Latest 24, brings even more head shaking

CTU agent takes out a suspect
Spoiler alert! I have watched up to episode 20 of the show 24, if you are watching on TV in the UK and do not want to know whats happening in 24. Please do not read this entry.

Well after a whole week of ranting and raving about how Fox has turned 24 into nothing more than American government propaganda. I subjected myself to another thrilling episode of 24 last night. I said I would watch the rest of the season and I will do that at least. Sarah is not as convinced and decided to watch Star Trek on her laptop instead. Anyway, episode 19 didnt come up with many suprises.

Everybody thinks (on screen) John Kerry Presendant pussy is even more of a (choosing my words very carefully) left leaning, jewish, gay black librial commie than ever before (I hope I didnt offend anyone). Basicly the writers have there perfect token democrat and they wont give it up for anything. This time he takes offence to Jack over ruling his words and sends the secret service out to arrest him. While the not so secret service go after Jack, he his hunting down the head terriost and is only moments from capturing him when the secret service mess up the operation. What a dick, presendant pussy is what everyone on screen is thinking (I'm thinking what a load of bollox to cover up the government propganda). Anyhow they end up calling for Ex-Presendant Palmer to give advice to him for the rest of the season. Did anything get solved from last time? No, actually the above was used to prove Jack was right and that tourture is correct. They certainly smoke filled the screen with all this rubbish about John Kerry to cover the mess Fox has made of it.

Anyhow the highlight of the hour was one of the CTU technical operations agents (Chole) being sent out with 2 other unknown agents (you know these two are dead even before they leave for the mission) to follow up there one and only leads. Anyhow, a suspect comes along and starts to chase Chole and the witness (dont ask, its so stupid!). And after a lot of phone calls about what the combination of the in the car gun was finally the CTU agent kills the suspect. The funny thing is the agent in question is prune face Chole and if you know anything about Chole, shooting a weapon certainly isnt her thing. Chole up to this point has been yes a pain in the ass, but at least she hasnt said any Government Prop as of yet. But I got a feeling Chole will be following suite from this moment onwards. Shame, I believe she seems to be the only one left with a mind of her own.

In the end I didnt publish the video for 24 mainly due to web space and copyright considerations. The clip would have started at 25:00 exactly and end on 43:08. But I do have a nice audio clip summing up the whole thing by 2600 writer/owner Emmanual Goldstein. On his weekly show Off the wall, Emmanual gets equally pissed off with 24. It was broadcasted on April 19th in America but there is a mp3 file on the 2600 site which you can listen to. Otherwise check out my 3.6meg Mpeg3 or 2.6meg Ogg Vorbis audio edited versions which has only his rant which lasts almost 9mins in total. Enjoy!

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April brings some nice XBMC changes

Ok first major thing which is now added the core of xbox media centre. Yep Audioscrobbler support! At long last well after I suggested it here on this blog and here on the official forums. This is all timely with me adding the what I'm listening to, on the side of this blog now. It grabs the RSS feed from my audioscrobbler page and does some simple XSL transfromations to generate the side panel for this blog. Expect to see much more entries now my xbox can also add music I listen to during the weekend.

The other major change is the sad news that the Project Mayhem I and II skin support will be dropped. As I commented, I respect move to the newer Project Mayhem III skin but its too dark and I believe not as good version 2. I'm hoping to use version 2 for quite some time to come, and who knows I may keep on adding extras to it if no one else is interested.

There is also interface sound in the latest beta which I have played with but am not totally sure of. I grant you some people will like it but for me the start up sound was all I needed. Since the early April versions there has also been a lot of new scripts added, including a script which will check for the latest versions of scripts. One of my favorate scripts now I got 1meg broadband is consumption junction which streams nicely and makes me and sarah laugh, hurll, scream and gape. Scary place, its advertises its self as – new fresh sick free adult humor, tasteless dirty jokes, and free video clips. Anyhow its all fun and makes using xbmc even more great to use.

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Microsoft interested in interaction ideas

Windows logo

Via Ben Metcalfe's blog, I hear Microsoft are opening interaction/deign Competition to design and share a vision for the next Windows. I assume they mean Longhorn? Anyhow I agree this is a good move for Microsoft, even I will enter. This is also a interaction design students dream competition (hint hint). There is a entry kit which is quite a few word files, pdf's and a jpeg. Although, the site's design is a little touchy when it comes to accessability, at least RSS updates is a good move. Maybe Microsoft are really starting to get it? This is quite funny when you read Kevin Rose's entry titled Microsoft, please copy Apple. I douht Microsoft will fully take these ideas submitted on, but would the white castle walls of Apple make such a move? Maybe, maybe not?

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Safari RSS automatic discovery woes

What did I learn today? Well thanks to Kelvin. I learned if you want Safari RSS (Safari 2.0) to automaticly discovery your RSS feeds which you have put into the head of a html page. You will need something like this…

< link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="" />

Important things to notice. If you use a type of application/rdf+xml Safari will ignore it. Do not put Alternative as the rel attribute if you want it to work. The funny thing is every single other RSS reader I have used and seen finds rdf feeds using application/rdf+xml no problem. Even Firefox does not have a problem with this attribute type. I have yet to test Safari RSS with ATOM feeds, but I'm deeply concerned that application/atom+xml will not be acceptable for Safari either. Well its only days till OSX 10.4 offically launches here so we shall find out more then. Apple, the little things you always got to do differently…

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Tiger RSS screensaver

Engadget RSS Screensaver

Kelvin was talking to me about RSS in the new Safari RSS browser. And I mentioned the buzz about the new RSS screensaver, which I forgot to ask him about last time. Well he sent me a link to a quicktime movie of the screensaver in action. Although its quite wanky, I love it! My pocketpc has a passive RSS section for the today screen which works for grabbing you eye once in a while with new news. Well this is the logical conclusion of the same idea. There has been lots of talk about its usability, but you know what I got a RSS reader on my xbox and its works in the same way. Just passively grabbing your eye when something interesting comes along.

So I'm not getting a mac anytime soon, so what can I do? Well with some searching I found this which RSS screensaver quite nice. Accenture also has one, which I have yet to try. This tutorial also looks quite useful. I give Apple the fact that these screensavers are no where near as juicy as theres but I'm sure someone will do something simlar soon. I was actually thinking, if you combine a VRML screensaver with a XMLhttpRequest and some well thought out XSL. You could build something quite striking.

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Structured blogging, semantics and tags

I have been meaning to blog about the structured blogging idea for quite some time now. The idea is this…

Structured blogging is about making a movie review look different from a calendar entry. On the surface, it’s as simple as that – formatting blog entries around their content.

On another level, it’s a bit more complicated – what we want to do is create structure (in the form of XML) around each of these types of entries, to organize the data inside and to let machine readers – other programs, sites, and aggregators – better understand the content.

Yep great can not disagree with that. Greg from Blogdigger has been thinking about this too. The overall concept is a interesting one for myself, but I see lots of connections with the semantic blogging idea which has been pioneered by the great guys at HP Research Labs, for quite some time now. Generally Semantic blogging for me seems to be adding machine readable meta-data to the content of the blog entry. Blojsom for ages has had meta ability for years now, which I have not really made full use of yet. But theres lots of work already moving ahead in this area around FOAF, XFN and Tagging or Folksonomy.

With Friend of a Friend (FOAF) its easy to put a link to a persons name and there FOAF profile. I'm sure it would be trivial to add a rel attribute to the link for more context. Which leads nicely on the XFN idea which is exactly that. Using rel attributes and a classification of types to represent human relationships using hyperlinks. Works well but I would like to get rid of the classification and go more fuzzy like tagging. The best examples of tagging full stop has to be, Flickr and others but tagging on personal blogs is still quite new. Oreilly's radar points to whats possible with a little time and lots of meta-data in entries. Technorati makes this possible via there site. For example I have tagged and in this entry and sent them a ping to make sure they pick it up. Theres nothing special in the links besides the rel attribute which is set to tag.

I also have to agree with Greg about what happens to the meta-data beyond the blog. I really want to see RSS feeds with the same meta-data making its way towards aggregator via namespaces and rdf. GRDDL is good and well worth looking into for the future. But once again this is all covered in the semantic blogging ideas. It has been a long time in coming but I disagree that the time is right. Blogging Clients need to change to reflect these changes otherwise no one except a handfull of people are going to manually put in meta-data into there posts. I will because i'm jazzed about meta-data and semantic blogging, others will not. Even if the benefits are different looking entries on there own blogs.

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The importance of open data

Xtech 2005 conference

Miles sent me the link to the O'reilly Radar which I have never seen before. Anyhow the Tim Oreilly talks about the xtech conference which I'm also involved in and how open data is a wee bit more experimental than the other tracks. The BBC and RSS is mentioned which is good for myself, Kevin and Joel.

If you are going to Xtech 2005, please let me know. I'm really hoping to soak as much in as humanly possible. Edd's been doing some interesting things already in the name of Open data. On Saturday he turned the Xtech 2005 schedule into xml and asked people to remix it. The file can be found here as a grid.xml. However Dan Connolly was quick on the take and converted the raw xml into a ical which can be pulled into a modern calendar application. So cool, and all the XSL's are available for anyone to pull apart and learn more. I love remix culture.

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The Last season of 24 for myself

Call in Richards, its time for torture!

Spoiler alert! I have watched up to episode 19 of the show 24, if you are watching on TV in the UK and do not want to know whats happening in 24. Please do not read this entry.

OK I'm putting my hands up! This is the last season of I will be watching unless a U-Turn is done in the last 5 episodes. Sarah wrote a entry about this exact issue but I got my own unique way of covering this area. But first let me explain why me and Sarah are so pissed off with 24

This season of has highlighted torture in ways which previous seasons have never done. Yes they had torture but in season 4 they have gone too far. I mean they are torture everyone who is supected of being a terrorist. But in episode 18 they went a step too far, a suspect which was captured with a supected terrorist was pulled into CTU (counter terrorism unit) and was about to be torture when Amnesty Global steped in and stopped them. Yes thats right Amnesty Global and they were called by the head terrorist when the suspect was captured as a way of stalling CTU from getting information out of him. (I mean this is so wrong on so many levels). Then this lawyer was poirtrayed as smug and getting in the way of the justice process. (yeah and some people actually believe this?). According to Sarah, this lawyer played a similar smug role to the one he played on Sex in the City (Evan Handler). (this could be pure chance or more likely a thought in the producers when hiring him). Anyhow, most of the CTU staff saw Amnesty international sorry, global (yes its so obvious that you cant help but accidentally say it – more on this later) getting in the way. Then the camera turns to Jack, who is the star of the show who just came in from one of his mini missions and I thought for one moment Jack would put them all right. But I was so wrong, yep so wrong! Jack turns round and can not believe this smug lawyer is getting in the way. He actually at one point questions the lawyer and comes to the conclusion that with the 10mins of capturing the suspect and this lawyer turning up, Amnesty international global must have had there strings pulled by the terrorist (make of the link what you will).
Anyhow, they never quite finished the issue as Jack came to the idea that letting the suspect go and leaving his job would be enough to allow him to torture the suspect without a link back to CTU. So when the suspect finally left CTU (yeah even he spelt the trap and wanted to stick around CTU) without the lawyer, Jack was waiting and broke his fingers till he told him the information he wanted to hear. In which sidestepping the political mess they had got themselves into earlier in the episode. Clever but in which opening up a can of worms about taking the law into your own hands.

Anyway, this certainly isn't where it ends. Me and Sarah are going to edit 24 and put it online for people to see and decide for themselves. If all goes well, we may also start going back through previous episodes and start pulling out previous tortures. This is all very timely when you have the tortures of Abu Ghraib. And lets also not forget the mass beating in our jails and prisons everyday. Yep as Sarah says, 24 has made its final steps over the line and into strictly Government Propaganda. There free to do what they like, but I do not need to watch no more.

Some reaction to 18th Hour/episode of 24.

Only 6 more hours…

Some things I learned from last night's 24:
1) It's okay for the government to torture maybe-terrorists to gain information
2) Amnesty International is able to help protect said maybe-terrorists
3) Keifer is total badass. Okay, this isn't new. I already knew this. But I think I heard about 12 fingers breaking when he was torturing Joe Prado. Is that possible?

Ryan wrote Why I hate Fox, Fox has ruined 24. He sounds honestly more pissed off that even me and Sarah.

Aside from the very, very obvious dig at Amnesty International, a well-respected NGO that works to stop persecution and torture around the world, Fox is clearly pushing the agenda that American agents should be free to use torture whenever and wherever they see fit.

He goes on and talks about Abu Ghraib and extreme situations. But then turns his attention to something which me and Sarah noticed but didnt get around to talking about because we so outraged with the torturing.

If this wasn't enough, the new President is essentially a poorly-done caricature of John Kerry. I think the only way they could've painted him as a weaker, more indecisive character would be if they had him begging the terrorists not to hurt him. It was brutal. Oh, and of course he agreed with “Amnesty Global”, so he's clearly the enemy of freedom.

Robert puts it bluntly, 24 – a right winger's wet dream.

Since the beginning of this season, I've noticed Jack Bauer's increasing bloodlust when it comes to torturing possible terrorist suspects.

Last night, the right-wing, fascistic neocon agenda was crystallized as never before.

Air Force One has been shot down, and the president is in critical condition. The 25th amendment has been invoked and the VP sworn in. The new president is portrayed as weak, fearful and indecisive — and his worst crime seems to be that he wants to check the legality of the issue before allowing Jack to torture an American citizen who hasn't been charged with anything. Why, that weasel! I was waiting for them to reveal that he's also gay.

But the first of the two really evil characters in last night's episode was the slimy “Amnesty Global” lawyer (read: ACLU) who wants to protect the terrorist; after all, it's clear that the ACLU hates America and loves terrorists.

Oh, and don't think we didn't catch the plot point that it was the terrorist leader who called in the ACLU, I mean, the “Amnesty Global” lawyer in the first place, because we all know that the ACLU is controlled by terrorists.

The other evil character was the unnamed and unseen “two-bit judge” who issued a restraining order that the American citizen who hasn't been charged with anything should not be tortured or have his Constitutional rights violated. Because we all know, after all, that judges love terrorists and hate America, that's why we simply MUST do away with an independent judiciary.

Malvolio joins in the kicking of Fox. Okay, 24 just jumped the shark.

But even more so, this is an obvious dig at all lily-livered liberal wimps who would rather protect evil people's rights than destroy terrorism. Except in Fox's fevered wingnut paranoid view of the universe, this could never happen. No judge would issue such an order without a hearing. Most judges, actually, defer to government (and then there's that secret Federal Intelligence Court that almost never turns down any requests for wiretaps or search warrants). This is complete bullshit, except on Fox.

Others talk about some of the other mistakes made in the previous 24. Some random 24 Thoughts

Jefferson City Iowa? There is no Jefferson City Iowa.
So they send in 15 agents to arrest one potential terrorist, but they send in only Jack to pick up the nuclear codes?
The Secretary of State /images/emoticons/laugh.gifick Cheney look-a-like) stated that the convoy was struck in mountain area….in Iowa? Really?

. He also highlights the fact the liberal lawyer gets into a Mazda Miata, which indicates he could be gay too? Sarah also shouted at the TV when they suggested an area between Illinois and Iowa which has mountainous terrain.

Anaxila Babbles outlines the plot of the last 20mins better that I did.

1. the good guys caught the bad guy down “by the pier” and
2. transported him back to their field office in the middle of LA, where
3. they prepared a nice menu of torture but were
4. interrupted by the arrival of a pesky Amnesty International (excuse me, “Amnesty Global”) lawyer* – in person – who was
5. waving a court order from a Federal judge requiring that the lawyer be present for any conversations with said prisoner.

And leaving the best to last, found through my search in Blogdigger. television without pity's take on hour 18.

Hey, you! Yeah, you. Are you opposed to your government using torture to get information on terrorists? Do you think that organizations like Amnesty International actually do important work? Do you believe in the rule of law, due process, civil rights, and the Constitution? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the writers and producers of 24 would like you to know that you're a fucking pussy.

I like Monkeys and Typewriters thought there could be some wicked twist to the whole thing going on in 24, but like him/her episode 18 pretty much blew that out of the water. 24 is turning lame, its lost its edge. From the mistakes there making about mountains in Iowa (even I have been there and witness how flat that state is) to the stupid hyper time its taking people to get from one place to another, its getting silly! But if it was only that I could dump it and fill my time with something far better. bring in Richards is being used far too much and the politics is getting crazy now! The fine people at Amnesty International must be dumb struck at this lame attempt of American Government Propaganda. I dread to think whats going to happen next week, but I'm sure John Kerry, vice…, chicken…, damm it! Presendant pussy will do something very unpopular and maybe be overruled by Dick Cheney, I mean his look-a-likey….

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Sin City, the most accurate comic book adaptation ever

Elijan wood as Kevin in Sin City

I dont usually post reviews of films on my blog unless I'm in love with the film (matrix series). Anyhow last weekend I watched some of the most stylised violence and cut throat dialogue since Kill Bill the japanese cut, which is in colour through-out the House of Blue Lights fight. Yep Frank Miller's Sin City. Honestly even before seeing the review on the same page, I was thinking there has never been a more accurate comic book adaptation ever! Its so odd because I usually do not like Robert Rodriguez's style of films but he's really took on Sin City and let the film do the talking. Watching the film is almost exactly like reading the comic books from the look to the dialogue, my own critism is the story lines could have done with a liitle more twist but you got to get new people into it. And it certainly does do that well, there's good character development but not too much for those who who know already. I will be watching this film in the Cinema when it finally reaches the shores of the UK, I highly suggest you do the same…

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Who should I vote for?

After looking at my wife's newest entry, I decided to take the quiz. Take from the results what you want. Its very interested the differences between me and Sarah. I would have thought it would be around the other way…

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour 0
Conservative -48
Liberal Democrat 66
UK Independence Party -7
Green 29

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

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New video distribution platforms

This April feels like an innovative month. While Google ready there video distribution platform via slashdot. The great people behind Downhill Battle have launched a new open source video platform which is based on there BattleTorrent system. This certainly beats Nullsoft's NSV system and but makes me wonder why there is no join up between ourmedia and participatoryculture. This all fits quite nicely with my past post about the creative archive which got its day on slashdot, plus Hollywood is finally getting it and thinking about Bittorrent for distribution.

For myself almost every single piece of video content I consume is through the net now, and this has opened up an chance to get stuff which relates better to myself that usual TV. For example Kevin Rose from the Screensavers fame creates short videos for a narrow audience of geeks and hackers. Such a market is very badly served by TV and some what Radio. But and his new systm (yet to see any videos) are good to watch form part of my usual video consuming lifestyle. Talking of which, the scene is also forming part of my crowded train time on the pocketpc. Its perfect because its short and theres not a lot of talking to be missed by a delayed train announcement. I treat it like Hollyoaks or someother soap, which is light entertainment and drama. I'm hoping more of these types of narrowcasted shows and documentary's as such will be created by the tools and distribution methods introduced people like Downhill Battle. And of course I'm thinking very hard about creating my own shows which have a narrow audience.

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Firefox 1.1 with support for Native SVG

Hot on the news that Opera 8 will have support for SVG Tiny, the Firefox team have confirmed support for SVG. This is pretty awesome news, I have to say thank you very much to the Mozilla team. SVG will be disabled as default but can be enabled from the preferences now. Beats building a new version just for SVG support.

In an update, SVG will be turned on as default and can be turned off from the preference if the person wants to use a SVG plugin or turn off SVG. Even better! I also wanted to take this chance to explain the difference between Native and Plugin. Plugin's are usually invoked by embedding the media object in the page, as in the case of Flash. However Native SVG means you can write SVG directly into XHTML code and the browser will know what to do with it (aka it does not just hand it off to a plugin). This is another huge advantage SVG has over Flash, however some would disagree and say because Flash is bundled with most of the browsers out there that its pretty much native anyway. Anyway before a Flash vs SVG debate breaks out, heres a list to consider.

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Stop playing silly twat with your newspaper, before I shove it where the sun does not shine…

My wonderful wife wrote a nice long piece about the twats on public transports. The other day I was on the way to Bromley South station and got on at Elephant and Castle, nice fast train going only to Herne Hill on the way. However the last train has no seats left except a couple dotted around. So I picked one of the six seaters (really its 3 seats facing the other 3) which was sandwiched between two people. Big mistake, I was then subjected to number 2 on Sarah's list. Well this woman had her bag there, so I stood at the middle point between all the seats and took my laptop out placed it next to her bag. That would be a clear sign that I'm going to sit there surely? Well no, by the time I had placed my bag on the rack and went back to open my laptop and sit down. Her bag was still there! And she did give me the whole dumbass look of 'oh I didn't realize you wanted to sit down'. In the end I stood there and managed to say the words excuse me without shouting or sounding too aggresive.

I have to add a point 4 to Sarahs list.
4. Public space hogging-twat. This person reads a broadsheet newspaper and chooses not to fold the paper. So even when your sitting there with a small book or pocketpc the newspaper pages obscure your view of the book or screen. This is seriously wrong! The other day, I was going home via Clockhouse and this man decided that blocking my laptop screen was an amusing game worth playing with me. Rather than play his stupid game, I switch the laptop into tablet mode which took him by suprise and wiped that stupid twatty smile off his sad little face. Yes man, get a life, and dont mess with me. Ha!

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