Too Easy to Knock

Wednesday 2146hrs

The media doesn’t like conspiracy theorists. The movies slam them, TV mocks them and the popular press don’t give them the column inches they need. OK, a lot of them may be crazy, but go painting a whole group of people with the same brush and all of a sudden all followers of Islam are terrorists, all white people are racist and all dingos steal and eat babies.

Oh wait, sorry, the popular press actually DO consider the words “Muslim” and “Terrorist” as interchangeable. Silly me.

Well, getting to my point before we end up with another small essay, the BBC are running a hillarious peice about the new Pentagon footage that, oh surprise, shows us nothing new about the 9/11 attacks. I don’t pitch my tent in any camp when it comes to this, all I’ll say for myself is that I think something is amiss and the evidence doesn’t stack up.

I suppose it’s my own fault for getting lulled once again into thinking the BBC are a news agency instead of a propaganda machine. (Go go Medialens ) Their outright lambasting (Is that right? I’m using it anyway) of popular theories and so called “Conspiracy Theorists” is deplorable. It’s worth noting that a lot of the evidence put forward or questioned by the so called “Crazy People” has not been disproved to any greater degree than anything put forward by governments and news agencies. The only difference being is that the general public has been taught that one side would never do anything wrong, and the other side is a disorganised bunch of nut jobs. (Just in case it wasn’t clear and, admittedly, sometimes it isn’t, the disorganised bunch of nut jobs is here referring to the “Conspiracy Theorists”, not the governments and news agencies.)

The link in question is here: Shameful “Journalism” from the BBC (again).

Why can’t they, you know, collate and report facts for a change, instead of latching on to a tidbit and furthering misconception. The ignoramus who put that peice up there for world review shouldn’t dare call himself a journalist, let alone a “World Affairs Correspondant”. Paul Reynolds open your eyes.

(Of course now, thanks to pervasive media brain-washing, everyone will simply go “Ho Hum” and pitch me in with the rest of the conspiracy theorists. Classic, no? How can anyone get the truth out there if anyone who tries is instantly put down without effort.)

Why Me?

Sunday 1056hrs

I just suffered a hard-drive failure on my photo backup drive. Dead. No detecty. Stone cold. Fortunately I only move files to that drive after I’ve copied them to a DVD… usually. I think. As I’ve got no way to read the drive at all now I’ve similarly got no way of knowing what I’ve just lost. **Joy** .

It also means I’ll have lost every photo I’ve processed for the last 12 months or so, which is bad. See my backup strategy doesn’t really pan out for RAW files that I’ve extracted and played around with ready for printing, something that I have been meaning to sort out for a while now and this even has catalysed.

Dontations for a replacement SATA backup drive gratefully accepted.

Myopic Foresight

Sunday 1008hrs

Once again another startling and classic example of what’s wrong with modern policy governing things like fuel consumption, climate change and generally short-sighted, self-invested western 1st world behaviour. Never do you hear them say “Wait, we should look at ways of reducing our power consumption” or “We’re running out of oil, we should use it more cautiously.”

Nope. Never. That would require a lifestyle change, or some actual conscious effort and good-will which would be far too much to expect from a fat, spoilt population. Shortages will creep up on us, prices will rise and the poor will be unable to afford “basic” services, simply because people are too shortsighted and flat out too stupid to do little things like turning off lights when they’re not needed, or not running electric heaters and putting on a jumper instead.

When will the general public and the bloody government wake up to the reality that the rate of consumption is well past the rate of supply. Two factors present themselves here and the rate of supply cannot be extended indefinately, so why not take a little look at the rate of consumption. That one’s really easy to deal with, yet no-one seems ready to deal.

People Buy Bottled Water

Wednesday 0033hrs

Commercial open source went wrong when they went to war on price. Wow. Lot of W’s there.

It occurred to me today, amidst a possible mispelling, that the open source movement really has shot itself in the feet when it comes to commanding marketplace respectability. See, when you tell someone that the thing you’re working with was free they immediately assume that because you didn’t pay for it, they shouldn’t have to either. Afterall, couldn’t they just do it themselves? And hey, it’s free right, so that means it’s not as good as something you pay for? Like the gloves you find in the street, they’re soggy and you don’t know who wore them last. You could find yourself incriminated in a murder case, or at the very least glove theft. What if a tramp loses his hands to frostbite that night because you walked off with his gloves thinking “Hey, free gloves, may as well give them a try…” before discarding them, somewhere out the tramp’s line of sight?

Some open source gloves are soggy. Mambo, for instance, has dampened my hands on more than one occasion. Maybe its just that we didn’t get along, maybe my hands are too big or too dry, who knows. Others like WordPress and Typo3 are warm dry gloves, but lo, not found on a street but in a shop that gives them away free for the price of your patronage and nothing more. These are the gloves that are unfairly treated by the business world, their charity spurned and looked down upon in the marketplace where only dollars count. Or Rubles. Or shells.

Free languages too, hunted down by the businessmen like geese and shot dead. If the language is free then so too must be the programmers that kneel at their altars. Surely no-one of worth would find themself dirtied by the carnal knowledge of the free whore-languages we know as PHP and Ruby?

People who pay people to do things (Who probably go on to pay other people in UK/US opressed nations to do it for even less…) on computers live with the delusion that people who do things (Hey, lets give them a name… “Programmers” will do…) with things that cost money have some right to pass that cost on to them. They accept it graciuosly, they cherish it on the invoices and sleep curled up next to it at night. Somehow the fact that the “Programmer’s” tool cost lots meant that it does a better job. But consider for a moment that this programmer has done many jobs before yours and he’s passed the cost of his fabled tools on to each and every client before you too. All of a sudden the price of the tool becomes meaningless as it’s already been set off against previous work. The cost of the tools, therefore, becomes a moot point.

“Open Source” has been marketted by many forces as being a cheaper option without stopping to examine the psychological impact of that on the squidgy pink things that will be paying for an end product, one way or another. As humans we are simple predictable beings and we cherish the rare and pricey and dismiss the free, soggy gloves.

People buy bottled water.

So where am I going ? I think the greatest thing about open source, its major power and what should have been the selling point, is its transparency. No government secrets, no adware, no spyware, no insidious marketting bods trying desperately to get their hands on your browsing habits. You pay for it or you pick it up off the street, but either way you can look inside it. This might be a harder sell than “Hey, it’s free” but in this age of the politics of fear and the Owellian state that many of us now live within, it sure strikes a chord with me. When you pay money for something “Closed Source” you really have little idea of what’s going on in the background and if you want to change something then you have to wait for the vendor to act. Just look at Internet Explorer for example. Almost every spyware molested PC on the planet is in that state thanks to IE. Patches? Yeah, they come, but only after months of waiting while worms run wild. Whoever thought a worm could run? In the crazy world known as the internet these days they even DRIVE CARS. WITHOUT HANDS. It’s madness.

Using open source tools and solutions as a developer is a tough sell thanks to the Open Source Marketting People (OSMP) (Doesn’t really exist as an organised body, but it could…) because now all our clients think that it’s cheap to do. No. The code would take just as long in .Net as it would PHP. Ok, we didn’t have to buy PHP or Apache, but then your .Net programming house only had to buy MS Studio once anyway and would have recouped that cost long ago. Yes, the running costs are lower because you’re not haemmoraging licence fees out to a megalithic 3rd party company, but that doesn’t mean that mystically the whole thing was easier to put together or is somehow worth less.

If anything, the open source solution should cost you MORE, because you can actually see what your developer is doing and come down on them like a tonne of bricks when you find comments like /* must fix later cos the arsehole client doesn’t know what he’s doing */ littered around your source.

They should have put their premium on transparency. Not price.

Nobody likes a soggy glove. Everybody likes double glazing.

(It’s warm, and dry, and transparent. Geddit?)

Whiskey P

Tuesday 1445hrs

This short film is about the atrocities conducted by the invading army of the US in Iraq, specifically Fallujah. The only weapons of mass destruction in that country were the ones the yanks took with them.
Admittedly, these days I could be arrested and detained indefinately for saying stuff like this, such is the world we’re living in.

I just wonder how this is going to play out. M.A.D ? A tyranical American super-state a-la Adolph’s original vision? It doesn’t smell good to me, not good at all.

Atrocities in Fallujah, Iraq

Note: Please be aware this clip contains graphic images, and may shatter any illusion you were clinging to about the US being leaders of world peace and liberty.

More on the BBC about US Use of Chemical Weapons.

Devaluation of Photography

Thursday 1638hrs

I stumbled across another stock photography site today called Dreamstime or something. Didn’t give it a thorough workout but I noticed that they’re flogging high-res stock images for 77 US Cents.

77 US Cents.

Gah. You know the issue is so tired with me I can’t even find the energy to rant about it. People say “You may as well put photos up on a site and get 30 cents per download off it” using the arguement that “You wouldn’t make money off it anyway, so why not?”
The “Why not” to me is painfully simple. Good images are simply worth more than that. Equipment, time, travel, expenses and gosh-darn, bloody **experience**. To see people throwing good images that have cost them to produce onto sites like this just makes me sad. Will there come a point in the future where there won’t be any such thing as a professionally produced image, because people have become too accustomed to paying $0.77 for a photo? I’ve had experiences in the past of people asking “How much?” and when they’re told they go crazy with things like “Why should you charge that when I can get photo’s off the ‘net for a dollar?” (Or worse, steal them from Google images…)

It seems to me as if there’s 3 broad categories of people who upload stock to these sites. Either they were never going to make a penny off their casual shots, so they’re giving it a go to see what they can make. Then you have the people who don’t value their work and think that $1 per copy is “all they can hope for” because they’ve been beaten into submission by a market demanding stupid cheap prices for quality work. Finally you have the people who treat it like a full-on enterprise. They’re Pumping thousands of images into the database using napalm tactics to ensure that they get a reasnoble financial reward, even if they’ve put in far more work than the cash value they’re getting out.

Why should I even care? I’m trapped in a moral (?) dilemma of sorts. I’m broke, I could use the money, but do I really want to sell out my artwork for a lousy 50p a shot? I could literally make far more working in McDonalds and wouldn’t have to stress about technique, location, new material, ideas, equipment, insurance… The list goes on.

Maybe I’ve just got the wrong mindset, perhaps it is all well and good, it’s a sensible way for photographers to make money etc etc yadda yadda. I just can’t feel it though, giving away your creativity for 50p a time. ..

People pay more for a king-size Snikers bar.

Hot off the press at the BBC we have our dear CotE Calling for Oil Producing Nations to Reduce Prices. Is he for real? Surely to be where he is now he must have studied, ohh, I don’t know, perhaps economics? Even basic accounting? Maybe even just General Studies?

The fact that oil supply is almost beaten by demand is now all over the popular press, meaning that it’s already sensationalist which means it has to be at disasterous limits. Lets face it, the press never report on anything unless it’s reached a newsworth level of “disastery-ness”. How, then, does Mr Brown expect the oil producing nations to help reduce prices? Make more oil? Emphasis on the *make* there, not pump…

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Yahoo news has a headline that reads :Pentagon document would alter nuclear weapons plan

Please can someone tell me this is a sick early April fools? I can’t believe that they can consider using nuclear force as a pre-emptive strike. Conventional bombing of someone you *think* might be after you is bad enough. But the sanctioning of nuclear weaponry that’ll devastate a country, the only backing for which is some cooked up evidence that they’ve got “WMDs”…? Come on.