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ChooseBD v0.03

I have extended my backdrop chooser. This is a program for automatically selecting a daily backdrop from a selection of JPEGs in $.Documents.backdrops.

What it does now, in addition to choosing a backdrop, is to examine the backdrop (JPEG only) to see if the icons on the pinboard should have white text or black text.

Here are two examples to demonstrate.

Backdrop with light text
Backdrop with light text.

Backdrop with dark text
Backdrop with dark text.

Yes, I actually did this on Sunday, but between restarting working and the earlier days due to the important visit, I've been too damned tired to do anything. At least last night I sort of slept a bit...

Anyway, for the generic Pinboard and for Pinboard2 (recommended!)...

Download (9.55K)
For RISC OS 5 machines with MIDI


UV bug basher

My lamps arrived. The looked identical to the white tubes, except the colour temperature (what was it, 6000K or something?) instead said "BL". For "black light"?

It took a couple of minutes to whip out the white tube (and store it in a sleeve marked "white") and install the UV tube.
For what it's worth, running the white light until Tuesday afternoon, only one hapless bug got zapped. The UV since then, there are plenty of bug carcasses stick to the HV wires.
It's useless against flies, I guess maybe they don't respond to UV? It used to be good for zapping moths, but I think I've run out of moths. There are various little midge-like things. You know, all sorts of bugs wandered in the open windows so...

I'll have to keep an eye on how long this tube lasts.

UV bug basher
UV bug basher.


Simple solutions aren't so simple

It looks as if France wants to sort out ecological problems by banning cheap flights.

While this makes sense at a cursory look, it starts to creak when you realise that this means that poorer people won't be able to enjoy air travel. It'll be back to a toy for the well off. Plus, would it not be better to have a plane that's full with cheap seats, or a plane that's half-empty of more expensive seats?

I fully understand that there are too many planes in the sky, the number going over France on hops between the UK and Spain is silly. But, then, looking at FlightRadar24, there seems to be quite a number of smaller private jets.
Weren't you going to ban those, France? Or might that upset party donors and various high ranking people in government/finance? I suppose announcing that banning those €10 flights is an easy target to kick. Poor people traditionally have little representation in politics, having no money to bribe lobby with, and usually jobs so unimportant that their going on strike would result in them getting fired and replaced by somebody else. So, ultimately, the only time they can exercise the tiny amount of power that they have is in the election booth. Which might be why the next government of France is depressingly likely to be either far left or far right. Though in defence of France, I think Le Pen and Zemmour may well be to the left of the Tories. Still, the right only knows how to help themselves and wreck things - there's enough history of that.

So maybe what France ought to do is look at what's really damaging the environment in France. Cars? To a degree. Planes? Sure. But how about those private jets? And, of course, there's the elephant in the room that most French governments aren't brave enough to confront. Agriculture. Or, more specifically, the amount of crops grown for the enormous pork market, because so many people have been raised to believe in pork. Pork with everything. And a side order of pork. Get a galette (a non-sweet crepe)? Or a salad? Or a toasted sandwich? Expect a handful of lardons.

If you've never seen a lardon, they're weird. I mean, take a chunk of meat that you might expect to be sliced into cheap fatty bacon rashers (a concept that's pretty much unknown here) and chop it up into strips, like turning it into something not unlike chips (that's chips as in french fries). The result is a piece of "meat" that is often alternating bits of meat and fat with a tough bit of skin at one end.

As you can guess from my description, I'm not a fan of those monstrisities. Anyway, they turn up a lot. Perhaps because they're "meat" (barely) and kind of cheap. There's a massive industry providing pig bits to food companies, and a lot of food has pig bits in it.
Of course, there's the environmental aspect of all of this intensive farming to consider.

But it's much easier to say "ten euro flights are BAD!".
Though, 'tween you and me I'd be surprised if I could actually fly anywhere for only a tenner. It costs twice that to take the train some 30km between Vitré and Rennes. So I'd imagine the "list price" of a flight is indeed a tenner. Then you add in fuel costs, airport fees, baggage fees, and surcharges for any day that isn't a weird day...

Here, look. I've got a nice price of €14.51 to go from Nantes to London Stanstead on the 21st of November; and the cheapest return is €14.94 on Tuesday 5th December.
But the €14.51 is the "basic fare", and you can only carry a bag that'll fit under the seat (40×20×25cm, I think my old briefcase is larger!).
It'sd €37.51 id you want a 10kg cabin bag and to actually have a reserved seat (which implies the basic fare seats aren't reserved - does this mean you could get bumped if the plane is full?).
Adding a little under a tenner more (€45.50) will get you the small bag plus a checked in suitcase up to 20kg, plus - get this - Free check-in at the airport. Does this mean you have to pay extra to check in otherwise?

So I selected the option with the 20kg bag - I'd have a lot of tins of beans to bring back - and suddenly my cheap flight is €89.43. But it gets worse, RyanAir will only allow you to select the same type of flight out as in. So I can't, say, leave with the 10kg allowance and return with the 20kg one.

Now, how about a time of my choice? Like, say, the week that straddles October/November? Well, the outgoing on the 30th at 4.10pm is €46.54, and the return on Friday 3rd December is €82.79. I can't come back a day early as there are no Thursday flights in December. But ironically Saturday is cheaper (€77.33) so we'll do that. It's also 6.40am rather than 5.55am.
That's the basic (tiny underseat bag) fare. If you want the peace of mind of a reserved seat and free checking in, it's €79.05 out which implies the same in return and that's €110.32, meaning the flights for that week in the UK would be €189.37.
You can then pay extra for extra bags - like an extra 10kg bag in the overhead locker for €14.50 out, €17.00 return. I'll add one return because, well, I'll have a bag full of Fray Bentos, right? Ought to get twenty-odd into a 10kg allowance. ☺
Now let's have some extra legroom and get off quickly. Seat "AA" on row 2F next to the window. That's an extra €13. Same on the way back. Add in Fast Track to skip the security queue (€15.28) and travel insurance (basic cover €16.29).
I'll stop here as it's going to start asking me for details (rather than "Mr. Anon Anon"), suffice to say my cheap flight with some actual baggage and a decent seat for a week of my choosing at a date that isn't particularly notable (it's not Christmas, for example) is €263.94.

Trying the cheapest options, those dates for the €46.54 and €82.79 prices, no baggage other than a small bag, you have to pay extra for the seat. The cheapest is €8 so I pick seat 12A, a window seat over the front of the wing. That's €8 twice. Plus €13.85 for travel insurance (recommended, top up policies might not be useful here). My flight is more precarious and has no baggage to speak of, and still costs €152.74.

So, yeah. The headline might say "flights from €14" but that's certain flights at weird times with no actual allocated seats (even though you chose one), the possibility of airport charges, and no baggage other than something a woman's handbag might struggle to fit.



Your comments:

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JGH, 29th September 2023, 05:11
With a lot of this there's the overwhelming feeling of "how *DARE* plebs be able to travel, how &DARE* plebs be able to afford more than one pair of socks, how *DARE* plebs not have to spend 8-% of their income on food, how *****DARE***&***& poor people be able to afford to stay alive, that should just be for "us" people. 
All sumptary law is, at the root, posh snobs disgusted that they cannot differentiate themselves from the plebs by stuff being too expensive for the plebs to afford, so they ban the plebs from buying stuff instead.
Gavin Wraith, 29th September 2023, 12:43
How about: "a Tory is a person who needs to despise others to feel good, a pleb is a person who needs to kowtow to others to feel good"? This along the lines of "a puritan is someone always uneasy that others may be having a good time". We tend to crave both wealth and inequality. We may be forced to give up both.
David Pilling, 29th September 2023, 13:17
Mr Sunak recently announced he would scrap the proposed laws on flying and eating meat. The opposition said there were no such laws or plans for them. Thus was a corner turned in the straight road that goes back to Mrs Thatcher becoming concerned about carbon emissions changing the environment. 
Europe should be a land of fast rail travel. A rare thing in one recent episode of the BBC News series " Travel Chaos Misery", someone went off topic and said they'd talked the family into going on holiday in continental Europe by train to avoid the emissions. 
Politicians can exhibit 'hunting' behaviour, finding people don't like what they intend doing, they retreat, knowing they will come back with the same unpopular policies another day, probably when they can implement them without a vote. It's called 'leadership'. 
Comparing flying with meat is a common thing - fraught with peril. A cow in a field, that only eats the grass there is carbon neutral. 
Sunak is a vegetarian, Starmer is pescatarian with strong vegetarian sympathies. Both in a position to lead by example if and when they want. 
There may be trouble ahead, they would not close down the farming industry and the travel industry without consequences. Meanwhile will the group who thinks the world is about to end, shrug their shoulders and say "maybe not". 
C Ferris, 30th September 2023, 09:32
I get the feeling this climate change is getting into be a religion:-( 
Where is our food going to come from - not all the land is suitable for crops. 
Can't take more food away from Africa.
C Ferris, 30th September 2023, 10:02
I can imagine Rick wobbling to work on a bicycle withe onions round his neck. 
Suppose he could have a pony - probably plenty of grass around the Bath house at his place of work :-)
Rick, 30th September 2023, 18:19
If you were concerned about where your food is coming from, you'd investigate how much land is being turned over to grow crops for bioethanol instead of, you know, feeding people. 
Plus, I would imagine that if more land was for crops for humans rather than crops for animal fodder, things might be a little better. We don't need to eat as much meat as we do, hell once upon a time "Sunday Roast" was a special family meal. These days you can go get it premade and have Sunday Roast twice a day. Is it necessary? 
The problem with Africa isn't lack of food, it's lack of anybody caring enough to distribute the food that there is. When we have stockpiled mountains of stuff, some of which is periodically destroyed to keep prices artificially higher, you can't tell me there isn't enough food being made. But shipping it to another continent and giving it to people would hurt the bottom line so better not. 
I work in the middle of a factory in an industrial zone. There's grass at the edges of the car park... 
I wouldn't take a bike, I'm not suicidal.

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