Archive for April, 2007

Alan Johnston still missing

Alan Johnston bannerBBC journalist, Alan Johnston, was kidnapped 7 weeks ago in Gaza. The good news is that the BBC has information to suggest he is in good health. It has called upon bloggers to help raise awareness of Alans abduction. He is one of the few remaining journalists in Gaza risking their lives to report news from the lawless territory.

You can show your support for his release by signing this petition.

"We, the undersigned, demand the immediate release of BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston. We ask that everyone with influence on this situation increase their efforts to ensure that Alan is freed quickly and unharmed."

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Another idiot is running for President

John McCainThe world will breathe a sigh of relief when George Bush finally leaves the Whitehouse on 4th November 2008. The decisions made under his presidency have fuelled global terrorism and led to the deaths of thousands of people around the world. At best, he has been a miserable failure. At worst, he is guilty of war crimes.

Who worse to step into his bloodied shoes than all-out Iraq war supporter, John McCain? The 70 year old Republican senator yesterday launched his campaign to become the next president of the United States. Like Bush, he too has a special way with words. When I heard his speech on the radio, I couldn't quite believe what I had heard. So I've checked, and he did indeed say

Today, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States. I do so grateful for the privileges this country has already given me; mindful that I must seek this responsibility for reasons greater than my self-interest; and determined to use every lesson I've learned through hard experience and the history I've witnessed, every inspiration I've drawn from the patriots I've known and the faith that guides me to meet the challenges of our time, and strengthen this great and good nation upon whom all mankind depends.

That's right, he believes that "all mankind depends upon this great and good nation".

Since when did mankind depend upon the United States, let alone any other nation? You might suggest that mankind depended upon the US for its help in the Second World War but that is not true because "all of mankind" was not involved in the Second World War. So what is mankind dependent upon the United States for? It plays an important role in furthering our scientific knowledge and its corporations have created products that have raised the standard of living for billions of people. That's an outstanding achievement. But in no way whatsoever does the mankind depend upon the United States. If the country were to sink without trace, the rest of us would get by just fine.

Come down from cloud cuckoo land McCain and talk some sense will you? Arrogant, self-opinionated and downright ridiculous statements such as this parade you as an idiot. See what it has done for Bush – he has beaten all 53 men before him to become the worst President in history.

Let's have a look at Bush in action…

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First ever web design employee survey

I took the 2007 surveyThe clever chaps over at A List Apart have come up with a cunning plan for us webby people to find out more about our industry and each other. They have created the first ever survey for web designers, information architects, usability experts and all the other website professionals. I am looking forward to reading the results some time in June.

Take the survey.

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Kick your TV addiction

It's that time of year when the "culture jammers" at Adbusters encourage the world to turn off their TV's for 1 week and do something less boring instead (quote: Why Don't You?).

Could you cope without TV for a whole week? No problem. But they'd better not go getting any bright ideas about an "Internet Turn Off" week.

Check out the advert below and tell me if you too think that the last child filmed should be cast for the next Poltergeist film…

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UK house prices – when will they crash?

The question for UK house prices is not "will they crash?" but "when will they crash?". The topic received a slot on the 10 o'clock BBC national news last night.

HousePriceCrash.co.uk - Will there be a House Price Crash?The impending crash is receiving increasing coverage in the UK media for two reasons:

  1. The British public has developed a fascination with house prices and much of its savings is tied up in property.
  2. Interest rates are rising and if they go high enough, this could be what it takes to trigger the correction.

House prices will crash. The property market, just like the stockmarnet, goes in cycles. Over decades, property prices have always risen. But over short periods, the market moves faster and it moves in both directions. We have become used to rising prices and after 10 years of growth, it is too easy to forget that they go down as well as up.

A key factor is affordability. In the past, average house prices have tended to move between 3 and 4 times income. However, they are now at almost 6 times income. House prices have never been this high.

Watch the news clip, don't over-stretch yourself and as the BBC concludes, "be prepared".

Some things to remember:

Average house prices will fall, but some areas will fall more than others. If prices fall 30% on average, some properties may fall 50% and others may fall only 10%. Local issues such as job prospects, transport links, town planning, proximity to a good supermarket will all determine how much resilience a specific area has.

Pessimists have been forecasting a crash for a few years now and they have been wrong. The time will come, but immigration is strong and that is propping up demand for housing. Interest rates remain affordable and the Bank of England only adjusts them by 0.25% per month so the effect is gradual (unlike the days of Norman Lamont). The UK economy remains stable and growing. So, while a correction is inevitable, it may still be a few years away.

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