Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Linux rescues Microsoft

That might be a slight overstatement, but as I've pointed out before, MS has been delaying Vista for ages, and my opinion was that security, or an inability to make Vista secure, was the problem.

Now according to this and this article, they have got an extra layer in Vista called Address Space Layout Randomization (ALSR) which protects against the infamous buffer over run exploits so common in MS products. (Michael Howard is not the same MH as was leader of the tory party, he is in fact Microsoft's senior security program manager)

So Microsoft really can't write proper security, as they always do, they have had to "borrow" it from somewhere else, in this case Linux! It's not the first time it's happened either, when Hotmail was under a "denial of service" attack a while ago they had to hide the Windows servers behind a Linux firewall.

You couldn't make it up.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Periodic Table

And by that I mean a real table, this guy has built a proper table with boxes set into the top, each box has the element name and details, and inside, where he can get a sample, is stored a piece of that element.

The Periodic Table web site has to be see to be believed!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Open Source vs Microsoft

One of the points Microsoft always likes to make about open source software verus their operating system is that, as a commercial company, Microsoft have a vested interest in bringing new products to market, and respond to the market need quickly.

This article jogged my memory about just how long we have been waiting for MS Vista (Microsofts "new" operating system), I installed Linux on my computer as the sole operating system 2 years ago, I have updated through 3 new versions since, each with more and more improved features and useability, yet Bill Gates and his crew have consistantly failed to deliver their new product.

I know what is slowing them down, security, security and security! or at least, their inability to make security work properly.

Also they are trying to make sure that MS Vista is no longer "your" computer, but, in fact, it will belong to the media industries who are so keen to stop you ripping off their material. This will have the NASTY side effect of restricting what you do with your own stuff, and what you do to make life easier with your MP3 players etc. Basically MS Vista will be useless to anybody but the extremem numpty who just wants to surf the web and send e-mails that it will be (hopefully) shunned by anyone with any common sense.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Go Finland

That is all

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nuclear Power

Tony Blair has just announced that nuclear power is "back on the agenda with a vengeance". I think most people who know me know I'm against this for a number of reasons, the main one being that we have an atrocious record over only a few decades of keeping nuclear material safe, see here for the obvious one, or here for my rant about Cookridge hospital's disaster. If in only a few decades of having nuclear power we can't manage to safely transport and store nuclear waste, who on earth trust any government to safely store waste for the (approximately) 10,000 years it takes before this stuff presents no danger? I'll guarantee not many people spotted this little piece about a leak at Sellafield (sorry Windscale) which went un-noticed for months. Also gung ho American firms want to take over running Windscale which is (sarcasm warning) fantastic, if that happened we'd have a foreign firm storing nuclear waste in a country they had no allegiance to, and from whom they could escape the law by merit of being "american".

George Monbiot, who is a respected environmentalist who writes for the guardian has a lot to say about the true cost of nuclear power stations inthis article showing the "true" cost.

All I can think is that Tony wants new work on Nuclear Power stations as he intends for Britain to flaunt the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by developing a new generation of British nuclear weapons, and he needs a nuclear power industry to help make that job easier and cheaper, as the costs will be hidden in subsidies to the nuclear power industries.

The carbon costs alone of mining and transporting Uranium, Processing it, and building a "safe" power station actually means that WITHOUT taking in to account disposal of waste, a nuclear plant emits more CO2 than a conventional coal or gas powered station. In fact, buried in this economist article even American economists think that once debt write-offs, government subsidies and externalities are accounted for, the true cost of a Nuclear power plant is something close to double what "official" sources tell us.

I've remained loyal to Labour ONLY because my local MP George Mudie is "old labour" and a decent chap, and a rebel when it takes him, but that loyalty is wearing thin fast. (he failed me on identity cards, but that's another story)

So if you are against nuclear power, and a new generation of nuclear weapons, speak out now, and speak out loudly, you might think no-one will hear, but if you don't speak out, who will? you want to rely on me?

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Affair of the Lone Banana

Bananas are becoming extinct, this is fairly old news, I read about the imminent demise of the humble Banana in New Scientist 3 years ago. The problem being bananas are sterile, you only get new banana trees by cultivating cutting, so they are genetically the same plant, this plant is threatened by various diseases, and it is hard to develop hybrids from cuttings.

The banana we eat today is not the same variety as we used to buy years ago, that species became extinct for the same reasons.

But now, mainly blamed on rampant deforestation, the Banana may well vanish without some serious work as wild and lesser know varieties are being lost rapidly.

Apparently there is a possible lifesaver, one lone banana tree in the botanical gardens of Calcutta.

Maybe Chimpy McBush should invade Calcutta and save this tree for 'murika (assuming they don't blow up the wrong building and destroy it forever)

Here's a linky

Saturday, May 13, 2006

class VolcanoEruptApp { public static void main(String[] args) { System.out.println("Volcano about to erupt");}}

Sorry, my inner geek made me do it.

Can't claim credit though, that must go to the submitter on

I didn't see nothing!

I shouldn't admit to having seen this.

I will start posting again soon, it's just been a strange week, which does of course mean I should have lots to blog about, but it's personal.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Feeling brave?

If you are, and you have 300 odd bucks going spare, why not pick up this haunted teddy available on e-bay

The whole sorry story is quite a tale, not for the fainthearted.

Bank Holiday Weekend

With this post I am trying an experiment to reduce load time by linking to some pictures rather than having them on display.

Only 6 days late, but still, last weekend we went along to Golden Acre Park for a walk out and to feed the ducks and geese, they seem a lot tamer and hungrier than the Roundhay ones, and definitely friendlier than Temple Newsam ducks, who seem distinctly uninterested in bread. Here's the family feeding the ducks:

Me slightly nervous about being surrounded by hungry geese, and the (new?) greenhouse, like a mini tropical world.

On the Monday we went to Middleton Railway which is the oldest commercial railway in the world, established in 1758. The railway has been closed for over a year for major refurbishments and so the city council could build a new bridge over it, and only re-opened a few weeks ago, the new reception building is a welcome new edition giving a spacious area for the cafe and exhibits. Our train was pulled by a Bagnall 0-4-0ST called Matthew Murray built 1943. This is a great picture of everyone (except of course me, who has a frown because I'm trying to work out if the auto feature has triggered.)

And finally a nice shot looking back up the platform with our train waiting to pull out.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New world record

Approximately 3738 women attempt to break the world record for the most sucking babies. Previous record holders Manchester United unavailable for comment.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"The Prisoner" Returns

"I am not a number, I am a freeman"

Sky One are planning a big budget re-make of Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner" and it is rumoured that Christopher Eccleston might be involved.

Now I'm not to sure about this, Doctor Who returned for a new series, but this looks more like a re-make of the old series, what's up Sky? Run out of ideas? For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the ending was "open" for a new series, so there is no reason why they couldn't continue where it left off. If they just try to re-make the old programs with : to quote "a pacy, high concept six-part drama" they will just be turning out something mediocre.

Have to wait and see I guess, I could be wrong, it has been known.

Of fonts and bandits

Just been reading Paul Cornell's blog and thought I'd pass on these rather nice little titbits, firstly, the BBC has now set up a Robin Hood website in anticipation of the new series, filming has only been going on for a month so don't hold your breath. Nice bit of trivia, the actor playing Much is Sam Troughton, the grandson of Patrick Troughton who everyone knows as the second Dr. Who.

Also Paul has a link to a lovely Dalek font, which I just had to download.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Faster, faster, faster, yes

Well by the end of June NTL are planning to roll out faster speeds to us mere mortals, according to this article, they are dropping the 75GB monthly cap on the 10MB service, increasing the 2MB to 4MB and all for the same price. I just hope it all works better than the wanadoo problems with their speed upgrade. Still, apart from having to wait for a new set top box, the last NTL speed upgrade went without a hitch, so fingers crossed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More Who strangeness

If you have been watching Dr. Who you will probably have found these sites already, but for those who haven't:

Torchwood House which has a little flash game in it, and:

Deffry Vale High School which has an aptitude test which DS and I haven't beaten yet, but then, most of Sunday is spent in a small haze of beer. (not too much, but enough to befuddle my spatial senses in a game like this)