Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Big Brother is a reality

The NSA (National Security Agency) in the United States are currently building a massive data centre in Utah.... it's going under the bland name of "The Utah Datacentre"  it will be opened  and ready for business in 2013

Here's a few facts about the place.

  • it's going to need 65 Megawatts to run it
  • It has the capability to run for 3 days without power on it's own generators
  • it also has 60,000 tons of cooling equipment to keep the servers cool
  • Four 25,000-square-foot facilities house rows and rows of servers.
  • Water storage and pumping able to pump 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day
  • Video surveillance, intrusion detection, and other protection will cost more than $10 million.

Just to give you an idea 25,000 square foot of floor space is a building 2322 Sq/metres and there will be four of these huge buildings just for the storage of racks and racks of servers, overall the entire data centre will occupy one million square feet OR that is 22 football pitches (English pitches).

I quote from Wired  

"Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate"

It will be able to store a Yottabyte of data . To put that in context a Yottabyte is equal to one septillion (one long scale quadrillion or 1024) bytes (one quadrillion gigabytes). and if that number is too big to get your head around according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) basically a massive amount of data.

So it's no mere coincidence that "The Utah Datacentre" will have the ability to store a Yottabyte it will need that as a buffer to catch everything then sift the interesting stuff.....

It's a massive task and the NSA not happy with tapping into where the big fat fibre optic pipes hit their shorelines from "the rest of the world"  and listening in to all the many satellites that provided data and voice circuits over America.... No that would only give them international traffic coming into the United States....They went one step further and have tapped into the switches that sit in every city giving them access to ALL internal homeland communications. They have even hinted that they are able to break strong encryption.....the program goes under the name of Stellar Wind

I suppose the only way you could prove that is if you sent a PGP encrypted email to an American friend stating that you were going to bomb such and such a place on such and such a day, then turn up at the airport in the United States and see if you're arrested.... However that acid test might not be understood by the US courts system and you "could" spend a lot of time in jail, So I don't recommend it...... but at least you'd know if they could break PGP ..... In fact it wouldn't surprise me if this blog has been flagged for inspection considering I've uttered the words America and bomb on the same domain/blog....

The level of paranoia in America is almost tangible, whilst I admire good security and countermeasures to keep the baddies at bay, tapping into the entire internet and listening in to whatever they like is taking things a bit far in my book.

The story was broken a few years ago but now this "well known" secret program has been sort of "legalised" and they can openly tap every single person who uses a phone / computer. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network Mr Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

Still think you're having a private conversation ?

Paranoia gone mad.........

Friday, 23 March 2012

Humax DVR 9150-T

Well our Sagem 250GB DVR died recently with a massive hard disk failure, sadly Sagem use the hard disk for loading the firmware that runs the DVR.... so if your hard drive goes down, you become the owner of a very expensive brick

Temporarily I borrowed my parents spare digibox so that we could at least watch TV .....but to be cast back in time by HAVING to watch TV programmes when they were actually showing them was a major bind, especially when you've been spoiled with recording TV for later consumption and more importantly the pause button so that we can pause the broadcast to explain to the sullen one what is going on every 9 minutes.... (to be fair she isn't that bad these days)

Anyway I shopped around, compared specifications, initially it was a toss up between the Humax range and the  Topfield range..... I eventually settled on Humax and mainly because Humax were clearing stock levels and instead of the usual £180 we got ours for £86 plus delivery not bad at all :) 

Three words "it is brilliant" simple to operate does exactly what it says on the tin and compared to our old DVR from Sagem it is beyond comparison..... 

Advertisement break skip !!! (how did we manage without this before ?)

accurate recording AS the programme starts and finishes....to the second or less

but the thing that sold it to me was the fact that you can put a bigger hard disk in ANY time you want and you can format it from the menu..... So at the moment we've got a 160GB SATA II drive in there, which gives us "about" 100 hours recording  which will be replaced for probably a 500GB drive at some point giving us over 300 hours of recorded bliss :) 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

George Osborne is a [expletive of choice]

Well there we have it, the budget is done and dusted, the richer are richer and the poorer are poorer and meanwhile the middle gets squeezed.

No change there then.

Fuel duty is set to rise in August 2012 by a whopping 16p per gallon, it's not enough that the government already cream off more in tax than the product is worth, and if you think back the excuses for raising the tax on fuel have been varied.... but the bottom line is "they'll pay it because they have to" but I can see quite a bit of unrest on the horizon. This has gone too far now for a lot of people.

but what makes it particularly hard to swallow is the following :-

Osborne is part of the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy and is heir to the Osborne baronetcy  

This is from a man who in October 2008, Osborne's school and university friend the financier Nathaniel Rothschild stated that George Osborne had tried to solicit a £50,000 donation from the Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, which would have been a violation of the law against political donations by foreign citizens....

(surely he knew that at the time ????)

This is the man who In 2009,  received criticism for the way he had handled his expenses, after he was found to have "flipped" his second home

(surely he knew that ?????)

He has an estimated personal fortune of around £4 million, as the beneficiary of a trust fund that owns a 15-per-cent stake in Osborne & Little, the wallpaper-and-fabrics company co-founded by his father.

So lets sum up, this completely honest man who is in charge of the UK's government financial systems got a  second class honours, upper division (2:1) at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford in Modern History and he runs the UK's exchequer ??? You'd think you'd need some kind of degree in mathematics or fiscal policy or  even Business Studies or absolutely ANYTHING other than a degree in Modern History !!!

That's like giving a cocaine addled public schoolboy the controls to a Boeing 787 airliner and telling him to fly the passengers to New York and land safely..... lets face it, it isn't going to end well.....

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Toulouse school killer

7-year-old Miriam Monsonego, daughter of school headmaster
 Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego
who was killed in a shooting attack at the Ozar Hatorah School
 in Toulouse, France
I am absolutely sickened by this man(I use the term loosely) in France killing those children outside their school, what sort of person does it take to execute innocent children like that ? it's beyond comprehension.... mine at least.

I'm usually not a supporter of the death penalty but this man should be found and summarily executed without trial in my opinion. There is NO excuse on this Earth or valid political motive for killing children, and neither do we need to find out what motivated him. He just needs his DNA completely removing from society, as do all child killers. Why waste tax payers money on them keeping them or treating them for their delusions. If they live by the sword then they can die by it. 

I probably have this one exemption on the death penalty because I have children, and like many other parents am utterly repulsed by his actions. 

I hope they track him down and they have to kill him rather than capture him.... he is utter vermin.

The dead were Jonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old rabbi and teacher of religion originally from Jerusalem, and his two sons, aged four and five.

The fourth person killed was a seven-year-old girl, Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the head teacher. She died in her father's arms.

How sad and heartbreaking .......

Since writing this thankfully they have tracked down the low life.....


All I can hope for is that it ends really suddenly and badly for him......not an ounce of sympathy for the scumbag

(and so it came to pass) 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Very Geeky Update

 cd /usr/local/bin && wget -O sgfxi smxi.org/sgfxi && chmod +x sgfxi && sgfxi

Yup that's it all in one line

that line of code which you simply cut and past into a terminal of your Ubuntu Linux will "correctly" install your video driver missing out all of the heartache and head scratching usually required to load a new version of a video driver onto your distribution.

There are a few preliminaries you need to attend to before running that script and they are (note these steps down because once you've pressed CTRL-ALT-F1 they've gone)

to stop your x server
Press: CTRL-ALT-F1

Your pretty gui will disappear but don't panic

Type: sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
 once it's stopped (it will tell you)

Type: cd /usr/local/bin && wget -O sgfxi smxi.org/sgfxi && chmod +x sgfxi && sgfxi

on one line (obviously you need to be connected to the internet)
 once its done (it does tell you)

your desktop session will be restarted in all it's glory :)

should that fail you can always revert

To restart x server
Type: sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start
Press: CTRL-ALT-F7
To save config file

Clear ?  Good .... Enjoy

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

UK's Digital Economy Act

As you can see the turn out for the debate was standing room only.....sigh

It seems BT and TalkTalk have lost their case regarding the Act and it will mean ISPs will have to send warning letters to alleged illegal file downloaders, as well as potentially cutting users off.....

This firmly puts the responsibility into the ISP's hands which means they have to police their networks, which means they will have to actively monitor every single user they have, which can mean only one thing.... The cost of having a broadband connection will rise to cover that cost.... 

But what the idiotic politicians don't realise is that once you stop one method of file sharing they will simply develop another method to share music and films, only this time they will make it impossible for anybody to eavesdrop on what they are doing..... Look what happened with Napster ? They then moved to P2P file sharing, they are now moving to magnet links......The politicians will simply drive file sharing underground and there will be a massive subculture, sharing just as much as they used to but under the protection of hard encryption.... and the thing is how does an ISP distinguish between an encrypted bit of information and a violation of the UK's Digital Economy Act ? 

The simple truth is they can't... which is why this whole Digital Economy Act is a load of utter tripe, all it will do is get innocent parents in trouble with the law when their 10 year old kid decides to download the latest film and they will be pounced on by the ISP because they are upholding the law. Meanwhile the hardened filesharers will be blissfully sharing away underneath the detectable breaches of copyright in a darkened netherworld of encryption and push button privacy. Fortunately I've blocked all such activity on our home network and encrypted our connection, I've also done the same with my parents connection, just so they won't be taken advantage of once all this kicks in.

I sometimes wonder how politicians get to be politicians, do they have to prove how stupid and idiotic they are before a committee before they are allowed to practice politics ?

What does concern me is that all the broadband users who have open WiFi connections and have no idea what encryption is let alone why they are getting letters stating they are infringing copyright ? It opens up a whole new can of worms, but apparently ignorance is a crime in the digital economy act, an open WiFi connection is no excuse apparently.

Whilst I am all for artists protecting their work and making a living from it, the digital economy act is akin to trying to close Pandora's box.... but its been opened and there is no putting things back or trying to bolt the gate after the horse has gone.... 

While ever people have the ability to copy music or films they will, it's not even considered particularly bad these days if you do copy a film or music.... until people are made to feel like its shoplifting or smash and grab any policies or laws put in place simply will not work, end of.......

In the meantime we continue to be watched and controlled..... the backlash off this will be huge..... just watch what happens.......

Friday, 2 March 2012

Had to laugh at this

it's a knee generator developing 5 watts of power, and at the moment is at the design stage......as you can clearly see..... because you couldn't wear THAT under your jeans, apparently it is only good for charging mobile phones at the moment and does slow the walker down, and the designers say it has applications for hill walkers etc

you have to ask the question why would a well prepared hill walker go out in the wilds with a mobile phone where the battery was flat, but they had the forethought to pack this metal brick in their backpack ?

Surely it would be better to make sure your phone was charged before you left the house ? plus I can't see walkers walking around with one of these strapped to their knees ruining their very expensive all weather walking trousers, and the last thing you want on a trip up Snowdon is this mechanical leech sapping your very last energy reserves to top your phone up !!! mind you if you are lying injured in some ditch and your mobile phone is flat I can't think of a better device to use to summon help.....mind you, you would need to do 500 knee jerks before you got a usable signal ;¬)

Falkland Islands

First of all I'll correct him on Nether Wallop which has a population of 829The Falkland islands has a population excluding military personnel of 3140 if he can't get that fact right what hope is there ? Nether Wallop are British, the Falklanders are British, if Argentina asked for Sovereignty over Nether Wallop they would get the same answer they are getting over the Falkland Islands...... NO !!!! Besides George Galloway lost all credibility with me when he pretended to be a cat with Rula Lenska on Big brother and other minor Z list "Celebs" ....yawn....

Nice (not)

Then of course we have his views on Syria .....I quote "all dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by president Bashar al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus. For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here." 

....Oh he means that civilian murdering despotic spawny eyed wazzock in Syria ? shelling Homs and killing more of his own people as you read this now ? ... of course how silly of me to question Mr Galloway's far superior grasp on foreign policy ... he is such a good judge of character as well......

lets face it he's an utter dickhead twat idiot,  He seems to forget that the Falklanders want to remain British and while ever they do we should support them or the deaths of 255 British servicemen and 3 female Falklands Island civilians  who were  killed during the Falklands War, will have been utterly pointless.....

Royal Navy – 86 + 2 Hong Kong laundrymen 
Royal Marines – 27 (2 officers, 14 NCOs and 11 marines)
Royal Fleet Auxiliary – 4 + 4 Hong Kong laundrymen
Merchant Navy – 6 + 2 Hong Kong sailors
British Army – 123 (7 officers, 40 NCOs and 76 privates)
Royal Air Force – 1 (1 officer)
Falklands Islands civilians 3 (women)

The war was fought because Argentina took the islands by force and we took it back by force.

On the Argentine part this whole thing is about oil now and any other resources the islands may have. Listen to the people who live there


Now go away in short jerky movements Mr Galloway back to your saucer of milk there's a good kitty......