Monday 14 November 2011

More classic quotes reworked for the times

A rose by any other brand would sell more cheap.

Ask not what you can do with the country side, with the country side you can do - for a fee.

Sunday 13 November 2011

More classics updated: The Rubáiyát

The classic Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is beyond my reach, but I can speculate on what might have been written had the author possessed the fore-sight of Nostradamus.


The press-ed finger spraying coloured scrit
  moves in the night, with daubs of teenage wit
Though teacher calls to write a dozen lines
  in tears of boredom motionless they sit

might have been rendered instead of the classic and more well known:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
  Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
  Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

It lacks the gravitas of the original but this is perhaps more than compensated for by the more comprehensive embodiment of the modern daily experience of many of us, which after all is what I feel the poet was striving for.

And which of us doesn't truly appreciate the lack of power that any amount of tears or frustration can exercise over the leaving bell?

Were I not able to express it so concisely I would go on with more verses as did the poet of old, but I feel that the reader will rightly be able to grasp my position.

I also feel it unnecessary to emphasis the difficulty in removing graffiti, a point which seemed to obsess the poet which caused him to labour the point.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Oswald McDuff

The official Ozymandias is a classic and well received all round, but it's not very realistic. So I've done my own version which I think answers the deficiencies of realism in the classic. Apologies to Shelly.

Oswald McDuff

I met, whilst travelling in an antique land,
a stranger, smartly dressed and on his own
who beckoning, drew near me, with his hand
a welcome bidding, and a winning smile,
a twinkling eye, an aspect oh so grand,
Then in his foreign tongue these words he read:
"You've just arrived in this historic place
the home of kings and queens though now long dead"

And on his shiny badge, the words inscribed
(lest there be any doubt in those who seek)
"official metropolitan tour guide"
but no-one listened... and I heard him say
that if I had the extra time to spare
the five pounds special guided tour today

Sam Liddicott 2011

The original is below, which I am sure you will agree was in need of improvement, as well as desart spelling properly. Old poets can get away with anything these days.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Shelley 1819

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Goodbye Ubuntu - probably

Ubuntu has been great. I've had years of top-notch software, for free, and with access to the source code which I have had to hack about from time to time.

But it may be time to say goodbye. Ubuntu's direction is entirely their concern but it is getting in my way.

So if I can't like it, and I don't want to lump it, I may have to leave it.

The Ubuntu/gnome strategy seems to be to replace a nearly-done application with a much less done application which will catch up real soon.

For instance:
  • gthumb image viewer gets replaced with eog (eye-of-gnome) which can't print more than one photo to a page
  • rhythmbox gets replaced with banshee
  • beagle gets replaced with tracker
  • gnome 3 shell gets replaced with unity
  • tomboy gets replaced with gnote
and so on.

And then there are problems with using launchpad their issue-tracker. The typical ubuntu bug-report scenario is like like this:
  1. file a bug
  2. wait 1-2 years
  3. bug gets marked as invalid
    This doesn't mean it isn't a valid bug, it means the bug team can't/won't work with it - perhaps because the person who reported the bug got a new computer after a couple of years, and so wouldn't be able to confirm if a fix was ever released.
  4. If you are lucky, the bug was fixed upstream and you may get the fix in a future Ubuntu release, along with some different long-term bugs.
Bug reports languish dreadfully. For instance, the bug lifecycle for printers is twice as long as I keep a printer for. I can be on my third printer before a fix comes out.

Ubuntu use of launchpad seems designed to disuade people from using launchpad. Rather than the point of "report all bugs" it is the point of "being insulted for reporting any bug".

In an effort to fix this (it seems) bug reports are now automatically closed if no-one from the Ubuntu team has responds in an arbitrary the time-frame.

What makes it worse is that Shuttleworth abandoned his bug-bounty idea; so it is impossible for individual users financially support Canonical or Ubuntu, or get support or contribute to support on issues that matter.

Individual users (non-enterprise customers) are reduced to the level of beggars who can contribute if they don't mind being insulted by launchpad. But any value in the contributions will likely leak away through inaction.

I like ubuntu but they don't like me, and there is no way to pay them any money as I'm not corporate enough to be worth bothering with.

I think that Mint is where it is at; while ubuntu is "debian done nicely" - Mint seems to be: "ubuntu with the bugs actually fixed"

so long, and thanks for all the fish.

It's been really great, and if it's been mostly one-way, it's not for want of trying.

Thursday 3 November 2011

There are no human rights

There are no human rights, only obligations.

If I strip a human of his rights and abuse him, it is me that becomes inhuman and a brute, not him.

If, therefore, the removal of rights changes me and not him, then the rights are really vested in me as an obligation.

It is my obligation to act as a human, and (dare I say it) to treat others as I would be treated.

It is sad to see that close on the heels of worldwide recognition of human rights comes the terms under which humans can be denied those rights; certain classes of felony, enemy combatants, terrorist suspect, and so on.

I wonder if the talk of human rights is merely a precursor to wider defined abuses which are legally justified and now morally acceptable.

Once we see that the rights do not exist, only as an obligation, we are free to wonder how inhuman brutes obtain positions of authority in a political democracy.