Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Curious symmetry of argument

I'm having some fun reading an IRC transcript (TL;DR) including an odd "negotiation" between Penny Leavy and Anonymous.  Massive kudos to her for getting there; I normally don't expect corporate folk to be able to or care to engage with a problem like this.  Retreating behind a wall of PR and spin must seem so much easier.

At some point one of the Anonymous demands begin to include a donation to the Bradley Manning defense fund.  Now if you recall the commentary on what he did, back when the issue was fresh, there was this idea that he did something bad because his disclosures might have placed US citizens and allies in danger.  Compare that with this excerpt from the log, around line 2033:

[06:10] <+Sneux> [00:09] <+CogAnon> It was only for research. <---Intentions dont matter, its the fact that no matter what your intentions were it could still hurt people.

Could still hurt people?

There's a difference though: Manning's disclosures potentially endanger willing participants in the US war efforts.  By contrast, if it is true that Aaron Barr's list largely misidentifies Anonymous members, it endangers non-participants in Anonymous' activities.  Implicit in that is that I don't consider "liking" a Facebook page to be "participating".

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Electronic components distributors

They all suck, each in their own little way. In no particular order:

Yebo ElectronicsBrowseable store within walking distanceNo filters. Possibly expensive. Limited range.
RS ComponentsWide range, has parametric filtersSame filters are painful to use. Expensive.
CommunicaUnknownDisorganized search, no filters, never have things I want.
Hi-Q ElectronicsUnknownNo search. No component info.
Mantech ElectronicsDecent pricesNo filters
Electrocomp Expressgood rangePoor search, somewhat expensive
Octopart(Mostly) excellent searching, wide rangeNot a distributor, definitely not in Cape Town

I actively invite these or other Cape Town-based distributors to promote or defend their usefulness. Send me some mail, guys. I'll edit this comparison table as necessary.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why I won't help Ancient Lives

Zooniverse has a new project that, I guess, lets you help decipher ancient texts.  I enjoy helping out with some of these efforts - I get the feeling that I'm helping to do something worthwhile.  I like knowing that I'm helping to find a place to go for New Horizons after Pluto.  I also like feeling like part of a community - the community of volunteers and researchers.  It's cool when it's a two-way relationship.

But Ancient Lives... is sadly not a project I want to help out.  Here's why:

Images may not be copied or offloaded, and the images and their texts may not be published. All digital images of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri are © Imaging Papyri Project, University of Oxford. The papyri themselves are owned by the Egypt Exploration Society, London. All rights reserved.

Yuck.  So I guess it's a give-and-take relationship: We give and the researchers take.  The Imaging Papyri Project can take their copyright and shove it.