Archive for January, 2008

…and someone from Adobe emailed me back.

January 31st, 2008

A while back I wrote about the adobe flash player EULA.

It was a while ago, so I wasn’t expecting a response anytime soon. I got one today:

Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Services.

Regarding your question about using Flash player with a Linux OS on a Tablet PC:

This is a legal restiction rather than a technical restriction. You are advised to abide by the terms of the EULA as stated below.

3.1 Web Player Prohibited Devices. You may not Use any Web Player on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system. For the avoidance of doubt, and by example only, you may not use a Web Player on any (a) mobile devices, set top boxes (STB), handhelds, phones, web pads, tablets and Tablet PCs that are not running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, game consoles, TVs, DVD players, media centers (excluding Windows XP Media Center Edition and its successors), electronic billboards or other digital signage, internet appliances or other internet-connected devices, PDAs, medical devices, ATMs, telematic devices, gaming machines, home automation systems, kiosks, remote control devices, or any other consumer electronics device, (b) operator-based mobile, cable, satellite, or television systems or (c) other closed system devices.

We are still investigating this issue and we may contact you if we need to communicate any further information.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours Sincerely,

If you take a look at the original post, I did not question as to why it wasn’t allowed; I questioned as to why they word the EULA to prohibit its usage. It may be a legal reason but until Adobe can provide a definitive reason (other than, it’s in the EULA) – then I won’t be satisfied.  The case continues…

Blu-ray vs HD-DVD… Game Over.

January 29th, 2008

Format wars… who needs them?

Not I.  I have an xbox360 – but should I get a HD-DVD drive for it?

I’m sure once one format reaches perceived critical mass then the support for the other will drop.  I’m going to be a little irresponsible as I’m not fully aware of the technical deficiencies/advantages of the one format over the other.. but I like the box on the blu-ray disc more than the HD-DVD – and as it seems to be the way the format war is going I’m going to lend my voice to the blu-ray camp.

It’s not that I’m at all informed on the issue – it’s that I believe it’s best to get the format out of the door as fast as possible and make it a dominant format.  We can then progress.

Please join me in supporting blu-ray to end the format war before anyone gets hurt :)

Torsion Physics & BA038

January 25th, 2008

*Disclaimer – this is a spoof article..

When I first started using the internet I came across a site called Despite being quite a reputable source for conspiracy theories, something always made me go back and look over the site. I used to check it regularly as it had some good photos of the mars explorer mission back in ’98 and some interesting takes on the millennium celebrations. Luckily the world hasn’t yet fallen into enemy hands (as predicted).

For some reason, unbeknown to me, I found myself back on the site this week. It’s changed from being a collection of articles to Richard C. Hoagland pushing as much merchandise as possible. Whereas before you could read a nice article – now you can only get a nice DVD. Progress. I scrolled down and found there was actually an article there I was able to read. This one. I’ll summarise to save you having to go there.

The article covers the anomalous sensors in the Shuttle Fuel Tanks. The big orange tanks contain supercooled hydrogen. There are four sensors in the bottom of the tank that tell the tank to detach when the fuel gets below a certain level, to prevent it blowing up whilst still attached to the rocket. NASA had noticed that regularly a sensor would fail – however, they’d also come back up randomly. Despite literally millions of dollars of engineering checks, the same anomalous results still occured when the supercooled fuel was in the tank.

Richard C. Hoagland cited some ancient maths know as torsion physics to explain the situation. Most of his work comes from applying ancient techniques. This one is from Soviet Experiments. At least the fundamentals have roots there anyway. However, this latest one is quite interesting. I quote:

“””There is a REAL fifth force — the so-called “torsion field.”

The theoretical foundation of this new science was laid out by Einstein and Cartan over eighty years ago. In the original theory, these fields were ‘static,’ meaning they could not move from point A to point B — only appearing as the basic ‘spin forces’ within the atom.

Other Relativity theoreticians later proposed the possible existence of dynamic torsion fields — meaning that these ‘spin forces’ can propagate through space, creating “action at a distance” effects.

Soviet laboratory experiments in the 1950s, conducted by the pioneering scientist Dr. Nikolai Kozyrev, found irrefutable proof of these ‘dynamic torsion fields’ in action.

Kozyrev, and others after him, found that the “torsion field” can indeed affect electrical phenomena under certain circumstances. Electrical resistors can experience substantial changes in how conductive they are, especially when made of denser metals such as tungsten. Quartz crystal oscillators can have notable changes in their vibrational frequency. Photocells demonstrate measurable discrepancies in how much ‘work’ they can perform.

Electrical anomalies are a classic sign of torsion-field interference, as can be routinely seen in the well over 10,000 published scientific papers on the subject. This appears to be due to a unique coupling of electromagnetic energy and torsion fields — hidden away in Sir Edmund Whittaker’s original 200-plus “scalar potentials” before Heaviside eviscerated them down to the four we now use.

Given this scientific background, when we see disruptions in the electrical currents flowing through a platinum-based “ECO sensor,” buried at the bottom of a tank filled with super-cold liquid hydrogen, we have to expand our investigation.

Here’s the critical point: the shuttle’s almost equally-cold liquid OXYGEN tank “ECO sensors” have been TOTALLY UNAFFECTED by “whatever” this recurring problem is!

This indicates that it may be, in fact, some type of “torsion phenomenon” — uniquely associated with “ultra-cold, liquid HYDROGEN.”

Super-cooled hydrogen is already known to mysteriously crawl up the sides of a test-tube in a laboratory. This may be another anomaly explained by torsion-field activity. The utterly simplistic structure of the hydrogen atom, with just one “proton” and one “electron” — plus the lack of molecular vibration (temperature) in a super-cooled environment — may present the perfect antenna or conduit for torsion fields to move through.”””

Now surely if the Air Engineers can’t work out which sensors caused the engine thrust to fail – and there’s no proof.. it could be torsion physics to blame..

The thing that caught my attention was in a BBC article entitled “The Mystery of Flight BA0318” where the journalist notes:

“But they will also be examining the fuel. It might have been contaminated. Or fuel ‘waxing’ may have occurred. This results from partial freezing, and pilots say the outside air temperature at some altitudes en route to the UK was down to minus 70 degrees that day – some of the coldest readings they could remember.”

Fascinating stuff I think you’ll agree. It could just be a coincidence.

Xfce Tip

January 24th, 2008

I got dead annoyed with backspace not working in screen in xfce.. this guy has the solution.

Simply Freedom

January 24th, 2008

It worries me that people are so keen to take away the civil liberties of others without really examining the consequences of their actions.

An article on the BBC news website recently told the news of how a Goth couple were ousted from a Bus as the boyfriend had the girlfriend by a lead and collar.  They argued that it was against health and safety rules on the bus; were there to be a crash someone could be strangled.

Now whilst I am not for/against the Goth lifestyle – it’s not something that I’d personally get into.  However, just because it’s seen as a bit ‘strange’ or ‘weird’ to the majority of us does not mean we should prevent it.

People need to be free to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.  It’s when the chance of the mistake is so high it’s almost predictable that we need to take action.  There was probably very little chance of the bus crashing.  Will I soon not be allowed to travel on a bus if I’m wearing flat soled shoes in wet weather as there is a greater chance of me falling over in a crash than the man next to me wearing Doc Martens.

Let’s not curb civil liberty.. let’s just learn some respect. (That may also include the Goths agreeing to let go of each others leads whilst on public transport in case of accidental strangulation).


Music Mirror

January 21st, 2008

I have a nice Music Library of all my CDs encoded in the *.flac format.  I like it, so I don’t want to get rid of it.

However, Mr. iPod doesn’t like it – so I want to keep a mirror of my Music Library in the *.mp3 file format.

I’m not much cop at bash scripting.. but here’s a shell of what I’ve got so far. (

##Andy Loughran
##Mirror .flac library to mp3

for i in ~/Music/*/*.flac;
do lame -b 192 “$i”;
mkdir ~/mp3Music/”$(pwd)”/;
mv *.mp3 ~/mp3Music/”$(pwd)”;

It doesn’t work yet – but that’s my immediate comprehension of the sort of thing I’d like.

I would quite like it to rsync the library – so only encode the new files.. I guess this could be done by getting a list of all the files in each directory and just diffing the two to get the new files.. but there’s bound to be a better way.

Therefore some questions -

Should I be using bash-scripting to do this.. is it an efficient use of resources, and if so can anyone provide me with a way that works..?

Is there a utility that already does this?

Quick Test [Answer]

January 20th, 2008

DG (David Goodwin) from the SBLUG planet wins.  Not a single line of code is used as they consider software “too unstable.”  Instead they use relays to control the whole operation.

I was surprised.

Quick Test

January 19th, 2008

How many lines of code help run & control a Nuclear Reactor Core in UK Nuclear Power Stations?

Answer in the comments – answer revealed when someone guesses correctly :)

Facebook [New Feature] Extended Profiles

January 18th, 2008

Fantastic, it’s about time – and Facebook have actually done something right.

For those of us that joined when facebook was a plain, uniform and elitist social network the onset of multiple applications asking for us to be Zombies, Vampires or pet a ‘Fluffy Friend’ was ridiculous.  However, there are some applications that people want to have on their profile – but don’t necessarily want to push their friends’ noses in it.  Well facebook have come up with a simple solution.

The ‘extended profile’ is somewhere where users can place the ‘profile real-estate eating’ applications.  It’s also a good way to have applications added that you don’t need other people to see.  So what if I play Scrabulous or Jetman – they’re now hidden away nicely.  If people want to look they can, but now they’ll be greeted with a nice page.

The next stage is to make sure some applications may only appear on the extended page.  SuperWall, FunWall and PornoWall – your time is up.

Facebook, well done at ‘regress to progress’ – not many organisations would have the balls.

Sun buys MySQL to go “mission-critical”

January 16th, 2008

I just logged onto the register and noted that they had a link to a conference call to discuss Sun’s acquisition of MySQL.  I didn’t get into the call straight away – so missed the beginning and a few names – but this is what I made of it.

The CEO of MySQL, Martin Mikos put forward the view that the acquisiton would help MySQL to provide better service.  Having recently increased their enterprise and telco deployments since MySQL 5 two years ago, they now have a global support system behind them in that of Sun Microsystems.

He also alluded to the LAMP stack.  Sun are a big Open Source company, and can help optimise MySQL for more and more platforms.  In the Q&A session, he also made a point that “Linux is by far the most popular platform, but in terms of downloads we have a high number of windows platform too”.  OpenSolaris is lagging third on the list, but ahead of OSX and other platforms.

The move is also to help better serve existing customers, but also to attract more companies making the transition to SaaS.  Marten noted that MySQL was the only database to be designed from the beginning for online/networked use.  All the others were designed primarily as back office systems – therefore MySQL has the momentum and the current roadmap to continue increasing their market share.

The Head of Software at Sun, Rich Green said he was “very excited” about this new tie-up.  Not only is MySQL a massive player in the open source world, but that both companies had a fantastic internal and external ‘synergy.’  They have an alignment of culture and business models that he stressed was massively important in a merger of this size.

The acquisition of MySQL is also perfectly aligned with Sun’s continued development of GlassFish, OOo, Java and OpenSolaris.  The ability to instantly provide security of worldwide support and services organisation was another factor linked in to the value of this deal.  He said to “not think of it as investing $1 billion in a company, but “putting $1 billion behind the ‘M’ in the LAMP stack.”  Investing in that, and working closely with other companies and communities to further develop the LAMP stack.

The other main driver is the ‘mission-critical’ applications.  Sun have had a team of ‘hundreds’ of developers working to optimise systems for Oracle and the like. They will now be able to use this expertise to leverage the power of MySQL and evolve it into a mission-critical database.

However, being one of the early backers of PostgreSQL – Rich Green stated that the relationship should continue to thrive.  That the $1 billion was money towards web-database development rather than MySQL specifically – and that they’d look to integrate communication and develop the two communities.  Having expertise in both, Sun have much of the market covered.  He also noted that the pure JAVA javaDB will also continue to be developed.

Kate, from Morgan Stanley asked whether MySQL would be a standalone business within Sun, or whether Sun would integrate it across the whole business.

The reponse was that MySQL isn’t just a database.  The services surrounding it lend themselves to both hardware (storage) and software (services).  MySQL is a central piece in the development of SaaS.  It will enable Sun to “stand as broadly as the internet reaches.”  It will enable Sun to both Cross-sell and up-sell too.

Also in terms of the future of MySQL – Marten commented that from a historical perspective, MySQL started frugally in 90s and has grown into an enterprise-ready DB by version 5.  One of the beautiful things about this tie-up is that the road-map for MySQL will stay intact – the only difference being that he could see the speed at which that road-map is completed being increased.

The final question of the call was related to the peace of mind of the customers and developers.  One of the great values that MySQL bring to Sun is the channel of partners.  Sun stated that they would grow these relationships rather than go it alone.  They’ll work with emerging and innovative open source companies, as well as IBM, HP, SAP and the other ‘software giants’. The key to the future will be collaboration and systems integration and the 1000 partners in our network will have more power in what they’re doing and access to more markets and value-added technology.

I hope you enjoyed this short summary.