Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Social networking and privacy

I've just been watching the news piece about Facebook and its privacy settings. I recently deleted my Facebook account because I was fed up of random past contacts wanting to be my "friend". When I had my account I was fairly clued up about privacy and had all my settings as "only me" or "friends". But what about my friends? Were they as careful?

The biggest problem with Facebook's privacy settings is that they're split into so many categories. And some settings are hidden away or obscured. For example, I wanted to delete my account but I ended up only deactivating it. I kept getting emails from "Superpoke" and came to realise my account was still active. I eventually read a blog post explaining where the "delete account" link was. If I ever find it again I shall post it here :)

If you want to see how much information is gathered about yourself online, just Google your name, or put it into http://www.123people.co.uk/s/. The third Google result shows how unaware some people are about Facebook privacy.

At least the only Google results to "the real me" are my blog (where I write to promote myself as a writer!), Twitter (where my tweets are protected), and stuff wot I wrote years ago (happy to share that too).

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Useful resources 1

As a freelancer, I'm not fortunate enough to have access to printed reference books or online subscriptions that other office-based staff do. So I have to make use of free online resources.

Here's a link to a site I use a lot to look up accepted names of countries around the World: the CIA World Factbook. Full of information about countries and territories of the World, flags and maps, demographics, and political, economic, and religious information, it's a free online resource worth bookmarking.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Cold and wet

I can't believe we've voluntarily spent 3 hours walking around a field in freezing cold and wet weather. And paid for the priviledge.

Anyway, we like to support local events, and the Stotfold Mill steam fair is held (surprisingly) to raise funds for the mill's upkeep. Here are a few photos.




















Erm, not sure about the "classic" Opel Senator!

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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

When will they learn?

Another year, another round of school admissions, another group of angry parents whose children didn't get a place at their lower school of choice.

In Stotfold we are spoilt for choice, with three outstanding lower schools on our doorstep. For various reasons, the CofE school seems to be most popular among parents, at least those I know.

Last year, it was our turn to apply for a lower school place for our son. Although my family are new to Stotfold, we had already decided we wanted our son to go to the CofE school because we are churchgoers. The decision was easy to make and I thought getting the place would be too.

We were VERY lucky, we did get a place. About 20 families were not. Several were offered places at another lower school in the town, nine were offered a school in Biggleswade, almost 10 miles away! After a lot of effort by the Town Council and headteachers, nine extra places were found and the problem was resolved.

But the district council (Mid Beds) did not help.

We now have a new district council (Central Beds) and a new admissions procedure, but the problems are the same. Nine children currently in the nursery at the CofE school are now faced with a move to a different school in September. One child has a place at a school in a different town. Parents are angry, because new places were created last year but there is seemingly no chance of that happening this time.

When will our district councillors take our children's education seriously? When will they begin to realise that additional school places will be needed if new homes are being built? Places that should be at a school near the child's home.

Next year, one of the lower schools is being rebuilt and extended in a different part of town. Hopefully the additional school places will be enough to cater for all the young children moving into the new homes being built in our town. Hopefully.


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Stotfold Mill Steam Fair and Country Show

If you live in Bedfordshire, North Hertfordshire, or neighbouring areas and are stuck for something to do this weekend, look no further than Stotfold for entertainment! It's not often you hear that now is it?!

This weekend (May 8th and 9th) is the Stotfold Mill Steam Fair. We've been twice now and the event just gets better every year. If you like steam engines, classic cars and motorbikes, and old fashioned fairground rides, you will be very happy. Nothing beats the smell of diesel, oil-smeared cheery chaps, and steam letting rip every so often.

For the more modern among you, this year the helicopter rides are back, plus Wall of Death and other attractions and shows (motorbike stunts, animals, flying circus [yes really]). And if you are a bit sedate, the usual craft and local stalls will be around, plus entertainment for kids.



And a BEER TENT!

Stotfold Mill Steam Fair leaflet (pdf).

We shall be going on Saturday and Sunday so if you are coming along and want to say hi, let me know in the comments.

EDIT: Images all taken from Stotfold Mill website gallery.
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