I'm mirroring old episodes of some podcasts

A commenter on an old post recently asked if I'd share my copies of Ed Brayton's old podcasts. I've put them up here. I've mentioned before how much of a fan I am of these shows.

The list is an awful mess right now as I just copied the file names and regexp'd a page together, but it's better than nothing.

Glitch Pigeon

Screenshot: Glitch pigeon in a painted autumn sky.It's been a pretty horrifying couple of weeks on Twitter, hasn't it? At least it has on my timeline. Two unrelated, awful events in particular came right on top of each other, each whipping up a social media storm. First the violent incursion of militarised police into peaceful democratic protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Second the eruption of sickening misogyny and violent threats directed at female game makers and games journalists, in particular Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn.

In both cases, my Twitter stream did what it always does. First came the reports from those directly affected, amplified and retweeted by other journalists. Fear, indignation, outrage, disbelief, heartbreak. Then came the wave of initial commentary. What does this mean, why now, how did things get like this. Then came the meta-commentary. Actually things have always been like this, privilege blinkers those not directly affected, look how existing power structures even suppress discussion, which sources can we really trust.

Endless echoes in endless voices of an event, now refracted in endless dizzying facets and meta-facets and ironic subtweets.

It was in the midst of thinking this, and my own feelings of helpless-but-mustn’t-look-away, that I encountered Glitch Pigeon, a little prototype crafted by Hannah Nicklin and George Buckenham at the Oxford Playhouse. Continue reading "Glitch Pigeon"

PGP public key

So the GCHQ and the NSA are apparently teaming up to do a whole lot of extremely legal warrantless mass surveillance.

I am not against spying or surveillance per se. Anyone who lives in the UK and says "if you've nothing to hide you've nothing to fear" doesn't understand the purpose of judicial oversight and probably doesn't speak arabic. I believe in judicial oversight. An amoral-nerd-handler is not a judge. And political bias, false-positives and chilling self-censorship are the only outcomes of the GCHQ program I can see on the horizon.

So, if you're emailing me, please feel free to encrypt your message with my PGP public key.
Continue reading "PGP public key"

Goods and services

Read this old, unsurprising report in New Scientist. From the article:

Automated trading ...has come to account for more than half of trades in many markets around the globe. ...Because of the finite speed of light, trading speed depends on where you are sitting. ..."The basic insight," says Wissner-Gross, "is that the optimal location lets the trader exploit fluctuations equally on both exchanges." ..."This shows that the technological arms race to extract every penny from high-frequency mechanical arbitrage will soon reach its ultimate limits," says physicist and hedge-fund manager Jean-Philippe Bouchaud

If this is how money and the free markets work now, I'm pretty sure we no longer know what words mean.

How to remove "+1" icons from Google search results

Having apparently abandoned former principles of simplicity and unintrusiveness, Google now punishes account holders by sticking coloured icons next to every Google search result and, worse, animating them on a mouse-over of the result.  Obnoxious!  There currently seems to be no setting to remove these that I could find, but I figured a way to use AdBlock to hide them away.  If you have AdBlock installed on your browser, simply add:

to your custom filters.  There, somewhat cleaner search results!

Edit: Now you also need to add:

Edit: OK, I found another way to fix this.

Cultural Relativism and Technology

[Update: Now I am older and wiser, I don't necessarily any-longer agree with everything I wrote here, but I'm not going to delete it (yet). If you also disagree, let me know.]

I was talking to a couple of friends of mine about politics the other day. The conversation ended in a disagreement about whether or not one ought to adhere to principles of cultural relativism. That is, whether it is fair or legitimate to criticise the practices of members of another culture from the inescapable perspectives of ones own. I was arguing against cultural relativism but in the course of the discussion some arguments were raised which I hadn't considered before and which made me stop and reconsider my position.

My purpose in writing this is partially in order to get my thoughts in order and partly in the hope that the discussion can continue, 'cause it's one that interests me. I wish to wear my ignorance of many relevant topics on my sleeve and, as always, I'm completely open to the prospect of changing my mind.

My feelings were that open criticism of other cultures should be permissible. I felt that if we had carefully examined our own reasoning and motives, we ought to be allowed to criticise the practices of others, even if we understood that those practices may be the product of another culture and its historical context.
Continue reading "Cultural Relativism and Technology"

How to securely connect to BT OpenZone using VPN without installing the Cisco VPN software, on a Mac

Well, I figured it out, so I thought I'd post it.

[More after the fold.]

Well, I figured it out, so I thought I'd post it.
Continue reading "How to securely connect to BT OpenZone using VPN without installing the Cisco VPN software, on a Mac"

Twitter account suspended

Aw man.  I got hacked (or something) and an obviously spam message got posted in my twitter feed. Of course, I've had my account suspended, pending investigation. I should be back up within a month, according to twitter. I don't know whether the error is twitter's or mine, but needless to say every place where I used the same password as for twitter has been changed, just in case. All in all, not as painful as it might have been, I guess!