A light at the end of the tunnel?
As it appears that this is a war that can't be fought using reason,
financial justification, ethics, human rights, or just plain old
has to fought with yet another weapon in the armoury of the good, comedy.
are good at this and even have draft
National ID card application forms,
print some out and leave them in the pub. The classic
also chimes into the debate, with an article on
which is also available in a
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we
shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills,
we shall fight them in the pubs...
[Fri, 28 May 2004 13:21
Ever had to parse some tag soup HTML? An unpleasant
job at the best of times.
claims to have solved the problem (mostly),
and leaves you free to spend your time doing
useful stuff with the extracted data rather than
reinventing the wheel continuously. Beautiful Soup
is written in Python, and works with Python 1.5.2
or later. It's all in one file, and Python licensed.
Nice looking stuff, I've got to do some more parsing
and scraping, so I'm going to give this a try.
[Fri, 28 May 2004 12:53
New Finn Brothers Album On The Way
News from the
Tongue in the Mail
mailing list, Frenz guru Peter Green's
Famous for 16 minutes
Finn Brothers News
fansite is that the
have a new album coming in the next few months.
Entitled "Everyone Is Here", from
a working title of "Where the fuck is everyone?",
it looks like the album is going to have the
following track list:
1. WON'T GIVE IN
2. NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
3. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
4. LUCKIEST MAN ALIVE
6. DISEMBODIED VOICES
7. A LIFE BETWEEN US
8. ALL GOD'S CHILDREN
9. EDIBLE FLOWERS
10. ALL THE COLOURS
11. PART OF ME, PART OF YOU
12. GENTLE HUM
There were 4 other tracks recorded, which no doubt will
creep out in bootlegs, b-sides and club cds. They were
"Way Back Down", "The Land and the Sea",
"Sunset Swim" and "Everyday Alright".
In other news, it's Neil's birthday today too!
[Thu, 27 May 2004 23:57
Dodgy Prints Finger The Wrong Man
Yet more proof that current biometric measures are poor
and hugely fallible:
apology for Madrid bomb fingerprint fiasco
And possibly even more chilling:
Benson versus Identix
a number of real world examples of how reliance on identity systems
based on the use of ID cards and biometrics can go seriously wrong and cause
[Wed, 26 May 2004 23:07
If a tree falls in a forest...
and there is nobody
around does it make a sound?
art is destroyed in a warehouse fire
does it matter?
Surely great art is for seeing, touching, criticizing, and
provoking emotions, not for caching away in a warehouse,
hidden, unseen, unloved? Have I missed the point? Or was
the very value of this art lost the minute that it disappeared
from public view?
[Wed, 26 May 2004 21:58
pyblosxom 1.0 released
And there's me still agonising about when to go for
We've cleaned up a lot code and documentation and fixed a lot of bugs.
We've stabilized the API and added static rendering. In short, this
should be a pretty solid 1.0 milestone for PyBlosxom.
I encourage people to upgrade. When you untar the distribution tarball,
read through INSTALL and README. These files will walk you through
installation and upgrading from 0.9.
Download it here:
[Tue, 25 May 2004 13:15
Fun-1 - London Grand Prix?
A London Grand Prix?
Is that really going to happen? 200mph down the
sounds fun, but I can't see it happening. A London
race would bring in most of the traditional
banger race strategies of a street circuit, and it would
sort the men from the boys
as Monaco does. And Michael will eventually have to learn
that trying to put opponents on the grass when there is
no grass does not work...
says there's many downsides to a London event, the
construction required, the lack of Government interest,
Ken's desire for a car free London, etc. etc. would all
make it a non-starter, but we've seen stranger things.
Magny Cours and the new Nurburgring kart tracks to name
just two. Me, I'd like to see Brooklands back on the
calendar, and it's only just down the road from Woking!
Anyway, the London race is a nice story for
Which has now moved to the
We've seperated the content into two blogs;
one for the links and one for the rest, so although the most
recent links appear on the front page, otherwise they're
seperate entities, and the good bit is that you get two sets of
feeds to pick from.
I'll have to now get on with finishing the
at least I've written the
so there's no mad rush for this Sunday.
[Mon, 24 May 2004 14:01
So now the ID and central identity register bandwagon is
and the lucky Scots are the next to get their names
and identities put on the
Of course, there's one rather big fly in the ointment in
that biometrics still haven't been proven to work accurately
over a large sample of people, even the
traditional fingerprint isn't guaranteed to be unique.
The "ID cards and an ID database are fine because I've got
nothing to hide" argument really falls down when there's
a criminal running around leaving fingerprints identical to
[Mon, 24 May 2004 13:00
The sun's been out this week, so the new paddling pool has come out for
the first time - we got it in the sales last Autumn - and it's a tad
bigger than I'd been expecting. 10' x 30" doesn't sound that big,
especially to one who thinks in metric (it's about 3m x 0.75m),
but there's 3500 litres of water in there, 3.5 tons!
It took somewhere around 6 hours to fill, so I was dreading what it'd
cost me on the water bill, but according to
3.5 cubic metres of water will have only cost me £2.38 bargain!
[Fri, 21 May 2004 14:14
UK Govt Breathes Sigh of Relief
It was only flour, but the purple haze hanging in the
houses of Parliament diverted the media's attention away
and the Governments' ID card fiasco and onto Bliar and co.
Maybe that's cynical, but this event took news coverage away from other
more important happenings, I wonder what other bad news the Government
sneaked out on Wednesday?
[Fri, 21 May 2004 13:33
ID card backlash
there's a surprise!
Despite all the government spin, there remains a significant proportion of
the population that doesn't see any need, advantage or point in having ID
Maybe it's the costs, the govt say £3billion, other less biased
estimates are at least double that, and I wouldn't be surprised if the
eventual cost was actually significantly higher, given the govt's proven
track record of incompetant handling of major IT based projects.
More probable is as Simon Davies, director of
says "The more people hear about the government's proposals,
the less they like them,"...
event this afternoon in London, get along there if you can. It's your
rights, identity and money on the line.
[Wed, 19 May 2004 13:29
What else could we buy for the cost of a national ID card?
Based on the estimates of £6 billion, here are
that could be acheived with this level of state funding.
£6,000,000,000.00 is rather a lot of our money, shouldn't
we be doing something useful with this rather than giving it shareholders
of foreign IT companies?
[Tue, 18 May 2004 21:19
Sean Palmer's Wikis Rock
What more can I say, after I got Sean's minimalist wiki
on various mad devices, I decided to throw
a copy of its big brother
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with it yet,
but I've needed a wiki for random notes far too many times
of late so it'll more than suffice for that initially.
I'm tempted to add functionality such as RCS
integration, RSS and a recent changes page, but
I'm not sure if that would spoil the Zen purity
and simplicity of pwyky.
[Tue, 18 May 2004 20:32
ID Card or 60,000 extra policemen?
Thought for the day. Which would you prefer?
card or 60,000 extra policemen? Which would be the most likely to
reduce crime, and even the semi-mythical threat of terrorism? Not a hard
question, but that's what the ID card is likely to cost you the tax payer.
Put like that the ID card only makes sense if you're a crook, terrorist,
EDS employee or shareholder...
[Sun, 16 May 2004 21:42
Siemens SX1 and Nokia N-Gage, sublime and ridiculous
Yeah, I know what you're thinking, the SX1 is sublime and the N-Gage
ridiculous, well actually they both fit into each category!
A few weeks ago I got to play with
and I have to admit it's far beyond any of the other Series 60
devices in terms of beauty, it's a gorgeous jewel of a device,
pictures really don't do justice to its look and feel.
But this beauty comes at a price.
The main cost seems to be usability, the much muttered about
keys either side of the display are not a problem conceptually,
in fact like the 3650's keypad this form of layout appears to
have a big advantage over the traditional grid keypad for double
thumbed usage. Siemens even provide a game on the phone which
encourages you to learn the keypad in a fun way.
The usablity downsides are that I was perhaps expecting
the keys to press in sideways a little, or even arc
slightly like a piano key, but they are strictly push in,
which feels a little unnatural. Also all of the surfaces
are very shiny and slick, greasy or sweaty fingers will
slide over the keys, and the small chromed joystick would
be greatly improved by being bigger and rougher surfaced.
Siemens appear to be aiming the SX1 into a number of niches, first with
motorsport and the glorious rossa corse coloured
and the dark and brooding
models, what next a grossly tacky white and bling Beckham model
because of their Real Madrid sponsorship? Or is a smartphone
entirely the wrong device for David? :-)
As for the N-Gage, well one does initially feel self
concious using it in Taco mode, but with the supplied
headset this is often a rare event. I'm tempted to
get a Bluetooth headset, but I'll not be able to use
that to listen to the radio or MP3 player. Otherwise the
N-Gage is a very capable and usable phone, my only real
concerns being the lack of camera, and it being rather
awkward to text with one hand.
[Sun, 16 May 2004 07:35
Stand Up For Yourself
I had an email from the
folks earlier, they've got some important things to say
about the proposed UK ID cards, this is an significant change to UK laws
and has far reaching implications, and as they say about
the whole debacle:
After all, it's not every year you get to protect fundamental
civil liberties won over a period of many centuries. Or even
the chance to stop the government throwing several billion
down the drain labelled 'Yet Another IT Debacle'.
For starters there's a big meeting on Weds May 19th, details
below and more details available from
Wednesday May 19, 2004; 13:30-17:00 hrs
The Old Theatre, London School of Economics
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE
Organised by Privacy International, in association with Liberty,
Statewatch, Stand.org.uk, The Register, The 1990 Trust and the
Foundation for Information Policy Research. Hosted by the Department
of Information Systems of the London School of Economics
The government has introduced draft legislation for a national
identity card. The card system will cost at least £3 billion and is
likely to become an essential part of life for everyone residing in
If the draft legislation is accepted by Parliament, everyone will be
required to register for a card. Biometric scans of the face, fingers
and eye will be taken. Personal details will be stored in a central
database. A unique number will be issued that will become the basis
for the matching of computer systems.
The proposed card may be required to access vital public services and
to receive benefits. The government proposes to enforce the programme
through numerous new criminal and civil offenses, including provision
for unlimited financial penalty and up to ten years' imprisonment.
The implications for everyone in the UK are far-reaching.
Join us at this important meeting to hear from key figures in the
fields of law, politics, security, technology and human rights.
Decide for yourself whether this is a plan that should be supported.
The meeting is free of charge.
Draft programme (subject to change):
13.30 Welcome: Simon Davies, London School of Economics
13.35 Rt Hon David Blunkett, MP, Home Secretary (invited)
13.50 Rt Hon David Davies, MP, Shadow Home Secretary
14.00 Mark Oaten, MP, Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman;
David Winnick, MP, Labour;
Simon Thomas, MP, Plaid Cymru;
Lord Phillips of Sudbury
14.40 Q&A with audience
14.50 Dr Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General, Muslim Council of
15.00 Karen Chouhan, Executive Director, The 1990 Trust
15.10 Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty
15.20 Q&A with audience
15.35 Roger Smith, Director, JUSTICE
15.45 Paul Whitehouse, former Chief Constable, Sussex Police
15.55 Q&A with audience
16.10 Peter Williamson, President, Law Society
16.20 Prof Ross Anderson, Cambridge University
16.30 Jonathan Bamford, Asst Information Commissioner
16.40 Q&A with audience
16.55 Next steps
More details will appear here:
In the meantime please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing
Media enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Sat, 15 May 2004 09:43
UK ID cards
I've got so much ranting steam building up about this subject
that I've decided to give it its own sub-category, previous
posts on this subject have appeared in my
For the next few months I'll be posting one or two pertinant
links a day to other discussions on this subject.
[Sat, 15 May 2004 09:28
lovely galleries of pics keep expanding (that's him above), nice stuff,
pictures of Riga in Latvia
really make me want to go and vist
Following on from my earlier round up of some great
I've also stumbled across this fascinating
to the harbour and fish market (in French),
Whistable (sic) gallery
meanderings along the
[Fri, 14 May 2004 13:47
The Hitchhikers Guide to Curry Night
Mark took me to the New Delhi when I was downunder
a few months back, highly recommended, fine curries
and run by friendly amenable folks. It's nice
to see they do a
[Fri, 14 May 2004 13:18
So MT 3.0 is going to be expensive, so what? They've
got to pay Joi's phone bill, keep him in plane tickets,
and still sustain Mena's pie habit, of course it's going to be
bloody expensive :-)
More interestingly, as
Danny Ayers suggests
what exactly is "no commercial usage" from a freelancer's point
[Fri, 14 May 2004 13:17