29 Mar 2010

I Suppose I Collect Letters from Pedantic Anarcho Types

Who's The Enemy Now?

"The real danger is not Microsoft. It's just one of many proprietary-software companies today, just like IBM, Oracle or Google. The real danger is the new software model that is promoted, to the greatest degree, by Apple, and to smaller degree by companies like Amazon with its Kindle product. The software model that is more proprietary than Microsoft and others ever imagined. It controls not only the source of their own system, the protocols and (proprietary) communication standards, but also the whole software platform it delivers together with the hardware that is tightly connected with it. In iPhone App Store it's not you who decides about the software you want to install on your device. It's the device manufacturer that makes the decision. And the decisions it makes are not for your own good but for the benefit of the platform host. Some company wants to sell (or give!) you software that you may find useful, like, say, an alternative web browser (Opera) or video technology (Adobe Flash)? Well that's not so easy anymore. The device manufacturer needs to accept it first. And if it doesn't, because, say, it's a competing technology that it does not want to promote, it simply bans it, so that a non-technical user is not capable of installing it herself.

In the service-oriented business it's not an open vs closed source battle anymore. It's much more important than that. It's and open vs closed world. And the "opponent" to those who enjoy freedom of choice is not Microsoft anymore. It's Apple and their numerous followers."

From Michuk

26 Mar 2010

LOL Americans.

"Arghhh! Healthcare for the poor!"


"Arghhh! Death taxes!"


"Tell the radicals to stop progressively destroying our country!"

"I for the life of me can not figure out why we have not declared a civil war on the polticians yet. Hell they are pushing down our thorats what we do not want in this country."

23 Mar 2010

Dreadful Deeds



I forgot what a proto-riot grrl style icon Marmalade Atkins was.

21 Mar 2010

WikiLeaks

I often visit Wikileaks not because I'm a journalist or dissident, or that I hold enough vital information to bring down a state (I'm working on it), but mainly because when I find out that something is meant to be secret, I automatically want to know what that secret is. More of a reflex than anything noble.

Great then, when I saw the little-reported news story that US Intelligence were so concerned about Wikileaks, they worked to find ways to destabilise it. Now, I wont go as far as others in saying "US Govt Try To Attack Wikileaks" but its good fun nonetheless. Here are some points and quotes from the document:

  • The report has a great title: "Wikileaks.org - An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups". Hooray! Terrorists - we haven't heard from them in a while. It also mentions as its purpose "This special report assesses the counterintelligence threat posed by the Wikileaks.org website".
  • "The possibility that current employees or moles within the DoD or elsewhere in the US government are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out" - I'd concur.
  • I found it quite interesting that the US military are alleged to have used mobile phone jamming technology to counter the use of Improvised Explosive Devices. Not a big story, but fun.
  • They complain about the release of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay: "The unauthorized release of the SOP has prompted authors posting to the Wikileaks.org Web site to claim that the US Army were torturing and violating the human rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. This SOP was also the subject of a lawsuit by international human rights groups and a domestic civil rights organization requesting the release of the document under the US Freedom of Information Act" - Sounds like a complaint about being caught to me.
  • "They currently use a variety of modified free software to build the Web site and route and secure the transmission of data to wikileaks.org" - Free software FTW.
  • "Is it Free Speech or Illegal Speech?"
Now, I suppose its not the biggest story in the world (there must be counterintelligence reports about lots of pretty inane websites) but I do enjoy the culture of fear embued in the report, enough to think "Dudes, its a website - get over it man".

20 Mar 2010

'Drang nach Aussen' (or 'The Passion of the LRTA')

"Just as insidious as Hitler's Drang nach Osten is the modern drift to out-of-town shopping. News that Marks and Spencer, hitherto a High St only shop, is to join with Tesco to build new out-of-town shopping centres rings alarm bells in everyone who has read Jane Jacobs' classic 'The death and life of great American cities'. Moves from Streets to country drive-in sites are the start of a process which can ruin life in cities. The cyclical process is simple. Allegedly up market car users desert the High St shops, eroding their earnings. Some close; others switch down-market to serve the inner city dwellers. Remaining up-market shoppers desert them, removing off-peak patronage from public transport; bus services are cut and, in despair, more turn to the car and shop out-of-town."

from 'Modern Tramway' magazine (the "Official organ of the Light Rail Transit Association"), February 1985.


14 Mar 2010

Praise Be!

Whenever you're down, just think of Thora! She speaks wisdom from beyond the grave, as demonstrated by this fine tome:



She keeps us entertained in March by this lovely haiku:

Yesterday - sunshine
Today - I'm freezing! Quick,
March!
Please make up your mind!

And that's just one snippet from March - there's a whole year to go through. 9th of October serves as a warning from the past:

I wonder if our politicians aren't becoming rather too fond of being seen on television? Its almost as though people nowadays think that you can only do any good if you are 'famous'.

Ah Thora - nail. Head. Hit.

5 Mar 2010

Juggah juggah juggah juggah



An entire hole has been noisily dug out of Sheffield's Students' Union. The noise has been terrible, but reassurances came yesterday that all would now be quiet thanks to (what I presume is a piece of machinery, but could be a villain) called The Nibbler. Nom nom nom.

4 Mar 2010