Leaving London

I live in London and I have lived there all my life. However, I have never loved where I live. In fact, I hate London so much that I want to get out of the place as soon as possible. The decision that I want to leave London took a lot of thinking, as leaving London would mean leaving my school, all my friends and everyone and everything I know.

There are a few reasons I am leaving London. First of all, there are the reasons I hate it. I hate London because it is overpopulated. There are simply just too many people. I also hate London because strangers just don’t work with each other. Everyone on a public bus or on the Tube is pissed off for no obvious reason. Everyone hates each other, and teenagers are particularly treated badly. In fact, because there is so much of that, I could write forever about how people in London have been a bastard to me. However, I’m quite sure nobody wants to read the moaning of some teenager in London, and this blog post is already bad enough.

Anyway, to give you an idea of how crowded London is, please take a break from reading and watch this video, which I also embedded into my first blog post. Just be aware that the first time I watched it, I was genuinely scared and do not have any future plans of travelling to Japan.

The final reason that I am leaving London for my benefit is because of education. A few days ago, I finished going to an International school. This school uses the IB and while it is a great educational system, it does not suit me. The problem with the IB is that I would have to learn a load of stuff that would not help me in the future. I would have to learn either History or Geography, and I would also have to learn a foreign language. I tried learning a language at this school before and I failed. The idea of knowing Spanish for next time I go to Spain sounds nice, but it just isn’t going to happen.

I don’t know if you enjoyed reading this post, but I enjoyed writing it and I wanted to get it out there. Sorry if you were offended by the slightly strong language, but this is the Internet and my website is one of the cleaner websites out there.

Sunday 24th June 2012 - 4 comments

Trip to Ghana

Day 1
Over the Easter holidays, I went to Ghana with some people from my school. I stayed there for 10 nights with no Internet access and a very cheap phone. In a way, it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, but at the same time, it was much more extreme than I expected. That is mainly because I didn’t bring all the stuff that I was meant to buy in England.

On the first night, I found out that I was meant to take a mosquito net with me. We stayed in a hostel for the first two nights, but it was a place where a lot of things weren’t provided, like what you would expect in England or in the United States. In fact, I might as well list what I was supposed to bring right now:

  • Mosquito net
  • Sleeping bag
  • Roll-up mattress
  • Water bottle
  • Toilet paper
  • Plate
  • Cutlery

I’m sure this list would be a lot longer if I remembered everything, but I’ve got 11 days to write about and this blog post is going to be long enough without too many details. Anyway, I was given a kit list a while before I went to Ghana, but I didn’t bother to read it and that was a big mistake.

Day 2
In the morning of the second day, we went out for breakfast. We were looking for somewhere to eat and someone told us that their cafe was that way, so we followed her. We waited around an hour for our food to get here. Later on, we found out that was quite normal in Ghana. When I ordered breakfast, I ordered a bottle of water with it. When we left, I felt really sick. Later on, I found out that I was meant to put chlorine drops in any water I had, not just tap water.

Day 3
I had fruit and bread for breakfast. Then, we travelled to Elmina to do our community project of fixing a school.

We stayed there for four nights. I had the job of painting inside the staff room, but I didn’t get as much work done as I hoped, because I was sick for two of the days there.

I painted a little bit, but I got very tired sometimes. I saw that the other people working on the staff room were working faster than me, which meant I was only getting a bit done. However, I was still getting work done.

Day 4
I was still sick on that day, so I couldn’t really do any work. I don’t know why I was sick on that day, and I sat on a toilet about four times that day.

The water supply was broken on that day too, so nobody could do any work. We went to Elmina Castle and had a tour of it. I couldn’t really listen to the tour guide, because I couldn’t handle the heat.

We went to the cafe at Elmina Castle and they not only took over two hours to bring our food to the table, but they missed out some of our orders. Everyone was eating their lunch apart from me and two other people. We asked about the orders and they had forgotten to write them down or something. Anyway, it was another hour. They brought my chicken burger and someone else’s lunch to the table. Then, they brought the third person something with chips and I asked if the chips I ordered were coming next. He had forgotten that too but we just asked for the bill, as I was not hungry any more anyway.

Day 5
I was still sick on that day, so I couldn’t do much. There isn’t much to write.

Day 6
I did a bit of work painting window shutters with really thick black paint. The black paint was very hard to work with because it was so thick. I’m glad we were only using that paint to paint window shutters.

We went to a cafe and the teachers bought everyone a beer as a reward for the work we had done. I was the only one who didn’t have a beer. I know this makes me seem like a different person, but I’m already addicted to Facebook, Twitter, the rest of the Internet, and tea. I don’t need another addiction. One of my classmates, sitting next to me, got really drunk, which I actually found quite entertaining. He is the only one in the group we were in who hasn’t accepted my Facebook friend request, but he was saying that I was his best friend. I don’t know if he was making a joke about how I am different from others or he really was that drunk, but he looked like a total idiot and it was hilarious.

On that night, I got my own tent, which was nice treat.

Day 7
We left the school where we were working. When we said goodbye, we donated some money to get the asbestos roofs replaced with roofs made from a non-toxic substance. We also left them some old clothes and other stuff that we didn’t want any more, but might be useful to the children at the school.

We then went to Kakum National Park and stayed in a rainforest for two nights. The first night was in a treehouse. On the second night, we slept on a platform fairly close to the ground, with a roof on the top of it.

We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. As usual, we waited for about two hours for our food to get to the table. I found the staff quite rude, because they were ignoring me when I was trying to get a drink.

After that, it was a half hour walk to the treehouse and there were some other people sleeping in the treehouse as well, as it was quite large and could hold something like 20 people.

We took a break in the treehouse and at 8:00 PM, we went for  night walk, hoping to see animals. We didn’t see anything except for a few snakes, because everyone in my group was making too much noise.

Day 8
We got up at around 6:00 AM and went on a canopy walk, which is basically a long line of rope bridges. I used all the blank photos on both my disposable cameras. I took two disposable cameras because I didn’t want to lose my good digital camera. I also took a cheap £20 phone instead of my smartphone.

We had breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe, because we were too tired to cook breakfast.

That night, we chose to sleep in the huts as they were cheaper and not such a long walk away.

Day 9
I woke up at 5:30 AM and the two people I was sharing a hut with were both still sleeping. I was furthest away from the exit but I really needed to use the toilet.

We left the national park and spent the last two nights in the Stumble Inn. That place is run by people from developed countries, so I was glad to find toilet paper in the bathrooms and mosquito nets in the bedrooms. However, I was camping for the first night. Half my group rented a family room out, so I got my own tent.

Day 10
We didn’t do much that day. I did some of my reflections of the trip and ordered a family room with three other people in my group.

Day 11
We left the Stumble Inn and went back to Accra. We got to the air port a few hours early, but waiting wasn’t a big deal. When we went through airport security, I forgot to take the 1.5 litre bottle of water I took for the journey to the airport, but they didn’t say anything. In some less developed countries, the security probably isn’t as much of a big deal. However, I kept getting held up, because my passport photo was taken when I had that crazy long hair.

The flight back to England wasn’t too bad because there was a touchscreen for each seat, with movies on demand. A six hour flight became a two hour flight. It was an overnight flight and I couldn’t sleep well on a plane, so I was really tired. However, I still spent a lot of the day using the Internet, catching up with what I missed while I was gone.

Friday 20th April 2012 - Leave a comment

SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act

Some people may not have heard of SOPA before. The basic goal of SOPA is to stop piracy on the Internet. To someone who doesn’t know much about copyright laws, SOPA might not seem like a huge problem but it really is. Piracy doesn’t only include streaming a movie off the Internet illegally. If someone makes a YouTube video, it must contain only content created by the person uploading the YouTube video. If a video on the Internet contains copyrighted content, the copyright owner basically has to give permission for the video to be uploaded. At the moment, this isn’t a huge problem because anyone can upload a YouTube video anyway. The goal of SOPA is to allow the American Government to censor websites that infringe copyright laws.

If SOPA passes, it could and probably will damage the Internet greatly. Nearly all websites have a bit of piracy somewhere and nobody really bothers to keep up to date with copyright laws, simply because they are too complicated these days. I have a YouTube video showing Mac users how to fix a problem you can get on a Mac. Towards the beginning of the video, I turn my Mac on and it plays the startup chime. That video is embedded in the tech blog section of my website and that right there, as far as I know, is piracy. And I’m not the only person against SOPA. It is quite obvious that companies such as Mozilla and Wikipedia are against it. Try visiting Wikipedia’s main page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page and you’ll see what I mean. Google is against SOPA, aswell as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In fact, there is a whole list from another website opposing SOPA: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/22/over-40-internet-companies-have-come-out-publicly-against-sopa/ and that list probably hasn’t been updated for a while. As far as I can tell, even companies like Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Adobe are probably against SOPA.

Wednesday 18th January 2012 - Leave a comment

Life Blog 25/12/2011 – Christmas is here!

Christmas is here! With my sick sense of humour, I would usually embed a parody of a Christmas song by the Amateur Transplants but I just figured anything to get rid of that depressing blog entry about abortions and I will never get bored of this song. After all, it is Christmas. I personally don’t believe on God. I am an atheist. However, I still tell everyone to thank Jesus Christ for Christmas. If it wasn’t for that liar, (Sorry if I offended any Christians, but that’s what Atheists believe) I’d still be at school and I would have had to wait a little longer for that holiday to America. I also got a movie for Christmas. Bad Santa is hilarious! For my younger audience, it is a little sick but by the time you turn 15, it should be fine.

I’ve received a couple of text messages from people wishing me Merry Christmas. That’s right – SMS type text messages. I replied to one of them on Twitter and to the other on Facebook because that’s what no-life computer geeks do. I hope to get a bit of iTunes credit for Christmas to buy some software for my Mac. I don’t know why they still call it iTunes… But I got a bit of iTunes credit when I was in America. I had to make an American iTunes account, but now I have iWork on my Mac and I will be able to stop using that netbook running Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Office. As a Mac user, Windows drives me mad.

I don’t know how I’m managing to write a blog post about Christmas with three paragraphs. This is when I know I don’t have a life. But I love being a no-life computer geek, because I can work on my Bet@ project at http://wordpress.jackdurrant.com/ with lots of HTML and CSS code. If you want to find out what the Bet@ project is, the link should open up in a new tab, or a new window if you have an older Internet browser. But I think I’m finished with that paragraph. It should be big enough to hide that blog entry about abortions and for people with really huge computer monitors, I can always hide that post from the home page.

Sunday 25th December 2011 - Leave a comment

Life Blog 05/12/2011 – Thinking of Building a Computer

I am thinking of building a computer from scratch. I don’t know if I am actually going to do that because it would cost quite a bit. I want to build a computer because I want to have all my DVDs stored digitally. It is really annoying having to take a DVD out of a case every time I want to watch a film or an episode of Family Guy. And I would have to put the DVD back after watching it so I don’t forget where the DVD is. I would also want to run virtual machines on the computer so I would need to buy a quad core processor. I would also want the computer to have Wi-Fi because I don’t think I could be bothered with Ethernet cables, especially considering that the wireless router in my house is down stairs and my bedroom is on the top floor. The cost of the whole build would be around £700-800 which  I just don’t have.

Another option would be to buy a Western Digital My Book Live which is essentially a hard drive that connects to the wireless router through an Ethernet cable. I would get the 3TB drive which would cost £205 from Amazon. That would be a better option and then I would be able to save a bit of money to upgrade my old Dell computer by giving it a 128GB SSD, an Intel Core 2 Quad processor as that’s all that can fit into the socket of the motherboard on that old Dell, 4-8GB RAM and Windows 7 because while I hate Windows, there are some things that just cannot be done in Ubuntu or Mac OS X. I only know how to program in Visual Basic and I’m thinking of creating Click OS 2.0 which would be essentially the same as Click OS 1.0, but it would end the Windows Explorer process which runs the classic Windows user interface to make Click OS a true user interface replacement. Without Microsoft Windows, I wouldn’t even have an Explorer process that needs ending.

One problem with buying network storage that connects directly to the router is that I would have to import DVDs over Wi-Fi and it would take forever, especially with my router which only does 802.11g. Another problem would be a problem with getting my Blu-Ray movies imported as the only machine I own with a Blu-Ray drive is a PlayStation 3. However, there are solutions to those problems. When I am importing all my DVDs, I can take my Mac downstairs to transfer the movies to the network storage through an Ethernet cable and if I really wanted to import the 5 Blu-Ray movies I own, I could get a USB Blu-Ray drive from Amazon. Another problem that would automatically go away is that when my mum wants to watch one of my DVDs, she walks into my bedroom and takes one out without asking me first and when I want to watch it myself, I have to try to get rid of those scratches first. I also have to clean that bit of jam off. Why the hell does my mum have jam in her bedroom?! While my mum should really ask me first before nicking my DVDs from my bedroom and while she did break a pair of Skullcandy headphones that I got for my birthday by forgetting they were mine, not hers, my mum is the second most annoying person in existence and it is almost completely impossible to reason with her and she says she will give me money for Christmas to buy a pair of Dr. Dre Beats or something and when I have all my DVDs digitally stored, my mum nicking my DVDs will no longer be a problem at all. I might even be able to show her how to watch her favourite movies on her netbook from the network storage. I could also show her how to connect her netbook to her TV and help her ditch DVDs too. She will have to eventually.

While I think that other idea is great, I would be doing upgrades to my old Dell and eventually, it would probably cost the same as building a new computer. However, setting up network storage which would plug directly into the router does sound easier than building a computer and then figuring out how to turn it into a server.

Monday 19th December 2011 - Leave a comment

Life Blog 21/11/2011

I had a great weekend. On Saturday I switched to Three, a great mobile network for anyone who wants unlimited Internet at an affordable price. I know that because even I can afford it. I also dated a girl. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but she likes me and I never went on any dates before this one. I’m not going to lie about that and say I have a girlfriend because I want people to know who I really am and not who everyone else wants to be. I spent most of Sunday with my mate, who built a computer and we were trying to figure out how to get into the BIOS. This is usually quite a simple task, but we couldn’t figure out which F key we needed to press and it isn’t always an F key that needs to be pressed.

The only big problem I had with last weekend was the length of it. I think weekends are too short I think a week should be 8 days and the weekend should be 3 days. I didn’t have a great day today. The morning was fine but I found in today’s Physics lesson the teacher was pissed off with me because there were three assignments that I thought I had handed in. It turns out he wanted them printed which I find really annoying. It is times like this when I think and ask myself, if some people have a harder life than I do, is life really worth living? When Steve Jobs was alive, he was trying to get rid of discs and while DVDs are annoying and for me, CDs are dead as I have all my music in iTunes and on my smartphone, I don’t have anywhere near enough hard drive space to import all my DVDs. I don’t even mind having the physical DVDs in my room – what really pisses me off is having to mess about with cases and all that. In my opinion, Steve Jobs has succeeded in getting rid of discs because in a few years I hope to have all of mine imported to a computer and in the not too distant future, they will be gone. I think Steve Jobs should have had a go at getting rid of paper. I guess Apple were trying to do that with the iPad, but I am still having to print things and that printer on my desk is taking up a huge amount of space that could be used for a stone age iMac G3 that I found in the street.

On second thoughts, I think CDs are more annoying than paper and if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs, I would probably have to take about three CDs with some of the music I like and because Google wouldn’t be able to nick the idea of touch screen smartphones from Apple, Android phone would probably look a bit more like a BlackBerry. There is also a good chance I would be using a PC at home as well as at school.

I am totally going off topic with this blog post and before it starts looking like one of my English essays, I’m going to go ahead and click the Publish button. I have already written English essays shorter than this.

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Life Blog 15/11/2011 – My First Blog Entry

This is my first blog entry. This is just a blog about what is going on with my life. I guess you could call it a moaning site. I seem to be coming into school late nearly every day at the moment. I used to take the Tube to school but now I take the bus because it is cheaper and less annoying. When I took the Tube to school, I usually got to school on time but the problem I was having was the fact that the tube is incredibly crowded. It is not as bad as the subway in Japan but it is still packed. If you haven’t seen that viral YouTube video of what the subway in Japan is like, click the video below to watch it:

The problem I have with the buses every morning is the rush hour traffic they are in and the amount of time I have to wait for the bus to actually get to the bus stop. This morning, the bus I was on stopped at a bus stop near a tube station and it was there for about 10 minutes. I was 7 minutes late. The teachers moan at me as if it is actually something I can sort out. I guess I could sort it out but it would be too much hassle. Since I started taking the bus to school, I started leaving home earlier in attempt to get to school on time. Back when I took the train to school, if I left a little earlier than usual, I would sometimes get a seat on the train. I would also get to school around 10-15 minutes early. I just realised something… I probably should give the train another try – If I leave my house before rush hour, I should be fine.

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