Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Internet Explorer..

To expand briefly on this story of Leon’s about the problems with security in Internet Explorer I will add a quote from the source article:

Actually there was only one period in 2004 when there were no publicly known remote code execution bugs – between the 12th and the 19th of October – 7 days in total.

So for 359 of the 366 days of 2004 (it was a leap year) users of Internet Explorer were vulnerable to being hacked..
I await their figures for 2005 with interest!

Intelligent Design – a comment

Here’s my original take on the discussion of this at the BBC that’s unfortunately too long for their comment system:

It appears to me that many are missing the whole point of Intelligent Design. It was not dreamt up to be a serious alternative to evolution (it can’t be because it’s not scientifically testable) but to be part of the leaked “Wedge Strategy” by the evangelical “Discovery Institute” to try and undermine science and replace it with a version that is based on Christianity.

There is no attempt at objectivity or experimental verification here, merely an attempt to socially engineer American society to reflect conservative Christian values.

This is not science, not even religion really, just a political tool being used for political ends to try and establish a single religion in the US political system, which the US constitution prohibits.

“Intelligent Design” ruled unconstitutional in the US

So, the judge in Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. has ruled that:

“The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.”

So now “Intelligent Design” like its parent, Creationism, is now barred from being taught in public schools as an alternative to Evolution in that school district, & a precedent for the rest of the country. Common sense prevails!

Google News has all the reporting.

DigiKam Rocks!

For about a week or so now I’ve been hunting down and importing all my digital photos I can still get my hands on and importing them into DigiKam. I’ve got to say I’m very impressed with it, I added the current version (0.80) via Achim Bohnet’s apt repository for KUbuntu (recommended by the digikam folks) and it’s just blown me away.

Hierarchical albums are no problem, as is batch renaming (with easily customisable formatting), RAW image conversion (using dcraw), transformations and even a really nifty fuzzy-match duplicate finder!

But the two most useful features are (for me) tagging and the automatic calendar of photographs.

Tagging allows you to have a hierarchy of tags, you get 3 starters of Events, People and Places but then it’s dead easy to create tags below those, and then more below them, and so on. So, for instance, one particular hierarchy goes Places->Australia->VIC->Melbourne->VPAC. When (in tag view) you click on a tag at a certain level you will see photos from that tag and any tags that are children of it, so in the example if I click on the VIC tag I get any photos tagged just as Victoria, as well as those tagged as VPAC, Melbourne or anywhere else below that point.

The automatic calendar of photos is just that, as you import photos the date associated with them is used to create entries in a calendar. By clicking on a particular month you’ll see all photos taken then, and individual days with photos are highlighted in bold. Clicking a day will show the photos from that particular day.

Helpful hint: Importing photos into DigiKam works best when you’ve got the EXIF “DateTimeOriginal” set to the time the photo was taken. Most modern digital cameras will do this for you, but if they don’t you can use tools such as ExifTool (a Perl program) to insert such data. DigiKam will also allow you to add/subtract years, months. days, hours, minutes and seconds from a selection of photos too.

51st State

Aha, so Leon thinks Canada is the 51st state, but New Model Army have been claiming that for the UK since 1986 by the look of it.. 🙂

Our star-spangled Union Jack flutters so proud
Over the dancing heads of the merry patriotic crowd
Tip your hat to the Yankee conqueror
We’ve got no reds under the bed with guns under our pillows

If you’ve never heard them before then give them a listen, especially their earlier stuff. Got to be one of my favourite bands!

Europe Adopts Data Retention

Via LWN this morning, a disturbing FFII press release about new EU regulations requiring the retention of records about communications. To quote:

Jonas Maebe of the FFII says: “Among other harsh measures, the
directive mandates recording of the source and destination of all
emails you send and every call you make, and your location and
movement during mobile phone calls. Additionally, the directive says
nothing about who has to pay for all this logging, which will
significantly distort the internal telecommunications market.”

and, getting worse:

The gathered data can be made available without special warrants, and
without limit to certain types of crime. There will be no independent
evaluation, and no extra privacy and no specific security safeguards.
The data will be retained for periods ranging from 6 months up to any
duration a member state can convince the Commission of.

The FFII have a permanent link to their press release on their website.

SCO Moving the Goalposts Again ?

From the summary by a couple of good people (Chris Brown and Frank Sorenson) who attended the latest hearing in the SCO versus IBM farce, reported on Groklaw in the story “1st Word From the Court Hearing – Under Advisement“.
Chris Brown writes:

He stated that the discovery sought is plainly relevent including white papers, interim version, notes, & etc. That in the discovery obtained on the 20 developers IBM has turned over already, SCO has found documents that will support its claims. That in the requested discovery SCO seeks evidence of admissions that the source of infringing code is from Sys-V, AIX, or Dynix. He said SCO is entitled to show how that code came from those other operating systems. That SCO is not limited to code-by-code comparisons, but may show how it’s developed.

(Note: In fact SCO was dismissive of what it called “code-by-code” comparisons around a half dozen times during the hearing. Could this be foreshadowing their admission that they have been unable to find any evidence of infringing copied code?)

Frank Sorenson writes:

Normand says that SCO expects to find admissions from IBM’s developers in the materials that the source code came from System V, AIX and Dynix.

Under SCO’s theory, SCO is not limited to demonstrating through a code comparison. They want to show in IBM’s own words, through the developers notes, emails, etc. They expect that they’ll show IBM’s developers see a deficiency in Linux, they’ll implement it using knowledge and code from System V, AIX, and Dynix, then contribute to Linux. The developer may even mention the importance and improvement to Linux. He talks about the insufficiency of doing a code comparison, and how SCO would like to demonstrate using the internal IBM development notes.

So what happened to this then ?

“We’re finding…cases where there is line-by-line code in the Linux kernel that is matching up to our UnixWare code,” McBride said in an interview.

SCO wouldn’t have been misrepresenting or just incompetent by some chance are now looking to cover their tracks ? 🙂