Thursday, June 02, 2005

Parcel Farce

I needed to order some new oxygen sensors for my rebreather.

They are cheaper in the US than in the UK, plus you can sometimes avoid paying VAT if you import them. Typical thing, you pay $50 each in the US or £50 each in the UK.

I need them for my next dive trip which is just over a week away, but that should be enough time. I order them online and cross my fingers. I order 3 for myself and 3 for Gordy.

The day before I am due to depart, I find a letter from Parcel Force, the parcel handling branch of the Post Office. The letter is to tell me that my parcel has arrived and I have £50 to pay in VAT and handling fees.

Hmm, a letter? Why have they not just delivered it?

There is a phone number to ring to arrange payment and subsequent delivery from their depot 6 miles away. Umm, why is it not at my local sorting office as normal for this kind of thing, it is only half a mile away.

I try and try and try the phone number. Never any answer.

I have to get off work early to go to collect the parcel the next day. It takes nearly 2 hours to drive to the depot in heavy traffic. At the depot is a large queue of people waiting to pick up parcels. The phone is ringing the whole time. I eventually ask one of the staff if that is the same number that they say you can phone to arrange delivery. Er, yes, he says, but we are too busy to answer it, tell my boss, we are sick of hearing this. Everyone in the queue goes apeshit.

To add insult to injury, the £50 fee includes a £13 "handling fee" from Parcel Force, which under the circumstances I would say was a bleeding liberty! Especially ironic was the wording of the letter from them saying they had my parcel, where they stated that they were "holding the parcel for my convenience" instead of actually delivering it to my door and then asking me to write a cheque on the spot.

Yes, thanks, that was indeed extremely convenient.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deep Quiz

Interesting. Not what I expected from a simple quiz.

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

via Marc and Peter and Micheland Steven.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Cocoon Dev

Friday is (sometimes) my Research Day.

The day when I get to expand my knowledge into new areas where we will be working soon, or experiment with new stuff. Sometimes I choose what this is going to be myself, sometimes the subject is chosen for me by my colleagues.

Last Friday I did some work on Cocoon. A rare and pleasant job for me.

I am working on a project at the moment that will use the Cocoon Portal Engine. It was my job to get my head around this clever, but complicated framework. During that process, I made an adapted version of it, that better suits the way we build projects. After making a bunch of changes, I though it would be nice to contribute these back to Cocoon.

I contacted the Orixo-Tech list, explained my changes and their rationale and asked for suggestions, as I know other people in Orixo are using the Portal, and must be having to solve the same kind of problems as I.

Carsten, who is someone I respect highly for his skills, but TBH have always been a bit scared of, replied. He is not quite so scary one-on-one, and we had a pleasant conversation about my suggested changes, how they fitted in with the general direction that he wants to take the framework and how we could do more work like this in the future to improve the Portal. That was cool.

I was able to contribute a couple of fixes for issues like missing page titles in the generated HTML, lack of portability due to hard-coded references to the server's local URI and assumptions about how the project would be built. Our aim is that soon you should be able to more realistically use the Portal without replicating the whole project into your own, but merely adjust the configuration files for it.

As part of the fix, I was able to contribute an InputModule I had developed for use in-house. The ProjectPathModule, automatically works out the path back to the root of your project, from the point of view of the web browser.

A week or so ago, one of my colleagues was bending my ear about how irrational the names of the parameters you pass from the sitemap to the handleForm function provided by Cocoon Forms were. I agreed, it was an itch I had been meaning to scratch for a while now. I proposed some changes to the Cocoon-Dev list. There was a mixed response, some saying that that stuff was obsolete, others saying they disagreed and would like to see it fixed. We came to a consensus and I got to do the work.

One of the committers, Sylvain (for whom I also have a lot of respect, but less fear ;-)) had suggested that I use a form of function I had not come across in JavaScript before. Cocoon has what is called the "Flow Layer" where the flow of an application is written. You typically use JavaScript in the flow. He had suggested that I use the "Static Form" of function. This would allow us to partition the built-in functions better from the user's custom function names.

At first I realised I did not even know how to construct this form. Luckily, Sylvain was available on Instant Messaging, and even though he was "insanely busy" was able to give me to time to show me how to do it. Very Cool.

Later it turned out that the SiteMap is unable to call Static Functions, so having consulted with Sylvain again, we realised we had a whole new bug!!

This is one of my pet projects in Cocoon. It is intended to be a really easy to use way of adding searching of XML documents to projects made in Cocoon. It is work in progress and has been driven by work developed for our clients. It is based on Apache Lucene, it allows you to build search queries without having to use a special query language, you get a history of your searches and the ability to persist your favourite searches for later use.

I got to work with Gianugo (always a pleasure) a few weeks ago on a project for Pronetics, he needed a search facility added to a job quickly. I was able to use QueryBean for this, but as I had been a bit lazy and implemented the function for the indexer which looks through a set of nested folders for files to index, using, and his repository was kept in WebDAV, I had to re-implement that to use Excalibur Source API. Luckily it did not take long to do.

So, I ended up with an Indexer that can index any Collection (any TraversableSource). Meaning I had another nice contribution to make back to Cocoon.

That was a pretty satisfying research day.



My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Sword of Moderation.

Get yours.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


From the Register :

researchers say that an unprotected Windows XP computer (without any firewall, patches or anti-virus protection) stands a 50 per cent chance of infection by an internet worm after just nine minutes plugged onto the net. After 40 minutes there is a 90 per cent chance of infection."

What a wonderful gift Microsoft has made to the world.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

New Kit

Originally uploaded by sharkbait.
I finally got myself a new camera.

The old one packed up nearly a year ago, and was going to cost more than 50% of the original price to repair.

This one has a far higher spec and cost less than 50% of the last one ..... tech moves on .....

Now, I just need some decent weather !!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Terrorist on the Sonar

A friend of mine was recently contracted to help a sonar manufacturer sell their equipment to another NATO Navy.

The sonar in question is a new type, designed to protect warships at anchor from attack by terrorist swimmers.

(There was a big brouhaha in the here a few years ago, with talk of dive training agencies being asked by the intelligence services to report suspicious foreigners who had had training courses in a combination of rebreathers (typically used by naval attack divers as the leave no tell-tale bubbles), underwater scooters (cover more distance) and use of underwater explosives ..... so this topic is obviously all the rage in defence circles. As it happens, I have an Irish background, certification in two of the above and had been invited to join a "bang course", I was expecting a visit at any time :-) )

My friend is a highly experienced rebreather diver, so was the perfect man for the job of test dummy.

He was to swim across the harbour, past the sonar installation, to enable the manufacturers to demonstrate to the client that yes indeed, the equipment can detect a swimmer.

But of course, the whole thing was a con.

He was given strict instructions to swim in such a way that the equipment could actually detect him!

Specific speed and direction, a certain distance from the seabed etc. etc. Otherwise the sonar would not work.

Is this typical of the way defence systems are procured, with our hard-earned tax money?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Nosmo King

I am stopping smoking again.

I started planning this over a week ago. My cheap tobacco from Belgium, Romania and France was due to run out. I was not prepared to buy in the UK, the price is ludicrous.

As I get older the effect of smoking is getting stronger and stronger, I cannot bare it any longer, the toxicity.

I went to the doctor and asked for help. She prescribed some Nicotine Patches. I could not bare the thought of going cold turkey again, I have not tried the patches before.

The tobacco ran out on Sunday night.

My first day of no smoking for many years.

The patch itches.

My head is fuzzy.

I cannot concentrate.

I am very irritable.

I ache.

Everything stressing me out.

No coffee as it will really make me want to smoke, so I am sleepy as well.

No alcohol in the evening, that would do for me.

I made the day without smoking, it was horrible though.

Tuesday, my second day has been a bit easier.

I still get the pre-action image in my head, to reach out and roll a cigarette ...... then the flush of disappointment.

One day at a time.

I can feel the difference in my lungs already.

Long way to go.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Parisian Experience

I am off to Paris again on Thursday, to see my good friend Thierry and his lovely family.

I am going on Eurostar as usual, which apart from having appalling food and astonishing prices in their buffet, is far better than taking the plane to "The Continent" as Brits like to call the rest of Europe.

Thierry has been quite ill, so I have been over to visit several times in the last months. This is the story of one of those trips.

Had an amazing weekend in Paris.

Saw my dear friend Carmen and her son (my godson) Gorka.

Stayed with Marianne, Eva and Julius (the wife, daughter and son of Thierry) and got to know them a lot better.

Julius who is two, calls me 'Papa', it must be confusing, neither I nor his dad have hair. It reminds me of the Hank Williams song "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy", but I guess it is not so funny under the circumstances.

Eva is a lovely, bright, precocious eleven year old. She can be surprisingly manipulative, really keeps you on your toes, but is generally a pure joy to be around.

Marianne is well earthed, kind, loving, sensible and Dutch. We have long deep discussions about the meaning of life, love, death ..... you know the craich.

I saw Thierry several times in hospital. You have to sterilise then cover up in a gown, mask, hat and booties to see him.

Thierry sits calmly in his isolation, dressed mostly in orange, bald headed, he looks like Gandhi. He shines with positive energy as one by one he graciously accepts and entertains the relatives and friends who go through the ritual of cleansing to visit him. One of the most amazing experiences of my life, was seeing him in this state, considering his condition.

On the Sunday night, we go to have dinner with another friend, warm, lovely, Italian. She cooks us a delicious vegetarian dinner and entertains us until I have to leave to catch the train home.

The train is quite full, but I have a spare seat beside me. I stretch out and relax, thinking of the beautiful weekend I had with loving friends. I have a 3 hour ride ahead of me, the train should get into London around 11 pm.

Ten minutes out of Paris and the brakes slam on, we screech to a halt. Silence.

After about 10 minutes, an announcement: "We are very sorry for the inconvenience Ladies and Gentlemen, but there is a problem with the line. We will continue the journey as soon as possible".

Then another, and another, until eventually, an hour or so later we are told that someone has committed suicide by jumping in front of our train. We are waiting for the coroner to finish his deliberations, etc. etc.

Meanwhile the passengers are taking it all pretty stoically. There is a friendly scene in the bar where food and drink is still available. People are telling each other their stories etc. By about 11 pm, an announcement goes out that smoking is allowed in the bar, it is immediately packed, you can barely see 6 inches. Eventually the bar has nothing left to sell.

At about 12, we are told the authorities have finished, we have a new driver, we will shortly be driven back to Paris to take a new train.

As we get into Paris, we are given the clear instructions that there will be another train beside us on the other platform. That we will be the only passengers and would we please take the same carriage and seat that we had in this train.

I reckon it will be a while before we depart, and that they will not allow us to smoke on the new train, so stretch my legs for a bit and I have a leisurely cigarette on the platform before boarding.

On the train, find my seat and whoops, someone is sitting there. He quickly realises it is someone else's seat, and politely leaves. I take the window seat, the spare still beside me, planning on stretching out a bit later, I become engrossed in my book.

A few minutes after the train pulls away, a group of about 7, mixed, young people come into the carriage. They start hustling people ...... "could my girlfriend sit there?" ..... "is that seat spare?" ..... "would you move to that seat so I can sit next to my girl friend?" ..... etc. etc. basically most people are too polite to say "piss off and sit in your own seat", a few refuse and tempers rise a bit. Suddenly, one of the guys plonks himself down beside me. Not a word. He throws his anorak over his head and just sits there.

Hmmm, I begin to think, this is not good. These people are pushing us around, they have perfectly good seats. Now I will be less comfortable and it is still 3 hours home and I have already spent 4 hours on the last train.

Part of me goes "calm down, it is not important", another part of me goes "why should I have to put up with this" ...... the cycle goes around my head a few times. Eventually I think I cannot just take this imposition without any response at all. I turn to the guy and say "excuse me, would you mind going back to your own seat, please". He whips the anorak off his head, turns to me and shouts, inches from my face, obscenities and threats for about 30 seconds, turns back, throws the anorak over his head again.

Hmmm, I think, not only has someone taken the seat next to me, but he's a nutter as well.

OK, so I am tired, it is one in the morning, my patience is being tried. One voice in my head is going "OMMM, calm down, it is not important", another voice is going "but this guy is taking the piss", "he is taking advantage of my passivity", "why do I always have to absorb other peoples shit?", images of violent retribution flash across my mind.

After about 10 minutes and I realise I have to respond in some way, I cannot calm down the inner dialogue. I have to do something for my own self respect. But what? I am not a violent person, he is bigger, fitter, younger and clearly madder than me.

I have a plastic cup of gratis Eurostar water in front of me, before I have really thought about it, I have poured the water in his lap. He whips around with such a look of astonishment on his face!!!!! He makes a big fuss, starts telling his friends, they start saying how horrible I am, he starts threatening me again.

Me? I am calm, happy, serene, satisfied, a beatific smile on my face. Ah, non-violent and appropriate retribution to a stupid bully. He rants on for a while, but what is he going to do? Beat me up in front of 100's of people? No, he calms down and throws the anorak over his head.

Then he starts to get silly with the space. He starts to push my arm off my half of the arm rest, to dig his elbow into my ribs, to push his knees across into my leg-space. He his holding hard with all of his strength, it is pointless trying to push hard back against him, he is stronger than me. He can't hold hard for ever, but he has the territory now, and I am uncomfortable. I press softly against him. I keep the soft force gently against his leg and forearm. That kind of soft intimate pressure a male would pull away from, when applied by another male. Gradually, he pulls away, I keep the soft pressure there, eventually I have my space back. Sucker !!!!!

He falls asleep, I doze.

4.30 am and we are approaching London. Eurostar had told us earlier that they would bus us home from the station. Now they announce they could not get the busses so they will give us vouchers for a free taxi ride. A groan of disbelief goes up from among the passengers, who well know there would not be 500 taxis at Waterloo at any time of the day!!

The guy sitting next to me threatens me a bit more, but I ignore him, he is a pathetic bully.

After about 20 minutes in the non-moving taxi queue that must hold at least 600 people, I realise that this is just not going to happen. I start walking home. A night bus takes me part of the way. I get home at 6 am. I sleep most of Monday.

Wow !!! What a contrast !!!!

I wonder what this weekend will be like?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Bloomin' Telecoms

British Telecom, the monopolistic supplier of all ADSL connectivity in the UK decided in their infinite wisdom to change their infrastructure recently. In such a way that broke many people's connections.

It is all a bit technical, and I accept i may not have all of the details correct, but what I understand happened was they changed the MTU of their service.

This is the maximum size that the data packets may be.

They reduced it.

What would happen as a consequence is that when you attempt to upload data to the net (and this may be as simple as sending an email) the transaction never quite completes.

OK, fine, it is their network, they ought to be able to optimise it.

But as far as I understand, not only did they not warn the Internet Service Providers who resell their service, they did not even tell their own reseller!

A friend of mine spent an hour on the phone, being passed up the BT food chain, until he managed to arrive at someone who was able to confirm this.

Goodness knows how many people around the country have been effected.

What compounded the issue for me, was that when I went to reset my new DLink ADSL Router, it broke. I spent a day and a half without connectivity, something that is pretty drastic for me, as I work from home.

After a very long time on the phone to their tech support, they kindly concluded it was the fault of my Mac. Hmmmm, has that got anything to do with the fact that you kept asking me to click on the Start Menu???? Boy oh boy have I heard that rubbish before!!!

Anyhow, they promised that another engineer would contact me to help me solve the problem within "24 to 48 hours".

Yes, that is very useful to someone in my position.

My colleagues from work were meeting at my house the next day, and what a surprise, none of their machines worked either !!! One of them brought their ADSL Router, and of course it worked first time.

We went out that afternoon and bought me a new Router, and no, it was not a DLink!!

Needless to say, I have not heard back from their engineer, it has been longer than 48 hours too.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Smack Dot Mac

Dot Mac is broken AGAIN!!!!

iSync does not work.
Backup does not work.
Updating online calendars with iCal does not work.
iDisk may be working, I can't tell, I am trying to copy a file over now, and it is not doing anything (I eventually got error -36).
The .Mac Support site is down.
.Mac help is down.

I can collect mail, I can log in to .Mac ...... but that is about all.

It has been like this for the last couple of days

WTF am I paying for?

Last time I had to pay the update fee, I was astonished that in the UK I had to pay 23% more than people in the US.
When I wrote in to the Apple Dotmac Support forum to express my displeasure, my message was removed, and I got a snotty email from one of the moderators. You are not allowed to complain.

Considering one of the beneficial features of Tiger, the new MacOSX 10.4 expected this year, will be further integration with Dotmac, I feel Apple needs to get it's house in order !!!!

I imagine Apple want to add more links between Tiger and Dotmac because it increases their revenue, but if the service is going to carry on being so unreliable, they are going to piss a lot of people off.

I think it is about time we reverse engineered Dotmac, so we can run those services on free platforms.

This is a rip off, Apple.


OK, I was wrong ....... it turned out to be caused by British Telecom's ADSL infrastructure ....... see my next post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


I live in a lovely Victorian apartment block in the centre of Brixton. I like Brixton, I have lived here for 30 years.

There is a bit of a drugs problem here, it has a long and chequered past, but the big issue at the moment is crack cocaine and specifically how the local police have recently shut down a bunch of crack dens. The people who come in to Brixton to buy their crack, need somewhere to take it away from the eyes of the Police, so in the last few weeks we have had a big rise in break in's to the lobby and hall area of our block.

These people get in, don't do any real harm, spend 2 minutes and go. But it freaks the bejesus out of everyone living here. The local Police say that the word has got around that you can get in here, but if you phone them when someone gets in they take 20 minutes, if they bother to come at all.

Monday: Paul reckons they can reach through the letterbox (the new doors we had fitted 6 months ago are all wrong!!) so Paul fits a sort of steel bracket he got from the local lock shop to make it more difficult.

Tuesday: Paul and Patrique reckon they can still reach through the letterbox, so they put a nasty piece of wood in the letter basket, tied in with bits of string and wire. What a mess but maybe it will help. I must replace it with something better.

Wednesday: The freak out day. About 5 or more incidents today. Paul has reached the end of his tether. He reckons someone must have keys, he demands new locks are fitted.

Thursday: Locksmith comes to fit a new barrel. £350. I (working from home) spend the whole day answering frantic phone calls, answering the door, taking the old keys from residents and doling out the new ones. Plus side, I meet some of the nice people who moved in recently, who I had not met yet. No work done today. With so much activity in the hall, someone actually sees two people get in. They just barged through the door, popping the lock open. So much for needing the lock barrel replaced!!!

Friday: Locksmith comes to fit a new electrically operated catch. £100. The old one was seriously worn down by repeated battering, that is why it was so easy to pop the door. Our lock catch was made by Ingersoll, don't buy one.
Meet our architect, we are planning to replace the roof and other stuff, he originally specified those doors. He saw what a problem we had, so he arranged to have a guy from a big lock company come around and give us a consultation.

Saturday morning: BASH !!!! Everyone out in the hall ...... We see two guys look guiltily up, "Sorry", "Can't we just stay for 2 minutes?", "NO, FECK OFF !!!!", we all shout. Damn, they can still get in if the hit the door REALLY HARD!!!!

Sunday: all quiet on the western front.

Monday: The lock guy arrived. Jeez, he looked like he spent his whole life in Kensington and Chelsea, not really up for Brixton, he looked freaked, ha ha ha ha !!! He recommended a different lock. He is sending a quote. I looked it up online and yes, it looks good. Don't think anyone got in today.

Tuesday: Someone smashed out the mail basket, which stopped people being able to reach through the letterbox to open the door, spent an hour and a half off work, putting it back properly, with metal fixings, feckwit carpenters had originally fixed it with little plastic clips (as well as fitting the letterbox to the wrong door!!!). Took off all the nasty bits of string and wire, re-fitted the plate decently, cut and fitted neatly a plate to stop anyone reaching a piece of wire through to open the catch. My poor employer, they have been very understanding.

Wednesday: 5.00 am, 2 crack'eads kicked their way through the front door, amazingly the police actually arrived fast enough to arrest them. Lock guy sent a mad quote. We will see if we can source this locally, a bit cheaper.

Locksmiths are coming again tomorrow to fit the new lock ....... who knows ....... all I know right now is that it will cost another £300. Some comedian suggested putting a coin-operated lock on the front door, then the crack'eads can pay us to use the place, yeah, thanks mate ;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2005


If you like Flickr, you'll love this.


It allows you to interact with the relationships between Flickr members.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The weirdness of prescience

I saw Paycheck last night.

The film by John Woo from a short story of the same name by Philip K Dick.

When I read it, very recently, I had the strong feeling that someone would make this into a film, there are many potential films in Dick's extraordinary output.

These were my impressions.

I thought the Hollywoodisation was not so extreme in this production. Compared to how "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" bared so little relationship to "Blade Runner" (even though I like the film in it's own right). Or worse the relationship between "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" and "Total Recall". Most of the key issues in the original story actually come out in the film. Something they were not going to leave out, the story does actually have a happy ending (rare for Dick) where the protagonist gets his girl (even more rare).

What I found a bit patronising was how the story was dumbed down. The scene setting that Dick did not require and the the reason behind what was going on, leaking into the plot far earlier than it did in the original. Were the scriptwriters worried that the audience could not understand? Maybe this is the difference between a feature film and a short story, the need for padding.

It is the differences between the film and the story that I find interesting, and wonder what they tell us about our time, or at least American culture.

The story was set in an America that was a fascist dictatorship with an omnipotent police (a common theme of Dick's), while in the film, the protagonist was merely being chased by the FBI. Have democratic America's FBI become the police of Dick's fears? I am sure there are some that do. This made me think of an interesting article I found on delicious, Hunger for Dictatorship and 14 identifying characteristics of fascism.. Make up your own mind.

Where the story primarily diverged from the film was in what the danger was, the danger to the State.

In the film, the Rethrick Corporation had technology to view the future and in viewing the future you could see what the result of society being able to view the future was going to be, it was terrible. Society knowing something would happen, would ensure that it did happen.

I found this very interesting, from a personal point of view ... my first girlfriend dabbled in the Tarot, we inevitably lived out their predictions -- expecting them to come true -- to the detriment of the relationship.

This danger, itself a very Dickian theme, therefore had a strong resonant impact on me, one which I thought at least ameliorated what was lost, the danger to the State as portrayed in the original story.

In the original, Rethrick represented a corporation that was surviving secretly, in opposition to the State, so that one day it could assist the people to rise up and overthrow an oppressive government.

This for me was a telling omission. Even though I found the theme's replacement satisfying for my own reasons, the original was a sad loss. Especially as the story is turned around to make the FBI the good guys.

Overall, I would say I enjoyed the film, (at least Uma Thurman did not get her swords out).

On the whole it does represent the more interesting side of Dick's novels in an accessible way, such themes that still make him an acquired taste, even today. (Read "Foster, You're Dead" in the light of modern America's paranoia and tell me honestly that the hair did not rise on the back of your neck).

There are several of Dick's stories in production at the moment, I wonder what they hold in store?

And if you are asking, no, I won't sign an NDA that allows you to erase my memory on delivery !!!


WOW !!!!!

Panoramas of the moon

Saturday, February 05, 2005

H's Blog

I am over at my friend H's house today

Ostensibly to get his new ADSL connection working.

But more interestingly, to get him set up with a new Blog.

I am expecting interesting writing to come out of this.

Hands Off !!

Originally uploaded by sharkbait.
I love lobsters ...... to watch, not to eat :-)

They are funny characters ..... the way they behave, they can be very inquisitive. The way they strut around is hilarious, and their colouring gorgeous.

I was diving with a bunch of people in St Kilda last year and spotted this beauty.

I pointed him out to the other divers, and Steve Millard took this photo.

I swam on.

After the dive, we were all reviewing Steve's photos, when a series of shots came up, taken after I had left the scene, of another one of the divers trying to catch this lobster !!!!! I was not pleased I can tell you. (Hey!! You wanna catch lobster, then find your own !!!).

The lobster was too small to be worth eating and there was definitely not enough there to feed the other people on the boat.

Catching any sea creature, with Scuba equipment on it just too easy ..... the real sport is to do it freediving IMHO.

Leave them for the people who need to catch them for a living, to put shoes on their kids feet.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Suspect Government

When is a terror suspect not a terror suspect?
When the Home secretary decides that someone who has been held for 3 years is suddenly not a risk anymore.

Why? Because "weight of evidence at the current time did not justify his continued detention".

What? So it did yesterday? The day before? When was it justified?

OK, so one can feel sorry for the current holder of the post of Home Secretary, having taken over the mess left by "Mad Dog" David Blunkett. Maybe it did take this long to get around to reviewing the case of poor "Internee C". But what has this to say about the other people being held without charge?

How come, in a democracy, we have allowed ourselves to be scared into allowing this to happen in the first place?

Locking up dissenters in mental institutions is something reminiscent of the Stalinist era in the old Soviet Union. (If you are crazy enough to go against us, you must be insane, so we will treat you for mental illness).

As a defence, the UK government says that the evidence against these people is too sensitive to be brought out in court, so they have to bypass legal procedures. Would that be evidence from the intelligence community? Does the UK government think that any of us have any confidence in that kind of evidence any more (i.e WMD)?

Who is the next group of people the government would like to detain without charge or trial?
Your son? Your cousin? Immigrants? Peace activists? Homosexuals? Hunt supporters?

Remember, this practise did not work in Northern Ireland !!!!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Free Jam

I am a .Mac member, I get the occasional email from them telling me what the latest thing is they are offering me to keep paying for the service (I pay for it because you get synchronisation of address books, bookmarks etc. between machines and an online backup service, plus I keep some photos there).

Their latest email was offering a free screen saver (a demo from a package) called Freefall which has satellite images of the planet ..... anyone of you who have been to my flat knows I am a sucker for maps etc. So I went along to download it.

To my astonishment, they are also appearing to give away (I am still downloading) free copies of GarageBand JamPacks, 1, 2 & 3.

Bejesus!! They charge good money for those ($99 each) in Apple Store !!!!

BTW. Have you ever played with GarageBand? It’s a larf :-)
I spent many enjoyable hours producing bizarre Indo/Irish fusions (and no, I am not going to publish them, don’t worry).

This morning I checked the downloads to find that I was duped, they are promotional version containing 100 out of 2000 loops each, oh well.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Adaptive Feeding

I am trying out adaptive feeds from feedburner, I had some complaints that not everyone could read the Atom feeds that are produced by my kind host, Bertrand pointed this out to me, thanks mate!

I also took the opportunity to add further meta tags to the headers of my templates (discussed here) and add the natty reader counter that feedburner supplies, which currently shows a disappointing ‘0 readers’, whoops!!!

If you read this blog, try this feed instead and you should get the format your reader prefers.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

New site up

I got around to putting my new site up today.

This is to replace my old site that I have had since the early ‘90s. It new one has largely the same content, but I have taken the time to update the design, to break it down into smaller components and re-write some bits and pieces.

My employers offered me a good deal to move over from Demon to their ISP BlackCatNetworks, whereby they could pay for my hosting, ADSL connection and give me a wider range of software services.

All that remains to do is to find a nice place for the old stories from the defunct KarmaDivers website.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Here comes the next one

From today’s Guardian.

The US is increasing the pressure on Iran by sending military planes into its airspace to test the country's defences and spot potential targets, according to an intelligence source in Washington.

Considering that the US and it’s allies are still bogged down in their war in Iraq and the consequences of not thinking it through or not listening to their people, I find it astonishing that they appear to be starting it all over again.

"It make sense to get a look at their air defences, and it makes the mullahs nervous during the EU negotiations [over the suspension of Iranian uranium enrichment]," said John Pike, the head of, an independent military research group.

And what kind of sense does that make Mr. Pike?

As a real way to assist those negotiations? Or as a way to prepare the public for another fallacious incursion of a sovereign state?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Diving in the shipping lanes

Diver magazine is publishing an article in next month’s issue about a trip I was on last year to dive deep, unidentified shipwrecks in the English Channel, right on the shipping lanes.

It was quite an operation !!

Here is one of the photos ...... I am assisting my dive partner, Andy White to raise the helm of an M2 class minelayer from WW2.

With my KISS rebreather.

Police State

Today in the Guardian :

George Churchill-Coleman, who headed Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad as they worked to counter the IRA during their mainland attacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said Mr Clarke's proposals to extend powers, such as indefinite house arrest, were "not practical" and threatened to further marginalise minority communities.

Mr Churchill-Coleman told the Guardian: "I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state, and that's not good for anybody. We live in a democracy and we should police on those standards.

Many thanks for your common sense !!!!


I am moving from Demon to Luminas's ISP so that it is easier for them to pay my online expenses (working from home and all that lot).

I have been with Demon from Year Zero, they have been very good. My Demon email addresses had become very visible, and I suffered from an enormous quantity of spam, I will not miss that ....... what worries me though is the possibility of loosing contacts from my occasional net-user friends, serendipitous contacts etc etc.

In the process, I have registered a new domain name for myself, which will be hosted on Luminas’s servers.

I cannot believe that in all of the years that I have been making my living online, that I have never registered a domain before!!!!! Anyway, BlackCatNetworks made it very simple and cheap ...... and of course it helped that Andrew was online via iChat simultaneously setting everything up on the server.

So, here I come !!!!

So why fiveone ?
Its’s my birthday, 5th January.
I thought of registering a domain using my name, but all the good stuff was gone. I did not reckon Jeremy Quinn was such a common name, doh !!!

Andrew did not reckon using a nickname (Jerm) was very cool (and it was taken anyway !!!) so I decided to try a new tack.

So why .org ?

I was thinking of using .name etc. but no one thought that was a great idea. I never liked or .com, or etc.
So what does that leave?

New service should provide:

• Broadband Connection
        • Do I get a static IP Address @ Home ?
        • Do I have bandwith limits?
        • Do I have port restrictions?
• Domain Name Hosting
        • Which TLDs can I use?
• Web Server on Domain
        • HTTPD
        • Servlet Engine
• Email Server on Domain
        • Unlimited accounts
        • Secondary MX ?
        • Spam Filtering
• Shell access

Choose Domain
• Register Domain
• Setup Server
• Test Setup
• Setup Broadband Connection
• Transfer Broadband connection from old ISP
• Alter records for home address
• Update email forwarding
• Cancel Demon Account, 1 month period of grace
• Notify everyone of the change
• Determine Mailing Lists that need registration changes
• De/Re-register with mailing lists
• Determine website re-registration due to Email Account changes
• Determine website re-registration due IP Address change
• Re-Register account changes on multiple websites
• Setup SSH Keys
• Remove old addresses from Thawte
• Setup new addresses with Thawte
• Setup SVN export scripts for HTTPD etc.
• Setup websites from media.demon on new server, working from svn

Dim witted first post

OK, so I am new to blogging.
There has to be a start.
Where will this lead to I wonder ??