Monthly Archives: February 2009

Stream, Not Steal

After last week’s blunder which lead to U2′s new album being leaked online, Spotify have now landed the rights to stream the album a week in advance of it’s release in the UK.

No doubt this is a reaction to the leak, and it would be interesting to see if it would deter any would-be pirates.

Apple Safari 4 Beta

Or as I prefer, Apple Safari Chrome.

If you have any InputManager plugins installed, you’ll probably need to uninstall them to run this. 1Password crashes and PithHelmet screws up the rendering.

Should We Block Child Porn Sites?

There’s been a lot of commotion in the past week over a small minority of ISPs in the UK not blocking a blacklist of child pronography websites supplied by the Internet Watch Foundation. The NSPCC and Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety (CCCIS) have expressed their “serious concerns” that up to 700,000 UK homes are on an internet connection that doesn’t block these sites, stating that “self-regulation on this issue is obviously failing – and in a seriously damaging way for children.”

Rory Cellan-Jones from the BBC has written an insightful blog post about the subject. In which he points out the work of Dr Richard Clayton:

He told me that, if the aim was to stop people coming across these images by accident, then the system was a failure because that didn’t happen anyway: “This material tends to be held on paid-for sites or is held by people who don’t publish it to the world because they don’t want to get arrested.”

Dr Clayton’s view is that the big ISPs use the system because they’ve been pressured to adopt it, but smaller firms are perfectly justified in opting out. “Everybody thinks they’ve done something by blocking this stuff but in practice it makes very little difference to who sees it and it’s quite expensive.”

What the article and charities fail to mention is that to side-step the blacklist is as simple as accessing offending websites through an anonymous proxy, of which there are thousands. And all of this can be done with minimal technical knowledge.

Fortunately the government has seen sense, and is accepting the 95% adoption rate by ISPs. It’s unlikely that calls from children’s charaties to bring in legislation will be heeded, as that can been seen as the first step in a slippery slope to over-regulation and perhaps even government censorship.

All for something that doesn’t even work.

“You’re an idiot and a liar” – Ryanair Staff

Ryanair staff have chastised a blogger for finding a bug in their booking system that allows you to buy flights for free, and had a dig at WordPress too! Surprisingly they’ve openly identified themselves as staff from Ryanair, and their IP’s have been confirmed as from their companies designated IP range.

This is deplorable behaviour from Ryanair, and nothing short of a PR disaster if the popular press get hold of it. This is pretty indicative of the company as a whole though, so maybe I was a fool to expect something better.

Poetic Justice

U2′s upcoming album, due to be released on March 3rd, has already been leaked all over the internet after a mistake by Universal’s Australians branch.

U2 is a staunchly anti-piracy and pro-DRM group that advocates greater controls to ban individuals that download pirated material, and have accused ISPs that continue to ignore copyright theft of being facilitators themselves.

You can now download it as DRM-free 320kbps MP3s, although why you would want to listen to their dribble is another matter.

Rolcats

English translations of Eastern Bloc LOLcats.

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