Sad day for Australian Internet users

MINISTER for Communications Stephen Conroy has vowed to push on with his controversial internet filtering scheme, despite a barrage of criticism.

Senator Conroy told The Sun-Herald that internet advocacy groups such as GetUp! were ”deliberately misleading” the Australian public about the scheme, which will refuse classification to illegal and socially unacceptable web pages. The legislation, which was expected to be passed before Parliament rises in June, has been delayed until the second half of the year while the government fine-tunes it.

The government’s $128.8 million Cyber Safety policy includes forcing internet service providers to block access to a secret blacklist of website pages identified as ”refused classification” by the Australian police.

Web pages will be nominated for blacklisting by Australian internet users who come across illegal or ”unacceptable” websites.

”This is a policy that will be going ahead,” Senator Conroy said. ”We are still consulting on the final details of the scheme. But this policy has been approved by 85 per cent of Australian internet service providers, who have said they would welcome the filter, including Telstra, Optus, iPrimus and iinet.”

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 72 per cent of Australian households have home internet access and more than 2 million children regularly use computers.

The scheme has attracted broad opposition from communications experts, search-engine companies Google and Yahoo!, the federal opposition and members of the nation’s intellectual elite.

Critics claim the policy will not result in any meaningful dent in the availability of harmful internet content, will create significant freedom-of-speech issues and will be prone to abuse by politicians.

”The scope of filtered content is so broad that it could block content that would inform political and social debate,” Google spokeswoman Lucinda Barlow said.

Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has also condemned the proposed filtering scheme as a ”white elephant”. ”This system will not be effective,” Mr Turnbull said. ”This policy will run the risk of false impressions [of security], when there should be parental responsibility.”

Executive director of GetUp! Brett Solomon said the Prime Minister should step in to ditch the scheme. ”The government would be better off developing policies to ensure the privacy of Australians is better safeguarded rather than pursuing the filter. This should be a promise that Kevin Rudd should break.”

GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh said a online petition by the activists had received support from 120,000 people and raised $100,000 to stop the legislation. An additional opinion poll by research firm Galaxy showed 86 per cent felt that parents, not the government, should have the primary responsibility for protecting information on the internet.

”Consistently the Australian people are saying that they don’t want it,” Mr Sheikh said.

But Bernadette McMenamin of the child protection group Child Wise said it was 100 per cent behind filtering illegal material. ”Sites are going to be blocked that should be blocked, and it’s absolutely essential every parent is taught about the dangers of the internet.”

The Australian Privacy Foundation, however, said the cost of the filter would be better directed to more internet education.

Yet Senator Conroy said ”blocking material is not considered to be censorship”.

”This filter is really not changing much, except that the blacklist of website pages will be mandatory.”

The fourth Cyber Security Awareness Week starts next week to help raise awareness of internet privacy issues.

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald


Why do people use the term “Photoshop” ?

Be warned this is a rant!

It really erks me when I hear the term “Oh did you Photoshop that?” but what they really mean is that you have altered an image (from original) using some software to do something that wasn’t in the original image. Now do a search with your favorite search engine and see what comes up… Now apart from a lot of links pointing you to pirate versions available for “FREE”¹ you won’t find a direct hit that uses this term! So why is it then this term exists? Simple, its product association! as we all know Photoshop is software from Adobe!

Now for those of us that are using Linux, do we use the term “Oh did you GIMP that?”  No because we know better! and yes GIMP is available for Windows & Mac and its free!

So next time you use the term… “Did you Photoshop that?” just think about the meaning of that term as it really doesn’t make much sense!

¹. Most websites that offer so called free versions have the potential to include more than you bargain for, they usually contain viruses! I do not support nor do I encourage such activity, but you have been warned!
². photoshopfamily_lr2_fma.jpg sourced from Adobe
³. End of my little rant!


Why do people use the term "Photoshop" ?

Be warned this is a rant!

It really erks me when I hear the term “Oh did you Photoshop that?” but what they really mean is that you have altered an image (from original) using some software to do something that wasn’t in the original image. Now do a search with your favorite search engine and see what comes up… Now apart from a lot of links pointing you to pirate versions available for “FREE”¹ you won’t find a direct hit that uses this term! So why is it then this term exists? Simple, its product association! as we all know Photoshop is software from Adobe!

Now for those of us that are using Linux, do we use the term “Oh did you GIMP that?”  No because we know better! and yes GIMP is available for Windows & Mac and its free!

So next time you use the term… “Did you Photoshop that?” just think about the meaning of that term as it really doesn’t make much sense!

¹. Most websites that offer so called free versions have the potential to include more than you bargain for, they usually contain viruses! I do not support nor do I encourage such activity, but you have been warned!
². photoshopfamily_lr2_fma.jpg sourced from Adobe
³. End of my little rant!


ADSL2+ now a reality

Effective from today my Internet connection has a boost in speed! I’m now on ADSL2+ (Internode)  So no longer am I locked at 1500/256 at the time of writing, my connection speed is …

And I’m no longer on the Davey street exchange! (Telstra equipment)

So a small win, Just have to wait and see how the price point for FTTH will compare to the current ADSL plans when the information becomes available.

SPAM! Did I get your attention ?

Well as we are forced daily to deal with unwanted stuff, weather this be Email, catalogues, To the House Holder or even now on Skype!

I’ve recently been getting a lot of request from so called “contacts” wanting to be added, but they have spam in their request (mainly aimed at anatomy enlargement!) In Skype Version 2.1.0.81 you have the option to both block & report as spam, However what happens to those you flag as spam? OK well in the help (when placing a block on somebody) you have a link called Help this doesn’t say much to what happens! but at least there is an option.

I’ve also found that on this blog the default Akismet plug-in does a fair job in stopping any spam from making it into your blog comments, but the one thing it doesn’t do is prevent “bots” from flooding you with random crap! So I also use re-CAPTCHA now this is a nifty plug-in (in this case WordPress) and it is just the thing for stopping bots dead in there tracks!

So as you can see, you have to enter two words that are generated at random and also are in an image format so re-CAPTCHA its self is ensuring that it can’t be compromised. You can also use this to protect Email addresses as well (as I do on my contact page)  So this is how I deal with SPAM pests on my Blog & Skype.

Email is another story! as I run my own mail server I use Amavis-New, Spamassassin & ClamAV and  this does a very good job of keeping the mail free from spam pests. Actually, the Email side is a double protection as it is both scanning the mail for viruses & spam! and yes I use Linux, so why bother with virus checking? well the way I see it to rid incoming mail of viruses then ensures that they are not spread to infect the target systems they have been written for namely Microsoft Windows!

So there you have it…  😀

Mumble Server 1.2.2

Ok after having such success with the Icinga Mumble Server I’ve decided to install one myself !!! at this stage it’s for use for the Category5 BoD, but (currently) its not password protected, so feel free to connect to it and see how it works. My ADSL connection speed is (due for ADSL2+ soon) 1500/256Kb/s so there could be some issues with latency, But we shall just have to wait and see if there is any issues!

The PC running this Mumble Server, is the same as my APRS I-Gate. this is an IBM NetVista Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.20GHz but only having done a quick test it seem to be coping thus far (with 2 connections!)

I won’t be present in the chat server all the time, but if you are lucky you may catch me there!  😉

Time to review and rebuild

In my last blog, I reported that the Ubuntu-AU LoCo had sadly lost its Ubuntu-recognized LoCo Teams status. Well there has been much discussion both in the IRC channels (#ubuntu-au #ubuntu-au-chat) and the mailing list. SO to attempt to get the ball rolling, I decided to call an IRC meeting for Monday the 17th May 2010 at 21:00 EST / 11:00 UTC you can see (and add to) the agenda here

Some of the points I raise are to test the water (so to say) as some will disagree with my thoughts/ideas (that’s fine !) this is the purpose to this meeting! So if you truly care about the future of Ubuntu-AU then please make an effort to contribute. The objective of this meeting is not to make any decisions (on the night)  but to get ideas and topics for debate, so I suppose you could call it a “Brainstorming Exercise

See you there…  😀

Ubuntu-AU has its answer

Over the last few months the Ubuntu LoCo Council has been periodically reviewing the current status of LoCo’s around the planet.  Ubuntu-AU (Australia) was up for review, and now the answer has been made public…

Hello Australian LoCo Team!

I’m writing on behalf of the LoCo Council with regards to the
Australian Team Re-Approval process.

First let me apologise for the length of time this process has taken.
We’ve not been doing this long, and hope to streamline the process in
the future.

The Australian LoCo team has a long history of great contributions to
the Ubuntu project. It’s great to see a bunch of keen, energised
participating members of the Ubuntu community.

However, it is with a heavy heart that we must reject the Re-Approval
of the Australian Local Community Team at this time.

The reasons for this decision are:-

* The number of active members of the team have been waning,
possibly due to a lack of direction. Members of the community want to
contribute but feel they can’t. We’ve had multiple team members mail
us privately regarding the situation in the Australian LoCo. They felt
strongly enough that they needed to share their feelings about the
current state of the team. The common theme seems to be that they are
not happy with the way the LoCo is being run. Most of them have noted
the inactivity of LoCo. This is often a sign of a lack of strong
leadership within the team.

* There is a sub group of Ubuntu enthusiasts who feel they cannot
work with the Approved LoCo and have setup a separate team of their
own. They might not call themselves a “LoCo” but they do the same job
in the same area. It is a shame to see this, and we would really like
to sit down with both teams and work this out.

Things you can do which can improve the team include:-

* Nominate team leadership (be it individual or group) to drive the
team in a defined direction. Setting goals for the team and developing
a roadmap can also help here.

* Consider revising your IRC channel structure to make it easier for
people to find support, local resources and chat. The current setup
appears to have stopped a lot of the community chatter in the main
channel that helps to keep a team active.

* Holding regular meetings (on IRC) to help get discussion going,
presently the wiki shows that you’re holding regular meetings, which
is currently. The wiki appears to be out of date. An overhaul of the
current wiki is something to consider as well.

* Perhaps members could rotate roles within the team, this could
help prevent burnout and also help the team, by allowing people to
participate in ways that will help them feel they belong, and can
contribute.

This is not a reflection on peoples roles at present, however many of
the comments we received felt they were being rejected due to not
having as much experience as others. We felt that they were still
enthusiastic about contributing and wanted to step forward. Keep in
mind LoCo activity is not tied to Ubuntu development efforts, people
who do not know how to use the command line interface sometimes turn
out to be the most effective LoCo members. Remember, most LoCo
activity relates to the average user.

Your team needs to encourage new members to actively participate. The
creation of a mentoring program within your team to learn about these
roles might also be a good idea in order to encourage people to
participate more.

We would be delighted to re-approve the Australian LoCo Team once more
in the future once these issues are sorted out, and the team is
revitalised.

We look forward to the progress that we know will occur.

Please do contact us with any questions or concerns,
LoCo Council

Am I now Famous ?

So if you get mentioned on the Internet does that make you famous? Well if so then hey I’m now famous! 😀

See the full story at…  http://www.icinga.org

WordPress 3.0 Beta2 (pre-release) and PHP5 (ubuntu-server)

As I like to use the latest available version of WordPress, So I’ve thought it wise to use the php.ini-development version of php.ini. this will revile any possible issues that may be not be straight forward to understand, by giving some debug text when something goes wrong!

So if you happen to see any weird warnings please copy & paste the error and let me know, as I can only fix something that I’m aware of  😉