Tuesday, 30 December 2008

After Christmas censoring...

Firstly, I'd like to wish everyone a happy and safe festive period, regardless of what you believe in.

Now, I have not heard very much in the media recently about the good Senator Conroy's plans of censoring the internet. This may mean a few things:
  • The government has given up on their inefficent plans to censor the internet (unlikely - sometimes you just cannot stop stupidity)
  • The lack of interest and support in the cleanfeed scheme has silenced the government into rethinking their strategy (possibility).
  • There is far more interesting things in the news to report on - and most people interested in this topic are away on leave (possibility).
I have some hope that the Australian public have stood up against this scheme. It was also heartening to see parents (which have been used as the main reason to bring in this scheme) stand up and protest this scheme. If they're not interested in this solution, then the government should really look at what they're trying to do, and possibly drop it. Will report on more when I find out more...

All the best to everyone for a prosperous 2009!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Down in Melbourne for Xmas break

I was down in Melbourne for the Christmas break that most of Australia takes. I'm not a big believer in Christmas, as any meaning behind it appears to have been diluted by the commercial side of marketing and selling of goods and services around this time of year.

So, Christmas day was a nice long drive down from Canberra to Melbourne. Not much traffic on the road, but there were a few speeders. Luckily, they were apprehended by police, which means the police were busy doing what they do. Does anyone else have the belief that in rural areas, if you see a police car pull over a vehicle (for one reason or another), that there will not be another police vehicle for a 5km radius? Maybe it's just me...

I caught up with Jarvo on the 26th after visiting some Boxing Day sales. I think it gets worse every year. The stores are much busier, and this goes back to me thinking of the commercial aspect of this time of year. People buy gifts for the 25th, and then go out and spend again on the 26th. Why not take notes from the Greek Orthodox faith, and celebrate Christmas on the 5th of January (or so), and therefore take advantage of any Boxing Day sales?

27th was lunch at Grizzly's, followed by watching the Melbourne Victory come back from 2 goals down after 5 minutes to eventually winning the game 3-2. Jarvo came along with me, and it was his first time he had seen A-League live. It really is like the slogan suggest - "90 Minutes, 90 Emotions". His friends were initially "giving me grief" over the lack of defence that Melbourne showed in the first 5 minutes, but left happy with the result that the Victory turned the results around into a win.


28th was having breakfast with Jay, and then jumping in the car and driving back to Canberra. We are planning on heading up to Sydney for New Year's Eve with pappaD. Should be a good time...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Australia is being taken over by wowsers!

With the apparent news that the cleanfeed filter may have been delivered a large knock-back from Telstra, I have never felt so much respect for Australia's largest telecommunications company. I have always been weary of Telstra. Back in the early 1990s, when they were the only choice for telecommunications in Australia, I was unimpressed at their service. I remember once I called up asking for my home phone (at my parents house) to be changed from pulse dialing to tone dialing, and it took a fortnight to complete. These days, phones are all tone dialing, so this is no longer an issue.

On the other side of service (at the time), my father engaged Optus for a second line in the house. Optus were on site 2 days later to install the line - even though I suspect it was a re-sold Telstra line. With choice, came a better level of service. I have been a long time Optus customer. I have always had a mobile phone with Optus, and have chosen Optus for the majority of my ISP services. This may change. Well done to Telstra. Optus's stand on the cleanfeed Internet filter is that they will trial it in small doses, and allow customers to opt-out of it. I would have preferred for them to just opt-out of supporting the government's solution altogether.

I am now appalled to read of another news item. An Australian judge has ruled that naked cartoon characters constitute as child pornography. Seriously! His argument is that this type of imagery is going to fuel the need in people to see the real thing. How is this supposedly sensible person's perception of reality warped so much? I've approached this decision with an open mind. What are the child protection laws supposed to protect? From my reasoning, we have anti-child pornography laws to protect children from being exploited in an industry that they have no understanding of, and to protect both physical and mental well-being of those children who may not be able to make the correct and informed decisions that leads them into those situations. In the making of a cartoon (which I will admit is somewhat tasteless), no one was harmed. I fully support these laws, and anyone who wants to support this through exchange or manufacture of this product should be persecuted by the law. The judge has now made a decision (at least in New South Wales) that suggests that the common person that sees something in cartoon form will want to see it in real life form. This leads me to think, maybe I need to exploit the possibly huge untapped market of giving a shotgun to a rabbit, and getting him to team up with a duck, and shoot a short balding man - and then filming it all. May sound crazy, but the judge that made the ruling thinks there may be a link.

Who put wowsers in charge?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Senator Conroy has responded

A few weeks ago, I wrote an email to the good Senator Conroy with my opposition to his draconian, inefficient, and generally poor idea to spend Australian tax payers money on an internet filter that will surround the whole of Australia. Finally, I have had a response from him, or his office:
Thank you for your correspondence and your interest in internet service provider (ISP) filtering.

Attached is information from the Minister on this matter. In addition, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has prepared material on a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding ISP filtering. This list is available on the Department’s website at www.dbcde.gov.au/cybersafetyplan

These FAQs will be updated regularly to provide you with the most up to date information on ISP filtering issues.

We hope this information is of assistance.

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy

Is it too much for some of these elected officials, and their staff to read what I actually sent them? Essentially I've written a letter of complaint, and they have responded with an email of what they going to offer. It's almost like if they say it as loud and as many times as possible, it will silence any on opposing it, and it will just get implemented.

I guess I have to consider myself lucky that the response did not label me a paedophile, or a supporter of child pornography!

Do we really want elected officials that do NOT listen to what the people ask them? I doubt the good Senator Conroy even has a good understanding of the internet (according to an article on apcmag.com). Do something about it!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

New Gentoo kernel, compiled and running - and the blog photo game

A new kernel for my Gentoo PC was downloaded last night. Being a minor revision of the previous kernel (being 2.6.26-gentoo-r3), only a small amount of patches was required to be downloaded, instead of the entire kernel. Compiling took around 20 minutes, and here is the result:

evilric@lasek ~ $ uname -a
Linux lasek 2.6.26-gentoo-r4 #1 SMP PREEMPT Mon Dec 8 22:50:16 EST 2008 i686 Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

Jarvo is also using Gentoo on one of his PCs. We went through 2 weeks of attempting to tweak his kernel, only to find it was nothing to do with his kernel, but it was a "stuff up" on my behalf by putting the wrong initrd settings in his grub.conf. At least we have one booting kernel now.

On another note, links to Jarvo's site have been temporarily stopped. No doubt he will start working on another site soon... maybe... This may also mean that blog photo game may be put into hibernation, as this was a game that Jarvo thought of, I played, NutMeg won once, and then has been left dormant. I'll post when I know more.

Monday, 8 December 2008

New wireless modem service - iBurst to Optus

I've been using wireless internet for the past year. The place where I am staying does not allow me to drill holes in the wall to install cable (which is my preference of internet). I was with iBurst, but they have announced that they will be ceasing their operations on 19.12.2008, so I had to look around for another provider. Optus recently had some interesting deals, so I have signed up with them. Optus provide a modem (InZone - Wireless Gateway - Huawei E960) which allows me to connect my Linux PCs directly into it using Ethernet. Not much to configure, works straight of out of the box. My intention is to connect my firewall / router to the modem, and then my PCs to the router. I will document this in greater details with images, but I also ran a quick speed test. Here are the results:

Test run on 07/12/2008 @ 09:46 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 34.33 secs

Your line speed is 714 kbps (0.71 Mbps).
Your download speed is 89 KB/s (0.09 MB/s).

Test run on 07/12/2008 @ 09:49 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 26.69 secs

Your line speed is 918 kbps (0.92 Mbps).
Your download speed is 115 KB/s (0.11 MB/s).

I hope the Optus speeds improve. They're not as fast as iBurst.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Who wants the cleanfeed filter? Raise your hand!

Seriously, who wants this filter in Australia? After reading "Cash floods in for anti-censorship protests" (on www.theage.com.au), the good Senator Conroy has been reported as stating in senate question time that the previous filtering scheme from the Howard Government, known as NetAlert, was to be shut-down due to "extraordinarily small usage".

If that is the case, and I do remember that the campaign was advertised on both television and in a letter drop, it suggests that not many people were interested in censoring material on the internet. Anyone that is interested has since installed the software on their PC, and have not affected the speed, performance, or the content of the internet for the rest of Australia. The article also suggests that this type of filtering is also better, as it allows for fine tune filtering to occur by the custodians of the PC. This leads me to ask:

Please good Senator Conroy, tell me why you want to go through with implementing your cleanfeed internet filter when it appears that only a very small minority of people want it? Are you not elected by the people, to help the people?

There's a few links on my previous post for you to look at if you're interested in campaigning against this type of draconian censorship. Also have a look at:

And as of this post, I am still waiting for a reply from the good Senator Conroy from the email I sent him. I wonder why he hasn't responded to me...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Framework for cleanfeed filtering

According to "Analysis of the Government’s technical testing framework for the upcoming censorship pilot" (from banthisurl.com), the black list will be comprised of an initial list, as well as a supplementary list made from complaints. Does anyone see anything wrong with this?

Complaints are based on opinions. So therefore, wouldn't it be correct to assume that the final blacklist is made up of what people have subjectively classified as offensive? If the people complaining so quickly are offended, why don't they just go and surf to the Disney website. I'm sure they won't complain there - unless they find it offensive that Donald Duck does not wear pants. I'm sure they can be adult enough to leave the offensive material, and "choose" to go somewhere else.

I've also recently received the same email a few times from different sources. There appears to be an on-line petition to gather people's names and lodge them forward. I don't know the effectiveness of these petitions, but here is the email:
Did you know the Government is proposing an internet censorship scheme that goes further than any other democracy in the world?

I've just signed a petition to prevent the scheme that will make the internet up to 87% slower, more expensive, accidentally block up to one in 12 legitimate sites, will miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and is very easily sidestepped. The government of the day may add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist under the scheme.

Our Government should be doing all in its power to take Australia into the 21st century economy, and to protect our children. This proposed internet censorship does neither. Can you join me and take action on the net today to save the net?

Do something (useful) now! Don't let the government please a small majority of "wowsers", and rob the rest of Australia of their freedom to information.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Does anyone want the cleanfeed filter?

I am still waiting on the good Senator Conroy, or at least one of his representatives, to respond to my email that I sent to him asking him to not implement the cleanfeed internet filter around Australia.

Interestingly enough, now children's welfare groups are voicing their opinion against the cleanfeed internet filter. Who are you trying to protect, good Senator Conroy? Maybe you just want to be able to censor what the Australian public are able to access on the internet, for your own personal gains. Parents don't seem to be too concerned either, as there was less than a 10% uptake of the previous filtering software provided by the Howard government. Stop wasting my tax dollars!

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