28 February 2006

Wafted from Paradise?

So, in Luton, Boing Boing reports that airport staff tell laptop using passengers that their computers are fire hazards (except in 1st class of course). Meanwhile, in France, "Parisian airports" are installing 2000 sockets to allow for use of said computers. I love the UK's "no can do" attitude.

Windows Live Local

According to the above, their software can locate my position on the earth by looking at my ITP. Interesting? No. Called upon to do so, it showed me an image of... nothing. A bit of fiddling and I was shown the southern half of England, some of Wales and a considerable corner of France. Oh dear. And this has been out how long? Maybe Big Brother is smaller than we fear.

Rough Postings

Posting may be a little odd for the next few days until I find a replacement for what the what was once marvellous Performancing for FireFox. I'm trying JustBlogIt! but it isn't working so hot at the moment - any suggestions for an alternative blogware tool that allows for posting on the fly would be most welcome. Now, as you were.

Gizmodo UK : Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Stereo Headset

There was me getting all excited about gizmodo reporting on bluetooth headphones for my SE T800 or whatever it is that I have (T750i?). Anyway, transpires they aren't wireless in the strictest sense of the word (i.e. in the sense "without wires") as the phones have leads down to some sort of remote control you have dangling round your neck. Call me old fashioned, but if the wires go there, why don't you go the whole hog and have them go to the phone.....?

Paranoid? Not any more

Worried you might have misheard? Not any more for the CD-burning phone is here... Gizmodo reports that you can record 15000 calls so no need to fret that you might miss the opportunity to listen again to your rant about British Gas.

27 February 2006

Lackadaisical postings (and spelling)

Apologies for the poor spelling / lack of editorial acuity in that last post - "Mrs Lemon: Endeavouring to do better" shall be my mantra from here on in.

Web 7.0

You know what would be nice? A drag 'n' drop wallet / purse for online shopping. You have it zipped up in the corner of your screen the whole time. Then, you see something you want, you enter your password and you drag the correct money over to the area where you want to purchase the item. The wallet records how much you've spent that day / week / year / whatever and zips up again automatically after a short while. Maybe fingerprint recognition? Anyway, it takes away from that whole "where's my card? dang a fat finger trade / click here here here and here and so on. Also what would be pleasant was if the postal people at my work didnt' winge about having to deliver Amazon parcels around the place and we were allowed to use work as a drop off address. "Work / life balance?" Yeah right.

26 February 2006


25th Feb 2006 We're waiting for the sun here in the northern hemisphere....  Posted by Picasa

A Smudged Porn Run

Boing Boing now has many underground map anagram links posted - how funny they are depends on how amusing you find anagrams (and personally you wouldn't normally find me using "hilarious" and "anagram" in the same sentence but each to their own). What is shamefully embarassing, of course (apart from my own inability to spell embarrassing), is the sense of humour failure from the jobsworth's at Transport for London who have made threatening noises about prosecutions for those posting their maps on the web in altered form. Please guys, it is 2006, grow and loosen up at the same time why don't you? (I know, I know, it'll be about money and copyright and all that other sad stuff but c'mon already etc).
Apols once again, btw, for the abundance of parentheses.

21 February 2006

Criminal Records Check? No, I don't think we'll bother.

From Communty Care Magazine (go on, you're dying to read it really), comes this gem:

The Association of
Directors of Social Services has called for all teachers to undergo Criminal
Records Bureau checks and be subject to the same CRB requirements as other
professionals.

Andrew Webb, co-chair of the ADSS children and families committee, said that
long-serving teachers would not have been CRB checked, as this was introduced
in 2002.

Erm, hello, anyone heard of Soham? OK, so teachers not involved, but really. And since when has "long serving" meant just over 3 years? Good grief. Shouldn't "Yo, How Low Can You Go" Kelly have been on to this earlier?

David Irving - Wrongful Imprisonment

Dear oh dear, so Orwell was right, just 22 years too early. You are not allowed to have an opinion (however wrongheaded or ideologically suspect) in Austria because you may well go to jail for spouting it. Equally, in the UK you are now not allowed to talk about what nonsense you believe religion to be or that you think such-and-such a group of freedom fighters are justified in their cause. Coming soon, guilt before the "crime" is even committed....

19 February 2006

CD Burning

Windows Media Player: Estimated Time Left: 3 minutes. Actual time taken: Half the average lifespan of a human in Western Europe.
Windows Media Player: Space Available on Disc: 805mb. Size of Tracks to Burn: 600mb. Actual Size Allowed in Reality: 25mb. Why is the amount of space on the disc given if the limiting factor is the length, in time, of the tracks?

18 February 2006

Quailtard

Still at Boing Boing, the coining of the term "quailtard" is reported on there - it is used to describe the farm-reared birds Dick Cheney and others were shooting at when he shot his mate on 11th February, the implication being that the birds are running a little light in the IQ dept. Although I like the word I can't help thinking "huntards" would be a more useful neologism, being a description of those in the upper echelons of society (for it is always they - step forward Prince Carbuncle) who practice the obscene and laughable "sport" of shooting small, virtually flightless birds as they fly off in panic and alarm at their approach.

"Libraries are not the hotbed of looking at porn sites" (sic)

Little Falls Library, Bethesda, Montgomery County. There will you find the origins of a strange tale that could only happen in 2006. Apparently Mongomery County has a Homeland Security Dept. with a budget of $3.6 mil. Yep, you got that right. Montgomery County, well known target of A1 Q'u*da, spends all that money so that men in hats with "Homeland Security" written on them can go into libraries and tell patrons using the internet that they don't like what they are looking at and have to leave. Arguments ensue, the police are called, and the men in hats have to go - turns out they don't have the necessary jurisdiction. Chalk one up to the librarian who called the police.
I, for one, am not looking forward to the day when Department of Homeland Security Officials in the UK (I imagine if you vote for Mr Cameron you will find that something of this order will be considered - the Tories have a Homeland Security nabob already - a cross between Dad's Army and Thought Crime Officers are no doubt in his mind even as I type) do something similar.
[Story from The Washington Post via Boing Boing].

16 February 2006

Guantanamo

For pity's sake, close it down. It doesn't take the UN to show that the camp is a barbaric gulag that demeans all America and Americans (and nor do we Brits come out smelling of roses) and should be shut down forthwith and the inmates tried or released. Come on Shrub - get on with it. People are going to start dying of starvation there soon and you'll look more obstinate, foolish and tyrannical than you already do.

China: The Sound of Windows Opening

Very good article in the Times today, Let a Thousand Blogs Bloom, on the opening up of China owing to the near impossible task the internet police have of monitoring the web and the communication between web surfers, those with mobile phones and so on. Good stuff. Makes one wonder if the power of good of the giant Western tech companies hasn't been wholly overshadowed by their antics in the censorship field. Rosemary Righter, the journalist who wrote the piece, almost manages to make one believe that a velvet revolution is just around the corner. And remember how fast Poland, East Germany and the like fell once they were going? Could be the 21st Century isn't going to be completely ruined by Religion v. Civilisation.

15 February 2006

"Sickening collaboration" - Representative C.H. Smith (Rep)

Ah me, but it does the soul good to see that the US House of Representatives are taking to task Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Msft for their compliance with the Chinese governments demands for intolerable adherence to censorship measures. Will there be financial penalties? Of course not, but the moral position is clearly set out. A small blow for freedom (from the NYT).

Ricky Gervais: The Complete Set Is Mine! Ha Ha!

Thanks to yabanib, I now have the complete (so far) set of Ricky Gervais' (or should that be the Karl Pilkington's?) podcasts. Thank you Mr Y, very much appreciated. And thanks, too, for the link showing how Muslims have pictorially represented Mohammed throughout the ages....

14 February 2006

Cartoons: More Deaths

The Beeb reports more deaths of protesters, this time in Pakistan. Honestly I don't get it. I try, but I can't. They are pictures. Cartoons. Designed to offend in all probability, but they are just pictures. Not worth one life, let alone the lives that are now well into double figures. Two planets would seem to be the answer: one for people who have a religious belief, the other for those who don't. And, as you go through life, if the thought of death without end becomes too much and you reach out for a God, off you pop to planet B.

Do the Math, Mother: brrreeeport report

1940 GMT: Google main search - nada. Google blog search: 122....

Scobleizer

Brrreeeport. There you are Robert, another needle to find.

13 February 2006

Atomised: 10 Things that Bring the UK Together

In at number 9 is our friend Pete Doherty. In fact, Pete is joined by a thousand other slebs we watch for signs of weakness - they who must be brought Down and then, well, then they are ripe for the remake. Finally, at 10, we have .... actually, what do we have? Are there 10 things that unite us? Cheap flights? House prices? Cars? Commuting? It is harder and harder to find UK universals, a sign that is both good (sing Yay! for uniqueness) and bad (what, no Spirit of the Blitz?) - watch out for little Rooney in Germany mind you...

ELP Player update

Aha, but reading on, there is a catch. A $15,000 catch. Ah well, for a moment I could dream.

ELP Laser Turntable

This looks a bit too good to be true - a record player that runs like a CD player, playing your old vinyl with not only better sound than previously but with the ability, allegedly, to move from track to track like a CD unit. Marvellous. Presumably it doesn't get scratched by the laser readers either? Methinks I'd like one of these (via boingboing). Not only that, of course, but it will take particular care of your copy of Works or Fanfare for the Common Man.... (de de daaah! De de Daaah! De de Deee! - wondrous).

12 February 2006

9 February 2006

Popular Postings

Odd, the things people will blog about. Jason Kottke has a post about another post (bear with me) about a plane and a fictional conveyor belt and questions whether such a set up would allow the plane to take off (go see for yourself if you don't believe me). Anyway, he had to turn off the comment facility on his post after he got over 300 posts in 16 hours.... Bizarre. Yahoo helping to jail another Chinese citizen? Not worth commenting on. Theoretical scientific questions? Where do I click?

8 February 2006

OK, one more for now

8. Tabloid headlines - everyone has heard that "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster", and more recently we had "Elton Takes David up the Aisle" - for good or ill, nowhere but Britain.

Unifying factors in the UK contd. (WAKE UP at the back)

5. Included here, but it isn't for me, is Little Britain - sorry, I just don't get it. However, I appreciate the fact that most of the rest of the population does so I shall let it pass. Next up, at Number 6, are speed cameras - hatred for these is near universal, though of course they are a "good thing". 7 brings you Europe ("da da daadada.... Its the Final Countdown!" and so forth) - love or loathe it, everyone has an opinion and atomisation be damned, they will share it with you if you ask them. Now, ta ta for now - final 3 later.

7 February 2006

Atomised: 10 Things that Bring Us Together

An interesting post here about 10 events / things that unify America in our atomised age. Set me to wondering what the equivalent 10 would be for the UK. (1) would be the same - the news event that everyone is talking about - the last of these was our dear departed friend the London whale, in my book anyway. (2) would be the football (soccer) world cup - cricket and rugby try, but football is still the dominant alpha in the British sporting menagerie. (3) John Snow's swingometer and the rest of election night - news, yes, but oh so much more. (4) Big Brother - even if you never watch it, you know that Gorgeous George has made a spectacle of himself or that Chantelle, little Miss Nobody, has charmed the viewers and taken the crown. "I'm a Celebrity..." comes close, but nothing unites like BB.
More tomorrow....

Bin-bound

Looks as if coComment is heading for the recycle bin - doesn't seem to do what it says on the tin. I comment here, I comment there and coComment sits there mutely. Doesn't seem to add comments as they are placed on the one comment of mine it does seem to have picked up on. Ah well, as with Watson (see Lifehacker for more details), back to the drawing borad. On the other hand, Performancing continues to do a reasonable job and makes posting to Mrs Lemon's a great deal easier.

6 February 2006

coComment

New box replacing world map is coComment - designed to remind the user of comments they have left elsewhere on the web (provided the site is recognised / accepts coCommenting) and to show comments in response to their's or in response to the original post. Not sure how it is going to pan out but I like the concept. There are some places I've posted in the past that have alerted me when another comment has been put following my own, but they normally involve an email with a link rather than the RSS-type thingammy we have here. Watch this space.


Update: Mmm, not sure - I've posted a number of comments elsewhere but they have't shown up here - the jury is out.

5 February 2006

No News is BBC News

The BBC has given us another non-news story via the Technology page of their main news site, namely that the Nyxem virus hasn't done much - for example in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan damage was said to be "light to non-existent"... Y2K anyone? Why anyone believes the computer security software sales people when it comes to "news" beats me - the same people probably buy "surge protectors" (anyone, anywhere at any time ever been affected by a power surge?).

3 February 2006

Rm. 101 contd.

102 - late entry - MSN Music UK. So, you're in Windows Media Player (I know, I know, but once you have it, you can't delete it - herpes etc). Anyway, so you're in WMP and playing that Frontin' on the Root Down (The Who vs. The Beastie Boys - if you haven't got it yet, do seek it out) and, just for once, and for no other reason than you haven't learnt anything from past experiences with WMP, you click on the link that suggests you might want to buy the CD from MSN Music. You click the link (stop rolling your eyes at the back) and through you go after what only seems like a few minutes of waiting while the bloatware turns like an oil tanker and hey John Prescott, there you are, on the page where they tell you they don't have the CD and would probably add "and we never have, never will and couldn't give a monkeys about you you dumb schmuck but, since you were ignorant enough to visit us in the first place, why don't you have a look at this bunch of rubbish we're flogging at way over market price today?" if they could be arsed to do so.
Anyway, as I said, allofmp3.com - go there and see how it should be done (though their Explorer-type programme is getting old quite quickly).

27th Jan 2006 "One more pic and you're going to be unpleasantly surprised by the new location of your camera."  Posted by Picasa

File under Euugh

Carl Zimmer (found by way of Boing Boing) has a seriously disturbing piece about wasps turning cockroaches into zombies by careful deliverance of a sting to their brain. The cockroach can subsequently be controlled by the wasp and led quietly back to the wasp's lair where, trapped, they have an egg laid inside them by the wasp and.... Oh dear lord, you get the picture. Can you imagine anything worse? (One guy can and in the comments section compares the wasp to his ex-wife but anyway...). What was interesting was that this immediately made me think of the Intelligent Design proponents, just as it did with the parasite that replaces a fish's tongue and then eats its food from within its mouth, and, as with the ensuing comment flow on Carl's post, I was left wondering how people could worship a God that designed this particular scenario.

Prophet Mohammed Cartoons

Learnt a few things this week:
1. Dying as a Muslim martyr, I might go to heaven and be surrounded by a thousand virgins but I wouldn't be able to have a bit of a joke with Mohammed / Muhamed / Muhammad / Mohamed or Muhammed. I wouldn't like that. Of course the same is likely true in a Christian heaven and thus isn't for me either.
2. Non-Muslim Westerners understand far less about Islam than we thought .
3. The ability of a multicultural society to accommodate its disparate elements is constrained by those points that are furthest apart on the graph representing what is acceptable to that society's members. Freedom of speech may be too close to, and too high up on, the modern European X-axis to allow for accommodation of the no-go areas represented by Islam close to, and far along, the Y-axis.

1 February 2006

Stalking goes Mainstream

The Guardian has an interesting story by Ben Goldacre on how to track someone's mobile - all you need are a few pounds, an internet connection, and a few minutes uninterrupted access to the mobile of the person whom you wish to track. And it all sounds scarily easy and accurate:

On the website, I see the familiar number in my list of "GSM devices" and I click "locate". A map appears of the area in which we live, with a person-shaped blob in the middle, roughly 100 yards from our home. The phone doesn't go off at all. There is no trace of what I'm doing on her phone. I can't quite believe my eyes: I knew that the police could do this, and telecommunications companies, but not any old random person with five minutes access to someone else's phone. I can't find anything in her mobile that could possibly let her know that I'm checking her location. As devious systems go, it's foolproof. I set up the website to track her at regular intervals, take a snapshot of her whereabouts automatically, every half hour, and plot her path on the map, so that I can view it at my leisure. It felt, I have to say, exceedingly wrong.

Yahoo and Human Rights part 84


Fantastic. I hadn't realised they didn't do this before (if that isn't a double, not to say triple, negative), but Amnesty International have taken up the cause of Shi Tao and are asking that people write to Yahoo and question Jerry Yang and David Filo about their company's role in his jailing last year. Superb. They suggest as part of the text of emails / letters sent to Yahoo you include the following: "I am alarmed that in the pursuit of new and lucrative marktes, your company is contributing to human rights violations." Exactly. Right, I'm off to send the suggested email - please do the same - hopefully AI's suggested course of action won't be labelled a DDoS...

In the Woods