Last weekend I went to an Introduction to LRM and psychogeography. PerfDave mentioned the Loiterers Resistance Movement when discussing the OpenStreetMap talk for Manchester Free Software, so I went to learn more, and give OpenStreetMap a mention.

The meeting began with an a few people speaking about different aspects of psychogeography, the meaning of which noone’s really clear on anyway. I think that’s what makes part of it: The mystery.

We split off into groups, each with “maps” collated from drawings made by those present. The idea was to wander around Manchester and interpret the drawings as places to go to, or directions to take. If I’ve made it sound boring, it was actually quite fun, and a pleasant walk, while others in the group would talk about the history of the places we went through.

The LRM have a festival going on this month, the Get Lost Festival, in association with TRIP and the Royal Exchange Theatre. I’m planning to go to some more events, starting with the Tour of Old Ancoats tomorrow. If you’re interested, take a look at the full programme.

Posted Sat 07 Jun 2008 20:38:40 BST Tags:

I started out with, flirted with a patched version of (see: Killfiling on Myon’s Blog), and ended up with a rewrite in the form of Greynick. It’s a script for Irssi that implements something like ‘/ignore’ (but nowhere near as flexible), but colours the text differently instead of not displaying it. In my case (and currently hardcoded, sorry), it’s dark grey (bold black), on black, giving it less impact than normal text.

Posted Wed 28 May 2008 08:12:20 BST Tags:

I returned to work yesterday, after a fairly relaxing week off, to find an Eee PC 900 and an OpenStreetMap high‐visibility vest on or under my desk.

I haven’t touched the Eee, yet, except to charge the battery. Rest assured that I will be replacing the operating system, likely with Debian GNU/Linux. I noticed some packages relating to Eee PCs in Sid, which is promising.

I wore the high‐vis vest on my way home. The vest features an OpenStreetMap logo with the host part of the URI ( above and “SURVEYOR” below. There’s a picture on the OpenStreetMap wiki. Visibility for me on the road, and visibility for OpenStreetMap.

Posted Wed 28 May 2008 07:48:03 BST Tags:

Debian’s predictable random number generator bug in OpenSSL saw me regenerating SSH and TLS keys. I almost always have to look up how to use openssl for certificate generation, so I improved my tiny personal certificate authority setup with a makefile, similar to the one used in this howto by Jeremy Mates.

Posted Sat 17 May 2008 12:30:45 BST Tags:

The fool that I am, I locked myself out of my flat (again). This time, thankfully, I didn’t end up paying some extortionate amount of money to call someone out to slide a piece of plastic through the latch. Instead, as well as realising I had left my keys inside, I realised I had left a window open, and borrowed some ladders from a neighbour.

The latch is effective enough to keep someone unprepared out, but with just a piece of plastic can be opened in less than five minutes. Normally, I’d lock the mortice lock too, but then if I could lock the mortice lock I would have my keys. That would then have been of little use had I not realised I left the window open, which is probably the way things would have gone had I not forgot my keys. Arrgh!

To complete my mini adventure, the reason I left my flat in the first place was to go to a shop around the corner. I bumped into PerfDave and said “hello”, etc, went into the shop to find they didn’t have what I wanted, went to another shop across the road and bumped into PerfDave again, who thought I may have got lost because I was coming from the wrong direction.

Posted Thu 08 May 2008 22:35:44 BST

The day after the RMS speech, and it was time for currybeer again. Paul was skiving, so I took the twelve of us off to the Punjab restaurant. We have been there before, but with a larger group that ended up sitting around two tables. This time we got one, although there was still no talk between the extremities of the table.

I had keema dosa, which was quite filling. So filling I didn’t eat all of my main course, which was a fairly nice dish that I can’t remember the name of (a Punjab special tawamix thingy).

Posted Tue 06 May 2008 06:47:40 BST Tags:

I didn’t say an awful lot in my last post. I was a bit tired by that point. The RMS talk was indeed a success.

Before the talk, a few of us handed out flyers for Manchester Free Software and the Free Software Foundation, hopefully gaining some publicity there.

The badgering to get the larger lecture theatre (and possibly the blog posts too) paid off, with the talk being moved from a 100‐seater to a 300‐seater room. Most, if not all, of the seats were taken, with some people sitting on the stairs or standing at the back. I was one of the latter. I tried some different positions that didn’t make me any more comfortable, but I lasted it out.

Stallman’s talks mostly boil down to one of a small number in similarity, and this was one of them. He covered off the GNU project, the principles of free software, some of the bad things about proprietary software, and free software in educational institutions. I had heard most of it before but it still interested me and possibly filled some bits I had missed. I suspect a fair number of the audience hadn’t.

The questions and answers at the end lasted a long time. There was something about how works of art compare to software, and how computer games fit in; an amusing look into the future when machines may have freedom; and a drawn out debate from someone desperately trying to argue that they should be allowed to make money through proprietary software and, in Stallman’s view, subjugate the users.

RMS then auctioned off a copy of “Free Software, Free Society”, which was fun to witness. John Leach put in his first (or second?) bid following with a request for a hug. The next bidder requested not to get a hug, with Stallman saying “how much will you pay not to have a hug?” (maybe paraphrased). Eventually, I think £90 was raised for the FSF, and the winning bidder (not John) got a hug.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, and wish Richard Stallman well. Also, thank you Matt Lee for setting things in motion, and Paul Waring and the BCS for the effort that went into organising the event, and Paul Robinson for hosting Richard Stallman during his visit.

Posted Mon 05 May 2008 00:11:34 BST Tags:


Posted Fri 02 May 2008 01:11:10 BST Tags:

Tim Dobson seems to forget his manners. Common (or maybe not so these days) courtesy would suggest that all one has to do is ask the authors if you wish to reproduce their works.

A copyright licence giving such permissions is merely an enabler to get around current laws being overly restrictive. A licence shouldn’t even be necessary: We should be attempting to reduce copyright terms to a reasonable length that both encourages people to author works, and allows society to benefit from them. Further, if you circumvent copyright by pressuring everyone to release works under free licences, you will also remove some of the incentive, which copyright is supposed to provide, to write.

I don’t like being pressured into licensing my site or making changes to make the licence visible, even though I already intend to do so. If you would like to reproduce a part of my site, be polite, ask. Chances are I won’t take a chunk out of your ankle, and will allow the reproduction.

Posted Tue 29 Apr 2008 10:55:07 BST

I’ve brushed the dust from my Yahoo! account to add Richard Stallman’s talk in Manchester to Upcoming:

If you’re going, stick your name down. Let’s see how many are really going¹.

  1. or how the number reflects the reality post‐event.
Posted Mon 21 Apr 2008 23:13:28 BST Tags: