Archive for the 'Technology' Category

The time has come to do something

We are fast becoming a pawn of the major corporations.  Our democracies are being controlled by the companies with the largest purses that translate into lobbyists.

In the UK we are about to see the latest manifestation of this in the Digital Economy Bill.  This odious piece of proposed legislation will fundamentally undermine our freedoms.  Not only will a few of the guilty be swept up by it, but also a great number of innocent people will be victimised by it.

Those who are tech savvy will hide their identity behind proxies and encrypted tunnels that will keep them one step ahead of the IP hunters employed by the Big Content industry.

The people who will be caught will be those that download the occasional song, or want to catch up on their favourite television programme.  These people will be hounded, vilified and have their power to communicate curtailed.

Those most affected by it will be those that do not download anything; yes that’s right, those that haven’t done anything wrong.  We have seen many examples in other countries, most notably the USA, of people being wrongly accused of downloading copyrighted content.  Luckily, some of them were able to prove their innocence by proving they were dead or had never owned a computer.  Many more were forced to make settlement with the content enforcers, as they could not afford to fight to clear their names.

In this country, this proposed law will presume guilt until proven innocent, the exact reverse of what we have come to hold dear as our democratic right under our legal system.

It is clear that the only thing that Big Content understands is mammon.  It is therefore logical to hit them where it hurts; in the wallet.

I propose therefore that everyone who buys CD, DVD’s, video games, books and attends the cinema stops until the section of the legislation that is linked to the attack on Internet piracy is removed from the bill.

This may not take as long as it may seem.  The content industry is incredibly detailed in the level of its sales.  It will see the first drop as being a “blip”, especially at this time of year and, as we get closer and closer to Christmas they will get increasingly worried as sales continue to flat line.

“Why should I do this?” I hear you say.  The reason is that lobbyists have to be returned to their proper place, at the bottom of the food chain where they belong.  Soon, other lobbyists will see what an easy target the UK government is, then you will get all sorts of absurd and restrictive laws that erode our way of life.  Look at the laws in the US that are generated by lobby groups and see some of the terrible laws they produce that have eroded their freedoms.

If you agree that we must halt this now, email your friends, reference this blog on your websites, Digg this like mad.  The more people we tell, the more people will boycott these purchases.  The more people who boycott, the more pressure the elected and unelected will be under to remove this abhorrent bill.

Voting for change in government no longer works, time to vote with your wallet.  Boycott CD’s, DVD’s, video games, cinemas and books until they change their ways.  If everyone stops buying even one CD or DVD, the message will get through.

Stop buying for a month or two and they will stop the legislation.  Remember, it is you they are attacking and the attackers are the very people who want you to buy their goods.  Would you buy something from someone who was threatening to disconnect your Internet?

Stop buying for six months and the content industry will have to do two things.  One, they will have to find new ways for you, the public, to get their products, i.e. legal downloading.  Two, they will have to lower their prices, because you, the public will be controlling them, not as it is now, the other way round.

So stop buying now and let’s take back what is ours, our right to choose how and when we listen to music, watch a movie or read a book.  They think we are apathetic, let’s prove them wrong.

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More rubbish from the people who don’t understand the Internet

Well here we go again, our glorious government, under the auspices of its 2nd unelected leader, Lord Mandelson, has decided that they are going to give those naughty p2p people a thorough spanking for downloading all those movies and music.

God, I’m having trouble writing this today as my dog, Angry Pet, is laughing too hard at what I’m writing, as even a Labrador understands the Internet better than our government.

You see, what happened was that Lord Mandelson was having a meal with David Geffen on his yacht, when it appears that David slipped something in Mandy’s Raki (you know what these Hollywood types are like).  The effect must have been something like LSD, as he immediately started seeing purple seas, yellow skies and a way to stop people downloading copyright material, all things that anyone not in a drug-induced trance would immediately realise was impossible.

Perhaps for starters he should look at the way the Swedish government so effectively closed down The Pirate Bay.  That worked so well didn’t it?

Now, lets look at the effective ways of tracking down people who upload copyrighted material to the Net.  You see, this isn’t quite as cut and dried as it may seem.  The extortionists, sorry the RIAA, MPAA, BPI, etc would like you to believe they they use extraordinary forensic methods to track down these misguided souls.  However, the method they use, you can use.  Yes, you can try this at home.

Open your favourite Bittorent client (I’ll use uTorrent) and click on the tab marked Peers after selecting a live torrent.  Now choose one of the peers and make a note of the address, particularly the domain name (one of mine comes from wanadoo.fr).  Right click on this peer and untick Resolve IPs.  Make a note of the numbers there.  Right, if you were a member of MediaSentry, or a similar organisation employed by the racketeers, sorry media distributors, then you get your cosy lawyers to write to the Internet provider to obtain the name and address of whomsoever was using that IP address at the time and date of the infringement.

Sounds cut and dried, doesn’t it?  They should be so lucky.  You see, not everyone uses their own IP address when they download.  I know, I know, how could anyone be so underhand? Well, actually, anyone who knows what they are doing, that’s who.  There are two popular ways; these are spoofing and using a proxy.  Do a search on Google and you’ll soon see what an interesting subject this is – well that is if you are the same sort of mad geek as me, that is.

Now proxies issue their own IP addresses in the normal way, except they are not in the same country as the downloader.  For example, there is a very reasonably priced one in Canada, that my dog tells me is very reliable.  But anyone who can bend over backwards to lick his arse cannot be that discerning, even if he is eating with David Geffen.

The bigger problem is the spoofers, because they use any IP address they can get their hands on and that means yours and mine.  So even if I’ve never heard of torrents or downloading, I could still get a threatening letter in the post.  Of course, if your IP address gets spoofed three times, you won’t be able to read this any more, if they have their way.

This is a brief overview of how bloody stupid this whole idea is and I haven’t even got onto the subject of encryption.  So, if you’re still here reading this, think yourself lucky, but the odds are you won’t stay lucky forever if the current government has its way.

Well done Apple – failed.

We bought the Angry offspring a iPod Nano for Christmas 2008.  When we got it, we had the free engraving so she would feel it was personal.

Well it started going wrong.  Three times out of six, the iPod would lock up and lose all its data.  Basically it was becoming a prize pain in the arse.  Anyway, I felt it had to go back for repair.  Have you ever tried to prise an iPod out of a teenagers hands whilst there is still traces of life left in it (the iPod, not the teenager, let’s make that quite clear.)?  I tell you, I’d prefer to get meat out of an alligators jaws – it would be safer.

Anyway, after I’d put the cattle prod away I took it to the local Apple repair place.  “Ah”, says the man.  Now don’t you always hate that sound?  It automatically means trouble, usually with a capital F.

Ah? says I, in the hope that it would somehow balance the negative karma produced by the first utterance.  But it didn’t work – “If it wasn’t engraved, you’d get it replaced in 24 hours, but engraved items take 7 days.”  A week??? WTF???  He must have seen the sorrowful look on my face at that moment, as he said “Maybe less.”  Now you have to understand that Ms. Angry has a deformation, her hand is locked in a vice-like grip in exactly the shape of a Nano – she is going to look weird walking the streets, talking to herself, with what looks like a Lego characters claw.

It’s now been two weeks since I delivered the Nano into the hands of my nemesis, and there is still no sign of it.  I rang on the eighth day and every day after that, but to no avail.   Evidently it arrived on day seven, but without any engraving, so it had to go back, now I am awaiting a replacement for that.

Evidently, engraved Nano’s have to come direct from the factory in China.  I presume there are no engravers who work in England any  more.  Must be because they don’t want to release their iPods.

So thank you Apple, thank you so bloody. bloody much.

Good to see Microsoft hasn’t changed.

I see in the press that Microsoft has been taking other people’s intellectual property … again.  A Canadian company has successfully sued Microsoft for using their proprietary method of using xml in Office.

Over the years, the Big Gorrilla has used other people’s work as their own.  I am reminded of the compression software that was used in MSDOS 6 that cut the skids under a company that was selling a product to do the same thing.  I kind of thought that they had got smarter than this, but it doesn’t look like it.

The next battle ground will be with VMWare I suspect.  Once again, an innovative organisation has produced a product that has caught on in the marketplace – then what happens? MS announce a similar product in their latest server operating system.

I remember the Comdex conference when MS conned the world into thinking that they had a wonderful product up and running called Windows.  All that was there was a mock up, but it was enough to kill Gem, that they were scared would steal a march on them.

Let me get this straight, I am not anti Microsoft.  The operating system market would be a disaster if things had carried on the way they were: every manufacturer having their own version of CP/M or QDOS, or whatever.  Standardisation was a big boon, and Apple didn’t have the imagination to achieve it at the time.  But the time has some for the Seattle Slugger to be reined in.

When they regard other people’s intellectual property with such contempt, how can they complain when others pirate their software?