Feet up!

Give Bob the Money

So 20 years on and there's another Band Aid song, and quite frankly it's crap.

20 years back Bob famously said "just send the fucking money", well that still applies, but please for the love of god don't buy that excreble song. Buy the old one if you can or buy pretty much anything else. Failing that, if you feel you really have to buy the new one, do so and destroy it.

You'd think that today's singers with their almost continuous diet of covers would have been able to make a good fist of covering Feed the World...

And as for Bono, it looks like Justin was right, hell my dog could have sung that line better.

[Tue, 30 Nov 2004 22:19] | [music] | #

Taser Kills?

This appears to have the makings of another Kryptonite factor episode - remember that one? In a nutshell the world (and his blog) discover that Kryptonite bike locks could be unlocked with nothing more specialist than a Bic ballpoint pen, the big K stuck their heads in the sand and pretty much carried on as usual whilst their prospective customers went elsewhere. Kudos to Kryptonite for wising up eventually and doing the right thing, but, it took a long time.

Anyway a Taser is a rather drastic (although allegedly non-fatal) bit of law enforcement kit. But it appears that the Taser's makers are claiming that it's safe whilst ignoring and apparantly misrepresenting evidence to the contrary.

Amnesty International's report on Taser usage in the US is worrying, given that a little Googling for "taser kills" throws up about 14,100 results, so it's apparently not a rare event. Inflicting a high voltage shock (even a low current one) on members of the public is a potentially risky business (as a qualified electronic engineer I know more than enough about electrickery. Rule 1: don't mess with it). I can see this problem escalating.

[Tue, 30 Nov 2004 22:17] | [rants] | #

SCO: We own all your code...

SCO ownz, or does it? So the SCO web site has been defaced yet again. Curiously, given that they're a company who claim to sell a secure robust OS, nobody seems to be highlighting their negligence in running a hackable website; imagine the uproar if this was microsoft.com...

The extent of the defacement appears to be that one of the images on their front page has been replaced by a modified version proclaiming "we own all your code", "pay us all your money". As Paul Mutton notes over at Netcraft, this might just be SCO being a little more simplistic over their IP claims, but it doesn't explain why the woman has written "hacked by realloc()" on the blackboard.

For a small company selling a niche product that very few people buy, SCO have managed to garner quite a few column inches, especially since that it's widely believed that they'll have burnt all their cash in the next six months. Curiously, their share price has not fallen from the sky yet, have MS offered them some more cash to keep the legal batles rolling?

[Mon, 29 Nov 2004 14:11] | [tech] | #

Hippo Birdie, Two Ewes

Here's Ewan! Mobitopia's favourite mad Jock, Ewan hit the big Three-Oh yesterday. So a belated HB to my partner in crime at Fun-1

To celebrate (or something) I went out for a beer or seven with some old friends up in London last night. Thanks are due to the Open Guide to London for suggesting the Calthorpe Arms and Pakenham Arms; both are splendid pubs and the latter has very sane opening hours (09:00-01:30). Fortunately I left before kicking out time or my head would hurt even more...

[Thu, 25 Nov 2004 13:41] | [general] | #

No Software Patents

nosoftwarepatents.com banner

As Phil points out the campaign against Software Patents is probably doomed to failure, but it's got to worth a try.

As a software developer - one who's made a living for the best part of two decades from writing software - you'd think I'd be the sort of guy who ought to benefit from software patents, but I cannot see a single way in which they will make my life/job easier or more profitable.

[Thu, 25 Nov 2004 12:49] | [tech] | #

Review: Flat Out, Flat Broke

ISBN: 1 84425 018 0
Autobiography, author Perry McCarthy
Website: www.PerryMcCarthy.com

Behind the clowning exterior of Perry McCarthy lies a true racer, one fortunate enough to have survived racing in Formula One with Andrea Moda's death traps, but one also unfortunate enough to have never got the breaks his talent deserved.

Perry's made other drivers look silly in every formula he's taken part in, usually by plain out-driving them...

If you really need any more reasons to find David Coulthard annoying, look no further; rich kid DC took the Williams seat that Perry was also a contender for. Now imagine Pel in a top F1 seat for a decade instead of the humourless "this-will-be-my-year" automoton. No wonder F1 is looking boring, it badly needs folks like McCarthy.

One last thought, would Top Gear have been shown after the watershed if The Stig's original name had been used?

[Sat, 20 Nov 2004 14:46] | [general/books] | #

The Reading List

Inspired by Gustaf's reading list I'm starting my own here. It'll be a bit sparse to start with and I'm a bit of a fitful reader so this is a little experimental.

I will try to provide a few lists of books (those I'm reading, those I've read, and those I want to read) and hopefully some terse reviews of the ones I've read, and due to the wonders of pyblosxom this post should pop up to the top of my blog every time I change books (if this behaviour proves to be too annoying, it'll be supressed).

What I really want to find is a suitable RDF schema to represent this information in a semantically correct manner, but short term, I'm just aiming to capture the raw data.

As Phil helpfully points out All Consuming almost does what I need, but it's not quite close enough, so I'll continue manually for now.

Reading - The Present

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Phoenix by Bob Judd

Read - The Past

Flat Out, Flat Broke by Perry McCarthyReview

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

To Read - The Future

Immediate Action by Andy McNab

[Sat, 20 Nov 2004 14:43] | [general/books] | #

More popular than Rooney and Giggs

Here's a weird thing, Rafe and Ewan are more popular than Manchester United.

Not that weird, given that at least half the UK has a deep loathing or at best antipathy towards Man Ure. Anyway, here's the reasoning behind my bold popularity statement; All About Symbian are running with traffic levels of around 1.2 million users a month, wheras manutd.com is around 1.1 million.

Man Ure are probably a tad more profitable, but maybe that's only because AAS don't sell cheap synthetic shirts for 50 quid each, yet...

[Tue, 16 Nov 2004 13:24] | [mobile] | #

Local Heroes

I'm doffing my hat to a few local heroes for a great weekend (it's over a week back now, but better late than never). The very least I can do is throw a dollop of Google juice their way (if only so I can find their websites easily).

First off JoJo's restaurant in Tankerton Road, where we had a cracking (if a little rushed) Saturday lunch. Note to self: Go back, soon!

Then the evening degenerated into a fog of smoke, loud bangs and alcohol thanks to Dave of Premier Electrical Supplies, supplier of assorted electrical goods and excessive fireworks to the gentry. His 45 minutes of noise and light were superb, even better than last year.

[Mon, 15 Nov 2004 20:27] | [general] | #

What's that ad about?

I don't know either! Classic bit of advertising I guess, tease the punters to get some click through and meme propogation. I'm guessing it's a new product or something from Sharp, but if it turns out to be some sort of porn site I'm going to dump the ad.

Nice to see that they've got Swiss Tony writing the text though, Flav's lyrical way with words is wasted on car mechanics.

[Sun, 07 Nov 2004 11:02] | [blogging/adverts] | #

Fishy Friends

So to ward off the nastiest effects of the cold, I'm sucking on a Fisherman's Friend, I thought these lozenges were a curiously British phenomenon, like Irn Bru or Cornish pasties, but Asri has assured me they're also very popular in Malaysia of all places.

I can't really begin to imagine the surprise of Malaysian prawn fisherman who'd been dumped on a trawler in a freezing North Sea, culture shock is probably an understatement.

[Sat, 06 Nov 2004 07:56] | [general] | #

So they've voted him back in

Apart from the incredulous reaction here - "why?" seemed to be the most popular response to the result - things go on much the same as normal.

Maybe the Democrats had "misunderestimed" Bush's appeal to the god botherers in middle America? Who knows?

There's a few things that stand out, the primary one is that the US voting system is in dire need of electoral reform (don't get me started on the UK system which also stinks).

When one of the largest democracies in the world has an election regarded by international electoral observers as more flawed than that of backward third World countries, something is seriously wrong.

The electoral process needs to be accurate and just and also to be seen as such. For example the voting machines with no audit trail provide no proof of their accuracy, we can only surmise this is because they have something to hide. After all, why else do the states using these machines have a higher discrepency rate between the exit polls and the votes declared?

The next election starts now for both parties, part of that process must be to produce an electoral process that can be regarded as fair to all citizens, otherwise every American has disenfranchised themself. Wouldn't you want your vote to count?

[Sat, 06 Nov 2004 07:56] | [rants/us] | #

Doing the right thing

There's a great phrase much loved by Australians - "do the right thing".

Today's the big day for many Americans. Here's to them doing the right thing.

[Tue, 02 Nov 2004 10:52] | [rants/us] | #

Jim Hughes
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