Linux Outlaws is poorly

July 30, 2013

If you look at my blog side-bar, you’ll see I like the podcast Linux Outlaws. But they’re not recording regularly at the moment (one of the presenters, Fab, has lost his job and for some reason that gives him less time to devote to the show. Does that make sense?).

Anyway, Linux Outlaws ain’t doing too well. If anyone knows of another decent Linux-based podcast, let me know through Comments. I like Linux. And so should you!

EDIT: Fans of Linux Outlaws probably already know, but I’m going to mention it here anyway, just in case a reader doesn’t yet know – Linux Outlaws are back, and had posted a couple of episodes before I noticed!  Fab and Dan are seriously devoted: they upload an episode at least once a week, sometimes more than once.  Yet they sound so laid-back and casual, it’s hard to relate this to everything Fab especially has gone through recently.  I hope he resolves all his problems soon.  Actually, it’d be pretty cool if he got another job posted in Britain.  I’ve never gone to a Linux outlaws-related event, nor an OGGCAMP but when he was living in London there was more chance of meeting him IRL.  He’s a fun character, outrageous and abrasive, which I approve.  If you haven’t listened to Linux Outlaws yet, you really ought to check it out – hit this link NOW!!

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If it walks like a Nazi, talks like a Nazi, smells like a Nazi… it must be David Cameron

July 30, 2013

Ol’ Cameron’s so desperate to win the next election, he’s trying to steal back Ukip supporters with his “Immigrants go home” mobile billboards. But it looks like he’s shot himself in the foot: Nigel Farage, leader of Ukip, has described the campaign as Big Brother-like and “nasty”. The BBC report says:

Speaking on Daybreak, Mr Farage – whose party campaigns for the UK’s exit from the European Union and includes curbing immigration in its wider policies, said the campaign was really a reaction to his party’s success in English local elections.

“What the billboard should say is: Please don’t vote UKIP, we are doing something. That’s what it’s all about.

“I think the actual tone of the billboards, it really is Big Brother, nasty, it’s unpleasant. I don’t think using messaging like this makes any difference, what would make a difference is enforcing our borders properly.”

The BBC also quoted Former Children’s Minister Ms Teather, MP for Brent Central, one of the boroughs targeted by the campaign as saying the “cost” would be community relations.

“It’s really unpleasant and we don’t need it here,” she said.

“If the Home Office want to deal with problems, frankly they should be looking at themselves and their own practice.”

And it seems pretty clear that this campaign is a Tory initiative rather than something dreamt up by the Coalition. The Guardian reports that Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg “launched a strong attack on the government’s ‘go home” campaign against illegal immigrants, suggesting it was out of step with the ‘decent’ centre-ground tradition in British politics.

In a phone-in on Radio 5 Live on Tuesday, the deputy prime minister said he did not condone people breaking immigration laws but that he objected to the tone of the campaign launched by the Home Office.

He also said it would be hard for his ministerial colleagues in the coalition to persuade him that the campaign should be extended.

Problem is, Clegg and his buddies have already revealed how low they can go in order to keep their illusion in power. Also, I have no links, but I seem to remember the LibDems using racist language in local authority elections in the past.

It’s kinda funny: Ukip’s Farage accusing the Tories of racism. What next? The BNP gonna promise more lax immigration policies to win marginal Tory seats?

Hitler was a charismatic guy operating in a time of economic crisis to gain power. Similar circumstances to now: except Cameron’s got the charisma of a cauliflower. And don’t forget: Cameron has some despicable ideas in the pipeline. Why should sick and disabled people totally unfit to work get benefits? Why should low-paid central London workers like cleaners be able to live close to work when they can commute and spend their paltry wages on travel? Why shouldn’t MPs (public servants paid by us, the taxpayers) have free central London homes as well as constituency homes, all paid for by us, the saps who are suffering austerity pay cuts when the MPs vote themselves massive pay rises?

Foreigners, poor people, the sick and disabled, unemployed people who can’t get a job with a living wage cos none exist: they are the enemy. You want more of the same? Of course you do, you’re the British electorate who are only happy when you’re being butt-fucked by deformed Tory penises. So Vote Conservative As Often As You Can. FFS.

Oh, and before you think voting Labour might save us: don’t be so stupid. Miliband bad-mouths Cameron in public, but in private they’re probably very good friends. Think about it: what kind of person wants a career that allows them to control us? Apart from crazy power freaks that is.  And even crazy power freaks have an off-duty switch, otherwise they’d go round disembowelling everyone who disobeyed them (ie everyone).

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Ubuntu Forums down! Security breach! Don’t panic, carry on…

July 23, 2013

Ubuntuforums.org, the bestest user forum for Ubuntu users that I know of, is offline due to a security breach whereby usernames, passwords and email addresses were compromised. This happened on 20 July, apparently, I only just noticed (come here for the latest news, eh).

Canonical, the company behind the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, and whose servers host the Forums site, have put up an announcement page, to which you get redirected if you try to browse to the forums. From what Canonical have said, it appears:

1. Usernames, passwords and email addresses have been compromised. The passwords were stored hashed, ie not in plain text, but users who use their Ubuntuforums.org password on other sites should change them, just to be sure;

2.Ubuntu One, Launchpad and other Ubuntu/Canonical services are not affected by this.

I’m wondering: the forums site was being hosted on Canonical servers, and it was compromised. But other Canonical services are unaffected… So, is Canonical giving Ubuntuforums.org second-class service? Or are all Canonical servers this badly managed, meaning users should forget about using Ubuntu One, Launchpad, etc?

I don’t want to be an asshole about this – but Canonical, WTF??!

EDIT: I’m a bit behind the times with this, but Ubuntuforums.org is up and about again.  They’ve changed the logging-in mechanism, now you need a Launchpad account too, but it’s easy to do.  Just go to Ubuntuforums.org as usual and you’ll be walked through the new process.  If you’re into Ubuntu it’s a wonderful resource, I’ve managed to keep an account there since 2007, I’ve had a shit load of infractions (official warnings), one admin said he didn’t know of anyone worse, but the community there is really good.

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UK’s TEMPORA eavesdropping programme could be worse than USA’s PRISM

July 13, 2013

I don’t know what I’ve been doing for the past month, but it isn’t very effective. I thought I’d been keeping an eye on the Edward Snowden/PRISM situation, but I only just found out about GCHQ’s eavesdropping programme TEMPORA.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the UK eavesdropping service GCHQ’s ability to access the internet’s fibre-optic cables has made it “an intelligence superpower”.

TEMPORA stores the intercepted data for 3 days, and the meta-data for 30 days. The data includes actual recordings of phone calls, the contents of emails, Facebook activity, and anyone’s browsing history. That’s right: anyone’s data is collected and stored, not just terrorist suspects.

300 analysts from GCHQ and 250 from the NSA are sifting this data, in what must be the biggest fishing operation to date. TEMPORA was first trialled in 2008, and has been fully up and running since 2011. Lawyers for GCHQ said it would be impossible to list the total number of people targeted by Tempora because “this would be an infinite list which we couldn’t manage”.

We only know about this horrific violation of our privacy because NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents about it. Snowden told the Guardian that illegal state-sponsored eavesdropping “is not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight. They [GCHQ] are worse than the US.” The documents’ titles show how huge TEMPORA is: “Mastering the Internet” and “Global Telecoms Exploitation”. GCHQ are intercepting the communications of absolutely anyone, anywhere. The UK may be the leading member of the Five Eyes electronic eavesdropping alliance, comprising the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

So, I’ve been indignant that the USA might be violating my privacy with no legal reason or oversight – and now I’ve learnt that my own country is doing the same! Nasty spooks are getting their sticky hands on my personal business, the thought makes me shudder!

Oh, and no “It couldn’t happen here” bollocks. It’s happening now, it’s been happening for years, and it’ll keep happening until we force the nasty pigs to back off!

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How to tackle homelessness: make it illegal

July 1, 2013

Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up. The Independent reports on how “Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness”. Apparently the cops took blankets, sleeping bags and food from people they found sleeping rough in an abandoned public baths:

One of the men targeted in the action, Adam Jaskowiak, pleaded with officers to be allowed to keep his possessions for warmth. The 34-year-old said: “They [the police officers] were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it, and the food, but they said ‘No’.

“I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”

The police then had the nerve to defend this action, saying the shocking intervention was part of a co-ordinated effort to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers”.

Chief Inspector John Fish told the Ilford Recorder: “The public rely on the police to reduce the negative impact; this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of tents and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”

Inspector Fish’s comment is very fishy. The rough sleepers were in an abandoned public baths, not pitching tents by the roadside or sleeping in shop doorways. Not that I think it’s wrong for anyone to sleep rough – it’s wrong that anyone needs to sleep rough.

This is clearly part of police action to intimidate homeless people so they leave London. This is because the sight of homeless people sleeping out may negatively affect tourism. And I can see how it might develop: “solve” the problem of homelessness by sending homeless people to jail. Then the streets of London will be nice and shiny for the tourists, who will then find it wonderful to see rich people staggering out of nightclubs at closing time, drinking and fighting in the streets… when the poor do it, it’s wrong; but if the rich do it, it’s just “natural exuberance”.

To see more of what I think about this issue check out Streets of London Redux. To put it succinctly: it makes me fucking sick.

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