Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Are they mad? Or is it me?

Using my Mac I can't download from Microsoft, because I'm not running a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows. Well, *_der_*. The Microsoft MSDN subscriber downloads I can understand, they use the completely ridiculous File Transfer Manager - some crappy "download manager" from 1999 given a tart up and stamped with the MS brand - to restrict access. My employer (who pays for the MSDN subscription) uses a Microsoft proxy server which the file manager won't go through [my irony detector is tingling] so I used to download things at home and burn them onto CD for work. This file transfer software won't work on a Mac of course.

Edit: this includes products like Virtual PC for Mac - you need to be using Windows within Virtual PC on a Mac in order to download Virtual PC on a Mac. As my MSDN subscription comes on DVD and my iBook doesn't have a DVD drive it is annoying not to be able to simply download the item, but as we can all observe the sky is still in place.

Well, if protecting Microsoft's market share was the purpose of this restriction, then it has kind of worked - I will have to keep a PC around still. Not that I am angling to get rid of it - I am looking forward to trying Microsoft Vista, and I read today that I will get the full AquaGlass experience as I have a fancy graphics card I bought to play Doom 3 twice, and I am itching to see how much they have ripped off from OSX. Have to solve the no-monitor-attached problem, though, I suppose. Still, Vista's not going to be out for a long time yet.

But then I was interested in the Vista User Experience guidelines - user interface and design recommendations for the new operating system. Not so fast! I am told: "You are not using Windows. Fuck Off" [paraphrased]

Again I have to use Windows before I can read about Windows? How do they ever expect to win any converts to this new recursive operating system of theirs??

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Even Christ Stumbled

I didn't think I'd care when George Best died - he was Man U, I'm not quite old enough to remember him playing - but I do. He was a fantastic player, and he was brave as fuck on the pitch as well as off. We won't see his like again, he was a man of his time. Waste of a liver though.

Friday, November 25, 2005

He's right, of course

The ID card debate in the U.K. is all about population control - it's about controlling immigration, not terrorism. It is unfortunate that the U.K. isn't having that debate properly.
Bruce Schneier
Perhaps because we are too well controlled already.

Going Postal

Don't bomb Al Jazeera! or his brother Kevin Jazzera.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rachel North

A bomb was detonated on my London Underground carriage on 7/7/2005, killing 26 people behind me...
Read what she says about civil liberties.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Remote needs new batteries.

Meet Crypto Cat™ and Decipher Dog™

NSA 4 kids. Woh looc si taht!


I was coming home once on holiday with a stolen hotel towel, which was discovered by customs (I recall myself as wearing a stetson at the time, which was the fashion. In my house anyway)

The airport copper said something to me I have never forgotten:

I'll let you go, if you promise me something in return: if you ever see a copper getting his head kicked in, you'll help him [presumably by phoning for more police..]

So the police want to know what the public want? Here's my list.

  • Don't carry guns. Resist efforts to arm police. Make drawing a gun the last resort (let alone using one). Routinely suspend officers who draw their guns, let alone use them. Don't carry them at airports, train stations, party conferences, *anywhere*. Try and learn the lesson of Jean-Charles de Menezes, essentially by making sure it never happens again. Random executions of innocents makes us feel very uneasy.

  • Don't ask for internment [detaining suspects without trial] or similar police state powers. Resist any attempts to impose such injustices. If your suspects don't confess after a fortnight, why should they after three months? Do you think they might get bored? Or are we going to take up torture, like the US?

  • Don't try to scare us with this "threat" crap. We're not Americans, we grew up with terrorism and bombs and carnage and "don't-go-up-west-to-do-your-XMAS-shopping-cos-the-IRA-are-going-to-bomb-Oxford-Street" which we heard every fucking year in life.

  • The role of the police is not, and never has been, to fight terrorism. That's the job of CI5 or MI6. Try catching criminals, you seem to find that hard enough anyway.. We won't blame you when terrorist actions occur now, any more than we blamed you for Guildford, Birmingham etc. While I'm at it - please make a point to aim in future to try and convict the actual perpetrators of the crime, instead of some people who simply match an ethnic profile.

  • Oppose ID cards.

Simply, you need to champion the rights of the public, and to minimise the powers of the Force (how aptly named..) to the minumum needed to do the job we pay you to do. Then we might grow to trust you again.

See, it's not just about how we the public define you the police - it's really about how you define yourselves. Do you [like John Self in Money on reading 1984], see yourselves as "ambitious young corporals in the Thought Police" or do you see yourselves as the guardians of public liberty? I wonder.

And while I'm on the subject, I justify the title of this post with memories of Orgreave and the Battle of the Beanfields. Bastards. And I still think Ian Blair should resign.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Don't feed the monkeys

"Protect the airspace and homeland" with the Sky Posse. Idiots.

out-geeking rangor

Hide files in TinyURLs with TinyDisk.

Edit: From the faq:

Q: This damn thing doesn't work on large files! #@%& You!
A: Did you not read the manual? Man I wish I could punch you in the face over TCP/IP!
he says what we're all feeling..

There were 150 of us living in a shoebox in t' middle o' road

If you're after an Oculas then look no further - have to have a Mac keyboard fitted, mind.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Asian earthquake that didn't result in a Tsunami

Eid is a time for giving to charity, DEC is the place to do it. Given the choice between saving lives and not saving lives, what can you do?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Have you got news for me?

Jon "My Ace Blog" and Shirley got tickets for tonight's recording (at the ITV London Studios on Upper Ground, SE1) of Have I Got News For You [a topical TV program featuring the current Funniest Living Englishman, Mr Paul Merton] and were kind enough to invite us to go with them. The tickets are free but they overissue them to ensure a full house..

The London orbital was jammed anti-clockwise (we dropped LO off with her Aunt Margaret & Family who live a couple of junctions clockwise) so we had to detour through the shithole I grew up in, which was as jammed with traffic as it's been every day for the last 30 years. Gripped with loathing, I followed the signs like a drone instead of striking out and looking for a clearer route.

Still, we got in in the end, and London was just totally rammed full of traffic, as if giant hydraulic presses were forcing cars where it seemed no more cars could go. As if that wasn't bad enough, I was discombobulated and missed a couple of turns. At one point I turned right when I should have gone straight on and had to redrive some of the Mitcham one-way system - not a big deal, but another delay. I remarked something like "Sorry about that one more minute of delay more but in the scheme of things it won't make any difference".

We got to the ITV London Studios at door opening time, seven o'clock - we had planned to arrive at six, everone else got there at five by the sound of it - and joined the end of the long queue. Some poeple joined the end after us, but they were queuing to see Parkinson, and scuttled off. At that point, we were warned that we may not get in by an employee of the production company who had counted the queue. The thing is, you never know, you _might_ get in.. maybe some people in the queue would change their mind, leave their tickets at home, feel ill, spontaneously combust.. and then some poeple joined the queue after us, a dozen or so, so we felt better.

We queued for about half an hour, until 7.30 came which is No Further Admittance time. We weren't in, but we were close. At this point we were next to the bronze cast handprints of ITV's A-list - Davina McCall and Beck's mum's old boyfriend Des Lynam (_big_ hands) were the one's I've heard of.

We were at the very very front of the queue, our noses pressed to the glass of ITV's warm cheesy lustrousness, when the bad news eventually came that they were full. The compensating good news was to follow rapidly - we would receive priority tickets "with a dot on" for a forthcoming recording, which means none of this queuing lark, straight to the front and into the best seats. It was a relief to be told that the last seats available have extremely limited views - "You'd only see Paul Merton [FLE] walk on and you'd see him walk off, you're better off watching it on TV".

We went to a cavernous diagonal Pizza Express across the road. We did recall the Mitchum redrive incident, but everyone was kind enough to represent it as the difference between seeing the recording while separated singly through the audience wherever the view was worst, versus going back to London in a couple of weeks time and seeing it from the best seats, with no queuing. If we drive again - the studios are close to Blackfriars, which is easily accessible by train from Brighton - I can take my car, which is currently having a new cylinder head gasket fitted. That should be much more comfy for the overall journey, Becky's is a town car, albeit one with a rocket for an engine.