2013 — 16 June: Sunday

Creature of habit that I am1 my subconscious alarm clock has woken me neatly in time for Cerys. So I shall be listening as I stuff my next crockpot of culinary delights. After all, what other station would play "Popeye the sailor man"?

Speaking of...

... engaging radio, this isn't new — but remains delightful. Richard Wortley... what a splendid chap!

I've been (virtually) snooping around my guvmint's statistical cyberspatial view of my local neighbourhood...

My neighbourhood

... and am entranced by the idea of being "Economically inactive". Tell that to my credit card company.

I've been exchanging regular emails...

... with my friend Carol in New York for the past 30 years. While doing a spot of floor-tidying2 up in the reading room (not the books warehouse, but in fact what used to be Christa's study) I found an item that I'd sent to her nearly 13 years ago:

Subject: forgot to put one
Let me just dump the following "Slash Dot" snippet out of my clipboard before I forget and paste it into a Java Hub web page by mistook...

A July 14th article in the online Wall Street Journal by Neil King Jr. and Ted Bridis says that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has been using an Internet wiretapping system for some time now to covertly search e-mail for messages from criminal suspects. First with a system called Omnivore, and now with a new system christened Carnivore (for its ability to get to "the meat" of enormous quantities of data), the agency has been conducting Internet wiretaps relatively infrequently, since they can only be done under state or federal judicial order. Despite the fact the system has been used in fewer than 100 criminal cases since its launch early last year, some privacy rights activists are disturbed because it would give the government, at least theoretically, the ability to eavesdrop on all digital communications, from e-mail to online banking to Web surfing.

... the majority of Slashdot postings were seriously concerned about FBI Internet wiretapping, promoting PGP and other encryption technology as a means of combating privacy infringement by the government: "When Congress enacts this sort of program, they always give it a name like 'The Freedom of Infants and Children Act' or the 'Prevention of Violence to Puppies Act' with a rider that slips in the Big Brother grants of power. The FBI, on the other hand, gives it a name that can't help but encourage visions of a government run amok, eating its citizens. Which, come to think of it, is not too far from the truth."

This rings a bell here as the UK gov is currently whizzing its new let's eavesdrop on everyone all the time Regulation of Investigatory Powers bill through Parliament ahead of upcoming European Privacy legislation that would (I assume) force them not to, as it were, try to be quite so silly. While I'm sure they don't think they're being silly, two of the less pleasant aspects of their proposals are (1) failure to offer passwords or decryption keys can land you in jail for two years and (2) even just telling your friend that you have just had to give away her password or key can land you in jail for up to five years. The presumption has mysteriously become one of guilt until proven otherwise while not necessarily even learning that you are under suspicion or active investigation. Still, one senior civil servant with one secretary is (apparently) sufficient to cope with the UK citizens' e-mail traffic monitoring, so at least it won't cost the tax payer too much!

Date: August 2000

My, how things change! :-)

I know...

... Christa would have been delighted to see these old friends.

My roses

This (as near as dammit life-size) is just one of the twelve that are currently unleashing their fragrance within a few feet of my patio door.

I'm celebrating...

... the eventual turning-up of the Lost Sheep — my paperback copy of Paul Nahin's "An Imaginary Tale: the story of i" (and, no, I'm not about to try producing a square root symbol in HTML) — by playing one of the few SACD disks in my collection — Eleanor McEvoy's album "Yola".

My Oppo Blu-ray player reports it as a 2-channel SACD (and Wikipedia assures me it's still regarded as a Hi-Fi industry standard over a decade after its release). To be honest it sounds pretty much like most slickly-produced, well-recorded modern female vocalists do on CD. Very clean, good dynamic range. Pleasant, but not spine-tingling. In my opinion, of course. Still, it's a long time since I last played the disk; when I bought it none of my audio kit would play anything but the PCM (Red Book) backward-compatible stereo data.



1  That we all are, I suspect.
2  In an attempt to be able to step close enough to one of the few remaining bookshelves not yet scoured, so far in vain, for a missing book.