Saturday, September 30, 2006

A bit of sense

Yet another West v Muslims article, but this one by Hanif Kureishi seems to me to be far more on-target.
Clearly most Muslims are not fundamentalists and most people in the west are not obese cokeheads. Our notions of "east" and "west" are screens on to which we can project our fantasies. If we can say the east envies the west while wanting to distance itself from it - "they" refuse to integrate; why don't they want to be like us if they want to live here? - we can say that the self-disgust of the west conveys a profound confusion about the way we view ourselves now.
It's in the nature of conservatism to look for simple answers, and as such the Muslim world and mid-Western USA have both turned toward fundamentalism. Meanwhile the rest of the West appears rudderless, and in the case of many people, actually is.
I think Kureishi inadvertently also hits on why Nichiren Buddhism has spread so slowly here:
In the past few years there has been much religion-lite, the New Age as well as versions of Buddhism or kabala. These are attempts to fill what Salman Rushdie calls a "God-sized hole". But these substitutes are the tofu of belief; they are not anything like the real thing. They do not terrify with their authority and they are not sufficiently irrational to inspire true faith. They do not punish enough. We are left to do that to ourselves.

While I'd thorouhghly reject any notion that we're "religion-lite" or nothing like the "real thing" - all other Buddhist sects are based on Shakyamuni's provisional teachings or have failed to grasp the true significance of the Lotus Sutra - we don't have a god with a big stick, nor his representative on earth with a less metaphorical big stick, so those searching for authority won't find it in true Buddhism. And the last sentence is accurate enough - Nichiren Buddhism aims to make you the author of your own story, as we term it "taking responsibility for your own life".

One thing the article fails to pick up adequately is the link between Radical Islam and anti-colonialism. The history of the 20th century is often regarded as one of industrial scale bloodshed. Perhaps a more accurate reading is one of imperialism and anti-imperialism. Post-WW2, many nationalist movements, particularly China and Vietnam, used communism as a binding belief. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this can hardly be a rallying point and so the middle east has instead turned towards Islamic fundamentalism. I was particularly struck in a recent TV programme on Palestinian suicide bombers, how often their remaining families praised the bomber as a nationalist rather than a Muslim.

And there's also the irony that the tool used to defeat the Soviet Union has morphed into the West's own nemesis.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Stick it!

After all the ballyhoo about Royal Mail's new digital stamp service, you get a slightly unpleasant surprise when you try to import names and addresses into it. The only options it allows are:
  • Microsoft Address Book
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Exchange
Even if you're a Windows fanatic, address books are scarcely the most convenient way to feed it. Moreover, the worst piece of Windows software is debatable, but for most people who know their computers, Outlook would have to score pretty highly. I don't think I've allowed it on any of my Windows boxes since about 1998, when I realised what a security headache it represented, let alone just how mind-bogglingly difficult those same save and export options were.

If you use a Mac, or linux or any other operating system, there's simply nothing there for you at all. Why no ldap (an open standard) import? Or how about a .csv (comma separated variable) import that everyone could use? Or get dead trendy with XML?

So how did they come to select such a dud set of options? Has Tony Blair flogged the Royal Mail to Micros**t on the sly? For those still buying sticky-back stamps down the post office, will Bill Gates's silhouette be replacing the Queen's?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sucess, maybe?

No dross from emailadvertisinginc for nearly a week now. Maybe Telstra sorted their man in Oz out? It wasn't just me, that IP address was already on CBL (combined block list).


Brits may be rather puzzled by what's going on in Afghanistan from the mixed reporting of how successful the mission is and how badly it's going. In fact, it might be interesting to find out why exactly why British troops are there. Eliminating the Taliban? They seem to be growing. Cracking down on opium production? Bumper harvest this year. Supporting democracy? The current regime's influence ends at Kabul's boundaries. Safeguarding the pipeline? No-one's attacked it.

On the military side, this article from some US extreme conservative site is quite revealing. On the US bombing campaign:
Of course, all this is accompanied by claims of many dead Taliban, who are conveniently interchangeable with dead locals who weren’t Taliban. Bombing from the air is the best way to drive up the body count, because you don’t even have to count bodies; you just make estimates based on the claimed effectiveness of your weapons, and feed them to ever-gullible reporters. By the time Operation Mountain Thrust is done thrusting into mountains, we should have killed the Taliban several times over.

Sorry, I haven't got the answers as to what British troops are supposed to be doing there. Other than Bush ordered it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How much will Vista cost you?

Microsoft have commissioned a research company to produce a report claiming the release of Vista will create 100,000 new jobs in Europe. Story. The bit I found interesting was:
This says for every €1 (70p) spent on Vista, another €13.31 will be spent on other things. That includes €7.35 on hardware, €3.43 on software and €2.53 on services.
I usually take the reports they have commissioned (e.g. total cost of ownerships for windows works out less than for linux) with the same level of interest as those the tobacco companies come out with saying that smoking doesn't cause lung disease, "scientific" bodies funded by oil companies claiming there's no such thing as global warming or brewers claiming British drinkers prefer weak, foul-tasting lagers.

In this case I found the numbers interesting. If the business edition of Vista will be priced at USD299, I calculate your expenditure to upgrade works out to a total of USD4278.69. I couldn't find any announcement of British prices for Vista. The U.S. Dollar on the exchanges currently equates to 52p, however tech companies usually work on parity when pricing products for the British market (i.e. they replace the $ mark with a £). Let's split the difference and call it 79p, which works out at a staggering price tag of GBP3380!

For an operating system with really nice graphics and "enhanced security" (e.g. DRM on your .mp3 files).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Police visit

A statement for me to sign regarding my deceased (distant) relative, Charlene Downes. Just to say I hadn't seen her since the date she disappeared (in fact I've never seen her), they need it from anyone even vaguely connected since her body's never been found. Trial's expected for next February.

There's more info on a previous posting if you're wondering what this is about.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Coup in Bangkok

Looks like PM Thaksin, in New York to address the UN, is now ex-PM. Seems a well-plotted and managed army coup with the backing of the police has taken over the reins of govt., led by a Lt. Gen. Sondhi.
Thai Visa thread
Nation newspaper

A couple of Thaksin's top men have been arrested, and with tomorrow having been declared a bank holiday, perhaps the army will weed out more of his supporters. In his two terms of office, Thaksin's filled the higher levels with relatives and cronies, including some of the generals, which I guess he'd hoped would insulate him against this very situation.

Thailand's been undergoing a constitutional crisis since this April when non-stop demonstrations temporarily ousted him, new elections were boycotted by the opposition parties, and further elections had been scheduled for October though many of the election officials had been accused of partiality. The constitution's now suspended; many had had high hopes for it, that it would take Thailand away from the frequent military takeovers that bedevilled it over the last 30-odd years. But for all that, Thaksin's corruption had to some extent already subverted it - think Berlusconi on steroids.

I hope it doesn't cause bloodshed, the main danger of this being from a counter-coup, of which there seems no signs so far. Another determining factor may be the attitude of the king, while he doesn't tend to get publicly involved in such affairs, he no doubt pulls many strings behind the scenes. Sondhi seems to be in well with him.

The army has taken the main institutions of Bangkok whereas most of Thaksin's support is based in the north and the north-east. I haven't come across any reports of any action outside the capital, but any public reaction to the coup could well be in those provinces.

Thaksin has done some good, particularly his version of the NHS, the 30-baht scheme - far from perfect, but vastly better than anything the country's poor could have previously expected. Let's just hope the positive aspects are preserved and the army hands back control to a democratically elected civilian govt soon.

Meantime I'm trying to get in touch with my mates in the country, particularly one who lives just north of the govt. building / palace area.

Shouldn't laugh but...

When I saw this photo of some guys in Basra burning the pope's effigy, I couldn't help but splutter with laughter. Great likeness that, dudes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

J. G. Ballard

Interviewed on the South Bank Show last night, he's reckoned by some to be the one of greatest living British novelist. He started by writing SF of an unusual nature, surrealist scenarios exploring how the human mind might change, usually revert to earlier forms, in a radically different setting.

A turning point came with the Atrocity Exhibition, a collection of individual mini-stories that form a collective whole (sort of), yet is meant to be read at random, not forming in any way a single narrative from beginning to end. Themes of violence and celebrity worship recur as do images such as the human spine. Must admit I found the notes more readable than the text itself.

His works since then perhaps could be called 'present fiction' rather than science fiction, set in the here-and-now or perhaps just a few years on, usually stories of suburban middle classes or stressed out executives exploding into rioting, attempting to find meaning in a barren existence. The settings are the most soulless of places - West London residential areas, airports, shopping malls, motorways or the concrete sprawl of the Mediterranean coastline.

It's not just an emptiness of place, but also a lack of belief, the death of myth and religion. If nothing else they've been edged out (even shoulder-barged...) by all-permeating advertising. We have only our imaginations left, perversely, as our only way of hanging on to any sort of reality.

As many have noted, those that believe in nothing are often all to ready to believe in anything.

The programme spent perhaps too much time over his most famous and outrageous work, Crash. Where as other writers explore our relationships with machines in the form of cyborgs, this novel and the much vilified Cronenbourg film, uses instead a small cult who fetishise brains being splatted over crumpled dashboards.

If nothing else he tackles far more interesting areas than the majority of comfortable, smug, well-off British writers, often these days recruited from the Oxbridge elites; best quote of the programme - "The great thing about sci-fi is that no-one lives in Hampstead."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Daddy long legs

We're inundated with the flying version here. I've never come across them in such numbers anywhere on earth like the Wyken and Walsgrave areas of Cov. A few geckos would sort 'em out if only the climate were warm enough.

When I lived in Thailand you'd sometimes get an invasion of flying ants and a mound of little wings would pile under a gecko, who'd be chomping his/her way through them as quickly as possible. I always liked having geckos as house guests as long as it wasn't the big, armour-plated buggers (in Thai too-kay as opposed to jing johk), who're reputed to take the odd finger off overly inquisitive humans.

E2A, the term "daddy long legs" applies to several types of insect, looks like the ones we've got here are properly known as crane flies.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A bit more on Islam

Without doubt, of all the countries I've travelled in, it's the Muslim ones that've been the friendliest. Particularly Egypt and Turkey. Egypt's gotta be amongst the poorest countries on earth, but going round there on the cheap, people you meet always want to take care of you.

And Turkey! First night there I met up with a couple of blokes on the bus going in from Greece and as soon as we got ourselves sorted at the grim dive near Aya Sofia (Istanbul, that is) we hit the first beer bar we could find. There a local lawyer called Shefiq tried to turn us on to Islam. He was so drunk he could hardly stand. He had a tomato in his hand and was demanding of us:
"Who make this? Who make this, eh?"
But that was 1984 and the world was a much friendlier place then, no matter what Orwell predicted.

Pope, Islam, controversy

Biggest news item this week has to be the Pope causing controversy and demonstrations throughout the Muslim world by quoting a mediaeval Byzantine king that badmouths Islam.
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached

Pot calling the kettle black or what? How much violence has the Catholic church been involved in? The Crusades, Conquistadores, Inquisition and a plethora of European wars against Protestantism readily come to mind.

He's not exactly a newcomer to attacking other religions, a few years back he called Buddhism "spiritual masturbation". To explain, unlike Christianity, Buddhism needs no external entities, you find enlightenment purely within yourself. Things such as chants, mandalas or meditation are tools to help you in that process rather than an end in themselves.

Meanwhile, can't Muslims take a more sensible approach to perceived insults? Fareena Alam, editor of Q-News certainly can:
The media are giving the supposed "anger of the Muslim nation" too much coverage. Such insults are as old as Islam itself. The Prophet dealt with them with dignity. We must stop over-reacting ... A Muslim who truly lives according to the moral code of Islam - of justice, neighbourliness and compassion - will know that it is our greatest weapon against misrepresentation. Perhaps the Pope was 'merely quoting' the 14th-century emperor. Perhaps he did so because he actually shares this belief. If so, he is more ill-informed than we thought. I refuse to let such provocations shape the global faith agenda.
Full article.

It strikes me there are a good few Islamic clerics out there who regard stirring up riots as a good career move. That can't explain the Pope's actions though, he's already got the top job.

Annoying spammer

I'm getting daily spam on my admin address of It's coming from
[] (
which is owned by Aussie telecoms giant, Telstra. I've sent the details to their abuse address. Let's see if they do anything about it. They're forging my own admin address as the return which makes it particularly annoying.


email advertise like this to 8,000,000 people this week for free..

the above noncommercial offer is only for noncommercial
charities only. press on charity info on our web site for full
and complete details. this offer is not a commercial service
and is not at all for sale or lease or trade of any kind.

I have, of course, broken the link, I'm not doing anything that aids spammers or businesses that employ them. According to the whois details, it's owned by a certain Liu Fei in China. However, according to their website they're:
NPR Corporation Headquarters
Located In The Heart of the Downtown Business District Located in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Corporate Address:
NPR Corporation
1001 4th Ave - #1259
Seattle, WA 98111
United States of America

If they're doing it through the contact form on the site, I've arranged a nasty surprise for them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The PKDBot

Being a PKD fan, I was surprised to find this. Especially as there seems precious little info about it on the net, indeed one of the links in the article gives a fake IE 404 page (does it not occur to the siteowner that scarcely any techies use IE these days?).
The bot looks a good 'un too:
And yet, Olney says that at shows where the PKDbot was set up: "A lot of people would come up and hold the robot's hand, though they weren't really invited to do that. It was very interesting to me that by making it look very human and respond as humanly as we could, it could evoke that kind of response. It says something about human psychology."

Unfortunately the owner seems to have lost the bot's head. If PKD were still alive, I'm sure this would inspire him to write an entire new story.

Like many males, I was a voracious reader of SF in my teens but lost interest in it IIRC about the same time as heavy metal. I still find PKD, almost alone amongst SF writers, eminently readable. Probably because his work explores human conditions amongst the technology, rather than the 'rayguns and rocketships' aspect, getting into areas like self-delusion, the Tibetan Book of the Dead or drugs. In fact I'd have to say he was pretty weak in the 'R&R' area.
I also find it quite amazing how since Blade Runner, nearly every SF film made these days seems to be based on one of his stories. That film is amongst my all-time faves, particularly with Deckard's seduction of Rachel. If SF has any value it has to be in precisely that area, how does the technology alter our consciousness? Deckard confronting Rachel with the knowledge that she's not a real human, to have sex with and fall in love with an automaton, and to have to confront the possibility that you yourself might be a 'replicant', is an area that non-SF can't really pursue (though I suppose you could have an analogous racist situation).

The article linked above contains a mention of one of his stories I'd never come across before:

or example, the android in The Electric Ant, who believes he is human until hospital doctors tell him otherwise. (Inside his chest he finds moving reels of punched paper tape; when he reconfigures the holes, reality shifts.)

Only PKD would come up with the latter part. :)

As a side note, I'm always amazed to find how differently our reality's changing compared to the SF novels. We seem to be way ahead of the curve in terms of computers and communications, while way behind on space exploration. The computers are almost always crap. The voice synth on the original Star Trek's is pathetic compared to Stephen Hawking's (and he deliberately keeps an outdated model as that voice is so strongly associated with him) or the screen in Alien that brings up letters so slowly it's got to be linked to the silicon at less than 400 bits/second, while in South Korea, a new 2GB/sec internet service has just been rolled out to the public.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Green tea

If you have any Japanese friends, you'll find many of them claim green tea is good against virtually any disease you care to name. A study has found it's at least good for you against heart disease.
I find it very palatable too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Tomorrow's the 5th anniversary so we can expect to be inundated with programmes and articles on it. One thing that still gets me is how no-one's ever yet been arrested over the subsequent anthrax attacks. One bloke's been questioned and that's it.

While conspiracy theorists come up with ever more bizarre accounts of the crashes (I suppose holographic planes carrying remote control pods could've been directed at the towers which were full of explosives, while the crews and passengers of the real planes are still being held in secret CIA bases...) they never seem to engage over something as sinister as this - the attacks were directed solely at Democrat senators and the spores were developed at the USA's own Fort Benning bio-weapons base.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Unintelligent design

Back-door creationism, or Intelligent Design, is now so popular, even the Catholic Church is getting in on it. But how about its opposite, Stupid Design?

For example, what about your appendix, an utterly useless piece of gut that fills up with detritus up to the point where it can burst, with lethal effect. How about having a single tube in your throat for both air and food? A handful of people choke to death every year from what's simply bad design. The spine is a great, flexible bit of gear for horizontal animals like dogs or horses, but for vertical animals like humans, it resembles standing a bicycle chain on end, forever straining the muscles that keep it that way. Unless you die young, at some point in your life you'll experience backache. Why have we only got one heart (apart from Dr. Who and Mr. Spock, but they're not humans)? Such a critical device should surely have backup.

Along these lines, do our modern day creationists have an answer to the Omphaloidean Heresy?

This was the question as to whether Adam had a navel and it was a heresy to even think about it let alone come up with an answer. If Adam had a navel, it would mean that God created him and the Earth as though it had pre-existed (e.g. trees with rings from seasons that had never been). In which case, since the Earth appears in so many ways to be about 5 billion years old, then any theologians who try to claim it's a mere 4000 and any evodence that it's otherwise is flawed, then they're criticising God's handiwork, which makes them heretics.
OTOH if Adam didn't have a navel, then he was arguably not truly human and so Original Sin can scarcely have been transmitted from him to us, a different species.

A slammer writes

Every now and then I get a letter from Domain Registry of America with a lurid warning that the registration on one or other of my domain names is about to expire and that I should ACT NOW and renew it with them at some exorbitant rate. I wonder how many people have been taken in by them?
They've been banned from such behaviour in Canada - Register story

The company also allegedly did not disclose that it would charge a processing fee to consumers if their transfer request was not completed and failed to provide consumers refunds in a timely manner.

Domain Registry of America, based in Ontario, Canada, is prohibited from engaging in similar conduct in the future, and is subject to stringent monitoring by the FTC. The company also has to provide a full refund, including any administrative or cancellation fees, to approximately 50,000 consumers who cancelled a transfer request.

and have also been criticised by the UK's ASA.

I sent back their reply enevelope but unfortunately forgot to include a cheque. Or the form. Or a stamp on it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mindless vandalism

An online petition to save Tony Blair was yesterday trashed by the merry pranksters of urban75. The Register story.

The site described Anthony Charles Lynton Blair as "the greatest Labour leader of our time" and invited readers to sign a "petition" stating the belief that he "should be allowed to get on with the job of Prime Minister and should be able to pick a time of his choosing at which to stand down".

All appeared to go smoothly. Nearly a pageful of respectable-looking names appeared. Then at 9:27 am: "Stuart Bruce; Jonathan McShane; Gordon Brown; Idi Amin; Osama bin Laden; Abu Hamza..."

How do we know the time? Because that's when a message appeared on the bulletin boards at* ...
By page four the denizens were holding an impromptu conversation - "Ming the Merciless; Ming the merciless (classic); Milliband rocks; Sir Ian Blair; ...
At 11:10 - after a further six pages of textual intercourse - the message went out - "It takes HTML!"

You can read the full list of petitioners here.

I must say I'm disgusted by this.

Errr... as I didn't find out about it until after the owner had shut the site down.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A bit more of my book

Another snippet from the Electronic Mug's Game (I posted the 1st chunk back in May). Warning: contains lots of swearing and violence.
That’s right, me old son” said Vince, “Have a seat”, and pointed Charlie to the big armchair in the centre of the room. Vince had some nice gear in the house, he'd become an expert at nosing around skips ever since he'd got chummy with the squatters, and Tracy every now and then went and put on a bit of an act in front of charities and social workers until they got her a few more sticks of furniture. Thing that pissed her off, though, was that no two pieces matched, she really wanted proper stuff, she did.
“Got sumfink for me, have yer?” asked Charlie.
“Well that all depends,” said Vince, “first we’d like to know summat,” and he paused a moment, then asked him straight, "What was it you told Arris down the Skinhead's Arse the other afternoon?".
"Wot?" said Charlie, "I ain't bin down there in ages, and anyway I wouldn't have nuffink to do wiv that cunt Arris".
"Not what I heard," said Vince, "I had hoped you were gonna be straight with us. So tonight, Charlie Palmer, you've won the star prize – the hole in the head." And at that, he stood up, close to old Charlie, and Vince was a very big bloke, and Charlie started to look a bit worried.
Vince I could best describe as looking like Steve McQueen, only he'd have dwarfed the real one if you'd stood them side-by-side, he had that real outdoors, rugged look, like he was an international engineer or something. You expected him to be jetting out to Malaysia or somewhere to plug a dam that was about to burst, and he was about the only bloke in the entire world who knew how to fix it, and he'd get it sorted, which would make him a local hero, and the locals would bring him back on their shoulders with all the village virgins scattering petals in front of him, offering to do all the dirty things you could ever imagine. But he weren't nothing like that, he just looked like it. Like everyone else, he was on the dole, occasionally working as a builder or repairing motors, and now and then having a nice little scam going.
Vince went to Spider, in this sort of poncey voice,
"Nurse, would you prepare the patient, please?".
"Certainly, doctor," said Spider, "Where?".
"On his fuckin' head," said Vince, "where d'you think?".
"Yeah, but where on his head?" asked Spider.
Vince had to think about it a minute, then he said, "A bit off to one side, y'know, above the jawbone, I think that'll give us a nice angle on the job so's I want have to put too much weight into it".
"Okey dokey," said Spider, and quick as a flash, got out his razor, and sliced a piece out of Charlie's scalp, which hung down like on a hinge, with hair on one side and all the red stuff, on the side that was uppermost.
"Eeeeeyargh!" said Charlie.
I was amazed, and I had to ask him, "'Ere, Spider, how'd you do that? It's a near perfect square, you been practicing on the cat or summat?".
"All in the wrist action, me son," said Spider.
"Well you get enough practice with that, or so I hear" said Tel.
At this point Vince picked the Black & Decker up, and not surprisingly, Charlie started to look very worried.
"It's quite simple, Charlie," said Vince, "I want the truth out a you and I'm gonna drill through your thick head until I get it".
"I hope that drill bit's clean" said Charlie.
"I bought it this morning, a brand new three-eighths general purpose one," said Vince.
“Is that three-eighths of an inch? I don't want any fuckin' millimetres coming near me”, said Charlie.
“He's got a point there”, said Tel, “Millimetres are French, like. You don't want millimetres in your head”
“Course it's inches”, replied Vince, “Millimetres don't come in eighths, do they, they're all something point something. Dunno why you're fretting about it, though, this is a hole in your head, not a friggin' bathroom fitting”
“Maybe we could compromise there”, I suggested, ”we could screw a nice soapdish or a towel rail or something on him afterwards”
Tel said, "I still reckon you should've got a masonry bit."
"Even Charlie's not that fuckin' thick," said Vince, "Anyway, I asked the bloke behind the information desk at the B&Q, what bit d'you need to drill through some silly old sod's head, and this is what he sold me".
And he looked at the drill a minute then went, "High speed or low speed?".
"I should think it'll make a neater hole on high," I said.
"Yeah, but you'll get extra torque on low," said Tel, who knows about these things. "I'll start on high then switch down to low if the going gets tough. That alright with you, Charlie?".
Charlie just nodded, difficult question to answer under the circumstances, I suppose, and whimpered:
"Just don't use the hammer action, will yer?"
So Vince started drilling in the patch Spider had cut away, while my job was to act like Mr. Nice, so I said,
"Look, Charlie, you better tell us the truth, cause if Vince gets this wrong, it could go all the way through to your brain".
At that point Spider cut in with, "Not unless you stick it up his arse, it won't". Everyone apart from Charlie was guffawing with laughter, especially Vince, which made him slip, and the drill cut a three inch channel going North by North East up Charlie's head.
"Eeeeeyargh!," said Charlie again, who was now looking very frightened, which weren't surprising, really.
"Now look what you made me go and do," said Vince.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Free DVDs

Rupert Murdoch:
I hate this DVD craze. The sales go up for a day. And are right back to where they were the following day... People grab the paper, tear the DVD off and throw away the paper.

Sometimes life seems so sweet.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Greedier still

Not content with fining grannies their entire life savings over their granddaughters downloads of innocuous pap or taking absurd amounts off hairdressers for playing a bit of music to their waiting customers, the music industry's now closing down guitar tab sites. BBC report. According to some corporate lawyer:
deprives the songwriter of the ability to make a living, and is no different than stealing.

Oh yeah, sure, like you're going to see Jagger and Richards in the queue when you're next at the Salvation Army soup kitchen. And of course, it's different to stealing, there's a world of difference between lifting a packet of fishfingers from a supermarket and writing down a description when you get outside.

If they're really that concerned about the moral and financial rights of the people who create our musical culture, how about a nice fat payout to the descendants of them old, dirt-poor blues players, who the guitar heroes of the 50- and 60- something generations copied?

How about quantifying the losses to the industry, genuinely doing it rather than a finger in the air estimate from a coked-up suit? What happens then if you compare that number, which in the case of guitar tab, may even run to a couple of thousand pounds, against the administrative and legal costs incurred in closing these sites down?

And of course, you can run a fair old bill defending IP. For a hilarious example, there's urban75 v. Barney the Dinosaur. A New York legal team, mind-bogglingly expensive. Giving them the run-around, a couple of hours of editor Mike's time. The resultant page I just linked to, priceless!