20 Nov

New website

I have changed our pages to a new ICT platform, WordPress, and am testing out the features and so on.
There may be some rogue posting or nonsense, so don’t fret about it for a bit, eh?

10 Dec

Operation Leakspin..

Well it seems Operation Payback imploded. It made a pretty good impact at first and then as their command and control infrastructure was destroyed then they ended up aimless. Whilst I have a regard for their jolly antics it’s like smasing a window, it has an effect once but after that it’s power is lost and anyway.. stopping people using the ‘Net is not a long term strategy, altho’ not a bad one to have up your sleevem since the governments (and let’s not kid ourselves who is behind these big DDOS attacks) use them as much as leaning on private companies. Maybe Paypal and Mastercard and Visa will think twice next time before dropping customers who haven’t broken any laws and certainly haven’t been tried of such. BTW did you know Mastercard take and process money for the KKK, declared a terrorist organisation in the 19th century by a US federal judge.. and in 1999 in South Carolina..  I digress..

A much better approach is the new Operation Leakspin which is both charmingly honest, strangely sexist (Gentlemen?) and yet the right way to go. The best way to fight censorship is more free speech not less. Mind you.. I’d keep the ammo handy..


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09 Dec

Cyberpunk is here and it’s not all shiny

This is the future that Gibson wrote of all those years about. Largely dominated by megacorps, but with fringers nipping between the gaps. Maybe it’s better, since the fringers are one step ahead for now, and although Twitter is a corporate entity, it’s going to be very hard for them to shut down clever use of their service. Some people may setup alternatives, indeed there is much talk of darknets.. but they sound more like ghettos than areas of freedom. The biggest freedom would be to break the centralised nature of DNS.. and boy would that be both liberating and (from an architecture point of view) scary.

31 Jul

Amazon Kindle White not available in UK!

Amazon have failed me:

Hello Tom,

The White version of the kindle is currently only available on the Amazon.com store.

Unfortunately there will not be a white version available on the Amazon.co.uk store and you can’t order it from the
US store as you will be redirected to the UK store

Please let me apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you for your interest in kindle.

Did I solve your problem?

Now how can Ann have a Kindle that matches her Macbook?

12 Aug


Do you have an older machine? Is it straining to keep up with XP or is it still running Windows 98 or ME? Have you tried Linux and found that the GNOME or KDE environments are just too much for your old computer? Well, before you run to PC World to waste a shedload of money on a new box, consider Xubuntu.

Xubuntu is my old friend Ubuntu Linux, but with a very keen eye on running on older and less powerful computers. It does this by (paradoxically) only using the most up to date software and limiting the number of extra libraries and services it runs. It also pre-installs faster lighter applications where they will probably meet your needs (so Abiword and Gnumeric as word processor and spreadsheet rather than the hog that is OpenOffice). If you want you can still install the heavier versions if you need them. [Do you know just how eay it is to install Ubuntu Linix software?]

XFCE DesktopXubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment, meaning that it will run fast while still delivering a user-friendly interface. It’s a little like a simple Mac, but in many ways it also brings to mind the less complex days of GEM, Windows 3, System 9 and other windowing systems of the 80s and 90s.

What all this means is that your PC, with at least 193Mb of RAM, and even an old processor (I type this on a Pentium 3 500Mhz) will zip along as fast if not faster than it did when new and shiny. Now.. as long as you don’t need to run the latest graphics card monsters from a games shop.. that could save you lots of pennies to spend on something more interesting instead..

Go Xubuntu!

26 Jul

Why are PCs so damned slow?

Con Kolivas is a famed Linux kernel developer who recently gave it all up. He makes some great points about how slow PCs are today even though they are so much more powerful than the PCs we all started with..

The standard argument people give me in response is ‘but they do such more these days it isn’t a fair comparison’. Well, they’re 10 times slower despite being 1000 times faster, so they must be doing 10,000 times as many things. Clearly the 10,000 times more things they’re doing are all in the wrong place

His departing interview, which is about PCs and speed in general, both Linux and others is here.

It does make some very good points, why is my uber turbo bastard PC basically no faster than the first 8080 PC I ever used in an office, or the Atari ST that I loved and adored for so many years?

Another PC blogger, Mary Jo Foley, notes with some disdain how the vaunted fast boot of Vista has failed to deliver.

30 Apr

Say No To 0870

You know those 0870 numbers that companies so kindly provide instead of a real geographical number? Have you noticed that they are excluded from most inclusive call packages on landlines and mobiles? You can pay up to and over 8p a minute, and since they aren’t regulated like premium numbers they can keepm you on hold for ages, whilst they get a kick backl for every recorded message they play, since the company (in cash or benefit in kind) gets a kickback from the telecoms provider.

It has always annoyed me to ring a company and then be on hold for 20 minutes and then be passed back and forth, and even more so when it could be costing me more than a quid (Sky are particularly bad at this). Fortunately some consumers have kicked back and launched a site that lists as many of the normal phone numbers for companies that they can find. For example not only do they have the normal geographical number for Sky but they even have an 0800 number listed. SayNoTo0870 is a consumer driven site and whilst it doesn’t have every number in the world, I have find it often gives you a much cheaper alternative.

09 Mar

Windows Apps on Linux

I did it! I got Cedega working and Guild Wars running on Ubuntu 6.10. Runs fine! Smooth with music and graphics about the same as the same game on XP on the same PC. I got Microsoft Project running under Crossover, so all I need is to fix the invisible icon problem in Serif Pageplus and I can uninstall Windows on my machine forever.

See screenshots here.

It wasn’t totally easy, I discovered I hadn’t got my NVIDIA drivers properly installed, so I used synaptic to completely remove linux-generic, linux-restricted-modules-2.6.17-10-generic, linux-restricted-modules-generic, nvidia-glx, nvidia-kernel-common. Then I followed the instructions from this NVIDIA on Edgy guide. It was very very easy to follow. Just remember to reboot the system since it changes the kernel and it didn’t seem to fully work with games until I had.

When I installed Cedega my system passed the system tests but I kept getting problems with Guild Wars, until I went into the setup for the programme and entered the exact video memory and AGP vertex memory I had (which Cedega reported in it’s system settings report).. Then all worked well.

Dungeon Siege next then. Oh and Steam.

08 Mar

The Perfect Ubuntu Desktop

With the release of Microsoft’s new Windows operating system (Vista), more and more people are looking for alternatives to Windows for various reasons. This tutorial is the third in a series of articles where I will show people who are willing to switch to Linux how they can set up a Linux desktop (Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft in this article) that fully replaces their Windows desktop, i.e. that has all software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that runs also on older hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.