21 Aug 2014, 4:04 p.m.

Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.
Christopher Knight

Digital Economy Bill

10 Apr 2010, 7:12 p.m.

As you may be aware, the Digital Economy Bill was passed two days ago. Whilst this provides some positive legislation regarding the video game industry amongst others, it also has some rotten bits regarding the ‘creative’ industry and copyright infringement.

Labour has been in power through the Internet’s rise and has had some thirteen years to carefully consider and legislate to promote growth and new business models regarding digital distribution. However, they’ve left it to the wash, after the disillusion of Parliament for the General Election, to debate it; which has allowed for a mere 3 hours of scrutiny by the House of Commons after it was similarly rammed through the House of Lords by it’s proposer, the highly unscrupulous (and unelected) Peter Mandelson.

What’s in some ways more vexing is, as anyone who saw the debate in the Commons will have laid witness to, how many politicians shared their extreme displeasure at the manner in which the Bill was fielded and the potentially harmful content that was never scrutinised, but then almost unanimously passed it in a chorus of ‘Ayes!’. This is compounded by the embarrassing turnout of under 5% of MPs to the third reading and subsequently low number whom even bothered voted on the bill (with the notable absence of my local MP, Theresa May).

So, the effect on the lowly constituent. The most dramatic is the legal recourse offered to copyright holders and application of ‘technical measures’ likely to be introduced in 2011, namely disconnection, for users alleged to have been illegally downloading copyrighted material three times. This disconnection would hold the person named on the contract with the ISP responsible. Obviously, this raises issues for shared facilities such as those present in shared housing, Libraries, academic institutions, Internet cafes and businesses. Furthermore, the alleged will have to pay to appeal against a ruling, with the onus on the alleged to prove they didn’t commit an offence, rather than copyright holders proving the opposite. Even if an alleged copyright infringer does decide to appeal, it will be before a tribunal, *not* a court of law. This effectively results in a process which assumes guilt before innocence, which is morally reprehensible and wholly undemocratic.

The situation feels analogous to a quote from the unfinished screenplay, Incomplete Movie About Death - “We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death”. A last hurrah of the old school record industry, a pause before a suicide orchestrated through failure to progress and abhorrence of new technology. This Bill does nothing to actually address problems or consider how to legally fulfil the public’s lust for digital content. What’s important to remember is that the music industry and record labels are anything but synonymous and whilst labels are bemoaning poor revenues, the industry has never been doing better, even through the recession.

All that was fairly melodramatic and rambling. What makes this all relevant and arguably appropriate to put on the Numinous site, is that many arguing for this legislation claim it protects new music and guarantees artists the money they deserve. The exact opposite is the case in reality; it panders to the big business side of the industry, and enables them to maintain the status quo of exploiting artists and stifling sharing and exploration of music by those who ultimately matter most, the fans.

Hope you’re well, Phil.

P.S. If you’re twitterly inclined, you can voice a bit of objection over at Or if all this has whetted your appetite for a bit of well needed reform, you might want to have a look at the Pirate Party.

P.P.S.“Yeah, but like Lily Allen said copyright infringement is bad.” - Well, she’s a puppet and furthermore, a hypocrite.

Let’s go to Detroit

11 Mar 2010, 8:46 p.m.

United Artitsts Theatre Building, designed by Charles H. Crane
United Artitsts Theatre, designed by Charles H. Crane
Michigan Central Station, designed by Alfred T. Fellheimer. Opened in 1913, abandoned in 1988
Michigan Central Station, designed by Alfred T. Fellheimer. Opened in 1913, abandoned in 1988
Detroit has around 48% unemployment and over 40sq of 193sq miles has been reclaimed by nature. Truly a remarkable remnant of large scale industry in America. I desperately want to visit.


22 Dec 2009, 11:21 p.m.

Logic is the art of thinking; grammar, the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; and rhetoric, the art of communicating thought from one mind to another, the adaptation of language to circumstance.
Sister Miriam Joseph

SCPonly chroot with Ubuntu Hardy 8.04

3 Mar 2009, 8:41 p.m.

This is a quick howto for installing SCPonly on Ubuntu Hardy 64-bit.

  1. Firstly, install scponly through apt.

    sudo aptitude install scponly

    Then, use dpkg-reconfigure to enable the chrooted version, “scponlyc”. Answer yes to the rather ominous sounding security message.

    sudo dpkg-reconfigure -plow scponly

    Then extract and make executable the script to setup the chroot.

    cd /usr/share/doc/scponly/setup_chroot
    sudo gunzip
    sudo chmod +x

    This script is fine for 32-bit users, but broken for us 64-bit types, so you’ll need to change it slightly. Open it up in your text editor, find the line starting LDSO_LIST and modify as follows.

    sudo vim /usr/share/doc/scponly/setup_chroot/
    LDSO_LIST="/lib/ /libexec/ /libexec/
    /usr/libexec/ /lib/ /usr/libexec/"

    Add “/lib/”, which should result in

    LDSO_LIST="/lib/ /lib/ /libexec/ /libexec/
    /usr/libexec/ /lib/ /usr/libexec/"

    The script should now run fine. Enter details relevant to you (the defaults are sensible) and change the script to be unexecutable when you’ve finished.

    sudo ./
    sudo chmod -x

    There used to be a bug to do with the chrooted /dev/null, I didn’t find this to be a problem, but in case, you might need to run the following (this assumes you installed your chroot in the default location).

    sudo mknod -m 666 /home/scponly/dev/null c 1 3

    If you’re using a 32-bit system, skip to step 3.

  2. On a 64-bit system, a couple of fixed need to be made.

    The problem is that some library files needed for a chroot on a 64-bit system aren’t included by the script and you’ll get errors in /var/log/auth.log like “failed: /usr/lib/sftp-server with error No such file or directory”.

    You’ll need to copy the following files to remedy this. (This assumes you’re still in your scponly chroot directory!)

    sudo cp -p /lib/ lib/
    sudo cp -p /lib/ lib/
    sudo cp -p /lib/ lib/
    sudo cp -p /lib/ lib/
    sudo mkdir lib64
    sudo cp -p /lib64/ lib64/

    Just for the sake of security, edit /etc/shells and remove the line “/usr/bin/scponly”, which allows un-chrooted scponly users. Your chroot should now have everything it needs to run correctly, next you need modify/setup scponly users.

  3. To add a user and make their home dir in the chroot.

    sudo useradd -d /home/scponly//exampleuser -m -s /usr/sbin/scponlyc exampleuser

    Note: The double forward slash is meant to be there!

    Then get the users line from /etc/passwd and add it to the chroot passwd file.

    tail -n 1 /etc/passwd
    sudo vim /home/scponly/etc/passwd

    Paste the line in and you should be all set!

The Kitchen of the Future!

23 Dec 2008, 10:47 p.m.

from 1967. Still, a hilarious insight into what the past thought might have been. A couple of predictions turned out to be relatively true; I personally quite like the idea of a system that recommends me a menu!

Back Home

17 Dec 2008, 11:21 p.m.

I managed to forget my railcard, so got a nice £63 penalty fare from Nottingham to St Pancras! In retrospect, I actually could have gotten off the train at the next stop, which would have been Leicester and bought a new cheaper off-peak single. Sod it, I’m home now.

Anyway, I’ve been having a look at Django and am liking it so far; seems much nicer than all that Rails palaver. The admin functionality is one of the main draws as I HATE coding all the form handling involved in admin panels. I think I’m going to write a little article about set up on OS X with MySQL(db) as it wasn’t as simple as it should have been.

Tea on the floor

Machine Wisdom