16 April 2014

At risk of being labelled an Islamophobe...

I find it interesting that there is, seemingly, this complete oblivion in the atheist community about when statements made about religious practitioners are unfair generalisations.
We had a look at Richard Dawkins a little while ago. In his case, I concluded that whilst he’s been hanging out with the wrong crowd he is in all likelihood, not evil. But he does appear to have made some new friends who are not quite right. Unsavoury, even.
At the time, I compared Dawkins to Sam Harris, who is prone to gaffs, except in Harris’ case, it just seems to be his own case of peculiar logic. I also consider Harris to be largely benign, although Harris lost a lot of his own cred when he tied himself in knots over racial profiling.
Where Dawkins and Harris have it most wrong though, is on the subject of Islamophobia. They're not the only ones: I know of quite a few in the atheist community who think that Islamophobia does not exist.

10 December 2013

Meeting notes

Here's a list of some of the words and phrases that were used by participants in the meeting that I was just in:

metrics
dashboard
super-regional
bottom line
audience
drill-down
dedicated resource
back to the economics
engagement

04 September 2013

Voting below the line - 2013 edition

I don't think I need to remind you, folks, why it is a good idea to vote below the line for the Senate.  Very simply put, it is TOTALLY UNLIKELY that the party that you want to vote for first will have preferenced the same way that you want to preference.

Theoretically, this should mean that Australians should vote below the line more often than not, but as we have discovered on numerous occasions, Australians couldn't give a rats arse about voting properly.

In my Senate post from the last election, I did a bit of a guide in how to vote below the line for Senate candidates.  I have to update this now, because obviously it's out of date.  And do bear in mind that this refers, primarily, to the Senate ballot paper for Victoria, but you could, potentially, use the same line of thinking for the other states as well.

20 August 2013

A quick post on slurs and preferencing

I’m not planning on doing an ornate series of posts for this election like I was for the last election. If I have to say anything, I probably will say that my opinion on the fibre to the node is the main one in a series of issues that will possibly sway me towards preferencing the ALP over the Libs.

The election is still a couple of weeks away, though.

Ok. That out of the way, it’s worth getting in a post about hardened, rusted-on political party members. I’m not a member of a political party and because I also consider myself a swinging voter, I think that I’m way more objective than most.

I had this discussion with someone on Twitter who is honest enough to post his party membership upfront in his Twitter bio. He’s a Labor man. But I thought this was a rather interesting tweet when he posted it:

10 August 2013

Has Richard Dawkins finally dug a hole that's too deep?

I would have thought that Richard Dawkins had learned something from Sam Harris' mistakes over the past decade.  It would appear not.

Harris' continuing mistake is that he simply fails to understand what is wrong about profiling specific targeted groups of human beings, doing his best to say that he's not crossing any lines by lowballing with straw men containing “racial” or “ethnic”.  And each time he does, there is a collective slap across the globe as faces are buried into palms.  And, like that oil leak that BP couldn't put out in the Gulf of Mexico, he keeps spewing this crap out.

Instead of learning from this, Dawkins has been re-iterating the same tired old arguments as Harris that causes people to think that he's using atheism as a Trojan horse for racism.

Now, I have to say that I'm quite a fan of Dawkins.  I rather liked the Selfish Gene, and even though I had issues with certain parts of The God Delusion, I still thought it was excellent.  But what I find frustrating is that Dawkins doesn't appear to understand where the line has been crossed.

05 May 2013

Fun with libertarians

I should start a webpage where people bait libertarians.  I'll call it Loonbook.  They're pretty easy, really.  A lot of them paint themselves as moderates or centrists, but there's nothing moderate or centrist about them.

Pretty much without exception, they're all raving, ultra-paranoid, grasping right-wingers who see tax as theft and government spending as absolutely necessary if it's on them.  And the moment that you suggest that government does something, you're a "statist" and as bad as the rest of them.

But you know, for the most part, libertarians do mostly the right thing, in standing up for people's rights.  Strangely, though, where people are too weak to assert their own rights, libertarians are only too keen to ride slipshod over them.  Get a load of this fine fellow:

21 April 2013

13 things that you can do to improve your privacy online

I was asked by a mate of mine recently, 'Dikkii.  Why don't you do a blog post about all the privacy stuff that you have done with your browser?'

Personally, this mate of mine is pretty switched on, internet-wise (I cracked a pun!) so I was a bit taken aback that he genuinely wanted to know about why he should get his web-surfing privacy under control.  I thought that he might already have this sorted out.

The reality of it all is, that these days, it's a game with moving goal posts.  To keep up with the companies mining your browsing habits really needs one to be on one's toes.  But it's so difficult.  Consider these:

10 April 2013

Blocked again

I've only been blocked on Twitter once before, that I know of.  That was by Helen Razer and to this day, I have no idea why.  I only know that I was blocked, because I went to follow her one day and found that I could not.

But I thought I'd regale you with this tale of more blockage.  This time, it came about in a record quick exchange with some tetchy Belgians who run an online magazine that goes by the name of Side-Line Magazine.

Specifically, it was this article that suggests reasons why you can't re-sell electronic media files once you've bought them.  It reads as a defence of DRM, because the reasons given is that once you have the file, you might copy it before you re-sell it.  Just "might", mind you - we're not all pirates.

08 January 2013

Alternate method - Linux, Calibre, e-books (epub) and DRM


You may already have read my previous post, where I examined the utterly ludicrous situation that Linux users are placed in if they want to buy, download and finally read an ebook on their ebook reader.

You may recall me mentioning that I had given you the long version.  This post will cover off on the slightly less long version – this is the Calibre plugins version.

Same as before, note that for this exercise, I'm using Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) XFCE.   Also, I'm assuming that the ebook that you purchased was DRM protected by Adobe's Digital Editions software and is in the .epub format.  Most lending libraries use the .epub format for their ebooks, so if you plan on using a library, this will help.  Sadly, if you have a Kindle, this will not help you.  Apologies, however you may notice later on in this that we will be downloading a plugin for Kindle users.  We'll pretty much leave it at that and go no further with that or any other plugins in this post.

04 January 2013

How to get round DRM issues with e-books in Linux (epub)

What a hassle this post was.  You'd think that in this 21st century world that we live in, there would be less issues with using any kind of media.  Sadly, no.  Ebooks are still possibly the number one reason why I can find myself in the situation where I am likely to throw my computer across the room.

Downloading ebooks and using them via Linux is a diabolically difficult, stupid and possibly legally dangerous situation.  You'd be forgiven for thinking that the reason is merely the reality that desktop Linux users are the one percenters and that the system is biased towards Windows and OSX users, but it's actually more insidious than that – copyright has sabotaged any kind of simplicity here.

This is a joke.  Only in the land of intellectual property law (and possibly high end encryption) does one find that the world is actually getting more complicated, rather than simpler.

I've just spent the best part of the last couple of days attempting to try to load my computer with the usual fixes to ensure that my computer can have the DRM cracked off it, which is necessary for using Linux with DRM-protected ebooks.  It's a time-consuming and wasteful job, and it's made worse by the fact that I totally fluked it the last couple of times and then didn't write the steps down.  Oh sure, there are plenty of web pages out there that have the steps, but no one seems to have the order right.