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slef-reflections, Year 5


2007-01-01: Happy New Year. Time for my site's annual refresher over the next few weeks. According to some quick greps, last year's top 5 topics by comment volume were: debian, business, media, green issues and England (ID cards, civic info, and so on). Is that what visitors would like to see more?


Posted by mjr 2007-12-11 (Permalink)

I'm back (again) but I'm not feeling 100% well (again). I'll write about the various events I attended and share the pictures as soon as I get bluetooth file transfer working (is that obex?) but here are some sites I commented on recently:

When is it going to be the norm for JavaScript?

Never, I hope.

Down with the Press Release!!

I wonder if I didn't like this because open letters aren't very common here.

Print before you think! - Atomo64's Blog - by Raphael

Reposting the old psnup -2 trick... works in Mozilla-based browsers, at least

How Old Are ProBlogger Readers? Poll Results

I whinge about ProBlogger's misuse of bar charts again...

How Much Money Do Bloggers Earn Blogging?

and again... guess I should stop doing that. But histograms ROCK. Excuse me - I'm still ill... » Blog Archive » Open-source innovation platform

I've seen a couple of these cooperative free software funding ideas recently. Here's one...

Information Unlimited » A proposal for user-driven commercial free software development.

and here's another...

and here's a little background on the first.

Sustaining Alternative Media - Bristol Indymedia to Bristol Social Forum

It's just too damn awkward to contribute to BIMC.

Miriam Ruiz: Journalists avoiding writing about Free Software?

Since when have journalists avoided writing about stuff because of criticism? Sounds like an excuse to me.

Issues Forums in the UK, Meet Tim Erickson in November at London E-Democracy 07 Conference | E-Democracy.Org - Project Blog

I did meet Tim. Which was nice.

Labour: Queen's Speech - full statement

I saw this site advertised on TV after the speech, visited it, asked a question. No answer. 'nuff said. I asked a question on another page and it was deleted unanswered. Control freakery at its best.

ConservativeHome's ToryDiary: Cameron takes Tory message of social justice to Labour heartlands

My question about the surprising Conservative Cooperative Movement announcement. No answer. Are all the political parties similar? Do any of them have any answers?

BBC Internet Blog - Linux Figures

Part one of the reaction of the BBC director who thought they only have 600 Linux users.

BBC Internet Blog - Open Standards

Part two of the reaction "The BBC is committed to open standards [...] wherever possible" - yeah, tell that to their satellite system and the Ceefax-killers! (Warning: may contain Andrew Suffield...)

BBC Internet Blog - Operating System Figures

Part three - explains just how their analysis system got the numbers so horrendously wrong. "All of the BBC's regular reporting mechanisms use the User Agent string" - D'oh!
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Posted by mjr 2007-11-04

While bumbling about on a search engine, I found slides from a talk I gave in 2001 and these 2005 consultation submissions to the Department of Culture... about TV and the WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus

Here's some other stuff on other sites I wrote about since the last round-up of this sort:

A Cambridge Co-operator: Sorry!

EASF :: View topic - What happened to Norwich Citywide Co- op?

Bond films and the Roger Moore humor controversy « Ultimate James Bond Fan Blog

Does Having Fewer Rules Inspire Hard Work? | etbe

The Right Width for Your Blog

The Right Width for Your Blog

Shine » OpenStreetMap Cycle Map :: GravityStorm

Social mapping | Tom Chance's website

Russ Nelson: Chordite versus CyKey

The prescient TomTom

robmyers - Bender's Big Score

Citing References in Blog Posts | etbe

Matt Lee - Advogato | Exploring Freedom

Ross Burton

Inside the Box » Blog Archive » Linux On a Mobile PC

Javascript performance in browsers

Bryan Clark : Web Browser Homepage

BBC SPORT | Sport Editors' Blog | Behind the Scenes at BBC Sport: Weekend feedback

[] stefano maffulli » The end of a phase

A Cambridge Co-operator: Shoefayre / Cambridge City

(Persone) 12 25 Septembro 2007, 5:21

Buxy: DSA needs a leader

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2007-08-13 (Permalink): Here's what I wrote on other people's sites last week: Welcome back..

MartynD reboots his blog yet again. This time with added eyetests.

Two Questions for All Serious Free Software Contributors

I answered, as did many others.

ProBlogger Redesign - Bedding Down for the Night

Much easier-to-read, but I still had an enhancement suggestion.

Blowing bubbles « niq's soapbox

Comment on house-building and house-owning in England today.

gravityboy: This Is My Good Free Software Experience

I think the GPL is useful for things other than programs and CC is confusing about DRM for everything.

Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho » I am going to rank MJ Ray low from now on

Commented more on my blog, but also directly. The criticism might be fairer if the SPI ballot were secret, but it isn't.

WEBlog -- Wouter's Eclectic Blog - Voting tactics

Is this about SPI? How is IRV broken?

Constitutional amendment: reduce the length of DPL election process

Amending the amendment proposal - got enough seconds to reach the ballot, for a change.

Amendment to: reduce the length of DPL election process

This one doesn't look like it will get onto the ballot. Informative subthread on combination of amendments.

Here's some of what I read last week:

talks with Linus Torvalds

He's much ruder than I am, but can get away with it because he's done more.

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Richard Stallman - Edward O'Connor

He's much ruder than I am, but doesn't get away with it because he's done more.

Mayor wants London to copy Paris bike rentals | News | This is London

I saw those bikes in Paris. Seemed like a good idea.

Parisian-style hire bicycles to beat London traffic jams - Independent Online Edition > Transport

Slightly inaccurate report.

Hacking gadflies: Open Document Format

It's almost September again.

dgh: Bike power

Interesting idea.

apenwarr's log

quite a funny letter to google

Bristol Climate Protesters En-Route to Camp

My legs hurt after cycling only 6 miles yesterday. Not sure what I did wrong.

The Weston Mercury - Call to 'have a say' on the future of Britain

Pensioners to save country. Or not.

BBC NEWS | Technology | UN's website breached by hackers

Can't be bothered to check netcraft.

Little's Log: North Norfolk Councillor defects to UKIP

Little's still raging against the media.
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2007-08-06 (Permalink): I've been offline, but I think I've caught up now. Email if you think I missed you.

Here's some of what I did before I went offline:

robmyers » Seller's Remorse

Social Contract ten years on July 5 -- celebration?

Advertising Free Software Projects | etbe

A Cambridge Co-operator: Great News


Cooperative? My Arse | Web design and development techniques by Steve Tucker

Anti-DRM campaign, Apple Store, London.

Place Your Blog on a 'Busy Intersection'

Should Links from Your Blog Open in a New Window? Reader Opinions


Co-opNet :: View topic - What Crisis

LWN: Totally "free" Ubuntu? That's the plan for Gobuntu (

The Problem with RSS

Property of a Lady » Answers to Love Is Strange Trivia

Fairtrade Beer « niq's soapbox

Co-opNet :: View topic - The Cooperative Tour de France

ITV response to Coverage Question... - Page 3 - ITV Message Boards

Why doesn't Online Main Stream Media link?

Property of a Lady » Tuesday Trivia: Dance

Humor for Bond 22? « Ultimate James Bond Fan Blog

lamby :: blog :: Graduation

itv and Other Tours Coverage: Vuelta, ToB

Holidays-London-and- rain

Reflowd - Recentlog

Reflowd - Source code

Aaargh! « niq's soapbox

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2007-08-28 (Permalink):

"BOWN. Walter Sydney (Wally). Passed away on Monday, August 20th, 2007, aged 74 years. He will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends. The funeral service will be held on Thursday, August 30th, 12.30pm, Weston-super- Mare Crematorium. Family flowers only, donations if desired for Weston Hospicecare, c/o The Elms Funeral Directors, 50 Baker Street, Weston-super- Mare. Telephone 01934 616006."

(From the Weston & Somerset Mercury, 23rd August 2007 issue)

So I'm not blogging much just now. I think usual service should resume Friday 31 August.


This is where I put links to things which I think are worth reading, but I usually don't have further comments on just now:

"if your hardware reacts badly to gNewSense, is it time for you to examine what the vendor is doing to you? If they offer some piece of hardware in exchange for your freedom and then they don't trust you to run that hardware correctly. They don't trust you, why should you trust them? As you don't have the specifications could it be the case that they are pretending that commodity is really something luxurious? How can you know that?" [note: bad site for the visually-impaired, bad colours and a graphical eyetest for comments]

Chip and SPIN! Examining the technology behind the "Chip and PIN" initiative...

"The purpose of this site is not to provide totally balanced comment on the move, but to give proper airing to the drawbacks. It's a always a tough job for onlookers to assess the truth behind anything controversial, but the greater the quantity of information, and the greater the variety of sources the better."

The Huffington Post: James Love: WIPO and the global consolidation of rights in audiovisual works

"This makes it more difficult, risky and expensive to copy, republish, remix or reuse works, for any purpose. This is a bad idea in general, but an insane idea at the very moment when we are witnessing such an explosion of new ways of creating, using, sharing and re-purposing information."

OPENSOURCE petition to the Prime Minister

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Improve Open Source use in govenment and local govenment work places."

  • Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

This doesn't affect me directly (not in the US and not female) but it surprised me: WTF is Bush doing on this?

  • "In blogspace, everyone can hear you vacuum the cat." - Me, just now.

  • Please skip this item if the f-word offends you...

LugRadio season 4 episode 16 minute 45ish:

"I mean, it's... It's... I think, it's... You know... If you look away from... I think, in my mind... Going back to the discussion about Wiis, I mean... For me personally, I like sitting on a couch and playing a game with a joypad, y'know? I'm not really into standing up and f...

Getting some exercise?

...hitting an invisible fucking tennis ball. If I... If I thought about doing that, I... I think it would put me off. That's why I'd suggest that the Wii for some people is a novelty. For me it would be a novelty. I think a lot of people enjoy playing it. They are very cool.

For traditional games players, absolutely.

But I'm more of a traditional games player and I like playing on Playstation and I feel a bit shitty that I've bought a Sony machine and I don't like the fact that it's got BluRay in it and all the rest of it but uh...

Better than MJ Ray!


Fucking the witmeister strikes fuck. He isn't listening to the fucking show anyway.

No, he said we jumped the shark.

Did he? What the fuck does that mean?


I don't know, but he er...

Is that on the foot? Fucked the pooch?

Right. So the PS3. Good one. Or not.


If you hate freedom, go out and buy one!"

Yes, that show has jumped the shark at some point in season 2, when they stopped editing properly and let it become a 90-minute or 2-hour show instead of a 1-hour one. The above is typical of recent non-interview clips that I've heard: little to do with Linux or LUGs, gratuitously offensive and personal, everyone talking across each other with lots of incoherent waffle. It's almost like they're scared to shut up and let another presenter speak while they work out what they're trying to say. Are they spraying their territory with their voices or something?

If there's an interview you're interested in, it's still worth the download for that, but don't bother otherwise.

If they had the guts to publish it under a free software licence, I expect there'd be more user-friendly cuts, tightly-edited short versions (like alterslash does for slashdot) and probably other stuff I wouldn't guess. Maybe the competition would bring a bit of freshness back, instead of the show slowly getting longer and longer, padded out with rambles that make John Prescott seem like a master of tact and eloquence.

I doubt they'll free LugRadio - they don't seem to rate freedom highly, with the exception of one presenter - and that's their choice, just like it's my choice not to listen to most of it any more. As you can tell from the above, I did tell them when I stopped and why. That in-show comment was their first response. I guess they feel too famous to reply to emails directly any more.

(Thanks to Aaron for the tip about the above. Now, I wonder if they'll use any of this in a promo, like I did when the Tories said "I'd rather join a group of tree-hugging lesbian hippies from Ipswich"? Did wonders for my recruitment drive, that did.)

Jono Bacon's PA (is this for real?) commented:

"I will get Jono to schedule a call with you sometime to discuss these problems if thats fine with you. He can probably fit you in before Bill Clinton at 2pm on Tuesday."

It also appeared (with a few comments from me) on as days pass by: Die Broadcom (and yes, Die Broadcom!)

  • Seen on URC: "A bicycle is stolen every 71 seconds in England... - I guess the owner is getting pretty fed up by now :-)" -- Paul Boyd

  • Seen on "Hi, I'm looking for anal tourism research." - So silly, so realistic, so hard not to laugh if it happened to you.

  • Seen on uk.rec.cycling: "I'm sure MPs can be cooked in ways that make them edible. Perhaps the best way is to boil them in calvados for a few hours and then serve with an apple sauce and vegetables of the season. The bones can no doubt be boiled up for stock and the remains deposited in one's green cone." David Hansen

  • PS: I'm back from France. Did you miss me?

  • Heard after someone debugged a host that kernel panicked on boot several times: "turns out doing an amd64 install on a i386 box is a bad idea"

  • From Gareth Bowker, Jaded World View: "Tardorrist (n) - would-be terrorist without sufficient intelligence to build and detonate an explosive device."

2007-07-05: Kevin Mark commented:

"I see--Redarded Terrorist--ok. So this Gareth fellow is making a comparison with smarter, more intelligent terrorist that was the IRA. Which kind of says that everyone should be far less afraid of the current crop of folks and yet the media, as it does so well, inflates their dangerousness for the sake of ... well, beats me. Oh, maybe it help Tony get a job ;-) If the IRA came to the US, what color (or is that colour) code would their activities get on our terror scale as opposed to these Tardorrists?"

How about Emerald Green?

More seriously, I think it's entirely fair to suggest we should fear this lot less than the often-USian-funded Provisional IRA, or local groups like animal liberationists. Those didn't just attack the big cities - it was everywhere, an attempt at terrorism. I lived about three miles outside Milton Keynes, then a fairly small midlands city, which was firebombed by both those groups. Ultimately, it didn't work. Most people weren't terrified. We carried on regardless.

The government may be over-hyping this threat to ride in a new load of "expensive and ineffective" Security Theatre measures, like ID cards. Some media is sceptical, but the Murdoch-run media is mostly complicit, which is hardly surprising given the historic relationship.

We should not let these "tardorrists" change our way of life, yet that is exactly what our spineless politicians seem to be doing. Let's continue as before: beware, but be happy.

2007-07-06: niq comments:

"Recommended reading: Terry Pratchett "Interesting Times". Written before "9/11" and set in the wrong part of the world, but nevertheless beautifully relevant."

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Web searchers: Your Questions Answered

Moved to statistics page.

Comment form for non-frame browsers.

Comments are moderated (damn spammers) but almost anything sensible gets approved (albeit eventually). If you give a web address, I'll link it. I won't publish your email address unless you ask me to, but I'll email you a link when the comment is posted, or the reason why it's not posted.

This is copyright 2007 MJ Ray. See fuller notice on front page.