Saturday, September 27, 2008

The EU is a monstrous waste of money, an affront to democracy and MEPs and Commissioners, generally speaking, don't know their arses from their elbows

and under no circumstances should be allowed a say on legislation.

Stolen, with grateful and slightly inebriated thanks, from Trixy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dear Kezia

While your blog is yours (well, Google's lent out to you) and therefore your rules* apply (as long as you don't fall foul of their's), there are good reasons why many of us post pseudonymously or, even, anonymously.

For example, some of mine are:
  • The government thinks that the Human Rights Act Article 10 doesn't apply to me (or Jackart).
  • My employer does not necessarily share my opinions.
  • My fellow journalists.
  • I gain some limited mental release from indulging my potty mouth at the antics of our lords and masters.
  • I think the nym is cool.
Just musing - we are aware that the good Mr Worstall is now Press Officer for UKIP. I wonder whether his Ts&Cs are similar to Mr Towler's (or, even, if the money paying his salary has come in part from EC / EP funding?) I'd hate to see his "ironique et eurosceptique" blog disappear too.

Update: And see the comments on the it-might-just-be-a-kite-flown-by-the-Stasi EU Blogging Code here.

* From here sidebar: " I retain the right to delete those ... posted anonymously - If I'm prepared to publish in my own name you can too."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just what does Google know?

Reading the ever interesting Mr Worstall, I noticed some slightly disturbing Google Ads links seeming attached to the name of our glorious Foreign Secretary and putative Brutus.  See for yourself:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trampled under the Jackboot of BKF.co.uk

You see, it's not all a horrible conspiracy! Loony bug-eyed socialist bloggers get hammered by legal threats too (actually, Tim is definitely on the left side of sensible and Craig certainly reads that way. Update 2: and, of course, I had forgotten about the undeniably left-wing Harry's Place). But 15 minutes? I can barely pour, never mind drink, a G&T in 15 minutes, nowadays ...

Seriously, this is ridiculous. Although I am quite surprised that a fairly personal letter from the daughter of an SNP councillor to the First Minister and Leader of the SNP ended up in the hands of a gossipy Trot, you can never really tell what is going to crawl out the sack of rabid ferrets that is Scottish Politics*. So, kudos to Kezia for publishing, yah-boo sucks to Bannatyne, Kirkwood, France and Co., who, it has to be said, seem to normally make their money on the right side of the fence. Update: I notice you aren't suing the Torygraph and best of fucking luck having a go at wikileaks. I don't think they're going to be scared by you or by your mate Carter-Fuck.

Oh, and what I think about the 'good' Councillor - you were a turd before this, and a turd you remain.
Anyway, if you wish to read the letter and, frankly, it shows you what an excellent role model for a modern Muslim father Councillor Hanif truly is, you can read it here.

As an irrelevant aside, isn't it an interesting coincidence, apart from sheer serendipity that gives you the Kezia Bulldogs site (which could lead to all sorts of lipstick jokes), you also have the founder of "Scotland for Obama 08" sharing a relatively unusual Christian name with Obama's step-mother.

Update & *: Including, my bad, people who copy highly personal letters to the newspapers. And, if Cllr Hanif, or his representatives do read this, exactly which of the allegations against you are false? The guns? The violence against children? The 'promise' of forced marriage? Your misogynism, temper or racism? Just asking, as a concerned voter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is utterly evil

This is far worse than "Sarah's Law". That would be bad enough, given the manifest inability of the British public to behave sensibly in almost every conceivable scenario - I am fairly convinced that all that publishing the names and addresses of people on the sex offenders register would do is drive them underground. And, of course, it is not as everybody on that particular register is a middle aged man into raping toddlers - no, of course not.

Young men with a slightly unwise choice of their Friday night shag; people who have accepted cautions (Ed notes: yes, I know it is an old link - but what about the 6,200 people who were cautioned for offences not involving children or rape? What exactly did they do? And what the fuck is happening with people 'cautioned' for rape? Cautions for murder and high treason, next, will we? This is taking the "Sanctioned Detection Rate" culture beyond the fucking piss into lah-lah land); and shortly people in possession of "extreme pornography", victims of yet-another knee-jerk reaction from politicians faced with a distraught mother. (Ed notes, again: You probably wouldn't be surprised at the Google Ads "sponsored links" results for the search for the link for the legislation - please sing along with me, "The Internet is for Porn, the Internet is for porn ...")

No, you can argue whether or not Sarah's Law would be a bad thing - I think it is. But everybody who would be targeted as a result of that suggestion would have been convicted (or, it has to be said, accepted a caution) and would therefore, as far as we can trust our legal system, have admitted or been found guilty of a sex-related offence. This is much worse. This is apparently allowing access to the sort of material released on an Enhanced (i.e. child or vulnerable adult protection) disclosure. Which, even when given to sensible people with no particular axe to grind (and no suggestions of kiddy-fiddling) has caused stupid and hideous problems.

Teachers, particularly, seem to be vulnerable to false allegations of sexual impropriety but it can strike anywhere. So their details will now become public - most teachers I know are ex-directory, try not to live within their school catchment area, etc, just so they can avoid the sort of petty harassment the semi-feral youth would inflict on somebody who has dared to give them homework, or a detention, or failed an exam, or "dissed 'em". I am not saying, in any way, that allegations should not be properly investigated but, if that happens, and there is insufficient evidence for a charge or, even more emphatically, if someone is charged and found not guilty in court, why should that be used by the state to ruin the rest of their lives?

The Chief Constable of West Mercia police, who should know better, is reported as saying:

They talk through this and the subject is party to this, to get a third-party assurance to the clean bill of health which he claims to have.


Wow. What an introduction to state control of our relationships. Not only can we not have a drink without official permission but they are now licencing every snog or grope. What a bunch of statist interfering cunts. And all, ALL, they could possibly be "assuring", is that he - and it is 'he', isn't it - hasn't been caught. These fuckers should be taken out and shot.

I leave the final comment on the stupidity of it all to the police's own leaflet:

Even if a subject doesn't have a record for child sex offences it doesn't mean that he or she is not potentially a risk.

Duh!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Catch 00010110

Next-door have a new computer. I couldn't persuade them to stump up for a Mac, so it's running Vista. Joy.

Anyway, I got it set up a couple of weeks ago and everything seemed fine. Then, a panicked text message - 'teh interwebs is broken'. Okay. So, I'm just back from my (thankfully brief) mission of mercy.

The box uses their wireless LAN to connect (a nice Victorian house - so no flood wiring) and I had it set up to use the manufacturer's (Netgear) connection wizard rather than the M$ standard one. The security software they had purchased and installed treated the Netgear Smart Wizard as a default-deny (not 'default-ask') application and shut it down as soon as it tried to start up. But, and here comes the irritating bit, to change the settings for the security application(s), they had to be registered / authenticated / whatever, and that required (as was explicit in the instructions) an internet connection. Which was not available because the connection wizard was default-deny. You see the problem.

So, having taken the security application round the back of the bike-sheds and given it a damn good kicking, they are finally back on the net. Why, why, do we (i.e. the security community) make this so difficult for people?

Eugene Kaspersky - you know who you are!

Friday, September 12, 2008

One rule for us ...

h/t The Shrink.

Okay, so, if you are suspected of being loopy, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 requires, s1(4):

A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision.
Yet the interfering cunts have decided that we are not to be allowed to smoke (I don't but still, I should retain the freedom to do so if I felt like it) in our own homes, can be thrown out of parks for being a greenie in a penguin suit (not one of those either but it's her life), they're going to raise the price of booze and the age you can buy it, and all of the other statist meddling in what some politicians (and medics) might consider "an unwise decision"?

Time, as DK says, to sharpen the cockroaches and have at the fuckers.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Come friendly bombs ...

Well, okay Slough and Heathrow are close but not quite the same place ...

Like most of the commentators on this, I wasn't at the trial and I certainly wasn't on the jury. So we, the commentariat, do not actually know much about the evidence presented (but see a wider take on the statist, "we know better than you" official reaction here).

We know that the police thought it was great, they have told us so (but, then, they thought the Birmingham Six, Colin Stagg and Barry George were guilty.) We know that the CPS either thought there was sufficient to gain a conviction (their usual test) or, more sinisterly, were persuaded to go ahead with the case for political reasons - but stories of CPS incompetence are legion (eg here). We know that 'officials' were "'dismayed' by the verdicts" but they are probably a bunch of mendacious statist cunts. We know that Jacqui Smith praised the police operation but she is just egregious.

We also need to realise the huge difference between a 'Not Guilty' verdict where, until nu-Lab succeed in finally abolishing 'Double Jeopardy' things should stay put (e.g. the verdicts on both charges for Mohammed Gulzar) and 'Unable to reach a verdict.' Hence, despite the vitriol, the reason why a re-trial may actually be appropriate for some of those accused (and some of the charges.) There is also the contentious issue of the release of intelligence information to the court system - there may have been additional probative evidence held back from the jury because of the sensitive and possibly ongoing nature of the technical or human source(s) Ed notes: On the other hand, if there was exculpatory evidence held back by the prosecution (or the law enforcement and intelligence personnel assembling the original case) then this would be appalling but not surprising!

I would note that there were quite a lot of guilty pleas in this for it to have been the conspiracy in a pop bottle some have made it out to be (however incompetent or unlikely the explosives engineering may have actually been.) Not as clear cut, either as a law enforcement success or as a "was disliking the government while being Muslim" breach of ancient (but decayed) human rights.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Forgotten Heroes

I was hanging around the streets of power recently, waiting for an appropriate time to head for my next meeting, and I came across the Buxton Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens.  So I took a picture.

Memorial to Sir Thomas Buxton

We're not taught that much about the abolition of the slave trade and what we are taught seems only to mention Wilberforce. It is obvious that it must have taken more people to drive such a radical idea (for anywhere in the world) through Parliament.  So there we go: Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Baronet.

Ouch

Justin, at the normally excellent but recently quite quiet Chicken Yoghurt, is having a few problems:

This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota

Please contact this site's webmaster.

Wait a few minutes and use your browser's "Back" button or click here to try again.

If you are the webmaster, your account may have gotten this error for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Your account has used more than its share of the cpu in the past 60 second sliding window.
  • Your account has too many concurrent processes running simultanously.
  • Your account has consumed too much memory.
  • Your site was recently very busy trying to run inefficient scripts.

The solution would be to optimize your applications to use less CPU.
Adding appropriate indeces to your SQL tables can often help reduce CPU.
Using static .html documents instead of painful .php scripts will practically eliminate CPU usage.

Despite the (completely accurate) comments of people like Tim at Bloggerheads, regarding the manifest limitations of Blogger* (especially when tracking down evil sock-puppets and other vermin of the great, but entirely hypothetical, right-wing blogging conspiracy), it is why I still stick with the Google Borg manifestation. Too much trouble, otherwise, it seems.

Update: It seems to be strongly intermittent. Say 3 out of 5 forced refreshes (i.e. so I am not getting the result from my ISP cache.)


* i.e. You cannot get the IP address associated with a specific comment.

Privacy on Employer Computers

There has been a recent ruling in the USA (strictly, a Supreme Court ruling in the State of New Jersey) that you have little expectation of privacy on computers at work. While I agree partly with Masons - the statement by Mr Docherty that the equivalent scenario (significant theft by employee) would allow a similar investigation in the UK, and the statement by Mr Malcolm that permitted personal use does create an expectation of privacy (but only in material covered by "permitted personal use" - i.e. not including theft from your employer or, for that matter, anybody else. Ed notes: Unless you are a lawyer, perhaps? Many people on the wrong end of a lawyer's bill consider that, like taxes, legally sanctioned theft!)

However ...

The Data Protection Act 1998, s29(1), exempts the processing of personal information for "the prevention or detection of crime"; SI (Statutory Instrument) 417/2000, where processing is "is necessary for the purposes of the prevention or detection of any unlawful act", exempts you from the explict consent requirements of Schedule 3*; and SI 2699/2000, the appallingly titled "The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000", S3(1)(a)(iii) allows interception for "the purpose of preventing or detecting crime" and (iv) allows it for "the purpose of investigating or detecting the unauthorised use of that or any other telecommunication system".

So, actually, as far as investigation goes (as opposed to monitoring which is covered by the non-statutory Information Commissioner's Employment Practices Code - Section 3), you actually have a fairly free reign.

Mr Malcolm's suggestion that you should contact the police is interesting (and you certainly should if you think you are in possession of material that creates a strict liability offence of possession for you) but you will often be much better off (and have it sorted much more quickly) if you take legal advice and engage a professional forensic investigator. Not all abuses or malpractice are criminal and, in any case, the particular event or accusation you are worried about would have to be really quite significant (or merely high profile for one or more senior cops, if you'll pardon the cynicism) for you to be high up the priority list for the relevant police specialists.

Now, back to swearing ...


* Note that s2(g) of DPA98 makes information about "the commission or alleged commission ... of any offence" sensitive personal data.

No, No, Fucking NO!

Dear Mr Massie,

While I agree with you that our Lords and Masters, particularly those who are utterly fucking unimportant (i.e. work for the local council), are a bunch of statist control-freaks and prurient self-important jobsworths and, I also agree with you that the Anti-Terrorism Laws in this country are being abused, would you please stop making stupid mistakes?

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is not an anti-terrorism law. Part I and Part II were brought in to place to bring common, existing police and other government investigative practice onto a basic legal footing (otherwise they would have been illegal under the Human Rights Act - Article 8, Right to a Private Life*, I believe.) Yes, Part III was sold to the fools collective we call Parliament because paedophiles (mostly) and terrorists (a little, but remember this was enacted before 911) were about to destroy the world through competent use of encryption but, still, accuracy please.

* The article contains the following relevant phrase:
There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law

Friday, September 05, 2008

I've tried Chrome

But I am not posting from it. Not because of the EULA, they've fixed that. But because my loverly "Open (All) in Tabs" has gone. So I'm a dirty rotten holdout then. Until they fix that, at least.

I just don't get these

From this article. Yes, I get that some fanatics consider that anything other than strictly theologically defined celebrations are sacreligious - this is not an Islamic monopoly - churches in England still bear the scars inflicted by the Puritans and as for Scots and Irish Presbyterians? They are entirely with the late Ayatollah Khomeini in the clerical wing of the Fun Police.

Nope. Understand that (if still not happy about it.) But what about this:

Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al Sheik "also heads the Presidency for Scientific Research and Religious Edicts". Didn't take them long to want to top-trump Mrs Palin, did it? Scientific research and religious edicts? The Most Rev Rowan Williams for President of the Royal Society? His Holiness Pope Benedict for Head of Research at NASA? Err, no, don't get it.

And on a lesser level ...

"Buthaina Ba-Aqeel, 51, said she used to throw birthday parties at home for her children, but they were low-key and not on the same day the child was born — to avoid singling out one particular day during the year to celebrate."


No, you miserable misguided fool. You used to throw parties for children. If they were "birthday parties" they would have been on or near (Saturday after seems normal for kids with natal days falling in school seasons) their birthday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Imagine If

Dizzy got there first but I'm going to carry on regardless ...

Imagine if Iain Dale was composing a list of the worst 100 political blogs. Would we be entertaining any notion that a blogger could reasonably demand to be excluded, even on the grounds that they regard it as "damaging to their reputation"?

Just thinking, that's all.

Chrome - some questions

Okay, I've not tried Chrome yet, 'cause I'm working in London with my MacBook but I do intend to have a go once I get home and have a Windoze box to play with.

First, though, a couple of questions.

1. Is Chrome open source, as the Googlistas claim? Well, look at the licence:

"10.2 You may not (and you may not permit anyone else to) copy, modify, create a derivative work of, reverse engineer, decompile or otherwise attempt to extract the source code of the Software or any part thereof, unless this is expressly permitted or required by law, or unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google, in writing."


Looks pretty "closed source" to me.

2. After all the fuss about the stupid EULA clause (see here for a good explanation, here for the apparent retraction and here for some swearing), why (11:20BST / 10:20GMT-UTC*) does section 11.1 of the bloody EULA still read:

"You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services."

My emphasis, clearly. 

3. With this from the EFF as well, regarding the Omnibox, do any of you over-brained under-socialised fucking cretins actually understand what "Do no evil" actually means?

* Our more perceptive reader(s) and any associated pedants may quibble that GMT and UTC are actually different timing systems.  I do, of course, agree but would point out that as I am measuring in minutes (and it is 11:33ish BST now anyway) not fractions of a second, the difference is irrelevant.


Update: Fuck me, that was quick (11:40BST) - a refresh on the EULA now shows the following:

"11. Content license from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."


This, of course, is completely un-necessary in the licence agreement. I retain the property rights in my house too, without the permission of Google's lawyers. And, it has to be said again, I have few if any legal rights in the vast majority of what I view or read in any browser.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Now, the blindingly obvious

Thanks to DK, we have "The Geek Test".

98% Geek

As Homer would say, "Duh!"
 
HTTP Error 403: You are not authorised to access the file "\real_name_and_address.html" on this server.

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