Well, a strong sense of déjà vu for those of us old enough to remember the 1992 General Election.
Then, as now, a significant number of people seem to have told the opinion pollsters that they intended to vote Labour (or Liberal Democrat), only to choose the Conservatives when they went to the Polling Station.
Did they really change their mind at the last moment? Or did the pollsters just get it wrong?
It’s interesting to consider that David Cameron’s ludicrous gamble on winning a referendum on Scottish independence - without making any concessions - seems to have rebounded in his favour, doing great damage to the Labour Party. And what would have happened if Ed Miliband had stayed in London and not joined the absurd spectacle of the major party leaders rushing to Scotland – on the basis of an opinion poll that may well have been wrong.
There’s not too much wrong with Hong Kong International Airport. Apart from the North Satellite Concourse, that is.
It was opened more than 5 years ago (for smaller plans such as the A320 / A321), and yet the only way to get there (or back) is by taking a shuttle bus across the apron….
…which is also used by large planes.
As the planes take priority, the buses often get delayed on the tarmac. And it doesn’t take much for the whole system to grind to a halt. Recently I had a lengthy wait for a bus to arrive, and then, once it departed, it moved just a few hundred metres - and we had to wait for another 7-8 minutes before it could continue the short journey to the North Satellite Concourse. Total delay – around 20 minutes, and too much time spent standing on a crowded bus.
The best solution from the smart people at HKIA is advice to passengers to allow extra time to get there. Thanks a lot.
Needless to say, it doesn’t have a lounge (there is a Starbucks if you want to pay for food and drink, which I don’t - thanks all the same).
Is this really an improvement on buses that go directly to planes parked a little further away (which they also still do)?
Over the New Year holiday, CCTV-4 has been showing the full 48 hours of Deng Xiaoping at History's Crossroads. My favourite bits (i.e. the only stuff I can understand) are the cameo appearances by Robert Maxwell, Ted Heath, Margaret Thatcher and a Governor or two. And only one of them looked anything like the real person.
The there’s the stilted dialogue…and some of the scenes were totally fictitious. We see Thatcher having a cordial meeting with Ted Heath (in 1982?), where she asks him “as her old friend” to talk to Deng about Hong Kong.
Rather unlikely, given that they barely spoke after 1976 (she defeated him in the leadership election in 1975). Yes, Heath went to China and would have talked to Deng about Hong Kong, but the meeting with Thatcher never happened.
The one in TST moved recently and became a “concept store”. At first sight it appears to have become a magazine store with a few books, but hidden away upstairs is a reasonable size bookstore.
The concept, of course, is high-priced books, but the SCMP seems not to have picked up on that:
[T]he closure of its Causeway Bay branch signaled wider difficulty for English-language bookshops, publisher Jimmy Pang Chi-ming said.
"Hong Kong people read few books. They read fewer English books, and even fewer hard-cover collectables," he said.
Well, maybe they do read books but don’t want to pay excessive prices. English books are typically marked up by 25% in Hong Kong. Strangely the same books are available in Bangkok without that mark-up, or in India for significantly less.
Thank a lot, Cable TV, I really wanted to see the latest ISIS beheading video. It’s not available on other media outlets (who have this strange idea that showing these videos only gives ISIS more publicity), and no need to search for it on the old Interweb thingy.
Just exactly what I wanted to watch on my journey home from work on the MTR.
It’s bad enough receiving unsolicited sales calls on my mobile (though I find that either ignoring them until they hang up, or saying “Hello, who’s calling?” usually work quite well), but I get seriously annoyed when my bank keeps calling to sell me stuff.
Yes, “my bank”. I have had an account (and a credit card) with them for quite a few years, and, after all that time, one might think that they know something about me.
But no - as well as trying to sell me services that they ought to know that I don’t need, they can’t even address me correctly. OK, yes, it is one of my names, but it’s not the correct one.
I told them to stop calling me, and they warned me that I might miss out on a new product or service. Well, yes, that’s the idea. If I need something, I believe I am probably capable of asking them for assistance.
I should have known better – I had read the terrible reviews of Windows 8. But Microsoft had responded to the criticism and improved the user interface in 8.1, hadn’t they? Well, up to a point. Or to put it another way: not really - they still think they know best.
I have been using Windows since version 3.1 - back in 1992. I did try using a Mac, but found OSX frustrating. Windows isn’t perfect but I could generally find my way around, at least up till now.
I suffered with Windows ME, but Microsoft must have realized what a mess they had made of that, and Windows XP came along soon afterwards – one paid upgrade that was money very well spent.
I kept well clear of Vista, and waited for Windows 7. Sure enough, it was stable and usable.
Clearly, there’s a pattern here of the stupid element in MS wresting control and then being beaten back by the sensible faction (even during Steve Ballmer’s reign of idiotic management initiatives).
On the evidence of Windows 8.1, the battle is still on. As I have never used Windows 8, I can’t say how much stupidity has been removed, but I can just about live with the new Start screen with tiles. Haven’t we been here before, though, with the “active desktop”? Whatever happened to that?
No, the biggest problem (in both senses of the word) is the way that “Modern apps” fill the whole screen. Yes, on a tablet it makes sense, but on 21” (or bigger) monitor? No, Microsoft, no.
OK, so you can split the screen to have two whole apps visible (or one app and the traditional desktop) – but they have to be left and right, so you can’t have one landscape window in the top left, for example, and they can’t overlap.
Fair enough…on a tablet. But on a desktop or laptop I had got quite used to having as many windows as I want visible, and different sizes and shapes. It’s been one of the key features of Windows since back in the days of 3.1 when we had smaller screens and insufficient memory.
Thankfully, MS Office isn’t a “Modern App”, at least not yet, so most of the time I can have more than two windows open. But then you get plunged back into the world of stupid “Modern Apps”. Thanks very much, Microsoft.
Another problem (for me) is that they seem to be trying to copy the OSX user interface, presumably to make it more “user-friendly”. I didn’t like OSX, and I don’t like Windows 8 hiding things away where I can’t find them.
Why is Microsoft changing something that is already working well enough? Is this the same mistake Coca-Cola made with “New Coke”? Why copy OSX when it has a tiny market share? Why try to make it work like a tablet when the vast majority of Windows users have large screens and use a keyboard and mouse rather than a touchscreen?
This isn’t the first time - I still haven’t forgiven Microsoft for that ridiculous trick of maximising ordinary windows when you move them with your mouse in a certain way that I still don’t understand. I think it’s called the Aero Shake and I don’t like it.