Welcome to Australia, the Worlds Newest Police State

Please leave your common sense in the rubbish bins provided or customs will confiscate it and fine you.

Mr Thomas will be required to stay in his house between midnight and 5am and will report to police three times a week.

Reminder, this is a man who was freed on appeal.. To quote the AG:

“The issue is about protecting the Australian community, not punishing a person for an offence proven beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.

So now the government can “control” anyone they deem to be a threat ?

“And if you work on the assumption that only those people who could be convicted of an offence could be the subject of a control order, you wouldn’t have control orders.”

Update: ABC has more details now..

He also will need written approval to make telephone calls. His lawyer, Rob Stary, says he also has to identify all of his telecommunications devices. “Which might include Internet facilities, mobile phones, home phones, things of that nature so that presumably they can be monitored,” he said.

Written permission to make telephone calls ?

Linux Users Victoria – Webserver Down – Electrical Work at CoLo

For those wondering (as I was) about why you can no longer get to the LUV website or mailing lists, it’s because the colocation facility (EFTel, who provide free hosting to us for which we are very grateful) are having major electrical work done at the Melbourne CoLo. The ticket (#8705) says:

8705 Scheduled maintenance 26-Aug-2006 14:30:00 27-Aug-2006 00:00:00 MAJOR ELECTRICAL SHUTDOWN – 530 Collins St: Affecting ALL Victorian Services

Update: Back up again..

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The BBC is reporting that the text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been adopted by the UN.

Those countries that sign up to it will have to enact laws and other measures to improve disability rights and also agree to get rid of legislation, customs and practices that discriminate against disabled people.

The US has abstained from the treaty, claiming it has no need to sign up because they already have such legislation.

Quick Play With Bootchart

Installed Bootchart and noticed that usplash was using a heap of CPU, booted without the “splash” option and shaved 3 seconds off my boot time, going from 34 to 31 seconds.. 🙂

With and without usplash bootchart graphs are below (PNG format).

With usplash Without usplash

Hollywood to Require 64-bit Intel/AMD Processors for HD-DVD and BlueRay Playback ?

From El Reg:

Speaking in Australia this week, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Steve Riley effectively revealed Windows Media Player 11 will not play HD content from HD DVD or BD sources unless it’s running under a 64-bit version of Vista. According to Riley, 32-bit mode is too open to hacks designed to bypass the optical discs’ copy-protection mechanisms.

Given MS’s current current track record with security, it remains to be seen how effective this push to use the UnTrusting Computing platform will be for this..

According to Riley, the decision to drop 32-bit HD DVD and BD playback from WMP 11 was made because “the media companies asked us to do this”. What’s more, he added, “they don’t want any of their HD content to play in [32-bit] at all, because of all of the unsigned malware that runs in kernel mode can get around content protection”.

So presumably anyone else not MS who wants to beg leave to create an official player is going to have to play along with the media companies attempts to wrest control of your computer from you.

It also probably means that Apple Mac users will have to buy 64-bit Intel Macs if they want to be able to watch this new content and high quality (as I don’t believe that the PowerPC line of processors supports the lock in that Hollywood requires).

With Sony and Toshiba supporting BD and HD DVD playback, respectively, on select PCs running 32-bit Windows XP, playing content from pre-recorded discs may not seem to be much of a problem. But it will become more of an issue once content companies begin enforcing region coding and HDCP compliance for full-resolution output. That may require new software for playback, and the updated code could well meet Hollywood’s demand for 64-bit computing.

Given that I don’t run Windows anyway, the whole question is likely to be moot..

The Vacation Mail Responder – Released

The Vacation Mail Responder has been abandoned for over 5 years now, so I contacted the former maintainers and asked them about taking on the project. They were happy about that and so now I find myself looking after it, along with Brian May.

I’ve made a minor bug fix (to add the Precedence: bulk header to all responses it generates) and updated the maintainer information and just released, over 5 years from the release.

The main question is now, of course, where do we go from here ? One of the options we’re seriously considering is whether we should rebase from the native packages in Debian & Ubuntu as their version has been independently developed and gone much further than this one.

But for now I can go to sleep tonight feeling happy that I’ve taken on my first open source project and started to breath some life into it once more..

Open Source Data Center Management

Was reading PLOA and found a blog post by Jon Oxer about setting up Xen systems for hosting and what he saw at the SLES/SLED 10 launch today. I think he should take a look at something else I stumbled over today – OpenQRM – which claims to be an open source data center management/provisioning tool.

Currently they support RPM based distros but their source build docs include destructions for Debian/Ubuntu and Gentoo as well. Certainly I think they’d be very happy to get assistance to have Ubuntu and Debian as tested distros as well…

They have a live CD to play with too..

Time Team – Archaeology by TV ?

I was watching Time Team on the ABC where they were excavating a suspected crannog and henge monument at Loch Migdale in Scotland back in 2004 when they showed a quick bit of video of the remains of a stone causeway underwater.

Whilst watching the fly over of the rocks something caught my eye, something that looked too regular to be natural and what appeared to me to be a round circular container. I had recorded it on the DVD recorder so I grabbed a few frames to show, but whilst it can be hard to see in still images it’s a bit more obvious when you see it moving so I’ve also got an animated GIF of those put together here.

Animated GIF

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