Get the Police a Twitter shaped Batphone

Aside

You’re probably more likely to win the lottery than to get any law enforcement agency…to take action when you are harassed online.

An outtake from Kathy Sierra’s blogpost outlining the harassment she has almost constantly received online since 2007 as she yet again feels the need to give up twitter.

I thought it sadly apt in the context of the Victoria Police force here in Australia, yesterday telling a target of said harassment to contact local police.

While this target was probably okay to do that, I’m assuming that’s not always the case. And exactly what is stopping any police force from accepting requests for assistance from any channel?

If the Philadephia Police force are happy to work with social media to solve crimes, perhaps Victoria Police and others can take lessons from them?

This Mess We’re In

Teaching Children is Easy

Hong Kong has apparently been working hard at its efforts to integrate its multi-racial society a bit closer. This satirical jab from Hong Wrong on the statelet’s (sorry Self Governing Territory) efforts at educating the younger members of it’s society shows they clearly have some way to go.

The Trouble with Politicians

Speaking of Hong Kong, there was news this week that a politician born there was considering leaving Northern Ireland after more than 40 years…

…for good because of enduring sectarianism and now rising racism.
Lo, who represents South Belfast in the regional parliament, also cited first minister Peter Robinson’s support for a born-again Christian preacher’s depiction of Islam as “the spawn of the devil” as a reason for wanting out of Ulster politics.

Far be it for me to suggest that The North’s thin veneer of success following the end of the Troubles might be wearing thin, but I do* look forward to this month’s and next’s Parade Season to kick off. (* in the way that I look forward to a screaming baby at 3am).

A More Secure Commute

Meanwhile in Beijing qz is claiming they are now subject to Airport Security style searches before entering the subway, leading to massive lines. As one commenter mentions:

Surely “throwing a bomb into this crowd would be more lethal” than setting one off on the subway, noted one skeptic

Exactly, everything’s fine!

This Teenage Government

Our venerable Prime Minister today released an announcement ostensibly about the 70th anniversary of D-Day and upcoming visit to Canada and the USA. It contained such D-Day references as:

The Government’s Economic Action Strategy to lower tax, cut red tape and encourage trade will improve the competitiveness of businesses so that we can build a stronger Australia.
We welcome investment and we are making investment more attractive by scrapping the carbon tax and the mining tax, cutting 50,000 pages of red tape and ending the “analysis paralysis” on major projects.
Our international partners can see that our Budget is again under control, we are tackling debt and deficits and we are serious about building a strong and prosperous economy.

I’m sure the diggers and others who thought they fought to save Europe from tyranny would be surprised to know it was actually to protect Tony’s mates from Carbon Taxes. That they later withdrew the statement should only add to the concern the teenagers have left another mess for the adults to clean up.

This Mess We’re In

After that selection of mind-numbing news, I have to leave it the magnificent Polly Jean Harvey to remind us how much it seems to change, but never really does:

And I have seen the sunrise over the river
The freeway reminding of this mess we’re in

Lullabies: Five Pints 14 3

Science

I know I can sleep happily now they’ve finally solved the Mpemba Effect. Mind you, I thought you put boiled water into the ice cube trays because you could be certain the water was safe. You can tell I’ve been to Mexico and am not a Scientist.


People

Back in February Reza Berati, an Asylum Seeker from Iran, was killed at one of Australia’s Concentration camps for Asylum Seekers and Refugees which are scattered around the pacific islands. It took more than 8 days for an autopsy to determine the cause of death to be held. This past week a report into the events around his death was released.

The Australian Minister for Concentration Camps is clear about where the blame for Mr. Berati’s death really lies;

“There would have been no incident that night had there been no protests, I think that’s clear to say…”

What Scott fails to tell us is that there would have no protests if him and his political ilk treated people with a little more respect and showed a little more compassion.


Music

One evening recently I found myself lullabying my young boy with The Smiths magnificent Asleep.

You’ll be delighted to know he did wake up and wasn’t on his own the next morning.


Language

The internet has been a terrible cure for my infrequent bouts of homesickness. What with Skype and now FaceTime providing an easy avenue to see and talk with friends and family from afar and Facebook, Twitter et al connecting you with what those same people and others are thinking (and Liking) on a daily basis, it’s a lot easier than it must have been back in the day.

To top it off, there’s the People’s Republic of Cork website to remind me of the lilting tones of my own home place. In this story from earlier this year they can help you dear reader say Oiche Maith to me without sounding like a Scot.

If Commander Hadfield could do it on the ISS, why can’t you?


Entertainment

Speaking of Cork, I’ll leave you this time with a lovely little piece about the best part of that fine county, East Cork. And how Padraig Reidy (and I) totes agree that celebrity couple Kimye have chosen the best place in the world to spend their honeymoon this week.

Why Anywhere Else indeed!?

It’s beyond time for an Internet Computer.

Steve Jobs wanted the original iMac to be an internet computer, that is without a built in Hard Drive. Jon Rubinstein said, in 1998, the network computer just didn’t work…there wasn’t enough bandwidth.

In many ways, and for most of our usage, that restriction is no longer the case.

Perhaps the iPad + iCloud is that vision come to light (or the Google Chromebook).

But what if you don’t want to use an iPad a Chromebook or have your data in iCloud or with Google? And what if you use multiple devices to access your information, and they aren’t all on the same platform?

Personally I’m over trying to keep up with all my data – local, on hard drives and in multiple cloud locations.

I thought Dropbox and related entitles might be the solution. But as with anything backward focused, they end up trying to replicate current experiences – i.e. Backup and Sync. Or like with Google Drive, iCloud and Microsoft One Drive, they buttress the backup/sync mistake by trying to lock you into their existing software and/or platforms.

I want a solution which I can be certain to be permanent (within reason). I want to be able to access all my data from any device. I want to be able to manage my data just as I would only desktop or laptop computer. And I want it not to be simply a backup or sync solution for my local content – in fact, If I want backups, I want to make them locally from the content in the cloud..

In short I want a personal hard drive which I can use from any platform anywhere. It’s beyond time for the Internet Computer.

Warriors: Five Pints 14 2

Technology

The New Scientist tells us about research into Social Networks which knows when censors delete online posts:

The system was able to spot, with 85 per cent accuracy, when censorship was taking place on a wide scale. Upon detecting the resulting change in network shape, the system could be programmed to send an alert to activists or protesters, say, to warn them that the authorities were tampering with their posts.

More of this sort of thing.


People

Christine Buckley, one of the first willing to speak out about institutional abuse in Ireland recently died.

As a teenager, she tried to smuggle a letter to newspapers exposing cruelty at the orphanage but she was found out.

Her punishment was a beating by a "sadistic" nun that left her needing 100 stitches in her leg.

Vale Christine Buckley, a great woman of Ireland.


The Media

In light of more recent stories, easily broken using data alone about Australia’s shameful concentration camp on Manus Island in PNG, Andrew Elder’s piece from January on the lack of journalistic initiative on Nauru is particularly damning:

Australia detained thousands of asylum-seekers on Nauru from 2001 to 2008, and again since 2012. It had been an Australian dependency for decades: politically that ended in 1968 but economically it has never not been the case. The country has a matrilineal social system. The most popular sport on the island is Australian Rules football. Why there wasn’t at least one, just one Australian reporter, stationed there during that time, is an indictment of the initiative of Australia’s media.


Football

I loved this intriguing dissection of Steven Gerrard by Ken Earlys :

Some of those Manchester United players were better than Gerrard in some aspects…None could match Gerrard’s all-around ability, his combination of skill, athleticism, and big-game impact. Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in football. Gerrard has scored 183 for club and country, more than Giggs (181), Scholes (169) or Beckham (146).

He’s the only player to score in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, and Champions League. He’s collected more individual Player of the Year awards than all of the Class of ’92 put together.

I’m unapologetically a Liverpool and Steven Gerrard fan, but I’d trade all those successes of his in just to see a League winners medal around his neck.

It’s time.


Entertainment

Recently the Ad hoc podcast geeked out on Blade Runner.

Yes, my first time was pan and scan on VHS too.

Highly recommended for some excellent insights, not just on the movie, but on Ridley Scott’s creative process and the technology of the time.

Five Pints 14 1

Music

"To call it Punk Rock is rather like describing Dostoevsky as a short-story writer"

A review of Television’s Marquee Moon by Nick Kent from the NME from 1977.

“…an album for everyone whatever their musical creeds and/or quirks…This music is passionate, full-blooded, dazzlingly well crafted, brilliantly conceived and totally accessible to anyone who has been yearning for a band with the vision to break on through into new dimensions of sonic overdrive and the sheer ability to back it up…"

One of my enduringly favourite pieces of music. Seeing them live last year was a joy and far exceeded the expectations one might have of a 70′s rock and roll band who might be on a superannuation tour.

Scients

In the Smithsonian Mag they give you Five Reasons Why You Should Probably Stop Using Antibacterial Soap. Apparently the US Food and Drug Administration claims antibacterial products are no more effective than soap and water, and could be dangerous.

evidence that children with prolonged exposure to triclosan have a higher chance of developing allergies, including peanut allergies and hay fever. Scientists speculate that this could be a result of reduced exposure to bacteria, which could be necessary for proper immune system functioning and development.

We use this stuff in our home, for the convenience as much as anything. Mind you if we decide to stop I wouldn’t miss the piles of it all over the sink from the litres used each time small children wash their hands.

Freedom of Information

Irish website The Story recently described how modernising legislation would Kill Freedom of Information in Ireland.

if passed, amendments to the FOI Bill 2013 proposed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (mean) Freedom of Information is dead.

TheStory.ie will, in all likelihood, cease all FOI requests. And we will not seek funding from the public to support an immoral, cynical, unjustified and probably illegal FOI fee regime. We will not pay for information that the public already pays for. We will not support a system that perpetuates an outrageous infringement of citizen rights. The legislation was gutted in 2003 and it is being gutted again. More generally the number of requests from journalists from all news organisations in Ireland will fall as a result of these amendments, and the resulting efforts to shine a light on the administration of the State will certainly deteriorate. And secrecy will prevail.

The more politicians and the establishment lock information down, the more it makes some people curious to find out why. And yet, the politicians never learn in their quest for the perfect bureaucracy.

Technology

In light of the news that Neil Young’s Pono Kickstarter is more than fully funded, here’s a recent piece questioning its point.

Most instruments do not output such frequencies, and almost no microphones, speakers or headphones work significantly above the normal human audio range either.

I love Neil Young, but despite the Kickstarter success, I think he’s wasting his time with his Happy Cow device.

Football

Sure I’m dyed the red of Kenny Dalglish’s shirt since the time I saw him score the winner in the European Cup Final to bring old big ears home for the second year running, but this great piece about the challenges in a relationship across the Liverpool Everton divide from the website associated with one of my favourite podcasts is The Anfield Wrap, is great stuff for any football fan.

Warning, Don’t read if you happen to be married to a Liverpool fan

…and support Everton.


PostScript: I share a lot of links on twitter, but as with much to do with that platform, most of them get lost in the stream. I’ve experimented, with some IFTTT related disasters, using tumblr as a clearing house for more easy access. Shamelessly inspired by the recent launch of 5at5daily by Stilgherrian, I’ve decided to resurrect Franksting’s Five Pints to try and pick the best of these links and publish them here for posterity.

Link

Unlike Rands, I’m not looking to get high.

This is a reminder not to let a digital world full of others’ moments deceive you into devaluing your own. Their moments are infinite – yours are finite and precious – and this New Year I’m wondering how much we want to create versus consume.

But what if Rands is wrong? I personally don’t put up 82 Facebook updates and 312 tweets to get high, but rather because that’s actually my downtime.

Perhaps to do more writing on this blog, which I didn’t often enough in 2013. I need to use the act of writing for relaxation just as I do when using twitter, watching a great movie or doing the washing up.

I’m not sure I’ll get a Builders High, but if it makes more more relaxed, that’ll do.

Link

In his 11 sure signs you’ve been hacked post, Roger Grimes writes

Most malicious hacking originates from one of three vectors: unpatched software, running Trojan horse programs, and responding to fake phishing emails. Do better at preventing these three things, and you’ll be less likely to have to rely on your antimalware software’s accuracy — and luck.

For at least two of the three vectors Grimes mentions, the long held belief is that awareness and endpoint security will help the customer offset the threat. But the opposite appears to be the case, the more protection software we give the user, the less likely they are to rely on their own wiles.

Is the challenge for the Security industry then to focus on certain less obvious to the customer prevention opportunities rather than the more lucrative and overt cure of endpoint anti-virus which has been so valuable to the industry for so long? It’s going to be hard to leave the money on the table, especially when so many have been conditioned to accept that anti-virus is to a computer as a saddle is to a horse.

The reward is likely to be a happier, more confident customer, and a refocus on where the puck is going to be rather than where it was last year.

Link

Can’t really add much to Danah Boyd’s logical argument:

Rather than trying to protect teens from all fears and risks that we can imagine, let’s instead imagine ways of integrating them constructively into public life. The key to doing so is not to create technologies that reinforce limitations but to provide teens and parents with the mechanisms and information needed to make healthy decisions.

Link

There’s also a subtle but noticeable color change in the blue bubbles, drawing attention away from them towards the new information coming onto the stage.

writes Khoi Vinh in his post about swiping from the right in iOS7 messages threads to get the time stamp.

While I love that time stamps are now available on demand – a bugbear in previous versions – the changes in the blue actually appear to indicate some form of context to help with focus.

The most recent message is always dark blue, but as you scroll back through the thread the incoming messages darken as they approach the centre of the screen.