Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Monday, 23 August 2010

Book burning in the modern age

From the ever funny

On a similar topic, it’s nice to see the new Kindle getting some good reviews – Wired ran this yesterday. I know what I want for Christmas! Ltd. registered office: Patriot Court, 1-9 The Grove, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1QP. Registered in the United Kingdom. Registration number 3223028.

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Friday, 20 August 2010

Beware... Security Tool

Yes, I've had another little break from posting... I think if you're still following this blog then you probably realise by now that I'm far from a regular blogger so I'm not going to feel guilty about it!

It's entirely due to my job at Amazon - not only is it incredibly busy throughout the day but my commute is also twice as long now so my chances to post anything are reduced. I should say that this is a good thing since it's far preferable to being sat at work bored.

The thing that prompted me to come out of online seclusion is a malicious bit of code called Security Tool which may initially appear to be a virus checker is in fact a dodgy bit of malware which hides it's processes under numbered id's and is rather persistant when you try to remove it. It also blocks you from running any of the usual tools you might want to open to aid you with this task. Nice work guys, cheers.

Anyway, there's obviously plenty of others who have been hit by this so there are some good guides to removing it - after a bit of delving into the registry and some detective work to identify the problem files and I'm cured but I was definitely worried for a few hours. Thanks to these guys for their help.

And before you say it I do run anti-virus software. McAfee apparantly didn't help in this case - I've recently moved to Avast! which seems a pretty good, free alternative which has marginally more protection than the widely known AVG.

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Monday, 12 April 2010

My MythBox so far

So the MythTV project continues; I've been gathering the bits and building it when I've got some spare time. Things got a little delayed by me buying the wrong memory for my motherboard... they used to be generic I'm sure!

Anyway; the setup is:

Antec VERIS Fusion case
CIT 550W Silent ATX Power Supply
Asus AM3 M4A785TD-M Evo motherboard
AMD Athlon II X2 3GHz 2MB Dual Core Processor
Kingston 1333Mz DDR3 memory
Sony DVD writer
DViCO FusionHDTV DVB-T Dual Digital 4

The case is pretty funky; it's nicely styled and will fit into my hifi stack very well - it's a solid piece of kit too with the front panel made from brushed metal.
It's well laid out inside too which has made installing everything pretty easy although for a microATX case it's pretty bulky; the width of my hifi kit but a bit deeper and taller. The built in IR receiver, VFC display and bundled remote control are all pretty promising too.

The DViCO card had twin Freeview-HD tuners onboard so I can record two programmes at once - my TV's got another normal freeview tuner so I can also watch that while recording.

Everything else is fairly standard - I made sure that the motherboard had decent onboard graphics with an HDMI output and that things were as silent as I could make them without spending a fortune. It needs to be a fairly meaty system to playback HD recordings otherwise a MythBox can be far simpler and cheaper.

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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Go wide!

I saw this a couple of months ago but it's just been sent around again so I thought I'd share it - it's a very impressive image capturing over 170 people on a railway bridge in Germany. the impressive bit isn't that it's got some many people but that the print is 100m wide!



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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Great work from #DEbill

You've got to love this image - pass this around to raise some awareness about the risks of the Digital Economy Bill that's about to come before parliament.



I wouldn't be a supporter of this if I didn't credit the image to! Follow the link to find out how to contact your MP.

It's more important than ever to do this since there's an Early Day Motion to allow the bill to actually be debated properly but they need to raise support which means you need to contact your MP now.


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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Digital Economy Bill - act now!

I’ve not posted about the Digital Economy Bill before but I’ve been meaning too; it’s a huge issue and I wanted to make sure I knew as much as possible about both sides of the argument before I jumped in with my two pence. Now, time’s running out to voice our opinions so here’s my post.

For those that don’t know, the Bill is being introduced in part to protect against copyright infringement but the measures and power which it grants are pretty scary as are the potential effects on content producers such as photographers, which is where I first started hearing about it.

Orphan Works

One element which has attracted a lot of concern is over Orphan Works. This is content where the copyright owner cannot be identified and the Bill gives new rights over the free non-commercial use of them, while at the same time granting licensing fees for their commercial use to the Government.

I can see where this idea started; there’s a lot of old documents and footage, etc who’s authors cannot be identified and it would be nice if the country had some formal way of using and licensing them. However the problem comes when you start to put it into practice with modern media, particularly with content produced by amateur and smaller professionals.

Image this scenario; we have a professional photographer who has invested time, effort and money into their equipment, their experience, their research and travel. This photographer creates an image which they intend to sell, as they are the sole copyright owner, in order to pay the bills, put food on the table... all the things you and I need that salary to do too.

Under current copyright law they have the right to sell their work as they see fit however they retain their copyright and it’s use is limited to those who have paid for a licence. Say they post their image to their website or to something like Flickr and someone likes it, downloads it and uses it; commercial or non-commercial use, this is still copyright infringement and the photographer has the right to pursue lost earnings and demand that it’s taken down.

I’m probably grossly over-simplifying things here but the scare story here is that all someone has to do is remove the metadata from the image (and some photo sharing sites do this automatically) and suddenly the photo is a ‘orphan’ and can be used freely for non-commercial use and licensed by the Government for commercial use. Not only does this deprive the photographer of their income but it also leaves open the possibility that the image is used to advertise or demonstrate something which the photographer or subject would not want to be associated with.

This particular discussion is raging over the photography forums and I’m sure it’s on the radar for other types of digital content producers.

Web Blocking

The Bill also proposes powers to cut off connections to persistent illegal filesharers  using a ‘three-strikes’ system and puts the onus on ISPs to monitor and police this.

Now, the Lib Dems and Conservatives have pushed through further changes which would give the high court rights to block an entire site if it’s alleged to be hosting copyright infringing material. The worry is that this now puts the balance of power in the hands of the big companies who could shutdown small sites and businesses with just the threat of action as many hosts will simply remove material without checking if the copyright case is legitimate.

@Documetally highlighted this latest amendment on his Posterous stream but there’s lots more info out there from the excellent Open Rights Group and other concerned bloggers such as SoloBassSteve have published their open letters to the Lords in an effort to encourage more people to do the same.

Personally I’m in an odd position on this; I’ve had a couple of abortive attempts at running a small business and would argue that there needs to be a check in place to stop the big boys throwing their weight around but on the other side I can understand that an ISP or other form of hosting or marketplace site (eBay or YouTube for example) needs to protect themselves from being sued over the infringements of their site users.

Like everything in the Bill, both the Orphan Works and Web Blocking clauses seem to have been written with media such as old written works in mind or music and film files being shared, without thinking through the potential impact on the huge raft of other content producers out there – for a Bill which is supposed to support the growth of the online economy it’s amazing how restrictive it really is.

The Fight Back

The Bill is being debated in the House of Lords at the moment before it goes to the Commons to be turned into law – the best thing we can do at this point is support the various online petitions (there are more if you search for them), join the facebook groups (again, there are more but let’s try to keep this coordinated!) and write to your local MP and to the Lords who are currently amending the Bill to voice your opinion!

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

My cat!

I just thought I'd share this shot of my cat... I quite like it, hope you do too!

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Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Oak

This year I'm attempting a 52 project - to take and publish at least one photograph every week.

Actually I'm trying to do two different shots every week, one following a theme set by members of the Talk Photography forum and one of my own choosing.

This week's theme has been Poems so my shot is inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Oak, in particular the final stanza.

Live the Life,
    Young and old,
Like you oak,
Bright in spring,
    Living gold;

    Then; and then
    Gold again.

All his leaves
    Fall'n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough,
    Naked strength

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Thursday, 7 January 2010


Since no photographer can resist taking pictures of the snow I thought I'd better post some of mine!

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New Year's sunsets

A couple of shots from an impromtu trip to the top of a local hill at sunset on New Year's day.

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Sunday, 3 January 2010

Please stay calm, this is a test

Just a quick note to check out how Posterous does at cross-posting to multiple sites.

Move along now, there's nothing to see here....

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I realised recently that one of the reasons that I don't blog as much as I intended to is actually the faff involved in posting to Blogger.
I've said before that I've been using Twitter to micro-blog far more than posting to my main blog since I prefer it's immediacy and interaction but it's also far quicker and easier to actually get your posts/tweets online so it's become my go-to service.

Hopefully that's going to change this year as I've migrated the blog over to Posterous, a relative newcomer to the blogging scene but one which natively (and crucially, intuitively) supports a number of features which integrate blogging, email and of course the full range of social networking services.

All of which hopefully means you'll be treated to more regular blog posts and not just 140 character tweets this year (although whether you think that's a good thing is a different story!).

For anyone subscribed to the Blogger/Blogspot site, that will still be updated automatically by Posterous when I post (told you it was clever) but if you'd rather follow me at the new site then it's at

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