Damn, but that was a tiring day... Decommissioning
old Compaq servers, planning a GPRS gateway for
testing a second-hand
tape changer, and configuring our
SNA printing gateway
ready for yet
another attempt at migrating to a new
hardware platform. Busy busy!
Elsewhere, more strange goings on at Infinium Labs,
courtesy of Where Is Phantom?
part article speculating on the youthful indiscretions of CEO Time
Roberts reveals some startling possibilities... Meanwhile, Infinium
their marketing assault on Europe - although I think actually
having a product might help, there.
Following the success of Microsoft's reward for
information leading to the arrest of the Sasser worm's author, the FTC is
considering offering a
bounty for information on spammers who don't comply with even the
minimal strictures of the CAN-Spam Act. It has to be worth a try, surely?
Finally, Apple is
under fire from a small shareware developer for allegedly copying his
work. Apple are very
quick to accuse others of plagiarism, but do have a habit of borrowing
intellectual property themselves... Leaving the original Xerox PARC
banditry aside, there have been accusations that the lauded iMac 2 design
copied from a concept posted on an Apple fansite a year or so earlier,
for example. <sigh> I wish people would recognise that Apple
are no longer the happy band of geeks that they were in 1984, but just
another greedy, amoral corporate.
I've been positively lusting
over this on eBay, recently - a slightly obsolete but still extremely
Sun StorEdge RAID disk subsystem. This particular one comes with dual
fibre channel controllers to interface with the host system, and fifty
(count 'em, fifty!) 18Gb 10,000RPM SCSI disk drives. That's 900Gb of
storage, before RAIDing, which is more than enough for even the most
ambitious collection of pirated DVDs and pornographic movies...
Hardware like this is sufficiently scary and unusual
that only the most hardened techies would contemplate installing it on a
home network (Ok, Guv, you've got me bang to rights, I'll put my hands
up to it!) and most corporates wouldn't touch second-hand storage
arrays with an anti-static barge pole... I'm not at all surprised,
therefore, to see that there has only been one bid so far, and I will be
even less surprised if that lone bidder wins the auction for the £499 he
started at. The same seller is offering
a similar unit with a mere 510Gb of disk, starting off at half the
price of its bigger brother, but I figure that if you're going to buy a
giant, obsolete disk array you might as well go for the max! The StorEdge
A3500FC model is less than four years old, right now, and as the
original list price for the larger configuration would have been
several hundred thousand dollars, someone is going to get a real bargain.
Having had a good look at the pictures on Sun's site,
the hardware actually appears identical to the MetaStor system that I used
to have at work, until we retired it a couple of years ago to upgrade to
the E2400 series. My experiences with that unit were mixed, in that
although for the vast majority of its lifespan it worked perfectly with no
fuss or bother, on the couple of occasions it did start to
misbehave it was an absolute nightmare. Eventually (fortunately,
after it had been retired) it malfunctioned in such a confusing and
persistent manner that in the end I relocated the disks elsewhere and
threw everything else in a skip! It's almost unprecedented for me to
actually give up on exotic hardware of that ilk, so you may have some idea
of how frustrating it had become to inspire such drastic treatment...
Nevertheless, it's still extremely tempting, and if I
wasn't on the point of moving house I would be bidding with some
considerable enthusiasm. However, the idea of having to store and then
relocate a full-height cabinet filled with extremely dense disk units, and
batteries that take two people to install has tipped the balance - so
although I'll be watching the closing stages of the auctions with both
interest and envy, I won't be bidding myself. How very restrained of me!
Elsewhere, a new release of the
ReactOS NT-compatible operating
system. This build promises significant improvements across the board,
especially at the higher levels of the system, and from what I read the
project is progressing extremely well. I think I'll take a look at it,
next time I have a few spare few hours and a PC with nothing much to do.
And, finally, something that anyone who remembers
certain episode of "Blackadder" will find very hard to take seriously:
the American FDA has
approved the use of medicinal leeches, for applications such as
removing blood pooled under skin grafts, or to restore circulation in
Doctor: An extraordinary new cure has just been
developed for exactly
this kind of sordid problem.
Edmund: It wouldn't have anything to do with leeches, would it?
Doctor: I had no idea you were a medical man.
Edmund: Never had anything you doctors didn't try to cure with
leeches. A leech on my ear for ear ache, a leech on my bottom
Doctor: They're marvellous, aren't they?
Edmund: Well, the bottom one wasn't. I just sat down and squashed it.
Doctor: You know the leech comes to us on the highest authority?
Edmund: Yes. I know that. Dr. Hoffmann of Stuttgart, isn't it?
Doctor: That's right, the great Hoffmann.
Edmund: Owner of the largest leech farm of Europe.
Doctor: Yes. Well, I cannot spend all day gossiping. I'm a busy man. As
far as this case is concerned I have now had time to think it
and I can strongly recommend [in chorus] a course of
Edmund: Yes. I'll pop a couple down my codpiece before I go to bed.
Doctor: No, no, no, no. Don't be ridiculous. This isn't the dark ages.
pop four in your mouth in the morning and let them dissolve
So I was watching
a documentary on exotic civil engineering projects, last night, which
included a segment on the proposed bridge over the Straits Of Gibraltar.
To illustrate one of the risks inherent with the design, some nameless
computer graphics artist has created
beautiful simulation of an oil tanker colliding with one of the
bridge's supporting pillars, and he or she revealed their interest in
science fiction with the name on the supertanker's bow -
the proper name of "The Company" in the Aliens movies. Neat!
Closer to home, if still in space... more details have
emerged of the ground-breaking but problematic sub-orbital flight of Burt
SpaceShipOne last week. The article also reveals that the flight will
not be the first of the two required for the
Ansari X Prize, and speculates that
given the problems another test flight may be scheduled before official
notification is given that the pair of flights will be carried out.
a nasty bug in Apple's OS X - the first one to be found in Apple's own
code rather than in the underlying FreeBSD system, and it's a significant
security flaw. Apple released an update last week, but according to the
experts some of the issues have not actually been fixed. Oops!
Windows XP Service Pack 2 - lots of things are going to
according to TechRepublic. I have to admit that I am a touch anxious
about this upgrade - the security improvements will be extremely
beneficial for the office network, but all the reports have suggested that
it will be a can of worms labelled "Extra Wriggly"...
On a lighter note (pun most definitely intended!) a
tip-off yesterday pointed me to
Animusic, computer generated music accompanied what are apparently
some stunning and imaginative computer animated musical instruments. The
concept is strongly reminiscent of the
showpiece animations of the
early nineties, but another ten years of development seems to have brought
all the expected improvements and I think I may splash out on the DVD of
Finally, a couple of reviews of
Although it's a fairly conventionally-sized tower case, it has an
unprecedented eleven front-accessible 5¼
drive bays. The case has some quirks, it seems, but overall it's certainly
a nice piece of hardware.
Just quick links, tonight...
"Gonna have to face it, you're addicted to MMOG" - why online
gaming may be the next legal minefield for the computer software industry.
Here's something that doesn't happen every day - a freak accident in a
soft drink vending machine released dangerous phosgene gas. I'm still
trying to work out the chemistry of this one!
Scientist sees space elevator in 15 Years - that sounds wildly
optimistic, to me, carbon nanotubes or not. For a start, who is going to
pay for it...?
Speaking out on file sharing - the RIAA lawsuits just aren't working,
according to an editorial in The New York Times. Lots of facts and
common sense - in marked contrast to the music industry's rantings and
How not to make money from the Internet - a man is facing charges of
federal extortion and wire fraud after trying to
blackmail Google with threats of releasing software that would skew their
on-site advertising figures.
Utah bill to ban spyware blocked - evidently the ability to install
hidden software for the sole purpose of spying on someone and stealing
their personal information is protected by the constitution.
pioneer Bob Bemer dies - one of the creators of the ASCII standard
(and I can remember the days before ASCII was widely adopted, so I can
testify how important that was!), and of COBOL; inventor if the escape
sequence and the backslash; one of the first to speak out on the risks of
the Y2K issue. It's sad to loose another of the
And, finally - for some reason that I evidently don't
quite appreciate yet, this motorcycle
is running a custom built Linux computer. If I'd tried that on
my Kawasaki Z1000, twenty years ago, the vibration would have
destroyed the hard disk (and probably everything else too!) in seconds, so
I guess bikes have progressed as well as computers... [Aside:
There's a great page of classic bike pictures
a new type of
trojan spreading through UK computers, this week, which connects its
victims to premium rate or even international numbers and proceeds to rack
up their phone bill to hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Unlike the
previous scams along these lines, which worked in the background when the
computer wasn't already online, this one
telephone numbers used to connect to popular ISPs such as AOL to the
premium rate number, which then forwards on to a genuine AOL number so
that the user is none the wiser!
Unfortunately my brother's PC seems to have become
infected with this wretched thing in spite of his competent defences
against malware, and it had already added around £60 to his phone bill
before he noticed that anything was amiss. BT have not been particularly
helpful, unfortunately, as although
an advisory on their web site
states that victims of
dialler frauds will not have to pay for the charges incurred, this is
definitely not what my family were told when they rang to ask for
assistance yesterday, and instead they were offered an expensive call
barring facility! They use AOL as their ISP, and unfortunately their
helpdesk proved equally unhelpful - the best advice they could offer, it
turns out, was to convert to broadband and thus avoid the vulnerability.
Hardly useful advice when a user is having a crisis with their PC!
Fortunately it looks as if my brother has managed to
clean his PC by now (as so often, knowing that there is a problem
is half way towards fixing it) and I've sent down a CD with
SpyBot S&D and
Ad-Aware to get rid of any
lurking remnants - but it doesn't seem that either BT or the UK's biggest
ISP actually cares very much about this kind of scam, and without
genuine support from them this problem is not going to go away.
devoted to the
life and works of Mick Farren, rock musician, science fiction author,
journalist, sometime-lover of Germaine Greer and Julie Birchill, and
possessor of the most remarkable afro ever seen on a white man. I've been
enjoying both his music and his stories for two decades, but without
knowing much about the man himself, and so some of the snippets on the
site are absolutely fascinating. Farren has
his own weblog too, it turns out,
which is also an interesting read.
site devoted to gyroscopes, which also has
a shop selling all things gyroscopic.
They have one of those spooky Levitron
devices, too, which I've been intending to write about for a while - watch
this space for the story of a hamster named "Tisha".
anniversary revives Shakespeare debate - not content with the common
allegation that Sir Francis Bacon actually wrote the plays usually
attributed to William Shakespeare, the quintessentially English De Vere
Society is proposing yet another candidate. It's interesting,
certainly, but at this stage I don't think it's actually very important.
a new form of dating, making use of the now ubiquitous
Bluetooth-enabled cell phones or PDAs. Given the likelihood that the basic
mechanism that permits this service is on the point of being hijacked by
spammers and virus writers, I can't see this making any significant
So, it seems that Monday's record-setting flight of
SpaceShipOne was actually
more problematic than we originally thought. As well as the mysterious
bang during the last stage of the ascent, and the equally mysterious
dangling bits observed on landing, right after motor ignition the craft
rolled 90 degrees to the left then immediately 90 degrees to the right -
as Melvill put it, in the classic dry tones of the test pilot, "It has
never ever done that before"...
In fact, it seems that there were so many other
glitches that Rutan himself described the events as "the most serious
flight safety systems problem that we’ve had in the entire program".
Nevertheless, the backup systems functioned exactly as intended, and
nobody seems to think that the pilot was in significant danger at any
point - well, no more danger than is usually involved in high-altitude
experimental flights, of course! These problems, together with the fact
that the flight actually failed to reach 360,000 feet as originally
intended (it fell short by 31,509 feet) make me wonder whether Rutan will
actually try for a second flight within the X Prize's stipulated two week
period. There's no significant risk of being overtaken by a competitor,
I'm sure, and at this stage it may well be best to play it safe.
Having said that, though, there is
some speculation that NASA itself will institute its own multi-million
dollar prize programme for milestones in private space flight -
possibilities include the first soft landing on the moon, or retrieving a
piece of an asteroid. It will be interesting to see whether anything comes
of this, as large quantities of cash are exactly what the fledgling
private rocketry projects need so badly...
Closer to home, if not by much - biker Gary Eagan has
travelled the 5,632 miles from the northernmost road in Alaska to the
southernmost tip of Florida in just 100 hours, setting a new record for
the run. Although he encountered all the usual and predictable problems
en route (including suspicious border patrol agents, traffic jams,
torrential thunderstorms, and being forced off the road in Alaska by a
truck!) he apparently managed to avoid speeding tickets: "You don't
have to really ride that fast to do a record like that", said Egan.
"You just have to stay on the bike and be efficient".
Finally - and I'm still trying to work this one out:
Lesbian GNU-Linux. I think
it's a joke, but if so it's evidently one that is only funny to Unix lawn
dwarves. Strange stuff, indeed...
My PFY brought in a neat little
USB wireless adaptor, today, so this afternoon I plugged it into a
spare laptop running NetStumbler and
had a bit of a wander around the building looking for the
rogue WLAN access point we noticed last week. Somewhat to my surprise
it rapidly became apparent that there were actually at least five access
points within range, on two separate networks - and after a while I
realised that as far as I can tell none of them were located inside our
building! Instead they seem to be associated with the B&Q DIY store a
hundred yards away behind our car park. A large DIY warehouse is a perfect
environment for a wireless network, of course, and my hypothesis is that
they've installed several
high-gain directional antennae at one end of the building in order to
cover the adjacent garden centre area without having to install access
points out of doors. Unfortunately said antennae would point directly at
my office building, which would neatly explain the rather unexpected
access point visibility and signal strength patterns I observed while
wandering around my own site.
There may not be much that I can actually do
about this, but I'll try to track down a techie within B&Q to check the
SSIDs and MAC addresses of the networks I've seen. I'd like to know which
devices are definitely their systems, primarily, so that in future I can
ignore them when I'm carrying out surveys of my own site. Also, as we're
obviously going to have to coexist in the radio spectrum in this area, it
will be best to set out some ground rules about which channels we'll each
use sooner rather than later.
One thing that stood out while I was wandering around
the building, though, was that my users seem to be far more aware of
wireless network technology than I'd expected. Usually when I'm out and
about with some curious looking bit of hardware I get mostly stupid
smart-ass comments - "Oooh, don't drop it"; "You working for
NASA now?"; "Don't get those wires crossed" etc etc... This
time, however, almost everyone immediately said "oh, are you looking
for WiFi adaptors?", which I did find a touch disconcerting. I suspect
that as more and more of my users install broadband at home, they're
becoming thoroughly familiar with the integrated
DSL router /
wireless access point units that are now so common, and the network
adaptors that link to them. My PFY was dubious, but I'm inclined to think
that the more the users know about computers, the better off we'll all be
- there are drawbacks caused by the proverbial "little knowledge", of
course, but overall I suspect that the advantages outweigh the
disadvantages. Time will tell.
Tug-Of-Whale Suspended, from Reuters via Yahoo news...
Efforts to capture and relocate a lost killer
whale on Canada's Pacific Coast were suspended temporarily on Friday
following objections from Native Indians who say the animal may be the
spirit of a dead chief and who want it to stay where it is.
The tug-of-love between scientists and a native
group over the whale created a circus-like scene this week in Nootka
Sound, a ocean inlet on western Vancouver Island, where the animal has
lived alone since 2001 after it became separated from its family pod.
The Mowachaht-Muchalaht Indians thwarted efforts
to capture the whale, nicknamed Luna by scientists and called Tsu 'Xiit
(sook-eat) by the natives. They used canoes and traditional singers to
lure the curious animal away from the boat officials were using to try
to lure it into a capture pen.
Marilyn Joyce of the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans said after meeting with the band's leaders that the capture
effort had been put on hold until at least early next week to allow the
Indians to spend more time with the animal.
I don't think I can add anything to that...
One down, one to go... test pilot Michael Melvill
released SpaceShipOne from the White Knight carrier aircraft at a height
of 47,000 feet, then burned the vehicle's rocket motor for 80 seconds to
propel it to an altitude of 62 miles and officially earn his astronaut's
wings. After about three minutes of weightlessness at the top of the
suborbital arc, during which Melvill filled the cockpit with floating M&M
chocolates, he re-oriented the craft for descent and made a safe landing
on the same runway from which he took off around an hour and a half
All was not completely smooth, however, as Melvill
reported hearing a bang during the high-altitude portion of the flight and
after landing something could be seen hanging from the bottom of the craft
- there seemed to be damage to or near the left rear landing gear, but it
isn't not clear as yet if this was actual connected with the noise!
Presumably the full story will emerge soon... Opinion seems divided on
whether they are intending to attempt the second flight required to win
the X Prize at this stage, or whether he'll take advantage of his
significant lead over all the competition and make the pair of scheduled
flights later in the year. This may depend on the exact nature of the
damage to the vehicle, of course, but given Rutan's notoriously tight lips
we may not know until it actually happens!
As I write this the
Composites web site is crawling under the load of millions of
interested space geeks, but actually there doesn't yet seem to be any
significant coverage of today's flight! There are some
video clips on
the news sites, though, for those in a hurry, as well as the usual
detailed and informative coverage at
Meanwhile... When I wrote about the Induce Act,
yesterday, I didn't realise how incredibly broad and intrusive its effects
could be. In theory, the bill would outlaw anything that could be used to
infringe copyright, including TiVos, VCRs, CD writers etc, and would make
the manufacturers of these devices as liable as anyone who actually
misused them under the terms of the law! Horrendous stuff!
Ars.Technica has the full story...
Elsewhere, after various
their Federal suits to outlaw the P2P file-sharing networks, the
targeting individual states with the argument that file-sharing is
harming consumer interest. Although this is an unlikely arguement it
nevertheless represents a plausible strategy, because although the state
legislatures have no bearing on copyright infringement, they are charged
with protecting the health of their consumer markets. It's a worrying
development, especially as it may well be the sort of tactic that we're
about to see in Europe.
Thunderbirds are go!
Burt Rutan's Scaled
Composites team is all ready to launch their SpaceShipOne
vehicle for an assault on the $10 million
X Prize for private space flight - and they're going tomorrow! To win
the prize a successful three man flight (although the rules permit
weighting to simulate the two crew members) has to be followed by another
within two weeks, and given that it is only a month since SpaceShipOne's
last test flight this seems to be a thoroughly achievable goal.
Among Rutan's competitors is the Black Armadillo
Armadillo Aerospace, backed by games creator
John Carmack. The
Armadillo team are still working with
sub-scale test vehicles and are many months away from any significant
test flight, but their craft is technically very advanced -
reminiscent of NASA's remarkable
DC-X project in its ability for
vertical take-off and landing. I don't rate Armadillo's chances for
the X Prize (even if Rutan fails in some horrendous disaster, the prize
itself expires around the end of the year) but I expect great things from
them in the future, anyway.
Yet another anti-piracy bill - and yet another concerted attack on
Fair Use and the rights of the consumer. The "Induce Act" is sponsored by
the ever-annoying Senator Orrin Hatch, and is intended to attack the
file-swapping networks illegal by effectively making everybody connected
to the networks legally liable for any copyright violations.
Mind-controlled video gaming - in an experiment at Washington
University in St. Louis, four epilepsy patients with electrodes implanted
in the surface of their brains to monitor seizure activity have learned
how to use them to control a computer cursor and play a simple game. This
is an exciting breakthrough, I think, and the potential benefits for
paralysed and disabled people are boundless.
Spooky processing at a distance - quantum computing rears its ugly
head once again, with two independent teams of researchers managing to
"move" information between pairs of beryllium atoms. If you listen
carefully, you can hear
Mr Albert spinning gently in his grave...
And, finally, Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun
Microsystems and leading Silicon Valley vulture capitalist, has warned
burgeoning nanotech industry is ripe for fraud. Commenting on the
imminent IPO of Nanosys, the first nanotech company to float publicly,
Khosla says "whether they are doing it knowingly or unknowingly, there
is a reasonably high likelihood that they will defraud the public market."
Strong words indeed - but he knows whereof he speaks...
Very best wishes to my friend Colin, critically ill in
hospital, and to Ali who right now can only watch and wait and hope. My
thoughts are with you both...
Ahhh, users - don't you just love them... We were hard
at work yesterday (or what passes for work at the end of a Friday
afternoon, at least) when one of my PFYs suddenly noticed that his laptop
had locked onto a wireless LAN operating somewhere in the building. Now,
officially we haven't actually implemented any wireless systems within the
company, as to date there hasn't been a good enough business case to
compensate for the massive security issues that inevitably arise the
moment you move away from physical cabling. Because of this, it was only
because by chance said PFY had neglected to remove the wireless card he
uses when the laptop is at home that we actually spotted our rogue.
Tracking it down has so far proved awkward, as although we have various
oddments of older wireless hardware left over from various technology
evaluations, the only modern 802.11g system capable of seeing the unknown
access point was that one laptop - and unfortunately its 3Com network card
isn't compatible with most of the
popular WLAN sniffing utilities. When I left at four o'clock my
colleague was wandering around the building with the laptop in hand,
watching the signal strength gauge to try to narrow the culprit down to at
least a particular floor and office area...
The moment security
geeks have been waiting for - the Cabir virus
Symbian operating system running on many modern smartphones, including
products from Nokia, Siemens, Samsung, Sendo and Panasonic. Although the
worm has flaws in its current form, and no significant payload (it can be
thought of mostly as "proof of concept" code) it has the ability to jump
from handset to handset via Bluetooth without either of the phones' users
being aware of it. Apart from distributing spam, the obvious payload for a
virus like this is to dial a premium rate number overseas, and with
allegations of criminal gangs being involved in virus creation these days
I don't imagine it will be long before that's exactly what we see. I think
I'll be sticking with my boring, obsolete, over-sized and safe
And while I'm on the topic of computer security and
Canadian spammer apologises and promises to reform... He won't send
any more spam, he says, and has gone off to join a rock band instead.
Given the disparity between the income of a major-league spammer and a
minor-league drummer, I have to admit to being unconvinced...
Another Linux flaw - a bug in the kernel can be exploited by a few
lines of C code to crash the system completely, but "it's not very
serious", according to the gurus. <sigh> The dual standard
maintained by Linux evangelists is outrageous.
informant also a suspect - the informant who tipped off Microsoft
about worm creator Sven Jaschan is under investigation as a possible
suspect himself. Hah!
attack over-hyped - the DoS attack on Akamai earlier this week was no
big deal, according to... well, according to Akamai, actually. But surely
they would say that, wouldn't they?
Anti-spyware bill passed - intended to ensure that users are warned
about all functions of the software they install, and to oblige
manufacturers to provide complete and accessible uninstalling routines,
nevertheless some experts are dubious that the law is appropriate and
Free protection for home
computers - enterprise computer security company Prevx has released a
cut-down version of their intrusion detection and protection software,
free for home users! I haven't used any of Prevx's products before (Ok, I
hadn't even heard of the company until now!) but this is almost
certainly a case of anything being better than nothing. Good for them!
Unsolicited faxing to get green light - a bill to significantly modify
the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which prohibits
unsolicited faxes and provides a legal mechanism to prosecute junk faxers
and advertisers, is currently under examination in Congress. Unfortunately
it's just another example of the US government unashamedly putting the
demands of big business ahead of anything else. :-(
prosecutions pointless? - Thomas Greene, writing at The Register,
questions whether there is actually any point in prosecuting spammers
considering the current state of the legal system and the anti-spam laws.
It takes so much work and time to sue a single spammer, costs so much, and
has so little effect overall, that many ISPs are becoming disillusioned
with the whole process.
The continuing war against Fair Use - beleaguered media backup company
prevented from selling their DVD copying software earlier this year,
is now under fire from the games manufacturers. It looks likely that this
will be the end for the company, and represents another successful attack
on the rights of the consumer to use the products that they have paid for.
And finally, a marvellous
rack server in a transparent Perspex case. It really is very
pretty, but I think I'll stick to my black and gunmetal
I pointed one of my colleagues towards the ever-popular
Think Geek catalogue, earlier, and
we spotted all sorts of neat new things... One was
an IPV6 version
of my classic
"There's no place like 127.0.0.1" T-shirt, which I think is
marvellous, and while I was in that section I noticed another TCP/IP in
joke - a T-shirt with
SYN on the front,
and ACK on the back; very clever! Best of all, though, was the USB
desktop Aquarium - a motor generates a current in the water, allowing two
model fish to swim around the 3½" high tank. At
night the it is illuminated by a bright blue LED, and
in the pictures the whole thing looks extremely cute. I'd certainly like
to see one in the flesh...
Elsewhere, the multi-talented
Dan Rutter is pontificating
again, this time on the development and future of Augmented Reality.
Even at this stage the technology is already more like the
sunglasses in Gibson's "Virtual Light" than the
gargoyles in Stephenson's
Crash", and really the next step will be making the data available
to the hardware - useful everyday information already exists in many
disparate forms, but if it can be piped to a context-aware, location-aware
wearable computer system (and advances in metropolitan area wireless
networking make this quite plausible), the sky is literally the limit.
Meanwhile, Nokia have come up with
PR campaign for their network systems, and one of the characters has
had my PFYs giggling at the resemblance they see to me... the
vertically-haired Mr "I Have Security Issues", advocate for their
firewall appliances, has a catchphrase that they find eerily familiar: "Is
it safe?". I have decided to be charmed by their giggles, rather than
simply deleting all their data, revoking their admin rights and changing
their passwords to something both rude and unguessable... Obviously I'm
mellowing in my middle years.
Nanotechnology" retracts Grey Goo scare - twenty years after his
prophecies of potential doom and gloom in the canonical "Engines of
Creation", Eric Drexler has admitted that maybe his worse-case
scenario isn't something to worry about that much after all...
NASA needs to change - now, where have we
before? According to a Presidential Commission, NASA might be wise to
subcontract spacecraft launches to the private sector. Even though there
are clearly deep-rooted problems at the heart of the organisation,
somehow that idea still manages to make me feel extremely sceptical
indeed. Implementation is always the bugbear, with these private
RFID number plates to be introduced in the UK - just when you think
you've heard everything, the government comes up with something even more
scary and intrusive. The hardware manufacturer claims that the embedded
tags could be read up to 100m away. Especially interesting, though, are
the comments left by readers of the article. Although there are still a
few of the usual "if you don't have anything to hide..." idiots, most
people seem to be as chilled and annoyed by the concept as I am - a
And whilst on the subject of intrusive, repressive
governments - two new technologies, about to be offered for sale to
military and law enforcement,
equivalent to a Taser stun gun that can be used to incapacitate an
entire crowd at a distance. Aside from the potential for excessively
indiscriminate use during political demonstrations etc, human rights
groups are concerned that no independent safety testing has actually been
Tuesday's loss of connectivity to the major Akamai-hosted web sites
seems to have been a concerted
denial-of-service attack aimed at the DNS servers. Akamai's network is
outrageously redundant and resilient, and at this stage it isn't
clear whether a specific flaw was found and targeted, or whether the DDoS
attack was on a scale unprecedented to date. This one is worth keeping an
And, finally, another plug for the
- an excellent collection of witty soundbites and off-the-wall aphorisms.
My favourite is still one of Scott MacDonald's offerings:
Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are
I mean, seriously, can't you do something about it?
That bird thing really creeps me out.
Well, it made me laugh!
burps and emits more letters - and once again I am amazed by the
breadth of his knowledge. This time he answers questions on modified
X-Boxes, various sorts of batteries, and the space shuttle's main engine
ignition sequence... Is there anything technical he doesn't know
More on the developing Infinium Labs / Phantom console saga - this
time various company officers seem to have been lying to the US District
Court that will be hearing their case against online tech journal
I hadn't come across the
Where Is Phantom
web site, before, but it does seem to be the canonical source on Infinium.
Spam spam at Internet comic FoxTrot - another new one on me, but that
particular cartoon made me smile...
Patriot Act - with further sweeping powers for the FBI and provisions
to hand out jail sentences for anyone who discloses that the act has been
used against them, it's like the RIP on steroids. Unfortunately, this is a
classic example of
Goering's Maxim in action.
Oops! on a grand scale - major web hosting service Akamai dropped
off-line completely for a few hours earlier today, taking with it the four
biggest web sites in the world; Yahoo, MSN, Google and Microsoft.com. It
isn't clear at this stage exactly what went wrong, but 100% resilience has
always been one of Akamai's claims so I imagine there are a number of
heads rolling even as I write this.
on blogging - and as it's not too complimentary, I have decided to
redefine Epicycle as a journal for the duration of the sequence. It starts
here, and progresses for the next few days - "this 'blogging' is
nothing more than degaussing your own coil!"
Hot, hot, hot! Some links to start the week:
problems - Louis de Branges de Bourcia, a somewhat controversial
mathematician working at Perdue University, has claimed to have proved the
Riemann hypothesis which states that prime numbers are scattered
completely randomly along the number line. Other mathematicians are
dubious of his announcement, however, and if they are right instead
then it may be possible to predict where prime numbers are likely to fall
- which could have a significant impact on modern encryption systems, many
of which rely in some way on unpredictable prime numbers...
Popular wireless routers buggy - two of the common home broadband
router models from Linksys and NetGear have serious security weaknesses.
The issue affecting the NetGear WG602 is particularly serious, and also
particularly funny - during development, one of the company's
subcontractors built in a back door administrator login with a fixed user
ID and password, which can be accessed via both the Internet and the WLAN.
Intel's 486 CPU is fifteen years old this year - launched in 1989, in
spite of Intel's extravagant PR the 486 was essentially only
a 386 with a bag on
the side. The bag contained an integrated floating point unit and 8Kb
of on-die "pipeline" cache, allowing upcoming instructions to be retrieved
ahead of time and stored in the fast local memory ready for use. Mike and
I had a good bout of reminiscing about the old Intel CPUs, earlier, but it
makes us both feel so ancient!
Near-monopoly British Telecom has
issued a press release detailing their plans for the country's
communication infrastructure over the next ten years or so. Their plans
include migration away from the current switched and ATM networks to a
system based on IP and Multiprotocol Label Switching, and the long-awaited
fibre-optic cabling to bring "proper" broadband straight to the front
they can talk the talk, certainly, but unfortunately long and bitter
experience suggests they may not be able (or willing!) to walk the walk...
A couple of links at the UK modding site Bit-Tech - an
update on the stunning Orac
Perspex case project, and the second part of a fascinating article
written by a long-time Windows enthusiast
discovering a Mac PowerBook.
It's interesting to see which differences the author finds easy to adapt
to, and which ones he gets totally hung up on.
And, finally, apropos of nothing at all - earlier on I
suddenly thought of the annual
Talk Like A
Pirate Day, and spent five minutes wandering around saying "Arrrrr!".
It's not until September 19th, though, so I've got plenty of time to
completely forget about it as usual.
As soon as the flowers on
one of my cacti started dying back, another started to bloom. It
really is the season for it, too, as my mother's rather more extensive
collection has burst into flower as well over the last few weeks. This
one, I think, is a Rebutia iseliniana - although as before
identification is a little uncertain. Interestingly, these flowers close
up completely in the late afternoon, and then re-open again the next
morning - not really a reaction to the ambient light, as it was still
extremely bright and sunny when they started to close, but in response to
some mysterious internal rhythm of their own.
Meanwhile, the RIAA is banging the same old drum again,
this time demanding copy
protection to be built in to digital radio broadcasts - evidently
they're just not going to be happy until every single piece of music on
the planet can only be listened to on a pay-per-use basis. One thing that
we can be sure of, though, is that the artists themselves won't be any
better off if the RIAA gets its way - the music publishing companies it
represents seem to be getting
and better at siphoning money away from the people who really deserve
it, whilst at the same time claiming that they're doing it to protect
them! Don't you just love global corporate enterprise...
Elsewhere, two spyware utilities are
compared at ASELabs
- the classic Ad Aware and the
new SpyBot S&D. I've just
started using SpyBot (following my recent
inadvertent brush with the current market-leading malware), and it's
certainly an impressive utility - but as the review suggests, for
best results, especially on a heavily infected system, the two should be
mouse with blue LEDs and a built-in fan... Designed to cool a sweaty
palm, not only does it not actually work, but it also seems to be a really
cheap and nasty mouse anyway. Ah, well...
Every few weeks I get email from somebody who has seen
something I've written here and wants clarification, or advice, or
assistance. The questions are highly varied and often quite complex to
answer in words - how to fit a tactical sling to an assault rifle, how to
connect the disk LEDs on the X5DAL motherboard, how to configure a
DRM-5004x CD library... you name it. The only common factor, really, is
that after taking the time to write a reply (and sometimes even to take
photographs or draw diagrams to illustrate the fine details) I usually
don't get any response at all!
I must admit to being rather surprised and put out by
this, but the general attitude seems to be depressingly common, and
possibly I'm even doing better than most... My friend Mike has written
an extremely popular add-on
space flight simulator, for example, and for his pains has received a
significant quantity of abuse, scorn, and rude demands both in email and
on the public forums! Talk about serpents' teeth!
I'm not going to stop answering questions, though - I
like to help, really, and it's all good for the ego - but dammit, people,
even if I've been of no help at all a quick "thanks" wouldn't hurt... And
if you think that what I've told you is completely wrong, the ravings of
an idiot - well, if you fancy an argument you're quite free to tell me so.
But say something, at least!
"library" - Dan has reviewed
of these before.
They're clever gadgets, but I'm not really interested in something that
can't actually read the data as well as just indexing the disk.
NT Backup help - everything you every wanted to know about the free
but somewhat frustrating backup utility that ships with Windows. An
invaluable resource if you're trying to achieve anything significant with
Systemometer - an interesting graphical system monitoring utility. The
reviewers are likening it to a radar display, but to me it looks like an
oscilloscope trace of a non-linear electronic circuit.
GUI for Windows - imagine you're sat at the centre of a sphere,
with your application windows plastered to the inner surface all around
you. I've yet to be convinced that any of these alterative interfaces are
more than a gimmick, though...
Ad company wants Spyware Control Act blocked - pop-up spammer
WhenU.com is protesting that Utah's new legislation is infringing its
freedom of speech. That defence just doesn't fly, for me...
reveals ancient complex machines - a Harvard physics grad student
claims that precise spiral patterns carved into a jade ring show that
Chinese craftsmen were using quite complex machines more than 2500 years
Greedy hackers can
hog Wi-Fi bandwidth - apparently the Linux operating system runs the
802.11 MAC layer in software rather than in the firmware of the network
interface itself, and so a tiny change can over-ride the usual contention
process to monopolise the available bandwidth.
Ah, the end of the week... I'm really not feeling very
inspired, though, so it's just random links again...
Amusing place names close to where you live - enter your post code,
and discover that you live just round the corner from Cock Pond, Pratt's
Bottom, Titsey Park and Thong. Who knew!
on audio rip-offs again - and a new record price for hi-fi patch
leads, at more than £4300 for
a pair of two metre cables. Boy, but some people have a lot
more money than sense...
User Friendly on Sun's "hardware will be free" announcement -
almost too true to be funny... but not quite. :-)
Prescott Survival Kit - AMD's marketroids making fun of Intel. The fan
to protect against over-heating is pretty rich, for a company that didn't
use to incorporate thermal protection into their CPUs...
Apple G5 not
the world's fastest personal computer - it's official, now, so I guess
my dual 3.06GHz Xeon can breath a sigh of relief.
<sneers> G5, hah!
abuse of copyright - an ISP's response to allegation of copyright
violation may not be at all appropriate. The article also links to
a web site covering your rights
online - at least in the US...
McAfee class action suit result - I hadn't come across this before,
but if you bought VirusScan V3 or V4 in the US, you're entitled to free
software to compensate for the lack of promised upgrades.
SCO revenue cut in half - firing
everybody except the attorneys can't be helping, there, and in the
long term guarantees their complete failure as any kind of a serious
US spammers turn to Russian criminals - as the the ISPs crack down and
the prosecutions start to bite in America, the most dedicated spammers are
buying time on networks of zombie PCs.
Microsoft appealing against Eolas - as well as asking for the patent
itself to be re-examined, MS are also asking for the unprecedented $565
million award to be reversed or at least reduced.
how not to have cybersex - I
remember linking to one of these before, but the canon seems to have
expanded since then and some of the new ones really brought a smile.
I'm very glad that the temperature has eased a little
today, as one of my UPSes overheated yesterday. In the middle of the
evening I started hearing an odd intermittent chirping noise that was
obviously a hardware alarm of some kind, but it proved really hard to
track it down. In the general direction that the noise was coming from
there are two PCs, a tape library, a printer, three UPSes and various
other oddments, and it took me an hour or two to decide that it was
actually the little
Back-UPS Pro 1400 that feeds the network hardware - especially as the
noise continued even when the UPS was shut down!
Once I moved the UPS out from under the desk, though,
the excessive temperature became extremely obvious - the metal base,
directly under the batteries, was actually too hot to touch comfortably.
In fact, it was still too hot to touch (and didn't actually seem to have
cooled down at all) after two hours out in the evening air of the
garden. Although to seems to be working Ok now, I suspect that the high
temperatures will have reduced the battery life significantly - sealed
lead acid cells really don't like getting too hot - and I'm
expecting the worst when I come to test the run-time at the weekend.
JPL are collaborating on a robotic climber - "Lemur" is destined to
climb cliffs on Mars and help rescue earthquake victims, and can already
follow a human climber up an irregular surface without any external
There is already malware to exploit the
two recent Internet
Explorer flaws - the I-Lookup addon purports to be a toolbar utility,
but actually brings advertising pop-ups into the victim's system.
Apparently Microsoft is considering legal action against the company.
Bruce Sterling on the State of the Net - the digital revolution has
turned into a digital mess, says Sterling, and computer users need the
U.S. government to crack down on the thieves preying on the Net. I have
mixed feelings about that, of course...
reviews the Time Machine clock - I really love all the ramps and balls
and levers, and I've wanted one for ages... They do seem to be
rather less expensive than I'd remembered, now, and having read Dan's
article I think I may actually treat myself.
Virtual Hideout has a brief history of case-modding - ah, and it feels
like only yesterday when I first cut
a pair of giant holes in the front of a PC case... These days both
pre-modded cases and modding components are available over the counter at
the most unlikely places, though, and I can't help but feel that some of
the fun has gone out of the hobby...
squeezes out Windows - under some circumstances, apparently the new
build of Red Hat's Fedora desktop Linux disables Windows partitions on the
same drive. Imagine if a new Windows build had disabled Linux partitions -
the lawn dwarves would be screaming conspiracy and monopoly and crimes
The weather is still thoroughly sticky and unpleasant,
it's the middle of a busy week, and the fish heads have spoiled in the
heat. I guess that just leaves random links...
Thanks to Ars.Technica -
solution for that annoying glitch when Internet Explorer saves all
image types as BMPs. As most of us have worked out, by now, the fix is
essentially to empty the cache and reboot...
And talking of bugs in Internet Explorer - security
consultancy Secunia has released
details of two new IE6
vulnerabilities. No patch exists as yet (although the upcoming Windows
XP SP2 is likely to remove the issue) but Secunia recommends disabling
active scripting support for all but trusted web sites. Meanwhile,
Microsoft have quietly released
patch KB839643 via Windows Update, for a rather less significant
vulnerability that can allow an attacker to crash a DirectX game... I
won't be losing any sleep over that one.
Microsoft have also released an add-on for their beta
Operations Manager 2005 systems monitoring suite. While MOM is
watching your servers, applications and network systems, the tool watches
MOM, and you watch the tool... Next, presumably, is a tool to watch the
tool, so you don't have to.
Elsewhere, Dan has unleashed
pair of letters
columns, and returns to the subject of outrageously over-priced audio
cables. In passing, he links to a site that
debunks a number of
the silly myths surrounding hi-fi, which makes very interesting
reading. If you're the sort who is easily influenced by consumer
electronics salesmen, I suggest you take a look before you contemplate
spending several thousand pounds on a power lead...
On a lighter note -
Sideshow, music made by playing the default Windows sounds (the
Beep, the Ding, the Chimes, etc) through
of Sound Recorder. It sounds much better than you'd think, and
actually has rather tickled me. It has... uh... "character".
On an even lighter note - I stumbled across the
Dance, parodying the famous original. The creator of the original is
not amused, however, and has threatened legal action. Sheesh, some people
are so sensitive!
And finally, lighter still - thanks to Ros, the
canonical definition of
Damn, but it's hot in London right now! My PFY put a
thermometer out on the windowsill of our office, this morning, but had to
bring it back in at lunchtime in case it melted in the heat... Even the
computer room was uncomfortably warm, thanks to our growing rack of
Dell PowerEdge 2650 servers - I wonder if
it's time to upgrade the aircon again...
article at The Register brings news of an interesting flavour of
music sharing. Created by Mercora, a
company owned by Srivats Sampath, the founder of anti-virus company McAfee,
the free software streams music from a user's hard disk onto the net,
effectively turning a broadband-connected PC into a amateur internet radio
station. The quirk is that the company has acquired various music
performance licenses, principally a "non-interactive digital audio
webcasting licence" under the terms of the DMCA, and Sampath claims that as
long as users only broadcast music that they have already bought on CD then
all is above board. It remains to be seen what the RIAA et al will
think of this claim, and it is also unclear exactly where the revenue for
the business model will come from - but it's certainly an idea that bears
Elsewhere, Windows XP wireless networking issues - there
seems to be a well documented problem with the Zero Administration subsystem
in WinXP, and it's causing
a whole bunch
of fuss. I actually encountered this problem
myself a few weeks ago, although I didn't understand what was actually
happening and worked around the issue by installing the hardware
manufacturer's own management utility. There is
painless work-around for the built-in utility, though, first documented
Lian Li's new PC-V1000 case - and it's refreshingly different. I really
like the look of the over-sized
The iBIZ virtual
keyboard - another idea straight out of science fiction, projecting a
glowing red keyboard outline onto a suitable flat surface, and then reading
the position of your fingers as you type on it. It's
not actually on the
market as yet, though, so I am awaiting the first real reviews before
allowing myself to become enthusiastic...
remover for the evil CoolWebSearch browser trojan - this malware is
particularly insidious and hard to remove, as well as being updated
extremely frequently, so it's nice to know that the white hats are there to
Man-made private islands
- an archipelago of 300 artificial islands off the coast of Dubai, laid out
in the form of the continents of the world. The web site doesn't mention
anything as sordid as money, of course, but the article I saw quoted
starting prices in the millions...
So, Ronald Reagan has died... And just as when Nixon
died, it seems that everyone in the mainstream media has conveniently
forgotten all the wretched, loathsome, corrupt aspects of his
administration and is holding him up as a sadly-departed distinguished
elder statesman. So, just to keep things in perspective, this is the man
Spent one trillion dollars on defence, in spite of the
fact that the US was nominally at peace... Although he had no
compunctions in invading Grenada, bombing Libya, and giving
significant financial and military support to brutal dictatorships in
El Salvador and Guatemala and to brutal right-wing guerrillas in Angola,
Mozambique and Afghanistan.
Was guilty of, at the very least,
negligence and foolishness over the
monstrous and convoluted
which was ultimately
responsible for the current high levels of crack cocaine usage in
American inner cities. Ironically, he also poured funds and resources into
the pointless War On
(Some) Drugs, with all the grief that brought to the many people who's
lives it has shattered.
Tripled the national debt, to pay for his military adventures, his
failed domestic policies, and the
doomed "Star Wars" programme - and then attempted to blame it
all on his predecessor Jimmy Carter.
Presided over federal agencies like HUD and FEMA, which
now stand exposed as
cesspools of corruption, as well as supporting the law that triggered
the subsequent Savings
and Loan scandal.
ignored the spread of HIV and AIDS until in practical terms it was too
late, in order to appease the religious right wing fundamentalists who
considered it god's punishment for homosexual behaviour.
Was an FBI informer in the days of
blacklist, and had his campaign aides
President Carter's briefing papers ahead of the crucial 1980 TV
Scheduled most of his presidential activities based on
advice from his wife's astrologer, and believed since the early
seventies that a literal biblical Armageddon was just around the
Had a penchant for including in his speeches
wildly inaccurate statistics or complete falsehoods in order to grab
headlines and provoke dissension and bigotry.
his legacy a widely-held public opinion that liberal beliefs and
politics are weak, corrupt, detestable and even anti-American - and in the
long term this may be the worst of all, for both the US and the rest of
And finally - he really, truly was as dumb as a stick.
soundbites prove this, and it is only because subsequent luminaries
Dan Quayle and Dubya are even more dumb that we've tended to forget
Que es mas macho? Dagenham, o Bellochantuy?
I think we all know the answer to that question...
959 new viruses were spotted last month according to Sophos. I agree
staff writer Steve Lynch, here - that's 900-odd people who badly need
their asses kicking.
Hotmail loses some poor sap's data - and apparently most of the other
big online service providers have managed the same trick in recent years.
It's a salutary lesson - put not your faith in other people's backups, or
you shall be caught out big-time sooner rather than later...
Health scare from computer dust - several groups studying
environmental and health issues relating to computers have suggested that
polybrominated diphenyl ether fire retardant chemicals (also used in other
electronic devices including televisions, audio systems, and household
appliances) may present a risk to health.
This certainly bears watching. [Update:
coverage at Ars.Technica]
Pop-up adverts are getting more sneaky, according to a comprehensive
article at News.Com. No real surprises there, of course, but it will be
interesting to see what happens when Service Pack 2 for Windows XP arrives
in the summer. SP2 will add a popup blocker to Internet Explorer, and
although the browser's complete market dominance may threaten the
existence of pop-ups as a useful technique, on the other hand it will also
mean that the advertisers only have to find a way around a single blocking
of spam now comes from zombie PCs - a study by network management firm
Sandvine suggests that home PCs infected with viruses such as SoBig and
Migmaf are the source of most of the world's spam. We really, really need
the ISPs to take action over this RIGHT NOW - any PC sending mail directly
rather than through the ISP's own SMTP server should be flagged and
Network Associates are to include a
software firewall and intrusion detection system in the next version
of their VirusScan Enterprise client. As an admin of their corporate AV
systems I have to admit to mixed feelings - I approve of anything that
increases the security of the desktop systems I support, but the
client-side installation is already rather bloated and fragile and I'm
concerned that these additions will make things considerably worse.
And, finally - I'm not quite sure of the background to
the story, but
this thread at RoakokeLanParty has wonderful pictures of an office
cubicle and all its contents totally, completely and utterly covered in
aluminium foil. A practical joke on a colleague, green ink paranoia, or
installation art? You tell me...
I have come here to chew fish heads and post links. And
I'm all out of fish heads.
At least, I think that's
what he said...
from ARM - I have a soft spot for this company, as before they were
Advanced Risc Machines they were Acorn Risc Machines - and before
that, just plain Acorn,
creator of the Atom and BBC Micro home computers that I grew up with in
the late seventies and early eighties. It brings a warm, fuzzy glow to
know that (in one form or another) the company is still in business.
NASA seeks robots to fix Hubble Telescope - suddenly
is buzzing with this story. For reasons I never really appreciated,
when the decision to axe the Hubble Programme was announced the general
public were outraged, and the prospect of a reprieve has proved very
SpaceShipOne next manned set for June 21 - only a sub-orbital, and
still only with a single pilot, but if all goes well this time the pair or
100 kilometre fully-manned flights required to win the X-Prize could
easily be planned for the late summer.
atoms, split a banana - a study funded by the Australian government is
investigating the possibility of using fermenting bananas as a source of
energy for housing estates. Apparently bananas provide a better source of
methane than other fruit, and as up to 30 per cent of the nation's banana
crop doesn't survive to reach the consumers, it could be a lucrative
Massive black holes common in early Universe - black holes are far
more common than was previously thought, it seems, but most of them are
sneakily hiding in dust clouds. Hah - ever since reading
Gregory Benford's Eater, recently, I knew they couldn't be
Midweek, and a busy one at that, so just some quick
In the future,
computer hardware will be free... We've heard that before, of course,
but if both
Microsoft are saying so, then it might even be true! Like the
proverbial free lunch, though, the costs will be concealed elsewhere - in
this case, in the licensing terms for the software you rent to run on the
free hardware. And note that usage of the word "rent" - that's the
critical factor, here, I think...
Also at Ars -
what will the
future hold for the PC BIOS, and will it be open source or
proprietary? With Intel, Phoenix and Microsoft all doing a strange,
three-cornered dance of contradictory press releases, the way forward is
not exactly clear!
Finally, Tom's Hardware Guide has just released
CPU management tool - but unfortunately the performance gains from
dedicating particular apps to particular processors seem to be relatively
insignificant, even with their utility! The article did answer a question
that I've puzzled over before, though - in a HyperThreading PC, such as my
hard-working dual Xeon system
shown above, the first two graphs are the real CPUs, and the second
two are the virtual processors.
According to Channel 4's
Rich-O-Meter, at my salary I am among the 5.82% richest people in the
UK! There are around 3,364,330 people richer than me, apparently, and
about 54,435,670 people who are poorer. Now, I don't think of myself as
particularly well off, so that is a eyebrow-raising set of figures - the
curve after me, up towards the people on salaries of a hundred thousand or
more, must be incredibly steep! To make things worse, though, the
worldwide statistics are sobering in the extreme - even on my modest
salary, 99.05% of the people in the world are worse off than I am...
There seems to be something of an obsession with
salaries in the media, today, as on this morning's BBC news I heard that
in income between men and women doing the same jobs has actually been
increasing! The employers responsible for this should be thoroughly
ashamed of themselves - but unfortunately it seems that corporate Britain
has no ethics or morals any more, and instead they're probably delighted
that the bottom line of the accounts is looking so rosy. New Mercedes all
round, chaps! :-(
It's amazing what the threat of a lawsuit will do to a
website's stats... Together with some linkage from a couple of
far more popular weblogs, the
extra attention from people interested in my dispute with Area 51 Airsoft
has brought a record number of readers. It's interesting to note, though,
that increase in the number of page views was almost exactly the same as the
increase in the number of viewers - in other words, most people only stayed
long enough to read one page! The
I'm going to have to do something even more outrageous
next month to top this - but in the meantime feel free to encourage me by
voting at the
Australia Top 50. And if you don't - well, bear in mind that the next
griping page could be about you...