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Wed 24th Dec 2008 @ 11:16 2008: Ubuntu contributions to the GNU/Linux ecosystem

Linux kernel develop Greg K-H of SuSE gave a talk at the Linux Plumbers Conference. The majority of the slides concentrate on the contributions that Canonical (Ubuntu) have given back to Linux.

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Fri 19th Dec 2008 @ 01:21 2008: 6 year old with a beautiful voice

I don't tend to watch these phone-in "talent" shows, but this 6-year-old girl has got a beautiful voice (sorry, embedded Flash):

Update: The embedded flash link doesn't seem to work. working link

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Sun 14th Dec 2008 @ 01:27 2008: Name the countries of the world

Name the countries of the world - in 15 minutes... I named 61 out of 195 ("UN member nations plus 3 other widely recognized nations")

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Sat 13th Dec 2008 @ 00:21 2008: RIPA Rides Again notes a UK case where a "self-incrimination" defense was found to be inadmissible against RIPA (the so-called "Regulation" of Investigatory Powers Act) which actually gave the government far more powers than they had previously:;897277082

"The key to the computer equipment is no different to the key to a locked drawer," the court found. "The contents of the drawer exist independently of the suspect; so does the key to it. The contents may or may not be incriminating: the key is neutral."

The right against self incrimination is not without bounds, as suspects also can't refuse to give a DNA sample if properly compelled.

This shows either a blatant misunderstanding of what an encryption key actually is, or a blatant disregard for the law.

Given the way in which the RIPA was introduced - with a blatant disregard for existing law - one must assume that the judgement was in full sympathy of the original intent of RIPA: that the individual has absolutely no right to, or expectation of, privacy, in anything they do.

One aspect of RIPA which has always particularly charmed me is that:
Authorities can also mandate that recipients of a Section 49 request not tell anyone except their lawyer that they have received it.

When RIPA came in, I was responsible for the email of a fairly wide number of firms; RIPA could oblige me to spy on my boss and customers, and make me a criminal if I even let them know that I was doing so. Democracy? What is that?

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Mon 8th Dec 2008 @ 12:08 2008: UK ISP Censorship debate

There has been some noise yesterday and today about the Wikipedia Article on the German Metal band Scorpions' 1976 album Virgin Killer. The album sleeve contains a picture of a naked prepubescent girl tied up. Wikipedia include a thumbnail of the album sleeve as part of the article, which links to a larger picture.

You would certainly not get away with publishing an album sleeve like that today, but this record is still available with this cover from some places, apparently. I do not know whose job it is to go around digging out old 1970s album sleeves and reviewing their acceptability in 2008. It does feel rather reminiscent of Spinal Tap.

I don't want to spend time getting in to the rights and wrongs of the issue; this is just to note that whilst many UK ISPs have blocked access to the entire article, using proxy servers to give a 404 "Page not found", Sky Broadband are allowing access to the article itself, but blocking access to the picture (which is of course easily available elsewhere).

Update Daniel Silverstone has a fairly clear, coherent message to ISPs on the subject of censoring the internet without the customer's explicit permission

Update Richard Clayton has a very good writeup of the event now that the censorship has been removed and all is back to normal


Fri 5th Dec 2008 @ 23:45 2008: Bernie Ecclestone

According to Canadian website TSN, Bernie Ecclestone has summed up the problems faced by Honda (and possibly more teams to come) by patronising the engineers who develop this fantastic technology:

"The trouble is that the teams are basically run by the technicians that really should be at home playing with their Playstations rather than spending fortunes to win races."

Thanks, Bernie. That'll help.

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Fri 5th Dec 2008 @ 13:09 2008: Are you Rudolph? - The Killers

The Killers have released "Are We Human?", a catchy enough tune with some nonsensical lyrics.

They messed up the words; the real lyrics make far more sense; it's actually about Santa and his Reindeer:

I got all sorts of presents
For the good little boys and girls
I take them around the world
Oh I am so very kind
And sometimes I get nervous
When I see a naughty child

Who's been bad, who's been good?

Santa knows.

Are you Rudolph or are you Dancer?
My sleigh is vital, my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees mucking out the reindeer
Are you Rudolph or are you Prancer?

Pay my respects to Donner and Blitzen
Comet does electrical goods
Give my regards to Dasher, Vixen
They always did the best they could
And so long dear old Cupid, you taught me
everything I know
Wave goodbye, wish me well

You gotta let me go

Are you Rudolph or are you Dancer?
My sleigh is vital, my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees mucking out the reindeer
Are you Rudolph or are you Prancer?

Will my sherry be alright
When I come back home tonight?
There are no mince pies we're receiving
Let me know are you still cooking?

Are you Rudolph or are you Dancer?
My sleigh is vital, my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees mucking out the reindeer

You gotta let me know

Are you Rudolph or are you Dancer?
My sleigh is vital, my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees mucking out the reindeer
Are you Rudolph or are you Prancer?
Are you Rudolph
Or are you Dancer

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