March 2003

Suicide Bombers?

From the BBC Reporters Log

According to Western intelligence, Iraq has failed to find its own volunteers for suicide missions against coalition troops.

Whitehall security sources have told the BBC they have reliable information from inside Iraq that a trawl for volunteers amongst the ruling Baath Party failed to find any takers.

According to the sources, a decision was taken to use remotely-detonated bombs in vehicles without the drivers knowledge.

They say the man who blew himself up in Najaf on Saturday killing four US Marines almost certainly did not know he was going to die.

British security sources say this shows the desperation of the Iraqi regime. There is no immediate way of verifying their claims.

The Welcome Mat to End All Welcome Mats

While waiting for Shooting Stars to start, I found myself aimlessly surfing the blogrolls. The following comment on Silent Running had me laughing out loud

If you are offended by strong right wing views and bad language, you should probably fuck off now and go hug a tree.

Our troops are engaged in a just war; we have every reason to feel proud of them

Bruce Anderson writing in The Independent:

That, alas, also applies to the casualties, which must be part of any realistic plan. Salutes from the guard of honour, flag-draped coffins on the deck, funereal music for the final journey; it is a heart-rending sight. Yet it is also an ennobling one. These warriors wedded themselves to the profession of arms in a clear-eyed embrace. They understood the sacrifice they might be called upon to make. These were not cowed conscripts, herded towards slaughter by the brutal servants of a psychopathic dictator. These were free men, from a country where it is now virtually a human right to enjoy a soft and easy life, who still chose to volunteer for hardship, discipline, danger and the risk of death.

They have now fallen in battle in their countrys service, but also to help the future generations of the people of the Middle East to live in human dignity. Even though there may be little short-term gratitude, that reflection might help those who loved them to find a way, over time, from grief to comfort.

The rest of us should pay tribute to courage even while mourning its consequences; feel pride, as well as sadness; feel inspired, even while shedding a tear. We also have a duty now: to help to keep immortal the memory of the brave who died young in the cause of freedom and their countrys honour.

The Art of Delegation

From Dilbert

War on Islam?

For anyone who continues on insisting that the war in Iraq is a war against Islam, Id just like to point out that Saddam Husseins deputy, Tariq Aziz is a Christian.


More war stupidity

According to ScreenDaily, The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has announced that it intends to ban official representatives of the US, UK, Spanish and Italian governments from attending the festival following their policy on Iraq.

So much for sharing ideas, then.

Has the IT industry finally caught up with the iSeries?

iSeries FamilyAccording to The iSeries Network, IBMs largest worldwide distributor has just enjoyed a hugely successful quarter with the iSeries.

The iSeries, like its predecessor the AS/400, is a truly remarkable machine which has long suffered from poor marketing. In many ways its wide range of capabilities make it a victim of its own success - at the low end it trounces NT and Unix servers for reliability, integration, ease of use, total cost of ownership and uptime; at the high end, the i890 can give IBMs mainframe systems a good run for their money. Unfortunately, because the iSeries is such a capable machine, IBM have long been unsure of exactly where to position it.

However, in the modern heterogeneous IT environment, the iSeries is in the ideal position to become the integrated server of choice. It can run already OS/400, Linux and Windows. The Capacity on Demand model means that more processing power can be quickly and easily switched on in response to changing business loads and its much vaunted reliability means that business critical applications can be relied upon in the same way that we rely upon electricity, gas and water.

As the choice of operating system becomes increasingly unimportant and businesses start to look towards server consolidation in order both to control their costs and to ensure the reliability of their IT systems, the iSeries is uniquely placed to take advantage of the IT market in the 21st century.

Pathetic Justifications

At the start of his murder trial, Volkert van der Graaf - the man who shot Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn - has claimed as his justification that:

In my eyes, this was a highly vindictive man who used feelings in society to boost his personal stature. I could see no other option than to do what I did

The last time I looked, the Netherlands was still a democracy. So the other options included arguing, campaigning and voting.

The spirit of King Canute lives on

According to Computer Weekly, the UK government has launched a set of proposals to strengthen online privacy rights and to crack down on spam.

While the proposed regulations for the European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications are all well and good, they can only cover legitimate businesses operating within Europe.

According to Spamhaus, 90% of spam received by North American and European users emanates from only about 180 individuals, most of whom already have criminal records for theft and fraud. New European regulations will do nothing to deter these people.

Ever more regulations are going to do very little - if anything - to combat the ever rising tide of spam.

Instead, governments and ISPs should start looking at how best to block spam at source. Services such as The Spam Block List give email systems a chance to prevent spam from even getting onto their networks, Bayesian filtering on the desktop can be used to keep spam out of peoples inboxes.

And people who encourage spammers by opening unsolicited emails and sending their credit card details back should be taken into a large field and beaten around the head with a shitty stick.

Wallys Approach to Corporate Survival

Efficiency is the key