Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Babel fish

The ingredients for an instant translation tool already exist, and we don’t have to wait until the 23rd century. I’ve been thinking about how such a translator might work, and because I’ll never get around to doing it myself, the recipe is set out below.


  1. One smartphone with voice to text and a 3G or WiFi connection and Bluetooth
  2. One Bluetooth earpiece
  3. Google


  1. The speaker talks into the phone.
  2. The phone converts the speech into text.
  3. The text goes wirelessly to Google, where one of the Google elves translates it into the target language and sends the translated text back to the phone.
  4. A phone app converts the new text to speech.
  5. The speech is delivered to the recipient’s ear through the Bluetooth earpiece.

According to Douglas Adams, such a device could cause “…more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

Whilst surfing the net to find a picture of the Star Trek Universal Translator (Reference: TOS “Metamorphosis”), I found that a much less clunky version of my idea already appears to exist.

Oh well. Such a shame I gave up my day job.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Caprine cannonball

This new computer game, "Grumpy Goats" has recently been brought to my attention. It appears to be exactly the same as "Angry Birds", except that instead of birds and a catapult we have goats and a cannon; instead of green pigs we have sheep.

Absolutely nothing to do with me. I don't know whether to be chuffed to bits or outraged with righteous indignation

How long before an African savannah version gets developed? "Choleric Cheetahs" perhaps. Or "Pissed-off Penguins," the version set with an Antarctic theme.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

Why so serious?

The Goat accidentally ran into one of his fans last evening. It’s great to know that there are folk out there who read the blog. Seems there are more lurkers than posters. One point made was that of late, The Grumpy Goat has been rather more grumpy and less amusing than it used to be. Perhaps the blog is suffering the same fate as Viz comic: not as funny as it used to be. If this is indeed the case, the Goat apologises. He writes to entertain, and just recently has been going through a rather difficult patch.

How about an ill-researched rant?

The Goat has been a Barclays Bank customer since nineteen eighty-fruitcake, when, as a fresh-faced, beardless school-leaver he headed off to Polytechnic to start a degree course in Civil Engineering. That was when the Goat could hardly even spell ignigneer; now he am one. Barclays was the only bank that would trust fresh undergraduates with a chequebook, cashpoint card, and a credit card. Those with a cynical streak might suggest that the bank was simply trying to get its grubby mitts on that big, fat grant cheque, for given values of “big” and “fat”.

And the Goat has banked with Barclays ever since. He arrived in the Gulf in 1996 and was obliged by his employer to bank with good old “Red Triangles”, but that’s a different story.

It is alarming to learn from the news that Barclays has been found guilty of fiddling its figures. Seemingly, the basic modus operandi was to fix the price for inter-bank lending whilst still charging borrowers an arm and a leg in interest, and whilst offering savers rates that might disappoint a church mouse. And then keep the difference.

Having committed the heinous sin of Breaking the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Get Caught”, Barclays is obliged to pay a fine of £291 million. That’s over 1.7 billion UAE Dirhams. It would take the Goat many, many human lifetimes to earn that much; in goat years the figure is too large to comprehend.

The Goat has a couple of question, which are these:-

  1. Where is the bank going to find the money to pay its fine?
  2. Where does the money go?

Unfortunately, it would appear that the bank will raise the cash from its customers. It will, in all likelihood, increase interest rates to borrowers and decrease rates offered to savers. How else does a bank make money? The Goat, among others, having already been ripped off, seems now to face the prospect of having to contribute towards paying the fine on behalf of those who wronged him.

One of the Goat’s friends reported that this £291 million will go back to the British taxpayer, whatever one of those is. Oh goody; the Goat gets to pay his contribution to the British government. But wait! Another of the Goat’s sources said that around 90% of the fine will have to be paid to the United States Treasury. No, the Goat has not checked the veracity of this claim. At the start, he said that this rant would be ill-researched.

Whatever the truth, it appears that small-time personal (and caprinal) customers get short shrift from the big corporation, even when it’s that same corporation wot done them wrong.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

My Little Smartphone

The Goat has been dragged kicking, butting and bleating into the 21st century. Having had his LG handset suddenly go wrong and then refuse to behave itself even after being reset, rebooted, and even left overnight with the battery out, it was deemed a DBJ (dustbin job), and the Goat headed off to Carrefour to obtain a basic dual-SIM handset. He was sold one, which he then contrived to lose a week later. Whoever picked it up and immediately removed the SIM cards, the Goat hopes you’re happy with your new toy, you thieving git: a more reasonable person might have phoned ‘Home’ and attempted to return the handset to its rightful owner.

One trip to Dubai and two showings of his Emirates ID Card later, the Goat had replacement SIM cards for both Itisalot and d’oh, and it was time to find a new handset.

On the recent Japan trip, the Goat’s phone hadn’t worked at all, whereas Beloved Wife’s quad-band handset had quite happily connected to phone and internet. So the quest was to obtain a quad-band, dual-SIM device. It transpires that a lot of allegedly quad-band handsets are either 900MHz/1800MHz (which is fine for Europe and the middle east) or 850MHz and 1900MHz (which is what is needed for the USA and Japan). The Goat eventually ended up with the most basic smartphone he could find. It’s a Samsung that comes with a touch screen, GPS, 3G, WiFi, MP3 player and, once the Goat figures out how to use the handset properly, an app to do the ironing and wash the car.

Based on Beloved Wife’s experience with call trees, a real, physical keypad was also a must-have. Fighting the screen during a call in a vain attempt to Pless 1 for Engrish is something without which the Goat can do.

Unfortunately, it has so far been impossible to take some friendly advice and find a screen protector. The Samsung Service Centre staff looked at the Goat as if he’d asked for a lightly-grilled weasel, and none of the shops in Doha’s mobile phone souq had one either. One sales lack-of-assistant was busy sticking a screen protector on another customer’s machine before turning to the Goat and asserting he hadn’t got any. A BlackBerry 9900’s display is almost the same size, but the cutouts for the speaker are in the wrong place. Arse.

Getting more exasperated, the Goat eventually bemoaned this sorry state of affairs in the last shop. The Egyptian American behind the counter grinned, shrugged his shoulders, and said: “Welcome to Doha!” He cut down an iPhone screen protector to an approximately correct size and applied it as a temporary measure. Free of charge; he wouldn’t accept any form of payment. So much for a gem of advice offered ten minutes earlier. “You can’t cut it down. It won’t work if you cut it.”

So the Goat’s touch screen is protected for now. Maybe, just maybe, there’ll be something more suitable for sale in Dubai. Or America. Or internet mail order. As is apparently traditional, there’s loads of stuff for sale in Doha but little in the way of after-sales service.


The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.