Advanced Level is for the very top students to be able to prove to a future employer or university that they are capable of working hard and have intelligence and understanding well above the average.

Some of the degree courses on offer at the present time are ridiculous and have seriously degraded the value of holding a degree. The whole point of a university education is to teach the student a serious subject in some depth, proving a knowledgebase and an ability to knuckle down and work hard to a potential employer. The Brown/Blair government devalued university education to a frightening level, and insisted that this level of education should be a right for anyone regardless of income, social status or a need for such an education. The result thousands of students clutching devalued degrees on the dole queue or performing the sort of employment that a graduate wouldn’t traditionally be expected to do. The previous administration  encouraged youngsters to go into further education partly to hide the fact that unemployment was far worse that they were pretending.

I do not believe that each and every tax payer should be funding unnecessary education for the sake of it. This country is not in a position to pay for it and as for ‘bribing’ the little darlings with EMAs – that was absolute insanity! The image of those against the EMS cessation is of the children of the poor who were getting help from the government to buy text books  etc; the reality is that they were spending the education grant on cigarettes, alcohol, phone cards …. My own semi-estranged son admitted to me that he spent his first EMA on comic books and other such teenage lifestyle inperatives. Lauryn tells me what the youngsters in her college spent their EMAs on. You talk to any nightclub or bar owner in the vicinity of a university and they will tell you that a massive amount of student income is spent on alcohol and general partying.

Lauryn is serious about becoming a lawyer, and has no problem at all with borrowing the cost of her education as she is only too aware that the resulting qualifications should mean that she will be in the market for a very well paid job at the end of it and so will be able to pay back the loan with the fruits of it. My girlfriend and myself are not in a position to fund her education. She will not be expected to pay back her tuition fees loan until she has landed a job paying enough to do so. Lauryn is not some goody two shoes and has got into all sorts of trouble during her adolescence but is a realist. She’s not from a wealthy background but the opportunities are there for her, but the coalition government are now saying enough is enough, this country is virsually bankrupt, we don’t want to go the way of Greece or Southern Ireland so we must stop funding wastrels.

The only students who wont take advantage of university education in the future are those who wanted to continue education as an easy alternative to working. Their background and parent’s wealth is no barrier and hasn’t been for many years.

My first blog

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Welcome to anyone who may be reading this my first ever blog post. I have little to say at the present moment, so will keep this brief in the extreme. WP was such a pain to set up, refusing to talk to the fresh database I set up on the server for it. Why it was so snotty I have no idea and nor did the very helpful techie at my hosting company. It seems to be working now. It’ll write something worth reading later.

Ralph