24 February 2009

Alert -UK Driving Licence Fiasco!


Your Driving Licence - Beware! Please pass on to all friends/colleagues

Unwitting motorists face £1,000 fines as thousands of photo card driving licences expire.

Thousands of motorists are at risk of being fined up to £1,000 because they are unwittingly driving without a valid licence.

They risk prosecution after failing to spot the extremely small print on their photo card licence which says it automatically expires after 10 years and has to be renewed - even though drivers are licensed to drive until the age of 70.

The fiasco has come to light a decade after the first batch of photo licences was issued in July 1998, just as the they start to expire.

Motoring organisations blamed the Government for the fiasco and said 'most' drivers believed their licences were for life.

A mock-up driving licence from 1998 when the photo cards were launched shows the imminent expiry date as item '4b'

They said officials had failed to publicise sufficiently the fact that new-style licences - unlike the old paper ones - expire after a set period and have to be renewed.

To rub salt into wounds, drivers will have to a pay £17.50 to renew their card - a charge which critics have condemned as a 'stealth tax' and which will earn the Treasury an estimated £437million over 25 years.

Official DVLA figures reveal that while 16,136 expired this summer, so far only 11,566 drivers have renewed, leaving 4,570 outstanding.

With another 300,000 photo card licences due to expire over the coming year, experts fear the number of invalid licences will soar, putting thousands more drivers in breach of the law and at risk of a fine.

At the heart of the confusion is the small print on the tiny credit-card-size photo licence, which is used in conjunction with the paper version.

Just below the driver name on the front of the photo card licence is a series of dates and details - each one numbered.

Number 4b features a date in tiny writing, but no explicit explanation as to what it means.

The date's significance is only explained if the driver turns over the card and reads the key on the back which states that '4b' means 'licence valid to'.

Even more confusingly, an adjacent table on the rear of the card sets out how long the driver is registered to hold a licence - that is until his or her 70th birthday.

A total of 25million new-style licences have been issued but - motoring experts say - drivers were never sufficiently warned they would expire after 10 years.

Motorists who fail to renew their licences in time are allowed to continue driving. But the DVLA says they could be charged with 'failing to surrender their licence', an offence carrying a £1,000 fine.

AA president, Edmund King said: 'It is not generally known that photo card licences expire: there appears to be a lack of information that people will have to renew these licences.

'People think they have already paid them for once over and that is it.
'It will come as a surprise to motorists and a shock that they have to pay an extra £17.50.'

The AA called on the Government to use the annual £450million from traffic enforcement fines to offset the renewal charge.

8 February 2009

So is Antarctica warming up? - NOT!

I came across this rather revealing article by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph and it makes very interesting reading for anyone who is not aware of the truth about the so called warming up of Antartica!

"There has been a hilarious twist to the bid by the shock troops of the global warming scare to pretend that, contrary to all the evidence, Antarctica has lately been warming up, Behind this claim were scientists belonging to America’s leading pro-warmist blog RealClimate, including Michael Mann, creator of the notorious â hockey stick’ graph, and Dr James Hansen’s colleague Gavin Schmidt of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

When their allies at Nature made a cover story of their claims, this hit headlines across the world, trumpeted by all the usual suspects, from the BBC to the Guardian’s George Monbiot. But they hadn’t reckoned with the forensic expertise of the two leading US science blogs, Anthony Watts’s Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, run by Steve McIntyre, the chief demolisher of the â hockey stick’.

Combing through the data they discovered that the chief evidence for a warming Antarctica came from a single weather station, 'Harry’. But the data for 'Harry’ was not all it seemed. Secretly spliced in with it were lower temperature readings from a quite different weather station, 'Gill’, so that the higher and later temperatures from 'Harry’ (cocooned for several years in snow) made it look as though there had been a warming which didn’t exist.

So embarrassed was Schmidt when this sleight of hand was exposed that he pretended it had come to light through an 'independent’ observer, who was then revealed to be himself (after reading the blogs run by his more assiduous critics). But perhaps Nature, Moonbat and Co. should apologise to their readers for having been fooled by such chicanery."


1 February 2009

VLC Media Player plays all file formats

If you've been trying to find a media player that will play all your file formats, with no need for extra codecs etc, then look no further, as I may have found just the thing for you! VLC Media Player, a Free and Open Source cross-platform media player from Videolan can play various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, flv, wmv, avi, mp3, ogg and many more...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. Because of its open-source foundation, VLC Media Player evolves quickly, with new features and fixes released frequently.

I have used it to play MPEG-4, MOV, wmv, avi, flv and mp3 files so far, with excellent results and it's great having to use only the one player instead of several different depending on the file type.

Though the interface varies from platform to platform, the default interface is simple and clean. The skinned mode perks things up slightly, but the program seems to suffer from unpredictable behavior when skinned. Overall though, VLC Media Player is a must-have application for its ability to open just about any type of video file you throw at it.