Second, I have been having severe trouble with my sleep pattern which has left me feeling pretty exhausted all week.
Third, I spent much of yesterday upgrading my Macs to Apple's new Leopard system. Leopard has made a number of changes to the way in which the core system works, which has meant installing numerous upgrades and patches to my applications. This always has to be done to an extent, but Leopard has seemed to require rather more than the last. However, first impressions are that the functionality will be worth the slight hassle: the Time Machine automatic backup alone—for which I am using a spare internal 500GB hard drive—justifies the effort.
Fourth, I am involved in a number of professional projects which are taking up large amounts of my time. A couple of them are shaping up to be really exciting and, more importantly, they will pay the rent which, alas, blogging does not do.Anyway, enough about me...
For the reasons outlined above, this post is going to be a mish-mash roundup of stories that have been sitting in my Dock.
First up is the Climate Change Bill which was, if I recall correctly, being talked about as being a binding piece of legislation on successive governments.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has committed the UK to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60% before 2050 to help tackle global warming.
The Climate Change Bill will make the UK the first country to put carbon emissions reduction targets into law.
An independent committee on climate change will be set up to advise on "five-year carbon budgets" - part of a new commitment to carbon reduction.
Environmentalists welcomed the move, but said higher targets were needed.
While the bill will also enforce reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of between 26% and 32% by 2020, Mr Brown previously said he would consult the new committee to see if bigger reductions were required.
Green campaigners have urged the government to go further.
What the fuck? I mean, seriously. Leaving aside whether or not anthropogenic climate change is occurring—and, as readers will know, I don't think it is—the government has already been told that 20% within the next couple of decades isn't possible: this is just yet more stupid law-making for the sake of it.
Talking of which, people have been choosing their most ludicrous law.
Legislation said to prohibit people dying while in the Houses of Parliament has been voted one of the most ludicrous laws in the UK.
A total of 27% of those questioned by UKTV Gold thought the law against dying in the Houses of Parliament was the most absurd.
So, it looks like I'll have to get the fuckers as they come out the door then, eh? On a more serious note, there are an enormous number of very silly pettifogging laws—such as the one prohibiting the eating of mince-pies on Christmas Day—and somebody had to make those laws. It seems that Parliament making bad and stupid laws is hardly a new phenomenon.
That has not deterred the EU, however, as it seeks to harmonise anti-terror laws. [Emphasis mine.]
The European Commission is proposing anti-terrorism measures that include the collection of extensive flight data and tighter internet laws.
Setting up web sites that encourage violence or explain how to make bombs would become a criminal offence.
Well, that's The Kitchen fucked then, eh? I would say that calling for every MP to be hanged from lamp posts probably counts as encouraging violence.
Critics of the European plan fear it would impinge on personal liberties, introducing unnecessary levels of surveillance.
"I find it unacceptable that in a democracy in the 21st century, that executive governments get unlimited and uncontrolled powers," Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in't Veld said.
Well, you know, I hate to say "we told you so...", but...
Talking of the EU, it seems that they might be looking for one man to be supreme leader and who better than our old Dear Leader?
Your correspondent was at a gathering in Brussels when the subject came up (as it does around here) of the scramble about to begin for the next round of big EU jobs. A complicated question was asked, about whether the pro-integration camp would need to be rewarded with a job like European Commission president, if the more sceptical Tony Blair were chosen as the first president of the European Council (a new post, which will see current heads of government elect an ex-prime minister or some such big cheese to chair EU leaders' summits for a two and a half year term, renewable once).
An old Brussels hand raised an eyebrow. And what, he asked, makes you think that the next president of the European Commission, and the first president of the European Council cannot be one and the same person?
Um, because nobody has suggested merging the two jobs, someone suggested.
Well, there's nothing in the new treaty that stops the same person holding both jobs, came the old hand's retort.
Is that what some people are dreaming of, he was asked.
Absolutely, replied the old hand, a man of very good contacts.
The writer does not consider this a possibility but I think that, with the EU, anything could happen, frankly.
And finally, the WinTards are having a field day with the news that a new Trojan has been discovered for Macs.
New Apple Trojan Means Mac Hunting Season Is Open
The Mac has officially gone mainstream.
The proof? On Halloween, professional online criminals were found using Trojan-horse software to target, for the first time, computers running Apple's OS X operating system -- just as they have been doing for years on the more ubiquitous flavors of Windows.
The article predicts dire consequences for all Apple users, and a massive proliferation of viruses and malware. However, Daring Fireball points out that you have to be a fucking numpty of the very first water to get caught by this.
It’s unfortunate, because this Trojan is an actual attempt by Ukrainian criminals to hijack Macs, but it’s not exploiting any sort of security hole in any version of Mac OS X. To get hit by it, you must (a) be the sort of moron who downloads “video codecs” from porno sites; (b) mount the disk image and launch the installer; and (c) grant the installer administrator privileges to install whatever it wants, wherever it wants on your system. No system can prevent that.
If anything, the fact that you have to manually install the software and supply your administrator password is a sign that Mac OS X security works.
Quite so. What is also telling is that the fact that someone has actually written a Trojan for OS X is something worth writing about.
There is another point: the received wisdom is that Apple's marketshare is too small for anyone to bother writing malicious code for Macs. However, in order to reach this conclusion, you have to believe that there were never any viruses written for Macs pre-OS X, which is quite simply wrong.
There were plenty of malicious viruses, worms and Trojans for pre-OS X systems, mostly exploiting security holes in Microsoft products (the only time I ever got infected was through a MS Word document) and Apple Hyperstack application (there were other ways too, but those were the main ones). There were, I believe, somewhere in the region of 9,000 documented malware objects floating around for those earlier systems.
Now, one Trojan is news.
P.S. I was on 18DS's Vox Politix last night with, amongst others, Dave Osler. The discussions became really rather heated, as you might imagine. What I do like about this community, though, is that—although we got all got pretty vociferous in the heat of the moment—we actually got on fine, with Dave and myself discussing things more rationally over a cigarette afterwards.
Perhaps we're all doing this simply because we enjoy a good argument...?