blue sky thinking

February 6, 2009

Snow storms highlight the need for third Heathrow runway, says ABTA
ABTA has argued that this weeks snow storms have again highlighted the need for a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Following the blizzards on Sunday night, which left up to eight inches of snow in the south east, 868 inbound and outbound flights from the airport were cancelled on the Monday while on the Tuesday a further 173 flights were pulled.

It was only by Wednesday that normality returned to the airport, a situation which ABTA believes will be largely avoided in the future once the third runway has been built.

A spokesman said: “This weeks snow brings us back to the issue of capacity. Every time you have a large number of cancellations because of different issues at Heathrow airport you get a knock-on effect.

“Obviously if you had a third runway any backlogs could be cleared quicker.”

Uh, no? You can either use a third runway to improve reliability, at the cost of capacity, or you can thrash it to within a slot of its capacity, at, as we all know, the cost of reliability when the weather goes wrong. Or anything goes wrong, for that matter. Thinking you can have both is wishful thinking.

If there’s more planes, there’s more backlog, and there’s no net benefit to having the extra runway.

It seems quite clear to me that the intention is to, uh, maximise revenue from Runway 3. Why build all that extra terminal capacity otherwise?


Floating on a sea of dreams

January 26, 2009

Plan To Launch Waterbus Service On Clyde from The Herald
Waterbuses similar to those plying the waters dividing New York could succeed if introduced to the River Clyde, with demand growing as the number of destinations increase, a year-long study has found.

The £100,000 report, which looked at similar operations in Amsterdam, Sydney, New York, London and Hamburg, found that a Clyde waterbus or ferry service between Glasgow city centre and Rothesay on Bute would attract both commuters and leisure customers.

It could even extend to Arrochar, at the top end of Loch Long, and revitalise Clydeside towns such as Bowling, which has been identified as an interchange for the vessels.

This slightly silly idea has been floating around for ages. I’ve noticed that it’s particularly popular with people who refuse to believe in the existence of a railway network in this country. Note that pretty much every destination mentioned in the news story already has a rail connection.

Now, of course additional ferry services would be great. A usable Helensburgh-Kilcreggan-Gourouck ferry would rock, for example. And I’ve long advocated, to anyone who would listen, the idea of a ferry link between Kintyre and Ayrshire.

But creating a whole second ferry service from Rothsay… one that’s slower than the present system? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. And do these guys realise just how long Loch Long is?


January 23, 2009

BBC NEWS | Politics | We will fight recession – Brown
At the time of Novembers pre-Budget report, the chancellor said he expected the economy to grow again before the end of 2009 but our correspondent said this analysis now looked “outdated”.


And this will keep happening while people fantasise that they can somehow predict the future.

Parochial Thinking

January 18, 2009

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Utility sale could fund bridge
Scottish Water should be sold off to fund the new Forth road bridge, according to CBI Scotland.

What a shower of idiots. Is the water and sewerage of an entire country really less important than one road bridge? Let’s stop the futzing about and just agree that the tolls thing was a mistake, shall we?

mac stuff

November 4, 2008

At last a non-linky ranty post. I’m sure my reader will be delighted.

I got an iPod dock today. Just the simple overpriced Universal one from Apple. and it’s actually quite an impressive little thing. It’s ultra simple, just a heavy thing with a hole and a couple of sockets.

One plugs it into one’s computer (or PSU sold separately) and one’s stereo. And one can experience the novelty of remote controlling the iPod.

Which is fun, but doesn’t quite work right; the “menu” button doesn’t work right, which is a shame, because there are enough buttons on the remote to simulate the whole clickwheel. I wonder if one day we’ll get a posh Apple Remote with an actual clickwheel on it? It’s probably one of those annoying but reasonable Apple design decisions, as I can’t actually read the text on the iPod screen from where I sit.

As for sound? That’s the point of the exercise, and it does indeed sound a lot better than connecting directly to the headphone socket. The volume level seems to default–rather sensibly–to maximum. It is a line out after all. A decent volume and all, unlike the headphone socket with it’s lame EU volume limit. That results in quite a weak output into a line input and also, sadly, many headphones.

Anyway, it’s quite a nice thing, if not exactly value for money. I may or may not get another one to sit on top of the old G4 that my iTunes library lives in.

While I was in the Apple Store, I also sneaked a quick look at the new MacBooks. And they are very, very nice. The MacBook in particular is nice and light and solid. And makes my iBook look, rather unfairly, rather awkward. The Pro I lifted of the desk was a bit warm. And a bit heavy. But it looked a lot smaller than the old one, even though it isn’t. Good trick.

I can see exactly why Firewire got left off. As that nice Mr Brockerhoff said, there isn’t actually room on the bezel for a FW400 connector, and it would be politically impossible for Apple to put FW800 on it until 1600 and 3200 are actually available in (presumably) Nvidia silicon.

A bit frustrating, but there you go. Especially as the chip presumably supports it. (and up to 12 USB connections, btw.)

Anyway, the new MacBook is pretty convincing to me, and I would get one if I wasn’t skint. Or a Pro. Not sure.


November 3, 2008

BBC NEWS | Business | Fuel costs dent Ryanair profits
Oil prices have fallen, but Ryanair said it expects to make a loss in the last six months of the financial year.

Possibly Ryanair should try to make their money from selling plane tickets, rather than demanding subsidies from regional airports? And charging me to check a bag.

note to the Met

October 30, 2008

BBC NEWS | UK | Menezes police gave no warning
After hearing the evidence, the Brazilians mother, Maria Otone de Menezes, 63, said outside the inquest: “None of the passengers heard the police give any warning or described Jeans actions as aggressive.

Note to the Met: stop trying to defend the indefensible and admit you did a very bad thing. Then co-operate with the inquiry to ensure it never happens again.

Credit Crisis

October 13, 2008

So let me get this right. In response to a “credit crisis” caused by people in A DIFFERENT COUNTRY FROM MINE lending other people money that they didn’t have in the first place, MY COUNTRY’S GOVERNMENT have bought shares in all the big banks that don’t give them any real control, and in return, the banks have promised to lend MORE PEOPLE MONEY?!?

Surely it would be best if people didn’t spend money they didn’t have? Surely it would be better if credit was altogether more difficult to get? Surely it would be better if debt wasn’t traded as a commodity? Because it clearly isn’t one.

I seriously doubt that

September 9, 2008

BBC NEWS | UK | Astonishment at terror verdicts
Despite the verdicts, the government said the case had proven it was possible to “create liquid bombs from domestic items” and that limits would remain in place.

Googling the phrase “create liquid bombs from domestic items” produces all of five results, all referring to this news story. Googling ‘ “create liquid bombs from domestic items” HOWTO’ produces nothing at all.

Until I see a credible explanation of how this is possible, I will continue to refuse to believe it. After all, a liquid bomb would be rather messy and impractial. Perhaps they meant liquid explosive?

that could have been phrased more elegantly

August 24, 2008

Bulgaria Young Roma Help Police in Bulgaria Black Sea City of Burgas: Young Roma Help Police in Bulgaria Black Sea City of Burgas
The young Roma are expected to be of use mostly in cases of disturbing the public peace at night, domestic violence, and the throwing of garbage at illegal dump sites.