Wednesday, August 31, 2005

baby I don't want to swim

New Orleans is Sinking Watch out for the jealous killer whale. It'll rip yer arms off. N.B. Of course, the title of these posts should have been 'When the levee breaks'. But then everything's obvious in retrospect. Isn't it?

when the levee breaks, you have no place to stay

Why is the feed not working? New Orleans Disaster: What I want to say is, I think and hope this will really fly back straight into Bush's face. What am I talking about? Well, look at just how few National Guard members are there to help out. That's right, there're barely any, because most of them are in Iraq fighting for a lie. What are they even doing in Iraq? They're the NATIONAL Guard aren't they? There to guard the NATION? Hmmm, this doesn't look very good does it? And people in America are in trouble because those who have volunteered to guard the nation are half a world away, guarding Halliburton. In addition, the horrible financial burden of rebuilding entire cities must feel a hell of a lot worse with the added financial burden of a miserable, failed invasion. How has wasting billions of dollars saved America this time around?

No fish & Chips for John Young!

Welcome to the league of men who have the right to bear the letters BSL after their name: John Young (BSL) Where 'BSL' stands for ' British Shit List'. Cryptome has once again, published a list of M|6 officers, this time, Paddy 'perpetual looser' 'pants down' Ashdown (Jeremy John Durham Ashdown) is on the list. No Fish & Chips for you sunshine!

the hooded claw

the newest member of BLOGDIAL, a decloaked lurker! Contributing member? meau meau waves |


'Black' people steal, 'white' people discover.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Streaming aerial video with narration by some annoying people who claim know the landmarks....(porn for those who long to witness nature destroy hideous urban centers, malls and concrete subdivisions)

the war on porn

The Home Office will today propose to outlaw the possession of extreme adult pornography downloaded over the internet from abroad. [...] the Home Office suggests making illegal "the possession of a limited range of extreme pornographic material featuring adults". It cites the depiction of bestiality, sexual interference with a human corpse or certain forms of extreme violence involving serious bodily harm. "This is material which is extremely offensive to the vast majority of people (who don't actually view it - mm) and it should have no place in our society," said the Home Office minister, Paul Goggins. [...] Guardian Of course this can't prevent access to such material and why should anyone 'possess' such images when it only takes a few seconds to download again even a screen sized image. Of course what we want to know is if possession something like this (don't worry it's only google) will be outlawed.


Now they charge on amain. Now they rally again. The Gods from above the mad labour behold, And pity mankind that will perish for gold.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Who is Jandek? We still don't know

Who is Jandek? We still don't know

Something must break

It won't be long before the masses demand the invasion/annexation of Saudi Arabia so that gas prices can return to lower levels. Of course, these same masses will never demand that all fuel taxes are scrapped, because, well, they simply have not got the brains to do that....or maybe not.....For every £50 you put in your tank, you're giving the government £37 in tax.
Overseas UK Fuel Prices
Country Local Currency per litre UK pence per litre
Unleaded Diesel Unleaded Diesel
Austria (Euro) 0.98 0.86 67.61 59.33
Belgium (Euro) 1.20 0.83 82.79 57.26
Czech Rep (Koruna) 27.70 25.70 62.25 60.54
Denmark (Krone) 9.05 8.22 86.69 78.74
Finland (Euro) 1.18 0.90 81.41 62.09
France (Euro) 1.11 0.96 76.58 66.23
Germany (Euro) 1.19 1.03 82.10 71.06
Greece (Euro) 0.87 0.94 60.02 64.85
Netherlands (Euro) 1.31 0.99 90.38 68.30
Hungary (Forint) 252.50 237.00 77.80 73.02
Ireland (Euro) 1.00 0.94 68.99 64.85
Italy (Euro) 1.17 0.99 80.72 68.30
Luxembourg (Euro) 0.97 0.78 66.92 53.82
Estonia (Kroons) 11.95 10.50 54.44 47.84
Norway (Norwegian Krone) 9.90 8.55 85.42 73.77
Latvia 0.49 0.47 52.73 50.58
Lithuania 2.73 2.61 56.64 54.15
Poland (Zloty) 3.86 3.40 69.65 61.35
Slovakia 36.90 36.60 66.33 65.79
Slovenia 207.40 199.90 62.92 60.65
Portugal (Euro) 1.06 0.83 73.13 57.26
Spain (Euro) 0.93 0.84 64.16 57.95
Sweden (Swedish Krona) 10.55 9.63 82.55 75.35
Switzerland (Swiss Francs) 1.50 1.59 69.37 73.54
USA (US Dollars) 0.53 0.58 30.07 32.91
"The government spend approximately £6 billion on roads and local transport, but a staggering £36 billion is collected in road taxation" [...]

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Handy Felt Tips

Passport factory redunancies caused by ISLAND

Met seek 'fake' passports accused
Fake passports seized in Thailand
British police have one month to make a case for extradition
British police will seek the extradition of an Algerian man arrested in Thailand on suspicion of forging European passports.

Atamnia Yacine, 33, was detained in the Thai capital Bangkok on Wednesday, after he was found with at least 180 French and Spanish passports.

Britain has a warrant for his extradition on charges of forging passports and money laundering.

Thailand is widely reputed to be a major source of fake travel documents.

Yacine was arrested during a raid on his house in Bangkok.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We understand the individual has been detained in Bangkok."

"We will be working with the Crown Prosecution Service, the Foreign Office and the Thai authorities to seek his extradition."

British police will have one month to present their case to authorities in Bangkok.

'Forgery hub'

Thai police said the seized passports had been sent to the French and Spanish embassies for examination.

Western governments view Thailand as a hub for fake passport production and proliferation, the BBC's Jonathan Head said from Bangkok.

Security analysts say that is a major concern, as they can be used to allow criminals and in some cases militants to move freely between countries. [...]

Of course, with an ISLAND enabled passport, these Thai factories will become instantly redundant. Anyone can forge a paper and plastic passport, even a hologram protected image in a passport, but what they CANNOT forge is a PGP signature on a digital photo and its related personal information. When the ISLAND enabled passport is scanned at a port, the signature on the photo and personal info is checked. if the scan is complete, ie, the data is completely transfered to the computer checking the signature without damage, then the signature will come up as not having been made by the Passport Office or designated issuing authority. The document can instantly be determined to be fradulent. If the signature is good, then the document is good and has been properly issued. This can all be done without any smoke and mirrors or snake oil (biometrics) and can be done right now, with commodity components and zero cost Open Source software.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Dirty Teenagers In The Loop

RESEARCHERS MAP THE SEXUAL NETWORK OF AN ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time, sociologists have mapped the romantic and sexual relationships of an entire high school over 18 months, providing evidence that these adolescent networks may be structured differently than researchers previously thought. The results showed that, unlike many adult networks, there was no core group of very sexually active people at the high school. There were not many students who had many partners and who provided links to the rest of the community. Instead, the romantic and sexual network at the school created long chains of connections that spread out through the community, with few places where students directly shared the same partners with each other. But they were indirectly linked, partner to partner to partner. One component of the network linked 288 students – more than half of those who were romantically active at the school – in one long chain. (See figure for a representation of the network.) [...] Those filthy teenagers!

Juba ... Muadib!

Highly trained Islamic snipers on their way to the USA by Ernesto Cienfuegos La Voz de Aztlan Los Angeles, Alta California - August 23, 2005 - (ACN) The USA mainstream media is "filtering" the news coming out of Iraq. It is not reporting on certain items deemed by the Pentagon to be detrimental to the morale of US troops or their families back home. Conspicuously absent are any reports on "Juba", a sniper who has been terrorizing US soldiers in Baghdad for months. Juba is the name given by US forces to a superbly trained insurgent sniper who has already killed at least 19 GI's including four US Marine snipers in one day. No US soldier has ever seen Juba. They only hear one distinctive shot from a Tabuk sniper rifle (An Iraqi sniper rifle based on the Soviet Kalashnikov but fitted with a long barrel and a muzzle brake. It uses the 7.62mm Kalashnikov cartridge) and the next thing they see is another GI slumping down dead. The hit is usually to the head but Juba also aims at gaps in the GI's body armor. He has been known to hit his mark from 300 yards which is the length of three football fields. Juba takes only one shot and then disappears. US troops who scramble to find Juba soon after he has struck find only his trademark that consists of a single 7.62mm Kalashnikov cartridge casing with a handwritten note. The note, in Arabic, says, "What has been taken in blood cannot be regained except by blood". The note is signed, "The Baghdad Sniper". Juba is now a mythic hero to the Iraqi resistance. Word on the streets of Baghdad, from those who know Juba, is that his rifle is running out of space to add more "notches" that signify US occupation soldiers he has killed. Juba is now training an "elite" insurgent sniper squad that will target personnel coming in and out from Baghdad's Green Zone. A particular worrisome development for USA based warmongers is a CIA intelligence report that says that a superbly trained Islamic sniper squad is on its way to the USA. According to the report, the Al-Ikhwan Al-Moslemoon (Muslim Brotherhood)is preparing to send a highly trained sniper squad to the USA that will target, at first, the lower and middle level leadership of the Islamophobic organizations that cater to the Zionists. This, we presume, includes the lackeys of the Zionists on radio and television. A few weeks ago, these puppets of Israel added insult to injury when they went on a vile tirade in support of the "toilet flushers" of the Holy Koran at Guantanamo. Many of these radio talk jockeys are not Jews but they act as mouthpieces for their employers who are. One of these virulent pundits for the Zionists said over the airwaves, "US soldiers at Guantanamo should have used the pages of the Koran to wipe their asses!" La Voz de Aztlan received an e-mail from one of our subscribers in Saudi Arabia concerning the CIA report. Ali bin Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Fulani wrote that the Islamic sniper squad should include Congressman Tom Tancredo of the Colorado 6th Congressional District as one of its first targets. Tancredo recently made a public statement proposing that the USA "nuke" Mecca. "Nuke" means blasting a city with a nuclear bomb as was done to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Mecca is Islam's holiest cities where millions of Muslims make a yearly religious pilgrimage. Ali added, "Instead of nuking the entire 6th congressional district and killing hundreds of thousands innocent civilians, a sniper should "nuke' Tancredo's ass with one 7.62mm Kalashnikov bullet hardened with depleted uranium!" Depleted uranium utilized in USA military projectiles has caused horrendous deformities in Iraqi babies. Who is Check out ----------------------------- This original article was found at [...] Who is this Muad'dib?

data retention

European Commission attempts to reduce data retention requirements

The European Commission is planning to table its own proposal in September regarding the retention of email and telecommunications for law enforcement purposes. This would pre-empt and reduce the current proposal from the EU Council of Ministers.

The EU Council of Ministers made its proposal after the Madrid train bombings, and resurrected it last month after the London bombings. It will require telcos and ISPs to retain logs of phone calls and email messages (but not the content of the messages). The Commission's proposal is more sympathetic to privacy concerns. It would cut the data retention period from four years in the Council's proposal, to between six months and a year. It also removes the requirement to log website visits and offers government money to telcos and ISPs to help them meet legislative requirements, whereas the Council wants the service providers to pay the full cost of retaining data for four years. The Commission has been boosted by research at the Erasmus University in the Netherlands, which showed that in nearly all cases where the police used "traffic data" to solve crimes, they only needed to go back three months into the records - and that telcos already hold this information for billing purposes. We could be heading for another EU political showdown over this issue, but this time the Commission will have most public and industrial opinion on its side. However, a decision needs to be implemented during 2005, so any battle over this should be short.


startup woes

Reminded myself of the start up company posts and remebered this (via about how it is becoming EASIER for small companies to fabricate prototype products [...] The implications for this - the idea that the cost of prototyping is dropping to near zero and tools for design will be understandable and available to anyone with high school-level computer skills - are profound. Today the market is for one-offs - things no big company will make. But in the future this may well replace the R&D and design departments at many, even most, product companies. [...] All here

Thursday, August 25, 2005


July 29, 2005

Dog Poop Girl

Here's the basic story: A woman and her dog are riding the Seoul subways. The dog poops in the floor. The woman refuses to clean it up, despite being told to by other passangers. Someone takes a picture of her, posts it on the Internet, and she is publicly shamed -- and the story will live on the Internet forever. Then, the blogosphere debates the notion of the Internet as a social enforcement tool. [...] I missed this one; what an astonishing story - and the Subwanker is going to get the same treatment, onle one thousand fold.

Penis Fallout

"Only in america (especially New York)"; the city of 'Dartman' 'Crazy Eddie' and the notorious James Ramseur. Tens of thousands of people are looking at the 'Subwanker' and the comments are pouring in on the flicker post. This comment thread caught my eye:
view profile

roidrage Pro User says:

OH MY GOD. I live in the city as well and am SO SICK OF THIS SHIT. Earlier this week, some guy stuck two of his fingers IN MY ASS CRACK. I kicked him in the nuts and he ran away but i was insanely steamed. As a project i've been documenting the disgusting men that have tried to hit on me. Here is a link to my flickr set that i've started. I am in the process of developing a site for it. We should probably start a "PERVERTS" group! Disgusting Men.

and then:
view profile

apollonia666 Pro User says:

I dunno, Roidrage. The guy who grabbed you should, of *course*, be subject to ridicule, but it seems to me that there's a big difference between posting a pic of a creep masturbating on the subway and posting a pic AND THE PHONE NUMBER of a creep who called you "beautiful" on the street, as you did here. And I don't think that what may or may not be street harassment as any justification for homophobic "I like to suck dick" comments like you scrawled over this guy's face. What friendly_chic has done here seems like a way more proportionate and appropriate response to the offense than what you've done, IMHO.

and the guys:
Mr. Johnie Fox

This might just be too easy. Johnie thinks i'm going to call him about being an extra in a commercial. The pay is a few hundred dollars!

I hate hate hate it when 2 or more of them see me coming down the block. They part to the sides so i'm FORCED to walk inbetween them. Then, as i'm walking by them they have to say stupid shit like "PSST. PSSST. ... Beautiful." Maybe typed out it looks harmless but LOOK AT THAT MAN. IMAGINE HIM SAYING THAT TO YOU. Isn't that pleasant feeling?

Say Hello to Jermaine!

I said yesterday that if one more disgusting man tried to talk to me I'd flip shit. Well, this is my way of flipping shit.

Jermaine thought it would be really kind of him to tell me how beautiful I looked today as I was walking to the subway. I explained to him that I worked for a talent agency and that we are always looking for a fresh face. He glady posed for a picture and gave me his name and phone number. Wasn't that sweet?

The name and phone number are real. Feel free to leave him messages. Maybe he doesn't like to suck cock but he seemed like a nice guy, so i'm sure he'll be open minded about it! I'm thinking about making photocopies and distrubuting them in gay bars across the city. Is that really wrong of me?

This is the beginning of my new project. I think i''ll start collecting them and turn it into a little book. Any suggestions on what else i can do with them? I bet i can collect quite a few within the next couple of weeks.

Belly laugh of the day, thanks to the newest member of BLOGDIAL, a decloaked lurker!

Yeah but no but yeah but no but

YES NO, but I was only talking specifically about these new rules that target anyone that can be deported, like those living here under 'indefinite leave to remain', who are especially vulnerable to this new attack, like Mr. Bakri, who has seven children in the UK who have the right to be here, being british, while he can be deported and separated from them at the whim of the elephant. Last word.


An all too common story about a wanker
YES Control Orders can be imposed on anyone, they are not limited to deportation, they include house arrest and exclusion. The newest arrow in the quiver isn't the only one the archer can draw. And that elephant will never skewer the apple.

Not to be 'Sent Packing'

they can be imposed on anybody No, Deportation orders cannot be imposed on true born British citizens, like Alun. That is what the Anti-Babar has just 'expanded upon' with the new rules. All joking aside, this is about as stupid as the old laws forbidding the BBC from transmitting the actual voices of members of the IRA. It made Britain a laughing stock, didn't deter the IRA a single bit, and gave the BBC a ready made way to mock the government every night with the absurd out of sync fake Irish accents of actors voicing to the grave face of Gerry Adams. Stopping these people from speaking and preaching is like trying to use a water hose to put out the sun. From the ground. The cause of the heat is ..... hey wait a minute, is this speech forbidden?! Ah yes, the regulations are retroactive, so I will repeat what I have said before; the cause of this heat is the murderous lap dog foreign policy and the illigal immoral invasion of Iraq executed by this evil government, a wholley owned subsidiary of Murder Inc. And is that fat jackass so totally ignorant of how the world works that he cannot understand that websites can be run from anywhere, and that anyone who wants or needs too be 'stoked up' can find an inflamatory site in seconds, no matter who he deports. He really is like a cartoon elephant that has seen a mouse, picks up a grand piano with his trunk and franticaly thrashes it against the ground again and again trying to kill it while on his hind legs.


You and all the other first class citizens could sell your immunity [...] being a speaking mouth or named author. No one is 'immune' since Clunktrol Orders where established, they don't just apply to brown umm muslim err 'THEM', they can be imposed on anybody in this land if Clunk and his board of 'security cleared' judges approve (and how long will a recalcitrant judge maintain 'securtity clearance'?) What a right old pickle Although "I have it on good authority that ..."

So many government created opportunities!

Am I getting carried away? certainly not. Maybe if I was religious, they'd lock me up. Being atheist, I'm obviously subnormal and morally corrupt and therefore my views are less contentious. Not only are you an athiest, but you are a true born british citizen which means that they can't deport you under these regulations. You, being a first class citizen, enjoy all the God given rights and 'priveledges' that are fundamental to liberty. I smell an opportunity! You and all the other first class citizens could sell your immunity (!) to the second and third class citizens in the form of being a speaking mouth or named author. You publish whatever some poor slave wants to say but cant, for a fee. The words are said, no one gets deported, you make some money.... Profit! You could even be hired to repeat words written down for you in a mosque; free speech returns to those mosques that like it, no one gets arrested or deported. Of course, should this pan out, they will simply make it illegal for people to attend these mosques. There is nothing that they will not do, except the right thing. And another thing. These new regulations were announced, and then by magic, they seemed to become part of the law. There was no review, no vote taken on it...nothing....people are now simply banned at the word of an unshaven car door eared, beady eyed, obese JACKASS. Regulation by proclamation...and they said that Saddam was a 'dictator'....

to the funny farm

Am I getting carried away? The men in the white mitres are on their way as we speak.

I fart in your general direction

Have you been following the Robertson/Chavez/assasination story? Well, here's the good Reverend Pat's latest and Chavez's fabulous response. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela hit back vigorously at calls by an ally of President George Bush for his assassination by offering cheap petrol to the poor of the US at a time of soaring fuel prices. [...] "We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States," he said. [...]

Yesterday the religious broadcaster apologised for his remarks.

"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologise for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the US is out to kill him," he said.

In a TV broadcast on Monday, he said: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."

Yesterday Mr Robertson initially said his comments had been misinterpreted, but went on to add that kidnapping Mr Chávez might be a better idea.

"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things, including kidnapping." [...] "He's a private citizen," Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, said of Mr Robertson. "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time." [...] Mr Chávez has set up arrangements with other countries for swapping services in exchange for oil. Cuban doctors are working in the poorer areas of Venezuela in exchange for cheap oil going to Cuba.

Jamaica yesterday became the first Caribbean country to reach an agreement with Venezuela for oil at below-market terms. The Petrocaribe initiative is a plan to offer oil at flexible rates to 13 Caribbean countries. Jamaica will pay $40 a barrel, against a market rate of more than $60.


So. Once you've stopped laughing, remember Donald Rumpelstilskin says you can call for the murder of democratically-elected Presidents and, well, it doesn't really matter because you're a private citizen. With your own TV show and million-people-a-day national following. And you're a "religious leader". What would Bliar and Clunk say about that?! KILL BUSH! The SAS should assasinate Bush to save the UK from escalating terrorist threats caused by US-led interventionist policies. Take out this mental dwarf on the grounds of national security!!! KILL BLAIR! MI5 should assasinate Blair for the good of the country, and for the EVIL he has brought down upon the UK in return for the evil he has supported and the evil lies he has spread, for the hatred, suspicion, paranoia and mistrust he has sprayed like the devil's semen across our virgin land!!! Maybe if I was religious, they'd lock me up. Being atheist, I'm obviously subnormal and morally corrupt and therefore my views are less contentious. Or is religion irrelevant? Perhaps if I was a major Republican/Christian right donor, or Labour donor, I'd get away with such things. Who can tell...? Am I getting carried away?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

oldies but goldies

[...] The characteristics of the desire-group are well-known. But the other, the anger-group, though threefold as we have seen, needs further elaboration. 'Abusive speech is the ill-considered and insufferable retailing of faults by one bearing malice towards another. 'The ruthless and unwarranted employment of torture of various kinds in putting a person to death is recognised as severity of punishment beyond all reason. 'Relentlessly plundering greed is rapine. Thus, we have the sevenfold evil known as Addiction. [...] 'Now I come to the final evil, tactical inversions: in the utilisation in reverse of political expedients; these being six in number: peace or alliance, war or invasion, advance or pursuit, halting and steadfastness, retreat or seeking shelter, and the use of deceiving tactics. For instance, when a king goes to war instead of forging an alliance; when he seeks to make peace instead of going to war; and similarly acting in a contrary fashion with regard to the other expedients of policy; wrong policy in short.


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Biting the hand that feeds.

Canada is seduced by the dark side

The federal cabinet will review new legislation this fall that would give police and security agencies vast powers to begin surveillance of the Internet without court authority. The new measures would allow law enforcement agents to intercept personal e-mails, text messages and possibly even password-secure Web sites used for purchasing and financial transactions. A law professor and privacy expert involved in consultations over the bill said a draft version of the legislation circulated this year did not require court authority for police to intercept communications or demand information from Internet servers. "I think it's the kind of legislation that is literally going to shock millions of Canadians," University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist said. Justice Minister Irwin Cotler disclosed the plan during a speech to a conference of police boards from across the country. He told reporters he and Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan are preparing a memorandum to cabinet following months of discussions with police, privacy experts and the Internet industry. [...] Oh, Canada......

Some of us aren't so into sci-fi

The Dark Lord of The Sith has won Wikipedia Revenge of the Sith page with political comparisons. On the subject of the government's miraculous ability to think up evermore intrusive schemes and turn itself into some sort of Catholic derived technocratic godhead (everpresent, judgemental paternalistically looking over the natural born sinners of minimal free will) behold the RFID numberplate and comments by the people who read Bruce Schneier's blog

It's going to get worse

The powers will cover statements already on record. Retroactive legislation is always a bad idea. This is going to be thrown out by the House of Lords for sure...."time to get rid of them" says Bliar. Amazing how the other place is now more representative of the British people than the lower house. Look at the comments on BBQ. This one:
Let's not forget what Livingstone calls the 'Mandela test' - would the laws when in place mean we could not have supported Nelson Mandela in the 1980s? Mandela, after all, was convicted of using violence for political ends and has never said sorry for it. I supported him then and I support it now - this probably makes me and many millions of others (including most of the Labour ministers) around the world 'terrorist supporters' and would therefore fail the new laws. Jack, Essex
is the odd one out - most of them are foaming at the mouth and baying for blood...if its true that those comments represent "what most people think" then all is lost, The Dark Lord of The Sith has won, and liberty is dead.

grrrrrrrr is the new trrrrrrrr

Clunkett sets new rules, including: New grounds for deporting and excluding people from the UK - including fostering hatred or, advocating and justifying violence to further beliefs. The powers will cover statements already on record. So, hopefully, George W Bush won't be allowed back into the UK! Surely spouting guff about 'axis of evil' is fostering hatred (as is invading someone else's country, isn't it?), and continuing to threaten military action to justify his personal beliefs over Iran (and others) qualifies, non? And this man has history, by George! One could argue that these 'rules' (they are not laws) are themselves 'fostering hatred', with their predominant and overt anti-Muslim bias. After the attacks in Bahgdad, which killed tens of thousands of people, "the rules of the game" changed, according to Mr Clunk. So speaks the blind, bigoted bully-boy.

Cowardice and computer illiteracy

The New York Times doesn't understand the real problem. The real problem is not with Google or Microsoft, but with the computer illiterate Venture Capitalists. VCs are not geeks. The ones that I have dealt with, that claim to be interested in backing software startups were so ignorant about the world of software that they called the phrase 'client server system' "Gobbledegook". I'm not making this up. Anyone who says that Google is a threat to a startups chances of sucess doesn't understand the internet, network effects and everything to do with the intenet economy. They don't even understand the story of Google itself:

The search for a buyer

Larry and Sergey continued working to perfect their technology through the first half of 1998. Following a path that would become a key tenet of the Google way, they bought a terabyte of disks at bargain prices and built their own computer housings in Larry's dorm room, which became Google's first data center. Meanwhile Sergey set up a business office, and the two began calling on potential partners who might want to license a search technology better than any then available. Despite the dotcom fever of the day, they had little interest in building a company of their own around the technology they had developed.

Among those they called on was friend and Yahoo! founder David Filo. Filo agreed that their technology was solid, but encouraged Larry and Sergey to grow the service themselves by starting a search engine company. "When it's fully developed and scalable," he told them, "let's talk again." Others were less interested in Google, as it was now known. One portal CEO told them, "As long as we're 80 percent as good as our competitors, that's good enough. Our users don't really care about search."

Touched by an angel

Unable to interest the major portal players of the day, Larry and Sergey decided to make a go of it on their own. All they needed was a little cash to move out of the dorm — and to pay off the credit cards they had maxed out buying a terabyte of memory. So they wrote up a business plan, put their Ph.D. plans on hold, and went looking for an angel investor. Their first visit was with a friend of a faculty member.

Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, was used to taking the long view. One look at their demo and he knew Google had potential — a lot of potential. But though his interest had been piqued, he was pressed for time. As Sergey tells it, "We met him very early one morning on the porch of a Stanford faculty member's home in Palo Alto. We gave him a quick demo. He had to run off somewhere, so he said, 'Instead of us discussing all the details, why don't I just write you a check?' It was made out to Google Inc. and was for $100,000." [...]

Thats the way you do a startup, put together the bare bones of your system or some kind of tangible demo, get someone that has money that they are willing to loose, and that is also a true venture capitalist ie, someone that is not 'risk averse' but who likes risk, is interested in new ideas and is willing to take a bet.

Google was initially funded with $100,000 that was simply handed over to them as you would lay down money on a poker hand. That is the true spirit of risk taking. It is also not alot of money. Most software startups don't need more than that to get a stable beta system online, in fact, most startups can be done for the cost of food money and equipment to sustain the developers. If the service starts to grow, you can then scale it up to accomodate your legion of users. The eyes of VCs glaze over when you talk about, for example, "using clients to collect people's playlists in a central server so that anyone anywhere browse them all in different ways for free". Or how about, "a service where people can upload their digital pictures for free so that everyone everywhere can browse them for free with our cool interface". Now to us, these are examples of exiting tools on many levels, and for one hundred thousand dollars and a crack team with intravenous espresso, they could be built very quickly (the second one took one year to build, and it was done in an apartment aparently). To a VC however, this is "Gobbledygook"; they will say (if you manage to get to them before their eyes glaze over) that "iTunes has this market cornered, and that is who you are up against, so we will have to pass on this one", or for the latter, "Adobe is the market leader in this space; what protection do you have if they decide to do what you are doing? If they go up against you, you are finished, so we will pass". Both of those assessments are demonstrably and horribly wrong, but this is what people have to put up with when they go into discussions with VCs. This is not a problem of Google or Microsoft its a problem of cowardice and computer illiteracy. Thanks to the new tools that are being refined and released the barrier to entry for a startup is so low that you barely have to lift up your legs to get over it. It means hunkering down, lots of reading, lots of IRC and IM sessions and writing lines of code. You release your service. When even the most illiterate of VCs smells millions of users, then you have the stink of money....and that they do understand.

Does "big" mean "evil?"

NYT - It's Google's Turn as the Villain Google is also making it more difficult for some start-ups to raise funds. In the second half of the 1990's, entrepreneurs frequently complained that the specter of Microsoft hung over their every conversation with venture capitalists. Today, they say the same about Google. [...] New York Times So what this is saying is that the landscape has not changed, just the players. So what are these people complaining about? Isn't this a moot point? Startups have always been difficult. Google is a company that knows what it can do with its clout. it does not pussyfoot. As a result wages are going up. Does that make them evil? This is just like when someone turns to hate his favourite indie band because they discover more people than just he enjoys them. Granted I don't agree with all of the things google has done, but they certainly don't seem to be anti-trust-sized eeevil.


Seriously, aren't they a little bit behind on this? 1. What does Google Talk do? Google Talk is a downloadable Windows application that enables users to quickly and easily talk or send instant messages to their friends for free. Calls are made through your computer using the latest voice technology; all you need is an Internet connection, a microphone and a speaker. If you don't have a speaker or built-in microphone, you may want to consider buying a headset, which will also provide the best voice quality when using Google Talk. 2. Who and where can I call? How long can I talk for? Is it really free? Once your friends download Google Talk, you can talk to them anytime they're online. They can be anywhere in the world, and you can talk for as long as you want. Oh yes, and it's free. 3. Why should I use Google Talk? Google Talk is a great way to communicate with your friends without having to leave your computer. Ever just need to ask someone a quick question? Has planning for something over email gotten too complicated? Now you can get in touch with someone instantly without having to reach for the phone. You don't even need to reach for another address book. Your Gmail contacts are pre-loaded into Google Talk, so you can email, IM or talk to your friends with just a few clicks. Google Talk is simple and intuitive to use. There's no clutter, no pop-ups, no unnecessary software to install. And we think you'll like the Google Talk voice quality. In fact, we think you'll like a lot; it's like your friend is sitting right next to you (and your voice will sound a lot better than it does on answering machines).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Des Souvenirs

alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, exalted, far out, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, hairy, impressive, magnificent, majestic, mind-blowing, moving, overwhelming, shocking, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous ablaze, bright, coruscating, dazzling, effulgent, gleaming, glittering, glowing, incandescent, intense, lambent, lucent, luminous, lustrous, radiant, refulgent, resplendent, scintillating, sparkling, vivid agreeable, blending, chiming, choral, consonant, dulcet, euphonious, harmonious, lilting, lyrical, mellow, melodic, melodious, orchestral, pleasing, rhythmic, silvery, songful, sweet, sweet-sounding, symphonic, symphonious, tuned, tuneful, vocal big, blaring, blatant, blustering, boisterous, booming, cacophonous, clamorous, crashing, deafening, deep, ear-piercing, ear-splitting, emphatic, forte, full, full-mouthed, fulminating, heavy, high-sounding, intense, lusty, pealing, piercing, powerful, raucous, resonant, resounding, ringing, roaring, rowdy, sonorous, stentorian, strident, strong, thundering, tumultuous, turbulent, turned up, uproarious, vehement, vociferous aphonic, indescribable, inexpressible, nameless, tacit, unexpressed, unpronounced, unspoken, unuttered, unvoiced, wordless

Presque Rien

Luc Ferrari, aged 76, died yesterday from a pneumonia.

Independent Thinking

Police rely on 6,000 cameras across Tube network to cut crime
By Barrie Clement, Transport Editor
Independent   Published: 23 August 2005

London Underground has installed more than 6,000 CCTV cameras across the
network, some of them at stations and some on trains.

Plans are in place to double the number in use by 2010 as part of its
campaign to minimise petty crime, but also to deal with the increasing
threat of terrorism...

London Underground has been experimenting with "smart" digital cameras
which can automatically spot "abnormal" events. The equipment can be
programmed to detect suicide attempts, overcrowding, suspect packages and
trespassers. It is hoped that by automating the prediction or detection of
such events, Underground security staff, who often have to monitor as many
as 60 cameras, can take preventive action...

The thinking at the independent is not very independent, niether is it of high quality. When you run a 'report' like this (which is actually a press release that they are regurgitating verbatim), you must always run a 'slap slap...time to die' wake up section clarifying and decompiling the doubletalk. It goes like this. "The preceeding text is taken from a press release ftom TFL, submitted to this newspaper by a Public relations firm (name of firm here). CCTV cannot 'cut crime' niether can it 'deal with the increasing threat of terrorism'. CCTV can only help identify criminals after the fact, and then, as we have seen with the recent murder on the underground, if the criminals are the police, they will simply confiscate the tape so tha the crucial evidence is supressed and the criminals go free. As for suicides, CCTV might increase the number of suicides on the underground, since the suicidal will know in advance that they will live on as horror footage in some reality TV programme or the next 'Faces of Death'. " Now. If that is printed after the press release, the magic spell of double talk is broken, the reader can make a judgement about the piece, since its not a genuine news item at all but a PR insertion, and some true countering information is in there as a surficant. That is how an independent newspaper would deal with something like this. But you know this.

If at first you don't succeed lie, lie again

You would have thought in the IPCC inquiry into the Stockwell assassination the police would be bending over backwards to maintain the truth, but apparently not, their statements about cctv footage being 'unavailable' is being rebuked by TFL staff, thusly: [...]Senior officers are reported to have told the independent investigation into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes that they had no footage from inside the carriage or from on the platform because all five cameras were not working. But the Tube workers have challenged the police claim, allegedly telling investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission that three out of the four cameras covering the platform were definitely working on the morning of July 22. Staff say that they do not know why the camera inside the carriage would not have filmed the moments when the Brazilian electrician was shot dead by armed police[...] The Times is the intermediary.

Someone in the US Gov. actually realizes what is happening

Republican Senator Says U.S. Needs Iraq Exit Strategy Now Well whoop-dee-doo! How does being 25 years late feel?! "We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on ABC's "This Week." "I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur." ... Hagel, however, said that it was the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq that was causing the destabilization, and that the administration needed to start articulating its long-range plans for withdrawal immediately or risk having Iraq become as politically costly as the Vietnam War. "We are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar or dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam. The longer we stay, the more problems we are going to have," Hagel said. He was particularly harsh in his criticism of Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, for saying in an Associated Press interview a day earlier that the Pentagon was making contingency plans for having more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Iraq through 2009. I would have liked to read Hagel voice concern for the Iraqis being injured and killed, but you really can't expect so much from a Republican in one sitting. In response, the White House can't even speak proper English in a press release: In response to the lawmakers' comments, White House spokeswoman Maria Tamburri said Sunday that Bush believed that "a free and democratic Iraq will help transform a dangerous region and lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren." "That is why it is so important for our troops to complete this important mission," she said. "Our policies of the past only allowed the Middle East to become a terrorist breeding ground. Quitting now wouldn't help anyone except terrorist killers who certainly aren't quitting their efforts to target innocent people." Bewm! Los Angeles Times, from CD.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Faces Of Things

So long and thanks for all the synths!

Bob's Body Leaves Us ASHEVILLE, N.C. — August 21, 2005 — Bob died this afternoon at his home in Asheville, N.C. He was 71. Bob was diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme or GBM) in late April 2005. He had received both radiation treatment and chemotherapy to help combat the disease. He is survived by his wife, Ileana, his five children, Laura Moog Lanier, Matthew Moog, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog, and Miranda Richmond; and the mother of his children, Shirleigh Moog. Bob was warm and outgoing. He enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. He especially appreciated what Ileana referred to as 'the magical connection' between music-makers and their instruments. No public memorial is planned. Fans and friends can direct their sympathies or remembrances to Bob's family has established The Bob Moog Foundation dedicated to the Advancement of Electronic Music in his memory. Many of his longtime collaborators including musicians, engineers and educators have agreed to sit on its executive board including David Borden, Wendy Carlos, Joel Chadabpe, John Eaton, David Mash, and Rick Wakeman. For more information about the foundation, contact Matthew Moog at"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

New Explosions, New Tactics, Same Demands

350 blasts in 1 hour DHAKA — About 350 small bombs exploded within an hour of each other across Bangladesh yesterday, killing two people and injuring more than 100 in an unprecedented attack initially linked to extremists. The bombs, which killed a man and a 10-year-old boy, exploded in all but a few of the south Asian country’s 64 towns and cities between 10:30am and 11:30am, the Home Ministry said in a statement. Prime Minister Khaleda Zia condemned the attacks as “cowardly”, the official BSS news agency said. Khaleda reportedly said the terrorists’ “evil design” was to create panic and destabilise the south Asian country, adding that they were enemies of democracy. Police are probing the possible involvement of an extremist group which was banned by the government in February, after leaflets calling for the implementation of strict Islamic law were found at the blast scenes. “At all the blast scenes, leaflets bearing the name of the recently banned Jamayetul Mujahideen group were found,” the Home Ministry statement said. The explosions, including 15 in Dhaka and 20 in the southeastern port of Chittagong, targeted local administrative offices, courts, and bus and railway stations. “A total of 45 suspects have been arrested, about 350 bombs exploded and the number of injured stands at more than 100,” said Foreign Ministry director Zahirul Haque. The Home Ministry appealed for calm. “After analysing all the incidents it is assumed that the main aim of the explosions was to create panic and to create a destabilised situation in the country,” the statement said. Abdul Kaiyum, Bangladesh’s Inspector-General of Police, said: “These were small, homemade bombs designed to create panic.” Home Minister Lutfuzzaman Babar said security had been stepped up across the country. Most of those hurt suffered minor injuries, police said, adding that they had no reports of any serious or life-threatening injuries. Mazeedul Haq, Chittagong’s police commissioner, said the leaflets bore the name of the Jamayetul Mujahideen and read: “It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangadesh. There is no future with man-made law.” Jamayetul Mujahideen and another hardline group, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, were banned in February for their alleged links to a wave of bombings of non-governmental groups, religious shrines and other targets. A police official in the large southern town of Barisal said leaflets had been found there reading: “Bush and Blair, be warned and get out of Muslim countries. Your days of ruling Muslim countries are over.” [...]

Red cairn

Red Cairn

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Buying a property in Italy?

Practical guide to buying, procedure, costs and legal aspects The purchase of a property in Italy is considerably different from the UK and some elements may seem difficult to understand, I'll try to clarify all the steps. Estate agents in Italy must have an appropriate qualification to operate their business and they offer a wider range of services to their clients than their UK counterpart, however, these come at a price that varies between 3 and 5% of the price paid for the property. Both the buyer and the seller pay the estate agent the same amount each. In this case though the sale is direct from the owner, thus you can cross that item off your list of expenses. As a rule of thumb the additional costs involved in the purchase of any property in Italy usually amount to roughly 10 to 15% of the final price paid. These costs include tax, notary, surveyor and other legal expenses. Add a translator if you need one. The Notary's fees usually correspond to 2 to 3% of the declared purchase price of the property. The owner of Vincenzini, being an architect, has all the documentation, including the cadastral (local land registry) certificates and maps indicating borders and classification of the various portions of the property. These are important elements as different classifications at the land registry mean considerably different costs and taxes. Normally you would have to ask your notary to gain access to these and obtain a copy for a fee. The steps of the purchase process: Making an Offer (Proposta d'acquisto) You need to fill a document that states the amount you are offering, an agreed date as to when the deposit will be paid and the latest date for the definition and signing of the final contract. Usually the owner will reply within two weeks, in this case it could be quicker. The form will have to be signed and a deposit paid to the legal representative of the seller, who will hold the deposit until the seller has accepted the offer, if not the deposit is returned. A private agreement between buyer and seller can vary the conditions and deadlines of this phase and is usually signed by both parties in front of their legal representative. In general every step and all documents in any transaction, however simple, require the witnessing of a notary, with corresponding fee paid; remember that there is even a small fee for each page of each document and these must be compiled on official stamped paper supplied by the government. Both buyer and seller pay a duty proportional to the value of the sale. Properties in the countryside are generally classified as rural estates. The tax and the official value that apply to rural properties is much lower than the one applied to residential dwellings and the market price; the official value of a country estate is still based on archaic concepts that relate the value of the property to the agricultural productivity of its land, whereas the actual buildings on the land have no or very little value. The tax paid on the purchase of a country estate is calculated at two different rates, one for the land and one for the buildings, we'll go into details further down this document. After the contract has been exchanged, the price agreed and the tax paid, the seller proceeds to file a request for "reclassification" of the buildings from agricultural to residential. This will enable the buyer to reside in the place and/or use it for a non-agricultural activity. Once the seller has accepted the offer the deposit is transferred from the legal representative to the seller and counts as a first instalment of the total payment agreed. So, crucially, how much to declare at completion? Property values are registered with the Comune (local council) on a Catasto (land and buildings registry). As we said there is a noticeable discrepancy between registered and the market value. You have to pay stamp duty on the price indicated in the deeds. The Italian law states that as long as you declare a little more (say 10%) than the cadastral value you will be within the limit of legal acceptability. For details regarding current registered value and other financial and procedural details please enquire directly. Obtaining a Fiscal Code (Codice Fiscale) In order to buy a property in Italy you must obtain a fiscal code. This is similar to your National Insurance Number. Any EU citizen can obtain one from the local tax office. No legal contract can be completed without a Codice Fiscale. You can apply for a Fiscal Code through the Italian Consulate, in my experience though the Italian Consulate in London is something of a shamble and local services in Tuscany are better and faster. Opening an Italian Current Account (Conto Corrente Bancario) Having a bank account in Italy will make your life easier from the beginning and you will need it eventually to complete the purchase. As a EU citizen you can open one, providing you have the codice fiscale. Some UK banks and building societies have opened branches in Italy, it is worth checking if yours is one of these. Otherwise you will have to give an address in Italy, which temporarily can be that of your legal representative until the day you move in. The preliminary contract (Compromesso) The next step is the signing of the compromesso, the preliminary purchase contract, this is usually written by the notary, and the deposit of around 20 to 30% of the purchase price is paid at this stage. After the compromesso the notary will go to the Registries to check if there are mortgages or other claims and ties on the property (in this case there are none). Often this is a phase that can become complicated by the unpleasant surprise that the property in fact belongs to several members of the family, some of whom may be living on the other side of the planet and whose signature is essential for the conclusion of the contract. Beware of this risk! In this case Vincenzini is "clear" as all the portions of the estate, which did indeed originally belong to many members of several families, were incorporated nearly 20 years go into one estate belonging to the current owner. Pulling out If for any reason you pull out at this stage you will lose your deposit. At the same time if the seller pulls out he has to pay the deposit back plus a compensation fee. (In the case of a deposit called caparra confermatoria the owner is legally bound to sell). This anyway is not a concern in this case as the owner has genuine and unchanging reasons to sell and he is the sole proprietor. The Final Contract (Atto di vendita or Rogito Notarile) This is the moment when the contract is completed, the final amount is paid and you become the legal owner of the freehold. The final signing of the contract has, again, to be completed in front of the notary and with witnesses. If you need the documents translated you will need to pay an additional fee as these must be translated and verified by an appointed official translator with legal qualifications and it can cost around £ 500, according to length and complexity (Italian documents tend to be horrendously verbose!) It is advisable to clarify all doubts, queries and details in advance as the time at the notary is very expensive and you don't want to spend a day sitting in an office, paying by the minute and possibly needing a translator with you to disentangle the intricacies of the procedure. It can all be clarified in advance, so that when you finally go to the notary it's just to sign the documents and have the notary confirm that it's all legal and cleared.. Needless to say, if you speak Italian you will feel so much more comfortable and in control, and may even find it all surreally funny. Official resident certificate (Residenza) It is important that as soon as you move in you declare the property as your permanent residence, as this reduces considerably all tax and costs (holiday homes pay higher rates) as well as giving you all the rights of access to local services, doctor's surgery etc. You will have to go to the local municipal office (Anagrafe, at the local council) to apply for a residence certificate, as a EU citizen you are entitled to it and it is merely a formality so that you can be included in the registry of local residents and effectively become a member of the community. After a few days the local Guardia Municipale (a cross between local police and local government officer) will come to visit you at home and ask a few questions, mainly to verify that you really intend to live at the property. It may take up to three months before they give you the actual documents (nothing official is fast and everything has to be done in person and at different offices). In some cases you may even receive a visit from the local Police or Carabinieri (there are two police bodies in Italy, and sometimes they compete with each other!). Don't be alarmed, they like to go around with machine guns wearing dark sunglasses and pretending they are LA cops in an American movie, they are just doing their job and showing you that you are well protected and they know you are there, and they like to poke their noses around to see what kind of person you are. To obtain most documents in Italy you need several passport-size photographs, your passport, and an official duty stamp ("marca da bollo", you buy them from tobacconists and post offices). If you are going to live in Italy get used to having to put your picture and a "marca da bollo" on any and every scrap of paper, and you will need lots of these, also get used to carrying ID all the time, it's compulsory and you can be taken to the police station if you can't produce ID and kept there for 48 hours or until someone comes to witness for you and present your documents. Stamp duty (imposte di registro) The standard stamp duty on the purchase of a house is 10% and 18% on farmland on the value declared in the deeds and contract. However, if you are going to reside there permanently, the tax is only 3% for the house and 18% for the land. In taht case the residenza (residency) has to be obtained within 18 months of purchase, otherwise you will have to pay the additional 7% plus interest and a fine. Also, you can't sell your property during the first 5 years, unless you buy another house for permanent residence, or pay the tax difference. If you are planning to run any kind of activity that is related to the land, consider that there are various funds available through local administration to help agricultural businesses, especially if these are based on ecologically friendly principles, priority is given to environmentally friendly technologies and materials both in the use of land and in the restoration of buildings. Right of pre-emption (diritto di prelazione) This is a crucial item that can cause endless problems and you should be wary of it and always check carefully. When farmland is offered for sale, the neighbouring farmers have the first right to buy it. So any neighbour who is officially farming agricultural land adjacent to a property that is for sale which also has farmland, has first right to buy the property at the value registered in the deeds. After the preliminary contract has been signed the owner (or the notary) will have to officially inform (by registered post) all those who could have this right. These have 30 days to respond. If the person has not been informed, or if the price he/she was informed of is higher than registered in the deeds, he/she has the right to buy the land (at the price declared in the deeds), this applies up to one year after the sale. In this case all the portions included for sale with Vincenzini are clear and unhindered. In fact, if you look at the plan of the property with the individual original numbered parcels you will notice parcel number 7 is not included while it belongs to the seller who is not using it and for its position should ideally be part of the property. The reason the seller hasn't included that parcel is that it is the only one that borders another property that is (on paper at least) farmland and whose owner could claim the "diritto di prelazione" – We have verified that the owner of the neighbouring land isn't interested to the purchase, however, out of precaution and to avoid any possible unexpected problem the seller has decided not to include parcel 7. As an option, it would be possible to "rent" that portion of land at a nominal fee from the seller over a period of say 100 years, which would bypass any potential problem and would give you use of the land with the exception of building on it. [...] I was going to emphasise the.....aspects of this document that surprised me, but there are so many I decided that it would be difficult to distinguish the emphasised text from the undecorated text if I went ahead and did it. Out of all the places I have visited, and I have been to countries all over the world, Italy has one of the best vibrations. Living there aparently, is a different thing entirely. Lets pull out some of the more interesting facts from this. As you, an avid reader of BLOGDIAL would imagine, the 'codice fiscale' number is one of the more alarm raising aspects of this text. It seems to the English, very wrong that a private legal contract cannot be executed without this number. A legal contract is a private agreement between two persons or a person and a corporation, who both agree to be bound by its terms and the jurisdiction of a place agreed within it. Executing it requires only the signature of both parties, and nothing else. Quite why a state issued number needs to be in there is puzzling; what if you, as an Italian want to make a contract with someone in the UK? When we licenced tracks to DFC, no mention of this requirement was made to us....hmmmm...this cant be right; if the text is right, its not right, and if its wrong, thats right. Yes. Note that you cannot open a bank account without this number. Once again, banking is a private service, and has nothing to do with anyone other than you and your banker. We can see what kind of country the UK will turn into should ID cards be introduced here. Its not very pretty; we would have all the increased beaurocrazy and none of the lifestyle advantages the Italians do! You have to go to the local municipal office to apply for a residence certificate. Actually, this is incorrect. The French 'Carte de Sejour' is a similar thing and it is a canceled requirement since the EU came into being...would you want to argue about it with the Italian authorities? That is the question. "After a few days the local Guardia Municipale (a cross between local police and local government officer) will come to visit you at home and ask a few questions"... amazing, and to the English, unthinkable that the police or the council would visit you at your new home to answer questions for no reason.
If you are going to live in Italy get used to having to put your picture and a "marca da bollo" on any and every scrap of paper, and you will need lots of these, also get used to carrying ID all the time, it's compulsory and you can be taken to the police station if you can't produce ID and kept there for 48 hours or until someone comes to witness for you and present your documents.
This to us, is the most horrifying and incomprehensible thing of all. It is alien to us, contrary to our nature, weird, far out...and if they suceed in bringing ID cards to the UK, will come to pass. I wonder if anyone in Italy ever asks why their picture "needs to be on every scrap of paper". To us, this makes so little sense, and is so offensive it makes you wonder....about alot of things. Firstly, it makes you wonder why the British, who live lives that are demonstrably more free than that of the Italians; why would they want to throw it all away? We wonder why the Italians put up with this stuff day in and day out; is there something that we have missed about all this, because frankly, it doesn't make any sense that people should willingly submit to this sort of insanity when for generations there have been countries where life is simpler, free and with the same level of legal guarantees for property and the person, creating an environment where you can simply get on with what you need to without interference from the state. Why is life (on the surface at least) so very pleasant in Italy, with all their entrenched and invasive beaurocracy making you jump through hoops like a horn honking seal? People are giving up the UK to move there despite all of this (surely not because of it)....what does the complete picture look like? Something isnt right, it doesnt add up. Reading this guide might not give you the real impression, but what is there is interesting enough, and compared to living in the UK, where you can come and go as you please, live where you like witout telling anyone, contract with people in private, never have to register with anyone for any reason, are not going to be visited by the police/council just because you have moved into a looks on paper to be a nightmare. All the British should read this and the other guides to living in Europe that no doubt exist, and then reflect on how this country works, and what it is like to live here. It's something worth preserving.

Spreadable Linconlshire Poacher

I can't believe its butter!

Beyond the the limits of the absurd

Students Charged as Felony Hackers - Password Written on Back of iBooks 19 August 2005 06:15 EST Jason D. O'Grady From the Opinion Dept. Arrest Me I Know The PasswordIn other educational news - 13 high school students in the PowerPage's home state of Pennsylvania (the Kutztown 13 as they're known) were charged with third-degree felonies for misusing their school-issued Apple iBooks. Their heinous crime? They used the administrator password (which was taped on the back of the computers, no less) to install unauthorized software. Not BitTorrent, not Limewire, but iChat AV. Sheesh. Now that's not the only thing that the kids are accused of doing, they also turned off the monitoring software (Apple Remote Desktop?) and even used it to monitor the admins. In addition, they're accused of using hacking tools to find the new admin password when it was changed from the password that was taped on the back of the machines. James Shrawder uncle of fifteen-year-old John Shrawder set up a Web site,, to tell the students' side of the story. The even posted the letter sent to the students charged with the felonies. The sells t-shirts and bumper stickers, including my favorite: "Arrest me, I know the password!" The Kutztown Area School District issued a press release detailing the laptop policy violations but the charges still smack of heavy-handedness to me. Do they really want to graduate a class of students that must check "Yes" for the question "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" Give them community service and suspend their computer or Internet privileges, maybe, but felony convictions for being kids? Give me a break. UPDATE: New charges were filed yesterday against the teens. A charge of computer theft has been lodged against all 13 defendants, so that they are now charged with three variations of computer trespassing.

Man digs hole to Australia

BBC NEWS | UK | Sir Ian urges context on Menezes: Sir Ian Blair has urged the public not to let the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes overshadow the deaths of 52 victims of the London bombers. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner told BBC Radio 4 the police took responsibility for the Brazilian man's death on 22 July, and had apologised. But he said: 'We can't let that one tragic death outweigh all others.'" So Sir Ian has asked for context over the death murder of Jean Charles? I think it goes without saying then that he should also ask for context over the murders of the 52 killed in the tube explosions against the murders of all the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and not let "52 tragic deaths" outweigh all the others. With all his lies so far, that he "resisted" the IPCC investigation, why else but to perpetrate a cover up (sorry, get their stories straight), sometimes a picture just says it all:

Friday, August 19, 2005

Welcome to "the future"

Pay special attention to the loudspeakers. What an astonishing work. That and this: Say "you are in the future"... Just like they said it would be. See Yoo Play on Astra 279. Pay special attention to the games where you are asked to call in with an answer. Note how it appears that the presenter is taking part in half of a conversation. Its more like a wild feed than a TV programme.

talking of pop music

I finally manged to no longer evade the dulcit tones of Coldplay this week. I will fix you I think it was, I don't know all the ingredients are there for an avant-rock masterpiece, Labradford b-side backing drone complete with organs, someone doing a valiantly bad Tiny Tim impression and a cheeky foray into maudlin MOR for the final verse. It should work in a 'it-can't-possibly-work-but-they-pulled-it-off' way, but it doesn't the organs don't overwhelm, the Tiny Tim has far too narrow tonal range and the MOR sounds too real. But not exactly the MORMOR that I'd been dreading.

I don't have to sell my soul...

Ye Wankest. More than any other rapper, West embodies the oppositions that rack hip-hop's body politic: art versus commerce, innovation versus mainstream success, social conscience versus ego and ambition. West believes that if anyone can bridge those polar divides, he can - he wants it all. "I want it so no one can front on it. People say you can't please everyone all the time. I don't believe that. I think you can. I'm not like, 'Oh I'm Kanye West.' I'm like, 'Oh you don't like it? Oh wow!' To the point where I know you have to like it."

To this end, he is an incorrigible tinkerer. .... Take his recent Shirley Bassey-sampling single, Diamonds From Sierra Leone. It started life as simply Diamonds, a chest-puffing anthem.... But then Q-Tip.... alerted West to the issues surrounding conflict diamonds. Having boned up on the subject, West promptly changed the title and themed the video accordingly but it was too late to alter the lyrics. The result is a curious compromise, a protest song in name only[...].

Diamonds has been a headache for its maker, too. Negative reactions from West's core fanbase stung him into dropping four of the album's more outre songs, including one that features John Mayer and a harpsichord, and replacing them with more conventional hip-hop tracks. Never one to understate his case, he proclaims on the crunching, martial Crack Music: "This is black music, nigga!"

"All this is saying is, OK I see now, the 'hood does not quite want Shirley Bassey yet, so let me still give them this. Crack Music was made after Diamonds. After black people were like, 'I don't know about this one.' It was like me reaching too high for the cookie jar." [...]

Oh, my aching sides! Artistic integrity at it's most hiphopcritical.

Similarly, see the genuine concern of Universal Records as a marketable asset goes a-wandering on the eve of an album release...

A record label has hired a private detective to trace jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux, whose album has been steadily climbing the UK charts.

A Universal spokeswoman said: "She should be overjoyed with the album's chart position, but she has now returned to America and is proving impossible to track down.

"Anxious record company bosses and her management company have been trying to contact her for nearly a week to no avail. She has simply disappeared."

The company said it had gone "to great lengths to protect Madeleine from burn-out through too much promotional work".

"But it would seem that despite these efforts Ms Peyroux has had enough," said the spokeswoman.

"She is that rare thing, an artist more interested in her music than in the glitz and glamour of showbusiness."

.... You can almost hear them finishing that last sentence in their heads ..."the stupid fucking ungrateful bitch. What about our targets? Fuck fuck fuck!" ....... Additional: Alex Petridis sucks Ye Wankest 5 stars, despite opening the review with... You could, if you were so inclined, debate his originality. His trademark production technique - speeding up old soul vocals to chipmunk squeakiness - was pinched from the Wu-Tang Clan, while the samples on his second album, Late Registration, suggest that West has spent not hours painstakingly sourcing rare breakbeats, but minutes raking through the kind of records drunk aunties ask wedding DJs to play [...] Debate his originality? Why, Alex, you've just provided enough evidence to negate the need for debate. And then Alex fails to read the interview with Miss West in his own paper... Still, you would have a hard time arguing that West is less than unique. He is currently the only mainstream rapper willing to tackle politics: the links between the jewellery trade and Sierra Leone's civil war on Diamonds ... [...] And the summary... West announced the album's arrival in typically retiring style: "It's killing everything out there ... I'm carrying the whole of hip-hop." On hearing Late Registration, that sounds less like rampant egomania than a bald statement of fact. Then Ye Wankest is dragging around the whiplashed, skinless, bloody, stinking, rotten carcass of Shergar.