A Blog for the Records Manager (Hoarder), Bloomberg Law, National Archives, browser testing at Lifehacker and some more on tax dodging

February 15, 2012

Hello again, and a ( better-late-than-never) Happy New Year.

From the 5th of November 2011 (my personal celebration day)  time has brought me to a name change and a massive clear-out, and I threw out the last 10 years of my life in paper.  Yep – good old-fashioned paper. In the electronic world, Birth Certificate aside, I still had paperwork going right back right to the day I was born, weighing in at just 2 kilos. Actually, I retained that document……….I also found a Post Office Savings Bank book with money in it! I’m not telling you it’s age, but the lady on the phone could not locate the account number, as they don’t exist in that format any more. Records Management therefore is a strange concept when applied to oneself, because of an emotional attachment to the records. When undertaking a Records Management function within an organisation, there is a strict set of rules to adhere to and no concept of ownership. The weeding of records is governed by law, and not emotions. It was easy to decide what to retain and then select a destruction method for the different types of records I had decided were surplus to requirement.

This clear-out was a strange place to be in, because I am someone who has spent years working with records and grey materials in all formats and creating policy within corporate and legal guidelines. But my own stuff lurking in my own filing cabinets was another matter. The recyclers probably didn’t know what had hit them when they collected the bin and peripheral bags – and my shredder was squeaking with the exertion of dealing with so many documents.

Furthermore, I hadn’t realised how much more paperwork I have been collecting on behalf of my sons. There’s so much of it – including a copy of the FT published on the date my first child was born, and all their medical and school records.  There were also 3 copies of the South China Morning Post from when the ban on travel to/from Asia because of the SARS outbreak was finally lifted, and also from the day I left Hong Kong to return to the UK.  I also know that tucked away somewhere is a copy of the FT on the day after the full eclipse of the sun in London, plus the special specs to watch it. I put it all away just in case my sons don’t see a total eclipse of the sun in their lifetime, and even if they do, will the technology to watch one have changed by then? It’s the hoarder in me…….I guess that’s why I enjoy being an Info Pro so much. If you look enough you will still find records of a former Jane Macoustra out there in the dim and distant past, but the future lies with Jane Ray. Watch this space!

Which leads me on to a new blog (it’s only 2 days old) at the National Archives. It’s all about finding out how to access public records, by having a private one-to-one with a live records specialist and not an automated response.  Here’s Jenny Orme’s blog for Valentine’s Day:

Burn after reading?

Posted by in Records

Welcome to day 2 of the blog! I have landed myself this illustrious spot thanks to Valentine’s Day and having stumbled upon something suitably soppy in the records. This unusual find is the perfect beginning to my blog, as the sheer variety of amazing things that are brought to the surface every day here could keep me talking forever!”

Bloomberg Law. I’ve already twittered this, but it is such a well-written piece, I’m pointing you to it here as well. Jean P O’Grady’s blog posting entitled “Welcome to Bloomberg Law: No Deals, No Discounts, No Apology”.If you are in the business of working in or running a law library or Information Centre, this is a must-read. Do pass it on.

Lifehacker has been testing out the speed of the top four browsers: Chrome 17, Firefox 10, IE 9 and Opera 11.61. The browsers have been put through their paces and been broken down into various tasks, and then there is an overall top performer, because it has the best performance on the most tasks. You can find out the results here. Looking at the 200+ comments to the blog, people would have liked to have had Safari included too. Others with 4GB of RAM or more say they don’t care and others would like other set tasks included as well as testing on a MAC. Oh well – you can’t please ’em all.

In The Daily Telegraph dated 27th January 2012 – pages 1,2. Headline: Paying Cash in Hand is ‘Diddling the country’ by Fraser Nelson. Please note that the online version of this article is written by a different journalist. “People who pay cash in hand to tradesmen are ‘diddling’ the economy and diverting money from hospitals and schools, the country’s most senior taxman warns today. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dave Hartnett says that householders have a duty to ensure that other people do not evade paying their share of tax. ……Mr Hartnett, the Permanent Secretary for Tax at HMRC, signals a major clampdown on the very rich……..Mr Hartnett says there used to be a culture of widespread tax avoidance among corporations which he says is now prevalent among prosperous individuals………..It was alleged he agreed “sweetheart deals” with companies including Goldman Sachs and and Vodafone and allegedly let them off large bills worth millions of pounds to HMRC…….”we are not soft with business, there was no deal with Vodafone” he said. “we got all the money for the nation there was to be got.”

Dave Hartnett steps down with a £1.7 million pension pot.

Vikki Woods provided us with her own thoughts on this entitled Thank God Diddling Dave Hartnett is the Retiring Type. Her commentary included “The anti-diddling Mr Hartnett was given a pretty good rollocking by the Public Accounts Committee last month for HMRC’s avowed mistake in collecting too little tax from Goldman Sachs, plus another £25 billion or so from other large companies”.

Private Eye have been following this issue for years, exposing Dave’s dodgy tax deals. I say put his pension back into the tax coffers now!

Back again soon.

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Summer Madness! and Spam-Art via the enBW Recycler

July 29, 2011

Hello again!

Google has been a bit prolific in recent weeks with its artwork/doodles commemorating various anniversaries,http://www.google.com/logos/index.html but I particularly liked their 21st June First Day of Summer (below) Madness artwork and the 22nd July interactive artwork celebrating Alexander Calder’s 113th birthday. The Google Doodles collection goes right back to 1998. First Day of Summer. Doodle by Takashi Murakami, 2011.

Business Librarians (BUSLIB) has a new group on Facebook buslib@groups.facebook.com which you can join and participate with research queries, discussions, and more. Here’s the page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/buslib/?ap=1  While I’m on the subject of social networking, I found another group on LinkedIn called Interns over 40. This is a goldmine for the skilled worker seeking employment, who is on the mature side, and finding it difficult to move into that next position. http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/09/100-tips-tools-for-job-hunters-over-45.html  and with over 500,000 hits in 2010, it is a popular blog, with a huge amount of sound advice. The link I have provided is for a blog called 100 tips and tools for hunters over 45.

Since the weather has now taken a dip in temperature, I found some time to mess around with the Spam recycling software that I wrote about in my last blog, and so here are the results of my first few attempts. As spam has been somewhat prolific for me recently, I’ve stopped deleting it from my junk folder until I can analyse  what is the best of the dross to convert into art  

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and I’m sure you can do a lot better. Come on – show me what you’ve created!

Rebekah Brooks and the phone-hacking scandal that has wreaked havoc on Murdoch’s empire. Over the years, I have known a number of business people who are “Teflon Coated”. She’s one of these people, and pleads ignorance to ensure that nothing sticks. Private Eye’s latest issue is having a field day with this scandal; they have called themselves Private Eye incorporating News of the World and the headline is “GOTCHA! Murdoch goes down with all hacks”. About 80% of this edition is Murdoch-related reportage, and given that the bigger breaking news happened just 24 hours before the next print run, I can only surmise that Private Eye’s hacks have been compiling their data for a while, in readiness for this scandal to break.

Finally, I wouldn’t normally comment on something like this – but – Amy Winehouse – you silly girl. What an incredible waste of a great talent.

I’ll be back.