Showing posts from 2008

Christmas Update

I’ve been at the ‘in-laws’ for Christmas, so-called despite the fact I’m not married. On the whole, Christmas was fine with my girlfriend and I receiving many useful ‘household’ gifts, including a new TV with built-in Freeview. At the opposite end of the spectrum, though, and much to our chagrin, we were given a rather creepy pair of 80’s-style figure ornaments which seem to have been on display in the giftor’s house for a couple of decades. Suffice it to say, we didn’t bring the said ornaments back with us. Although we might seem very ungrateful, don’t judge us too harshly; the giftor is renowned for offloading a good number of her own ornaments onto others in preparation for her emigration. Call me a sceptic, but I think this gift was largely self-serving to that end.Sadly, though, there seems to be a lot of illness going about at the moment and I awoke on Boxing Day feeling none too good. While I don’t seem to have contracted a full-on cold/flu/virus whatever the hell it is, I’m s…

Flirtatious and Frivolous Festive Frolics – All Courtesy of Nigella

I’ve been working a great deal in the last week or so – much more so than I’d planned in fact. Sadly, this hasn’t been without compromise and my previous target of having my IT law paper written by Christmas now appears laughably over-optimistic. Still, I’m glad of the overtime and thought I’d better take advantage of the extra hours while they’re available.Rather guiltily, I’ve not felt like settling down to my paper on returning from work of an evening and with my girlfriend also making the most of overtime, I’ve been amusing myself with some light entertainment on iPlayer. As well as catching up with the excellent Oceans series – which quite possibly stands as the most-watchable oceanic documentary ever screened – I’ve found myself tuning into the undisputed Domestic Godess - Nigella Lawson.While I’ve been known to turn my hand to a few off-piste adventures in the kitchen – all culinary I might add - I wouldn’t describe myself as a gourmet. Equally, I initially found Nigella’s alm…

Blawging - The Burst Bubble?

I know that there are some ‘blawgers’ out there who object to the term ‘blawg’ for reasons which I still don’t fully understand. Never mind. If you are one of those people, particularly if you’re mentioned in this post, I apologise. I'll continue to use the term as it’s a useful and convenient means of distinguishing blogs per se on the one hand, and law-related blogs or general blogs written by someone with a connection – however tenuous – to the law, on the other.  Any blog I deem to fall into this latter category will hereafter be referred to as a ‘blawg’.As I see it, there are 3 types of blawg and, though there are sub-categories within the big three, I’m not getting into that.1. The blog per se. A blog which fails to transcend into the bona fide category of the blawg. It fails to be so classified despite being written by someone who has dabbled or is dabbling in the study or practice of law. Posts might touch upon legal topics, though not necessarily. These tend to fall by t…

Perfect Playlists

When you know you've taken the 'playlist thing' too far!

Facebook could scupper insurance claims

Given that so much time passed from when I was at my Facebook-bashing best, I thought I might as well throw another Facebook related story up on Law Actually.  This time it's a snippet from Accidents Direct on 27.11.08:[L]awyers have warned that insurers are now starting to monitor Facebook when investigating possible fraudulent claims. As before when many warned that potential employers will look at your Facebook page, insurance companies are now checking on what the claimants are up to, and if they judge from your pictures that you may be overstating your claim then it may be put in jeopardy. It’s not only photos; it has also been warned that any light hearted comment written on your wall may be taken the wrong way by insurers and the courts. Not only is there the chance of your claim being thrown out of court, you can also leave yourself open to being prosecuted with making a fraudulent claim.People throw all kinds of content up on their Facebook and other social networking pag…

A Second Virtual Veil

In keeping with the concept of the ‘virtual veil’ which I propounded in my previous post, I thought this story was worthy of mentioning too, despite the fact it’s been doing the rounds for a while now and is probably best considered ‘old news’.The virtual veil in question here is the one worn by a virtual bride who married the avatar of her newly married husband in a second wedding after their real-world one in St. Austell, Cornwall in 2005. Having first met in the online game Second Life, they eventually met up in person and subsequently married. However, the happy days weren’t to last:Amy Pollard, 28, discovered her husband's character having sex with another female player online filed for divorce citing "unreasonable behaviour".She claimed that David Pollard, 40, committed adultery with the animated woman and said that it is the second time she had caught his character cheating on her.In February last year, she said that he was having sex with an online call girl cha…

Facebook, Jurors and the 'Virtual Veil'

From 18.11.08:A female juror was dismissed from a trial after posting details of the case on Facebook and asking friends whether they thought the defendants were guilty. The woman went against strict rules forbidding jurors from discussing cases with family and friends by posting details of the sexual assault and child abduction trial on the social networking site. After her actions were discovered, she was removed from the case at Burnley crown court, in Lancashire, and the trial continued with a jury of 11 people. A Courts Service spokesman said today: "A juror was dismissed from a case on November 18 for discussing a case outside the court."It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a Facebook related entry so this one seemed an obvious choice. For what it’s worth, I’ve largely given up with my Facebook-bashing, as I got sick with it falling so invariably on ‘deaf ears’. I get it: the world loves Facebook and only I don’t. Oh well.The story does, though, h…

Carbolic Smoke Ball

My girlfriend, being the organised and meticulous person that she is, broached the subject of Christmas cards with me this morning during a few hours that we actually managed to spend in each other's company.  With her working full time and yours truly trying to juggle an LL.M and a part time job, time spent together has become an ever-increasing rarity to us now.  In addition to her organised and meticulous nature, she's also somewhat on the thrifty side, and was really investigating whether we had enough left-over general cards from last year to send out or whether we needed to purchase more; that girl hates spending money, bless her!But I digress.  I assume that many blawgers out there have stumbled across or are otherwise aware of the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, a company which takes its name from that famous contract case we all hark back to so fondly.  Oh the joys of studying contract law as an undergrad, eh?!?  If you aren't aware of them - and really, shame on yo…

Still About....Just

Yes, despite the dearth of posts that this poor blog has seen in the last week or so, I am still about.  I have to admit, though, the workload for my LL.M and working part time to help stay afloat is taking its toll.  Last week was particularly bad as I had to attend the 3rd day of training on the Thursday which is usually my 'free' day and something I desperately needed to keep free to prepare for the 3 seminars I have every other Tuesday.  Yes, that's tomorrow.  Let's just say that my preparation for Corporate Governance has received rather scant attention so far and I'm not hopeful that that's going to change in time for tomorrow. Anyway, despite this hectic schedule, I've found the time to go and see Quantum of Solace, a film which pretty much met most of my expectations.  Obviously, I'll be writing up my 'Quantum of Solace Review' at some point (at this rate it'll hopefully be before the end of 2009 ) so I'll save all comments in r…

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

I overheard an undergrad talking earlier about what antics he intended getting up to tonight.  Eggs, flour and alcohol coupled with a vampire fancy dress outfit seemed to be the key ingredients he thought necessary for a good Halloween party.  I think him being scraped up off the pavement at some point by his buddies or the local constabulary was also very much on the cards.  Oh to be an undergrad again!  :-\Following on from yesterday, I couldn't resist seeing what other goodies Devon and Cornwall police had made available for householders to download this Halloween.  I was particularly interested to read some of the tips they recommended to trick-or-treaters for a 'fun and safe' Halloween:If you are wearing a mask, make sure that you can see where you are going and are aware of your surroundings.Carry a torch and a fully charged mobile phone (if you have one).Oh the joys of being a modern trick-or-treater, eh?

Halloween Time

As we approach 31st October it seems that this year more than ever Halloween is going to pass me by completely. That said, I do anticipate a little more trouble in the way of trick-or-treaters than we suffered with last year.As I posted 12 months ago, the police had questionably made a poster available which people could download, print out and display in their front windows in the hope of deterring trick-or-treaters from importuning them. My sentiments at the time were that such a course of action would only encourage trick-or-treaters to unleash their worst on your house and other property, simply making you a greater and more obvious target for attack. So, being the trooper that I am, I couldn’t help making a slight alteration to that poster, making it more reflective or people’s real feelings towards trick-or-treaters. Remember?Being in a house this time instead of a first floor flat presents me with yet another difficulty, especially as there are quite a few families in the area…

Quantum of Solace - The Final Preview

The purpose of this preview is to examine exactly what’s in store for cinema-goers and devoted Bond fans alike in the imminent James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. While I do not examine the plot per se in this preview – that will be saved for my Quantum of Solace – The Review, obviously – I cannot claim there won’t be the odd spoiler. You have been warned. At times, I refer you, faithful reader, to previous articles I have written because I’ve dissected and explored certain content there that would make no sense to completely re-examine here. Hell, this preview has become a lengthy enough beast as it is.Why is Quantum of Solace such a big deal?Craig took the world by surprise in his superb debut as Bond in Casino Royale. With the Bond franchise reinvigorated after years, perhaps decades, in the doldrums, the game had suddenly changed. Bond wasn’t cheesy anymore. Gone were the days when 007 could be seen surfing a tsunami or walking on water and his invisible car, go figure, had thank…

Another Way to Die

It can hardly be described as a secret any longer, nor has it been for some time, actually. In fact, the chances are you’ve already heard the song that will be used to accompany the opening credits in the new Bond film, Quantum of Solace, elsewhere on the web. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness in my coverage of the new Bond film, it was only right that I post a video of the new song, Another Way to Die, performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys.I’ve got some fairly deep rooted opinions regarding this new Bond song which I’ll reveal in my imminent ‘Quantum of Solace – The Final Preview’ article that’ll be released in the next couple of days. In the meantime, enjoy.

Quantum of Solace - It's Nearly Here

The tension is palpable, the feeling of expectation is neck-breakingly high and I’m already beginning to break out in cold sweats of excitement just thinking about it. Yes, it can only mean one thing: The new Bond film has (virtually) arrived.Premiering next Friday on Halloween – go figure – the 22nd official Bond film, Quantum of Solace, is set to pick up exactly where the story in Casino Royale stopped.Later this week, I’ll be releasing my final ‘preview’ of the new film before my comprehensive ‘Quantum of Solace – The Michael’s Review’ sometime next weekend.I know what you’re thinking, readers: I spoil you so.

ill but not forgotten

I've been struggling along with a bad cold this week, my first in over a year.  Hardly a statistic to boast about, I suppose, as before the winter of 2006, I'd gone 3 years without contracting one.  Oh well.Suffice to say, I've been moping about, spluttering and sneezing and generally feeling very sorry for myself. As proof of the severity of my illness - seriously, despite what you're thinking, it's more than man-flu - I've only made it in for two lectures this week!  Luckily, this was one of my scheduled 'quiet' weeks at uni.  Sod's law being what it is, I was scheduled for an interview on Wednesday when I was more or less at my roughest.  Given that the odds of my passing the lurgy on to my interviewer were pretty high, coupled with the fact that by the time I'd got there, I was reduced to a snivelling shell of a person, I didn't rate my chances too highly.  Nevertheless, they offered me the job.  I had actually already landed a job whic…

When you know Google is getting too powerful!

Is it just me, or does 'Kevin' look just like the BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld, just with tats?!?And if I were Kevin, I wouldn't worry about 'Jen'.  His current date is much more preferable!!Anyhow, it's good stuff!

Airline Budget Cuts

Airline budget cuts | Funny Jokes at JibJab Needs no explanation.Good stuff!

Windows 7 is.... Windows 7

How's this for a double whammy?!  It's been a long time since I've posted twice in one day.  Wow... sometimes I even surprise myself!From WinInfo Daily News 14/10/08:It's official: Microsoft's next Windows version, currently being developed under the codename Windows 7, will use that moniker as its official final name when it hits the market in early 2010. The news, delivered as is so often the case these days via a blog, was widely anticipated.
"Since we began development of the next version of the Windows client operating system we have been referring to it by a codename, 'Windows 7,'" Microsoft Corporate Vice President Mike Nash said. "But now is a good time to announce that we've decided to officially call the next version of Windows, 'Windows 7.'"
As Nash notes in the post, Microsoft has used a variety of naming conventions for its Windows products over the years, including years (Windows 95, 98), version numbers (Window…

Girls Aloud Fantasist Faces the Chop

From 03/10/08: A man has been arrested and charged over a blog post detailing the imaginary kidnap, torture and murder of the members of Girls Aloud. He has been charged with the publishing of an obscene article, police said.Darryn Walker, 35 and of Mowbray Road in South Shields, is accused of writing the web-published fantasy about the members of the pop group. He was arrested in February after reports by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a body which reports potentially obscene material on the internet.Walker was charged at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court in late July with publishing an obscene article, according to a spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan Police, where the Obscene Publications Unit is based.The Obscene Publications Act is more usually used to prosecute individuals over images rather than words. It makes it an offence to publish material which might deprave or corrupt those seeing it.The IWF said that it had passed details to police after be…

Sarah Palin 'hacker' is Indicted

From 09/10/08:The 20 year-old son of Democratic state legislator Mike Kernell has been indicted for hacking into the email account of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.David Kernell was arrested after an FBI investigation into the incident in which the password of Palin's Yahoo account was changed and details of her emails posted online by an individual known as 'rubico'.If found guilty, Kernell could face five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 (£145,000)."Cyber-crime is the FBI's top criminal investigative priority," said Richard Lambert, special agent in charge, FBI Knoxville Field Division.Kernell was released from court without bail but is banned from owning a computer and can only use the internet to check email and complete his class work.This story has been well documented all over the net in the last few weeks and triggered a lot of debate about certain issues. First and foremost, of course, is the quite why someone l…

Enough of the 'Hooey'

You know those moments you have when you hear someone say something that’s so ignorant, wrong and just plain stupid, you want to take them to one side and systematically explain to them everything that’s wrong with their statement? Come on, I know it isn’t just me who has these experiences! For one, I know that Lois in Family Guy has such a moment with her husband, Peter.Well, I found an article that produced just this effect on me a couple of days ago. Cue John Naughton’s blurb published on the Guardian’s website:[T]his hooey was conscientiously relayed by Cellan-Jones, who was too polite to ask why, if Vista is such a success, Ballmer is to unveil its successor, Windows 7, to the Microsoft developers' conference at the end of this month.Oh John, just go back to sleep.As if that wasn’t enough, he spurns out another corker trying to explain exactly what ‘cloud computing’ is:The company's response to cloud computing - the provision of email, word-processing, spreadsheets and p…

Banking Law is Dead

Week one of the academic calendar dawned full of hope and optimism. Not only did the public transport I depend on live up to its promise of a ‘regular and punctual service’ – for both legs of the journey - but the Competition Law lecture was a belter and my module change was approved – for IT law. Yes, faithful blogwatchers: you know this is the stuff which really gets me going in the morning. Well, so to speak.If you were wondering why this module wasn’t already on my ‘to study’ list, well, it was. Back in April, though, I was advised that I couldn’t take it because I had taken a similar module as an undergraduate and so had to revise my choice. Rather than concerning myself with finger-pointing, I’m just relieved I can take the module after all. So anyway, the long and the short of it is that Banking Law is dead.... long live IT Law!On the downside, though, it does mean I’m in tomorrow morning and have an incredibly early start the day after. Still, I mustn’t grumble; I only have m…

End of Week 0

Luckily my first week of the LLM – the so-called week zero (go figure) - passed without major incident. I had another very close call with the bus timing on Friday, however, and literally had to run the whole way up to the law school to have my first meeting with my personal tutor. The interview itself was fine and dandy although I could have done without the stress of having to set a new lap record to get there in time. And to those people I bowled over on the street sprinting up there, I apologise.Luckily my personal tutor seemed a laid back enough guy to not let my 2 minutes of lateness prejudice his opinion of his new pupil. Well, not too much, let’s hope.Anyway, I need to head in early tomorrow morning for my first lecture on Competition Law which should be a blast. One thing I’ve definitely noticed from the timetabling fiascos which are still plaguing me is just how little class contact there is on LLM courses. That suits me just fine, however, as have never needed to be guided…

Timetable Madness

Great though my new university might be, they clearly aren't above the odd timetable screw-up.  Equally, great as I am I'm not yet up to being in two different places at once!  But I'm working on it!In fairness to them, some of it might be my fault: I have chopped and changed a little bit in the months leading up to the start of term as far as my unit choices are concerned.  That said, on some documents they've given out to me this week, my module choices were listed correctly.  So as I see it, they've no excuse!Perhaps I shouldn't grumble - I've had worse, I suppose.  Still, it's yet another headache I need to contend with at the moment. Other headaches include job hunting to help fund this LLM which all of a sudden isn't looking quite as attractive as it did late last year.  If you're getting a little sick of my sudden bout of frequent postings, fear not: I don't expect it to last.  Once lectures start at the beginning of next week, I'…

Day 3: The Google Car

As promised, faithful readers, I've bounced back on day 3 of the LLM adventure, shrugging off the problems of yesterday.  Luckily I've suffered no transport dramas or weather issues and my programme for today was as painless as it was well-structured.  I particularly liked the fact we were allowed to slink off this afternoon as and when we so wished.  I certainly wasn't going to sit there through all 3 or so hours of info on every LLM module the university offers.  It's been smooth sailing from the first lap to the last today: even before setting off, I noted with pleasure that my shoes had dried out more or less completely from the soaking they received in the city yesterday!  Still, this kind of luck can't last.  As the back cover of John McCain's book 'Hard Call' alludes to: good luck can be notoriously unreliable.  Fear not, faithful reader - I don't own this title.  I was simply killing time in Waterstones earlier.  On a less positive note, I&…

Introductory blah blah, late buses and bad weather

Yeah, I have had it all thrown at me today.  After a pretty painless first day, fate conspired against me on day two and I'm hoping to bounce back tomorrow.  After arriving late due to the bus taking a ridiculously long time wending its way through rush-hour traffic - how the hell did I miscalculate that? - I then got a thorough soaking when the heavens opened, only to be then bored by 90 minutes of introductory information delivered via a 'lecture'.  What really rankles, though, is the fact that all of this information is available in the induction materials without the need for it to be verbally regurgitated by law school personnel who should certainly have something better to do; I know the students did.Anyway, as I said, hopefully I can get back on track for day three and shrug-off the problems of today.  BTW: I'm already planning a module change - more on that later in the week.

It's Official: I'm LLM-ing

Yes, after a long summer of waiting, the dreaded LLM started today.  Actually it turned out to be a bit of an anticlimax as these things are wont to do but at least I can finally say that I'm an LLM student.I am very impressed with the efficiency of 'my' new university, so far at least; the registration process passed more quickly and smoothly than I've ever experienced before.  I was slightly frustrated that there is a 'programme' for us new LLM students this week consisting of the usual baloney of sleep-inducing introductory speeches, library tours and, somewhat bizarrely, I'm required to go all the way into the city later this week just to pick up my 'personalised' timetable.  You what?!?Still, on the plus side, the student diaries are the plushest I've ever seen and at least they aren't killing us with lectures on the first day - something I'm still struggling to come to terms with from the LPC.  I've a feeling that course is go…

iPods and Washing Machines Don't Mix

This one doesn't need much explanation and I'm still pretty heartbroken about it.  Seeing as it was a birthday present that I've only had since June makes it worse also.  My poor nano took a real hammering in the washer - I'd kept it in immaculate condition but as it had slammed into the drum countless times, the edges of it are looking a little rough now to say the least.  And yes, if you're wondering, it was pronounced dead at the scene.Suffice to say, Amazon are going to be selling another iPod nano shortly. P.S. That white gunk on the screen is actually behind the cover - we think it's washing powder!

Law Stuff

September seems be slipping by with frightening speed and, as we approach the latter stages of the month, it can only mean one thing: it’s LLM time.Yes, faithful blog-watchers, the Michael will soon be back doing some ‘law stuff’ after a varied and at times, strained summer. I think I’ve divulged on Law Actually before that my LLM is based on commercial content, God help me. No, seriously: I know what I’m doing. Some of my modules are perhaps a touch questionable, though: banking law? Seriously? Anyone? I’m hoping that one isn’t going to come back to bite me.For the most part I’m excited at the prospect of the LLM - much more so than I was this time last year about the LPC. For the next week, I’m going to be enjoying a little down-time before things start in earnest. Coupled with the course, I’m hoping to work a little part time as well, just to help grease the wheels from the financial standpoint. And believe me; those wheels could use some greasin’.I’ve also not forgotten about my …

I'm a PC

An awful lot has been written about the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads which have aired the US of late. And seeing as they’ve been analysed almost out of existence, I don’t feel the need to engage in further analysis of them myself. Well, not too much.If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about – if you don’t immediately recognise what the word ‘Conquistador’ refers to in the context of this conversation – you can check out the previous two ads here and here. Then again, if you’ve already lost me, this probably isn’t your bag anyway.Anyway, for what it’s worth, I like the approach Microsoft and their PR agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, have taken here. It’s clever, measured and, as time passes, I think will prove much more effective than hard-sell techniques. But I will say this: by airing these ads Microsoft have at long last responded the barrage of (often blatantly unfounded) insults directed at them via the Apple switcher ads. And that was the biggest miss Microsoft have made…