Downtime & a quote

In case you were wondering, some git pwned my web host. Other than that, things have been very stable. Best quote this week: TSOs have been trained to not touch the monkey during the screening process. —TSA web site

Not about layout engines

I found the missing gecko. He had crawled into the wastebasket. Tonight was trash night, and I emptied it into a black sack, then put the sack in the trash—at which point the gecko shot out into the bin. I managed to catch him in a jar, and took a good look at him. Definitely a mediterranean gecko. I took him out to the back yard, and released him under the deck to rejoin his family.

Drinks on a Plane

When I wrote “alleged foiling of a terrorist plot”, I did wonder if I was being too cynical. Apparently not: A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

The end of air travel?

As a result of the latest alleged foiling of a terrorist plot, new restrictions have been placed on airline travelers flying between the UK and US. Specifically: No laptops. No PDAs. No iPods or other electronic audio or video players. No books. No cameras. No beverages or other liquids. As someone used to flying, I don’t set foot on a plane without at least a book, an audio player to drown out the screaming children, and a large bottle of water.

Linux thought

Someone should write a KDE game called ku that gives you Japanese number puzzles. That way you could run it by typing sudo ku. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. I actually got into sudoku a bit recently. I’d tried it on paper and been unable to grasp how it worked, but I got Brain Age for the DS Lite and it includes 100 sudoku puzzles and an interactive training mode.

You are here

In a few years, cameras will all have single chip GPS units in them. They’ll tag their photos with the location where you took them as a matter of course, like they already tag the time and date. Some of us are unwilling to wait a few years. I’m sure you, like me, have sat down with a map and a stack of holiday photos and thought “OK, where on earth was that building?

No, Mr Blair, I expect you to die

The families of British servicemen killed in Iraq are launching a new political party. They plan to run candidates against Labour MPs who voted for the war, in as many local elections as possible. Their message is simple: The bastards lied to us, we proved they lied to us, we want them out. Which is all very admirable, but unfortunately they’ve decided to call the party Spectre, which is making it a bit hard for me to take them seriously.

Door to door car insurance salesman

There is a gecko somewhere in my office. Not sure how he got into the house, but he was spotted in the downstairs bathroom. We attempted to catch him—for his own safety, and purely out of concern for his wellbeing—but he hid behind a box of PC parts and a stationery cabinet. So mental note to self for tomorrow morning: tread carefully.

Diebold

Another interesting flaw has been discovered in the Diebold paperless voting machines used in many US states. The Diebold machines are supposedly secure because they run software from an EPROM, software that has been independently audited and certified for use by election board officials. Except it turns out that if you change a single jumper inside the machine, it will boot any code you care to supply on a standard flash memory card instead.

Microsoft discovers principles

Microsoft has announced its new tenets to “promote competition”, so I thought I’d take a look at them. I wasn’t impressed.

1. Installation of any software. Computer manufacturers and customers are free to add any software to PCs that run Windows.

Translation: “Your computer belongs to you, not us.”

Yes, you’re actually allowed to install any software you like on the computer you build or purchase. It’s hard to believe that Microsoft even have to write this down. That they feel it’s some kind of new principle to apply “going forward” is a shocking admission.