Site Search


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

E.U. 1 : U.S.A. 0

Ignoring the wrong about file sharing (in the P2P sense) for a moment. It was good to see that the E.U. came down fair and square on the side of common man in a recent filing at the E.U.'s top court.

This link shows what I am talking about. It is only a matter of time before that sort of thing is enshrined in E.U. Law proper that all member states must abide by.

More here about a related thing.

There are many more things written about around the Internet that all boil down to the same thing.

The people living under E.U. rule are being afforded what should be a God given right and that is the right to expect to have their privacy private.

Oh and it is a poke in the eye with a red hot metal pole for the RIAA, MPAA etc and all their various tentacles around the world as it means they cannot submit John Doe court requests like they can and are doing in the U.S.A.

There is not much to celebrate about the E.U. and there has not been since its inception but every now and again they do something right and when they do it is worth celebrating.

This, is one of those times.

Monday, 28 January 2008


I make no bones about the fact that I still consider the Amiga the best operating system ever devised. Even though I run a Linux based operating system on my main workstation I am forced by market economies to run that Linux based operating system. Even as Amiga OS 4, and the Ami-One, are available, sadly, they simply do not cut it for the day to day work I do now. So, I take, what in my opinion, is second best and use a Linux based platform, which does do everything and more I, and everyone else if they tried it, need to get done. Plus, I have my Amiga emulator to remind me of those glory days when technology truly was innovative.

Back in 1985-1995 the Amiga family of computers was at that time deemed by many to be the platform to have, use, play on and generally a must have machine.

Part of its magic and charm was the custom chips it had which came in 3 distinct combinations known as OCS (Original Chip Set), ECS (Enhanced Chip Set) and AGA (Advanced Chip Set). The chip sets where known affectionally as Agnus, Denise and Paula. Agnus was central to the whole thing. It controlled chip RAM (also known as graphics RAM) and two further graphic related components called the blitter and copper. Denise was the main graphics chip and also handled joystick and input devices. Paula was the audio chip but also controlled the floppy disk drive, the serial ports and analog joysticks. In a nutshell, those 3 surface mounted chips including the CPU itself, which was also surface mounted, those 3 chips combined to make what gave the Amiga its 'feel'.

In comparison, the IBM specification, universally known as IBM compatible PC (this term was later dropped and became known simply as the PC) for PC's used by many at that time was a mixture of largely incompatible cards that fitted together to form a computer. These cards covered graphics, audio, serial and parallel I/O, each a separate cards glued together with the CPU where at the time a pale comparison to the Amiga. Even the operating systems that ran on such hardware were utterly dire and outputted not much more than white text on a black background and even when colour graphics came to that platform it paled in comparison to what the Amiga could offer.

Back then of course IBM was a big player in computers. Much bigger than Commodore, which produced the Amiga. That, combined with lackluster management at Commodore saw the IBM compatible PC come to dominate the computer hardware market. Even when MS Windows 3.1 came to the market the Amiga operating system simply ran rings around it for sheer elegance. Some say even though the Amiga operating system is approximately 20 years old now it is still the best. The Amiga was derided because of its integrated surface mounted technology.

It is with great amusement that those of us privileged to have grownup, in computer terms, with such technology that today we are seeing a return to that combined surface mounted technology from the likes of AMD/ATI. While AMD/ATI are not yet in the process of combining graphics, audio and CPU on the same silicon slice, they are producing a graphics and CPU hybrid late 2008 or early 2009. It is surely only a matter of time before they add audio to the mix.

Then, once that happens, almost 20 years after the Amiga 1200 was released the computer hardware world will have come full circle.

And they call that progress?

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Something to play with.

Apologies to any and all regular and not so regular readers of this blog but my time of late to be on the Internet has been limited.

This isn't something that annoyed me, the complete opposite in fact. One of my lads, aged 10 currently, found my old Amiga A1200 which sits plugging away quietly hanging off my network. He, for whatever reason, was found routing under my desk. On asking him why he was there and what he was looking for he replied with "what is that?" whilst at the same time pointing at the Amiga. I explained it was a computer that at one time was the best of the best and some like myself say it still is. "Does it play games?" He asked. I replied not only does it play games it was the computer at one time on which people played games. "Can I have it in my bedroom?" Was the next question from him. I replied no but I can get something similar for your MS infected PC or the same for the Linux half of it.

He was excited at the prospect so I set about getting WinUae for him. I got the required kickrom from my A1200 and created the Workbench .adf files off the same.

After routing around the Internet I found several places where many games and application came in adf format. I will not link to any of them here as they are of dubious legality. On pushing my ethics to one side for a wee bit I downloaded several of the, in my opinion, games and applications.

More searching of the Internet found AIAB (Amiga In A Box) and AmiSys. While AIAB is an excellent add-on for the emulated Amiga I personally think AmiSys is overall better. So, I installed that for him along with some AmiSys add-on packages and a boot-load of adf format games and utilities and he is now very happy playing those older games. He has said that "some of these games are excellent". I think back then games where all about game play whereas todays games are lacking in game play but are big on content.

Still, it is nice to have introduced him to the fantastic operating system of yesteryear called Amiga OS and with the links I have thrown in above you too could enjoy this wonderous experience and enjoy a time in computer history when innovation really was innovation.


Tuesday, 22 January 2008

For crying out loud.

When is America going to realise it is not the centre of the world in anything?

That is right. Americans continually assume that whatever it is they do the rest of the world will automatically follow.

Take the contents of this article as a prime example of what I am talking about. In it they are reporting on a forum that was discussing copyright reform. The overwhelming theme is about the American copyright situation. No mention anywhere was anything about other countries and how thier copy write system works. They automatically assume that whatever changes are made to the American copyright system will carry over to the rest of the world. That is but one example. There has been many with the same underlaying theme.

It is bloody annoying! When are they going to get over themselves are realise that what is allowed in Law in America is illegal in many other countries.

That country, not the people, the commonman, is becoming more and more isolated. Which is probably why they keep discussing things that could have an effect, but not in the way they automatically assume, on the rest of the world as if they are living in a goldfish bowl.

Monday, 21 January 2008

More money making spin.

So, England is warming up. As it has done many times before in history.

England's wildlife is on the move due to the above. As it has done many times before in history.

Parts of England is prone to flooding. As it has done many times before in history.

And all the various parties with a vested interest are once again as they have done throughout history rattling their money making tins under the noses of an increasingly wary public or making noises towards the Government in the hope they will be heard and money from the public purse will be showered upon them.

It is all a money making ruse. These parties with vested interest are hoping to play on the public conscience by spinning the news to make their vested interest sound worse than any other parties vested interest.

Flooding has always happened in England's lowlands. England has always had flood plains to eleviate any problems this flooding may have cause. But in our efforts to create living accommodation for England's ever increasing populace we have built this accommodation on the flood plains. Then we wonder why this accommodation floods when we have a drop of rain slightly above average. Added to this building on the nations flood plains we have seen gardens that surround older accommodation concreted over. What happens to the rain that used to get soaked up by these gardens now that its natural course has been removed? That is right. It floods into the surrounding accommodation.

Nature is not stupid. When man has damaged an area natures animals move on to somewhere else in a circle of life that has sustained itself throughout history. Man. That most destructive of animals however simply sticks its head in the sand and while oblivious to the damage it is causing to other less sophisticated animals does what man has always done. And that is damage everything around it. The heathlands, marshlands peat bogs etc etc have been systematically raped by man and the consequence of that is that natures less sophistcated animals move on to less damaged areas. They always have. It is quite simply a matter of survival.

But still these parties with vested interests spin these truths and rattle their money tins for evermore money. What do they hope to do? Nature will always find a way with and definatelly without their help.

I am sick to my back teeth of being told in a constant barrage that we must strive to save this or that. It really does not matter how much money you throw at these issues. Nature will do as Nature has done throughout history and that is find a way to survive. And survive it will.

So, the next time some party comes rattling its money tins under your nose and spins the news to suit their vested interests ask them this question. How has man, as part of an ever evolving circle of life, and all of natures various creatures survived up to now without your help?

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The great EU - USA divide.

Is getting wider all the time.

As the U.S.A gets evermore embroiled in closing its borders to outsiders, whilst locking its own people in and at the same time making every American feel like a criminal, the E.U. continues to strive to open all its countries borders, with some exceptions.

The U.S.A. is threatening its people with the removal of all fair copying of CD/DVD (otherwise called fair use). Little England is considering giving its people this right. Contrary to what many U.K., not just England, dwellers think it is illegal here to copy, for ones own purposes only, any medium to another. Hence, why this change of Law is making so much news.

There are many areas where the U.K. and the U.S.A. differ. Many more areas now than at any other time in the two countries history. As the Internet makes news travel faster now than at any other time in human evolvement these differences are becoming evermore apparent.

The U.S.A. in an ever growing effort to separate themselves from every other country in the world wanted the E.U. to give over all manner of personal details about its citizens. The E.U. to their credit said go forth and multiply as what you are asking for contriviens several areas of the D.P.A. (Data Protection Act) in several countries within the E.U. It was a moment of utter paranoia so blatant the U.S.A. did not know, at first, how to respond. They had up to that point, in a show of typical U.S.A. brazenness, assumed the E.U. had the same goals as they did and to be refused was something they quite simply did not bargain for. But refused they was. It was at the time pure comedy.

The U.S.A. is closings its borders to outsiders and insiders while the E.U. opens their borders up and gives the people under their control a pat on their collectives heads in a fashion not dissimilar to how a father pats his son on his head.

It is all rather funny.

Actually, it is not just the U.S.A. and the E.U. that have an ever expanding divide. Look at the state of the world today. At this time in human history we have 4 great land masses that collectively we term the world. The U.S.A., The European Union, Russia and China and they are 4 totally separate land mases in so much as thy all have their own agendas and all 4 of those agendas are so totally different in their aims for their people and towards other countries people.

While all this is funny it also rings alarm bells. Are we heading for another world war? Perhaps Russia and China will combine against the U.S.A. and the E.U.? Whatever happens you can bet your last penny that the U.S.A. will start it or if not directly start it do something that forces the oppositions hand. Either way. The U.S.A. is dangerous.