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Gus Binnie
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Gus Binnie

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I'm catching up with Google I/O

Google Home - the gift that the NSA/GCHC really wanted for christmas.
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Gus Binnie

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It started with Circles. I can add someone to a Circle, I can see what they share, but they don't have to add me. I was okay with that. Like Twitter where someone says shit and loads of people follow it. But also like Facebook in that if I created a Circle and posted to it, only those people in that Circle would see what I'd said. Like Facebook Groups. Ish

Then there were Communities. Then Collections. Now we have Spaces. I don't know which way to turn. Google+ is quieter than it used to be when I first used it, but I use it less nowadays because I see more of what other people give a +1 to than what I actually chose to follow in the first place.

I've met some really fabulous people through G+, and while I know I can find them elsewhere if they choose to move on, I'd rather have them all here where I met them in the first place. Dear Google - Stop Fucking About With Google+.
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Gus Binnie

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This looks quite interesting. Is this designed to replace G+ which is still apparently 'dying a slow death'?
Google just released a new messaging app for groups to share common interests from YouTube, Chrome and Search. It's basically Pinterest for group chats.
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Nearly two months have passed by, and I still find it difficult to believe she's gone.

#feelingratherempty  
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Gus Binnie's profile photoHazel Lewry's profile photo
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I totally get you.
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I was saddened to hear about Victoria Wood's passing. She was one of my favourite comedians.

I'll just leave this here...
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Cameron also admitted he did not know whether the £300,000 he inherited from his father had benefited from tax haven status due to part of his estate being based in a unit trust in Jersey.

I'm not sure if my unit trust benefits from tax-haven status either. It is based in a known tax-haven, though. 
PM sold stake in Blairmore investment fund, which featured in Panama Papers, for £31,500 four months before entering No 10
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Noooooooo!

I should have seen this coming. I've just had the shout from my dear mother, whose Windows 8 laptop is now being forcibly upgraded to Windows 10. I got the call to say "Cortana is asking me to do something. What is that?" I respond to say that Cortana is the voice-activation thingy that Microsoft has and to ignore. On reflection, I should have told her to tell it to fuck off.
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Gus Binnie

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Go to work on an egg, was the slogan from the 1950s. Granted, that came from the "Egg Marketing Board", and they probably had a vested interest, but it was recognised back then that having a decent breakfast was conducive to having a productive day.

Y'know what? I'm probably the worst person in the world to tell anyone else that a hearty breakfast is a good thing. My breakfast habits are appalling. If I have any breakfast, at the very least it's a couple of slices of toast. On a good day I might go for a full fry-up, but that's still usually about 3pm, and I don't have to eat a single thing for the rest of the day. But that's my choice; I have the facts at my disposal and it's up to me as to whether or not I act upon them.

Our kids are going hungry in the mornings, and perhaps they don't have that choice. What angered me more wasn't that kids were going to school without a decent breakfast, was the comments that followed from the article: Rage, rage, why do my taxes fund free breakfasts for kids when their parents can't provide? A box of cornflakes costs x while a bottle of milk costs y - yet they still can't feed 'em in the mornings. Why?

Well, why? Not everyone has the benefit of granny-wisdom these days. I can cook a decent meal from very little, because my grandparents went through WW2 and passed on their tips and tricks about food and nutrition, and my parents passed those on to me. If I had my own kids, I'd be making sure that once they were out in the big bad world, they'd also have the basic culinary skills to survive. What's the world coming to?

But it's not so easy these days, is it? Back then, dad went to work, mum stayed at home. Dad's income was usually enough to sustain a family, and if it wasn't, Mum would maybe get a wee part-time job to help ends meet. Not so these days. Whatever the family structure, mums and dads often have to take on more than one job to balance the household books. Working hours are more "flexible", which often means that parents have little time to see their kids, let alone pass along those vital cooking skills.

Why should we fund breakfasts? Well, why did we begin to provide school lunches? I'm a bit short of evidence, but I found this: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/school-dinners/ In short, it was to improve public health. If we have to extend the principle of providing lunches to kids to providing breakfasts, why is that such a bad thing? Times have changed and we need to adapt to those changes.

The price of providing decent, wholesome meals is minimal in comparison with the costs of letting these kids starve. If it costs us 22p a day to allow a child to learn and progress in life, so be it. How much does it cost per day to keep an adult in prison?
A good breakfast can improve pupils’ results in the tests thousands are now sitting. But new estimates suggest up to 500,000 children still go to lessons hungry
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Gus Binnie

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The pressure is also on Greens to deliver something because having run a campaign largely based on SNP second votes they need to demonstrate their contribution to the strength of the independence movement. At the same time their promise to be bolder must be met to satisfy those voters.

I'm still in the process of digesting last week's Scottish Parliament results, but I've noticed quite a few digs at the Greens for "stealing" votes, and I'm rather annoyed.

"SNP second votes"? Eh? They were never the SNP's votes to begin with. The vote was mine. I decide where I put my cross on the ballot paper. I have consistently voted SNP in my local constituency in both Holyrood and Westminster elections (with the exception of the 2015, where there was a Green candidate standing), and this is for a couple of reasons: 1) I actually agree with many SNP policies and I think they've done a reasonably good job in government so far, and 2) the Tories have almost always been second place in this area - indeed they increased their vote share significantly.

Well, I'm glad that the Greens got a load more votes this time around, and even happier that some of those votes actually translated into seats. I'm not unhappy with the way that the SNP have performed in government so far, but there are a few niggles - fracking, for example. I want a cast iron guarantee that it won't go ahead here.

The SNP can carry on as before. Good policies will be supported by parties with smaller representation, but bad ones can't be railroaded through. Isn't that a good thing?
The SNP lost its majority on Thursday. Here Derek Bateman draws comfort from the party’s big vote and its new Leader of
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I've just looked out of the window and seen the light dusting of snow on my neighbour's car. Late April/early May is usually shorts (or taps aff) weather in this part of the world. Normally if I'm cold, I'll put a jumper on, but my feet feel like blocks of ice, so bugger it - the heating is being switched on again. 
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Operation Joint Warrior. A bi-annual military exercise that tests our armies, navies and air-forces. It's a regular thing, and having lived in close proximity to two RAF bases for most of my life, I wouldn't normally give it a second though.

This one seems to be a bit different, though.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-36000072

This year's second staging of Joint Warrior, which will also take place in Scotland, will include what the Royal Navy has described as its first "robot wars".
Unmanned Warrior 2016 will involve drones, including unmanned aerial vehicles and machines that can operate underwater.

As I was returning home from the local hostelry tonight, I heard a strange buzzing noise, and observed some moving, flashing lights in the sky. The Sea-Kings have gone from RAF Lossiemouth, as far as I'm aware. We have the occasional Hercules flying around, but there's not much else that flies with propellers these days. The Shackletons disappeared from our skies a long time ago.

Was it a drone that was flying overhead tonight? Was I the bright object on the infrared screen as I innocently walked home from the pub? I reckon we should all be a little bit afraid.

via +Craig Nicol
 
A #mustread written by someone on the US kill list that has been attacked by drones.

"My friends began to decline my invitations, afraid that dinner might be interrupted by a missile."

[...]

"I know the Americans think me an opponent of their drone wars. They are right; I am. Singling out people to assassinate, and killing nine of our innocent children for each person they target, is a crime of unspeakable proportions."

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-am-on-the-us-kill-list-this-is-what-it-feels-like-to-be-hunted-by-drones-a6980141.html
I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the ‘Kill List’. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive.
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It was bad enough in Fahrenheit 911 with soldiers playing war games, this is just going to take them a step further away from compassion. I thought Ender's Game was fiction.
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Gus Binnie

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When the smoking ban was first introduced, I was of the opinion that it should have been down to the individual licensee whether their premises were smoking or not. However, while customers can make a choice between smoking and non-smoking hostelries, it's not such an easy choice for the staff. Is it really so hard to nip outside for a quick puff?

Or maybe old Nige just wants to ensure that he can have a smoke the next time he gets trapped in a pub! :-)

Nigel Farage unveils party’s manifesto for Scottish elections, promising to raise drink-driving limit and provide free town centre parking
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