Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Our new car is stuck in Kippenheim

We should have taken delivery of our new car last Friday. Instead, it's been mistakenly delivered to Kippenheim. A quick glance at Google Maps reveals that Kippenheim is about three quarters of the way from Turin to Heidelberg, and 75% is a fair result in any exam, so there's no grounds to be annoyed, right?

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

British History Timeline

The BBC has a fantastic interactive timeline view of British history here. Take a look around, it's very imformative, starting from 6000 BC (Britain becomes separated from the European mainland) and going up to Dec 2005 (Civil partnerships give same-sex couples legal rights).

I was especially interested in the 1666-1714 timescale, as this is the time period dealt with in Neal Stephenson's "Baroque Cycle" trilogy, of which I'm currently reading the final book, "The System of the World".

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ultrasound #6

took place this morning without me or Liam being present. This was positively restful for Heike. The good news - the baby has finally turned her head downhill :-)

I'm not sure that Heike is any more comfortable yet, but she's certainly happy that a Caesarian is no longer mandatory.

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Liam scheduled for popularity in 2015

There's an article on Slate about the most popular baby names, in particular a prediction for how popular these names will be in 2015. Normally I'd take this kind of crystal ball-gazing with a large pinch of salt, however they do include the name "Liam" in their top 20 boy's names, so they clearly have good taste...

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Crashed Car

From Crashed Car

This is the unhappy face of my car after a slight mishap on the way to work last week. My fault :-(

Fortunately no one was hurt, and our decision to buy a new car was unexpectedly brought forward. The 7-seater is coming soon...

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Ultrasound #5

I didn't get round to blogging this last week, but Heike had another regular ultrasound. At 28 weeks and 2 days all was well. The girl prediction remains valid, estimated weight was 1200g.


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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hex 09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

The hexadecimal number in the title is really quite remarkable. It is a widely distributed example of an AACS "processing key". As noted by Ed Felten on Freedom to Tinker,

"Together with a suitable computer program, the key allows the decryption
of video content on most existing HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs".

The AACS Licensing Authority has been desperately trying to eliminate this string from the Internet, by sending out "cease and desist" letters to websites. Their campaign is doomed to failure, because the key is now so widely available that for every desisting site, there are hundreds more who will post it. See the Digg blog for Kevin Rose's explanation of why they're no longer attempting to suppress the publication of "09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0".

I don't own a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player. I own no HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs. I have no interest in pirating HD movies. I have no need for this key. However I think that it should remain available. DRM has failed as a technology. Using legal antics to prolong the futility of DRM is of no benefit to consumer or copyright holder. The sooner we move on to more sensible models for digital content distribution the better.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lost Dog on Walpurgisnacht

Here in Germany, Walpurgisnacht (or Hexennacht, meaning Witches' Night), the night from April 30 to May 1, is the night when allegedly the witches hold a large celebration on the Blocksberg and await the arrival of Spring.

For most people this corresponds to the St. Patricks's Day tradition of "wetting the whistle". Last night while out for the last doggie walk of the evening, we encountered a few people who had copiously imbibed, plus one lost Cocker Spaniel.

The poor dog had obviously lost his owner in the festivities. We took him home, and gave him some food and water:

From Ralf the Lost...

Liam was thrilled at having a dog around who wasn't much bigger than him. He was happy to help Heike with the dog's care:

From Ralf the Lost...

We phoned the police, who had already taken reports of 2 other lost dogs, but no worried owners. A further lap of the fields and festivities also failed to locate an owner, so we made up an extra dog basket and went to bed. This was no problem for myself, Heike, and Othello; Liam was overjoyed, and Electra was furious. She was very sceptical at the idea of a dog staying over, and told him so.

Fortunately, in the morning we were able to locate the relieved owner, and deliver the dog (whose name turned out to be Ralf).

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