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A little story

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 01 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: General

Let me tell you a little story.

Last Christmas we were trying to choose a restaurant for our team Christmas do at work. We had a few ideas going around: Japanese, French, Italian, Mexican. After talking about them we decide it to put it to a vote in order to choose which one, but postponed the vote until a couple of team members were back from vacation.

Now, when the Christmas do is approaching, that’s mostly all you can talk about and people were expressing their preferences. Some people had a first and second favourite, some people had a particular favourite that they really wanted and didn’t care about the rest, some people passionately disliked one of the choices (not everyone fancies sushi for their Christmas meal!). The poor guy organising the vote started to get bombarded with all sorts of requests to change the voting system to accommodate all these preferences. Someone wanted to have a preference order on all options, someone didn’t want to have to do that but was happy with a first and second option and someone else wanted to be able to put a negative vote on the option he really hated as well as the positive one for the one he really wanted.

So we settled in the end to put a preference order on the 4 options. We would count the votes, take out the least preferred option, recount with the second preferences for those votes, and so on until there was a majority for a restaurant.

Now a couple of people realised that this would make it harder for them to get their choice. The Japanese fans were probably more likely to get their way if all the ones really wanting to avoid Japanese were split amongst other restaurants. A couple of them muttered something about it not being worth the effort and time to do a complicated vote like that. But for the most part it was obvious to everyone that this way we would choose what made most people most happy, and everyone was fine with that state of things. And the Christmas do was loads of fun.

Just something to think about ahead of the AV referendum.

Let’s choose a Mayor

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 25 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: General

Time to vote for Mayor of London next Thursday and I’ve just got a little booklet in the mail explaining how to vote and listing the 9 candidates for the position.

And what a riveting read it is. After going through the entries from Ken, Boris and Brian (all mostly focusing on crime, housing and transport - in that order), the rest of the entries start to diverge enormously:

  • There is the Green Party with an environmentally focused strategy. As important as the issue of the environment is, that can’t be the single axis around which every other problem and policy revolves.
  • The Left List party’s points to a better London read like a comedy sketch. They include bringing the troops back from Iraq and ending the war there, as well as taxing the wealthy to close the rich-poor gap. I didn’t realise the Mayor of London had such authority - is the government taking the next 4 years off? 
  • The Christian Choice bullet points of priorities are just too limited to be realistic. Promoting marriage, stopping the “mega-mosque” at West Ham and opposing abortions is not really all that one would expect the Mayor to be worrying about.
  • The Independence Party say “No to mass immigration, No to the Lisbon Treaty/European Constitution, No to the European Union”. No comment.
  • But it gets worse. The British National Party get more specific: “House British People first - it’s only fair”. “Stop immigration”. “British jobs for British workers”. Well, they’ve got my vote. Seriously, do these people realise how many immigrants with a right to vote in the elections for Mayor live in London?
  • Ah, but apparently the BNP were way too liberal and inclusive for some. Enter the English Democrats. “Putting England first”. I think I’ll hold out for the “London and the South-East” party, just to narrow things down a bit more.

Credibility of the candidates pretty much plummets half way through the list. Disappointing, albeit entertaining.

And my favourite quote from the entire booklet (taken from the English Democrats page): “[England is a land] that gave the world the English language, Democracy, the Mother of Parliaments and the Magna Carta”. :-) Priceless.

Trust and Suspicion

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 30 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: General

One of the first reactions to ZooTok was the suspicion of a cyber-passer-by that it’s a ploy to steal people’s mobile numbers and then sell it on to the highest bidder for marketing purposes. Although I was shocked and the idea had never crossed our minds that someone might think this, after further reflection I can’t say I blame them. The internet today is full to the brim from various simplistic or elaborate ploys to steal your bank details, credit card info, surfing habits, product preferences, favourite colour and what have you. It’s only natural to watch out for these and unfortunately that has an impact on legitimate ventures.

All we can all do is make our way through the maze of dodgy websites and emails and try to tell them apart from the rest of the valuable info and opportunities out there…

Up and running!

Posted by Yannis Lionis on 07 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: General

The site and blog are finally online!

It was all quite painless. Registering the domain name from was straightforward, as was activating the free hosting (although all the emails went to my spam folder, which didn’t do much to speed things up). Getting hosting from (same company as the domain registrar I believe) was also easy (and great value for money as well). After that, configuring and installing the database and blogging software was a piece of cake through their control panel.

So far so good!