Thanet Star

Plant a tree at no cost

I've talked before about how great stumble upon is as a service but here is a chance to use it to improve the world a little bit. Click here to plant a tree.

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OGC "w*nkers" - it's official!

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) recently spent £14,000 of tax payers money on a new logo. Which as you can see looks "very nice" (even if you would not catch me playing with the idea of paying so much money for it).

OCG Logo (new)

The problem is that the Governemnt department "needs to get a grip on itself" for if you turn it sideays it looks like this.

OCG logo sideways looks like a man playing with himself

You can also read the story here

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Man to be buried alive for Margate!

Mark McGowan is to be buried alive in the sand on Margate beach in a "art performance" to try and save the traditional Margate holiday. This unusual art performance is to start Saturday 3rd May at midday and will not end untill 48 hours later on the Bank Holiday of Monday 5th May. The performance is an attempt to save the Great British Seaside Holiday and the environment at the same time.

Mark McGowan says: "The traditional British seaside holiday is in decline and everyone is flying abroad. This year, 30 million people will go on holidays abroad. This is due to cheap flights, sunnier climes and bargain bucket destinations."

Mark will be barried in up to his neck with a traditional hankerchief tied to his head. He will be surrounded by traditional holiday mementos and will live on fish and chips that will be fed to him by an assistent. Mark explains: "This is to encourage people, so that when the time comes, to think about their holiday and donít just book a holiday abroad, come to Margate."

A big hint for my fellow bloggers - Mark will be on Margate beach this Saturday (26th April) around midday, "practicising" for the art performance.

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Saint George's Day?

Saint George - a man that might not have existed but the patron of Aragon, Canada, Catalonia, China, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Palestine, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Amersfoort, Beirut, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Moscow and a goodly number of institutions. Today is "his day"...

Now from a British point of view today is a British day. So what is your take on the British National Lack of Holiday (BNLoH) and the general celibration of "saints"?

Let's talk.

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Thanet In The Wider World

I have been looking around facebook and discovering that there is quite a Thanet presence there albeit a little decentralised (which is no bad thing as such). There is a very slim showing from the Thanet bloggers (which surprised me) as I have only so far found one or two of you on the site.

There is no rule that says we have to sign up to anything so don't think that you have to (after all we have our own Thanet Social Network). However, if you do it might be worth it just to get your blog listed on the Facebook Thanet blog listing where I seem to be the only one...

Just an idea.

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Free Subscription To Thanet Star

suscribe for free to Thanet Star
You can now get a free lifetime subscription to the greatest blog in the world. Delivered fresh to your inbox or to your homepage, feed reader or mail client in a choice of attractive packagings. This (not at all) limited time offer is only available while (infinite) stocks last.

Just use the coupon here to activate your subscription or give it as a gift to a loved one. The subscription offer is good for an unlimited number of deliveries at the new low price of nothing at all.

Another great offer from the worlds favourate blog.

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Murder by the sea says Guardian

Margate is in the news again and this time the article appears to have been reasonably well researched. It has errors and omissions but it does at least acknowledge the Thanet blogging scene as a force in the area.

Murder and arson mar resort's bid to become a coastal artists' haven screams the Guardian headline.

"To the local council, Margate has the potential to become Hoxton-on-Sea, a coastal haven for young British artists who will spearhead its renaissance.

"But following a murder and two high-profile arson attacks in the past month, the Kent town has been the subject of a series of lurid headlines that suggest it may take more than a cultural revolution for Margate to escape its seedy past."
IBID

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» Continue Reading: Murder by the sea says Guardian

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Eastcliff Richard

This post is dedicated to the author of the Eastcliff Richard blog. ER has a a long list of quotes on his sidebar where people have said things about him and his blog. I figured he might like to flesh it out a bit so here are a random assortment of things being said about him made up just now and then said...

"As gregariouse as a sand storm in a desert!"

"The loudest voice of the Ramsgate Anonymi is clearly someone who is able to use the Internet."

"Significantly less mammiferous than a number of bloggers we could mention he still manages to milk things for all they are worth."

For more of "that sort of thing" keep reading...

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» Continue Reading: Eastcliff Richard

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Margate Rocks 2008

Margate Rocks 2008 is less than a month away now so it seems like a good time to write about it. In case you do not know it is a visual arts event that takes place in each year. Among the highlights this year are an "environmental activism filmmaking workshop" (hosted by director Franny Armstrong) and a long list of names in art such as Millie Burton, James Cauty, Shelly Goldsmith, David Shrigley ... and so on. The site for the project gives a better discription than I could as well as lsiting all the things to see and do this year.

"Margate Rocks is a contemporary visual art festival based in Margate, on the beautiful east coast of Kent. Taking place between 2 Ė 11 May, this yearís festival has the theme of art and ecology."
margaterocks.com

Many of the events are free and suitable for all the family. It runs from Friday the second of may untill sunday the eleventh. There is a free after party too indie pop music from Jigsaw Project as well as "...favourite party tunes from across more genres than you can shake a stick at." You can confirm attendance at the party, for free, here.

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» Continue Reading: Margate Rocks 2008

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Stephen Ladyman Answers Back

Steven Ladyman has updated his declaration of expenses. I don't want to just copy out what he has written but as I was quite hard on Mr Ladyman over his deceleration when he first wrote (I was cynical about it because he didn't go far enough) I feel I should make mention of this update.

(It can be found here) Steve has update his expenses breakdown to try and give a picture of all his expenses for the London "second home" and other things for which the information is not so readily available. He takes the time to explain roughly what he claimed for and why along with an explanation of why more exact figures were not available. An explanation that I find to be wholly in order.

I may or may not agree with his politics (or anything else for that mater) but I can not say how much I applaud this action. Transparency and good communication are essential in the Twenty First Century and both councilors and MPs would do well to follow this example to publish and publish in detail.

The fact that he also allows comments to be posted on his site shows that whatever else you might say (and some of us who write blogs have a lot to say about him) he is at least willing to engage in a little two way communication. Bravo - something that was unarguably done right!

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Thanet has highest UK rate of Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is officially worse in Thanet than in any other part of the country. COPD is, basically, characterised by increasing airflow obstruction, which is not completely reversible. Each year it kills 30,000 in the UK and it kills far more than average in !

It costs a lot of money to treat and results in a lot of lost work hours - 24 million working days a year, in fact. The total cost to the NHS each year is somewhere in the order of £800 million. If things were not bad enough already a leading factor in the cause of the disease is "socio-economic deprivation" - the biggest problem in Thanet.

"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major but neglected public health problem. Currently 1.4% of the England population has a clinical diagnosis of COPD, but the true burden of the disease has not been known with certainty, as many cases remain undiagnosed."
SOURCE: Model for estimating the population prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: cross sectional data from the Health Survey for England, Luis C Nacul, Michael Soljak, and Tom Meade, March 2007

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» Continue Reading: Thanet has highest UK rate of Pulmonary Disease

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Margate Fires

There seems to be a renewed interest in fires that have happened recently arround Thanet. I have no doubt that this is due to the devistating fire of the scenic railway rollar coaster on land owned by Jimmy Godden (a man about whom many bad an unprintable things have been said of late).

Particularly people seem interested in Margate fires. Quite why this might be is currently "beyond me" but never one to see a need unmet I will endever to list as many sources of information as I can.

I start, as always, at thanet finder and search for "Margate Fires" (I have also used other sources). The game is a foot - let us find out all we can. Care to follow me?

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» Continue Reading: Margate Fires

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Thanet Star: supporting local sellers

I have always felt that Thanet has great potential if only we ourselves would support it. I have written a number of times about "supporting the little guy" and as part of this have been looking for ways to do this. One way was the Thanet Finder (search engine for Thanet) but I have been looking for other ways.

I have now found a way to add Thanet eBay listings to a site. On article pages below the comments there will now be a listing of products from Thanet based sellers (as well as strongly themed Thanet content).

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» Continue Reading: Thanet Star: supporting local sellers

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Scenic Railway can be fixed!

"Several people who know the Scenic Railway well, and who have maintained the ride over the years, have told me that repairing the structure will not be a major task."


BBC NEWS | England | Kent | Dreamland ride

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Why numbers matter in business online

I want to follow up on some surprise results that Tony and myself have briefly discussed in the comments section. In "To get ahead in business - ask a blogger" I shared how the blogging community seemed to be ahead of the game when it comes to third party ranks and metrics that measure the traction of your website. I'm still not convinced that I did not miss something but I want to explain why it matters.

The numbers tell a story, they indicate how well you are playing "the game" and the game is different depending on your aims but the numbers remain the same. Whatever reason you have a website for it has to meet one of the 5 Goals of a Business Website. The numbers tell us how well we are meeting those aims.

That is why they matter so much. When you goal is money the biggest indicator is how much but when the goal is attention they is rarely money as a good measure. So these other numbers start to mater. A lot.

Matt Bacak (another Matt B) explains more:

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Reactions to the latest margate fire

On Sunday, 14th October 2007 Thanet Observer asked "Hands up anyone who thinks that the wooden Dreamland Scenic Railway will soon suffer a mysterious disastrous fire..."

kentonline.co.uk has a photo of People watching the Scenic Railway Burn (for which there had been a Statitory requirement to keep). It got me to thinking about the reaction to this disaster around Thanet. A large number of people phoned me up to tell me about the fire and all were totally shocked so what are the general feelings around Thanet?

"Margate is lost now. They may as well wipe it off the map."
Big Stevie B, Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, Forum.

Feelings seem to roughly fall into two kinds - shock disbelief and sadness on one hand ("Is this true? OMG, this is terrible." [Becks045]) and anger directed towards Jimmy Godden on the other ("Jimmy Godden is very unlucky with fires" [c anderson]). People are asking how one man can have so many (convenient) fires happen to him. The comments at youtube are rather "blue" and not repeatable venting quite hard on our local property rich man.

One thing seems consistent and that is the widely held belief that this was inevitable because the club that is "the council", and Friends wanted to build there. "Bad news that was always going to happen it was the only thing left that was stopping flats being built." says southend_marc on the coasterforce.com forums.

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» Continue Reading: Reactions to the latest margate fire

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The Truth About JSA

According to my logs a lot of people have been arriving at Thanet Star looking for "JSA" it is currently the most popular search word. I have to say that I have not said much on the subject of Job Seekers Allowance or the fictional "Justice Society of America" so that leaves a lot of people with not so much to read.

Not one to leave a reader hanging about I have leapt into action and am going to write about "the dole". The fund of money you claim when you have no work. Let's face it with the current employment rate around a lot of people are going to be claiming JSA and other benefits.

I'll try to answer questions like "what's it like to live on JSA?" (hard) and "How do I claim JSA?" (roll up at the job centre and speak to a member of staff) and "How do I get off JSA?" I don't promise to answer all of these questions but I am going to take a look.

Join me?

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» Continue Reading: The Truth About JSA

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Godden rides again?


Video from youtube.com

Yes, folks that is the image of the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster (one of the oldest in the world) burning down today. I remember riding that as a child - I loved it. Now the land owner Mr Godden may well be free to build houses or shops as he first wanted to.

Mr Godden is (a) a very lucky man or (b) not to be trusted with matches. For some reason his properties seem to burn down whenever they get in the way of development. I would never say outright that I think something "fishy is going on" (even if I do) because I wouldn't want my house to burn down... I mean I don't want to get sued.

So, I do not think that the burning down is a deliberate, if clever, by-pass of a blockage to building work. I would never wish to hint that everyone is saying that Mr G has been happy with the matches again even if they might be saying this. I would hate to bring up the loss of two or three other seaside properties of his that planning permission had been turned down on. I am not indicating that the first person I mentioned this too said "Godden?" only to have me inform her that he owns the land...

...oh, wait, maybe I am. Darn. Well let's be honest here it does look rather convenient and frankly this man is going to find building insurance getting costly (not that I think he is going to care).

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» Continue Reading: Godden rides again?

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Stopping Comment Spam

While this will not be of the greatest of use to a large slice of Thanet's bloggers it should be of use to those of us that have progressed beyond blogger in our needs and requirements. Having now stabilised the server against a massive denial of service attack of spam comments I have gathered enough notes to write quite an in depth post on the subject.

Rather than bother the bulk of Thanet's bloggers for whom the article will possibly be a little too technical I will post a link to it on a blog I maintain exactly for all that technical stuff: How to beat blog spammers and their spam - a guide is the article (it came to six pages in my word processor while I was spell checking it) and it covers the story of what I have done and an in depth listing of things you can do too to stop spam hitting your comments.

For those on fully hosted solutions (blogger) you will have to hope that your hosts have some answers.

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Site Status

I am aware that the site is most unresponsive. There are possibly lots of errors too.

The reason for this is that one or more evil people have taken exception to Thanet Star's severs and have launched a distributed Denial of Service Attack Against it. The attack started yesterday and may continue for some time.

Not to cast doubt where it might not belong but there are a fairly limited number of people in Thanet with the skills and desire to pull this off. I hope for all our sakes that this is an arbitrary attack and not a targeted one.

I'll post again only after all this technical silliness is done with. A more geek centric report can be found on this blog for those that want to keep up to date with the details.

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To get ahead in business - ask a blogger!

I
was interested to see how Thanet and Kent's
business websites stacked up so I took a few well known sites as
control subjects and then added in local business websites that have
all recently been recommended to me or known to me in some way.
What I found was quite surprising.

To make
things far I used as many metrics as possible to measure the success of
the websites in terms of traction and penetration. the
metrics I used were Alexa Rank, Google Page Rank, Google Back Links,
Yahoo Back Links, Technorati (reactions, authority and rank) and
Compete Rank. Each of these scores works differently for
example with most of the rank based scores lower is better but a 0 is a
total fail.

I chose Thanet Star (obviously) along
with the TDC website, the Thanet Blog List and the website of a local
photographer.  These would be my control entries against which
we could measure the success of the websites in question.
 What I did not expect was to have these sites dominate the
results quite utterly.

I only wanted to use a
smallish number of sites so I chose custwin.co.uk a business promotion
business along with webdandy.co.uk and the first client they linked to
afritrans.co.uk to compare with this I added webz4biz.biz who created
the Thanet Business Network website. So I had two web
designers and a client each. I added to this mix Boys and
Maughan (local solicitors) and the Sure Start Millmead website (local
non profit).

The resultant tables might surprise you.

...

» Continue Reading: To get ahead in business - ask a blogger!

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Byte Sized

Local Art

Local Artist, John Wooster-Brown has a new website.

Blogs
Byte Sized

Like to write?

If you love to write then the Thanet Creative Writers blog might be the ideal place to connect with your nearest writer group.

Blogs
Byte Sized

Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

General
Byte Sized

Did you know?

Margate was the first seaside resort to introduce deck chairs way back in 1898.

Facts
Byte Sized

Did you know

MP Roger Gail (Thanet North) wanted to increase VAT

Facts
Byte Sized

Did you know

MP Roger Gale (Thanet North) has never voted on measures to reduce tax avoidance

Facts
 
 
 

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