Older blog entries for lkcl (starting at number 654)

Farnham Hustings

well, that was veeery interesting on wednesday. the first of the lot, and the people i met from churches together were absolutely fantastic. the other candidates i met, i also found i was very pleased to be standing with them, get an opportunity to meet them. the people i was sitting next to during the debate were very supportive (is it fair if i say who they were? well - they know, and they were, so thank you :)

what did we discuss? what were the questions?

one was something along the lines of: "what is in your heart when you think of fairness and justice?" and _wow_ that was an interesting question. the answers, as you might expect, were really varied - but i was staring so hard at the piece of paper on which i'd had to ask richard mollet to repeat it for me (!) that i couldn't tell you what they were :)

my answer was that i'm a spiritualist (but i didn't mention that i have a catholic / christian upbringing and background), and so i view this veeery very differently. to understand where i'm coming from, it's best to read "journey of souls" (google it). from that, you appreciate that each of us is born to learn specific lessons; face certain challenges; be a part of peoples' lives; play specific roles and so on. so when you encounter something that is "unfair" or "unjust", and you feel strongly that you should act, that's your "life cue", and you have the free will to choose to act - or not... :)

so, in light of that, (and i perhaps didn't make this clear at the time, but i do keep emphasising it in writing) the "role" i'm putting _myself_ forward for (being a politician) is to empower people when they want to act, in ways that, on their own they feel unable or unwilling to do, so that _they_ can tackle the things that they feel are unfair or unjust (with my help).

the trouble is (as roger meekin's party UKIP is strongly pointing out) that the ability _to_ faithfully represent people - to enact laws in our own country - has been undermined by handing over sovereignty to the European Parliament. yes, you could get the law changed to deal with something, but the next week, a European Directive comes through that requires a _different_ law to be enacted.

and the general feeling from the vast number of people there in the hall, of whom there were somewhere around 1,000, was that they were _extremely_ upset that they had not been consulted about going into the EU, by way of a referendum.

so, i pointed out the alternative method by which they could clearly make their feelings known: reporting the politicians, cabinet offices and prime ministers who took the decision - without consulting us - for committing the crime of treason.

i _wish_ i didn't have to point this out to people. i _wish_ i could just stand on a "purely PPUK manifesto" ticket, but i _can't_ make the promises to people that i will faithfully be able to represent them, without having to prefix every single promise with the words "subject to us being a sovereign nation", and, having researched it, i am _really_ pissed about this and, now that i know that the 1848 law has been broken, i _cannot_ keep quiet about it.

i want to talk to people about how technology can and should empower people! i want to talk to people to warn them of the dangers and insane costs of overstepping the mark in letting big businesses "have their way"! but with our entire political system utterly in pieces on the floor, made irrelevant by the European Parliament and by the Party Whips concentrating power into one man's hands, how _can_ i sit back and say "everything's going to be all right once you've voted one of us in"?

so the big question is: what now? what should people be doing, to take matters into their own hands, to prepare for the upcoming 2012 changeover? for those people who may not be aware: 2012 is the time which all the prophecies in all the religions point as being a "key pivotal moment" in human spiritual development. there are _no_ predictions beyond that point, because the decision of where we go, and what we do next, is to be made *globally*, as an entire planet and a species.

i mentioned in the hustings that people should look up "Transition Towns", and i mentioned that at least 90 japanese towns, brixton and many rural villages in the UK have gone "Transition Town". it's basically the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment, starting early in those areas. they're creating _local_ community ties, creating a _local_ currency (barter is already quite strong in many rural areas in the UK already); people are growing their own food; they're reducing carbon emissions and energy usage.

and this is happening and inspired by people of their own accord! there's no "government initiative" involved. yes, there happens to be some laws, government grants and other things that can be taken advantage of, but the decision is being made _by the people_, and if they can't "get the grants" or "get government help" they just go ahead and do it anyway, regardless.

i think this is absolutely fantastic, and there needs to be more of it. and _fast_. we cannot rely on there being a continuous supply of either oil or national currencies: both are being undermined / running out / controlled.

and do you know what i think the most important thing to preserve is, whilst these "Transitions" are going on? global access to information, via the Internet; freedom of speech; freedom to find a damn good essential idea and copy it and implement it, free from threat of stupid Patents or other ways to "restrict" and "control" people.

oh look: maybe i am a Pirate, after all, and maybe PPUK does fit extremely well with what i stand for.

i'll leave it at that. have to get ready for Godalming Hustings.

20 Apr 2010 (updated 20 Apr 2010 at 21:36 UTC) »
Farnham Hustings 21st April

[update: this has been cleared up - cross-over of communications from several people involved in the organising of the hustings. i'm leaving this here for historical purposes. thank you to churches together for the opportunity to speak to the people of farnham.]

I was initially invited to the above hustings, to be given an opportunity to speak with people. However, it turns out that the person with "authority" to make that decision was away, and it appears that it was "merely assumed" that of course people wishing to represent the South West Surrey Constituency would be given a chance to speak.

I received a messasge today denying that opportunity. Here is my response:

dear churches together,

thank you for responding.

if churches together wishes to rig the next general election by not allowing representatives of parties to speak then i am not interested in being a part of any such proceedings.

"but not to take part in the debate on wider issues" indicates that you have already decided whom people should vote for.

you should be asking yourself why you are doing that.

should this be an oversight on the part of churches together, i apologise for misunderstanding and would welcome an opportunity to "take part in the debate to discuss wider issues".

i look forward to your response.

this conversation will be made a matter of public record.

updated:

dear churches together,

you can find a copy of my response, here :

http://advogato.org/person/lkcl/diary/653.html

i trust that by repeating one sentence of eleven words you would not wish to claim that copyright disbars me from making that sentence public.

i have removed your name but not that a representative of "churches together" has prevented and prohibited me from a reasonable and fair opportunity to discuss "wider views".

i believe that you may be mistaken in thinking that the pirate party is solely and exclusively interested in "narrow views".

please actually _read_ our manifesto which specifically states that the candidates are "free of party whips". http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/wiki/Manifesto

thus, outside of the very short and simple manifesto, which is in effect "Human Rights" upgraded to a Digital Age, i am free to represent peoples' views in ways that the major parties are NOT ALLOWED TO DO.

thus, you are denying people the opportunity to have someone represent them whose level of intelligence, integrity, honesty, and spiritual outlook is, even if i say it myself, far and above that of the majority of politicians. not that i like having to point that out to you, but you push me to having to "sell" myself to you, to make it clear, and i'm not particularly happy about having to overcome what is clearly prejudice on your part.

i trust that this is an oversight on your part that you would wish to correct promptly. [update: which they kindly did, pointing out the cross-over in internal communications, and i'm grateful for the clarification and the opportunity]

l.

Wow, what a rush.

16th I got the approval by Godalming Council Offices (big thank you to Mary O.) to officially stand in South West Surrey in the 2010 UK General Election. I was so pleased it was approved - and first time - but it felt very strange. I felt I wanted to phone everyone and tell them, but what can you say? "Hi, I've managed to get my name onto 46,800 polling cards and it could cost PPUK £500" that's an achievement - hmmm.... :)

I also spoke to some interesting people, which was very important to me to do. The balance of "National Security" between the Digital Economy Bill and other abuses of political power, and the "Ace Card" - let's call it the "Jewel" - that I hold, is something that I take very seriously. I understand this balance better than most. If politicians overstep the mark, threating peoples' security - the People of Our Nation - I reserve the right to act to redress the balance. Not that I expect to be listened to, but hey, that's life.

17th was "recover from 16th" day, catch up on messages.

18th was an interesting day, work-wise (ok, negotiating some work). At least myself and my family got a good lunch.

19th - today - was "begin leaflets" day. All political candidates have an opportunity to send out leaflets to their candidates (in my case - 46,800) at zero charge (postal- wise). I'm doing mine as tiny A6 single-sided jobbies. simple. logo. photo. words. We have veeery little time left, to get them to the Royal Mail. 23rd (Friday!) is the last day that Royal Mail can guarantee delivery before polling day. Leaflets have to be bundled in "100s"; boxes no heavier than 11kg; it takes 48 hours to "approve" the artwork (what??). Then you get a form. then you fill it in. then you have to provide the vehicle registration of the delivery vehicle. Let's hope it all goes through. waah!

11 Apr 2010 (updated 11 Apr 2010 at 12:05 UTC) »
The UK's Criminal Offense of Treason

a friend of mine told me about this retired police officer who reported the crime of treason to his local police station. look it up: it's a really funny story. this guy goes into a police station to report a crime, and the duty officer pretty much laughs at him, until he points to the statute books in his hands. the duty officer still doesn't take him seriously, and doesn't record it as a crime.

as this retired police officer knows his stuff, on his return a couple of weeks later, he reminds the duty officer that by not recording a crime and giving the person a crime reference number, that officer is not "doing his duty", and by "not doing his duty" he can be struck off without pay and without pension.

the retired police officer got his crime reference number, and the funny bit (only not really) is that he then came back, week after week, to check on the progress of the investigation, and, on discovering that it was not being investigated, made such a stink that he managed to get another police force investigating this one for "not doing their duty to investigate the reported crime of treason".

the crime that he reported is that the ted heath government, by handing over sovereign power to the european parliament, committed the crime of treason. not only that, but every cabinet office and every prime minister since then is _complicit_ with that crime of treason.

thus, also, every member of every major party that has been in power since - liberal, labour and conservatives - are complicit in the crime of treason.

i thought... this can't be right.

so i looked it up. and, to quote ian banks in one of his excellent "culture series" novels, Excession, the most appropriate think i can think of to say is "dear holy fucking shit".

the guy's right.

i have to say - it takes quite a lot to upset me, but this has done it.

let's take a look at it, shall we?

3. "If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend to deprive or depose our Most Gracious Lady the Queen, from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom, or of any other of her Majesty’s dominions and countries, or to levy war against her Majesty, within any part of the United Kingdom, in order by force or constraint to compel her to change her measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon or in order to intimidate or overawe both Houses or either House of Parliament, or to move or stir any foreigner or stranger with force to invade the United Kingdom or any other of her Majesty’s dominions or countries under the obeisance of her Majesty, and such compassings, imaginations, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of them, shall express, utter, or declare, by publishing any printing or writing . . . . . . F3 or by any overt act or deed, every person so offending shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable . . . . . . F4 to be transported beyond the seas for the term or his or her natural life . . . . . . F4"

8. "As to the punishment of accessories before and after the fact. In the case of every felony punishable under this Act, every principal in the second degree and every accessory before the fact shall be punishable in the same manner as the principal in the first degree is by this Act punishable; and every accessory after the fact to any such felony shall on conviction be liable to be imprisoned, . . . . . . F7 for any term not exceeding two years."

so by signing away power to the european parliament, these criminals have "overawed both Houses or either House of Parliament". it's very very clear.

not only that, but under the lisbon treaty, it is acceptable for troops from other european member states to be stationed on british soil. this is a bit less clear-cut, but if those troops were to act against british citizens, then they could definitely said to be a "foreigner or stranger with force", and thus anyone who caused them to be "moved" there would have committed an act of treason.

i'm having ... enormous difficulties with this. i'm supposed to be standing as a candidate MP, and yet if i do not go down to my local police station and report this crime, i could go to jail for being complicit in the crime of treason if i become an MP.

ok. ok. deep breath. it's not hard. you've taken on microsoft and adobe, dealt with foreign intelligence agents, and you're not dead. you can do this.

$100 (retail) 300mhz ARM9 netbook with a 10.1in 1024x600 LCD!

linuxfordevices report

chinese review

good god :) i don't know whether to be impressed or horrified. we will see if this machine gets taken up outside of china. on sheer price alone it should be compelling enough, like the Skytone Alpha 400.

but, the problem with the skytone alpha 400 is that due to the low cost, the margins are so low that it's unlikely that retailers actually made enough money to consider doing a different machine.

at this sub-£99 price range, the profit margins per machine are just ridiculous. you have to sell 50,000 machines just to get one person a salary plus tax plus corporation tax.

and, unlike "ordinary" laptops, there's no way you can slap a 2-3 year warranty on it and charge £200 per year for the privilege.

so ... i'll say it again: if free software people want an ARM netbook that they would actually stick with for years, and be happy with, they're going to need to get it custom- made, just like the open-pandora. retailers are _not_ going to deliver.

9 Apr 2010 (updated 9 Apr 2010 at 20:06 UTC) »

i've done a lot of investigation and thinking, and also been asking questions, and have come to the conclusion that there isn't an ARM or a MIPS or any other kind of low-cost non-x86 laptop which any free software user would be happy to buy... and have also come to the conclusion that there won't be one, either, without taking some sort of action that bypasses the current flawed development, production and delivery chain.

the problem is this: retailers simply won't risk selling something that doesn't run windows, and that's the end of it. they haven't got the money to take the risk on something as "unproven" as an ARM or MIPS laptop, especially when the costs of such laptops are so low and the margins are so ridiculous [10% for everybody. not 10% for the manufacturer, 10% for the agent, 10% for the retailer: 10% for _everybody_] that the only way the retailers can make money is by mis-selling you massively on a 2 or 3 year warranty scam.

then, the cost of designing a laptop from scratch includes costs like $100,000 for the plastic moulding (it's an art not a science). thus, the manufacturers have to sell at least 40,000 units at $120 each with a mere 5% markup in order to get a return on investment.

in short: if you want an ARM or a MIPS netbook from a retailer, at a reasonable price and with the kinds of features (decent 1280x768 or better screen; 8+ hour battery life) that you'd expect of an x86-based laptop, you can flat-out forget it.

thus, i come to the conclusion that the only way to get one is to get it made - just like the open-pandora custom-made a stonking games console for 4,000 people, which is just going into mass- production, now: sta tus.

now, as there would need to be consensus on what people would like, and it's necessary for other people to also know what everyone _else_ would like, it pains me to have to invite people to contact me with either a simple aol-style "metoo" posting, or an example specification and/or features that they'd prefer, along with a maximum price that they'd be willing to pay. please bear in mind that you should _only_ do this if you _actually_ would part with the money - possibly up-front (just like the open-pandora) in order to help fund the development / purchasing.

just so you know: i've already done the same thing on the open-pandora forum, and the response was actually very positive. even the troll with his tiresome campaign to have open-pandora discredited as a ponzi scheme was surprisingly useful, as people came out in defense of the pandora's creators and the method by which the money was raised. 4000 people trusted the open-pandora creators enough to pay up-front. isn't that something?

the Open Pandora forum posters basically came up with something like this, which i kinda could have predicted, but wanted _them_ - as you - to "have a say":

  • * 1gb of DDR2 RAM
  • * minimum of 1200 x 768 screen (i.e anything that calls itself WXGA)
  • * matte finish LCD _not_ glossy.
  • * 10in+ screen size (but keeping to a size which doesn't eat power. 10in = 4-5 watts; 11in = 5-6 watts...)
  • * 8+ hour battery life (see above for biggest power hog)
  • * 3D graphics capability
  • * decent keyboard (e.g. the one on the Asus 1000HE)
  • * nipple as well as trackpad - and a _decent_ trackpad
  • * option for an internal SATA drive
  • * at least 2 full-power-spec'd USB2 ports (close together)
  • * option for at least 2 SD/MMC card slots (at least one for booting)
  • * option for internal 3G, space for internal WIFI, option for etc. etc.
  • * HDMI out

now, pricing all that up i come to _approximately_ a $212 BOM if you use a 1ghz Samsung S5PC110 or a Freescale 1ghz iMX51, and you "reuse" an EXISTING case design rather than have that massive $100k case design NRE. it's quite a lot, but the most expensive component by far and above is the LCD [estimated $80 in 1k volumes: it's approx $55 by the time you get into mass-volume 100k pricing] and the next the battery [estimated $30 for a 50Wh battery, i.e. providing approx 7 watts for 8 hours continuous].

approximate individual component breakdown, for 1k volumes, it works roughly like this: CPU $25; DDR2 1gb $18; Case+Keyboard+Mouse: $15; 11in 1280x768 LCD $80; 2gb NAND $6; PCI-e WIFI $9; LVDS, USB-Hubs and other bits: $15; PCBs: $5; Battery $30; SATA in the form of a 375mhz TI AM1808 ARM CPU (not kidding! i haven't found a cheaper way yet!) $9. the irony of adding the AM1808 is that you'd get an extra 10/100 ethernet, an extra high-speed USB-OTG port and two extra SD/MMC interfaces thrown in for free.

there _are_ other ways to get cheaper than that, i am sure. such as using a $32 8.9in or 10.1in 1024x600 intolerable screen; using a USB2-to-SATA IC such as the GL830 from genesys logic which entirely defeats the object of having a 3gbit/sec hard drive interface if it's bottlenecked through a 0.48gbit/sec one; and by using an $8 14Wh battery instead of an estimated $30 50Wh one. all of these things are possible, but you end up with a cheap, cheerful, nasty and intolerable device which you'd resent having bought, where in fact the whole point of the exercise is to get something that you're so happy with that you'd pay _up front_ (to someone that you trust with your money) in order to get it, and you'd recommend it to your friends and family _and_ to complete strangers in the street, too.

so - yeah, you can shave nearly $80 off that by going down to "lower quality" components - but do you _really_ want to? maybe you do. if so, please say so.

last thing: anticipating potential questions, such as "why are you bothering with this? surely there are existing machines, right? surrely there _must_ be something out there, already, such that it is necessary to avoid this insane exercise??" to which the answer is: if you are happy with $300+ and you are happy with only an 8.9in or a 10.1in 1024x600 LCD, suuure, there's no need - but the whole reason why i'm advocating that people band together in order to get group purchasing power is because i don't believe that you find 1024x600 LCDs, or those kinds of screen sizes, to be acceptable. we're free software people: we're _instantly_ outside the mass-market "box".

but - to put your mind at rest, here's a list of what i've been able to find so far. if anyone finds anything different or better PLEASE TELL ME, and if it's better rather than different i will a) shut up b) go buy it myself :)

* CT-PC89E http://elinux.org/CT-PC89E. new machine: sadly, the software suppliers (to chitech) are GPL violators, thus making chitech GPL violators as well (whoops). machine is $102 in 20k volumes, FOB (i.e. direct from factory). 667mhz S3C6410, 8.9in 1024x600 LCD. CPU is upgradeable (on an SO-DIMM)

* Norhtec Edubook http://www.norhtec.com/products/gecko/index.html - $200 retail. 1ghz x86 SoC, 512mb RAM, 8.9in 1024x600 LCD. CPU is upgradeable (on a Module board)

* Leemote Loongson hackable-devices.org/products/product/lemote-yeeloong-8089- a-notebook/ - $EUR 300 retail. 900mhz _64-bit_ MIPS (cool!) 1gb RAM, 8.9in 1024x600 LCD. Leemote also do a 10.1in but again, it's 1024x600.

* Lenovo Skylight. Qualcomm 1ghz Snapdragon, 10.1in 1024x600 LCD, includes built-in 3G. rumoured retail price: $500. can you get one, retail? no - of course not.

* The Always Innovating "Touchbook". 600mhz OMAP3530, 512mb RAM and, yep, you guessed it: an 8.9in 1024x600 LCD. pricing $299 as a tablet and an extra $100 for the keyboard plus extra battery. utterly cute machine, but... it's yet another 9in netbook with an unusable screen...

* Fabled Mythical Pegatron Netbook: 1ghz iMX51, 10.1in 1024x600 LCD. price estimated to be $150 to $200 in volume *over a year ago* - and _still_ nobody's buying, because ... nobody's selling.

so, those are the machines i know about. if you like them, great, go buy them (in quantity 1 or quantity 20,000, it's your choice). if not, and you'd actually prefer something with a better resolution screen, big battery and a decent keypad and trackpad, _do_ say so. also please bear in mind that the approx $212 BOM doesn't include shipping, tax, customs duty, build costs, engineering time or the cost of an SATA hard drive, but it does give you a rough idea of what's involved.

i think there's a lot more people out there who'd want something like this - but how many? we just won't know, until people start saying so.

9 Apr 2010 (updated 9 Apr 2010 at 15:47 UTC) »
Letter to the Guardian

In response to this article I have written to The Guardian:

"The last straw was when it was revealed that Stephen Timms –- the minister for Digital Britain – was under the impression that "IP address" referred to "intellectual property", rather than internet protocol. "

dear guardian,

i'm standing as a pirate party candidate in the south west surrey constituency. i note that your article mentioned the Minister for Digital Britain not knowing what an "IP address" is.

i'd like to say two things about this.

firstly: in the modern digital age, surely it is important to have MPs in the House of Commons who actually understand Software and the Internet, yes? are there any MPs currently in power who could actually tell you what the implications really are of increased reliance on IT and the Internet to underpin our way of life? are there any MPs who can tell you how peoples' identities and data can be properly protected, so that when a CD is lost by a Government Department and found by a member of the public, and the CD is "password protected" but has the password written on the CD, it wouldn't matter because the identities are indirectly linked to the data?

secondly: i would like to point out that the words "Intellectual Property" make me cringe every time I hear them. the reason is simple. what are the synonyms for those two words? Intelligence and Ownership. Information and Enslavement. so, the phrase "Intellectual Property" is actually about the Enslavement of Information and Intelligence. We thought that slavery ended a century ago, but it persists in the form of this insidious but nebulous phrase "Intellectual Property". Thus, anyone who supported the Digital Economy Bill - by their actions or their lack of actions - has just helped a failing Industry to protect its interests by creating slavery laws. Thank you very much for that, Dear Politicians: you've made your total lack of understanding of the Digital Age very very clear; the door is _this_ way, please do not collect your pension on the way out.

hypatia: get _very_ good baby-carrier slings. i use the "sleepy-wrap", get the high-quality material; marie uses the "hippy chick rider", it's a side- sling. the one she uses outside is just a seat: the "scoota baby hip carrier". these two can't be used with a new-born: only the "sleepy-wrap" can. you can literally swaddle baby in it (you have to wrap it pretty tight).

also, carry on breast-feeding; get clothes where you have easy-access (even when baby is in the sling), and get a car- seat.

you then have the best of all worlds. you get to keep to your principles, and you get to make use of your friends andn family who own cars.

9 Apr 2010 (updated 9 Apr 2010 at 12:34 UTC) »
Standing as a Pirate Party Candidate

yep, i'm standing as an MP in the next general election.

i was asked recently by a constituent about nuclear proliferation. i thought it best to reply here, publicly. please understand that as the Pirate Party manifesto covers Copyright Law, Privacy and Freedom of Speech, anything that is outside of that remit - such as nuclear proliferation - is entirely personal views, and has nothing to do with the Pirate Party.

the questions i was asked basically are: would you vote, yes or no, to continue spending billions on trident; would you back support for an international ban on nuclear weapons, yes or no.

the short answers are, first question: _i_ do not have the right to make that decision (no politician does) - i will represent the "will of the people", no more, no less; second question: damn fricking right i will.

that's the short answers: now we need some explanations.

the person who wrote to me made some very clear and intelligent points: an arms race encourages stable and unstable regimes alike to research, develop or obtain nuclear weapons.

thus, owning nuclear weapons does not result in either safety or security: rather it merely places you into a situation where you can threaten one country's population with death, should they choose to cause the death of your country's population.

therein lies an assumption: that the country that is threatening your population with death CARES about its own population. what if the regime - the person with their finger on the button - is so unstable that they WANT the entire world to descend into chaos, and WANT to bring about the death of billions?

the key shocking insight and parallel is this: humans who want an "arms race" are no more advanced, in spirituality or intelligence, than animals. animals - especially alpha males - posture and gesture. they show their claws; they roar, they show their teeth and their coloured plumage or backsides. these animals are "gesturing" so that they do not _actually_ have to fight. sometimes that works; sometimes it does not, and the animals have to resort to violence to resolve the issue.

the proliferation of nuclear weapons is no different. each country wants to be able to protect its population; each country has to have the tools and means to do that, and if they feel threatened, they'll get it by any means necessary.

now - here's where animals and humans differ: we have the ability to communicate and negotiate. thus, we can enter into treaties. "we'll pay you billions of dollars per year if you will offer to be our protector. if someone blows us to smithereens, you promise to blow them to smithereens".

there's a slight problem with such treaties: they place the sovereignty of countries into the hands of the "protector". i'll say that again. the country that places its "safety" into the hands of another realm is effectively no longer a sovereign state. why? because that country can be blackmailed: the plug can be threatened to be pulled on the deal, at any time, and that kind of threat is something that has to be taken seriously.

thus, sadly, in effect, in an awful way, owning nuclear weapons guarantees that a country can retain its sovereignty.

i don't really like reaching that conclusion, not least because if you look above (the assumption pointed out at the beginning), that sovereignty is only relevant if you actually have a live population to care for, instead of a smoking barren wreck of a radioactive planet.

let's come back to that blackmailing issue.

what if a country gets threatened by their "protector" that they will withdraw their "protection"? what can that country do about that? well, let's see - they could potentially go and talk to another country, and negotiate another deal. if, say, the United States threatens to withdraw its "protection", that country might wish to enter into an agreement with any of the other Sovereign Nuclear Powers, such as China, Russia, North Korea, Israel, France (or even Iran - assuming they've actually got nuclear capability).

goodness me, that wouldn't go down very well, would it? countries entering into treaties with Iran or North Korea for nuclear protection, my gosh golly _that_ must never happen, must it.

thus, it would be viewed as utterly essential by say for example the United States to ensure that that never happens. it would be essential to ensure say for example by the United States that the countries over which it has an absolute stranglehold, remain, in effect "De- Sovereigntised".

this is why it is so essential that the Sovereignty of Nations be re-established, because it has a world stabilising effect. blackmailing such as this could not happen, because Sovereign states could simply walk away from one treaty after being threatened and secretly negotiate another, with other countries.

even the _possibility_ of being able to secretly negotiate such treaties is enough to guarantee that a "protector" will not threaten to renege on its existing treaties.

the thought of one country being able to secretly negotiate for protection with another country like Iran or North Korea WOW that should send an absolute rocket up the backsides of anyone thinking of blackmailing another Sovereign State.

so, if we had complete secrecy of communications between Sovereign States, stability can be achieved between Nations.

the key here is secrecy.

and the problem that we have right now is that secrecy - privacy - is extremely difficult to achieve (oh look - maybe this issue is why i joined and am standing for the Pirate Party after all....)

imagine the two following scenarios:

US: "we're going to withdraw our 'protection' unless you support us on X [ACTA, DEB, CAFTA etc.]" UK: "well, then, you can get lost - we don't need your 'protection'" US: "are you negotiating with a rogue state for alternative 'protection'??" UK: "that's absolutely none of your business: we are a Sovereign State. we don't like your threat." US: "oh shit. please don't back out on the deal, we didn't mean it really, ha ha" UK: "do you hear us laughing? you phoned _us_ to threaten us with blackmail to sign a deal that's not in our nation's interests. _don't_ do that again." US: "sorreee."

or do you prefer this:

US: "we're going to withdraw our 'protection' unless you support us on X [ACTA, DEB, CAFTA etc.]. under the so- called 'terror' laws you kindly enacted har har, we have access to all your communications; we have access to all the banking records. we have far more powerful crypto than you. we hav far more powerful crypto crackers than you. you cannot do anything without us knowing about it. therefore, we hold all the cards. now do what we want." UK: "oh shit".

which of those two scenarios do you prefer? which one makes it clear that secrecy of communications between Sovereign States is of absolute paramount critical importance, for the security and stability of our planet? perhaps you _like_ the idea that one country can have all the absolute power and control.

so.

deep breath, after all that :)

that's some quite complex background - quite a lot of perfectly logical, reasoned and reasonable "what ifs" - and i'd like to reassure the person who contacted me that i have ALREADY been working for quite some time, with no backing, no "permission" from anyone, no help and no funding whatsoever of any kind from any other party, organisation or individual, to offer Sovereign States the means to achieve secrecy of communications, in order that they can regain their absolute inviolate right to National Sovereignty.

thus, indirectly, you have your answer: by re- establishing Sovereignty between Nations through invoilate secrecy of communications, stability is achieved far more effectively than nuclear weapons ever could, themselves. one final thing to emphasise: i hope i've made it clear that i believe that by using and developing our intelligence and our strength of spirit, we as a planet "rise above" our animalistic base instincts, and have the good sense to focus on exactly the issues that you raised in your letter to me: spending money on local infrastructure instead of insane gesturing - but it is necessary for _all_ nations to be elevated, not just the "elite few".

simply put: by voting for me, you will be placing me in a much stronger position to be able to complete the goal that i, personally, have set out to achieve. issues which don't necessarily _directly_ relate to the role of "South West Surrey MP" but are at least a step in the right direction :)

this has been quite a long response: i'll leave the issue of Genetic Modified foods as weapons of mass destruction, which i believe that they are, and thus should also be banned under the Geneva Convention, for another time.

7 Apr 2010 (updated 7 Apr 2010 at 23:23 UTC) »
music and machines

i just watched "be cool" - it's a silly film, with a lot going on and some nice touches you have to watch out for. just the kind of thing i like. reminds me of "the player" - self-deprecating of hollywood and yet clever, funny and complex at the same time.

anyway - i haven't written for a while because i've been concentrating on putting a 100% free software compatible ARM netbook deal together. the chain goes something like this:

* lots of low-cost decent computer designs get made by manufacturers, such as the pegatron ARM netbook over a year ago, the lenovo skylight and many more.

* retailers look at them, love the lower price but then freak out because the machines can't run windows.

* individuals call the manufacturers and get blown off because the manufacturers won't speak to anyone who isn't buying 50,000 units. the reason for that is that the cost of producing the plastic case alone is $100,000 for the moulding; the engineering time and other materials is let's say about another $150,000. thus, if you're selling machines at $120 a time and only making 5%, you _need_ to sell at least 41,600 machines just to break even.

so, there's this huge gap between the manufacturers and the people who actually understand that ARM or MIPS processors are perfectly capable of running a decent OS - free software folks.

in those "free software folks" i would include anyone who's been running ubuntu on their laptop for more than eight months and has decided that they really don't need to dual-boot their intel laptop any more, because they just don't use anything on the windows partition any more - it's just taking up space.

so their next laptop or desktop machine might as well be one of these ARM or MIPS machines, because, well, sure it's a brave move, but that $150 desktop price or that $200 netbook price suure looks compelling...

... but wait, where are the online stores selling ARM netbooks? and what retailers are selling them?

absolutely none.

so - here's what i'm doing: i'm setting up an open-pandora-esque survey, which in fledgeling form there's a pre-run here, discussions underway.

if you've seen the openpandora, its success isn't so much the actual machine; the success is the fact that it was made on-demand, after the online games console shop owners decided that they'd had enough of the mass-market console makers not making something that they really wanted, asked if anyone would be interested in buying something really good _if_ it was available, and then financing its construction purely through pre-orders and deposits!

in the "intel / amd" realm, we see a lot of machines, there is a massive range and plenty of choice - except regarding the processor type. except... the processor is a non-integrated monkey-eating power hog that requires support infrastructure, massive communications bandwidth to the peripherals (video, SATA) i mean it's crazy. have you _seen_ the prices on PCI-e chips, PCI-e to PCI chips, SATA controllers and ... yes, you know the prices on Video cards - it's madness.

one integrated CPU such as the freescale iMX515 or the samsung S5PC110 can do all that: 3D OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics; ATA-6 IDE controller; DDR2 memory support; High-speed USB2; 2 LCD panels; HDMI Digital Video out; 10/100 Ethernet - the list of integrated connectivity just goes on and on - and it's on one chip, costing between $18 and $25 depending on clock speed.

so i've had enough, and i'm creating a survey site, with two phases:

* phase 1 - the "what do you want and can't get and really want to pay for" phase. this will be the key bit: collect information about what people want, keep them informed about what other people also want, so they can group together and get better bulk purchasing power.

* phase 2 is the "ok the specs that the most people want and are happy with the final cost, we now go look for it or we just get it made" phase.

my partner, marie, she doesn't do computers, she just uses them for the communications aspect. i was talking to her this morning, and we kinda put two and two together. we realised that whilst free software has been successful by continuing to ride on the back of the reduction in component pricing thanks to windows being such a resource-hog, free software won't be truly successful until it breaks free of that.

in other words, it's time that computers were designed which had free software in mind from the outset, rather than being bought and having the proprietary OS removed.

and with the cost of the components that are _actually_ needed now being so low, it's the perfect moment.

answer: make a survey, find out what people want, then make the damn thing.

update - SATA

someone on the gpx32 forum asked about having an SATA controller. so i looked up the prices, and there don't exist memory-addressable SATA controllers. so, i looked up memory-addressable PCI-e PHY chips: $7 from TI. then, i looked up PCIe-to-PCI bridge chips: $9 from TI. then i looked up PCI-to-SATA PHY chips: couldn't find any from TI, looked around, still couldn't find any, found something called the SIL3134 and then my number-sense kicked in and went "$16 for just the ...." and went "fuckit".

then, after michelle on arm-netbooks said "why not do PATA using a general-purpose microcontroller, or use a TI DSP with SATA on it?" i went "hmmm..." and looked up the latest ARM9 CPUs that TI have: there's an AM1808 for just under $9 in 1k volumes, runs at 375mhz, and has a 3gbit/sec SATA interface _and_ an HPI (Host Parallel Interface) where you can hook it up and do DMA transfers between the host (at the host's clock rate) and the AM1808.

now _that_ would be wicked, especially because the AM1808 has high-speed USB-OTG, 10/100 ethernet, two more SD/MMC cards, on-board RAM (128k) and on-board ROM (32k). you could write a tiny OS and a matching linux driver to control the peripherals.

i haven't found _anything_ comparable in price that has such a stonking level of integrated modern peripherals, at such a low price-point. TI is really onto a winner, here.

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