All entries for April 2008

April 08, 2008

If backpack bombs actually looked like bombs, then they'd be useless…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/7336740.stm

A BBC radio reporter was held to the ground and searched by police under the Terrorism Act after his transmitter equipment was mistaken for a bomb.

I have several issues with this. Firstly, the equipment apparently looks like this:

Radio transmitter backpack

Admittedly, as well as a radio transmitter, I will accept that this could look like a bomb, but that is precisely the problem: backpack bombs look like backpacks; if they looked like bombs then the bombers would never be able to get near their target...

Secondly, it is worth pointing out the sentence Mr Khan's backpack contained equipment that is regularly used to allow reporters to broadcast from locations around the city centre. Did you notice the important word? It's "regularly". This equipment is regularly used around the city. It is not a rare occurrence for this equipment to be chosen; it is used regularly.

Thirdly, apparently Police were told an "Arabic-looking man was acting suspiciously" outside a shopping centre. Surely all that matters was that a man was acting suspiciously; or even "someone" was acting suspiciously. What difference does it make if he looks like an Arab or not? Have people forgotten that just the other decade stupid people would have been informing the police of "green-clad suspicious people with shamrocks" or some other appropriate stupid stereotype. "Arab" does not equal "terrorist", and "terrorist" does not equal "Arab"; any Arab terrorists just happen to be Arabs and terrorists for completely separate reasons.

Finally, Chief Superintendent Jane Sawyers said I am pleased with the positive and professional way the officers dealt with the incident. I'm sorry! Forcing a professional radio reporter to the ground because some people decide to make bombs that, apparently, resemble radio transmitting equipment is now considered professional!? What's wrong with "We fucked up, big time" or "Epic Fail", or "Keeping the peace; we're doing it wrong"?


April 05, 2008

Mobile Phones on a Plane

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7330850.stm

Apparently, early last week, Ofcom okayed the use of mobile phones on airliners at any height above 3km. This has confused me and leads me to the following points:

  • What happened to the belief that electronic devices emit harmful pilot killer rays? I always doubted there would be any issues (given the high amount of shielding on the cables), but Health & Safety are usually much harder to convince...
  • If mobile phones are capable of transmitting signals between 1.8 miles (3km) and 6.6 miles (cruising altitude of 747, apparently) why do I always have so few bars for the signal strength?
  • Isn't the real reason for the ban on mobile phones supposed to be that it encourages people to use the airline's ridiculously expensive built-in phones? Surely, therefore, mobiles are still going to be prohibited...
  • Also, why only above 3000m? Why is it dangerous (presumably) below 3km, but perfectly safe above?

April 04, 2008

Policing internet 'not ISP's job'

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7329801.stm

The guy who runs TalkTalk's broadband has announced that he's not going to bow to pressure from the music industry to stop people sharing music, stating that it is not his job to be an internet policeman.

I find it hard to sympathize with the music industry. I do not mean I support sharing music illegally, I just mean that it's hard to sympathize with a multi-billion dollar industry trying to get more money.

Of course it's not really in the best interests of the ISPs to disconnect users for illegal file sharing; the ISPs aren't losing money from royalties, but they are gaining money from broadband subscriptions.

Maybe I'm just being cynical...


April 03, 2008

2 for 1 deal on laundry captions

Writing about web page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apprentice_%28UK_Series_Four%29#Week_2:_A_Dirty_Job

In the latest episode (episode 2) of the 4th season of The Apprentice, the teams had to set up an overnight laundry business. The men did it fine, but the women made the mistake of choosing to go for many small jobs, and managed to mix up - and actually lose - some of the items...

Which leads us on to:

Losing your clients' laundry: Epic Fail

and

Laundry Business: You're Doing it Wrong


April 01, 2008

Still funny, though

Writing about web page http://uk.news.yahoo.com/vdunet/20080401/ttc-hackers-attack-international-space-s-6315470.html

I am absolutly certain that this story is an April Fool, but any excuse for a funny caption...

April Fool: ISS still using Win 3.1 - Epic Fail


To lighten the mood

Heathrow Terminal 5: Epic Fail

Original photo by terminal5insider.


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