All entries for February 2006

February 26, 2006

Costcutter closing times


How many times have you popped off to Costcutter on a Saturday evening to find them bloody closed? Never? Well I have. The damn place shuts at 9pm on a Saturday. 9PM!

I mean I only popped there to get some food (read : beers) and had to walk away empty handed. Its pathetic.

Stupid shop, I'd have less to complain about if the prices were actually competitive, but hey…

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.


February 25, 2006

Work work work

Work. Must work.

February 21, 2006

RIAA at it again I see

Writing about web page http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?home&NewsID=13879

Came across this article a short while ago. To be honest it made me want to shove a CD up the RIAA's collective ass.

So they are looking to erode the "fair use" policies in the US by hiding behind their DMCA tat. I guess it won't be long before they start to have a pop at legislation here in the UK that has provided "fair use" of copyright works for many many years. Sigh.

If the RIAA think that they are going to get me to cough up money for every format I intend to use the music on then they are bigger fools than their previous law-suits had hinted at. If anything actions like this only push otherwise law-abiding people to download music illegally. I mean if its going to be illegal to 'rip' a CD you already own to another format for use on portable devices then you may as well obtain the music illegally in the first place.

I am not going to pay for a (in most cases) lower quality DRM encumbered music file from places like iTunes if I already own a CD copy.

No way.
Shove it.

They ruined the music industry by failing to adapt to digital formats quickly enough and instead tried to stifle them – well guess what the genie is going to be impossible to get back into his bottle.

EDIT: To make it clearer this is not just their intention, they have started the ball rolling already by stating these aims in the DMCA's review of exemptions and provisions. Here are the worst snippets from the submitted article [pdf]

The submission asserts in its third example, “device and format shifting,” that such activities “are unquestionably fair uses” of lawfully purchased CDs, (C6 at 8); but among those questioning this conclusion is the Register, who noted in 2003 that “proponents have not established that space-shifting or platform-shifting is a noninfringing use.”46 2003 Rec. at 139.
Similarly, creating a back-up copy of a music CD is not a non-infringing use, for reasons similar to those the Register canvassed in detail in her 2003 determination that back-up copying of DVDs cannot be treated as noninfringing.47 2003 Rec. at 102–08. While we recognize that access controls may in some circumstances affect copying, the fact remains that there is no general exception to the reproduction right to allow back-up copying (except the limited exception in § 117 for computer programs)48 and thus no justification for allowing circumvention of access controls for this purpose.
DVDs remain an incredibly popular medium that consumers are choosing over VHS copies, which indicates that the majority of consumers are not encountering significant problems with damaged DVDs. In addition, the price of DVDs has declined, making it even more affordable for consumers to replace damaged copies of DVDs.

So basically they want cd 'ripping' gone and consider backup copies illegal. Thanks RIAA.

It seems now they realise the internet is here to stay and download services like Apple's are becoming hugely popular they are changing tack. Forget trying to stop downloads – their now saying "lets force people to download, lets force the format change on our terms". Which is much worse.


February 20, 2006

Narrowing the starfield in the search for extra–terrestrial life

Writing about web page http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article346547.ece

From the article:

Dr Turnbull selected her top five from an initial catalogue of 17,129 stars that could be "habitable stellar systems" where the physical conditions would not be too extreme to limit the evolution and development of intelligent life and its technology.

I really hope this is not the first time this has been done.

I thought about doing something similar literally years ago when I first heard of SETI. I mean if we are assuming life is a result of complex physical processes at least narrow the search field a little by considering stars that are similar to where we know the process can yield results – i.e our star.

Sheeesh.

If this is really the first time this has been attempted then does anyone have any insights as to why it took so long? Has there only recently been a sufficiently detailed star catalogue on which to base such a study?


Library overdue notifications

Well i'm not exactly bowled over with the library email notifications:

FIRST OVERDUE REMINDER - University Library (024 7652 4103) The item(s) below are overdue and fines are increasing daily. Please return or renew without delay. Please disregard this notice if you returned/renewed the overdue item(s) since the notice date. If you have any queries please contact us.

Lovely. I must question why the first email is when they are already FOUR days overdue, surely a sensible system would be to remind you in the first instance the day BEFORE the items are due?

Seems to me that the system is setup this way to 'punish' people that dont keep track of the due dates – surely thats the big plus of it all being computerised. Suffice it to say I shall be having a word with them before coughing up the cash.


Sharia Law? Disgusting?

Writing about web page http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=259552006

Sharia law? A whistle stop guide could be written as follows: Dispicable set of religious based rulings from yester-millenia that contradict every tenet of modern society.
Perhaps better descirbed here in the telegraph.

This should NEVER be implemented in Britain. To be honest the very idea of judges being able to hand out amputations or stoning as punishments within our society is disgusting.

No. Simple as that.

I don't care how much the government is currently wishing to appease minority groups, this cannot be allowed. Personally I think anyone who wants this instituted should be shown to their nearest airport as I think they settled in the wrong country…

I find it hard to provide any further 'constructive' criticism on the subject if i'm completely honest. Anybody think that this could be a positive addition to our laws?

Further commentary: Marcel Berlins

Other reports: Aljazeera Telegraph


February 16, 2006

Christians too vocal at Warwick?

Are Christians at Warwick too pushy with their beliefs?

I can't help but thinking maybe after entering numerous lectures this year to see the desks littered with fliers proclaiming I need Jesus in my life. I couldn't help thinking one morning, "Really do I? Could it be… or do I just need to go to bed earlier as Im shattered still".

I mean really, by what amount do such posters sway your own beliefs? I would argue nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Zippo.

Hell, I might mock up some posters advocating atheism and plaster them everywhere people would care to look. See if I can't convert some of you guys over to some freethinking… :P

"Dont bother believing in Jesus, does it make any difference? Of course NOT"

Edit : Post some of your 'athiest poster' examples. Make me smile… :P

Edit : When I say Christians I obviously dont mean the whole Christian student population – but when I see religious messages I can't help (rightly or wrongly) assuming that they are broadly representative of the religion as a whole – else surely your own members would object to them?


Resnet Update Folks

Having only skimmed the update yesterday, today I thought I'd have a good look… Mmmm

Results revealed that delays in response times only occur at times of peak load when the network is congested and we have therefore usefully ruled out the possibility of there being an underlying problem with the handling of DNS.

Which surely reveals an underlying design fault with resnet itself – heck if DNS requests can't get through what chance have my WoW packets got? Seriously…

We are also concerned that the main ResNet firewall is overloaded and are now focussing our attention on this area. As a first step towards reducing the load, we removed the limit on the maximum number of sessions that an individual IP address can set up. This made no difference. We now propose to install an additional firewall to double the capacity.

Translation : we are not sure why resnet is still slow so now we will have a tinker with the firewalls. Two firewalls should be faster than one right?

Seriously though when did the capacity of the firewalls get investigated? Surely firewall logs would be one of the first places to look… oh well.

Aghast with the information so far I almost died when I met the "timetable for change" as I call it:

Thursday 23 February, 9.00am – 10.00am : Implement highest possible priority for the handling of DNS traffic on all components at the core of the network.

Now surely the network is already setup to treat DNS requests as high priority? Maybe not…

I must admit since the very start of the year I have been very vocal to my fellow students about ResNet, but never actually gone along to any of the focus meetings. That will change as I have read only 2 people turned up to the last few…

Ok I admit that finally we are moving somewhere with Resnet but I mean come on, 4 months to get to this point is a frankly a big fat joke which is further compounded by the lack of any proper compensation.

Does anyone have a detailed Resnet network topography to hand?


Hello blogs.warwick.ac.uk

Staying up all night makes you tired.

Staying up all night because you can't quite get your data structure to work as you intended it makes you, well makes you a mentalist.

Which has brought me here – blogs.warwick.ac.uk

Not sure what I will be putting up on here (if anything past this shattered toe-dip) but it seems like a lot of people here do this – not wanting to be left behind ill give it a go. :P

See you out there.


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