Displeasure In The News

Relaxing road laws could create 1,650,000 jobs

Experts will today present a proposal to the Government that road laws should be relaxed in the interests of increasing employment and stimulating the economy.

Professor Bob Falconfucker bellowed “My colleagues and I have spent the last three months running simulations in The Raccoon And Firebucket, and our findings have been quite surprising. We found that if we relaxed various aspects of our current road laws, such as increasing the legal alcohol limit from 80mg/100ml to 8000mg/100ml, and increasing the maximum speed in built-up areas from 30mph to 250mph, then this would create millions of new jobs in the fields of automobile repair and manufacture, morticianary, bereavement counselling, tarmac-mopping, motorcycle helmet manufacture and wall reinforcement. We’d also be able to get rid of those pesky speed cameras once and for all, and the police could spend more time going after real criminals, amIright?”

Prof. Falconfucker would have said more, but at that point an envoy from ITPOSTIA ((the *Institute for the Thumping of People who are apparently Oblivious to how Stupid Their Ideas Are*)) arrived and the interview was unfortunately cut short.



Another absurd Freecycle posting

> Hi, I am looking for a bigger TV say from 28″ upward. My small TV is too small for living room!

I was tempted to reply to this with “Hi, I’ve got a 42″ plasma screen that I don’t use very often, about once a day at most. I’d be willing to give you that for free. You can have my Blu-ray player as well, if you think you could find a use for it.”


The stuff you see on Freecycle

Included as part of a “various items” posting:

> An item that l cannot describe except it is something that you can buy in clinton cards or birthday. It is basically a plastic thing that you give as a little present for a friend – Hope this makes sense

Also known as: a piece of plastic tat.

Displeasure Photos

The one problem with the Nikon D40

I bought my Nikon D40 from a camera shop. I spent a fair amount of time talking to the expert behind the counter, discussing what I would get if I were to buy a more expensive camera.

The expert was telling me how a more expensive camera might have more megapixels, it will be more sturdily built (hence able to withstand harsher conditions), and it will have more buttons on the body which would allow me to change settings quickly (instead of having to navigate through piles of menus).

I nodded, and let him know that none of this was particularly compelling. I gave him one last chance to upsell me. I told him that I had no intention of buying another DSLR in the next few years, so I needed to get the right one first time. Was the Nikon D40 missing any features which, in six months time, I would really really want.

No, said the expert. Definitely not.

Six months later, with an interest in experimenting with HDR photography, I discovered that the Nikon D40 does not have Automatic Exposure Bracketing. Fuck you, expert.

Displeasure In The News

The laws don’t work

> The home secretary has said cannabis is to be reclassified as a class B drug.

Obviously this won’t improve anything at all. But what most caught my eye is the handy table at the bottom of the article, reproduced here for your perusal (content unchanged but HTML vastly improved):

Drug class Type of drug Possession Dealing
Class A Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, amphetamines (if prepared for injection). Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine or both.
Class B Amphetamines, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Pholcodine. Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.
Class C Cannabis, tranquilisers, some painkillers, Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine. Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

(I wonder why they used words (seven, five, two) in the third column and numerals in the fourth)

In the interests of making the punishment proportional to the severity of the crime, here’s my proposal for new drug laws. Does anyone have a problem with this? If anything, I think they might still be a little on the harsh side.

Drug class Possession Dealing
Class A Confiscation Up to 10 years in prison or an unlimited fine.
Class B Confiscation Up to 7 years in prison or an unlimited fine.
Class C Confiscation Up to 5 years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Disclaimer: I don’t do any of the above drugs.

Computing Displeasure


If my bank were to check the access logs of their online banking site, they’d discover a few requests every day with the following user agent:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en; rv: Gecko/20071127 Firefox/ (actually 3.0b5 but a certain banking site won't let me in unless I lie about it)

Someone should tell them that trying to block people using user agent sniffing is about as futile as trying to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate by means of abstinence-only education.


Book online?

Hey, Specsavers, here’s a little newsflash for you.

Being able to book an eye examination online is NOT the same thing as providing a form for people to fill in, and then phoning them back to actually make the booking.

When your reminder letter said *Book your appointment online* I was expecting to be able to actually, y’know, book an appointment online. If I wanted to book over the telephone, then don’t you think that I’d just phone your number instead?

Granted, your system does have the advantage that I wouldn’t have to wait in a call queue, but I still can’t help feeling that you’ve missed the point.

Displeasure Guidance

How To Leave Pipex: Part 4

Of course, it’s never that simple. The Pipex business model, like that of most letting agents, revolves around *surprising* you out of a few quid at the tail end of your contract.

Here’s how it works. When you sign the Pipex contract, you agree to give 30 days notice. Those 30 days begin on the day when you **receive** the MAC code. So when I received my MAC code on the 26th November, they scheduled my account to close on the 26th December.

So even though they ceased to provide me with a service on the 13th December (when the changeover took place) they were going to keep charging me for the next two weeks. Okay, I’m not entirely happy about it, but it’s what’s in the contract, so other than appealing to their good nature, there’s not much I can do.

But Pipex have one last trick up their sleeve. When my billing date came around (19th December) they weren’t going to just take payment for the remaining week of my contract. Oh no. They were going to take a month’s payment, and I was then permitted to request a pro-rata refund for the unused period (ie 26th December to 19th January). Unsurprisingly, this refund has not yet materialised, despite my best efforts.

So the one piece of advice that I would offer to anyone planning to leave Pipex is to request your MAC code 5 working days ((Pipex are obliged, by law, to give you the MAC code within 5 working days)) before your billing date (rather than a week after) and then, if you wish to minimise “overlap”, set the changeover date to be as late as possible. In my case, I should have requested the MAC code around the 12th of the month so that my contract came to an end just before my billing date, rather than a week after.

Pipex are ruthless bastards, and will use all the tricks at their disposal to wring every last penny out of you. Don’t expect any mercy from them.

*Continues here.*

*Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.*

Displeasure Photos

Artists are pretentious

Nearly three years ago, I was sat in the pub with a friend and they went to the toilet. I was fiddling with my camera, taking photos of this, that and the other. The candle looked pretty cool, so I took a quick shot of it.

You can imagine my surprise when I was looking at an artist’s website, reached the bottom of the page, and saw my own photo staring back at me.

Joel Robert Harris calls this piece “Entering The Light”. He says:

> “Am I living in the light? Or are there fears, trauma, addictions, emotional scars, unhealed wounds ….hiding in the shadows? When the light of my awareness, or my consciousness, enters the darkness, everything hiding in the shadows comes into the light. It is with the light of my presence that I am able to dissolve fear, heal, and move beyond pain….As Mankind moves into the light, we heal ourselves, the world, and we create a reality based on love and compassion..”

I think that what he *meant* to say was:

> “I found a photo on the web and thought it looked quite nice, so I loaded it into photoshop, applied a few filters to make it look like I painted it, and then claimed it as my own.”

(Also worth a chuckle: on his homepage he has the tagline “art is creation”. Riiiiight.)

Displeasure Guidance

How To Leave Pipex: Part 3

Your changeover date will arrive. You can monitor the progress of your order using your new ISP’s “Order Status” page, and they will probably also email you when the migration is complete. Oh, and your Pipex connection will stop working.

At this point, enter your new connection details into your router’s setup page, and watch in wonder as Internet connectivity returns! Joy!

Now cancel your Pipex Direct Debit. Barring any mishaps, our work here is done.

*Continues here.*

*Part 1, Part 2.*