Tag Archives: Interweb

Changing the point of view

Just playing around with wordpress themes really. Nothing much to report apart from some minor issues with my Interweb browsers. Firefox has been problematic of late as far as videos are concerned, something to do with Realplayer and Shockwave Flash. Can’t be bothered to fix it any more, so Chrome has been getting more use. Firefox may find itself going the way of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I’m ticked off with having to mess around under the hood, so to speak.

As far as I’m concerned, Firefox is becoming like a vintage car. Looks great, even sounds wonderful; but getting a bit too slow, and getting too maintenance heavy.

Have been messing around with the blog template just to see what happens in a kind of Fisher-Price way.

Facebook spam

About a year ago I ‘deleted’ my Facebook account and consigned all those ‘I want to be friends’ requests to the great interweb garbage can. Followed the instructions. Received notification that all my ‘friends’ were ‘very sad’ that I was leaving Facebook. The account disappeared to be seen no more. So far so good.

Yesterday I was doing a bit of spam filter housekeeping, and there, nestling amongst all those wonderful, never to be repeated offers of dodgy software, cheap blue chalk capsules masquerading as Viagra, unintelligible Chinese, and important messages from importunate foreign dignitaries who have a teensy spot of financial bother and just need your bank account details to release billions, were Facebook ‘Friend’ requests. WTF? Didn’t I delete that? Properly? Twice?

Like some moaning spectre, my one time Facebook account appears to have been resurrected more times than a Buddhist with a tricky Karma problem. It has become a zombie, a foot dragging nemesis which refuses to stay dead. I should never have opened the fucking thing, but we can all be wise in hindsight, can’t we?

For my own part I will be going out today, spending time with real life friends on a gloriously sunny BC day, taking a mental sidelong glance at all the fuss over Facebooks stock market flotation and wondering when the Facebook Financial bubble will burst.

Teachers don’t suck

Picked up from Oh what now! on a sunny BC morning, I showed this little video to my wife, who is a teacher, and a bloody good one. Howls of laughter ensued.

Just watch it. All right, it was made for an American audience, but the same principle applies. Parents who don’t nurture, who dump their toddlers in front of the TV and don’t get involved with teaching them about reading, writing and life in general. Parents who are too busy, who are too afraid of engaging with their kids, or who spend their whole lives commuting and working, then ignore their progeny when they get home. Parents who use their children as emotional weapons in warring relationships. Parents who can’t be bothered to make a little time to pass on their life skills. In short, parents who don’t train their own children. Parents who are little better than sperm and egg donors.

As Mrs S was perennially fond of pointing out when she worked in the UK educational system; “Parents have their children eighteen hours a day – I only get six with thirty of their little darlings at a time, and they expect me to fix all their kid’s issues?”

Yet politicians spend megabucks of taxpayer dollar fiddling with public education, only to see it failing. Politicians blame Teachers because they’re too slack spined to turn round to the parents and say “You spawned ’em, you fix ’em.” Education and learning are a great and lifelong thing, but unless parents do some of the grunt work and embed at least a passing love of learning (and a modicum of self control), even the best teachers won’t be able to fix what they couldn’t.


An Internet fable

The Troll and the pixie dust

Once upon a time, oh best beloved, there was a young blogger who painted his thoughts, such as they were, on the magic pages of the Interweb. A happy frolicker in the fields of dreams that forms the blogosphere. His name was Bill, and he loved the idea that people being free was heaps better than anything ever invented. Better even than the wheel, good whiskey, or fresh black olive bread with lightly salted butter and a nice chunk of Camembert. Or even the entire Interweb itself. Although not as good as sex (Well, we all have our own criteria.)

Most days, young Bill would take his blog down to the village of freedom ideas, deep in a small corner of the Interweb, and put up his board with what he had written on that day. Sometimes he would sit all day in the village of ideas and no one would come and talk to him. Occasionally he would stroll over to another board and scribble a note, sometimes serious, sometimes meant to amuse, as a comment on the other postings. More rarely Bill would return to his obscure little blog to find comments written by others. Sometimes he would reply, at other times he simply read and laughed at his friends cleverness or their enemies stupidity.

One day, Bill came back to his message board to read an angry comment from a fellow blogger, a wise man who went by the name of ‘Ironlegs’ which read; “I hate you, and don’t want you playing on my board any more. Go away forever and ever.”

Mildly upset at the vehemence of this comment, Bill erased the links as requested, and with a heavy heart wondered if he would ever read the wise sayings of Ironlegs again. A few days later, another comment appeared on his message board while he was out chatting to friends and drinking coffee. He returned to read “I don’t want to talk to you any more, and you can’t play with me.” From the Captain of Ranters from the far side of the village. Now Bill actually knew the Captain of Ranters and a few of the other members of the village to talk to, so sent a magic message to him which no one else could see or hear, then he took a short walk over to the Captain of Ranters message board, and asked what the problem was.

“Hello Bill.” Said the Captain of Ranters. “Sorry about that, but there’s a silly troll who has found a magical chameleon cloak. He’s using it to pretend he’s other people and go round writing foolish messages telling us not to talk to each other any more.”
“Why?” Said young Bill. “What’s the point?”
“Could be because he’s simply a weapons grade twat.” Commented the good Captain sourly. “Go talk to the Rider.”

So young Bill sent a magic message to the Rider, who stepped off his iron horse and sighed. “Sorry Bill, this silly troll who can neither read nor write properly has stolen a piece of the Interweb wizards magic chameleon cloaks. We think he’s doing this to us so the Wizards of the Interweb will think he’s jolly clever and ask him to join them. He hasn’t a hope.”
“Why is that?” Said Bill.
“Because the wise old Tea Witch knows of him. She says that without the magic cloak he’s a fat, blubbery pointless loser with all the grace and panache of a masturbating twelve year old. The Wizards of the Interweb all think he’s stupid as well.” Sighed the Rider, sadly. “He’s becoming a pest, so we’d better put out the Pixie dust, which he will tread in, and show us exactly where he lives.”
“Then we go over and beat him to a pulp?” Suggested Bill, then caught a stern reproving cough from the Inspector of Gadgets, who happened to be passing by.

As they stood and chatted, Bill noticed a number of the villages other inhabitants wandering over to talk with the Rider. Ironlegs, Richard of the Coated Puddle, High James, The Captain of Ranters, the wise old Tea witch. All the visitors to the village dropped by to discuss what to do, and how to stop the troll being so annoying. One thing was certain, thought Bill, the troll was going to be very unhappy because some of the villagers were talking about using Billygoats. Not that the troll would understand the folklore reference, because he was a very poorly educated, unimaginative and pointless troll, but that Billygoats were very bad indeed for trolls in general. They hurt a lot.

“Okay.” Said the Rider. “Here’s what we do. We scatter the pixie dust, which will only stick to the feet of invisible fairies like trolls, then use it to track it to its lair.” A number of the village bloggers took the pixie dust and scattered it around their message boards. Shortly afterwards, trails of glowing footsteps could be followed from board to board as the troll continued to leave silly pointless messages.

“What is he trying to do?” Asked the Wolf of the Snow.
“I think he’s trying to stop us talking to one another.” Opined Bill. The Captain of Ranters looked at the other villagers and smiled. The Rider picked up the smile, and then all the villagers began to laugh amongst themselves at the abject failure of the stupid troll, because, oh best beloved, all he had managed to do was to make the villagers co-operate more closely. After the laughter died down, the Wise Tea Witch said “Let’s see who we’re dealing with.” And all the villagers trooped off to their far seeing scope, following the trail of pixie dust coated footsteps to the trolls real home in the fabled poisoned woodland of Anglia.

As they looked closer, the troll came bounding out of his lair and roared at them very fiercely indeed, waving a club that was almost half his height long. The villagers stopped and looked at each other in astonishment. “Goodness!” Said Bill. “Hasn’t he got big feet!” Sure enough children, the troll had the biggest, ugliest, most scabrous feet ever seen on a fairy creature.
“Doesn’t match the rest of him.” Giggled someone else. And all the villagers stared at the tiny and very ugly troll with the oversized feet as he danced with impotent rage, waving his teensy weensy twig of a club at them.
“I think the Billygoats might well be overkill.” Said the Wolf of the Snow.
“I don’t think there are any Billygoats quite small enough.” Remarked the wise Tea Witch.
“Gosh, he’s really fat and ugly.” Commented someone else. “No wonder he’s got no chums.”
“Dirty too. He really should take a shower.” As if to make the point, a passing Woodland pig took one sniff at the troll and turned away in disgust.
“How could anyone love a thing like that?” Remarked someone else.
“I think that’s why. Nobody loves him because he’s so deformed and unpleasant, so he creates mischief instead.” Commented the Rider. “He hasn’t anything worth saying either, so all he can do is disrupt. He hasn’t got any worthwhile reason for existing at all.”

With wise murmurs of agreement, everyone turned away and went back to the village and carried on as usual. Of course dear children, this did not stop the troll leaving pointless messages, but now everyone knew who he was, no-one cared, so he became even lonelier and sadder than he had ever been before. Eventually he became ever more deranged and developed an obsession with collecting used pizza boxes and filled his tiny house with them. What is sadder still, when the troll died prematurely of a massive heart attack because he spent his life behind a keyboard, pointlessly taunting people and getting no exercise, nobody really cared. Not even the trolls mother, who was already hiding in shame for giving birth to such a sad creature. Not even the council workers who had to dispose of his maggoty decomposed remains or the tons of smelly pizza boxes. His noisome cadaver was eventually shoveled into a cheap chipboard box and burned at the crematorium as a health hazard. Because he had been so nasty to others in real life, there was no-one to cry for him at his funeral. No one even to put up a headstone to say who he’d been, or if he’d done anything positive with his life.

The moral of my little tale, children, if morality means anything; is that if you treat others like morons, then they will feel no need to even consider your point of view, and you will eventually die alone, ignored and uncared for after an unfulfilled life. Your brief sojourn on this mortal coil will have been wasted. Here endeth the lesson.

Jeepers, creepy

The UK’s latest ‘all your privacy belongs to us‘ outrage is, as Richard North so elegantly points out, EU inspired. I don’t buy the Cleggsky promises of ‘safeguards’ nor the Theresa May nonsense about snooping catching the Soham murderer. This is derived from an EU directive, and as such is like being threatened by the Head Girl at school who, in a fit of PMT psychosis, suspects others have been saying ‘bad things’ about her, and is now rushing around trying to find out who they are so she can shout at them.

My own inclination is to let the paranoia increase until said person implodes in tears, declaiming loudly that “No-one loves her” and wander away, chuckling quietly. As for the Apparatchiks and snoopers, let them hear ‘bad things’. In short invent a few. Drive the intrusive bastards and prodnoses nuts. Send the paranoid fruitcakes off on wild goose chases. If they go looking for insults, let them find what they’re looking for. Overload their system.

Tip: To avoid the ‘Four o’clock knock’ so beloved of states who can’t handle a little honest criticism, when challenged, hand over any encryption keys (after first making the ‘authorities’ wait as long as possible) then let the ‘authorities’ find nothing but innocuous messages between friends and family. Then after a suitable pause start all over again with a new set. Not that I would worry about such things, the UK Police Service is being cut to the bone and won’t be able to do anything much. Although the thought does occur that perhaps an excuse is being sought to allow European security resources to operate freely on UK soil. Much good may it do them.

For example; I think the European Union is an unsustainable bureaucratic nonsense, where affected timepleasers and political placemen play out their delusions of power by making endless rules to solve non-problems. In short, they’re corrupt barmcakes, ‘soft’ Nazis, with a less than solid grip on reality. An institutional threat to the rights of the individual. There. In writing down what is simply an opinion formed by years of observation of an institution at work, I’ve just insulted the European Union, which is apparently an ‘offence’ under EU law. Oooo, now I’m so afwaid.

Had the EU remained a mere trading bloc (Which is what it was originally sold as), I might feel more charitable towards it. But seeing as they appear to think people might be so full of ‘sedition’ (Towards a superstate to which we owe no loyalty, nor sworn any oath of fealty to) that all our electronic communications need to be monitored, then my answer can be found in the chorus of a certain Lily Allen number. To which I would add “and the horse you rode in on.”

Good gravy, in sending out directives like these, the EU administration proves itself full of people who are nothing short of creepy.

Update: Having read David Davis’s short piece in the UK’s Sun on this topic, I find myself wondering about the quality of personnel that will supposedly be vetting this new Tsunami of information. How can we be sure that one or two of them will not utilise information about families and their children for less than wholesome purposes? Can we be certain those with access to our families emails and such have no inclinations towards paedophilia and other such perversions who might abuse that position? Such people are artful in wheedling themselves into positions of trust and influence. Might it not be a better idea not to place temptation in their path in the first place?

Update 2: The Mash neatly nails it.

Google not responsible

Now I’ve had my own beefs at Google for various things, but here’s a bit of good news to brighten some people’s day (But not everyones). In the UK, a new court ruling has been made that Google is not a ‘publisher’ and therefore not responsible for posted content. In the words of Mr Justice Eady;

“I would conclude, therefore, that if I am incorrect, or unduly precipitate, in reaching my earlier conclusion that Google Inc should not be regarded as a publisher of the offending words at all, in accordance with common law principles, I would hold in any event that it would be exempted from liability in accordance with [the provisions set out in the Regulations]”,

Go on, pop over to Out-Law and read the whole thing. If Google is exempt, then this judgement should protect WordPress users as well.

The greatest threat to free speech online – The United Nations?

A great many nation states do not like the dear old Interweb. Well actually that isn’t strictly speaking true. They like the business opportunities of online trading, but what they don’t like is the open and unfettered criticism of various regimes. Russia and China are amongst the lead proponents of the latest wheeze under the auspices of the ITU. Legislation which might curtail said freedom to criticise, often peddled under the ‘paedophile’ and ‘Intellectual Property theft’ agenda is constantly being put before various national Parliaments and debating bodies. Most recently SOPA and PIPA in the USA (Now succeeded by OPEN, a misnomer if ever there was one), ACTA in Europe, Vincent Toews latest brainchild allowing warrantless surveillance in Canada.

Don’t ask me why they bother; these people can’t even get their economies right, and yet they want the right to censor voices not on some vacuous ‘approved’ list? Newsflash. Censorship always fails. Just as prohibition (and the ‘war on drugs’) always led and leads to more organised crime. There is a more enlightened approach to online piracy suggested by Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation over at Al-Jazeera. For a clue, think supermarket ‘loss leader’ to get more trade through the doors of online stores. Well, it’s working for these old fogeys.

Robert M McDowell writing over at the Wall Street Journal covers it more comprehensively in his piece; ‘The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom ‘. He makes his points well.

In my usual closing aside; I’m reliably informed that Osama Bin Laden once tried to target the UN building in New York. Although I think Bin Laden and his followers are certifiably and frothingly batshit crazy, currently I’m thinking it might not have been such a bad thing had he succeeded.

March 8th – Death day for the Internet?

Picked up from the Russian news service, RT, here.

Apparently the FBI will be shutting down some temporary DNS servers set up to replace those infected by the botnet trojan, a nasty little piece of misdirection malware, on 8th March. The thing is, no one seems to know if those temporary, and Internet critical DNS servers are going to be replaced in time or not.

Without DNS there is no World Wide Web. Not as we know it. Looks like a lot of the Interweb might be subject to a major hiccup. Expect a lot of 500 series errors that day.

Might schedule that as a day off. Hi ho.

How do I feel about Europe?

Picked up from the Angry Exile via The Filthy Engineer, this propaganda bowel motion of silliness from the Grauniad entitled “How European are you?”. Having taken the quiz, I wasn’t completely convinced by the result, and so did a screen grab to make a couple of amateurish but philosophically accurate corrections without changing the overall feel of the thing.

The one thing I find so totally offensive about the original, and highly ineffectual, version is that taxpayers money was probably used to fund its creation.

Puritans in denial

Haven’t posted much because I’ve been reading at lot. Books. you know those papery, cardboardy things that used to be our main source of reference before hyperlinks and all the jolly whizzy interconnectedness of the dear old interweb.

To cut to the chase, I was ploughing through ‘Utopias of the classical world’ by John Ferguson when I came across this little homily;

“The Puritan through Life’s sweet garden goes,
To pluck the thorn and cast away the rose,
And hopes to please by this peculiar whim,
The God who fashioned it and gave it to him.”

I thought about this a while with a gentle smile playing about my lips, and suddenly had a minor epiphany. Connected two dots in life’s big puzzle, and it’s this; Puritans, bansturbators, the anti-fun brigade, the ‘do as I say’ faction, the anti-smokers, anti-drinkers, low-fat advocates, low-carbon, anti-war, ‘big oil will kill us’, paedophile fearing, privacy hating, prodnoses and busybodies all have one single thing in common. They’re all in some part of denial.

By this I mean as in Denial, the first stage of the Kubler-Ross model of the grieving process. Denial is where all their proposed utopian ‘solutions’ are embedded. Logic plays little part in their thinking processes. Well, at least not the “If you drive an economy over a cliff you’ll be sorry and so will I” kind of logic, or the “If we all live in a more primitive society we won’t be rich enough to clean up our environment”. kind of thinking.

The thing is, I think they simply don’t see the cliff or risk, because in their utopian mental model the cliff simply cannot exist. The thought processes they exhibit seem to have more to do with wishful thinking than full examination of a given issue.

Like with the Yanks latest Internet anti-piracy bill. Apparently if the bill as written is passed, then a single complaint from a dishonest source will be enough to shut down a web based business. YouTube, DailyMotion and all the other video sharing sites will cease to exist. Blogs hosted on blogger, like my old one, will go. Possibly even this one because it is openly critical of the forces of darkness currently promoting censorship.

Puritans who promote such prohibitionist measures are, I contend, in denial because they do not understand the lessons of History. All Puritanical regimes are relatively short lived. Even Ancient Rome allowed unrestricted free speech in the forum, and above all, paid attention. When the regime in power forgot that lesson it fell. Civil war erupted, and blood washed the streets. To censor, and not pay attention to dissenting voices forgets the maxim Better to Jaw-jaw than to war-war, as Winston Churchill once remarked back in 1954. Simply shutting people up because you do not agree with them denies their expression and emotional release. Without a release, said people will seek it elsewhere, often in a manner that the shutter up did not intend.

Fortunately, puritan regimes are always short lived because they deny others their safety valves. They deny that others, and themselves, are merely fallible humanity, who need to goof off once in a while. Without that goofing off to relax, be it sounding off on the Internet, having a smoke or a drink, an extra large pizza and fries, or the odd toke on a joint, we all get tense. Many people get angry, resentful, or violent if they are denied release from the workaday world once in a while. If sufficient people get angry and disenfranchised enough, regimes fall. Then we end up in a dark age again wondering what on Earth hit us.

Heavy sigh. Won’t learn, can’t teach ’em, thicker than pigshit. Now ban me you stupid puritanical fuckers. Cnuts.

Do I care

A multimillionaire businessman in the computing field has died and all of a sudden there’s lots of girlie faux-grief all over every other web page. Oh for goodness sake you lot, get a fucking grip. He sold computers. He made lots of money out of you, and now he’s dead the rest of us who do not share your false emotions are getting a bit ticked off with all the weeping and fucking wailing over your computing messiah.

So not all his products were as wonderful as some might claim, and having to purchase a brand new iTouch or iPod when just the battery had died after less than 18 months (and out of warranty) was a pain. Sure the computers he sold were great for DTP and graphics, if they weren’t they didn’t deserve space on the shelves. Otherwise, they were overpriced and some would say over hyped.

Sometimes I get the feeling that a good proportion of computer viruses out in the wild were written by his fan club, just because they couldn’t stand other people not using their Gods hard and software. How immature can you get?

He’s not the messiah – he’s dead. Now get over it and do your mourning decently – in private.