July 30, 2004


Their own audit says U.S. authorities didn't keep track of Iraq reconstruction spending, look carefully that quote was don't not can't because they can it they wanted to and if they did it would be much easier to find out why there still isn't enough medical supplies, water, electricity, or ironically petrol. The pupet govenment is in crisis and it looks like the elections may be delayed. Not that any elections would really have changed the centre of political power in the country, the americans didn't annex the largest embasy in the world for nothing especially as they plan to maintain a standing army there almost four times the size of what they plan for the new Iraqi army. No country can truely be sovereign with a continuing occuping force like that.

Why then are we there? Despite the continued and growing lawlessness we have got rid of one of the worlds worst tyrants, but this was never given as a reason for going to war. If it had then Blair and Bush would have been pointed out as the hypocrites they are for supporting regimes that boil opponents alive. But then again Uzbekistan is the eight-largest producer of natural gas in the world, but they say this was not a war about oil. How about terrorism then? Well there may not have been any links between Bin Laden and Saddam before the war, but Iraq is now the number one recruiting sargeant for Islamic terror. How about Weapons of Mass Distruction? Small problem Iraq didn't have any, or even any programs to produce them. Unlike say North Korea. If WMD was the reason for war I wonder why Bush opened up diplomatic channels with this brutal dictator of oil poor North Korea?

Bin Laden still hasn't been found, or any of the other leaders of Al Qaeda. With that organisation still carrying out terrorist attacks and regrouping rapidly, mainly thanks to the Iraq War. Afganistan, the country Blair promised not to forget, has been forgotten and left to sink into warlordism, the same situation that made it the prefect host for Al Qaeda, with it's former oil executive President unable to control anything outside the capital.

July 28, 2004

Surfs up

100 foot wave saaren't as rare as was thought

July 27, 2004


The lastest goverment vague scare story has been parodied here. The original leaflet was on about how since we live in a safe peaceful society people generally don't fear enough anymore to give due deference to the Powers That Be, so they are mailing everybody to try and stoke up some fear to get everybody in line again. It's been parodied withing 24 hours of release showing how sensible the British people really are. Tony doesn't like that however and so is trying to get it taken down (and the author thrown in jail for blasphemy of questioning Number 10).

July 26, 2004

Open Source Myths - by Neil Gunton

A counterblast to the Open Source Myths no matter what your religious inclinations interesting reading.

Real breaks the law, deliberately

Most interesting thing of this is this quote "RealNetworks said it was not concerned that the system would be illegal" They are going to diliberatly break DMCA, this is going to lead to three possible outcomes.

1. Real gets bitch slapped hard, fined, and there already a bit dodgy financial position degrades further, which must be pretty desperate if they are willing to take the extreme measure of deliberately breaking the law. This increases the speed of movement away from Real and it's eventual closure. Real becomes another Netscape under the treads of the microsoft tank, but at least they won't be trying to push more spyware/adware infected software on the general population.

2. DMCA is seen as the anti-consumer peice of crap that it is and this is allowed to slide opening up a precident for ignoring DMCA. The precedent of large corporations ignoring laws that humans have to obey was set along time ago.

3. Real makes licencing deals with Microsoft and Apple meaning that in future any music can be played on any device. This is particually good as it will stop Microsoft from gaining yet another monopoly based on propertory file formats.

Strangely all of these are good things. The most likely outcome is number 1, which is a bit of a shame as it shows once again what Microsoft can do by leveraging monoploy power to push its way into new markets. Looks like a win/win situation.

July 23, 2004

Sunbathing 'may be an addiction'

On the BBC Sunbathing 'may be an addiction' which makes the permatanned Kilroy-Silk and David Dickinson crack whores of UV? Sunlight, just say no.

July 21, 2004

Inside Look at Birth of the IPod

Wired news has a story by a guy that was a senior manager at the company that Apple choose to build the iPod. Apparently the iPod and iTMS was dreamed by an independent contractor and hardware expert called Tony Fadell, and it was created as a complete business process. Tony Fadell, who now works for Apple, went around all the major manufacturers trying to sell his idea but nobody would buy (bet they're kicking themsleves now), until he came to Apple. Who snapped it up and built it with Steve Jobs putting alot of his time into it, basically making it the player that he wanted (including boasting the volume as Steve is apparently partially deaf).

flowers as speaker

On their news desk so it won't be there for long but crazy japanese people are turning flowers into speakers, so now when Prince Charles talks to the flowers they can talk back.

A couple of things from the BBC

First is Steven Hawking says that infomation can get out of black holes, which is a dramatic shift from the eariler view that once something with information encoded in it falls into a black hole the information it carries is destroyed. From reading the article it seems that once a Black hole has lost most of it's mass through emitting Hawking Radiation it will "Open Up" and lose it's event horizon allowing the information that it swallowed to escape. This is opposed to the end that Hawking originally theorised, that the radiation output would continuw increasing until it finally disappeared in a blast of Gamma rays taking all the information that it swallowed with it.

Secondly a team of six New Zealand schoolboyshas made a cheap portable mobile phone detector, which they sell at about £15 each. The range is 30m and it only detects intensity not direction, but at that price just by two and correlate the differences in intensity to get direction. Nice project, if a bit scary in implicaions considering the number of people that carry mobiles at all times, and are therefore carrying a cheap tacking device at all times as well.

July 20, 2004

cool photo montages

Just found a site of cool animal photo montages atb3ta-zoo.tk.

July 19, 2004

life on Mars

European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express craft has found traces of ammonia which breaks down fast in the martian enviroment. It has two likely sources, either life or volcanic activity. If it is life then this is the biggest descovery for a long time. If it is volcanos which it could be as Mars has the largest volcanoes in the solar system. But they are extinct, and there is no known surface volcanic activity so if it is this then it means that is must be underground and leads to the possibility of melted areas of permafrost, a very good habitat for life.

UKIP suspends fraud trial Euro MP

One of UKIP's MEP's is being done for fraud and has therefore been suspended from the party until it gets resolved. I thought fraud was a requirement for anything to do with the EU, considering the fact that their budget hasn't added up for 9 years, contains errors in over 90% of it, and the only way that you can get fired from the the Commision is to point this out and try to do anything about it.

Airport snoop system thrown in $102m garbage can

Another big pointless waste of money on a goverment IT sytem by the department of privacy invasion. Not that the EU will stop there agreement of giving the US goverment, and therefore US corporations, the right to snoop through all of you financial and other data when you buy a plane ticket. Not that that would have stopped the 9/11 terrorists or any other terrorists. But is great marketing material.

First PocketPC virus found

It's a proof of concept, like the earlier Symbian virus but probably the first of many given the Viral swamp nature of the rest of Microsofts operatign system offerings.

July 14, 2004

France plans EU constitution poll

France is going to hold a referendum of the EU constitution joining the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Luxembourg, Spain, the Czech Republic and Denmark. Givern the recent history of the EU loosing referenda, and then forcing the people to vote again until they give the correct result, the Constitution will get voted down then implemented anyway.

Neutrinos 'topple matter theory'

The Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan has confirmed that Neutrinos can spontainiously change typeaccording to the BBC. These "fundemental particles" are not supposed to be able to do this according to the standard model, which obviously blows rather a large flaw in the standard model, and all that is derived from it such as Superstring theory.

July 09, 2004

Mozilla Flaw Lets Links Run Arbitrary Programs

eWeek is rnning a story on a Mozilla hole (yes they do happen). This is very similar to the problem with Safari a couple of months ago. Good to see that there is already a fix available already (unlike Safari which took weeks to get a proper patch for the hole), before the release of any malicious code to take advantage of it (again like the Safari problem).

I think that this shows the problem with the number of features turned on by default in all software products, leading to unexpected and potentially dangerous results. It is good Mozilla is changing to turning everything off by default other than the core services http: and https:, this kind of whitelisting trusted protocols is good as it means that only people that really know what they are doing and need the esoteric stuff will turn it on these being the people that can handle any added risk this creates to getting infected by malware.

July 08, 2004

the CIA had evidence that there where no WMD

the CIA had evidence that there where no WMD as reported in the New York Times.

July 07, 2004

new plugin model for 3rd generation browsers

There has been a new plugin model proposed for the third generation browsers (Mozilla, Opera, Safari) to give properties more like activeX. This should mean that there are less sites that refuse to work with them even if there are still the same number that follow Internet Explorers crap CSS support. However since activeX is a security nightmare this must be careful that it is implemented correctly or there could be problems, from the article "In addition to this, a further extension to this API is being discussed that would give a plugin greater flexibility by letting the plugin control the origin of the calling code, so that the plugin can specify the origin of calls that come from internally loaded code from other origins. This way such code can be executed with only the privileges of the origin of the code, and not the privileges of the plugin page's origin." a poor implementation could lead to downloaded code using this to upgrade it's own security settings and do Bad Things. The companies involved do have a better reputation than microsoft for security, and two of the engines are open source and therefore will probably have any mistakes spotted and corrected before it goes into a general release. But still step carefully when you follow this path.

In a related note Safari has decided to add a new HTML element called CANVAS to allow people to directly draw onto the screen using javascript, and also added a new atribute to the IMG tag to allow different types of compositing. These are not W3C standards, and while I understand that they are really only ment for making widgets with the Dashboard thing that Apple will release in MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger) I don't like it. Hopefully David Hyatt will make a name space for them so that using them will actually validate as proper XHTML. Hyatt previously added the ContentEditable attribute and drag and drop as they are implemented in Internet Explorer to WebCore (Safari's engine), niether of these are W3C but have been in IE for a long time and where also needed for Dashboard, this has been implemented in Mozilla as well, so could become a de facto standard. However the point of the 3rd generation of browsers was to follow the standards as closly as possible so that any web page would be viewable as it was intended without modification. There has been something for this in the XHTML 2.0 spec from the W3C but considering the current browser stagnation (as IE which has 95% of the market hasn't been updated in years) getting to the point where XHTML 2.0 is a reallistic thing for developers could be a long way off.

July 06, 2004

Blair says WMD 'may never be found'

Tony blair continues to try to wriggle his way out of lieing to parliment over Iraq, first it was Sadam has Weapons of mass destruction ready to fire in 45 minutes, then they became battlefield weapons of mass destruction, then weapons programs, now Tony says Sadam had a desire to develop weapons of mass destruction. Saddam did have WMD, in the 1980's, we gave it to him to fight the iranians. However he did not have any at the begining of Gulf War II, and had Hans Bliks been given more time he would have been able to confirm this.

The war was not about WMD as there wheren't any there. The only connection between Saddam and bin Laden was mutual hatred and that they had both had business connections to the Bush clan. Considering the lack of any kind of action to the genocide in Sudan that is going on at the moment I think that we can rule out wanting to help the people of Iraq. Iraq is quite clearly going to have little more than a puppet goverment, run from the US embersy, for the forseeable future so democracy is not the reason for the war either. Which leaves only oil and money as the reason for going to war. Look at where the rebuilding contracts when, companies such as Haliburton (formerly headed by Dick Cheny), companies that bought Bush his election.

From the same article "if someone who calls themselves a Protestant goes on to the streets of Northern Ireland and murders a Catholic that doesn't reflect on the whole of the Protestant religion." this is correct, it would reflect on the Loyalist comunity. Northen Ireland terrorists/freedom fighters where fighting for political objectives so their terrorism was labled with these objectives in mind. Islamic terrorism has the objective of imposing an extremist, corrupted, form of Islam on the world. That is why it is correctly called Islamic Terrorism as it's prupose is the propergation of extremist Islam.

July 02, 2004

Yahoo! News - U.S. Steers Consumers Away From IE

Yahoo! News - U.S. Steers Consumers Away From IE IE is crap, not exactly big news. At least this will mean that there will be more people using the better browsers that actually surport CSS.

July 01, 2004

Mono official release

I would first like to congratulate Mono as this is a major technical achivement, one that has matured suprisingly fast.

There is a lot of talk of the software patents, that relate to Java and .NET. While I find software patents in general to be a Bad Thing there is a differnce between the ones on Java by Sun and the ones on .NET by Microsoft in that if you create a full Java implementation that passes their tests Sun not oly lets you use their Java copyrights but gives a full patent grant. Microsoft does not give any patent grants what so ever. More generic patents that are held by other companies applie to both equally.

Microsoft have submitted the core of .NET (not ADO.NET, ASP.NET, Winforms which are going to get replaced in Longhorn so don't matter as much) to the ECMA, a real standards body, which is a good thing, but there are still patents on this stuff and ECMA only requires that they be granted RAND. This is fine for Novel but not a complete free grant that is needed for Free Software.

Now should either company get nasty what can they do? Well with Java Sun can do nothing it has already given you a patent grant and use of it's copyright. It can't take that back unless you break the agreement with them by breaking Java, e.g. changing the bytecode, adding keywords to the language, or adding packages to the java.* package as Microsoft did when they tried to break Java. As the aim is compatability with Java this won't happen anyway. Microsoft can try to use their patents against you but they would fail as Java is itself prior art, as it was released before .NET, and there are several weathy corporations (IBM, Sun, Oracle and BAE) that will fight and attempt as it would lead to there investment in Java being compromised.

With .NET if Sun sues you then Microsoft will come to your aid and might win, there will probably be some prior art somewhere given the nature ofsoftware patents. But if Microsoft sues you, then you have problems as you have not been given any rights to use there interlectual property and would not have any wealthy backers capable of fighting for you. The only realistic option would be to pay for a license at monopoly rent prices.

Now lets look at the likelyhood of them getting nasty. Well we all know Microsoft will if they see it is in there interest. They have already shown they will do anything to destroy their competitors, and Free Software is their primary competitor. At the moment Mono serves to help entice people into using .NET, which will always work better on Windows as this is what it wa designed for, and therefore moving towards Windows servers. Should it prove to entice people from Windows servers to Linux ones, as Mono hopes, it is highly likely they will attack.

Sun on the other hand is a hardware company, the software thing is something they do but is not core to them. They don't care what platform you program for so long as it runs of their servers, either the Sparc/Solaris ones at the high end or X86/Linux ones at the low end. They have nothing to gain from attacking people for implementing Java so long as it really is Java and comptible with every other Java implementation. More developers means more people to buy it's servers. In fact if it can get other people to implement Java for it for free to run on it's servers then all the better as that is money that it does not have to spend.

Both technologies have major problems for Free Software. Microsoft has form for using whatever means that it has to crush it's competition (legal or illegal), whereas Sun is not in a particually good financial position and may get desperate in future. At the moment neither should be used as the heart of a major peice of Free Software the stack, as Ximian seems to want to do by using it in Gnome, but as an extra compatability interface both are good and useful.

Homegrown PVC flamethrower

Homegrown PVC flamethrower (56k image heavy) dangerous, fun, need I say more?