Milk, Milk, Milk!

Milk, Milk, Milk!


Don't want to read my thoughts? Go straight to the synopsis/TL;DR

Ok, so Grandad is on his high horse again! This time it's about milk.

For several years now farmers have been paid a dwindling price for their milk. It is now at the point where up and down the country farmers are taking the situation into their own hands by taking all of the the milk from supermarket shelves.

There are 2 questions that we should be asking.

  1. Are we willing to pay more for our milk if it means keeping British dairy farmers in business?
    Please fill in the simple poll form to the right and we will see the general consensus together
  2. What can we do to help the farmers out

Are you willing to pay more?

Here's the £64,000 question: Are you willing to pay more for your milk if it supports UK farmers? Currently many of them are going out of business as they are paid less for their milk than it takes to produce it.

What can we do to help UK farmers?

I've tried, oh how I've tried

That's right: I've already tried to get more farmer friendly milk.


Tweets: I have sent a number of tweets about this subject and I have to say that the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers have been no help whatsoever.

Here are some examples

Research: I did a bit of research into how to get more “ethical” milk but there was hardly any information out there at all. All I could find were suggestions to visit Farmer's markets etc. This is all when and good when you aren't working every day but it's quite hard to fit in with a full work schedule and a family. We did try and we at least found our local farmer's market (which is awesome by the way). The problem is that they only had about 5 x (2L) bottles of milk at a time and we need that many per week.

The one thing I did discover is that Marks & Spencer pay the best price to the dairy farmers that they use. For this reason I bought our milk from M&S for several weeks until I stopped taking Rowan to school and then it was again inconvenient for me/us to get it from there. As this press release states:

An image of a glass with milk being poured into it

Just a glass of milk

“This increase will be welcomed by all M&S dairy producers. The M&S milk pricing model, Milk Pledge Plus, provides us with a transparent and fair price that reflects the cost pressures we face. It returns a market-leading milk price in exchange for market-leading farm production and health and welfare standards, and is a great example of a retailer working with producers in a mature way to deliver consumer benefits from a supply chain in a sustainable way.”

Milkman: My latest effort is to try and find a local milkman (or woman of course) who can deliver the milk to us. Whether that be delivering a job-lot weekly or daily.
I have emailed one milkman (with no reply) and I'll email more tomorrow.

Do you have any suggestions

How about you folks out there? Do you have any suggestions on how to get milk that will not bankrupt our National farmers?
I don't want to pay pittance for milk for high corporate supermarkets who drive their suppliers out of business. I saw in a BBC interview earlier an Asda spokesman say that it was the farmers own dairy that they owned that set the price. Whilst this may be correct it is big corporations like Asda who drive the price down with their massive buying power.

Synopsis TL;DR

The UK farmer's are being driven out of business because supermarkets use their “super” buying power in order to drive their purchase price down.

There is no-where near enough information out there about how to go about giving our farmers the business that they need. I have tried several methods of acquiring milk from more “ethical” sources but as yet I have not found a decent sustainable alternative for the working family.

I am too busy to travel miles and miles in order to pick up milk. I want to pay more so that I can give more value to the farmer's of this great Kingdom.

If you didn't read the rest of the article then I urge you to fill in the little poll on the right of this page in the sidebar. It will help us to find out what percentage of my readers would pay more.

Lastly: As I want as many participants in the poll as possible don't forget to share this post so that together we can get the widest possible coverage for the poll as possible.

Thanks; and once again it's over to you.

And Another Thing #5…Mo Farrah


OK, Let’s get this straight: I consider the BBC's Panarama program to be “The Sun” of the television world. It puts out programs that scaremonger and offer little in the way of any type of evidence except circumstantial.

With this latest issue they have accused Alberto Salazar of doping along with one of his main athletes Galen Rupp.

Since they aired this episode one of Alberto's main athletes, Mo Farrah has been caught in the middle of these doping allegations. One can see in his interviews that he is very stressed and he has today said that the pressure on his 5 months pregnant wife is extremely painful.

The last two weeks have been the toughest of my life – with rumours and speculation about me that are completely false – and the impact this has had on my family and friends has left me angry, frustrated and upset. In particular, the media pressure on my young family and my wife, who is five months pregnant, is extremely painful, especially as I'm away training for some important races.

I would not be surprised, nor blame Mo if he decided to compete for Somalia. Although the British public are behind Mo the British “press” have done nothing but harass him. On tonight's BBC news at 22:00 they showed a clip of Mo being harassed by a “journalist” forcing him to drive in an unsafe manner with one arm covering his face. I am not linking to this video on purpose.

Whether or not this was a BBC employee or a freelance scumbag they should be ashamed of themselves. If it IS a BBC employee then serious questions need to be answered about their tactics and if it is a freelancer then the BBC should not be enabling and perpetuating this behaviour!

Had he driven over the journo's foot he (the scumbag journo) would be the first to be claiming compensation (well…the only one in-fact).

Have the British public learnt nothing?

Time and time again the press have harassed our public personalities and yet we (by whom I mean they) still buy the “news”papers even though they criticize both the techniques and results!

Rant Over!

And Another Thing #3… MovieTube


Today I came across a site called MovieTube (I am not going to provide a link as it will increase their SEO stats). It is billed as site that allows you to watch new films for free and most importantly LEGAL. I have searched on the internet for 20 minutes or so to see if this is actually legal or not and although I have found many answers such as

If a person steals fireworks and sets them off in the city centre is it illegal to watch them?

Which is a completely ludicrous analogy. I have not found an answer that I am comfortable with such as from a Lawyers site. The most definitive answer I have found was from the MoneySavingExpert site that is more in-line with my thinking.

It may very well be legal to watch these movies but there is one major obstacle stopping me from doing so…I have morals!

Think about it for a minute or two. Millions of pounds are spent on these Movies and the related marketing. Who cares how much the stars of the movie are on; the fact is that  they have worked legally for their income.

Somebody does the equivalent of taking a video recorder into a cinema (or pictures as I still call it) and recording a film them putting it on the internet. Just because the MovieTube site does not host the videos themselves does not make it right. This site was specifically set up in order to facilitate illegal activity.

Watching films from this site may very be legal but morally it is an outrageous thing to do!

Some of you may remember several years ago when people were sent notices because their IP address had been used to listen to pirated content that was supposed to be “legal”. The very same thing may happen to viewers of MovieTube once the lawyers catch up.

What do you think. Is it moral or immoral – why do you think it's moral or immoral?

A rant to the Web Development community

A rant to the Web Development community

Web Development


  1. Ok, let’s get started
  2. A bit of background
  3. So what did I create previously?
  4. What am I complaining about?
  5. But Wait! (a glimmer of hope maybe?)
  6. So how should it be done?
  7. So what do I want?
  8. Rant over

Ok, let’s start

Let me start by saying that I know I’m using an existing theme but I needed something to put a blog on so I used an existing theme….so what.

A bit of background

I am about to become a freelance PHP Web Developer and so I thought I’d get around a few places in my local are a and meet some guys (& girls) that I’s been following on Twitter for a while.
I decided that I would visit Genuis Division in Barnsley as I had been following Craig Burgess on there for a while. The visit itself was very fruitful. I was made to feel very welcome by 4 very nice gentleman. What would have surprised my wife is that although the 4 of them were self confessed ‘Geeks’ not one of them had a Star Trek uniform on…anyway, I digress.

By the end of the visit I had a much firmer idea of my route into the webdev community & I knew that my months of trying to get my head around around the ins and outs of the design process were waisted. As Craig and Richard (their Techincal Director) pointed out – I should concentrate on what I am good at & what I enjoy doing. Common sense stuff of course but one that I possibly just needed to hear from an external source.
I knew when I got home that I had to clear all of this design nonsense out of my head and concentrate on the PHP side of things as I had now been focusing on design for a few months.

Kinda how I felt

Kinda how I felt

I posted a thread on a popular webdev forum about what project I could undertake in order to brush up my OOP skills. The majority of the replies that I got advised me to create my own framework. I took this advice & quickly set about Googling a few tutorials for how to create a framework.

Until this point I had not been a fan of frameworks per say as I found them overkill for the projects I had previously created but when I did start looking into it I was shocked.
The more I looked into frameworks the more I thought to myself “Hang on! I’ve already done this and been criticised for it”

So what did I create previously?

On the same popular forum around a year ago I posted my own files for review. I now know that this was the basis of a framework. Admittedly, looking back on the code it could do with a lot of improving and more abstraction but the basics were there. The framework had 5 or 6 classes that I used and covered everything that I needed including security, database handling, HTML output, templating facilities and more. Had I got a few words of encouragement, I may have continued to develop this framework and stick with OOP.

So what am I complaining about

I’m complaining about the critique process that many employed. The tone was a very negative one with comments made such as “Not quite sure why you’ve put it in a class to be honest”. Not one single person included a positive comment. This in my opinion leads to much dis-heartening and people giving up. This included me as a justified comment could have gone a long way to encouraging me to continue with the project. If someone had written something along the line of “You have the start of a framework there, if you continue along those lines & study the architecture of some of the popular frameworks you could have a good framework there”.

Success or Failure?

Photo credit: Cobrasoft

Another example

On a different forum I posted a general question on whether or not developers kept their files (not the files directly accessible via HTTP requests) in a non-accessible directory (i.e. sub root). The comments were generally good & polite but there were a few that told me in no uncertain terms that I was an idiot to keep files sub-root and there was no benefit in it. I didn’t dignify them with a response but I did know the benefits of this practice thanks to Chris Shiflett‘s Essential PHP Security book (non-affiliated link) which I bought a few years ago.

Yet Another Example

On the 13th December, 2012 Harry Roberts posted a tweet which I believe was also trying to get to the same thing as I am complaining about here. He tweeted:


Hacker News in a nutshell: Dev 1: ‘Hey I made this, it took me a year and you can have it for free!’ Dev 2: ‘Your screencasts sound bad.’

In this example. a little encouragement would have been a good thing – I haven’t seen the post to which Harry was referring to but it seems that the same theme of comment keeps popping it’s ugly head up.

But wait!

There was also a direct message waiting for me to look at. On reading it I as quite impressed. It was commenting on my profile & the fact that I used an outdated IDE (the profile hasn’t been updated in a while) but the sender framed it in such a way as to not have a negative tone. He then went on to suggest good IDEs etc.

So how should it be done?

In my opinion critique is an art form in itself but a lot of it is often down the attitude of the person critiquing. Instead of just offering negative comments why not frame a comment constructively. Image…We could even give its own name: we could call it something like “Constructive criticism” instead of ‘being an arsehole’.

Simply typing “How to criticise” in Google shows that the top article has several suggestions. As an ex-military instructor I use the 1st type of critiquing: one that is referred to by many including @CarriganGlen, a good friend of mine and former army buddy as a “Shit Sandwich Motivational Technique”. It allows critique to be given but not in a wholly negative manner.

Craig Burgess commented on a recent podcast saying that

As somebody who’s spoken in a public capacity a few times, … the pressure is massive. And 1 negative comment can crush you.

This shows what I have mentioned previously: that negativity can have an effect on one’s attitude and ambition to carry on with a project.

So what do I want?

It would be nice if people learn to critique properly – doing otherwise can only result in self-perpetuation negativity. I suggest that people think before they critique and carefully frame their words as to not be offending or be overly negative.

Rant over

Well that’s it folks. If you got to this point in the post I want you to do 3 things for me.

  1. Give yourself a pat on the back, you did well.
  2. Leave a comment if you have anything to add
  3. Make yourself a brew, you deserve it

By the way, please feel free to Tweet about this post to the wider webdev community.
Thanks again.