Archive for the ‘Computers and Internet’ Category
If you’re an Australian internet user – or an Australian/global entity that targets Australian users via the Web – I urge you to sign the GetUp! “Save the Net” petition – and help prevent the Australian Federal Government’s planned mandatory internet censorship filters from being implemented.
The system been largely touted by the government as ‘necessary step’ to prevent child pornography (and apparently ‘euthanasia material’) – and that the existing ‘opt-in’ system for locally installing free/provided filters (known as ‘NetAlert’) is not enough. However, the system won’t actually be able to filter/prevent content being passed through file sharing, chat rooms and other secure or proprietary systems (indicated by child welfare groups as the place this sort of illegal activity generally occurs) – and tests so far indicate it’s completely ineffective at trying to block ‘inappropriate’ content.
Here’s a quick run down of what’s going down, from the GetUp! site – (which offers the online petition – so far signed by 85,000 people) :
The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist.
Testing has already begun on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites. Our children deserve better protection – and that won’t be achieved by wasting millions on this deeply flawed system.
Sign the petition below:
”I don’t want draconian government restrictions on the internet that will hold back the digital economy and miss the vast majority of unwanted content.”
GetUp! has also published a ‘Fact Sheet’ – http://www.getup.org.au/files/campaigns/internetcensorshipfactsheet.pdf for some more interesting (and disturbing) reading.
The labor gov. has so far been ignoring the huge backlash from the public, various child welfare agencies, the Greens and others who have all also slammed the system as completely ineffective – and sure to take Australia back into the digital dark-ages by severely degrading internet speeds.
The mandatory censorship seems to be a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ system – and done with no real public consultation – and I’m very disappointed to see the Labor government doing this sort of thing. (and definitely not what most Australians who voted for PM Rudd expected). If implemented – we would be the only western democracy in the world to have such measures. (currently similar systems are running in places like Saudi Arabia, China and Iran).
There’s also been absolutely no information provided by the government on how the innocent victims (companies/individuals who run the 1 in 12 legitimate sites that might get ‘accidently’ blocked) can actually appeal/remove themselves from this ‘secret blacklist’. I’ve no doubt that it won’t be an overnight process – and given the governments reputation for being unable to act quickly (or make sensible decisions on anything related to technology ) – it could easily result in companies having their business destroyed while they wait for public servants to muddle their way through a resolution.
Let’s all hope this system never see’s the light of day.
Fellow Aussie MVP John O’Brien + Bronwyn Zande over at Soul Solutions (plus some others) have launched a really cool community site – www.viawindowslive.com – the one stop shop for developers wanting to know about using Windows Live technologies in applications. (John is a Windows Live MVP btw).
There’s a good focus there on topics like Virtual Earth, Spaces, Live Search, Live Gadgets (something I’m particularly interested in finding more about – as I’ve only ever done the Vista Sidebar variety), Silverlight Streaming and bunch of other related stuff.
The site is broken down into Articles, Forums, Wiki’s, Blogs and Resources - so is setup and ready for developer contributions and interaction. (and the design is very pleasing on the eyes too)..
My first learning mission on viawindowslive is going to be finding out how to stick something more interesting/useful down the side of this blog.
Go check it out.. >> www.viawindowslive.com
It took me a few days to find the best way to use this new environment (what should program should run on which screen) – but now that I’m settled its a major productivity improvement for me. Probably the three biggest gains are the ability to
1) Huge amount of extra space when writing code (I always spent so much time scrolling left/right in the code or markup editors in VS2005).
2) Ability to work on graphics in native 1366×768 / 100% zoom (in the past I always had to zoom to 66% to fit it on screen which never looked the same)
3) the ability to run Media Center in Fullscreen/Widescreen mode. However - the res of the Monitor is actually 16:10 – so this screws things up quite a bit in fullscreen mode (and in MCML you lose horizontal space in this aspect ratio) – but is fine in Windowed mode (which is what I use mostly anyhow as I like to modify/update the MCML while I look at the running addin). The positive bit on this is that I now know to also optimize for this Aspect ratio for other users in the same boat (with lcd widescreens or widescreen laptops).
Ok now that I’m right into 3 monitors – I started to think about a 4th screen. (I actually have more CRT monitors here and another spare DVI/VGA port). However I think I will wait until some widescreen tv’s come down in price – as I’d like to stack this vertically above my middle monitor (and use for MediaCenter fullscreen testing while I code in the screen underneath).
Here’s my ‘non-artists impression’ of how I’d set this up (and would need to mount it on the wall behind with a bracket).
Hopefully there’s no ‘health’ side effects of running so many screens (like some weird sort of radiation we don’t know about yet) – luckily none of my hair (or my retinas) are singed – and no neck strain injuries have occured (well not yet at least)…