chubb, lock, security
As Bob Dylan once said (or sang, rather-but I'm sure he said it as well): the times they are a-changin'.

It is a truly said day in the British lock trade industry, and I feel that as such it is a sign of the times we live in. Some of you may have already heard, but in case you haven't, here we are: it will soon be impossible to buy a Chubb padlock on British high streets.

That's right, as published in a newspaper yesterday, the iconic anti-burglar locks that were originally made in Winchester and later in Wolverhampton will now be used exclusively in Prisons.

It is not yet clear whether or not there will be a rise in crime resulting from people who simply can't live without the household name Chubb.

Note about upcoming posts

Some of the following posts are being made as part of a project between myself and an illustration student from Brighton University. No copyright laws are being broken, and the illustrations are the artist's interpretation of the news stories about which the blogs are being written.


The death of Myspace?

myspace, facebook, google wave
facebook, myspace, google wavefacebook, myspace, google wave

Another cheery post revolving around death then as it's been revealed that Facebook are in talks with Murdoch's Myspace website about absorbing their content. Should Myspace be absorbed into the global social network Facebook, then this day will surely be marked as that of Myspace's demise.

The metaphorical skin of Myspace's teeth does seem to be holding if only for a short while longer though, as last-ditch plans to turn it's focus and content entirely on music continue.

Facebook users out number Myspace users threefold, and the future does look bleak indeed for those die-hard 'emo' Myspace users. Their accounts would eventually be redundant, and Facebook account details will be used to log on to the music-focused website.

This corporate take-down has been a long and drawn out struggle-Myspace has long been in a stranglehold by big daddy Facebook for months. It was always simply a matter of time before Facebook killed Myspace however. (or absorbed it's content) Truly a gritty fight to the end, the underdog Myspace which once was king now looks like it is dead in the water. This nasty affair will be made to seem like a picnic party compared to what's going to happen to Facebook when Google Wave goes public though, believe me.

Rest in FB

RIP, tombstone
Mark Zuckerberg and co. have announced that the profiles of dead people can now be 'memorialized' on the moderately popular website Facebook.

The touching sentiment of being 'memorialized' forever in your favourite social networking site is truly sickening. Why would anyone want to be left imprisoned within the confines of Facebook's newsfeed after death. It would be like Limbo only worse, with constant invitations to use pointless time-wasting applications or rate and compare people in a wholly shallow and materialistic way.

And don't worry, because no-one will ever be able to 'memorialize' someone who isn't actually dead-Zuckerberg and the team are just one step ahead of those pesky internet pranksters. Stringent security has been laid out around the process of declaring someone dead on facebook. Users wanting to 'memorialize' a dead loved ones page have to email facebook with the deceased's (ex)email address along with a news story about their death (or-not and-or an obituary entry) I'm sure no one will ever manage to beat that system.

I'd just like to put it out there now just in case I do die anytime soon...I do not do not want to have my profile 'memorialized' on Facebook. If anything, that would just be an excuse for people not to visit your place of rest.

"such a tragedy....did you go to the funeral?"
"Nah, poked his memorial page though"

Wii fit given NHS change for life logo

wii fit, balance board, fitThe new Wii-fit plus will proudly and shamelessly be branded with the NHS's Change For Life logo-the one that looks like the little morph guys from art attack a couple of years back.

I know as a nation we are overweight- I read somewhere that the fattest man in the world lives in Ipswich or something. But government backing of a specific section of the gaming industry is in my opinion totally unfair. People know that the Wii fit is an active game and that it can encourage weight loss, and I don't think the NHS logo will change whether or not someone will buy it.

I think that in actual fact this is less about the NHS attaching their name to the product as an attempt to boost Nintendo sales (would this correlate vaguely with a downturn in obesity? unlikely) and more about the NHS trying to get a bit of a re-branding by taking a ride on the Nintendo's young person's train.


Evolution of the internet

The protocol TCP was first accepted as a global standard on the first of January 1983, meaning that the Internet is 26 years and 291 days old. Still in the prime of it's life and really only just showing us what it can do, the internet still has some way to go. With internet usage changing as regularly as the technology providing access to the internet, it's hard to imagine where the hot-spots on the internet will be next. Not so long ago many people couldn't live without myspace and the relentless bulletin posting and page view counting, and then everyone's parents and aunts found a use for the internet...Friends reunited! Today it's all about Facebook poking, twitting and Googling for answers. So what's next for the internet, where is it heading?

Comparisons have been made between the developing net and a baby's brain- some say that they develop in almost identical ways. So is the net the next stage of evolution then? The sum collective of our knowledge as a species? Of course not, it is simply a large collection of text and hyperlinks with a few pictures and videos thrown in for good measure-there's no actual thought process going on here-at least not yet. The next stage of the world-wide-web is web 3.0, and involved in this stage is semantic web. The concept of semantic web has been developed by the inventor of the internet Tim Berners-Lee. In brief, semantic web is an internet which can be understood by computers as well as humans. Presently the internet is a group of pages designed to be read by humans, meaning that search processes can be drawn out, and often you end up looking at pages completely irrelevant to what you were looking for. The following is a quote from Tim Berners-Lee in 1999, describing the concept.

"I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The intelligent agents people have touted for ages will finally materialize."

Recently though there have been hints that we are getting very close to semantic web. Google's highly anticipated take on social networking 'Google Wave' is in beta testing now, and should go live early on in 2010. Wave features a content-based spell checker-one which knows in which circumstances to use there/their/they're, and that also knows the sentence 'I'm going to go on the rollercoaster at the fair' needs amending.

The velocity of technological advances is increasing, and it seems a little worrying that computers are now being taught grammatical rules and how to understand the content of the internet.



Satellites usually orbit at around 22,000 miles from the surface of the Earth. At this height they appear at a fixed point, and so coverage is consistent meaning that switching between satellites isn't needed.

This optimal placement for a satellite is referred to as the 'Geostationary orbit' , and it is getting rather crowded. There are currently more than 200 satellites in a Geostationary orbit which don't work-these are called 'dead' satellites- and this figure is likely to reach the one thousand mark in around ten years.

The most obvious solution to this problem is to start building satellites which can re-fueled so that new ones aren't needed (if you disregard technological developments and potential improvements and upgrades). In fact in 2007 the US managed to refuel one of their satellites which was designed for that purpose.

German scientists are on the brink of going one step further however, and are currently developing robots capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -170C (-274F) and high as 200C (392F).

These robots can be used to refuel satellites, or, in typical human-race signature fashion, boot them out past the Geostationary orbit and off into the vastness of space for someone else to deal with.

Reckoning day

Directed, produced and edited by Julian Gilbey, Reckoning Day was released on the 11th of September this year.

Fans of British gangland cinema will remember Rise of the Foot soldier, also directed by Gilbey-and if you liked that then let me assure you.....you won't like this.

With gritty scenes of relentless violence the film is a slap in the face for those not desensitized to needless gore-within the first few minutes of the film several people are shot in the face, some at point blank range. I am not particularly affected by violence, but I do find this level of violence accompanied with the cheesy one liners more irritating than shocking in the way I'm sure it was meant to be.

The opening scene shows scrolling blood coloured text over a gritty black and white backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The brief textual introduction sets the feature up to be a cat-and-mouse type thriller and while there are chase-like themes underlying this film, these seem not to be between the characters and rather between the viewer and the storyline which is tediously hard to keep up with.

The cinematography throughout the film is nothing short of awful, and it seems as though the camera crew had only just discovered the zoom upon shooting, and decided to overuse it completely. Dizzying pans coupled with confusing angles disregarding the 180 degree rule leave you feeling entirely disorientated during the shootout scenes (which embody probably around 80% of the film).

The lead protagonist Echo Delta (or Ed as the script writers kindly shortened it to for those of us who had a little too-much on to remember a name over one syllable) is a greasy American surveillance operator who is frankly annoying. This badly acted role is the acting debut of Roman Karpynec and hopefully it will also be his last.

The script is shoddy and not thought out at all-one minute Echo Delta knows nothing of the drug 'Unseen Force' or it's effects, and literally 5-10 seconds later in the same conversation he is lecturing another character on the socioeconomic effects of the drug in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The overall quality of the script writing is summarised accurately by the bra-less nipple showing woman in the film who says to the villain "That sounds so rehearsed Charlie" when he says "never sell what you can't take back" after killing about 200 people for two syringes of the super drug.

A film using grainy picture quality to make it gritty is fine, but this film is shot in near static like conditions, and any hope that you will only have to endure this eye-straining experience fades with the opening scene as the strap line informs that this is no longer a flashback.

The flimsy back story which attempts to carry the violence vaguely mentions in passing something about a fictional drug with is X times strong than PCP or something. The writers were modest enough to name this drug after their production company 'Unseen force'-something which with any luck this film will remain.

Watch or Not? : Not


Another great move from NASA

moon, water, ice, lunar, NASA
The discovery of ice beneath the surface of the moon would be an amazing discovery. Not only because it means that a lunar base could be achieved far sooner at a much lower cost (no need to send constant shuttles up full of water) but also in terms of looking at the history of the moon-was it really formed after Earth collided with a Mars-sized object? And what causes the regular moon-quakes?

Water on the Moon would ultimately mean a near-unlimited supply of rocket fuel for the lunar base as well. (Rockets are Hydrogen powered, and the H from H2O can be separated off from the O also conveniently supplying Oxygen for the base) It could be turned into a petrol station from which spacecraft could shoot off in different directions building other space-stations which would act as other refueling stations.

So obviously the discovery of moon ice is important, but surely there has to be a better way about it than slamming two space shuttles worth around £49,000,000 into it at twice the speed of a bullet. I mean, I'm not an astronomer, so please if you're reading this and you know more about it than me, or even if you could tell me why we couldn't simply land something there and maybe send a drill probe down below the surface, then please please comment this and tell me. (Even if they have no way of getting the technology back from the moon, at least without the impact it would be salvageable once we get back there.)

According to NASA, the second shuttle was to examine the plume of dust created by the impact of the first one. Disappointingly however, there was in fact no dust plume whatsoever in the images sent back from the second shuttle. So was it a failure? Apparently not. NASA say that the fresh data they could get from the remains of the shuttles would be far better than anything that could have been sent back electronically. So all they have to do is nuke the far side of the moon hard enough to send the charred remains sitting on the near side of the moon hurtling back towards us. Gun-ho America!!

As an afterthought, I though it would be interesting (and maybe relevant) to add that our good old friend Obama has ordered a massive review of all NASA equipment and missions, which will undoubtedly delay any upcoming plans for the space agency. At least the new president acknowledges NASA exists..I heard that a certain cowboy ex-president didn't have a scientific adviser for an entire term.


New ring detected around Saturn

Saturn, Iapetus, global warming

Scientists have today announced that they have discovered a massive ring around Saturn. It's thought that the ring is made up of dust and debris from a moon called Iapetus, which orbits 3,500,000 km from Saturn. Iapetus' two-tone shading has been a mystery until now, with light impacts seemingly explaining both the origin of the ring and the colour of the moon.

The ring itself is big enough to fit the Earth inside it 1,000,000,000 (one billion) times, and has been forming over millions of years.

Such a discovery is heartening to see- we are still learning about our own solar system, despite being able to see colossal events occurring trillions of miles away. As a species we are creating knowledge from the matter around us and generating increasingly more accurate models of the way the Universe works. Certainly more focus needs to be put on Science and astronomy, and less on becoming more of a green planet and cutting carbon emissions.

In fact, cutting Carbon emissions is an entirely pointless waste of time. If global warming projections are accurate then it was already too late to save the planet by cutting emissions in the 70s and 80s, let alone three or four decades after that. Instead of investing millions of pounds into ridiculous propaganda like 'Earth day' and 'the great switch off' maybe some more money should be poured into fringe research into cooling the core of the Earth, deflecting the Sun's heat through mirrors in space or adapting to live at warmer temperatures. These sound like ideas from the sci-fi world but realistically it's our only option. Or possibly dark matter generated from the LHC when (if) it gets up and running again.


Free money!

phishing, hacking, identity theft
A list of email addresses with corresponding passwords has been posted on the blogging website Neowin.

The list is part of a phishing scheme, an internet-based system which leads victims to copy-cat sites in order to obtain their passwords for internet bank-accounts and email accounts. As well as the obvious danger in an internet hacker accessing your bank account remotely there are other more wide-spread threats which aren't as easily traceable.

Many of the email addresses published on the blog site are old, inactive web mail accounts, meaning that the owner wouldn't necessarily notice anything was wrong or even be aware of the forced password change Google and Hotmail are enforcing onto the affected accounts. This means that the hackers will have access to the email account's settings and preferences as well as all the information given by the original user when he or she signed up. A person who has not made a career on identity theft, hacking and cracking probably couldn't do much with a person's full name, address and phone number, but the people who created the phishing sites will be able to sell those sensitive details on to other internet criminals who can potentially make thousands out of them.

The process of creating an identity is slow and drawn-out, but with the victim totally unaware that anyone has their details the identity theft would be in no rush. Signing up for library cards, video rental cards, buying bus-passes and signing up for loyalty cards are included in the number of ways one could obtain photo ID for the newly created identity. Once one has accumulated enough evidence to show that this identity really is you, then a cheque cashing 'why wait till payday?' sort of shop can be hit with blank cheques made out to the new identity. Loans can be taken out, pay as you go phones bought and registered to the identity and receipts written out in the new name.

The hazards of cruising the internal network are well and truly out there-you have been warned.

But how can you protect yourself from these dangers? Fill in your name, email-address, home address, land line and mobile telephone number
here to be receive updates on the websites which have been compromised by hackers.


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Conflict in facts

David Cameron and Samantha Cameron
The Sun today printed a story on Cameron's response to being called a toff. In the last few paragraphs of said story Graeme Wilson wrote of David's Wife's outfit "Mrs Cameron showed she can shop on a less-than-toff budget, sporting £65 shoes from Zara".
This sort of story doesn't interest me in the slightest, and I would far rather read the sort of stories in the latter sections of the Sun about frogs eating fairy lights. However, the Daily Mail today also deemed Sam Cameron's shoes as newsworthy, but claimed that the shoes cost only £35. I'm sure I'm being pedantic but someone has made a serious mistake here. The reputation of these papers really will suffer if this sort of sloppy mistake is repeated.

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