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Who He?
Name: Michael O'Connor Clarke
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact: michaelocc AT

It's all BLX

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Thursday, April 01, 2004
All Bollogs, All The Time

The syndication/summarisation standards debate continues to rage back and forth between RSS/RDF, Atom, et al -- even spilling onto the pages of this morning's Globe, with a column from Jack Kapica.

With so much discussion, debate, dissent, and plain silly-buggery it's reassuring to know that we can always count on Gary Turner to marshal the finest minds and come up with a solution we can all be happy about.

Announcing: BLX 1.0

BLX - A Standard For Our Times

BLX 1.0 is a new XML shema designed to be principally used as a dynamic summarization methodolgy, with full optimization for aggregation services.

Adherence to the BLX 1.0 standard involves a careful and detailed assessment of the intrinsic value of a weblog or weblog posting and determining it as generally being of a 'Bollocks' nature in both its style, content and accuracy.


As long time readers (or even casual, just stumbled in drunk while surfing for porn readers) will know, this blog has been BLX 1.0 compliant for the last 3+ years.

And proud of it.

Our guarantee to you: Premium Grade BLX in every single post, or your money back.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
I ♥ Konrad von Finckenstein

Cracking bloke.

Judge Says No to CRIA

Another example of the Canadian judiciary demonstrating less willingness to roll over at the request of the big entertainment industry concerns.

The Canadian Recording Industry Association just had the door slammed on its request to identify the people behind a list of 29 IP addresses it claims are used by music "uploaders".

Jeff Leiper of Canadian New Media writes:

"The judgement, handed down this morning, says that the plaintiffs -- Canada's big name record labels -- did not make a prima facie case that there was a link between several peer-to-peer pseudonyms and the identities of those whose IP addresses the labels were seeking information for."

Without the names, of course, the CRIA can't proceed with lawsuits.

In addition, Justice von Finckenstein's decision seems to confirm and add to recent commentary and decisions on the legality of music downloading. 

The Copyright Board of Canada ruled in December that P2P downloading is legal, although uploading is not. 

This morning's decision goes further, according to initial media reports, as it states that the CRIA failed to prove the action of the "uploaders" was an infringement of copyright under Canadian law. 

There's a nice twist in the judge's remarks - seems he's really done his homework on this.  From the National Post coverage:

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings," von Finckenstein wrote in his 28-page ruling. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."

He compared the action to a photocopy machine in a library. "I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service," he said.

Go Canada!

Bonus link: Music downloads don't hurt sales, say b-school profs

You can take the chick, but Dick and Rummy walk...

Much excitement over the news that Rice will testify under oath before the 9/11 commission. 

One of the six TVs in our office is tuned to CNN, which seems to have covered little other news than this in the last couple of hours.

The Chimp has caved under enormous political pressure, saying:

"I've ordered this level of cooperation because I consider it necessary to gaining a complete picture of the months and years that preceded the murder of our fellow citizens on September 11"

But is Condi being thrown to the wolves?

The letter Alberto Gonzales sent to the commission, setting out the White House's strict terms for Rice's appearance, could certainly be read that way:

"First, the Commission must agree in writing that Dr. Rice's testimony before the Commission does not set any precedent for future Commission requests, or requests in any other context, for testimony by a National Security Advisor or any other White House official.

"Second, the Commission must agree in writing that it will not request additional public testimony from any White House official, including Dr. Rice. The National Security Advisor is uniquely situated to provide the Commission with information necessary to fulfill its statutory mandate...Other White House officials with information relevant to the Commission’s inquiry do not come within the scope of the Commission’s rationale for seeking public testimony from Dr. Rice."

Maybe it's just me, but I think this is curtains for Condi.  She's gunna take one for the boys.  Someone needs to wear it, and it sure as heck won't be the Chief Chimp or any of his babbling Fear Monkeys. 

Consistent with prevailing White House policies, Dr. Rice is the most disposable individual to hand, being both female and black.

Unlike what the administration does to most black women in America, though, we can be sure that Condi will be well looked after.  I wonder if Halliburton needs a new EVP...? 

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
The Puritans Have Taken Over The Asylum

Members of Congress are lining up to buy their stovepipe hats, donning sackcloth and ashes, racing to sheath piano legs right across the land.*

Janet Nipplegate Jackson was, apparently, bleeped last night during her Letterman appearance for daring to utter the blasphemous expletive "Jesus" on Nash-o-nawl Tee Vee.

Oh for feck's sake...

Ma's out, Pa's out, let's talk rude!

Janet has clearly time-slipped into a curious netherworld, where everything in her life now has an in-built 5 second delay.  Must make casual conversations chez Janet a little odd.

"Hi Janet!"






"Oh, hi! How are you?"

"I'm great thanks, and you?"







I look forward to some novel experiments with syncopation on her next album.

And meanwhile, to the CBS Thought Police: Get a grip.

Just for the record, here's the synopsis of Monday night's CSI:Miami episode - the show running in the 10:00 slot, right before the news and Letterman:

"A newspaper reporter accompanies a city councilman's aide to a drug-infested part of Miami known as the "Golden Triangle" to get information for a story and the aide is gunned down inside an abandoned building. Horatio focuses his investigation on the reporter, who was suspiciously unharmed during the attack. Later, another writer from the same paper is found shot to death inside the trunk of her car, which was reported stolen."

Which do you think would be more shocking to watch - graphic, violent drug crimes, or Janet Sodding Jackson's mildly naughty language? 

Imagine parking a 6 year old kid in front of both shows, and you tell me which would be more disturbing. 

Would I let my 6 year old son watch CSI: Miami? Hell, no! 

But would it bother me if he overheard some silly celebrity breaking the third commandment? Not in the least.

Guess I'm just a person of low moral standards.

*oo er, he said "sheath".  Chortle, smirk, gumpf...

A Blog of Dissent - Chomsky blogs

Monday, March 29, 2004
Insensitive Asinine Gobshite

Spent most of the weekend offline and haven't checked in on the blogvines since the middle of last week, so I missed the reports of Dubya's disgusting behaviour at the Correspondent's Dinner in Washington last Wednesday.

(Thanks to my cousin, Adam Maguire, for filling in the gap in my outrage, btw).

The BBC report does a good job of capturing his antics:

At a black-tie dinner for journalists, Mr Bush narrated a slide show poking fun at himself and other members of his administration.

One pictured Mr Bush looking under a piece of furniture in the Oval Office, at which the president remarked: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere."

After another one, showing him scouring the corner of a room, Mr Bush said: "No, no weapons over there," he said.

And as a third picture, this time showing him leaning over, appeared on the screen the president was heard to say: "Maybe under here?"

I've wailed and ranted about the Resident before, but he continues to amaze me with just how incredibly crass he can be (and his advisers, hangers-on, and assorted catamites for that matter). 

Making light of something like this is practically criminal. 

Doing it in front of the Correspondent's dinner is absolutely certifiable.

And doing so in the week that marks the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is clear evidence that the man is way past the point of no return and a howling mad, premier league asshat without an ounce of moral sense or sensitivity.

Please God let the American people some how manage to have an unprecedented outbreak of coordinated common sense on November 2nd.

An homage

There's a new Charlie story up.  He wrote this one in school way back at the start of winter.

And yes, we had just been going through Raymond Briggs together in the week or so before he wrote this. 

Consider it an homage ;-)

He has a much better, and much more original snowman story knocking around here somewhere, if only we could find the piece of paper. L8r...

Friday, March 26, 2004
I say, I say, I say

Best. Google. Referrer. String. Ever.

According to the logs, someone just showed up here having searched for:

"What makes dogs stink bad at times?"

My blog has no nose.

Thursday, March 25, 2004
A Clarke To Reckon With

I'm reading through the transcripts of Richard Clarke's testimony at the 9/11 commission hearings and it's hard to focus on anything else.  

Right from his opening comments, he demonstrates more courage and integrity than the entire Bush administration put together:

"I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened and what we must do to prevent a reoccurance.

"I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11.

"To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed.

"And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and for your forgiveness."

As victims' family members have commented, Clarke is now on record as the first and only member of the administration to have actually apologized for how badly the ball got dropped.

The rest of his testimony, which is absolutely gripping stuff, succeeds in making the point, once again, that there was no failure of intelligence.  The intelligence was all there, and it was accurate. 

As Sidney Blumenthal pointed out, in his piece about the search for WMDs, the abundantly clear and compelling intelligence was simply ignored.

The only failure of intelligence was the one that continues to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The American people, and the people of the world, have a reasonable right to expect that the one person charged with making most of the really big decisions on this ball of dirt is a person of above average intelligence. 

George, you've failed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Amazing Stories

These are fantastic - a beautiful collection of high quality reproduction covers from classic sci fi pulp, blown up to poster size.

(tip o' the space helmet to Craig "headsfromspace" Snyder for the link)

I love this stuff. I have one, small original framed pulp cover in our downstairs loo.  If we ever move into a house big enough for me to have an office or den kind of thing, I want lots of this gear all over the walls.  Mixed in with my (slowly) growing collection of Arthur Rackham prints and lithos. 

Yeah.  I want a room like that, with a monster comfy reading chair, one small stereo, and books and books and books.

Monday, March 22, 2004
Meeting the Monkey King

Charlie's blog has two new stories up today too. 

Both of these were originally produced as full colour comics - a handful of construction paper pages, sticky taped together and beautifully illustrated.  We'e just picked up the repaired digital camera, so I hope to be able to get some shots of Charlie's art posted soon too.

I suppose I could always hook up Dad and Charlie's places with RSS or Atom feeds, but that would seem a little like overkill. 

These are more a personal archive for the family's benefit than anything else - yet the feedback I've received from visitors to both places has been wonderfully warm.

Heroes of renown...

More of Dad's story posted this morning - run ins with the Black & Tans; the milk of human kindness; evocations of post-war Dublin...

Stirring stuff.

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Now A Medium Motion Picture

Why is it that every book ever transformed into a movie is billed as major?

"Now A Major Motion Picture" gets slapped on the cover -- a cover destined to be redesigned with a fetching still from the movie, just as soon as the publisher can get the reprint into the works.

Who first decided that their movie-of-the-book was "major", I wonder? And how and why did it become so widely adopted that it eroded into banal idiom?

Even my battered 1960 Penguin paperback of Room at the Top bears this strapline, pasted in just under Laurence Harvey's dimpled chin. This edition came out about a year after the movie. So even in 1959, books made into movies were automatically "major".

And while we're on the subject - who, other than the MPAA, calls them "motion pictures"?

Dad's Story

New updates to my Dad's story posted. He reminded me of a couple of early scraps I'd overlooked. Duly fixed over at his blog.

And for those who have asked (thanks!), I expect to have some more of the story up in the next day or so.

Friday, March 19, 2004
Esther Ka-Ching

CNET Networks said Friday that it has acquired technology content specialist EDventure Holdings, including the company's array of IT industry publications and conferences. Founded by Internet notable Esther Dyson, New York-based EDventure is best known for its monthly magazine, Release 1.0, and its long-running annual business summit, PC Forum.

Under the terms of the cash and stock transaction, the value of which was unspecified, both Dyson, EDventure's chair, and Daphne Kis, the company's chief executive, will join CNET, the publisher of

How very odd.  Fine news for the marvellous EDventure team, I'm sure - but really the most surprising deal I've seen in a long time.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

To quote:

There are some small pleasures to be found in the way of the world.

It is more satisfying to catch a ball than to be handed it, to slide down the banister instead of using the stairs, to let sand run through your fingers. Tiny things, pointless...if your only reason for living is to do everything as pragmaticaly as possible...

...Some people may always miss the point because they are so busy looking for it; if you have forgotten how to see as children see, then you don't believe in looking for the sake of looking, touching for the sake of touching. They were never for us anyway.

Use your imagiNation then visit the rest of the meNagerie...

(gizza job :-)

Three generations of blog

Just finished a quick tidy up and makeover of Charlie's new blog. 

He didn't have a chance to see the original quick 'n' dirty design before it went up (he was in bed).  But we've now had a chance to go through Blogskins and choose a design he really likes.

He picked one by nyokiglitter.  I think he chose well.

Check it out.


Thanks to David Weinberger for pointing out the Rumsfeld Stutter Video (watching this reminds me of the face Tony Perkins made when I fact-checked his ass in the middle of his keynote at the Jupiter Weblogs conference. But Rumsfeld is infinitely more scary than Tony Perkins, of course).

Bonus follow-up link: turns the video into a new ad.

Lies, and the lying liars who tell them...

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Introducing... The Charlie Blog

Following hard on the heels of the Joe Blog - my Dad's new online home - I've just finished putting together Charlie's Den, a home for some of my oldest son's first stories and drawings.

Charlie (6˝) has always displayed a wonderful creative enthusiasm. In the last few months he’s started to write these terrific little stories, which I come across every few days, on bits of scrap construction paper scattered around the kitchen table, the basement, or the floor of his bedroom.

They’re far too precious to be left to fade on the cheap, brightly coloured paper fragments, so he and I are going to start posting some of them to his very own blog, over here. Not much to look at yet, but this is intended more as a personal archive for us than anything else.

We have a much bigger story in development too – a hockey fantasy we’ve been working on together for the past few weeks. First drafts of this will also make it up to the Charlie Blog in the next little while.

Next up...the Lily Pad!  Lily (4˝) is just as creative as Charlie, but in a different way.  I think Lily's talent may be for numbers - she counts, adds, subtracts, and seems to take genuine pride and pleasure in the sound and shape of numbers.  And she does these killer abstract paintings and drawings.  Soon as we get the digital camera back from the repair bloke, I'm going to start snapping some pics of Lily's art and post them up to her own blog.

At 15 months, Ruairi's probably just a bit too young to have an online home just yet, but the sub-domain is ready and waiting for him.  It won't be long.

Maybe all bloggers with kids should have a little network of sub-blogs in orbit around the parental blog - familial blogs that will one day pull away from the motherblog and forge out on their own.

The only other parent and child bloggers I can think of are AKMA and Si, but there must be others out there.  I think the idea could be catching...

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