I got a Sony PlayStation when it came out in 1997 or so. I've still got it, and I still play TOCA2 (BTCC Touring Cars) on it. It is an excellent game, and 12 years later, there are still parts of it which I have yet to unlock.
Tomorrow (today!) the family will be getting a Wii, so I shall skip a few generations of games consoles overnight. The Wii isn't the most powerful machine available, though it does seem to be the most fun of the current consoles, from a young-family perspective.
Tonight I have been playing the old PlayStation games once more, and I must admit that by modern standards (and I am no gamer) they are dire. The TOCA2 game, though, is still very realistic and responsive. It was one of the later games to come out for the PS1, and it really is excellent gameplay.
Codemasters, who wrote TOCA2, have released Formula1 2009 for the Wii; apparently they couldn't get the more complex stuff written for the more powerful consoles, but the Wii version should be good enough, they say. I look forward to playing it, joining the 21st century, and seeing how the best PS1 racing game from 1998 compares to the best Wii racing game in 2009.
I'm sure that, like me, you have seen the recent splurge of "weird old tip" adverts for a "flat belly". I must admit that I have put on a fair bit of weight recently, so with nothing better to do, I clicked through, and got a long (I don't know how long, I gave up before it ended) spiel about how wonderful this system is, without ever really talking about what it does.
So, I did what I always advise people to do - having identified that they call this the "fat burning furnace" system, I googled for "fat burning furnace scam", to see what the naysayers have to say.
They appear to have taken over all of the first page of Google results, with pages like fatburningfurnacescam.com, all of which start out sounding skeptical, but end up convinced that this is a fantastic system and well worth the money. Some of these are paid adverts, as well as high-ranking search results.
I'm not heavily involved in SEO, but this is certainly news to me, that an SEO campaign is clearly heavily targetting Google adverts (paying Google for the attention, of course) whilst also spaming Google search with deliberately-placed sites to put skeptics at ease with the product.
I am sure that this violates a few of Google's policies, though I don't claim to keep track of every time they change. It just strikes me as an interesting twist on SEO, and on using all aspects of Google services (adverts on websites, scam "busting" search results, and also scam "busting" adverts).
I have not investigated the claims themselves; so far, I have not found any specific claims, other than that they have some scheme which will help you lose weight. That, in itself, smells fishy, but I am simply noting the advertising technique, which also smells fishy - why would a genuine advertiser pre-empt criticism by spamming Google's search results with "
http://www.amnh.org/news/2009/12/the-known-universe/ provides a trip through the known universe, from Earth to the start of time (after all, space is time, and time is space) and back again in six minutes:
Facebook syndicated this blog to my account - this post is just to confirm that the syndication has ended - so this post should not appear on facebook!
Given the recent changes to Facebook policy - basically, your previously-declared-private data is now public, unless you choose to make it private again (and know how to do so), a lot of people are looking for an alternative.
The available options depend on what it is that you want to do, though it also depends on what your friends want - if they all want to go to MySpace, you're stuck in 2003, if they want tumblr.com, that seems to be going the same way as Facebook already.
Personally, I am currently inclined to ditch Facebook, but keep LinkedIn for professional use, despite its many failings and increasing spam.
Being the kind of person who sends plain-text (not HTML) emails when possible, grudgingly gave up pine/elm for thunderbird (but secretly wants to go back, and really should learn to use mutt), I would be drawn to a social networking website which would allow me to post status updates and comments with certain selected groups of friends, but not allow third-party applications whatsoever.
For example -
1) "Steve has some stupid random thought" - post to everyone (to be honest, I'd just post that on this blog, and Facebook already syndicate my blog so it gets posted as a "Note" on Facebook
2) "Steve wants to invite certain friends to a Christmas BBQ" (yeah, likely in the UK!) - post to a pre-selected list of "North UK" friends, de-select all "Work" friends, and so on.
In fact, all sorts of regular expressions should be possible, just as 10 years ago, Google revolutionised search by allowing clear, accurate web searches to be made.
The site I envisage feels more like delicious, mutt, pine - old-school Internet, than MySpace, FaceBook, current-Google. USENET is (and always has been) a strange exception. Let's ignore it for now. "Delete" must be retrospective. That shouldn't be too hard; if Google cached http://steve-parker.org/foo.gif, and I wanted to delete it, I could replace that URL with a different (or blank) file, and Google would generally be pretty efficient about updating their cache. The Internet Archive (web.archive.org) are a different matter, of course. AJAX is quickly replacing REST, so there should be ways around that, too (though that gets into "deep web" issues, which could be seen as a pro or a con). If the idea is that the website only shares certain things with known-trusted users, then blocking search engines (including the web archive) entirely would not be an issue.
This is the germ of a work in progress; all comments are most welcome. I am not (I think) proposing to implement such a site, just to consider the requirements.
There has been a mad rush away from Google recently. I have been trying dogpile again, and getting good results. I wanted a map, so I thought I would try Microsoft's Bing engine.
Because I am using IceWeasel, the rebuilt-FireFox, Bing fails to recognise that it is basically the same browser as FireFox. Although it does allow me to continue, it suggests IE first, Firefox second, all the while showing no idea that there are more than two browsers on the planet.
I haven't tried it with any other browsers, or User-Agent strings, but it is absolutely terrible with IceWeasel on Debian GNU/Linux.
I don't know how long this link will last - probably ~30 days, and only within the UK, but http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/extra/show/b006qgrd is a list of 10-minute-ish programmes about each episode of the BBC's great programme "The Thick Of It" - Series 3.
Monty Widenius (ex-MySQL, left Sun after Sun bought MySQL, founded MySQL) is asking for help to support - well, what, exactly? Apparently, he wants to retain control of MySQL despite selling it to Sun, and Sun now wanting to sell that (along with everything else) to Oracle. But Monty still wants to have control.
Bruce Perens, Open Source advocate, one-time Debian Project Leader, and general wise head, has commented (on slashdot) about the latest twist in the Oracle/Sun takeover, and the MySQL issue which is holding it up.
Monty has been paid somewhere north of 100 Million dollars in the MySQL purchase by Sun. Now, having been paid, Monty wants MySQL back for his business - without returning the money. And Monty has no problem with FUD-ing the GPL to get what he wants, even if the GPL provided half of the business method (dual-licensing) that made him rich.
Now, having been paid, I would think that an ethical position for Monty would be to allow MySQL's new owners to have what they paid for.
We can all use MySQL with no problem whatsoever under the GPL. With proprietary clients and Free clients, with no problem. An application across the network interface from the server, speaking a published and standard protocol, is not a derivative work. The GPL wouldn't apply to such an application. There is a GPL-ed client library that has to be replaced with a non-GPL version, but that version has existed for a decade.
Monty is free to do his business with the GPL version if he wishes. But it seems he wants to have his cake and eat it.
So let's stop bashing the EU for asking a perfectly valid question - what is going to happen to all the wordpress blogs, small businesses, all the people who use MySQL because it's the de-facto database in the famous LAMP stack? - and start pointing the finger at Monty for wanting the $100m he got for selling MySQL to Sun, and still wants control...
I gave up watching soap operas when I was a student (a long long time ago now!). That doesn't stop them from keeping running.
GrokLaw has commentary here: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20091208104422384
Reprinted with permission from the author, Philip Howie:
O little town in Switzerland
How still we see thee lie.
Beneath thy deep and dreamless sleep
The proton beams go by.
Yet in detectors cavernous
(And sixteen miles of pipe)
The hopes and fears of fifty years
Are met in thee tonight.
The morning headlines slander
With pseudo-science rot.
We’re not the greatest party guests
But monsters we are not.
And particle meets particle
As, drinking their caffeine,
While mortals sleep, technicians keep
Their watch upon the screen.
How silently, how silently
The gift of mass comes down,
Which God imparts to atom parts,
Electron, muon, tau.
No ear may hear its coming;
No mighty flash is seen
But ATLAS will detect it when
That boson enters in.
O holy grail of physicists
Reveal thyself, we pray;
Cast out our doubt and enter in
To CMS today.
We’ll make front page of Nature;
A Nobel prize as well;
We’ll beat the Yanks at Fermilab
To God’s Higgs particle!
- By Philip Howie, who describes himself as "A scientist by day and a musician by night". I am privileged to know the man, and can say that he is an all-round genius.
Handy ssh command of the day: ssh-copy-id. ssh-copy-id copies your Public Key to a remote machine.
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/steve/.ssh/id_rsa):
Created directory '/home/steve/.ssh'.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): enterpassphrasehere
Enter same passphrase again: enterpassphrasehere
Your identification has been saved in /home/steve/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/steve/.ssh/id_rsa.pub.
The key fingerprint is:
localbox$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub remotebox
yourname@remotebox's password: enter-password-here
Now try logging into the machine, with "ssh 'remotebox'", and check in:
to make sure we haven't added extra keys that you weren't expecting.
localbox$ ssh remotebox
Enter passphrase for key '/home/steve/.ssh/id_rsa': enterpassphrasehere
Last login: Fri Dec 11 11:01:33 2009 from localbox
Google's Eric Schmidt said "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
Security expert Bruce Schneier has responded with an answer he already wrote three years ago
Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.
We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.
For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.
This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And it's our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.
Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.
Linux has truly made it as a mainstream desktop operating system. 2010 finally will be the year of Linux on the Desktop.
Screensaver Trojans installing Botnets
GNU/Linux is finally on parity with MS Windows!
Update according to the thread that reported this, the script removes its own key files, then downloads new copies. Since the links are now a 404 page, the virus removes itself with no user intervention!
This is, admittedly, nothing to do with the OS it runs upon, more that the virus writer was not aware of the "-O" flag to wget:
chmod 777 Auto.bash
chmod 777 gnome.sh
chmod 755 run.bash
command -p /usr/bin/run.bash
It is also worth noting that the advice going round the net is this:
sudo rm -f /usr/bin/Auto.bash /usr/bin/run.bash /etc/profile.d/gnome.sh index.php run.bash && sudo dpkg -r app5552
Since index.php and run.bash are downloaded into /usr/bin, these should be fully qualified. The
dpkg -rprobably doesn't need to depend on the success of the
rmcommand, either, so replace "&&" with ";":
sudo rm -f /usr/bin/Auto.bash /usr/bin/run.bash /etc/profile.d/gnome.sh /usr/bin/index.php /usr/bin/run.bash ; sudo dpkg -r app5552
I upgraded the RAM in my Acer Aspire One laptop last week. There were no "extra" screws left over after the process, I was most careful. But this week, I noticed a rattle in the laptop - I had got a loose screw. How could that have happened?
As it turns out, I had loosened two screws without needing to remove them, and I must have forgotten to tighten them up before reassembling the laptop. It was working fine until this morning, when it would not stay up for more than about one minute before killing the power.
The first screw was soon found - magnetically attracted to the left speaker, it was safe and sound. The other took a long time to find - I eventually found it lodged in the small internal fan. After a lot of digging, I managed to release it, but still had the same problem - it would kill itself after about one minute of running.
Eventually I had to use the pictured setup - with the motherboard upside down upon the screen (I put the soft case between the screen and the board), power attached, I could boot it up long enough to prod at the fan enough to get it going again under power.
Not a recommended serving suggestion for a laptop, though!
Apparently the only reason it was not possible to LiveUpgrade directly from Solaris 8 to Solaris 10, was the fact that Solaris 8 is missing the p7zip utility.
http://blogs.sun.com/patch/entry/now_possible_to_upgrade_directly points out that p7zip is now available.
There is no mention of x86... I shall investigate.
Update: Apparently this does not apply to x86, it's SPARC only