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Combined geekery and stats post

I have been having fun configuring and tweaking the new ACER. At the flummery level is Desktop Icon Toy which has enabled me to do strange things to the desktop icons. They dance when you hover over them too. Cute. So now my desktop looks like this:

screen

More usefully, a very handy program called Gizmo Drive has enabled me to create copies of two of my most useful CD-ROMs here on my own computer. First is an Oxford Encyclopedia whose most useful feature is the complete Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

Oxford

Second is Nodtronic’s Over 4,000 Works of Literature. Yes, I agree with the reservations expressed there, and it is quite old now, but nonetheless it is a handy thing to have on board.

eurekaLast but not least I do commend something I have been using for a long time now:  Anvir Task Manager Free.

anvir

detail

This screenshot was taken a few minutes after start-up. Note the detail below. Drive G is the thumb drive which has been turned into around 2G of extra RAM. You will see it is working. See also The things I learn.

Saturday stats

Just the top individually visited posts on Floating Life in the past seven days.

  1. How good is your English? Test and Answers 67 views
  2. Australian poem 2008 series #17: "Australia" 48
  3. Australian poem: 2008 series #8 – Indigenous 35
  4. Dispatches from another America 31
  5. The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005 29
  6. Great player, example, Australian… and Muslim 28
  7. Conflicting perspectives 20
  8. Australian poem 2008 series #10: Peter S 18
  9. Delia Malchert – Migraine Aura – Scintillating Scotoma 17
  10. To Wollongong with Sirdan — more than the usual Sunday lunch 17
 
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Posted by on September 5, 2009 in computers, site news, site stats, web stuff, www

 

On a handy application and an unhandy mobile service

1. Tweetdeck

This very useful application even has a lawyer’s endorsement.

tweetdeck

Facebook and Twitter all in one highly intelligible space. It even rings when something new is added.

2 Telstra

Just recently Telstra “migrated” a lot of its services to a new system. Well, I wanted to do something simple this morning – check my prepaid mobile phone usage online. Not so simple. After half an hour’s Skype-ing with some lovely Indian people I still can’t get to the appropriate page, so I don’t think I’ll bother any more. I can get the info on the mobile anyway…

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2009 in Australia, computers, web stuff, www

 

Fear not, brothers and sisters!

You can beat your addiction!

Here’s how…

Just say no to social media!

Are you one of the millions of people whose lives have been ruined by a never-ending torrent of tweets, friend requests and ‘Which kind of pasta are you?’ quizzes? Then it’s time you joined the Social Media Addicts Association.

SMAA is run by reformed social media addicts who all had the courage to stand up and admit to their problem. Will you stop poking people you haven’t seen since college, and join us?

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2009 in diversions, web stuff, www

 

More on safer computing

It would appear to be like “safe sex” – not 100% reliable, but far better than nothing if you have good condoms.

Yahoo7 drew attention this afternoon to the top 100 infected sites based on number of threats detected by Norton Safe Web as of August 2009. They only offer the top 30 on that page, and so far as I can tell I have never been to any of them.

Why I have so interested in such things lately you may see from Multicultural Surry Hills, and How to Kill a Toshiba and Watching TV again: Jack Mundey; scary computer stuff.

What firewall do you use? Have a look at Proactive Security Challenge and look for yours in the list. You may get a shock. The ACER I am now using since the Toshiba was eaten by malware now has Outpost Firewall Free 2009 in place of the Windows one. The ACER also came packaged with McAfee Internet Security 2009 which according to the Proactive Challenge has a security rating of 2/10 and scored 12%!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in awful warnings, computers, web stuff, www

 

Another Internet-related entry

Two interesting sites to “waste” time on…

1. Thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars may be found on Academic Earth. Don’t think I’ll bother with Linear Algebra personally, but there are some great options in English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Religion from places like Yale, Harvard and MIT.

2. If I hadn’t been such a duffer in Maths and had the kind of mind needed to cope with the minutiae of Science I may have fulfilled my childhood fantasy of going to university and becoming a zoologist. Failing that, I can marvel at Encyclopedia of Life and learn about – eventually – every living thing on the planet. It is a work in progress.

Facebook

We and they are still getting used to the possibilities and pitfalls of Facebook and similar things. Today Five users sue Facebook for being too social a network.

A lawsuit filed Monday in a southern California court accuses Facebook of being a data-mining operation that does not deliver on promises to give users strict control of data uploaded to profile pages. Facebook has dismissed the lawsuit as being without merit and promised a legal battle. The suit asks for unspecified cash damages.

One of the parties to the suit is a woman who joinedFacebook in an early phase when membership was limited to the college crowd. Then-Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg foundedFacebook in 2004 as a way for college friends to remain connected as their lives grew apart. The suit accuses Facebook of betraying the woman by evolving into an open social network that now claims more than 250 million members worldwide.

Other plaintiffs named in the suit are identified as a photographer and an actress who contend Facebook is wrongly sharing pictures posted on their profile pages.

The remaining plaintiffs are young boys that the suit charges should not have been permitted by Facebook to join or post images or comments…

— AFP

How do you monitor your Facebook, if you have one? What level of privacy do you choose? Apparently Facebook is going to further refine the possibilities there.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2009 in amazing, web stuff, www

 

Watching TV again: Jack Mundey; scary computer stuff

1. The good Communist

Back in Cold War days Prime Minister Robert Menzies attempted to ban the Communist Party of Australia. The Australian people rejected the idea – not that the Communists were not subjected to zealous monitoring by intelligence agencies. That went on into much more recent times, and no doubt people on the extremes both of left and right still attract attention. I remember when my Wollongong friend The Red Dragon (cordon bleu cook extraordinaire and avid Bridge player) rang me in the early 1980s to warn me that now she was General Secretary or some such of the Illawarra Branch of the party her phone was tapped. She knew this because one night there was a click on her phone and a voice cut in saying “You take this Bill, I have to go and have a leak.” Since her phone mostly was used for social – not socialist – purposes such as Bridge and recipes, she subsequently used to apologise to the tappers from time to time for boring them so much.)  Unfortunately during the Dragon’s term of office the Communist Party of Australia dissolved itself.

All that aside, Australia’s favourite Communist no doubt has been Jack Mundey – and perhaps poet Dame Mary Gilmore. Last night Talking Heads had a good interview with Mundey.

PETER THOMPSON: Jack, you’ve never been just a hardliner. You’ve always been…
JACK MUNDEY: Intelligent. My interest has always been organisation for the cause that I’m fighting, and I’ve just stuck to that.
PETER THOMPSON: Australia is pretty much a paradise, though it’s far from being the sort of workers’ paradise you had in mind.
JACK MUNDEY: I don’t know about paradise, but I hope that the future for humanity is all the things that I expect it to be.

Not a dogmatist in other words.

2. Scary computer stuff

Four Corners last night was really quite scary, especially after my recent sad experience of malware eating my Toshiba – and that Malware disabled the antivirus and deleted all the restore points before itself as well as disabling the USB ports and the CD/DVD.

r417180_1978514

…Authorities are now working hard to keep up with the crooks. They are having trouble though. Crooks working from countries in Eastern Europe are hard to catch. Home-grown criminals are easier to bring down, but police reveal the legal system doesn’t treat cyber-theft with the seriousness it deserves. One young man stole more than 50,000 credit cards card details but received a suspended one year sentence, $2,000 good behaviour bond and court costs of $150.

Adding to the problem, most computer users don’t realise how vulnerable they are. Four Corners took an e-security expert to an ordinary city street and asked him to assess computer security. Using a basic wireless interceptor our expert found he could tap into up to 20 per cent of wireless computer networks, potentially accessing bank accounts and other personal information. Even those systems that had been encrypted took just 10 minutes to crack. No wonder police are warning we are right to have"Fear in the Fast Lane".

Whether this story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald is entirely true or not – and it may well be – it certainly highlights another concern.

AUSTRALIA’S diplomats have been warned about a fake email amid concerns it could be part of a cyber espionage attempt, possibly originating from China.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed yesterday staff had been briefed about a suspicious email sent to several staff last month. The source of the email is under investigation by the department’s communications experts. ASIO and the AFP would not comment yesterday on whether they were also investigating the email.

A report in the Canberra Times said the email was suspected to have originated from China and was headed ”Australia-China Free Trade Agreement Negotiations Update”. It reportedly targeted officials who work on China-related matters.

A spokeswoman for the department would not say whether the email was believed to have come from China.

”It is not Government practice to comment on intelligence issues,” she said.

Update

Prompted by Major Geeks I downloaded and installed a-squared Free 4.5. Yes, I have lots of other “condoms” on, including Malware Bytes, Windows Defender, Avast!, Spyware Doctor and Threatfire, but on its first test run at on demand scanning a-squared found two major threats that had thus far escaped detection: Backdoor:Win32/VB.IK and TrojanDownloader:Win32/Banload.IK! Both are rated severe threats by Microsoft.

 

Yet more cyber condoms

Time for a geeky entry.

I have just discovered cloud antivirus.

pandacloud1

Yes, that is all you see when you open it up. It is always up to date without downloading updates!

pandacloud See more here. So far I am pleased with it.

A while ago I reported on RadarSync and other geeky things. I eventually gave up on RadarSync – too many odd results. Instead I am giving Update Notifier a go. So far so good. I also use Secunia PSI on demand, not always switched on. I now have a 100% secure score from Secunia. The latest version also assesses browsers. Guess which one has an unpatched vulnerability, albeit rated as “less critical”?

For my firewall I am using Outpost Firewall Free.

Update 8 July

I have stopped using Panda Cloud and reinstated avast!. Panda Cloud worked well but I found it used more CPU in operation than my computer could spare.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2009 in computers, web stuff, www

 

Some curiosities of scientists

I am not a scientist, though I did at one time plan to be. My idea of fun when I was 10 to 12 was a day at the Australian Museum, and I collected insects. However, Chemistry in my last year at school soon revealed I should pursue English and History instead, and my Maths was woeful. Still is.

Nonetheless I am still interested, and thus I have taken an interest in the topic of climate change, as you may see from one of the notes in the sidebar. I refer you to that because there are real scientists over there.

Just now Professor Ian Plimer is getting a lot of attention. I didn’t see him on Lateline last night**, but will read the transcript when it appears later today. I note he was on Lateline Business last year. Ticky Fullerton seems there to be implying he is a spokeperson for the mining industry, but that may be unfair.

It strikes me that it is bleeding obvious that in geological time most of the change that has overtaken this planet has had nothing to do with us johnny-come-latelies called homo sapiens. However, it also strikes me as obvious from history that once we arrived we have had a considerable impact, rather as something as inconsiderable in itself as a virus can have an impact on homo sapiens. Not that I am pushing that analogy…

Still, when you do read Professor Plimer you might also read some other scientists: Ian Plimer – Heaven and Earth by Professor Barry Brook, Foundation Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change and Director of Climate Science at The Environment Institute, University of Adelaide; The science is missing from Ian Plimer’s "Heaven and Earth" by Tim Lambert, a computer scientist at the University of New South Wales.

See also Geological Timescales and the Effects of Climate Change.

Another recent science-related story that fascinates me because it says much about how the internet has changed the world concerns Jared Diamond, whose books I have enjoyed.

“While acting on vengeful feelings clearly needs to be discouraged, acknowledging them should be not merely permitted but encouraged,” wrote Jared M. Diamond in an essay in The New Yorker last April.

Now two of the subjects of that essay are acknowledging their own vengeful feelings. This week a lawyer filed a $10-million defamation claim (PDF) in a New York court on behalf of two Papua New Guinea men whom Mr. Diamond described as active participants in clan warfare during the 1990s.

Mr. Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles and the author of the best-selling Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (W.W. Norton, 1997), and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004), based the essay almost entirely on accounts given to him by Hup Daniel Wemp, an oil-field technician who served as Mr. Diamond’s driver during a 2001-2 visit to New Guinea. (The full text of the essay is open only to New Yorker subscribers, but a long summary is available here…

In a post on Wednesday at Savage Minds, an anthropology blog, Alex Golub, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa who does field work in New Guinea, suggested that this affair was emblematic of “a fundamental ethical issue that anthropologists will have to face for decades to come.” The rise of the Internet means that whatever scholars write about their field informants—no matter how remote those people might seem—will inevitably be read by the communities they have described.

“While this should always have been important to us,” Mr. Golub wrote, “it is a topic we can no longer ignore in a world where their ‘informants’ are more connected than ever before to the flows of media and communication in which ‘we’ depict ‘them.’”

** Friday 1 May

Yes I know; the transcript is still not up. I emailed Lateline about it and received a copy of it in reply yesterday, and an assurance the missing transcript should have appeared and this would be looked into. Hope it goes up soon, as it really is a performance and a bit!

 
 

Fibre optic network way overdue

The Rudd government can still surprise us, it seems. See Government unveils plans for bigger, faster broadband network, National Broadband Network an ambitious plan and Kevin Rudd joins The 7.30 Report.

Previous schemes, including the one for fibre optic to local nodes and copper wire thereafter, always seemed a bit curate’s egg to me. For a small example: Sydney Boys High internally went fibre optic some years back – five or six, if I remember rightly. Internally this made a huge difference, but of course the internet came into the school down copper wire, being strangled further by the Department of Education net nanny. So internet speeds improved a bit, especially with ISPs offering better speeds, but there was always the fact that what was inside the building was severely limited by the old technology delivering it to the building. That’s true of homes and businesses everywhere.

The only thing that could provide real improvement is for the whole system to embrace fibre optic technology. That is what the government now proposes.

It strikes me that Opposition reservations are analogous to favouring investment in Cobb & Co stage coaches rather than railways in the 19th century. Perhaps the Howard government should have led on this five years ago? If they had we would now be well on track…

See also Australia To Lead The World At Something Good.

Update 9 April

Piers Akerman gets stuck into this today: $47 billion to be flushed down a broadband pipe dream. Citing one economist, Piers opines “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has rolled out a fantasy of jobs, dividends and consumer benefits that would make Australia the envy of the world, if the goals were achievable. Not only is the cost greater and the proposal far more complex but there is a total lack of any supporting data to justify Rudd’s grandiose claims for the new project.”  He concludes: “Finally, Rudd is attempting to flatter the electorate with the promise of a NBN that no other nation in the world has attempted. There is good reason for this. Most nations are not stupid enough to take on untried technologies, assume massive debt and commit to vast schemes unless they can see and demonstrate a proven benefit.”

On the other hand, last year Telstra laid Fibre Optic, that “untried technology”, from Australia to Hawaii. And then in another part of the world:

From having no undersea cable links to the rest of the world, East Africa is now poised to have three.

As a result, many businesses are investing in finger-sized underwater fibre-optic cables that will open doors to the rest of the world.

It could not come too soon. Currently, many African countries rely heavily on satellite connections for internet and telephone calls.

Developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia embraced fibre-optic technology several years ago, and now boast over 500 cables. But the developing world is far behind; Bangladesh – with a population of over 150 million people – has three fibre-optic cables, while the whole of Africa has just ten.

And the advantages are:

Advantages of Fiber Optics

Why are fiber-optic systems revolutionizing telecommunications? Compared to conventional metal wire (copper wire), optical fibers are:

  • Less expensive – Several miles of optical cable can be made cheaper than equivalent lengths of copper wire. This saves your provider (cable TV, Internet) and you money.
  • Thinner – Optical fibers can be drawn to smaller diameters than copper wire.
  • Higher carrying capacity – Because optical fibers are thinner than copper wires, more fibers can be bundled into a given-diameter cable than copper wires. This allows more phone lines to go over the same cable or more channels to come through the cable into your cable TV box.
  • Less signal degradation – The loss of signal in optical fiber is less than in copper wire.
  • Light signals – Unlike electrical signals in copper wires, light signals from one fiber do not interfere with those of other fibers in the same cable. This means clearer phone conversations or TV reception.
  • Low power – Because signals in optical fibers degrade less, lower-power transmitters can be used instead of the high-voltage electrical transmitters needed for copper wires. Again, this saves your provider and you money.
  • Digital signals – Optical fibers are ideally suited for carrying digital information, which is especially useful in computer networks.
  • Non-flammable – Because no electricity is passed through optical fibers, there is no fire hazard.
  • Lightweight – An optical cable weighs less than a comparable copper wire cable. Fiber-optic cables take up less space in the ground.
  • Flexible – Because fiber optics are so flexible and can transmit and receive light, they are used in many flexible digital cameras for the following purposes:
    • Medical imaging – in bronchoscopes, endoscopes, laparoscopes
    • Mechanical imaging – inspecting mechanical welds in pipes and engines (in airplanes, rockets, space shuttles, cars)
    • Plumbing – to inspect sewer lines

Because of these advantages, you see fiber optics in many industries, most notably telecommunications and computer networks.

 

The Great Firewall of Oz debacle

I can’t do better today than to pass on SameSame’s Letter From the Editor which just arrived in my email.

Well, what a debacle this proposed internet "filter" is turning out to be!

First the Australian Government assure us that it won’t censor free speech but will instead protect us from sites relating to "child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime". Then the so-called list of censored sites is leaked, revealing that hundreds of URLs on the list are actually entirely legal.

The Government then censor the already censored blacklist: republishing the blacklist is illegal; linking to sites on the blacklist is illegal; linking to the blacklist itself is illegal. Punishments include up to ten years imprisonment and for websites a possible fine of $11,000 per day.

Then the Government deny that it’s even the correct list, claiming that the leaked list contained too many URLs to possibly be theirs. And so a more recent version of the list is leaked, and it turns out to be about the same size. And the new list still contains totally legal content.

According to independent media source Crikey, there’s little doubt that the latest list is the genuine article. They cite specific items on the list, and the dates of their inclusion, and find that they correspond with that of the ACMA’s. As far as the recently leaked lists are concerned, the Government is yet to comment.

What it all boils down to is this: we’ve been told that only illegal online content will be blacklisted, but that’s simply not true. Not only that, but unlike offline censorship in this country, not only is the content censored, but information about what is censored is also censored. This means it’s not subject to parliamentary or public scrutiny, and it’s not up for appeal.

That’s dangerous, no matter how you look at it.

See also my earlier post and the item top right in the side bar. Across the political spectrum see  Ned the Bear interviews Stephen Conroy, Liberal Party member Chris Abood on the internet blacklist, Stephen Conroy is an unrepeatable vulgarity (from a distinctly right-wing blogger), Bloggers, Big Brother Conroy is watching you!, The Tangled Web and This Is Not A Club We Want To Join.

This is among the most ill-conceived and foolish things the Rudd government has thus far come up with. I rather doubt Obama and Rudd would be singing from the same hymn sheet in this instance.

Update

Q&A should be lively tonight.

And on another Internet development see Wednesday, March 25, 2009 on Happy Antipodean.

A Facebook data capture story posted on Facebook by a friend is not as hilarious as it first appears as so much law in Australia is imported from overseas, especially from Britain and the US.

The story contains some devastating inconsistencies.

The government is "is considering making … sites [like Facebook and MySpace] keep data about their users’ movements". On the other hand the government "was not seeking the power to examine the content of messages sent via the sites".

Strange…

Quick note after watching Q&A

Stephen Conroy has a talent for tying himself in knots; Greg Hunt was much more concise and focused. It was reassuring to learn that no political blacklisting is proposed, but I still think the idea of trying to impose on the internet through technology the same standards we currently apply to books, films, radio, tv and so on is likely to be clumsy and possibly futile. Susan Carland made a good point when she suggested leaving offensive sites open so that they can be tracked made rather more sense, and so does the principle that users have a responsibility to filter for themselves.

Andrew Bolt’s self-presentation as the voice of “moral seriousness” was quite sickening, not to mention possibly self-delusional – though I imagine he may well be sincere, or deeply believe he is. The way it manifests itself does rather lean heavily in one direction, however, and that not necessarily either moral or enlightened.

All that said, it would appear some of the reactions to this issue — possibly including my own – have been a touch panicky. It was interesting to learn the ACMA list (subject to regular revisions) has been around for nine years already, and that no-one proposes to prosecute people who simply look at listed sites. On the other hand, I was still not convinced by Conroy’s arguments – once the verbiage had washed over me and I deduced what he may have actually said. The shag on a rock in the whole debate was Bolt. Louise Adler was just a bit too absolute I thought.

In case you wondered, I still oppose the idea.

There were interesting other issues (Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine) raised in the latter part of the program. To view the program or (later) read transcripts go here.

 

Two issues fellow bloggers have taken up

1. Smoking in psychiatric clinics and hospitals

Jim Belshaw went rather over the top in his title, but I do agree with the post: NSW strikes another Hitlerian blow. The issue, as Jim says, is one of compassion versus “being right”.

I quote from the Sydney Morning Herald:

A ban on smoking in all psychiatric facilities will go ahead despite vehement opposition from some members of the mental health community, who argue that strict anti-smoking rules will destabilise acutely ill patients and put staff at risk of violence.

NSW Health has ordered all facilities, including emergency psychiatric centres, to close designated outdoor smoking areas, confiscate tobacco products and supply free nicotine replacement therapy to staff and patients.

If accurate, this is one of the most inhumane statements I have ever heard.

A comment from a schizophrenic endorsed that, as did I. So too in today’s Sydney Morning Herald letters does a practitioner in the field.

As a doctor I strongly support anti-smoking policies. But there are specific issues relating to mental health patients that make the move against smokers by NSW Health deplorable ("Tobacco ban leaves mental health groups fuming", March 19).

Mental health patients may be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary patients may simply stroll off the hospital grounds to smoke. But involuntary patients are detained against their will in hospital under the Mental Health Act and are not allowed that liberty.

They are by definition so mentally disordered that the last resort of the act has been invoked because they may be a risk to themselves or others. These patients are frequently agitated and smoking is one method they use to calm down. In this state they lack the capacity to consider the benefit of stopping smoking, and this is clearly not the time in their lives to introduce intransigent non-smoking rules that only escalate their agitation.

In the past these patients were allowed to go outside to smoke escorted by security staff, but since the introduction of smoking bans they may no longer do so. In hospitals all over NSW these poor individuals are being physically restrained and given sedative drugs when their agitation escalates. This infringes the spirit of the Mental Health Act, which stipulates that it may be invoked to detain a person only when there is no less restrictive means of doing so. Clearly allowing them to smoke is far less restrictive than physical restraint and sedation.

We already make these patients suffer protracted stays in crowded emergency departments, due to the failure of NSW Health to provide beds for them. It is easy to imagine what effect this has on individuals who are at the lowest ebb of mental wellbeing. To add insult to injury they are now told that their last vestige of self control – to seek solace with a smoke – is being withheld, in what must seem an arbitrary and cruel act by their carers.

Doctors are placed in the unenviable position of choosing to restrain the individual or to let them out on their own, with the risk they may abscond and harm themselves. What a sad state we have sunk to.

Dr Alvaro Manovel Randwick

There is a contrary letter too, but I know from experience and observation that the idea really is a bad one – whatever you think about smoking.

Jim also expresses lack of surprise over the defeat of the alcopops tax, and I agree in fact that it was never the most brilliant of ideas and suspiciously like a tax grab rather than a well thought out policy on the social problems caused by alcohol. On the other hand, imperfect as it was, I am sorry it was defeated, particularly because I think Senator Fielding (Family First) was using his new-found power in a naive and unconsidered way. Pass it and agitate in future for better, I would have thought, which is more or less Bob Brown’s position. All that has been achieved is another problem for the economy.

2. That alleged list of sites on the government’s internet filter black list.

My position on the folly of the involuntary Net Nanny the Rudd government is so keen on is clear enough from the top of my side bar. Recently a certain site, which apparently is now on the black list itself, published what it says is the black list. That leaked list included a number of very odd choices. See Dentist, tuckshop cited on web blacklist.

Websites contained on it will be blocked for all Australians once the government implements its mandatory internet filtering scheme – originally pitched as targeting only "illegal" content – later this year.

But, as experts have long warned the government, having a top-secret blacklist of banned sites is dangerous because there is a real danger that Australian businesses could be added to the list in error, with little recourse.

Bruce has posted (with ironic discretion) here, Arthur here, and Pip Wilson here — “Senator Conroy’s and the Australian Labor Party’s infantile Internet witchhunt”.

Update Sunday 22 March

Go to Wikileaks threaten Conroy with extradition proceedings.

 

BlogExplosion back on track

I posted about the decline of BlogExplosion here and here. Seems they have a new admin now, and I have received replies on support tickets that I had posted last year! The forums have been cleaned up — more than 13k messages – and the whole thing is getting back to where it was. This is good, because BE was one of the best of its kind.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2009 in blogging, web stuff, www

 

Blog security — and my favourite blogging tool

Regulars will remember the vicissitudes I had last year, so I was immediately interested when I saw Lorelle has a post on Firewalling and Hack Proofing Your WordPress Blog. Even if much of it applies to WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com, it is still worth a look.

I do most of my blogging on Windows Live Writer, which covers all my blogs in one convenient place. It also can be used off line, and entries can be uploaded to be scheduled to appear at some later time. I can also vary fonts in it very easily, play with colour, and do almost amazing things with pictures. It is, in short, quite wonderful.

There is a kind of down side: it saves all your posts to your own hard disk in a folder called “My blog posts”. Now that can be handy, but they do rather accumulate. You need to flush them out from time to time – some of them at least. The more there are the slower Live Writer gets, not to mention that after a while there is a rather large part of your computer occupied – especially if your computer is a bit old as mine is.

Not all the available Live Writer plug-ins work with WordPress, but enough do. However, whenever I want to post a YouTube or upload a PDF to a post or do a poll I have to go through my WordPress interface instead – but that is not all that inconvenient. Perhaps someone out there has resolved those issues?

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2009 in blogging, computers, web stuff, www

 

Speaking of pretty…

Not the new template, but this.

2735401175_fcdcd0da03_b

It’s called “Conversation in the digital age”.

Hat tip: The Tubes are Diverse and Crowded (Reverend Jeremy Smith).

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2009 in blogging, computers, generational change, web stuff, www