Here's a piccy that i took with me mobile phone! Okay, that's not the new toy i'm referring to in the title because i've had this slightly battered Motorola v525 for a while now; what is new, however, is the Bluetooth network adapter i used to transfer the picture, up until now i had to rely on other peoples' Bluetooth-enabled phones but one £9 purchase later and Ikaruga and the v525 chatter quite happily.
The picture itself, although you'll probably struggle to see it, is of the screen to one of the newly-installed cashpoints in Leeds city centre, the ones that aren't actually bolted into the wall of a bank or anything, they're a little "booth" by themselves. And what you're meant to be looking at is that the screen isn't happily requesting a card, instead it's displaying a halt notice; yes, the shiny new NCR cashpoint has crashed! Now, i've seen some of the newer hole-in-the-wall machines throw up a Windows error message about missing runtime components before, but this is an all-out halt of all services... and that leads me to wonder how reliable these machines are and, more importantly, what happens to your card when the machine bottles like this?! It's one thing to lost a credit when you see an arcade machine crash and POST (like the Fast And The Furious in Scarborough that i mentioned back in September, for example) but a cashpoint is supposed to be reliable tech isn't it?!
On another note (since that rant just ran out of steam), i saw Borat t'other day... well, not literally, i went to see his movie film. And despite me being a bit cold on Borat and the later Ali G stuff, i bloody loved it. What the film manages to do is take the immediacy of the in-the-street stings and bolt a narrative around it that actually works as a story - at one point, the Boss went "awww" when Borat was sad, for example, but most of the film we were busy cringing and laughing like mad things at what he was getting away with! And, without wanting to spoil anything, there are a few scenes in there that you almost hope are scripted or at the very least a few of the "victims" were warned in advance, because how the cast and crew didn't get arrested is something you'll probably be asking for the majority of the running time! But it is hysterically funny and well worth going to see if you liked the old 11 O'clock Show Ali G segments or the movie.
Finally, a mention for the wonderful, fabulous and really rather good Torchwood. Need i say more about how good the stories are, how hard the actors must be working or how compelling it's starting to become? Probably, but i'm not going to because you should be bloody watching it to find out for yourselves you lazy people! It's repeated three or four times in the week between each new episode, short of not having access to the BBC stations (or certain other means that rhyme with "abhorrent" and are accompanied by a knowing tap of the nose) you have no excuse not to watch this thing. So there!!
Okay, it's not often that yours truly gets all "political" but for once i'm going to; the UK government wants to bring in ID cards that will either contain or link to biometric data and one thing i didn't realise is that the bill that was defeated before the last general election has actually been resurrected and is getting a second bite of the cherry. Some people i've spoken to about it recently think i'm being alarmist (well okay, perhaps a staple diet of dystopian-future science fiction does that to you) but at the same time we're about to put an unprecedented amount of data into the one place, something that i seem to remember my computer studies teachers telling us all was bad, mm'kay?
And we have to remember, this is the same government that said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
So to all the UK residents reading (i think there are three of you out there) please read up a little on the issues behind the scheme (and the home office site contains their side of the argument to give a little balance, in fact read theirs first) and, if you feel that what they're trying to do is wrong, you could always take a few minutes to sign up with the online petition running until February 2007 on the 10 Downing Street site.