Archive for January, 2010

Twitter article

Posted by on Sunday, 17 January, 2010

My response to the stupid article in the daily express highlighted by @badjournalism

—– Forwarded message —–
From: My email addresso
Date: Sun, Jan 17, 2010 15:08
Subject: Twitter article
To: <[email protected]>

Hi there,

Wrt the below article.


The article is poorly researched and factually incorrect, if you check the twitter pages( of the BBC correspondents that you mention you will find followers ranging from a few thousand to many hundreds of thousands. Your journalists obviously don't understand how this new form of communication works and should probably ask advice from someone that does before printing this drivel.

2/10 – must try harder

Thank you,

Simon whittaker – @szlwzl

Letter to Lady Hermon #3strikes #digitaleconomy

Posted by on Saturday, 9 January, 2010

I’m supposed to be hoovering this morning but just got a letter from
my MP with a response to the questions I had passed on to her about
the Digital Economy Bill and wanted to get it answered. It is a fairly
comprehensive letter but excludes some key points which I hope I have
raised below.

Dear Lady Hermon,

Thank you very much for your letter dated 4th December 2009 which I
have just received. I have a few points I would like to raise from the
letter you made available to me from Stephen Timms.

1/ Mr Timms mentions a court order being required for providing
information and for cutting off the internet connection, it is my
understanding that this is not the case. I believe the bill allows for
rights holders to contact the ISP directly to obtain this information
and then obtain the cut off. I would very much appreciate some further
information on how these 2 measures would be enacted. I would also
like to see criminal acts being tried in the courts as all other
criminal acts are – not carried out in a tribunal at the behest of a

2/ I am concerned about the court action which would take place, so
far those people accused of downloading illegal material are fined as
if each illegal download would have been a purchase – this is quite
frankly ridiculous. I would like to find some information about the
monetary punishments which could be put in place.

3/ The appeals process, I would like to obtain more information about
this item. Surely, if someone has been to court to have their guilt
proven then the appeal is through those same courts – why would there
be any need for an “independent” tribunal? If the tribunal is
required, who would sit on it? Would it have legal powers? Would it
contain any members of the recording industry for instance?

4/ The reserve power to amend the copyright, design & patent act. It
strikes me that this is nothing more than getting rid of the
requirement for laws to be put properly through parliament. Why is
this necessary? If technology changes then change the law accordingly
through the proper process – this amount of power is dangerous in the
hands of any government(power corrupts etc).

5/ While I very much agree that the legitimate download mechanisms are
improving and are a useful tool(I am a premium spotify subscriber and
use it regularly) I am also concerned that this is restricting users
even more. People like to own music and pass it down to their children
etc – the rise of excessive DRM makes this almost impossible. I have
recently switched from iphone to an android phone and have been unable
to take the majority of my songs with me – I have already bought them
so why should I now re-buy them in a different format? Could this be
where some of the illegal download figures are coming from? This also
goes for my e-books and audiobooks, I am sick and tired of forking out
for the same thing.

I find this governments lack of vision in technology quite disturbing
and would urge you to consider carefully the points made above.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Whittaker

Letter to MLAs re #irisrobinson

Posted by on Saturday, 9 January, 2010

Dear Leslie Cree, Brian Wilson, Peter Weir, Alan McFarland, Alex
Easton and Stephen Farry,

I’m writing to you today with regards to the recent allegations
against the first minister and his wife. While I understand that a
great deal of the details of the case require further investigation
and may be of a personal nature I do believe that this further
investigation is vital. If the facts of the case play out as alleged,
in my opinion, the position of Peter Robinson as first minister
becomes untenable. I feel that an enquiry into this should be
conducted by an independent all party group and during this time Mr
Robinson should temporarily stand down awaiting the result. This does
not imply guilt but ensures that an unbiased investigation can take
place. The major issue for me is not the affair but the fact that Mr
Robinson was aware of the loans and failed to take action in the
appropriate manner, I wonder if Mr & Mrs Robinson had not employed
family members that a whistleblower would have made these allegations
public more quickly.

I hope that we can rely on you as MLAs to make this takes place.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Whittaker

Ex-mayor admits stealing women’s underwear

Posted by on Monday, 4 January, 2010

words fail me……

BBC News article – Bono net policing idea draws fire

Posted by on Monday, 4 January, 2010
Bono (Getty)

Bono’s call was to “rally America…the most creative economy in the world”

Bono, frontman of rock band U2, has warned the film industry not to make the same mistakes with file-sharing that have dogged the music industry.

Writing for the New York Times, Bono claimed internet service providers were “reverse Robin Hoods” benefiting from the music industry’s lost profits.

He hinted that China’s efforts prove that tracking net content is possible.

The editorial drew sharp criticism, both on its economic merits and for the suggestion of net content policing.

“The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of ’24’ in 24 seconds,” he wrote.

“A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators…the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

In a move that drew significant criticism, Bono went on to suggest that the feasibility of tracking down file-sharers had already been proven.

“We know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content,” he said.

Several commentators assailed both the logic of net monitoring and the economic arguments of the essay, pointing out that U2 topped 2009’s list of top-grossing live acts.

“Bono has missed that even a totalitarian government…can’t effectively control net-content,” tweeted Cory Doctorow, a blogger and journalist noted for his study of file-sharing policy.

“If only greed and ignorance could sequester carbon, Bono could FINALLY save the planet,” he added.


So it would seem that Bono( believes that China has the right idea about “tracking net content”, I do strongly agree that artists need to be compensated for their music and movies etc but I also feel that that there are better ways to accomplish this than putting a filter on our network connections. It brings us back to the same debate that has been happening since the digital economy bill ( was published. I think the onus needs to be on the music/movie companies to come up with a plan to provide music in the format and timeframe that we as consumers want and are willing to pay for. Music on demand, movies on demand, (audio)books on demand – all at a reasonable cost and without the DRM restrictions that prevent me from listening to my itunes library on my android phone. I am willing to pay for music/movies etc and do so regularly but am not willing to have the piss taken.
On the subject of e-books, I tried to buy an e-book through my iphone – – $25.99 for an e-book????? Surely distribution costs make this a cheaper way to get books out to the public?