Archive for March, 2010

“at least with zombies you know what to do” – More sage advice from @a_r_w

Posted by on Monday, 29 March, 2010

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2 more sensible pieces of advice from @a_r_w – he's a very good guy to know in case of an emergency ūüôā


Moscow travel advice

Posted by on Monday, 29 March, 2010

Just received the attached by email from uk consulate:

Following the explosions this morning on the Moscow Metro. We continue to monitor the situation, and have been in contact with the Russian Ministry of Emergencies and the hospitals where casualties have been taken. So far there have been no reports of any British Nationals involved.

Please monitor our travel advice, which at the moment states: Confirmed reports of two explosions on the Moscow Metro this morning. We are in contact with the local hospitals and the Russian Ministry of Emergencies. The Russian Ministry of Emergencies has issued the following numbers available for public enquiries:

+7 495 626 3707 +7 495 624 3440 +7 495 622 1430

Sent via BlackBerry¬ģ from BT

Thoughts from Moscow

Posted by on Monday, 29 March, 2010

So, I arrived in Moscow very early this morning and the guy lifting me from the airport gave me a whistlestop tour of some of the sites in the city including Red Square & St Basils, the kremlin and because I have been reading all the bond books recently, the FSB building at lubyenko. He advised me about the closest metro stop to the hotel and to the office and which line to take etc, my knowledge of Russian is nil and my ability to read cyrillic characters is even worse so the journey would be exciting. After letting my nearest and dearest know I had arrived safely I managed to fall over to sleep at about 4am. This morning, I got a couple of texts/emails this morning from my mum and dad both asking me to let them know I was ok which surprised me since I had already checked in with them. Decided to check the news on my blackberry just in case and saw the horrific news about the train bombings on the Metro here. I remember hearing about the 7/7 bombings in London and thinking how scary it would have been to be underground when it was going on, my brother was living in London at the time and it took him about 2 hours to get a phone signal to be able to check in.  The fco website was updated but has since had the section about the incident removed РI guess they're updating it atm.  The pictures of the metro system show just how busy it can be, the first time I used it was just mindblowing Рso many people, not knowing where you're going, not having much clue about how to read the map if you do get lost but a necessary and quite fun part of Moscow life. It is used by everyone getting to and from work, is cheap, punctual and normally very safe. We can only imagine the experiences of those on the trains at the time and hope that as many people as possible can be saved.

Thankfully, all is well РI'm in my hotel room overlooking a city which looks exactly like it did yesterday and trying to focus on this article which my friend @a_r_w sent me.  The conclusion of the article is:

The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and not a particularly common one at that. And our job is to fight those politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and promote security theater that wastes money and doesn't make us any safer.

I am leaving for work shortly.

Inappropriately named reporter

Posted by on Friday, 26 March, 2010

@mrchrisaddison linked to this from twitter – link for the story is

Letter to Lady Hermon re #debill debate April 6th 2010

Posted by on Thursday, 25 March, 2010

Dear Lady Hermon,

I read with interest that you will be standing as an independent at the upcoming election – I congratulate you on standing by your principles and wish you the best of luck!

With regards to the digital economy bill, it has been announced today that there will be a reading and debate held on the 6th April at which it is essential that the government are informed about how bad their plans are. The Open Rights group have a very interesting set of information for those without a direct knowledge of the bill located 

I would be very glad to talk to you about the items listed above and I hope that you will be able to attend the reading and debate to lend your support to this very important campaign. For me, this is a very important issue and will shape how my vote will be cast in the upcoming election.

Yours sincerely,

Potential MPs in North Down & Green party & #debill

Posted by on Thursday, 11 March, 2010
I have made contact with all the potential members of parliament for North Down to be added their mailing lists. So far the only person to contact me back is Steven Agnew from the Green Party. I have asked him for his views on the #debill and received the below in response. It is great to see a party engaging with constituents and I found his views very interesting.

from Steven Agnew <Email Obfuscated>
sender time Sent at 14:26 (UTC). Current time there: 14:41. ‚úÜ
to Simon Whittaker <Email Obfuscatedt>
date 11 March 2010 14:26
subject RE: Digital Economy Bill
hide details 14:26 (14 minutes ago) 
Hi Simon,

 I know a number of genuine musicians who are against this type of legislation.  Artists want their music to be heard, record companies want to make money.

 I think that a site like Spotify strikes the right kind of balance but I accept the points in your letter to Sylvia Hermon; that there is a problem of transferring music between different formats and issues around sharing music which is very much part of the music culture.  I myself still make mix tapes but then I have always been a bit of a technophobe.

 There’s no doubt that the internet has revolutionised how we listen to music and is a threat to the big labels which can only be a good thing for genuine music fans.  Indie labels are more able to adapt and move with the times.

 Hope this gives you an idea of my own personal views.



Steven Agnew
Research Officer
Green Party in Northern Ireland

Room 253, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX.


The Handsome Men’s Club [VIDEO]

Posted by on Tuesday, 9 March, 2010

very funny vid

More #debill letters

Posted by on Tuesday, 2 March, 2010

Having read this link I
have contacted the Lords concerned with the following thoughts:

Dear Lord ???,

I have been following with great interest the passage of the digital
economy bill through the house of lords and have enjoyed watching the
debates on BBC democracy live and the accompanying conversation on
twitter( I have been impressed
with the fight against some of the motions put forward by the
government and I hope that this continues. The measures in the bill
regarding disconnection, mandatory blocking of a free/open internet and
abuse of photographers copyright are dreadful from a technical, legal
and moral perspective. The rights of individuals are being trodden on
by a government obsessed with control.
I have been made aware that there is an amendment due to be tabled in
the morning which will allow entire sites to be blocked if they are
accused of infringing
copyright( ).
In my view this gives the government of the day frankly Orwellian
control over what we are allowed to see, use & do on the internet. In
my view it is a bad amendment to a bad bill and should not be suggested
to a government which has too much power already.

I hope you will consider this before the debate on Wednesday and I will
be watching with interest.

Yours sincerely,

Gave up waiting for root device on ubuntu 9.10

Posted by on Monday, 1 March, 2010

Had real problems this morning with installs of both 9.10 and 9.04 of
ubuntu due to some weirdness with grub and grub2. The error message

Gave up waiting for root device. Common problems:
– Boot args (cat /proc/cmdline)
– Check rootdelay= (did the system wait long enough?)
– Check root= (did the system wait for the right device?)
– Missing modules (cat /proc/modules: Is /dev)
ALERT! /dev/disk/by-uuid/299284d2-0a19-4d89-8187-06ea0bb11807 does not exist.
Dropping to a shell!

To get out of this and get into the install we had to wait about a
minute and then type exit – everything then loaded fine.

To fix the issue took a bit more research and I found assistance both
here( and
The actions required were:

sudo nano -w /etc/default/grub

edit the line which says:
to say
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash rootdelay=90″

then run:
sudo grub-mkdevicemap –no-floppy
sudo update-grub

reboot and BOOM goes the dynamite…