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Tuesday, 20 November 2007

P2P traffic

I regularly download various Linux distributions and many open source applications via P2P for myself and many people who use mostly open source applications on both a Linux based host machine or an MS Windows based machine.

For many a reason people will use open source applications on their expensive MS Windows, which in some cases came with the machine at sale time, as they find most large MS Windows based application too expensive.

Since our local incumbant ISP karoo started offering an "up to 8mb" service they have been throttling traffic. For most people using this ISP this throttling of traffic will not matter but for others who use the most throttled protocols, like P2P and Usenet, we will feel the slowdown.

The ISP calls it "Traffic management" but in reality it is a traffic shaper. They throttle because they refuse to invest in more bandwidth. It really is as simple as that.

Now, going back to myself using P2P to download. I have seen what was once a guaranteed 100% speed with hundreds of seeders drop to 60% less and still there are hundreds of seeders.

I personally find this an abuse of purchase. The thing is though we cannot go elsewhere as they are the only ISP in town who does ADSL.

I am annoyed. Are you? If you are then let them know. I doubt they will ever invest to such a stage as they no longer us traffic shaping but at least you will have told them you are annoyed.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A sign of our time.

A sign of our time. This from the web site is a shameful show of how our society has become.

In these so called enlightened times a random adult cannot show friendliness towards a child. An adult cannot provide a child in need any help. An adult cannot be seen alone with a child not from his or her own family.

What has gone wrong with us all?

In days not so far away it was the adults that kept a careful eye on children. Whether or not any of those children belonged to them. Adults looked out for children. Sure there were those who wanted to harm children such a there is now but the vast majority of adults looked out for any child within view. And this was without reprisals.

Now, an adult cannot be seen to helping a child not of his or her own family and this makes the world a dangerous place for our children.

I grew up during the 1960's and 70's and times back then where definately better than they are now for children.

A sign of our time and it sucks.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

It has to be said

It has to be said that the so called "Land of the Free" are the most racist nation of people on this fragile green Earth.

Many more examples of proof of truly racist comments by, I can only assume the low end of educated Americans, are available all over the Internet.

This latest example is what prompted me to write this blog post. It is by no means the worst example of it but it is a shining example.

After some news that Mubadala Development Company, which is a front for the Government of Abu Dhabi some, not all, Americans on various news sites and blogs started coming out with all manner of utter racist comments.

It has happened before and it will happen again.

I really feel sorry for my American friends that there is this underlaying thread that spoils the view of Americans in the world outside of its borders. The popularity of America and its people is already at an all-time low.

To those that spouse racist rubbish like "
So that is when our graphics chips will start to blow up in our faces and take out more twin towers." I say:

You are really showing that American racism right there.

Pat yourself on the back friend, you're part of the problem.

Friday, 16 November 2007

My youngest child

My youngest child is at the time of writing 9 months old. He is a delightful little chap who is just discovering he can stand up aided by the settee or T.V. stand etc. He has been crawling now for about 1 month so trying to stand has come pretty quickly. We, that is my wife and I, think he will be walking proper before his first birthday.

He has slept throughout the night since he was 6 days old. He is always smiling and rarely cries. He can be a little demanding when his feeding times are due but otherwise he plods through life as only a child of that age can and does.

One of the things that is a joy to see is when he smiles back at our dogs. A dog is said to be smiling when its bottom jaw drops and the tongue lolls out. When our little bundle of joy sees either one of our dogs doing this he assumes they are really smiling and smiles back. He has taken a shine to our border collie but our Labrador is his guardian.

Nothing annoying in this blog post. It is just a blog from a proud father about his youngest child.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Well, after reading an article on theinquirer about the RIPA and how easily it can be abused by our Police force I felt compelled to comment on it, both the article itself and the RIPA as they are both combined.

I use encryption myself for all my various passwords. Passwords that I use to connect to shopping web sites, passwords that are for various logins to various computers arund the world as part of my home based work. All of these passwords are stored in one directory, the directory itself is not encrypted. The encryption I use is not particularly powerful but it does the job. I know ne'er do wells cannot get into my system with ease so the level of encryption I use is good enough to keep away prying eyes such as those belonging to my ever inquiring kids who use my system from time to time.

Now, I don't do anything against the Law as far as I am aware but if the police wanted to they could take my computers away and request the passwords used. If I was to refuse them this information I cannot tout privacy as a means to repel the request as any U.K. citizen no longer has any privacy as once guaranteed and as our forefathers fought to keep. No, instead they would throw the RIPA card which means if I refuse they can throw me in jail for 2 years.

RIPA removes any use of any encryption method in use today and in all probability removes the desire of programmers to create ever more powerful encryption methods thereby stifling innovation.

The whole thing stinks of overzealousy in their fake fight against supposed terrorism.

And we are now at the stage where everything our forefathers fought for in WWII is slowly but surely being taken away from us every day law abiding people for the sake of catching a few supposed terrorists. Which incidentally, includes any organisation that does anything the police and/or Government does not like.

Down with the RIPA!

Sunday, 4 November 2007


I own, as in bought and paid for, several hundred music CD's. I also own a couple of hundred old fashioned, but making a comeback?, LP's and singles. I also have a few music only DVD's. Most of the LP's and 'singles' I have converted to mp3 and ogg so that I can play my music wherever I take my laptop, PDA and MP3 player. Plus I can juggle my favourite tracks and create my own CD/DVD's thereby removing the dross so many music albums have.

I am one of the few that has never downloaded any music from the Internet nor do I share my collection via this method nor with anyone else, friends or otherwise. I have never had the need to download music from the Internet as my music collection is quite expansive. Up to a couple of years ago when the music industry started suing their own customers I bought all my music. I have not purchased any music for about 3 years because of what the RIAA etc have been doing. I have not downloaded any either. Quite simply my music collecting stopped dead because of the RIAA tactics.

However, there are those within the music industry who would have me hung, drawn and quartered for what I do. They claim they lost out when people put their album collection on tapes. They claim they lose out because of those, like me, who do with their music as they deem fit. After all, my music collection was bought and paid for therefore within the realms of fair use I own that copy of it. Not the music itself as that is covered by copyrights but the fact I have bought the right to listen to it via whatever medium suits me at any given time.

Because I have bought my music collection I see nothing wrong with what I do with my music. In point of fact, it is a little known fact in this country that copying the music from one format to another is actually illegal. We have no 'fair use' law in this country but that has not stopped people from copying music from albums or 'singles' to tape and more recently CD/DVD's.

The moguls within the cartels we call the music industry are seeing that they are losing their collective grip on their cash-cow. Because of this they are thrashing about throwing lawsuit after lawsuit at their own customers in a last gasp effort to get whatever remaining cash is there from their ailing industry model. The end is nigh and they know it.

I do not, and never have, shared my music with anyone via the Internet or any other sharing method but I do change the format and move said music to different playback mechanisms. I see nothing untoward in doing this.

I know that in the U.K. we have no 'fair use' law but given that people have been using cassette tapes and video recorders for years without fear of prosecution, or persecution for that matter, I see what I, and no doubt many others, do as doing nothing wrong. If you think about this for a moment you will undoubtedly come to the conclusion it is an extension on what has always happened. Given the fact I have never shared my music collection I see nothing wrong in what I do with it.

I am a big believer that once you have paid for something you are free to do with it whatever you want to do with it and that once you have bought something it is then yours.

New Labour folly.

Oh my good grief! Such folly I have never read. View this:

Then tell me it is not pure unadulterated folly!

Labour's favourite think-tank has come up with the idea that we should 'downgrade' Christmas in favour of festivals to improve race relations. Though, they say, it would be hard to 'expunge' Christmas from the national calendar, 'even-handedness' means public organisations must start giving other religions equal footing.

Now, I have no problem at all with other religions or races having their own festivals or celebrating their own Deity but to seek to 'expunge' Christmas celebrations is quite simply stupid. Instead of fostering race relations it is ideas like this that foster race hate.

In fact, under current race relations legislation in the U.K. I would be very surprised if something like this does not break that legislation in some way. Mind you, in England, a land of the English whatever that may be defined as, the race relations legislation was crafted around other races from other nations. Because of this design we English have been vilified for years as more and more silliness has crept in and put up barriers between the English and other nationalities. It was not meant to be this way but as with every level of legislation there are those who will abuse the system and sure enough the system got abused against the indigenous peoples. However, as time moves on more and more Britons are fighting to keep those things that identify us as a nation of like minded people.

Our little country has held open its arms to every nation in the world and they came. But, by taking away things that we Britons have had for centuries is plain folly.

Small ISP.

Where I live we have but one telephony provider. They provide land locked telephones and broadband. There are others here that provide land locked telephone services but even they go through the incumbent telephony provider to strut their stuff. I believe that there is one other broadband provider that supplies businesses only so they do not count as a provider of telephony for the great unwashed to use. Over the last several years they have bought into a more worldly market but those buys where at the detriment of local service offerings. Since appriximately 1995 the telephony service offered by our incumbent telephony provider has deteriated, got ever more expensive. When broadband was first usable here it was exteremely unstable and fraught with problems. It is not much better nowadays.

Our local telephone company is the only remaining telephone service outside of the BT network. Years ago there used to be lots of these local telephone companies but in the early 1900's they all amalgamated to eventually become BT, owned at that time by the British Government. All but one became BT and that was our incumbent telephone company.

Over the following years we locals enjoyed excellent telephone services and much cheaper than those poor souls in BT land too. Us locals where the first to have a broadband service, even though it was dogged with many problems and still is for some, our calls where cheap and much much more. We were at the fore front of telephony technology for almost 90 years. Oh the joys of the late 1970's and early 1980's Bulletin Boards. We locals had the choice of 92 at its peak but the advent of Internet connections killed off the old BBS. Shame.

Come forward a few years and us locals are now treated to an "up to 8Mb" ADSL service but some are not getting anywhere close to 8Mb. In fact some are not getting half that and a few getting half of the half. In other words the "up to" part of the service name is a cop out by our incumbent provider as they know the copper lines they laid cannot handle 8mb or worse still the CISCO gear they use is not up to the task and their technicians have no clue how to use it either. The latter I can believe.

Our City is some (approximately) 6 miles across from east to west and 4.5 miles across from north to south. Making some 27 square miles. Our local incumbent telephony provider services this area on its own as far as myriad of telephony wiring that permeates under and above this city goes. There are some 17 exchanges dotted around their service area. Of these some 9 are within the city boundary. These 9 exchanges serve approximately 230k worth of peoples. Of those some 71,000 use the broadband services.

Now, those exchanges vary in size so depending where one lives within the city it can have a detrimental affect on the service offered as each exchange has a limit. Because of how they were set up when the company first opened these limits are hit as more and more people request telephony services. Of course, the local incumbent telephony provider will tell you that these higher limits will never be hit but that is not in itself true.

One thing that further seperates the city's incumbent telephony provider from BT is the use of thinner cabling. 3mm versus 5mm. Though they are after 90+ years replacing this cabling. This simple fact further harms the broadband market here as the thinner cabling struggles to provide a good, constant broadband experience for their customers. The faster the broadband service gets the harder it is for them to keep the signal levels clean due, in part, to this thinner cabling used. There some reports around various forums by otherwise knowledgeable people that this thinner cabling makes it more expensive for other telephony providers to set up shop in my city. This is just plain wrong on several counts.

One area that our incumbent telephony operator excels is in its ability to talk to the local people. Because it is still basically a home spun company, which still relies on the local market for profits even though the company has a finger or two in world markets, it still, even in these modern times, has to rely on local people otherwise as soon, or if, another telephony company comes into their established market those local people who are in the main loyal through good and bad times, will jump ship and the local incumbent telephony provider knows this so they attempts by whatver means open to them to keep their home market sweet.

The day I could have died.

My Grandparents fell under the compulsory purchase order that destroyed so many families in the Spring Bank area of Kingston upon Hull during 1964-5. The area the order covered was some 2 square miles of old fashioned back to back housing. From Derringham Street to Spring Street and Spring Bank to Clarance Street. Hundreds of houses, shops pubs and a park destroyed in one fell swoop. My Grandparents house off Trinity Street was a big 6 bedroomed privately owned house with a back garden that extended some 700yards off the back of the house. Surrounded as it was by a 6 foot high builder brick wall along its full length, both sides and across the back. Before I get slammed for having a rosy memory of that wonderful house to back up my own memory of it I took the sizes from the Government/Council owned archives thhat anyone can view.

The estate as was was not truly an estate in the modern sense back then. It was nothing more than a collection of mostly back to back, 2 up, 2 down terraced housing with larger properties along one side of Trinity Street and dotted about around the estate, known locally as The Spring Bank estate.

Most of the houses were owned by landlords but the rents were very low so the standards of some of the families were not as high as the might have been. Other houses and businesses were privately owned. These privately owned properties were the ones who suffered at the hands of the local council. The council offered these people a fraction of the true value of the properties and affectively stole the houses from under the feet of the house dwellers. My Grandparents where one such family. In 1960 they paid 1,200 UKP (a LOT of money back then) for the house after selling a smaller house off Thoresby Street for 800UKP. In 1964 when the stealing by stealth began the council offered them 200 UKP. The same value that everyone else on the estate had been offered. No consideration was given to house or property size whatsoever. Every single building was offered the same disgusting low price even for those times.

Anyway, in 1965 they moved from a private house to 2x25th Avenue on North Hull Estate. The house was not very big compared to the house the council had just stolen from them but as there was only my Grandmother and Grandfather plus the occasional visit from us Grandchildren to consider so they took it. The rent, via Hull County Council, was reasonable too.

I was five years old when they moved but was already used to visiting my Nana and Papa as my Grandparents were known to us kids. But, when they moved it became a 4 mile journey to their house compared to the 1/2 mile it used to be. My first visit during the very cold and snowy month of November 1965 aged five years old almost cost me my life.

I had got on the bus, alone as children had little to fear in those days as most all adults looked out for children back then, and kept muttering to myself what my Nana had told me. "Get off the bus at the terminus (which was at the end of 21st Avenue. Cross the road then same way as the bus points go to the end, then turn left then after a short walk turn left again the walk down there until you see the huge oak tree. Once you reach that you are almost here. Carry on walking until you reach 25th Avenue." The instructions where clear even for a five year old child. However, somewhere along the line I had missed a turn and instead of walking down Endike Lane I was in fact walking back where the bus had just come from.

It was one of the coldest evenings of that year (1965). Thick ice had laid everywhere. Trees glistened and flowers danced in the icy cold wind. After I had walked a ways, the wrong way, I started crying as by now I knew I was lost. With freezing cold hands gripped tightly around my books and pencils I stood, crying, not knowing what to do. Then, a man on a bicycle stopped and asked me what was the matter. I told him where I wanted to be and he said "Well, you are going the wrong way to reach there. You had better get on the back of my bicycle and I will take you are far as Elerburn Avenue. 25th Avenue is next one along." So, I got on his bicycle and with the icy wind tearing at my face and hands we set off.

After what seemed an eternity we arrived at the point where this man could go no further. I thanked him as a 5 year old thanks anyone and after checking I knew where I was going he went on his way and I mine. It was but 100 yards from the drop off point to where my grandma lived but along that 100 yards the cold had by now caused frostbite in my fingers. I dropped all my books and pencils and was really scared when I found I could not pick them up because my fingers felt like rubber and the mere touch of anything hurt. But being 5 years old and with a determination only a child possesses I managed to pick them all up bar two pencils. I was once again crying and tears on my face hurt as the dripped.

Eventually, I arrived at my grandma's house, frozen, crying and through the cries I mumbled that my hands and face hurt. My grandma sat me opposite a big open fire with flames merrily dancing and slowly worked her magic to get the feeling back in my hands and face.

That was the night I almost died. If it had not of been for that gentleman stopping and giving me a lift on his bicycle I know now that I would most certainly have got lost and would of eventually given in to the very cold icy evening wind that blew so menacingly.