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Definitely a very interesting city… no I would go a far as saying it is an amazing city! I have just arrived back from a short break there and I have come back amazed about the relative politeness of the city’s residents. Of course the city is renowned mainly for its tulips ;-) although this ‘friendly’ image is often overshadowed by the thoughts of the prostitution and drugs that are predominantly associated with the city. At first I was extremely cautious about who was behind me – despite being in a large group, but it soon became clear to me that the city is no more dangerous than London. The largest threat was crossing the road, the drivers are the most aggressive I’ve EVER seen! A lot of the roads in the city are very thin but this doesn’t stop drivers charging down these (particularly those in their Mercedes) which is not too sympathetic to the petrified foreign tourists on the sides of these roads. The motorists also have a certain keenness to use the horn in large amounts if you are unfortunate to force them to lift their foot slightly from the accelerator. Another problem with crossing the road is the trams. There are loads of trams that run down the middle of the busier roads, and another somewhat unnerving scenario is when you are halfway across the road and waiting on the tram tracks for a gap in the traffic, only to notice a tram approaching rather quickly from the other direction. There are several zebra crossings in the city but you could / would be waiting all day for something to stop to let you cross. Continuing with the transport side, Britain does however have a lot to learn from the city’s public transport network. The trams are extremely cheap, and frequent – but they are at the same time very reliable. But, I can honestly say that the bus and train services are the best I have ever seen. The Central Station is this largest station in Holland and I think handles
about 800,000 passengers a day yet every train I caught during my stay was actually waiting for me, before the time it was due to arrive! The service was very fast and exceedingly comfortable, arriving at my destination no more than a minute late! Has a train in the UK ever achieved this in the past 5 years? But the best bit was the crossover to the bus service that took me back to the hotel door. Outside the station was a series of bus ranks all with a large digital display telling you the next 20 busses that are due, and how late / early they are – and no surprise that the busses were all on time. I must say that the train and bus prices were a bit expensive, but this has to be a small price to pay (pun, sorry) for a service unheard of in the UK. The busses and trains run very regularly 24-hours a day, so there is no problem getting back to where you want to go following a night out. The city is currently undergoing substantial redevelopment, and wherever you look you can see a digger or cement mixer, but this is no bad thing. The city is already pretty with lots of flowers and pretty paving and architecture, and all of this can be seen on the river trips around the mass of canals and rivers throughout the place. The harbour is also quite impressive, it is said to be the largest harbour in Europe. The main shopping area of the city is fairly small, much smaller than you would expect for a city, which is the capital of Holland. The entire city is all fairly compact, and everything seems to be squeezed in between the canals rather than branching out. It is packed mainly with restaurants, gift shops pubs and cafes – and there is a vast range of prices in the pubs and restaurants and I found (probably through not knowing any Dutch) that as Brits we were ripped off on more than one occasion. Now on to the more unique points! The red light district is very distinct, and certainly not as big or dispersed as I was expecting. All of
the sex-based trade is confined to within an area of about 3 very dark and narrow streets and the sex shops surround this, branching out for another few streets. The shops and clubs are easily avoided although there is extensive pornographic sex based advertising throughout the city. I must say I found the extent of the prostitution that was clear to see a little unpleasant, and it looked wrong and even more discriminating when there is not attempt to hide the sex trade. However I did have to laugh at the ‘Prostitution Information Centre’ Amsterdam is also renowned for its drug culture, but is seems that this has worked. It appeared that most of this was smoked in the licensed cafés, and only twice did I smell the distinctive smell of drugs in the streets. There was never any sign of stoned people on the street, even late at night. It is a bit strange coming from a country that is so strict on drugs to see drug-smoking equipment on display in the windows of every café, and on free sale in newsagents and many other shops. The cafés are spread throughout the city and are not just confined to a particular area, so the drug culture is difficult to avoid but I saw no signs of trouble related to drugs. The price of a pint of beer in the city ranges from about £1.90 to an astonishing £4, so a bit of a drunken pub crawl could end up a bit expensive if you end up in the £4 place so be warned. The drinking age is 16, which wasn’t a problem because there were very few very young drinkers in the pubs on main streets. The city is literally littered with pubs and there are several clubs although these were all sex based. Most of the pubs seemed to close between 1 and 1:30am. I would recommend particularly the younger generations to go and have a look at this city, because it really is a place that has to be seen to be believed, it could even be considered a life experience. A short break staying a little way out would be best in case
the city is not to your liking, which is what I did. But, I found the residents polite and helpful and it was not a dirty as I had imagined – go have a look.
Wavelab is an audio editor for the PC that incorporates all of the features and effects that the amateur could possibly need – and then offers hundreds more effects that can be bought individually and ‘plugged-in’ to the software to give more professional refinement to audio editing. The editing window is totally customisable making it easy to put all the features you use regularly in the same easy to reach place, and the program offers the user a large waveform on which both axis are resizable to ‘zoom’ in on particular sections of the wave. Improvements over the previous versions of Wavelab include predictive hard disk reading that enable smooth continuous playback of the sound even when managing massive albums and 700 meg files. However the by far most impressive new feature is the addition of the ‘Audio Montage’ this is a file that is non-destructive to the source files stored on the disk but allows other files and effects to be mixed and crossfaded together – ideal for making a CD. The result of the predictive hard disk access and the Audio Montage gives an editing facility that is of professional capability. A CD compilation Audio Montage will be no bigger than 50kb as the effects are applied onto the larger wave files stored on the hard disk ‘on the fly.’ Another beauty of the package is the ease of use. Compared to other editors this one is by far superior. Having played with the package for no more than a week I am in a position to produce professional quality CDs, and furthermore the diversity of musical styles that can be successfully mixed, edited and managed in Wavelab is impressive. Dance tracks can be easily mixed – while the more refined techniques needed to touch up an acoustic set are also there in abundance. And this naturally leads me on to mentioning the quality of the incorporated pitch shift and noise reduction effects. For a package priced at only £300 to have all of t
hese features ‘as standard’ is very reasonable – but when they also work to an acceptable degree you can be sure that you are onto something good! However, for the more advanced audio engineer even better plugins can be purchased – and the investment is well worthwhile for the compilations that are to be sent to record companies and launched. Another excellent feature is the speed of this program; while you can wait for days for effects to be applied using other packages Wavelab can do the job in SECONDS with its realtime processing. Furthermore on this theme, there is the batch processor that allows the user to edit a wave and schedule the processor to run in the background – so that there is no noticeable reduction is system performance or audio playback. Or for all the processing to be done over night or at lunch time. The performance of the processor is really really good, 6 effects that I applied to 14 tracks were completed in 29 mins! That is effectively 84 individual effects! I should mention that my PC is a P3 500 with a 7200 rpm disk and 128 ram. Having a 7200rpm disk or a SCSI system is important especially if you wish to get into this audio editing lark, simply because of the size of files involved, but more important is the ram – I recommend 384 mb for the serious user and if you know what you are doing set your virtual memory setting to 1Gb of set aside hard disk space. I know I’m getting off the point a bit here, but also if you want to develop an insight into audio editing set a second hard disk – one to read from, and one to write to. Trust me when I say that performance (and disk life) will be dramatically improved due to the read/write head not having to flick continuously between two different positions. Anyway, Wavelab also offers support and encoding into any of the audio formats you can think of such is its through and through versatility. While an excellent CD burning facility is exc
ellent for producing the end product. Also worth a mention are the unlimited undo and level monitoring features that provide a great way of adjusting and then going back until the levels are exactly right. There is also the fantastic drag and drop nature that allow huge changes to be made in seconds while the graphical interface is so easy to let rhythms match up perfectly. Also there is the Time Bandit time stretching engine that certainly matches up to the overall performance of the product. The ability to remove DC offset is also to be found. To conclude, Wavelab is an excellent piece of software and takes mastering into a new league, one that is accessible to the home user, its speed and versatility make it the best editor that I have ever seen and I don’t know what I would do without it. The montage, which I should also mention allows selections to be ripped out and saved as any format you could wish with all effects applied is worthy of the price on its own and certainly brings professional capability into the home. If you want to dabble, or even if you want be create professional CDs – Waveleb 3 will cater for your EVERY need. Take a look at the demo, and you’ll see what I mean!
The death penalty is one of those issues that everyone in the UK feels is wrong but cannot fully justify removing. There are a number of issues on either side if will quickly run through these. Economic The death penalty means that the taxpayer does not have to fund the life imprisonment of the criminal. However in reality this is not true because it actually costs more to execute someone that to imprison them for 80 years! Rehabilitation Personally I believe that a murderer should not get out of jail but there are those that believe that the murderer if released is the least likely of all released inmates to commit a further murder. I am not sure if that is the point though, and is it right to allow those that have taken life to walk free again? Morality Life is sacred, and yes a murderer has breached this and is due punishment but does the court have the right to impose death? No, because such decisions are not ours to make – weather you are religious or not. Also I have heard talk that the deat penalty may be introduced as a rape punishment, there is no question that this is a serious offence but can the court punish with death when this is worse than the offence committed? Prevention If a potential murderer realises that death is the punishment for murder, it may prevent or detract from the crime being committed. Mistakes As I will mention later, a vast number of executions have now been declared mistakes, and there is no coming back from this decision. There are a lot of questions raised above – a answers to which are all personal opinion, so who is to say what is acceptable. Not me, and I would stick a leg out and say nor are you – or Tony Blair or Clinton or Bush. It is simply not a power humans have. Until we can create life – we can’t take it away. Now some statistics to help you make up your own minds on the issue. Number
of executions (per stated year – not 5 year period) 1978 – 0 1983 – 5 1988 – 11 1993 – 38 1998 – 68 Yet this is while the number of murders in the US has been falling rapidly from the peak of 24,700 in 1991 to 16,910 in 1998. A staggering amount but why is crime falling and the number of executions rising? That said the number of prisoners on death row has consistently, and steadily been rising to the 2000 figure of 3670. Incidentally 7 of these are members of the US military and the split between white and black citizens is approximately equal. 586 of these are from California which is top followed by 460 from Texas and 390 from Florida. Only 44 of the 3670 are female. The most commonly used method is lethal injection with 518, followed by electrocution with 149, then gas chamber with 11, hanging with 3 and firing squad with 2. Totalling 683 since 1976. In 1972 the US Supreme Court halted executions on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, however the sanction was later lifted and the death penalty was resumed in 1977. From my research the most troubling fact I have come across are these. Between 1973 and 2000, 1710 death penalty convictions have been overturned before death, but 558 (out of 683) executions have since been ruled unconstitutional… Need I continue? I will end on a really sick note: DO NOT READ BELOW THIS IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 OR DON’T WANT TO BE DISGUSTED. DO NOT READ BELOW THIS IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 OR DON’T WANT TO BE DISGUSTED. April 6, 1992. Arizona. Donald Eugene Harding. Asphyxiation. Death was not pronounced until 10 1/2 minutes after the cyanide tablets were dropped. During the execution, Harding thrashed and struggled violently against the restraining strap
s. A television journalist who witnessed the execution, Cameron Harper, said that Harding's spasms and jerks lasted 6 minutes and 37 seconds. "Obviously, this man was suffering. This was a violent death .. . an ugly event. We put animals to death more humanely." Another witness, newspaper reporter Carla McClain, said, "Harding's death was extremely violent. He was in great pain. I heard him gasp and moan. I saw his body turn from red to purple." One reporter who witnessed the execution suffered from insomnia and assorted illnesses for several weeks; two others were "walking vegetables" for several days And this case is one of a very lone list of executions that did not go quite right. By reading some of the accounts I have disturbed myself and convinced myself beyond doubt that this is not an acceptable practice.
We all pay for the NHS through our taxes yet a rising proportion would rather look towards Private Medical Insurance and reap the extra benefits offered by the scheme. Yet to consume Private Medical Insurance (PMI) there is a great additional cost however, at present an astonishing 15% of all healthcare spending is spent of the provision of PMI. In the mid 1950’s only half a million people in the UK were covered by PMI, yet the figure has now risen to 7 million, and this figure represents about 12% of the population. But why are people increasingly investing in PMI? Simple, because they feel that the benefit of being treated privately if they fall ill is greater than the cost of being covered. Also the additional features of PMI, such as a private room, better food and shorter waiting lists lure people away from the NHS system. As much as the government hate to hear it, there is good evidence that PMI is better in terms of patient benefit than the NHS. Some NHS waiting lists are years long yet if the same operation is required under a private scheme the patient will usually be operated upon that same week. Worryingly the condition of the NHS patient may deteriorate sufficiently in the waiting time that the probability of a successful operation is considerably lowered, and in some cases the patient will die simply because it is no longer possible to operate. Such cases are damming for the NHS, yet it is hailed as the best healthcare system in the world. Why, because it is virtually free and equal for all. It is in this point that the primary problem of PMI is touched upon. It is elitist. Only those with money can reap the benefits of PMI. Almost half of the richest 10% of society subscribe to PMI, and (most of) the other half do not consider PMI necessary yet – i.e. they are under 50. I will try and draw a graph: poor _-- _--- _-- _--- average _----
_---- _-------- _----------------- rich _------------------------- 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 % of adults with PMI (well, I know what it means!!!) What effect will this rise in PMI subscription have on the NHS? This is a two way street, on the positive side NHS resources are freed up and in theory standards should rise and waiting lists should be cut. Also the PMI users still have to pay for the NHS through taxes so in theory the NHS wins from PMI. But, the doctors for both sectors are the same. So the doctor who goes to operate in the PMI ward, is making the NHS patient wait. Now is this fundamentally wrong? Doctors get paid substantially more for the time that they spend working in the private ward. So really there is little incentive other that the morality of the issue for them to work in the NHS. More time devoted to the PMI, is less for the NHS… Other side issues involve the unwillingness of PMI patients to pay for the NHS, and if these people have their way, the NHS funding will fall and no longer will there be a comprehensive, unbiased health service. As there is already a link between poverty and health will this be compounded by a low resource NHS available to all, and a top quality private service available only to those who can afford it, but surly healthcare should be provided on the basis on need in the modern world. This is a difficult issue and it is extremely hard to see where the answer lies. I am not going to say to avoid PMI, because in some cases it may well save your life. But the time a doctor spends treating the broken arm (a relatively minor injury) in the private ward they aren’t attending to those with life threatening conditions in the NHS. But not everyone realises this…
Christmas has now been and gone and I now find myself one copy of Alpha Centauri better off. I was intrigued by the large build up printed on the back of the box, thinking that if were even only half as good as it was made to sound then it would win the best strategy game ever! 75 technologies to discover, 60 possible base upgrades and an unbelievable and somewhat ridiculous 32000 possible unit types! In the past I had always been very sceptical of Command and Conquer spin-offs, but I must confess I have not tried any others before. I wasn’t too sure whether I should start now or not, and I even deliberated taking the box back to the shop to get £10 off Red Alert 2. But first, to dooyoo it was to see what those who had ventured into the box thought. I soon learned that it was in effect Civilisations 3, the unofficial sequel to Civilisations 2. The general mood was positive although those who wrote about it generally sounded as though they played computer games a hell of a lot more then me (no offence.) Anyway, after three days I decided, (in a somewhat hung over state) to open the box and see what all the fuss was about, and another three days later I concluded that I was not really sure! There are no missions; an entire game consists of a map on which you build up your base against another five teams. If you want it to be the entire game can be diplomatic and gets quite boring after playing 200 years! The aim is to equip your base with the most sophisticated technology and the hardest war machine. You research and develop new technologies that you can trade with other teams. This trading and communication with other teams is probably the best feature of the game although when you exhaust all of the communicative options it gets dull and almost pointless. The game is turn based and you can move all units and attack only in your turn, which is frustrating when you cannot respond to activity until your turn arrives. Even o
n a PIII 450 the turns of other teams take ages when the map fills up. The most impressive feature of the game are the movies that interrupt play now and then to show you the capacity of the latest technology your base has developed. Although these movies look spectacular they have no real purpose and are of no real benefit to the player. In fact they just become irritating on a machine running Windows 2000 because the game switches back to windows when one of these movies tries to load. This would be because the game is not fully compliant with Windows 2000, and be warned because this fact is not particularly clear on the box. Once you complete your mission (which you will because it is virtually impossible to lose) there is not much desire to play again because the game would be exactly the same as before apart from the scenario played on. The ‘governor’ function allows the user to fully automate the output of each of their bases but the governor responds only to computer code, not to exactly what is going on in the game so they lose their use after the beginnings of a game. All units have the option of automation but this generally ends up in them going mad and doing very little of use to the user. The result of this is that the user must control everything, and this takes absolutely ages, and gets very, very boring. I haven’t tried this but I wouldn't recommend this game for a modem multiplayer game unless you’ve got your wallet out and three days to spare! To conclude, this is a game that offers a lot in terms of options but definitely lacks in how the game can develop. Care has been taken by Electronic Arts to make a visually impressive game but towards the end of the game the rendering is too complex and the game loses its flow. The designers – Firaxis games really did lose sight of the priorities when designing this game- although what can you expect for a tenner?
Is this actually the best album ever? Defiantly. All of the best track from blur on one CD all for £12. I don’t really know what to say, but if you haven’t already bought this CD then get it now. I have listened to this CD virtually everyday since I bought it, and every track is excellent. The album covers a wide range of styles and this gives it a character that it is hard to envisage getting tired of. Blur have written some of the best lyrics this country has ever heard, while constantly developing their style, which is probably the key to their success. The highlights of their whole history are collected in one place by this release, from Song 2 & Parklife through to Tender and No distance left to run– it’s all there. Unfortunately it looks as if this is the end of the road for blur which is a great shame, especially when Oasis have nose-dived recently with no signs of recovery. We are soon to lose two of the best bands the 90’s have seen. Anyway, the CD is a nice memory and a great present even for those who have not really discovered blur, they are bound to be converted after listening to this.
If you are interested in making yourself part of the Internet revolution then Flash 4 is for you. It is quite tricky to use at first but give it a couple of weeks and you’ll be an expert. Loads of websites use Flash these days and it is easy to see why, it is really, really good. You can create stunning graphics effects by morphing shapes, fading text and pictures in and out and moving anything about on the screen like a movie. The great thing about the Macromedia offering is the really small, and hence fast loading times of the movies when they are online. You can easily shrink your entire site into 150kb, and that is a full screen movie based website. The potential is huge. The only disadvantages are that the viewer needs the Flash 4 plug-in to be installed on their machine in order to see the movie. Although the majority of UK and USA users do have this plug-in there are those in other areas on the globe who do not. This is slowly changing as Flash becomes globally more popular but it will always be a limiting factor in the use of the software. This would be the reason why I would choose to use flash 4 over flash 5 at the moment, i.e. because even fewer people have the flash 5 player installed. The software is also relatively expensive, about £200 at the moment although this may or may not fall with the recent release of flash 5. The answer to this is to make two sites, one with flash and the other without, this way everyone can see your site although it is a bit of an inconvenience. In my opinion the benefits of flash make this extra effort worthwhile. An example of a basic, but highly functional flash site can be found at www.kesphoenix.co.uk.
If you want a domain name, I would highly recommend looking here. The site is part of a bigger organisation called freeola.com but the names are very cheap and you get all the trimmings for your site. There are however a few drawbacks, including annoying access laws. On the site there is a very fast domain checker that will tell the user if the name they want is taken or not. The service checks all popular domain names like co.uk, .com and .net. But is also checks the availability of the new ones like gb.eu or .no.eu. Any which are available to us in the UK are checked which is a service not many others provide. The price is, in my opinion not the primary factor in registering a domain name, but at getdotted.co.uk the prices are very reasonable. They start at £9.99 all up for a .co.uk while a .com or .net is about £34. These prices register the domain in your name for 2 years after which they will offer you to renew, at the same price as when you registered – or so they say. With the registered name they will give you unlimited web space and email addresses which is better than any other service I have seen. For the IT know-alls there is a CGI-BIN and full scripting compatibility included and support for FrontPage extensions will be available soon. For those who don’t know their bits from their bytes there comes included a free 24hour customer support line that is manned during the day. This line is an 0800 number and although I have not yet need it, this is a very nice touch. Especially when nearly all other support lines charge ridiculous prices to put you on hold or not help your cause. This line you may never need however because the service is so easy to use with a little know-how. Also, there is lots of documentation on the web site to help you solve your problems. Once your domain is registered there is an online control panel to make any changes to your email or details. This is also really easy to us
e. I have found the hosting to be very professional, pages load quickly and the server has not gone down as of yet. (fingers crossed) The service is not perfect though. You need to connect through their ISP to upload to their FTP server or read emails, and this is a minor irritant for the home user. All you need to do is set up another dial-up account. For a company this may be more of a problem if the internet is accessed through a central server. There is a really nice little glitch in their online payment system. They ended up charging a little less than they were supposed to, only a couple of quid but an extra pint for me. If you want a domain with all the bits and pieces, free support and unlimited space, consider getdotted.co.uk, it’s quite good to say the least!
A big HMV has just oppened in Stratford and I must say I am very impressed by the extremely wide range of products that they offer. They focus on supplying rock and pop music, but they do not neglect other less popular types and styles of music. The dance section is quite large, and there is even a section devoted to jazz. However, the classical mucis section is lacking and very thin, with only cheap nasty own brand classical recording. This doen not concern me but I have had this info from friends of mine from older generations who are a little dossapointed by this. Personally I like what the shop offers in music terms, but the prices in the store are very high. Old albums are still offered at £16 while they are available online for only £6 plus £1 p&p. This is a bit dissapointing when the new HMV is competing with a large Our Price on the other side of the road - that also offers high prices. I was hoping for a bit of competition when HMV opened and some lower prices, but this hasn't happened. The store also sells a very wide range of good videos, thankfully these are cheaper which is nice- but DVD's are expencive as are all things minidisc. There are poseters and t shirts and a cool modern layout. But the store is overcrampt and this seem to be a feature of the majority of HMV's i have looked in. Overall a big shop with lots to offer, but fails some tastes and is well overpriced.
This is for all of you who plan to visit the famous town of Stratford in the near future. There is nothing a local hates more than a tourist. No, sorry that’s wrong. There is nothing a local hates more than a group of tourists. Please when you are taking your pictures of the back of coaches, parked cars, school kids at the bus stop or whatever else do it quickly because there are others who have to get around. And, although we do try and wait for you we cannot wait forever. If you walk down a main road in Stratford without stopping you will be in at least 5 photos, and the number of people with a picture of the side of my head is honestly ridiculous. This is a plea for all of those unfortunate to live in a tourist town, please think about those who cannot get past you on the pavement, those who can’t wait for everyone to take a photo, and those who were in front of you in the queue. If you’re in a group don’t huddle together on the pavement, especially when the pavements are thin as they are in Stratford, don’t all crowd the same shop at the same time thinking that you are more important than everyone else. Just a bit of respect and common sense and the tourists will be infinitely more popular and locals may just talk to you or answer your questions that we have heard so many times before.
In my opinion, the reason behind the success of the town, the Bard will eventually lead to the downfall and destruction of the town. Stratford is a very pleasant town in central England and has a nice close-knit community. There is much more to Stratford than Shakespeare, things that the ordinary tourist will not realise, but the tourism side of Stratford is increasingly focused on, leaving other community events on the sidelines. The number of events organised by the town council has, in my view, fallen in the past five years alone, while all efforts are not concentrated on the tourist market. This will eventually create a shallow town full of only gift shops and overpriced retail chain stores. Believe me, this is happening, massive music chains are replacing shoe shops, mobile phone shops are around every corner, and high street names adorn the town centre, while gift shops surround them. The small trading area in the centre of the town is to be replaced by a modern shopping complex- so where is the green grosser going to go? The shop has closed and I will be very surprised if it returns. When a situation where there is nothing that appeals to the local arises, residents will move away and they may not be replaced. Community spirit will break down when the council and other groups stop organising events for the youth or adults alike. It will only be for tourists, making it a shallow, boring over commercialised town. As the tourism to the town increases year on year, there is no need for retailers to sell to the locals because they can make more from the tourists, who are almost by definition more likely to part with cash. Look for a shirt, a pair of shoes or an English apple and you will struggle, but a pint glass with a picture of you know who on the side, no problem. But why should a shop owner target locals when tourists block the street and road in summer and winter? There is no shortage of them and believe me, a lo
cal notices this. There is no reason in a money driven world, so tourism will continue to rise and the shops will reflect this leaving Stratford to deteriorate and the locals with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
I stumbled across this program while looking through dooyoo opinions and decided to go a check it out at the web site. Having used this program for a week now I am impressed although not totally convinced. AVG is very easy to install and use, it scans Outlook email and obviously the entire hard drive, however it scans every single file for viruses, and these days hard drives are massive. Scanning my 18 gig drive took an hour and a half. During this time the computer is almost unusable because it runs so slowly. This was really irritating because only a few types of file can carry viruses, so why it was scanning clipart, text files and other such things I don’t know. Another irritating thing about this program is that there is no progress indicator while scanning so you can’t tell how much longer it’s going to take. The good points are there though. The virus database is free to update when new viruses are discovered, but it doesn’t say anywhere how bid the database is. So is it only scanning for a small handful of viruses? Who knows. The program offers scheduling of a full scan but it is so inflexible. These full scans must be done daily or not at all, so this is only really useful if you leave your pc on all the time. At this point I can’t really say how good the program is because it hasn’t found any viruses – but I don’t have any software to really compare it with. One scanner I have told me that a couple of files looked as if they could have a virus – but not one in the database, so this is inconclusive. Anyway AVG didn’t pick these up. I downloaded this to save £20 on Norton, but I think I will get Norton anyway and use this as a backup. It’s worth a look and defiantly better than nothing.
It’s all a case of supply and demand. In Britain, as in the rest of the world we live in an economy that features the free market system. This very basically means that whatever the consumer demands will be supplied, regardless of other factors. If the demand is there, there is the potential of profit for self-conscious suppliers. This is the basic point that we are seeing time and again in the UK. Any banned good or service will have a market, and a demand associated with it– or the good would not have been banned in the first place. By banning something a government restricts supply by imposing some sort of deterrent, but demand still remains; resulting in the up rise of illegal or black markets. All of the above analysis is of economies in general, now I will focus more on prostitution. Prostitution is illegal, but we all know it exists and we don’t have to look too far to find existence of its supply. But the problem with it being illegal is that it is not regulated by anyone, and it is this that is the problem with making anything illegal. By regulating something it is made safer for all involved, the entrepreneur (the pimp) only has their best interests at heart, and so treats their women as they wish. This is possible because the woman has no one to turn to for help if they are mistreated either by the pimp or the customer. If the industry was legal and regulated a prostitute could report such a crime to the police and would be much safer as a result. There would be some protection for the workers. As prostitution is illegal a woman would be admitting a crime if she reported such a abuse to the police, so they don’t, and the pimp or customer knows this. The same is true with drugs, they are split with other unpleasant things but the customer cannot say anything. The user is, like the prostitute putting themselves in danger by using the good. So, what’s the answer? In my opinio
n the policing system is all wrong, a woman who has been mistreated by a pimp should be treated as the victim, and not charged. The industry if made legal could be regulated and controlled with heavy taxes or licences, it would be much safer; on only an economical basis this would be a possible answer. But by doing this the demand for prostitutes may rise and this would not be good for a nation supposedly built on morals. The ethics are different, selling sex is something we teach children to be immoral. No woman can enjoy selling their body and risking their lives through STD’s, and no regulation can shrink this risk. It cannot be right for society to drive a woman to need money so badly they resort to this. Is there an answer? Questions like these are unavoidable and very difficult to answer. Legalise it, we could encourage it; don’t and there is a dangerous un-policeable situation.
As the level of money pumped into sport rises at a staggering rate, it can only be a matter of time until commercialism takes over fully and sport loses its meaning. In football both transfer fees and salaries are rising, the divide between the clubs in the top flight and the clubs occupying lower divisions is massive, yet it is still growing. This is to the extent that we a just starting to see the emergence of a new breed of super-club, who are simply unbeatable. It is now common place in the wealthier leagues in Europe, that is Spain, Italy and England to see vast levels of commercial cash injected in the forms of advertising, sponsorship and broadcasting rights, and these are essential along with rising ticket prices to fund the players salaries. Top players are now commanding a wage of around £2.8 million a year, yet this figure is still rising and faster now than ever before. In the past year alone the transfer fee world record has risen 22% from £29 million to £37 million which is the price paid to Barcelona by Real Madrid for Luis Figo. Ridiculously, this transfer record replaced a world record set only two weeks previously, the transfer of the Argentinean Hernan Crespo to Lazio from Parma for £36.5 million. However, the price will without doubt continue to rise. It has been suggested that AC Millan offered Manchester United £40 million in August. Since 1999 no less than 11 players have been through the transfer market commanding a price tag in execs of £15 million. Such is the state of the European transfer market that Real Madrid have taken forceful steps to ensure that their new star, Figo won’t be going anywhere. On his six year contract is a £110 million buyout clause, but with the turmoil that exists at present, who is to say that this figure will not be unheard of during his six year reign… But how is it possible to justify such prices? In my eyes it is not, however it all depends on what someo
ne is prepared to pay. So, in the not too distant future will it be a case of pick a big number and treble it? Obviously talent and performance are key factors, but this is not the full story, are some players bought more for their image than their skill? Gate receipts make up a large amount of a club’s revenue and to maximise this prices must rise, or the fans must be made to want to see their favourite players. Players are also chosen for their ability to generate revenue both on and off the pitch. The later includes merchandise and the clubs ability to demand more from sponsors and broadcasting deals. Other players are seen of as an investment, their skills and market price will be improved during a short-term stay at a club, whose view always was to sell their investment when the price was right. Examples of this include Gabriele Ambrosetti, bought for £0.5 million and later sold to Chelsea for £3.5 million. The question, why are English clubs paying these vast amounts of money to develop foreign players? has to be asked. In the 98/99 season the Premiership spent in total £275 million on player transfers, up incidentally 20% on the previous season. But half of this was spent on importing foreign talent, and this surly must contribute to the England manager’s job being described as the worst job in the country. English players are cheap relatively speaking, and it would be nice to see their skills being developed at home, especially at a time when the government has invested £162 million in the development of grassroots level football.
Personally I would go for minidisc every time. With minidisc there is no need to upload new tracks every time to the player you want to change what you are listening to, you can simply change the disc in a matter of seconds and have another 80mins of different music. If you are going on holiday, you can only take 60mins with you if you have an MP3 player, with minidisc you can take as much as you want, and blank minidiscs are dirt cheap – about £1 each, they are really small and very robust – the perfect medium. Rather than fragile memory cards for about £40 each. You can fit up to 80mins of music in stereo, or 160mins in mono on a single minidisc Minidisc offers CD quality playback rather than MP3, which is a compressed format and suffers from some the loss of some sound quality, particularly in the bass. If you choose minidisc it is very easy to record MP3’s onto a minidisc using a male-male connecter that you plug into your sound card. My experience with MP3 has been a bad one with most files I have downloaded containing viruses, a bit of a risk to say the least, and MP3 is illegal unless you have the track on CD or only keep the download for 24 hours. You can play minidiscs on your stereo for parties or when your mates come round, just go over to the impressive collection of discs, choose something appropriate depending on what your mate likes and stick it in the stereo; rather than just saying, give me half an hour to download some dodgy tracks, then plug the tacky MP3 player into the stereo, press play and listen to poor quality fuzz – not going to impress anyone. So do yourselves a favour, if you are thinking of getting either get a minidisc deck for your hi-fi and a player – you’ll never regret it.