The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

iTunes 4.9 with PodCatcher built in

Download iTunes. Get it. Get it now. Click on Podcasts and search for Dave Winer, subscribe to Morning Coffee Notes, then search on Adam Curry, and subscribe to the Daily Source Code. You are now listening to the best in truly independent broadcasting. Here endeth the lesson.

Well, actually, it could carry on if you like:) I'll post a list of my podcatcher subscriptions when I get in tonight.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

More about Allofmp3

After this post, I did a little surfing and talking to others. It really is looking as though they're legit. The druid has done some digging which is worth reading (great minds think alike :). The payment method, which used to be Paypal, but they stopped because they were leant on allegedly, is WebMoney or Yandex.Money, both of which are DTI approved, again, allegedly I haven't checked.

Me mate Dave has signed up and paid $10 to see what he can get. He hasn't been declared bankrupt yet, and I'll find out how he did and listen to some of the download results tomorrow.

Looking good so far.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Shock news: gun makers guilty of encouraging gun crime

...oh, hang on a minute, got that wrong. No, no, sorry... just substitute "software companies" and "piracy" for "gun makers" and "gun crime" and you have the Supreme Court ruling on file-sharing software companies today.

It'll never happen to Smith and Wesson.

Corporate lobbying seems to win in law over the little guys. At least 50% of the people I know use BitTorrent for non-piracy activities, and most of the ones that do download a bit of music or a film go and buy if they like it. They wouldn't have bought it if they hadn't tried it (that's what I like about the model, 8 cents a track makes it trivial to legally try something. Can the RIAA and the MPAA et al see that? No, despite the fact they've just had the most profitable year in history (again), and have had help pointing them at their various failings and how to exercise the Long Tail).

Are there counter arguments? Probably, loads. But I bet they're not made by the guy or guy-ess who's expected to suck it all up, and watch/listen to what's available in the top ten today. No, those counter arguments will almost definitely be made by the those with a vested interest (or Murdock readers: What do you want to believe today?

Thank God we're in Britain and we have honest law-makers... cough, cough (sorry about the non-direct link, but can't find a permalink, the article is The Downing Street Memo - part 1).

Allofmp3 review

Eye-opening review on Allofmp3, an mp3 site I'd heard of but was loath to go anywhere near as it sounded too good to be true. Apparently it isn't Russian Mafia, getting ready to sell our IPs to CIA (or something), it's legit, legal, above board, and a cracking business model. RIAA take note. You can't stop progress, love will find a way, and other cliches.

Just gotta check who museekster are to make sure they're legit ;)

Further on the DocuWiki

Further to my post about Dokuwiki. It took awhile to get installed, what with having to get php running on an old apache 1.3 installation, and sendmail is just never going to work on windows for me, but I've got a test bed up and running and it's brilliant. The security features are pretty cool, so I can secure it if I want to (which defeats the purpose of a wiki on the inkernet, but is damn useful at work).

It also has almost wysiwyg formatting on the page edits, rather than the users having to remember the (admittedly very simple) formatting tags. Very pleased. Will porbably roll it out at work too. Result. Thanks Splitbrain.

Jedi Council Forums - British Vader

Jedi Council Forums - British Vader. An excellent English/British, Yank/American discussion, kicked off by a comment about David Prowse's interesting Darth Vader voice (if you haven't seen the clip where you hear his voice coming from Darth Vader, you're missing out). I can't get "Now Oi am the maaaster" out of my head.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Baby Diner

Baby Diner
Originally uploaded by partTimeSock.
A friend's wee boy peruses the menu.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Lightsaber duel

Lightsaber duel
Originally uploaded by partTimeSock.
Went camping last w/e with some of the lads. We had some glowsticks and they look damn fine in a photo (do I get an award for most gratuitious use of moblogging from the pub?).

The Wiki implementation I've been looking for?

I have had a damn good idea (I think) for website, which would be best served by a wiki. I have setup a number of wikis at work for various areas which use the usemod implementation, which works well, is pretty damn simple, is in perl so I can hack it if necessary, and non-IT bods seem to understand it's syntax pretty quickly and use it (which is always the acid test)... but. But what? I dunno really. It's lovely and simple, but really takes some looking after to keep it looking clean, even after adding the CSS hacks. And it's a bit limited in some formatting and linking.

I was hunting back through the blog because I remembered someone mentioning on a comment a wiki I rather liked the look of (and the content, but that's not the issue right now).

DokuWiki is the wiki implementation it uses and it's gorgeous. The syntax is slightly heavier than usemod, but seems way more powerful too, which is what I want. It's done in PHP, which means I'll have to have a look at installing it into Apache, and whether I need to be able to hack it. From all accounts PHP is simliar to Perl, and very powerful too. Looking forward to it.

Installing OSes

What I really want on all the OS installs, Windows, Linux, Mac, etc, is not "Time to complete" but "Time to next interaction". Or both. Time to next interaction is useful because it tells me if I have enough time to go for a smoke, or build a small log cabin, or something. Time to completion is useless as you're guaranteed to walk away at 17 mins and 30 secs, come back ten mins later and see a dialog up asking for your inside leg measurement and your great-grandmother's maiden name, with "Time to Completion" stuck on 17mins 25 secs. (Moved from previous post, to post in it's own right.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Building PCs

It's my bro's birthday tomorrow and (among other things) I'm rebuilding a spare PC I have for him to go to uni with (assuming he passes his A's :s). Got to the point I'm installing XP. I really hate it. I really want to put Linux on there, but I know he won't use it and can't currently run his iPod Shuffle with it (I don't think he can anyway). I'm being sly and installing OpenOffice instead of Office (not that I have a spare licence for Office anyway). Unless anyone gives him a password protected M$ Office file, he won't notice the diff I don't think. Foot in the door. Catch 'em young I say.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New Server

Our new server arrived today (having spent most of a week at work because no-one gave me the message left that it had been delivered, harumph). It looks excellent, lots usb ports and firewire ports, a temp display (oh yeah), and bloody great holes all over the case for cooling. Two 200Gb sata drives (going to raided I think). For some reason there's a TV card in there too, but ours not to reason why. Not going to build it now as have been out for dinner and need sleep and the bulbs gone in the study. Nuts.

BugMeNot: a public service website. Nice one. Here's the Sydney Morning Herald link.

Aussie journo slams podcasting - and newspapers still don't get it

cameron reilly: Aussie journo slams podcasting. Cool post Camerion.

What really annoyed me was that I couldn't read the opinion piece from the newspaper because it's register only... free, but register only. F**k that, as they say in the trade. The only reason they want me to register is so that they can track me and my habits, across multiple websites in this case as the cookie is supplied by fairfax. I have to live in the real world, where I'm recorded on cctv about 300 times a day: watched by road traffic cameras, watched on the train, watched on the tube, watched at work, etc, etc, and it's a bloody massive infringement of my civil liberties (anyone who rolls out the old chestnut "well if you're not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't mind", is a moron - you won't mind if I setup GPS cameras in your bathroom and your car then?). I'm not having it online where I can avoid it. I wouldn't mind (much) if it was giving me something of value in return (e.g. Bloglines), but it's only for them and their advertisers. There is no value back to me at all in registering, except I can read some badly-briefed journo's article which I was going to read to get a balance before forming an opinion. Tough. Opinion formed. Cam's great and the Sydney Morning Herald are anachronistic (along with most newspapers websites). Yar, boo, sucks to you.

Love the BBC, they don't stop you whether you have cookies enabled or not.

Today's Dilbert

There's something darkly funny about todays Dilbert. Can't quite put my finger on it.

Douglas Adams was a Prophet

The Doc Searls Weblog : Monday, June 20, 2005. But anyone who's read/listened to H2G2 knew he was a prophet anyway :)

Access your GMail account on a WAP or Pocket PC device - Access your GMail account on a WAP or Pocket PC device. Interesting. It's grown out of a project on Sourceforge. It means any WAP enabled phone (pretty much any of current phones on the market) can get gmail. Pretty cool idea. Haven't tried it as I have Versamail on the Treo, but should I want to check my mail on my wife's phone, now I can.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ladies can stand too

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bush's climate row aide joins oil giant

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Bush's climate row aide joins oil giant. For God's sake - these people must actually be evil henchmen, not just like the rest of us poor unfortunates who are just "doing our job".

Colgate Bendy Toothbrush

Just got a Colgate bendy toothbrush (one each for SocksWife and moi). Been using for the last couple of days, and there's been something about it that freaks me out, but I couldn't put my finger on it. SocksWife has just started using hers and she said it feels like when you had a loose milk tooth when you were a kid (or had just ridden your face into a parked car, parked brother, some bloke's fist, select... I said that bit, not her), which is exactly what it feels like. Thanks Gorgeous.

Got two more of these toothbrushes in the cupboard, guess that's a few months of having freaky-teeth-falling-out feelings. I could prob get to like it. Be useful to enjoy the sensation in the next fight I get into (on 12 years fight-free and counting:).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Road pricing wheeze drives me crazy

This was originally intended to be a comment on the EverythingIsInteresting blog, but I went off on one, so I had to post it here and link. Sorry Dan :)

Dan, can't agree with you. Here's my reasoning.

I believe you have to go back to root causal. So the key driver is not the question "What do we do about all this congestion?", it's "Why have we got all this congestion?".

(Two things it isn't (which this policy explicitly targets) is:
  • because people have too much money and can afford to drive around like they just don't care
  • because people have nothing better to do than hang around in traffic queues.

Looking for the root causal(s), I believe the causes of congestion are threefold:
  1. A lot of people need to be in roughly the same place at the same time (work)
  2. Public transport has been so underinvested in (and terribly managed) that it costs a fortune and is too unreliable to be a viable option for many people
  3. Successive governments have ignored road planners' advice and built new roads too small to take the predicted traffic levels (but cheaper).

Despite what you imply, most people would rather kick back and let someone take the strain of getting them to work, but they either can't afford the train (£3600 for a yearly standard ticket (£20 quid for a single) to get into London from about 60 miles out) or can't rely on public transport to get them into work on time.

Cars are relatively cheap and you can work out how long it's going to take you to get in regularly. Currently, leaving at the same time everyday, it takes me between 1hour 10mins, and 3 hours to get into work, same place, same time each day) on public trnsport. 95% of the time it is greater than 1hr 20mins... to do 60 miles... on a train due to take 50 mins and a tube ride due to take ten mins. It would take me 1 hour on my motorbike, and two and half hours in my car, but at least those figures are constants, the train and tube are pick a time, any time. Many people would lose their jobs if they were late as often as I am due to trains not running correctly. You'd maybe say they could get the earlier train, but they're already aiming to be in 15 mins early, so you're demanding they give another 1 hour per day to the world away from their family because the public transport system is a bit crap. And possibly lose their job anyway, the third time the train's late this week.

If they go by car currently, it's relatively a lot cheaper, at least they nearly always guarantee what time they'll get in, and, crucially, 70% of whatever they pay for petrol (which is dependant on whether they have gas guzzler or not and how far they drive) goes straight to the government, do not pass go, do not have massive bureaucracy, just get the oil companies to write a cheque for 70% of fuel revenue for the month. Bish, bash, bosh. Admin? What admin? It's all part of the Inland Revenue.

What the govt is proposing is that every car owner on the road buy a £500 black box, register it, and then they create a huge bureacracy to administer it (anyone noticed the cost vs efficiency of the admin of the congestion charge?). Billing, accounts payable, human resources, debt control, baliffs, signage, letterheads, etc, etc.

The likely cost of going on the road will drive (ha-ha) the low paid off the road (many of the ones who are on timeclocks and get fired for being late, and/or who can't live close to work as they have been priced out of housing market), so they cram onto the already overcrowded public transport (which has put it's prices up as it still substantiatally cheaper than going by road now). So nurses, firemen, police, cleaners, back office staff, call-centre operatives, security guards, etc are crammed into cattle trucks. These journeys cost them more than their already crippling mortgage each month.

Meanwhile, the congestion free roads are superhighways for the rich and famous to swan about the place, taking less than an hour to do 60 miles in their 12mpg cars, being driven by their chaffeur (two people, that's car sharing, can't charge them). AND, because the petrol tax has been removed, they pay exactly the same road toll as someone who does the same journey in a 50mpg car (not that they can afford it, but hey, it's a comparison).

One guy worked out that his 60 mile commute (from a place that had a train station before the Beeching Axe, and has only one bus service an hour for two hours in the morning and two hours at night, if he booked it the previous day on a phone line that's never answered) would cost him £25,000 pounds a year, about 5K more than he earns.

Is it sensible to attack the symptoms and not the cause? Especially if that attack is targetted at the weakest and most dependant of society? I think not. The root causals need to be attacked before targetting congestion per se.

If tele-working and inexpensive waldoes and were widespread, everyone had a functioning, reliable broadband connection and a video camera (to keep in contact with people they can't afford to drive and visit), and the public transport system was as reliable as the Swiss transport system, maybe, just maybe, this might be a workable, equitable plan. As it is, it a sticking plaster too far on the mess that is this, and previous, governments "transport policy". Bring it on Mr Darling and Mr Ladyman, you'll likely be first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Stupid Sock

I lost my Treo yesterday. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid idiot. At least it was insured on the household ins... what's that, 300 quid excess? Arrrggghhhhh! Stupid, stupid, stupid goit.

I'm pretty thick. Goddamnit.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The objectives of the International Space Station

The Space Review: Twenty-five gigabucks of steel: the objectives of the International Space Station. Includes a list of the objectives of the ISS. An interesting read.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I, Cringely thinks Intel is buying Apple

I, Cringely. Going for Broke. Excellent read. Hard hitting questions too. I didn't know the background on the Intel versus PowerPC chips, but Cringely explains it, and other background well, before moving on to make his thought-provoking points. As more people read this I bet Apples share price goes up a bit.

Dating an Apple Developer

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Help Anyone

Help Anyone
Originally uploaded by partTimeSock.
Found this on my old PC. Creased me up. No idea who or what it was for. Anyone got any ideas?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Jobs Announces Podcast Suport in iTunes

Apple - QuickTime - WWDC 2005. Will watch all of it soon, but the bits I've heard already, Apple are fully integrating a podcast directory and a podcatcher into iTunes. Sounds very cool. Oh yeah, and they're going use Intel processors in the future! On the one hand, that could mean you will be able to install the Mac OS for Intel chips on a PC, on the other hand, why the hell would you want to?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

New Podcast and Other Stuff

Been putting up more of the framework for the partitioning of the garage today, so am totall knackered as I fly a desk most of my life and just get angry with people rather than jogging, to get my heartrate up. Hallo heart-attack, just wait round that corner there.

May have a damn announcement in the next couple of days regarding a podcast I'm probably going to be involved in. I'm quite excited. Have been on Skype for a couple of hours discussing it, and recording the discussions using WireTap Pro too. May have a coupple of little teasers out there soon :)

Quick News RSS reader update: it's OK. It's nice having an RSS source on the Treo, but I don't use it much. Just when the iPod has packed up and I forgot my book. I think I'd prefer a River of News style, rather than page per feed. Page per, which I think works well on a big screen, just doesn't seem to work on when you have limited screen real estate.

Crackberry on BBHub

CrackBerry addiction on bbhub linked to little ol'me middle of last month. Thanks man.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Why Should We Care About Darfur?

The New York Times > Opinion > Interactive Feature > Why Should We Care?. This is really worth a look. Still half way through at the moment.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Tube - Customer refunds

Customer refunds - Transport for London. Quick, clean, reliable web form too. At bloody last! After my half an hour today (second half-hour delay this week) I have submitted a claim, and will do each day I'm over 15 mins late in either direction. Maybe, if this gets round enough people, they'll start taking the customers, rather than the shareholders, seriously. Who wants trains and stations with lovely new colour schemes if the trains are all screwed. Mutter, mutter.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Quick News RSS reader progress Part II

OK. Managed to get it installed on the Mac (failed on the PC, see this post). It wasn't totally plain sailing. Had to copy the conduit file to the palmOne conduits folder myself and it just crashed HotSync initially. Restarted the Mac, still crashed it. Removed the file, re-extracted it from the .sit file, and copied it again. Worked. Bit of a pain, but pretty simple compared to PC install troubleshooting :)

Boy does it work. Loads to read on the Treo, but I am having trouble with the interface. I think this is just newbie woes, and I'll be alright once I've got used to it.

I can select about whether to sync over HotSync, over GPRS, or over both. I've put it to just HotSync, but I can still force a GPRS sync for a specified feed very easily. Emailing a link is a pain. It does the emailing quite well, moving into VersaMail smoothly, but getting back to Quick News means going back through the Apps screen. I could assign a hot button I suppose....

hippyshopper: Harry Potter goes eco

Chris Price's excellent hippyshopper site has all kinds of environmentally friendly gadgets, place mats, etc on it. And also Harry Potter info and links.

News from the current Ethical Consumer

News from the current Ethical Consumer (the link might go away as there is no permalink):
Kimberly-Clark’s own documents show that it is logging intact forests in the Canadian boreal, containing trees that are upwards of 180 years old. The boreal forest is the largest ancient forest left in North America and the habitat of species such as grizzly and black bears, woodland caribou, wolves, bald eagles, and boreal owls.

The campaign site is Quite frightening reading. I shall be avoiding Kleenex and only using top quality Bernard tissues ("keep 'em handy, when you're feeling randy").