I went to see the new Bond film, Die Another Day, this evening. It's a fantastically silly film. A must for any lover of big explosions, cool gadgets or beautiful women. I'm not going to review this film here (I need to do that for TBD later on), but I heartily recommend it.
Sunday, November 24, 2002
Saturday, November 23, 2002
I'm still really angry at the government's plan to introduce student top-up fees of up to £10,500 a year in Britain. As a recent graduate myself, I still understand the fear of debt that our leaders appear to have forgotten. They say that we should look upon our education as an investment, like a mortgage. Well, there's no way in hell that I would want to come out of university owing up to £42,000 (for a four year course, as mine was). I just wouldn't have done it. And what happens when you leave? Do they really think that graduates could afford to pay off a student loan and a mortgage at the same time? Students are already living in poverty and coming out of university having debts of up to £10,000 and these proposals can only make it worse. I was lucky, I was in the last year to get a grant, and my parents were able to support me through university. Not everyone can afford that.
And beyond that, the pressure to get a good job and pay back the loans seems to lead to focus on more practical courses, such as engineering and science. What about the soft sciences and the arts? Sure, we all joke about Arts students, but we need philosophers and artists in our society as much as we need engineers and scientists. And what about the ideal of doing a course for the sheer joy in learning? Is all that to be lost in this focus on money?
I accept that during my time in university, I was a burden on the taxpayer, and I'm happy to repay that in my own taxes. I'd accept a graduate tax as the least worst option available to us now, but top-up fees seem utterly wrong to me. At least it's heartening that there are some ministers in government who agree with me.
Hurrah for the weekend! I've finally fixed the problem with WhatsUp?, as well as many more including some polish bugs and some nasty showstoppers. I've got another meeting with someone from the Careers Service on Monday to discuss their using it for their own uses which would be quite funky since it would be the first time that my software has been used outside the department.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
There's another good article on the woes of the DMCA by Adam Engst (big dude in the Apple world) on TidBits. And with the implementation of the EUCD the UK will be moving very much in the same direction.
There's quite an interesting thread on the CDR mailing list at the moment. Okay, so it's a bit silly (all right, it's very silly), but the way that the law is worded at the moment, dancing to music actually breaks copyright laws!
I've just been to see a fantastic local band called Pariah who were absolutely amazing. They were so good that I bought their record, despite not owning a record player! Stevie should be able to MP3-ify the record, but I wouldn't have felt right if I hadn't actually bought it. Heck, it was only £2, and it was supporting a local band who were really very good.
As I said a while ago, I really need to see more live bands, and there seems to be some cracking stuff coming up over the next few months. From Reindeer section through Pariah (again!) to Sigur Rós, so I'll definitely be along to some of those.
Sunday, November 17, 2002
There was an interesting article by Miriam Rainsford on DRM on the CDR mailing list the other day. It makes a strong case against copy prevention and DRM.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Monday, November 11, 2002
I've just discovered the wonderful Baen Free Library which publishes science fiction and fantasy novels for free on the web. The "First Librarian", Eric Flint, has written a wonderful explanation of why he's doing this on the homepage and it makes for heartening reading in a time of ever-tightening copyright and DRM. Read the books online and then go and buy them when you get tired of looking at a screen. I'm certainly planning on doing so!
Sunday, November 10, 2002
So it comes to this: if you buy a CD which is "copy-protected", and it doesn't play in your computer disc drive, or won't download to your MP3 player, your only remedy will be to send a letter of complaint to the Secretary of State. See this Register article for more details.
Saturday, November 09, 2002
I hadn't realised just how limited the right to private copying or time-shifting is in the UK. See this CDR FAQ for more details.
Thursday, November 07, 2002
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Saturday, November 02, 2002
I'm heading home for Diwali tomorrow (or later today, to be picky). It'll be nice to see my family again. Chatting on the phone just isn't the same, really. I don't think that I've been back for Diwali since I've been in Glasgow, so this will be my first family Diwali in about five years. This is more to do with my mum wanting my sister and me to come home for a bit than any religious convictions, which even my parents now seem to acknowledge that I don't have any more (if I ever did).