Legalising Drugs in the UK – Yes or No?

This debate seems to be coming up time and time again with celebrities now getting on the Yes bandwagon but are they?  While watching The Wright Stuff this morning some very interesting points did come out of the show, as they normally do as long as the topic is sensible.  The major point for me was the question of how much damage do drugs actually do to society over legal drugs that people can consume and buy?

I think the major point for me is that there has got to be a cut off point but I do believe that drugs like Cannabis could be legalised for personal use, having to have a license to be able to sell the drug just like Alcohol.  As stated on the show, people were less aware of people that took the Cannabis causing problems unlike people that drink to much alcohol.  In some cases the drugs that are illegal if they were produced properly and not on the black market like they are at the moment would actually do less damage to the person’s body then the likes of Tobacco and Alcohol.

If I was to give an honest answer to this question then it would be yes I am for legalising drugs not for myself but the fact that they could properly produced and the government could tax them bringing in more money for important matters.  More importantly it would stop organised crime from profiting, along with freeing up Police time to deal with bigger crimes than catching people in possession of drugs that are in personal use quantities.

With that aside my concern then becomes how far do you allow it to go?  Where would the cut off point be?

Those questions I can’t answer myself with no personal experience of legal drugs and the consequences of them but to my mind it is food for thought if in some cases they do less social and physical damage then Alcohol.

How do you feel on the controversial subject let me know in a comment.

Source:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1393299/Celebrities-told-theyre-naive-drugs-legalisation-plea-PM.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Privacy Twitter and the Courts

The truth is no matter what service you use on the internet they have terms and conditions and in those terms and conditions it will state that they reserve the right to pass on information to the law enforcement agencies when they are requested if the situation warrants it.

Now with the latest privacy and legal issues surround an internet company being Twitter we have seen them actually standing up to the courts in order to give their users warning to the fact they are giving over the information so they are capable to get their defence in order.  Now what is wrong or right with this is not what we are looking into as I read this article from the Guardian I started to really think about the bad press Twitter had been receiving for giving up users information.

Yes the internet is one of those things that because doesn’t stay in one country it is available world wide and we have covered this that laws from one country might not be the same in the other and could effect the content produced.  The problem with Twitter is the fact that it is just a platform where you send out information as a comment, which means does that mean its gossip?  In the UK we have something called freedom of speech so we are able to say what we want within reason to friends.  The argument with that is Twitter is the same to that but the only problem is its on a public scale.

Twitter is a minefield because it doesn’t meet conventional media outlets, but have you ever stopped to think that if Twitter has this issue what about WordPress.com and Google which was brought to light in the article had given out information to the authorities without causing a fuss and you would of thought they meant not notifying the owner of those accounts. Although I must stress that we do not know that for fact.

So in your opinion should these big companies go to court on your behalf if you break a law or should you be held responsible?

Or more importantly should the companies warn you before they give out the information to the authorities?

My answer would be they should warn you and you should take responsibility for what has been published.  However this also depends on the nature of the law you have broken and whether it directly applies to you according to where you live.

CommentLuv Does it Work?

Well if I am honest I found this plug-in while searching around the internet looking for SEO tips and trying to get my blog out there to more people and on the face of it I can understand why it would work.  The idea is that while using this plug-in it will show the latest article on your blog after your comment, which in away awarding you for placing a comment on an article.

The advantage of this to the comment maker is that it gets their blog out there to others and if the site doesn’t use No Follow links it will increase the SEO.  However for such a good idea I can also see the negative in this situation.  The problem is for it to work well you need to find blogs with the plug-in to be able to take full advantage of it and I haven’t of yet unless I am searching for reviews or instructions for the plug-in.  Also the other issue you might have is the link that is provided for the comment to have on it might not be related to the article causing people not to click on it.

So my conclusion is that as this blog doesn’t get much attention I will keep the plug-in and see what happens, hopefully it will help but am I thinking that it is the best thing to help you with comments probably not but I haven’t had it running long enough to give it a fair chance.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/commentluv/

Let me know your experiences with this plug-in and others that could be better.

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Content

In the world of the Internet it is actually getting harder to decide where to put your content and how.  There is no getting away from the likes of Youtube if your producing video content then that is the place to put it.  But what happens when you want to expand from the obvious like some big producers have and have your own space on the net.  You might not even produce video well the truth is you have quite a bit of choice but all have their advantages and disadvantages that don’t always fit the needs of the content your producing.

There are two main categories:

  1. Hosted Platforms
  2. Self Hosted

Hosted Platforms

The major hosted platforms are free and do not cost you anything, however they deemed more for personal use then for producing company or commercial sites.  The reason for this is because you have less control over the services and have to stick to their terms and conditions.  By having less control over the platform though also means that you do not need to know anything about coding on the internet and can easily get your blog or content up on the internet.

Blogger

Blogger this is Google’s offering to the hosted platforms and it is ideal solution for any blogger, however I would say I have used it and find it very limiting.  You could write your own templates and upload them but they would would look clunky and not that attractive.  That being said you can easily link your blog to your twitter accounts and with the Blogger Directory option meant that you had an already preloaded community to view your work if they were looking in the blogger directory.  Also being part of Google you have great ad integration, that being said you can only use Amazon and Google by default.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is similar to Blogger but it uses the blogging tool of choice being WordPress.  This does have a few more templates at its disposal then Blogger and more features available to it in the way of plugins, however like Blogger your limited to what WordPress allows you to do.  The one feature that I do like from this service though is if you use the tags properly it will link your work with others that have used the same tags which will generate more traffic to your blog.  It also boasts better Search Engine Optimisation as you can use plugins to produce meta data for your work where as blogger doesn’t have that directly.  I will say though I haven’t used this service as I use a self hosted WordPress blog that I will cover later on in this article.

Tumblr

Tumblr this service I openly admit I know very little about but from what I read it has a very good community and is basically the gap between Twitter and a blogging platfrom like WordPress and Blogger.  The platform seems to lend itself well towards pictures and bring people together, although this is what you want it doesn’t seem to lend itself well to text based material and could be considered a place for more gimmicky work as oppose to serious.

A quick note to add to all these services even if you purchase your own domain so that it doesn’t look like it is a sub domain it still technically is and this can hinder how quickly your content gets put on the net along with the fact all your hard work is actually helping the service get higher up the rankings.

Self Hosted Platforms

This option will cost you money indirectly as you will have to pay for your domain name and hosting, that being said if you want full control of what you publish and not rely on anyone else this is the way to go.  The two main content management systems in this area for me is Jommla and WordPress.org.

WordPress.org

This is the original offering for WordPress and what WordPress.com is based on so you will have the features that WordPress.com has but you will be able to do a lot more.  You will have the ability to add whatever plugins you want and develop a feel to your site that you want.  I must admit although WordPress is designed for a blog style you can make it work in a way of a Content Management System (CMS) with your own coding ability and the use of plugins.  So it is possible to make it work as a fully function site not just a blog.  That being said it is not designed really for that so it is quite difficult and you will need extensive knowledge.

Joomla

Joomla is one of the most complicated systems on this article however out of all the systems it is the one that is the robust and maybe shouldn’t be in this list because it is a complete site rather than just a blog.  There is a wide variety of sites that Joomla can lend itself to and has more built in out of the box than all the others, but like I say it takes a lot more to learn.

Conclusion

For personal use depending on what you want to achieve but if its a blog then you may as well try all 3 services Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress and see which one you prefer that being said though, if you start using a service and want to expand then WordPress is probably your better option.  The reason for this is that you’ll be able to host your own WordPress blog so you’d be able to export your articles and import them back into your own hosted blog really easy as they work on the same system.

However I must say if you want to produce something professional and have complete freedom over what goes on your site the answer for you is hosting your own solution and if your reading this article my suggestion would be your looking at a blog type of site which means your looking at WordPress, but if your not and wanting your site to have loads of different features then you are looking at a Joomla site.

Please comment and let me know your findings with services as I don’t confess to know everything and I haven’t used all the services however this is what I have found from personal experience and reading around the internet.

World of Warcraft Tanks and DPS the Truth

Now we have all been there whether it is as DPS or a Tank in World of Warcraft and the group gets wiped or the Tank really struggles to hold aggro.  Now yes it is annoying but having started as DPS Hunter and now slowly moving my way through Tank classes I have slow become to realise that the success of a Tank isn’t just down to the Tank itself.

Now if the Tank is struggling to hold aggro that could be down to the tank but the success of any team game which is what it comes down to when in a dungeon group is the ability to work as a team.  If all goes well then a DPS just needs to hit the enemy with everything including the kitchen sink but what happens if it isn’t going your way?

The truth is most of the time you will have people having a right go of the tank at this point I would urge you to stop and think, is the Tank keeping aggro off the healer?  If the answer is yes and it is only going onto the DPS, this is where the skill of being a DPS comes in start changing your rotation and see whether that makes a difference.  Not taking away anything from the DPS role but that is the main skill in playing that role in a raid or dungeon knowing when to back off and change your angle of attack.

This is just my way of thinking and how I would advice working as a group to complete a raid or dungeon.  How are your experiences? Let me know in a comment.

WordPress and Writers

I openly admit I am no writer, this would be a weird opening statement to this article but its true.  I started blogging while I was in University to put into practice the technical skills I was learning and also in the hope that it would help my writing style as I suffer from dyslexia.  Now in I don’t know whether I have achieved this but while writing my article about thinking about WordPress Outside the Box I touched upon the uses for writers having a WordPress site for their work and material and thought that it could be a good article on its own.

The starting feature of WordPress is that it is designed for a form of writing all be it not the traditional type however it is a very easy way to get your work out on the internet.  The drawback is that there are so many blogs out there that you might not get yourself heard and in this case it is just a case of putting work into it yourself and getting your site promoted.  This being said the content needs to be there too.

So apart from the obvious of posting articles and showcasing your skills on those what else can you use WordPress for?  Well as an author you can share experiences that might not be directly related to your work but have influenced it and build a connection possibly with people that wouldn’t necessarily read your work.

Although you have things like Google Docs these days that are a place where you can just open up a web browser and have all your work at your finger tips no matter where you are, you can’t really search throw your work as well as you can blog.  I don’t know about you but I am really not the most organised person and if I was a writer I should imagine you get ideas when you least expect it.  So with that in mind you’d be able to just put a quick article together with that idea and keep it password protected or private on the blog, having it there for when you get chance to write it up.  What advantage does this have to just making an ordinary note?  Well we are only human and we could forget that we made that note, so when you have writers block you could just search the blog and see all the random ideas you have already come up with for inspiration.

The other point is that using software that you can get on the internet you can create eBooks and from within your WordPress blog you can sell your work yourself if you are not tied to a publisher.  Now this would take some setting up however it would be great way to generate your income if you were going independent.  Also if you used WordPress you could let people know little snippets of your next work and how it is going with them having the ability to comment and build a direct relationship with your audience.  Never underestimate the power of communication with people and the web makes that easier.

That leads me onto my final point that because WordPress is designed for blogging it has social networking in mind so that instantly gives you the ability to try and communicate with your audience with very little work.

This seems to be a very good tool for writers : http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php it allows you export your work allsorts of formats including Amazon kindle and other popular eBook formats.  Although this is only available on a Mac you can get the beta version for Windows: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivenerforwindows/ 

Be warned however I haven’t personally used this software.

WordPress Outside the Box

Now this morning I was in one of my reflecting moods, where I start to think what else can I achieve with something that I already have in place and it fell upon WordPress, my blogging tool of choice as I have my own hosting planning and prefer to have no limitations on what I can produce because it doesn’t conform to the specific companies profile.  I am one of these people that do believe in freedom of speech, and think that the internet is a great tool for that as that is what it was intended for.  That going off topic slightly I started to think what can you do with WordPress.  Is it just all about blogging or not?

Now what can you achieve within the standard WordPress, well first off other then blogging to the messes what is actually stopping you from keeping a personal diary in amongst what you want to share with the world?  There is the ability to keep things private, which means that it doesn’t actually get published to the web and only the people you specify can read it. Along with that you can also password protect posts which also means that other authors that you could have on your blog wouldn’t be able to see it.

Thinking along the same lines, I was thinking about projects and how you could use WordPress for everything to do with the project.  It led me to think of authors particularly the type that write books and novels.  They have to do research and have ideas on the go so why not use WordPress?  It has applications on mobile devices so why not store all your ideas in one central place?  The other advantage I thought of is that if your a not very well known author you could use the software to write updates, about your latest project and realise it to the web and get feedback, and increase your public profile so that it builds up the suspense when the book is realised. The beauty of WordPress for any author is you can keep all your research on a blog and it can be searched so if you want to find information you already have done the leg work for you can search for it.  Especially if you write about crime or something like that you might want to pull on information from a previous novel.

Moving away from what you can do with a WordPress blog as standard I started to consider what you can do with it for Web Design which is more my field and I slowly started to realise that it might even be a good Content Management System for a fully functional website not just a blog. I must admit that my preferred Content Management System at the moment in Joomla as it has all you could possibly need to make a fully function website with all the bells and whistles.  That being said it can be a very complicated platform depending on what you want to achieve.  So could WordPress achieve a similar thing to Joomla?  The answer I came to was yes and it could even be easier for the end user depending on their needs.

So is WordPress just for blogging?  The answer would have to be no if you host it yourself you could make it do whatever you want on the web as long as you have the know how or the patients to learn to adapt it.

Let me know what your experiences are with WordPress and using it for projects other than blogging.

If you haven’t used it you can have a standard one from free here: WordPress.com

If you have your hosting why not see what you can do with it and download the package from here: WordPress.org

GP Incentives Right or Wrong?

I was amazed by the way GP’s have incentives and what for this morning watching The Wright Stuff out of the four incentivise that I saw on the show there was only one I agreed with.  Part of the main reason I disagree with them surely the main reason anyone wants to become a Doctor is to help people, and by offering incentives to GP’’s isn’t that going against that?

Now I understand having incentives are good and one prime example of this is the incentive to give out the Flu jab to people to me yes GP’s should be doing it anyone as it is in the interest of the patient but that seems to be a positive incentive.  The latest one however is the incentive for GP’s to tell people they are fat.  My question is why should GP’s be paid extra to tell people they are fat? What happens to people that are on the borderline?  Also could problems be overlooked with the wanting to get that little of extra money in their pockets by telling the patient they are fat?

The other incentive that I was concerned about it was the one in which GP’s are encouraged not to send Patients to hospital, and like I have said must people you would of thought go into the medical profession to help people but we all know that if we have the opportunity to make a bit more money we will take it.  To me although the Flu jab incentive is a good one there are far too many incentives that could be detrimental to patient care.

As regards to the latest incentive to tell patients they are fat I believe the money would be better used by putting in place extra funding to help people with their diets and fitness rather then just lining the pocket for someone to tell them they are fat.

What are your thoughts should GP’s get incentives?  Should they be paid more telling people they are fat? Leave a comment and let me know.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1389672/Does-bum-look-big-GPs-paid-extra-tell-patients-fat.html

TweetDeck and Twitter

This week has been all about the social networks and how they effect us and the way in which we can use them to our advantages, so when it came over the news that Twitter has now acquired TweetDeck I was started to panic so I thought now would be a good time to get my thoughts down on this widely used third party application just in case Twitter destroys it.  Now if I am honest that statement is unfounded but it tends to happen when companies takeover a project or another company the quality of the product either slips or they change it.

TweetDeck has enjoyed quite a range of users, starting off with desktop users and IPhones users then expanding into Android and Google Chrome, but none more profound then being featured in Sky News this year for the coverage of the Royal Wedding.

Now my own personal experience with it is great although I have used it on and off due to the fact that for part of the time that I have been using it, it didn’t support Androids which it know does and that is the mobile platform I use.  One of the main selling points to me is the way in which they use columns you can have your home feed which is basically your time line of your tweets and the people you follow, then you can have your mentions and direct messages these are all by default.  By having these on different columns you are able to set different time frequencies in which they are checked for updates very useful on a mobile phone to save battery life.  On the desktop however its less important due to the fact you have all your columns on real-time as default.  The reason I find this a huge advantage is because I don’t want a global time scale for all my updates, I don’t particularly care about my home timeline I don’t need that to update as often as I do my mentions that I might need to respond to.  On the mobile version it also has the ability to have different notification settings which sounds you want whether you want any sounds at all and can be set separately to each column along with whether you want it to vibrate or flash a light.  Which great especially when you consider if you want to keep an eye and specific topic say for example your favourite TV show you can search for it and then add it as a column so that it is always available to you and you can set how often you want it to update and whether you want it to go off to alert you to new tweets for this search term.  Bare in mind that is use of it on a personal level imagine the advantage to that on a commercial level.

The other thing is that unlike other third party application where it says where the tweet as come from they don’t specify whether it is sent from an IPhone and Android or a Desktop it just says TweetDeck which helps to keep the devices you are using away from prying eyes if you are that conscious of information that people can gain from you.

All in all I think TweetDeck is an amazing application at the moment and its doesn’t just extend to twitter it includes other social networking tools such as Facebook and Google Buzz just to name a few, but to say that the future is unnerving to say the least with Twitter taking over, because we have seen other software companies take over other companies and the products have just gone downhill but having said that we have seen the opposite only time will tell.

What are your experiences with TweetDeck or thoughts on the takeover by Twitter. Let me know in a comment?

Are you using the right Social Network?

This is a subject that got me thinking when I was considering the use of Social Networks now why are in the digital age and how old we should be before we starting using such services like Facebook and Twitter just to mention the two in the news right now.

What is a Social Network?

Taken from Wikipedia

A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network

With this definition it seems that a social network can involve anyone that has a vested interest in anything whether it be something like a friendship to just having something in common.  Both of which have their own merits, but with the internet knocking down geographical barriers and bring more and more people together do we really use the Social Network tools at our disposal properly?

The key answer to that is understand what each are trying to achieve and how we can best use them. 

Understanding the different Social Networks

Lets start with the Grandad which has be said is My Space now this was one of the first social network utility of the type we are discussing on the internet and it has been a great launch pad for music artists.  Although the amount of people now using it is declining with the success of Facebook, it does remain a good place to showcase your musical work, as the profile is more open then Facebook and others giving you the ability to leave certain stuff completely open and others not.

Bebo was the next one to come along and that got more into the spirit of the teens and keeping their profiles safe a secure more then My Space that being said all social networking tools have the capability to hide things away, Bebo attempted and succeeded on trying to do what Facebook is now.

Now for the Facebook, now it has to be said this in now people’s social hub of the internet and it is one of the best ways to keep in contact with old and new friends while keeping up to date with your favourite band or movie star.  It gives you the ability to connect with new people in a restricted way as you can post views on topics if they have their own walls so giving you the chance to extend your social network but at the same time keep your personal life personal.

Moving on to Twitter this is the most open out of all the social networks but it isn’t designed to be quite as personal the idea is that you can leave short updates of what you are doing or what is on your mind and it goes out into the cloud.  Like all the other social networks it has the capability to be private with its settings however it does go against the idea behind it.

So the low down and what this all means

At the moment with the way the internet is you really only have 2 main choices and that is Facebook and Twitter, I believe you can use these together to achieve your end goals but use them in different ways.

Twitter I started off using as a way to promote content on my sites, and then went on to using it everyday just to tweet about what I felt strongly about or what I was watching in my opinion twitter brings together what a Internet Age Social Network is.  The ability to share snippets of information with everyone and then finding like minded people where you can discuss these matters, and build a relationship this based on a common interest and or goal.

Facebook on the other hand is the other main contender because it offers so much more in the way of functionality but at the same time can be far more restrictive in the fact you have to know the individual to add them or share information with them.  Where as Twitter it goes out to anyone that wants to search for that particular topic.

Is one better than the other though the answer would be no, they all have their flaws and benefits its just understanding them in order to exploit these amazing tools to their best use.

Feel free to comment on your experiences with the social networks and how you think they are best used!