Welcome to the Poorhouse - a pointless bloggy site with news, views and opinion on stuff.

A decent free PDF creator

Despite seeming a little old-skool and inaccessible at times, the computer world still requires you to mess around with Adobe PDF - Portable Document Format - files now and then.

Looking at them is free and easy with Adobe's official Acrobat Reader amongst other software (the Poorhouse has heard good things about Foxit, but never tried it). Creating them is a bit more of an obstacle; traditionally one would use the full Adobe Acrobat, but with a cost of £250+ who really loves PDFs enough to bother? Luckily there are free alternatives.

Mario Party bad word shocker

Wash your mouth outWash your mouth outDagnammit, one of the Poorhouse highlights of 2007 is being delayed again. Yep, another push-back for the Mario Party 8 Wii extravaganza. OK, it'll probably be pretty much the same as the other seven, it is written for 5 year olds, but hey, it's Mario Party; even Mario Party with barrel lassoing!

It was actually released in the UK a few days ago, but swiftly retracted. Whyso? "the wrong version of the game disk being included following an assembly error" according to Nintendo. The truth is funnier. It contained a naughty bad word. Tut tut.

Surely it could never happen...

...could it? Details on the Great Internet Crash of 2007 follow.

(via Lifehacker, amongst other places)

Hey, let's stop advertising alcohol to kids

What, more stories about intoxicating substances? Yep, but this time we're moving onto something some group of "important" blokes decided was OK, even good, for society and the individual. Alcohol. Sure, it's not a drug, it's a drink but it still mashes people's minds up in a more detrimental way than the average illegal substance; as generally agreed by even the top boffins at the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the Medical Research Council.

The Government has recently updated its alcohol strategy. To summarise: use the laws that exist to deal with alcohol-fuelled crime, focus on harmful drinkers and shape the environment to promote sensible drinking. Luckily the Portman Group, a group of drinks manufacturers trying to put a veneer of responsibility on their corporate shenanigans, pre-empted their announcements with the inspirationally progressive announcement that they would no longer market their deadly wares directly to little children.

How to cure a stuck voicemail indicator

With all the flashy control-the-world-from-the-palm-of-your-hand stuff that exists these days the Poorhouse realised some of the back to the basics features of mobile phones were being a bit taken for granted. Voicemail eh? Borrring! Using your ears!? Who needs it when you can twitter your life away in a facebook of madness?

Nonetheless, for those who don't minute by minute push-commentate their dull and insignificant little lives voicemail is still a nice useful feature. It went wrong on the Poor-phone recently, insomuch as the "you have voicemail" symbol and sound got stuck on forever.

Cannabis: where's the apology for the apology?

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?", said an Independent on Sunday leader 4 months ago, quoting John Maynard Keynes. Nice quote, but its accompanying article wherein the IoS dropped their support for cannabis decriminalisation, was pretty much nonsense. The "facts" hadn't really changed so much; sure, in recentish times there has been more research into the links between cannabis and mental illness of the sort mentioned here a couple of days ago but no landmark study exists proving that cannabis is mega dangerous to the majority of the population, nor that, if it turns out that it is, the best public health policy is to continue the ever-more failing locking people up tactics.

Whilst they haven't repeated the Keynes quote, the Poorhouse is happy to see an apparent about-face in reporting tone from them today. Today, they are happy to debunk "politicians' excuse that cannabis has become stronger", which is great. It's just a shame that they didn't look into it a bit hard 4 months ago when their leader used these very same lies to excuse their Daily Mail-esque change of policy.

The cannabis cabinet, and yet another pointless law review

Well, the Poorhouse had hoped that Britain's new, if rather unelected, Prime Minister Gordon Brown would be a least a sizeable improvement over the previous one. It seems on matters of drug policy this isn't going to be true.

The Poorhouse almost couldn't be bothered to read about the latest shenanigans regarding cannabis classification but in the end capitulated to find that Brown is ordering a(nother) "consultation" as to whether cannabis should be reclassified from its current class C to the more punitive class B. How pointless.

How to get out of Serbia without a passport

Well now that we have established this is going to the be the world's worst holiday blog, it containing no actual information about what the fearsome foursome have actually done on holiday, it might as well get a bit practical.

From the previous posting, you may have noted that yours truly lost a pile of goodies, including that prehistoric-yet-essential bit of paper, the passport. This causes problems because, believe it or not, even though it's the 21st century, a quick flash of the last page of the little red book that is the passport is apparently essential to move between countries. As well as get into the Exit festival of course. The problem was to some extent exacerbated insomuch as the return flight was supposed to be back via Budapest, which for the geographically challenged is not in the same country as Novi Sad, Serbia. There was little keenness on my part to tackle the fearsome armed border patrol there so one had to do the right thing and acquire a new one. Simple, one might think. Not really so.

Holidaze again

Not that you might notice with the embarrassingly infrequent updates seen around here in recent times (real life is getting in the way - a lame excuse it is appreciated), but the Poorhouse is off on holidays for a couple o' weeks. Fear not though, if you're desperate to read even more guff than usual then the traditional Poor-blog, travel edition, is available here. Well, it will be if the East European t'intermernet holds out. First post here.

Book news: OJ Simpson confesses online, and perhaps you don't need to buy Harry Potter 7 after all

Time for a bit of book-reading now perhaps. Don't worry, it won't be over highbrow. You may recall a certain Mr O J Simpson, previously heralded as a sportsman and actor but is now far, far more famous for having erm....not killed his wife, the Poorhouse supposes. Or such was the verdict in the (televised) criminal trial anyhow, although he was somehow found guilty of "wrongful death" in a later civil trial.

Despite the fact that the official "innocent" was perhaps the least expected court case result ever - up there with Michael Jackson's acquittal some courtroom sceptics might say - OJ decided he needed to push it just a bit further by writing "If I Did It"; a "novel" where he details exactly what would have happened and how were it to be the case that he did kill his wife and Ronald Goldman. Funnily enough, it fits the real evidence really quite well, creative writer that he is.

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