2015-02-12

TV Licensing Letter

An "enforcement manager" at TV licensing has sent me a letter informing me that I don't need a TV license.
They word it very poorly of course.
It is illegal to watch programmes as they are being shown on TV without a TV License - no matter what device you use.
But the gist of it is, since I disconnected the aerial from my TV in September and haven't used it to watch broadcast TV since, I don't need a license. The rest of the letter seems to be an attempt to bury this information (which I already knew) in non-credible threats to take me to court.
Or take someone to court, anyway. I don't think you can arrange a summons for "The Legal Occupier". The magistrate will probably want to know a name or something. I'm not a solicitor or course. This is not legal advice.
There are other gems:
If you're found guilty, evidence collected during an enforcement visit to your property could be used by the court to decide the penalty for TV license evasion.
I'd like to think that evidence of some kind will be needed at earlier stages of the process. Like, for example, before even requiring me to turn up at court, and certainly at some point before I can be "found guilty".
And anybody turning up on my property expecting to perform an "enforcement visit" had better have the right paperwork and be accompanied by a police officer, because I'm pretty sure petty bureaucrats and their minions don't have the legal authority to enter my home uninvited.
For me, this is a win-win-win situation.
  • If they give up and leave me alone, I win.
  • If they take me to court, they can't prove I need a licence (because I truly don't), and I win.
  • Either way, I'm not paying Nick Robinson's salary any more. I win.
But why be difficult about it? The letter says, though slightly inaccurately:
The only way to stop this investigation from going any further is to do one of the following:
  • Buy a TV License [...]    (Nope)
  • Let us know why you don't need one at tvlicensing.co.uk/noTV [...]
The third other way is to let the investigation stall due to lack of evidence and end up costing them time and money, at no cost of either to myself.  I choose this path for three reasons.
  1. While they pursue me, others who are more vulnerable may be spared. If enough people do the same, maybe the whole coercive and bullying practice will become infeasible, and a certain "enforcement manager" can apply for a useful job.
  2. I stopped paying for a TV license in disgust at the BBC. Withdrawing my voluntary payment is only so effective; actually costing them money is a delicious bonus.
  3. I object in principle to taking on the burden of showing why I don't have to pay for something I'm not using. It should surely be on them to prove I need to.
By the way, how much do you think I am missing the BBC? Not much. I can be lied to for free all over the internet.

2015-02-11

(Re)writing Process

I get a few emails, now and then, from NaNoWriMo, reminding me to take the next steps with the SF novel Miasma I spewed out in November.
I wasn't completely sure there were going to be any next steps, because it was very experimental in terms of story structure and character viewpoints. Experimental writing is always a good thing to try, for getting more confident as a writer, unless you are talking about actually publishing something. Then it's like toxic waste.
Still, I like the characters and the ideas enough to want to spend some more time with them, so the probable destination of Miasma is self-publication and respectable obscurity. Not that I wouldn't value "real" publication, it would in fact flatter my vanity immensely more than "vanity" publication. It's just so much less likely to succeed.

2015-01-21

git gui tip

If you sometimes use two monitors, then when you are using only one screen, git gui might open off-screen where the other monitor should have been (and on Windows, there is not much you can do to get hold of the window and drag it back to where you can see it).

You can stop it doing this by deleting its [gui] section from .git/config. That's where it stores the last position of the window. It should then open somewhere sane.

2014-11-26

NaNoWriMo Victory is Mine Once More

Yessss! I got 50,000 words out by Nov 24th this time, due to being a 4-day-a-week software engineer and 3-day-a-week fiction writer.

For the duration, I have been refraining from commenting on twitter, and mostly from posting here too.

Now my problem is, I have about 85% of a new science fiction novel written which I still want to finish by the end of November.  I also have maybe 60% of another science fiction/fantasy book that I put to one side before NaNoWriMo and want to get back to, before I forget what I was going to do with it. Then I'm going back to re-drafting The Silk Mind, because first novels need the most polishing, to the extent that it can do any good; you know the relevant saying, I expect.

All this excitement is taking place on Amazon WriteOn.

One side benefit of not engaging with twitter has been that I've stayed out of some pretty terrible discussions. People are the worst, that's all I'm saying.

2014-11-14

Handing out invites

This is a random offer, for anyone who accidentally finds this blog post before the end of NaNoWriMo.

I have some beta invite codes for Amazon WriteOn. Let me know if you want one; the only condition is you promise to review one of the stories I have up there.

I can also possibly give out invites to ello, in case anyone is interested. I don't know how many of them I can do, so we'll see.

Just leave a comment letting me know how to get the codes to you securely. This may involve DM on twitter or something. The details don't matter.

2014-09-19

I was Wrong

This is depressing to face up to and depressing to write, but it has to be done. I was wrong about the Scottish independence referendum.

I don't think I was wrong to want rid of Trident and the House of Lords. I don't think I was wrong to want a proportionally elected national parliament with powers limited by a modern written constitution. I don't think I was wrong to think Scotland would in many ways be a better place for the majority of people living there if all its decisions were in the hands of a parliament elected by those people, rather than all the important ones being decided elsewhere for the benefit of interests that don't align very closely with mine. I stand by that.

But I was wrong. I was wrong that any of the above would be relevant to the outcome.