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In a forum that I frequent, I just saw an advert for the No to AV campaign. It stated:

"Help us wipe the smile off Nick Clegg's face"

That, for me, argued against the "No" campaign because:

1. Negative advertising is usually a sign that the advertiser's arguments are weak.
2. That goes double for advertising that gets personal.

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Current Mood: cynical cynical

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Next Thursday (those with postal ballots should have already received them) a referendum will be held on changing the voting system to the Alternative Vote system.

Here are the arguments For (as PDF file) and Against.

More arguments on both sides here.

What did I decide?

The No campaign seems to have shot itself in the foot:

Their first argument is that it would cost more. Yes, democracy costs money. If your biggest argument is the cost then you obviously put Finance above Democracy. Hey, I can think of a way of saving money on elections -- don't have them! Cost is not a valid argument in my book. If it's your main argument then I have to wonder about any that follow.

Secondly, that argument includes costs of electronic voting machines. Hang on, as far as I was aware only the system of voting was changing.

Thirdly, they say that it would lead to more hung parliaments. My answer to that is that lots of voting systems lead to hung parliaments -- in fact they are the norm. What's wrong with that? However, an acedemic who has investigated the issue begs to differ.

On the face of it the "Yes" campaign, does have better arguments:

The thought that you don't have to make a choice between voting for the party you want and tactical voting, is appealing.

The thought that votes are prioritised is also appealing and the argument that parties with minority appeal are less likely to get in.

However, the same interview that proves that AV would not necessarily lead to more hung parliaments did, for me, argue against AV. The thought of parties I don't want in having bigger majorities is annoying.

It was something said by a politician in a different country that helped me make up my mind. In Canada there is a general election under way. In an interview on CBC's The House, Michael Ignatieff (the Leader of the Liberal Party, currently the 2nd party in Canada) stated that a vote for the NDP (Canada's third party) was a vote for the Conservatives.

I decided that "Yes" would get my vote.

{edit on 1st May 2011}I should have made it clearer: Canada uses the First Past the Post system.

Also, if the polls are anything to go by, it looks like the NDP are going to be the 2nd party and the Liberals are going to become the 3rd.

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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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A month or two ago I was informed that my job would soon be coming to an end. I've been looking for another job since.
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A week ago I was informed that I was hired on an on-going basis.[1] There's also a permanent job advertised in the department so I've applied.

[1] As I understand it, an "on-going" contract is one where you are hired for as long as the job exists (which they believe is for the forseeable future) but, as you have been warned that the job may go, you don't get any redundancy pay if the job goes. Essentially, you are legally a temporary employee but you can get a mortgage, make long term plans, etc.


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I've got a job.

I got a call yesterday morning from an agency asking if I could be at a job in less than 2 hours. I said yes.

It's only temporary (covering for someone on holiday) but it's a lovely admin job. Hopefully, after this job, it'll be easier to get others.

I'll update my CV tomorrow and continue making applications (after all this job is only for 3 weeks). Hopefully, I'll find something permanent soon.

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Current Mood: happy happy

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I'm going to have to change my phone soon because the most heavily used keys (i.e. the ones with the vowels and/or most common consonants) don't always register. My phone has been crashing a bit more (probably less than once a week, on average, but it's still disconcerting). However, I'm going to need a job first so I can't change my phone just yet.

Those of you who know me a long time know that, as long as it has the features I want, I rate reliability and robustness above everything. Even if you're careful a phone can be dropped.

On the face of it the Samsung Solid Extreme is designed to be robust. The fact that it's waterproof means that I can answer it if it's raining without having to worry. However, a check of user reviews (on Amazon and CNET as the other sites I check don't even list the phone) shows that the phone has problems with syncing to a PC and call dropout problems (see the user reviews on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-B2100-Solid-Extreme-Mobile/dp/B0027I8DT8/, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-B2100-Solid-Extreme-Mobile/dp/B0021B0VUU/, http://www.amazon.co.uk/SAMSUNG-EXTREME-ORANGE-NETWORK-BRANDED/dp/B002LJWTNO/ and the user reviews for the Solid Extreme on CNET UK).

How about other phones? I started checking in April but, with job hunting, only managed to investigate 20 or so phones.[1] At that time the Blackberry 8520 Curve and the Blackberry 9700 Bold came out top but there were still problems reported with those phones.

Subsequent to that I remember walking through somebody's living room (I can't remember who) and they were watching Watchdog. I confess that I didn't stop to watch for long but they were doing a feature about the iPhone. Apparently just holding the iPhone so the microphone is next to your mouth, i.e. the way most people hold a phone, means that the moisture in your breath is enough to breach the terms of the warranty.

That again made me think of the Solid Extreme but I can't deny that it has problems of its own.

I'll look at the market again once I've got a job but, right now, I fear that I'm going to be in for a big disappointment in my quest for a reliable phone.

{edit}I've given it some thought and reliability is the main thing so the Samsung Solid Extreme is probably not going to be chosen.

[1] My methodology was designed around getting through things as quickly as possible so it is not rigorous. The method was:

Check the following sites:


In each case I would:

1. Check the official write up to the phone. If any problems are reported there, then I would list the phone as unreliable then move on.
2. Check the 1*, 2* and 3* reviews for problems (or any score less than 50% on the Your Mobile Phone Reviews website).[2] I did not check the 4 or 5* reviews as they were unlikely to list faults but I know that I probably missed some fault reports.
3. I listed the faults reported, looking for common themes, and recorded both the number of user reviews with faults listed against the total number of reviews on the pages I checked.
4. A conditional format highlighted phones using this formula:
<=25 total reviews: No action
>25 and <=80 total reviews and >15% reviews report faults: Red
>25 and <=80 total reviews with 8-15% reviews reporting faults: Yellow
>80 reviews, >8% reviews report faults: Red (no yellow)

[2] Where there were only a handful of reviews, I did check all the reviews.

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Current Mood: cynical cynical

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Previous entry corrected.
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I'm now on Twitter. I admit that some of the people I'm following are actually characters in the webcomic Questionable Content.

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A couple of weeks ago I applied for a job. On the Monday I got a call for a screening interview with the agency who was dealing with it. I had that the next day. I was then informed, a couple of days later, that there would be an interview with the company the following Wednesday (i.e. the one just gone).

The interview itself was a bit of an anti-climax but I found out yesterday that I didn't get the job. I kind of expected that as I was promised feedback one way or another within a day or so and, consequently, it seemed to take a long time.

I was disappointed yesterday but, today, I made quite a few applications. I'm feeling positive because, I may not have got the job but, in the current job climate getting to interview stage (especially after a screening interview) is good going.

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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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I found printing my CV out a pain with my deskjet printer because it often smudged letters. The annoying thing was that, when it happened, it was usually only 1 or 2 letters. However, that's enough to ruin a CV.

As it was only 1 or 2 letters I knew it wasn't the printer cartridge. If it needed cleaning, or was low on ink, more than than 1 letter would have been affected.

A quick bit of research online shows that it was a known issue with deskjet (aka inkjet or bubble jet) printers. I found a cheap laser printer was on offer by several shops so I went to town and bought one. I tested it last night and it's a major improvement.

I'll probably use the deskjet to print out job adverts as replacement toners cost almost as much as the printer itself.

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Current Mood: pleased pleased

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