Everything, Everything - December 2005

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Finally Here
Saturday 31st December, 2005 10:35
My new 2GB memory card has finally turned up. Initial City Link loaded it onto a van, but "Delivery Failed" on Thursday and on Friday they said "Delivery point closed (Carded)" even though there were 4 of us at the address and we never got a card. Thankfully, I can track it online, and it told me I needed to call the main Mancheater branch, but after a quick call to them it turned out it was at my local branch and they\'d made (yet another) a mistake. It turns out that the reason they failed to deliver it over the last two days is because "the address didn\'t exist in their A-Z" - a total surprise to me, as City Link have managed to deliver to that address several times over the years, the last time being when my new RAID controller arrived just a couple weeks ago, and the house was built nearly 20 years ago. That must make their A-Z pretty old.

My trial version of Nero 7 is about to run out, so I\'m thnking of buying Nero 7 Premium from PC World later today, as their website says it's half price, now only £29.99. Delivery from the website is free for this item, but I\'d rather get it now from the store than worry about yet another failed delivery. Now where are my new headhpones?!?
I Love My K750i
Friday 30th December, 2005 12:44
I realised the other day that if I put my mobile in the corner of the bath, I can easily listen to music while I have a shower (I just have to be careful not to knock it into the bath). Okay, so the current 64MB card doesn't let me listen to that many songs, but at least I know it's time to get out the shower when I hear a track again. I'm hoping my new 2GB card should have arrived through the post today, then I can spend forever in their. The mobile's speaker isn't amazing, but it's far less hassle than listening to anything else.
Kelly Clarkson
Thursday 29th December, 2005 10:50
I've been listening to her new album, didn't realise I actually knew two of the tracks already, and it's (yes, I'm about to say it) pretty good. One track reminds me a lot of Fiona Apple, and another (Gone) has a guitar bit that reminds me of the Manic Street Preachers track Kevin Carter. Since You've Been Gone is going to be stuck in my head all day long.
MessengerDiscovery X2
Wednesday 28th December, 2005 13:35
I thought I saw something pop up about updating MSN the other day, but I ignored it as I was already chatting with friends. So after a quick look around today, I noticed that MessengerDiscovery X2 is now out, and appears to be a big step up from the old version. There are some very cool features, too many to go into now. I could probably think about losing Messenger Plus! but I do quite like the StuffPlug-NG plugin for it.
BitTorrent 4.3.4
Tuesday 27th December, 2005 06:34
I got bored and decided to update the latest client, now that BitTorrent have finally/recently released the source code. It turns out I'd made a mistake in the 4.3.3 code, I hadn't commented out one of the original def_running_torrents lines, so every time you started the client it'd presumably reset it to 1 (there's an off chance it might have read it from the config file afterwards, depending on the order it executes, but I didn't look into the code too deeply). The new setup file is now up on my other site. The new IPC code appears to work properly now. Not sure if anything else has changed between this and the previous version, I hope they update their version page soon.
Claire Danes
Tuesday 27th December, 2005 03:00
She's so lovely, I want to fall asleep with her.
Monday 26th December, 2005 19:35
My DVD collection is even bigger, I now have The O.C. Season 1 and The Shawshank Redemption, thanks to Christmas presents from my family. I'm starting to lose track of which DVDs I own, I seem to have so many. Most are TV shows, but I have loads of films too. I also bought a few more music CDs recently, and got one for Christmas, upping that collection even higher too. One was a single I heard many years ago on a John Peel show, 101cd.com finally got hold of it for me, and... it really wasn't worth the wait or expense. But it does occasionally get stuck in my head, so it's useful to have.

Also got a few other items, but I'm pretty sure (microwave aside) the combined total of all my other presents is probably less than I've spent on myself over the past week. I decided to get a larger memory card for my mobile, bought a serial for WinZip 10 for my new 24/7 machine that acts as a fileserver (even though WinZip 9 serials are dead easy to get hold of/generate), and some headphones for my mobile so I can (hopefully) use the adaptor for my usual headphones. Sure, the iPod Nano looks quite nice, and I already have a 10GB 3rd generation iPod, but who wants to carry two items around at all times? With a 2GB card, I can store a lot of music and just carry one device. The battery life seems to be quite good, I was playing half a dozen songs last night whilst having a bath and the battery didn't appear to drop! If I can get 9 hours talktime, or 14 days standby, I'm pretty sure the battery life will be comparable to (if not better than) an iPod.
Sunday 25th December, 2005 20:17
According to the RIAA and MPAA, 15597 file-sharers have been served with financial demands for copyright infringement in the US (Kazaa users accounted for around 94% of those). They also tell us that there have only been 3590 settlements. In other words, they have received a financial settlement in only 23.3% of cases. Statistically it seems that 76.7% of those caught in the USA just walked away. These are not statistics that the recording industries want people to hear. The odds of being identified and having to settle are therefore of the order of 3590:60 million, or 16713 to 1 against. The odds against being taken to court for downloading are therefore an even more staggering 60 million to 1 against. Put into context, people have a 1 in 300 chance of being misprescribed in hospital or a 10 million to 1 chance of being involved in an aircraft collision and dying as a consequence.

In most countries, including the UK, domestic file-sharing continues to be a civil and not a criminal issue. In general terms, uploading or sharing can result in civil action, albeit that the odds are very small. Technically the same could arguably apply to those downloading only. In practical terms, nobody has yet been sued for downloading only, and the prospects of such a case being successful are less than diminutive. In the UK, the prospects of such an action are currently nil, given that the BPI have confirmed they (currently) have no intentions of taking such action.

The point I'd like to make from all those statistics is that the current tactics aren't working, that P2P is here to stay (great news for distributing legal content, like Linux ISOs!), and that something needs to be put in place to help legalise and (more importantly) capture the money that would otherwise be lost. Places like France have started to realise this, with their National Assembly recently approving a proposal to allow private use of sharing copyrighted material (uploading content on the internet would remain illegal):

"Authors cannot forbid the reproductions of Works that are made on any format from an online communication service when they are intented to be used privately and when they do not imply commercial means directly or indirectly"

This is very similar to the Canadian law that allows you to copy CDs off your mate. The amendments come at an additional cost of 5 Euros a month for an individual's subscription to the internet (and is equivalent to the levy that has plagued recordable media sold in Canada). Some experts contend it's only fair to offload the cost of music onto the hardware that provides the media in the first place.

Professor Terry Fisher of the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center think tank calculated that a fee of 5 dollars per month on a broadband connection would compensate the recording and movie industries for 20 per cent of their current revenue. In an interview last year Jim Griffin, former director of Geffen's technology group, pointed out that the US consumer has rarely spent more than 5 dollars per head on music, so the recording rights lobby cannot plausibly claim to be being robbed.

The Parliament has voted to extend an old idea, traditionally deployed to solve copyright concerns with new technology, into the digital age. The mechanism is used successfully to compensate rights holders for radio play and public broadcasts (for example, in a bar) and songwriters.

The Parliament's vote is at odds with the position taken by the French government and the EU, which want to criminalize fire sharers. We'll have to see if it makes it through the French Senate.
Setup File
Thursday 22nd December, 2005 19:59
I think I worked out how to get the new style BitTorrent installer to compile, so it should look a lor more like the official client's NSIS installer program. I was going to just copy and paste the RTF warning, but decided to add my own words and then realised it made the text too long, so I eventually went for my own text. I think it works okay, I can run it without any trouble.
Thursday 22nd December, 2005 14:16
I was surprised that Elizabethtown only has 6.3 on IMDB, I really enjoyed this film.
Technical Support
Thursday 22nd December, 2005 14:07
A friend just got an email back from a well known online retailer. It made me laugh, I'm guessing the author's first language isn't English.

"Regarding to your board our engineer have test and check every function of the board no faulty find. If you need any technical advise you are welcome to give our tech support call."

I think it was the "no faulty find" that made me chuckle the most.
My BitTorrent Client
Wednesday 21st December, 2005 20:36
Okay, I'm finally doing it, I'm revealing the source code I've used, and providing the setup program I created. This is my version of the 4.3.3 Beta that I keep talking about, it doesn't use the IPC code so it will work properly. I've put the files on another server so I don't have to worry about bandwidth (it's my ISP's problem now hehehe), not that anyone will probably use this client - even Swede has switched to another client (one of the evil ones, I think).

My BitTorrent Client's Site

So you might be wondering what the benefits of my client are? Well here goes:

My BitTorrent 4.3.3 Client

A more compact interface
The search bar has been removed, as I never use it
The advanced tab has been revealed
I've added def_running_torrents to the advanced tab, so you can keep that many torrents running all the time
The number of peers (tracker totals in brackets, if known), seeds and distributed copies is now shown, along with a BitTornado style share ratio
The title (and tray icon) will tell you the combined upload and download rates
And a couple of minor things that you probably won't spot

Once the code for 4.3.4 is made available I'll think about making another version. I've also built the program in a strange way (I followed all the instructions, but still got problems with the twisted code), basically taking the official client's compiled code and replacing a few files with ones I'd created.

Ooh, I've just remembered, I used to show the infohash and piece information in the Torrent Info window, I'll add it back in my next version, if I remember. Again, it's something I don't typically care about, but is sometimes nice to have. It's also only about four lines of code that need changing.

EDIT: The other site went down in 2016 so I'm hosting all this legacy stuff on my main site.
BitTorrent 4.3.4
Wednesday 21st December, 2005 19:26
Just noticed it's now out, the source isn't available from their site (boo, hiss, and possibly a violation of their own license), and there's no mention of it in the version history page. I wonder if they fixed the IPC code or went back to the control socket, and did they fix anything else while they were at it? My non-IPC version of 4.3.3 appears to be working perfectly, there haven't been any errors in the log file, and it's not crashed or played up at all. I'll probably stick with this one for a while. I noticed on their translations page that they talk about BitTorrent 4.4, so I presume that'll be the name of the next new stable version once they're happy with 4.3.
Wednesday 21st December, 2005 18:02
I mentioned to someone over the weekend that I tend to read a lot of 'chick lit' but for some reason I couldn't come up with any names or titles. Amazon let you view all the items you've ever ordered, which goes back to January 2000 for me, and it looks like I've ordered the following books for myself:

Behaving Badly by Isabel Wolff
Come Again by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees
Come Together by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees
Cool for Cats by Jessica Adams
Dinner for Two by Mike Gayle
Love Is a Four Letter Word by Claire Calman
Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
Mr Commitment by Mike Gayle
My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle
Out of the Blue by Isabel Wolff
Rescuing Rose by Isabel Wolff
Seven-week Itch by Victoria Corby
The Making of Minty Malone by Isabel Wolff
The Trials of Tiffany Trott by Isabel Wolff
Turning Thirty by Mike Gayle
And several Dilbert and computer related books.

I also managed to sort out the size of the fonts in KDE when using the NVIDIA driver, apparently the driver incorrectly works out the DPI at high resolutions like 1920x1200, so by passing an argument (-dpi 75) all is well. With a bit of tinkering (checking for a processor flag and creating a couple symlinks) I can use the same hard disk in the old and the new laptop. VMWare isn't too happy about the change of floppy and optical drive, but it should be quite easy to fix or perhaps even ignore.
Wednesday 21st December, 2005 00:22
I took the train on Saturday to a friend's party, and it took a very strange route, which nearly doubled the travel time. I was originally sitting next to a 14 year old girl, with her colouring book and pencils, when she asked me if I could buy her a Strongbow. I said no, obviously, as she definitely didn't look 18 and she responded "I got money". I somehow managed to restrain myself and just shook my head. What I realy wanted to do was tell her that the money wasn't the point, and she should have said "I have the money" instead of what she'd said, which barely passes for the English language. And tell her to get some deodrant.

So how could it get any worse? Well, the girl got up, leaving her stuff in the mesh thingy on the back of the seat in front, and had even left the tray down, so I figured she was coming back. Then along came an old man, who sat down in the seat. I told him that someone was sitting there, but he didn't appear to hear me. I tried again, putting my hand on his arm and saying quite clearly (the man sat the other side of the aisle appeared to hear me) that the seat was already taken. He just sat there, sorted out his walking stick, adjusted his gloves, and ignored me. I don't know if he was eating something or was just weird (I still didn't know if he was rude or deaf or both), but whatever he was sucking on made him drool, so every few minutes he'd wipe his mouth, sometimes digging his elbow into me in the proces. Could it possibly get any woese? He started picking his nose. Not even one of those casual rubs, or a quick poke, this was a wholehearted shove your finger as far as you can up your nostril. Thankfully, he left the stop before mine, giving me half an hour of peace, sat by myself.

There was also a guy (he looked about 19) that was playing with his laptop on the train. He didn't really have much on it, so resorted to Hearts and Pinball, then flicked through for some music, but at one point he must have looked in a videos directory, and Windows XP started showing thumbnails of all of the AVI files. They were all rather rude. Lots of naked ladies. He probably thinks no one saw, but I could see the screen reflected in the window as I sat behind him.

But it was worth the journey with all the crazy folk, as the party was fun, and it was great to catch up with my uni friends. Sure, the sleeping bag was a bit cold on the lounge floor, and I didn't get much sleep, but I'm glad I went. Also finally met Steve's girlfriend, Toni, who seemed lovely (and just his type, he's a lucky guy).

I was playing with my new work laptop today, managed to sort out the NVIDIA drivers so I could get widescreen (far easier than I expected, download one file, run one command, hit the Return key a few times), and even managed to get the soundcard working (again, one command, hit Return a few times)! I definitely like Slackware, it's a good distro.

I finally got an email from Amazon to confirm an order I'd placed about an hour earlier, I've never seen such a big delay before. Hopefully the presents will arrive in time for Christmas.

I was also looking at the new BitTorrent 4.3.3 code, adding my modifications, then discovering that you couldn't launch new torrents in the usual way. It's down to the new IPC code, which they've just introduced, and doesn't appear to work - even on a clean install of their official client. So I reported it to the BitTorrent bugs mailing list, hopefully it won't take them two months to fix (like they did on the maximum upload rate slider bar), but for now I replaced their new IPC code with the old controlsocket code, and all is well with my build. I think it's a simple correction for them to make, so I'm waiting for another version to appear in the next few weeks. I had to do even more botching to get my client to work, I'm now placing my modified *.pyc files in the library.zip, rather than building all the files myself, as if you follow the instructions provided the client doesn't seem to work properly.
I Love My Fileserver
Thursday 8th December, 2005 00:20
Finally got a new RAID controller card, which appears to be working perfectly, unlike the previous one (intermittent fault on channel 1, so the array kept losing a disk). My data, fingers crossed, should be a lot safer now. Also, I don't have to create and map folders with Junction Link Magic, or worry about running out of room on each disk. Also, the dual Xeon with Hyper Threading runs very smoothly, even running 4 SETI processes it feels like I'm gliding across the desktop. It's fairly quiet too, thanks to the 120mm fans - it's mostly the vibration of the disks that's annoying.

I'll try and write something less geeky soon, perhaps about how wonderful Christmas is, with all the lunches, the presents, the family getting together, friends returning home for the holidays. I quite enjoyed watching The Santa Clause 2 the other day, although I missed the end, will have to catch it on Sky again another day.
Web 2.0
Tuesday 6th December, 2005 10:01
So Simple
Monday 5th December, 2005 19:54
And yet so annoying. By default Windows Server 2003 will not automatically mount volumes. It's a simple registry setting change, or a simple command run at the command line, but by letting Windows automatically mount hard disks, you can add an existing hard disk and see the data (that page doesn't exactly make it clear). With AutoMount off you'll just see a RAW partition. If you delete the partition and format it (I tried on a spare disk) it'll AutoMount it for you though. Ah well, one problem down, one to go. Will have to wait until Wednesday for that, when the new RAID controller card arrives (the RAID 5 array keeps losing a disk at bootup, or tries to create an array of the same name with just the 1 disk, I think Channel 1 is faulty).
JCB Song
Friday 2nd December, 2005 22:44
I heard that this was getting some airplay on Radio 1, and I even caught it on the way home once, but I didn't realise until recently how many people knew it and want it to be the Xmas number one (it's now the favourite). I remember watching the Flash animation way back in March when it was starting to come together, after someone I knew from uni told me about it - his brother did the "Moo-Cows" that are mentioned in the credits at the end. He said "I know the guy who did this... went round his house quite some time ago whilst he was still working on it and he showed me it, even asked for some ideas. Known him some time, hes very skilled, and also dresses very oddly." hehe. Apparently MTV have acquisitioned a number of the episodes for use in a new MTV-brand campaign. The episodes of Low Morale will be made available for download onto mobile phones, and a selection may also be screened on MTV. Special.
Renting DVDs
Friday 2nd December, 2005 22:07
I really must start renting DVDs again, I haven't done it since I finished uni, and there's a growing number of films I'd like to see sometime (but not enough to pay to see them at the cinema). I'm tempted to join either Amazon's or Blockbuster's rental schemes, the only downside is I have to post them back, and I'm utterly useless at posting things to people, as my friends (e.g. Andy or Caz) will agree. I'm just as bad at going to the bank, as most things are done automatically or online.
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