V for Vendetta

“People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.” — V

I went to see V for Vendetta last night at Odeon High Street Kensington, with Tim, Matt and Phil.

I’d been trying hard not to build this one up because most adaptions are a severe disappointment to those who enjoyed the original work — and the original graphic novel is something I really did enjoy. Add that to the fact that Alan Moore disowned it, then I was really expecting this film to be as bad as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from the moment I first heard it was in production.

Once it did get near to release though the hype did start affecting me a little and I did reconsider it enough to check out the score on IMDb: 7.6/10 — pretty high for IMDb! So I thought maybe I should try and keep an open mind.

I’m glad I did, because this was a pretty enjoyable movie. Not perfect, but I think the Wachowski Brothers captured the style of the novel quite effectively.

Continue reading “V for Vendetta”

Private voting in Debian?

Martin, why would you want voting private? In most societies and voting systems people are entitled to their opinions, to state them, and campaign on behalf of others if they like.

Note that I’m not expressing any opinion on the content of these posts (I haven’t been following it and I’m not a DD anyway, so my opinion isn’t worth much), only that I can’t understand why you’d want to stop people making them.

Storing critical data in gmail

Ian, without dishing out any personal insults or anything, what it boils down to is that every (supplier|vendor) can make mistakes and have problems and therefore it is every (user|client|customer)’s duty to think about how that will affect their business.

So yes I would say it is incredibly unwise to store critical data in any one place that is so far removed from your own control. The beta webmail service of a large search engine company would be just one example of a bad place to keep the one copy of your vital data.

What is so very different about this example and say, buying all your Internet transit from one NSP? If people being able to reach your network is essential to your business and you buy all your connectivity from one NSP whose network then dies, you can sit on a blog bitching until you are blue in the face about how the NSP should have forseen this and built a redundant enough network to survive it, etc. etc., but in the real world any network engineer will tell you that you should have had multiple upstreams for redundancy purposes.

Equally someone who put a lot of business critical data in one remote place hosted by some other company (especially given it is likely that their data and their custom means very little to that company) made a foolish choice.

Unless redundancy and local control is inherently built into the service then it will never be suitable for (power users|big business), and this is one major reason why I will never use gmail.

Hurry to set up an ISA

If you have no debts and some savings then hurry to set up a cash ISA as then you don’t get taxed on the savings. You have until the end of the tax year on April 5th to have an ISA set up with this year’s allowance.

Money Saving Expert now recommends Alliance and Leicester’s Direct ISA, which is a recent change from First Direct‘s ISA offering, so I’m now in the process of switching (although it’s not going to make much difference with only a month left).

If you have no idea what I am talking about then you should probably read the full MSE article.

(I am not a qualified financial adviser and this article does not constitute financial advice.)

Prisoners at Guantanamo are being force-fed

According to this BBC news article, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are being force-fed using tubes inserted into their noses to pump food directly into their systems against their will.

They are being force-fed because they tried to go on hunger strike to protest against the situation they are in. One former prisoner says he went on hunger strike because he believed his food was being drugged.

The article also claims that any doctor wishing to visit the facility is screened to ensure they agree with the policy of force-feeding.

I hope I don’t need to explain my ethical and logical problems with force-feeding prisoners and interrogating them while they’re drugged.

Force-feeding was administered in a humane and compassionate manner and only when necessary to keep the prisoners alive.” — Lt. Col. Martin

Moving on, moving up

I think I can finally say that I’ve finished working at Aspective and will be starting my new job at Venda on Monday 13th of March!

I’d been seriously looking for a new job since the start of January and had been generally unhappy since at least the last quarter of 2005. But I had thought it best not to rant about it in public too much for fear of getting really worked up and saying things I either didn’t mean, or would regret, or both.

Even now, when I’m out the door at Aspective and ready to start at the new place I think it’s best not to dwell on the negatives but instead to talk about some of the high points.

Continue reading “Moving on, moving up”

lug.org.uk progress

I’m very pleased to finally be able to report some progress has been made recently on improving lug.org.uk‘s services.

For a very long time, all of lug.org.uk was running from a machine kindly hosted in Leeds by Energis Squared. We (well, Alasdair) had made an attempt to install Xen on it but there was something clearly not right in the networking functionality of the kernel because connections were randomly stalling for minutes or hours at a time. Most noticeably for our userbase, emails were sometimes taking 12 hours to go through the server and out to the lists, and the web sites were often unusable.

Continue reading “lug.org.uk progress”

Lack of activity

You may have noticed there has been a lack of posts here recently, and might be thinking this is the typical slowdown that happens when a new blogger loses interest.

Well, I can’t promise I won’t ever lose interest, but I’m not done yet!  It’s just been a very hectic period of my life which I haven’t yet had much chance to blog about.  More to come!