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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in tregenza's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012
9:58 am
A Quick Legal Question
If you are a member of an organisation, say, The Labour Party, and they pass on your email address (and those of 1000s of other people) to private citizens who want to become Labour Candidate for, say, the post of Police & Crime Commissioner, are you breaking the Data Protection Act?

Does it make a difference if the organisation does this on the strict condition that the private citizen delete the email addresses after the campaign?

My gut feeling is they are breaking the law.

Firstly, while selection of candidates is Labour Party business (and thus in the remit for use of the email), the individual candidate's campaigns are not (and thus beyond what the email address was originally supplied for).

Secondly, Organisations can pass on email addresses to 3rd parties under certain situations but this, presumably, comes with a duty of care. Handing them over to anyone who happens to be standing, who have (potentially) no knowledge of the Data Protection Act and no procedures in places to ensure the act is followed, would seem to breach the organisation's obligations.
Friday, October 28th, 2011
11:59 am
MacPro3,1 OSX 10.5.8 ATI Radeon HD 5770 Replacement Graphics Card
This is a post for the search engines and anyone needing a replacement graphics card for their MacPro3,1 (2008).

The ATI Radeon HD 5770 available from the Apple store will work in your machine regardless to what it says on the Apple web page. Apple support confirmed this and I have just installed it my Mac Pro where it is working perfectly.

Apple's web site and support also state you need 10.6 Snow Leopard to use the card. I'm running it under 10.5.8 Leopard and it works though it may be using sub-optimal drives. As I brought an upgrade to 10.6 on Apple's recommendation I'm going to install that now.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
5:46 pm
Nottingham, Have Pride in Your Rioters
The video below shows how the people of Nottingham should have pride in their rioters.

In shaky, three minute video, a group of 30+ youths petrol bombing a police station. This was an organised attack that took planning and preparation against a carefully selected target. With speed and aggression they moved in, launched their weapons and made their escape before the police could responded. Any military commander would be proud of such an operation.

Somewhere in that group is an intelligent and capable young person who organised a rabble into an effective force. A person with demonstrable leadership skills and ambition.

If only we could direct them to more productive use of their talents by providing a decent education system or job opportunities.

Friday, February 4th, 2011
12:32 pm
6d6 RPG - Or What I've Been Doing for the Last 12 Months
If you're not interested in tabletop RPGs, this might not make any sense ...

Over the last year I've been busy developing a new game system in an attempt to make a living. I thought it would take only a few months but then again, I've always been a lousy judge of time.

But, it is now here. Or at least our first product is.

Mince Pies & Murder is a one-off adventure set in 1920s Britain that draws heavily on (rips off) Agatha Christie and other crime fiction writers. The players take the role of famous detectives and try to solve a mysterious death but all is not what it seems ....

This adventure uses a very simple form of the 6d6 RPG that can be learnt in about 30 seconds. The focus of the game is playing the characters and solving the mystery, not fighting or acquiring improbable amounts of gold.

As a bit of a publicity stunt, we have made the sale of this PDF an experiment where you get to choose how to pay for it. (With a minimum of £1 because of credit card processing fees). And it will only be available for a few days.

If the idea of whodunit tickles your fancy, get yourself over to 6d6 RPG.
Friday, January 28th, 2011
9:02 am
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
10:25 am
Caught by the (Psuedo) Fuzz
Last night I went for a walk and as I was approaching home, a car came from behind, pulled along side me and voice called out.

"Hey mate, do you live locally?"

Looking round, I expected someone seeking directions but instead I noticed someone in uniform in an unmarked car. Noticing the "Police Community Support Office" tag on his shoulder so I asked who he was.

He identified himself as a police officer and that he wanted my name and address.

I asked why.

He said that he was the community office for this area, that did not recognise me and that there had been burglaries in the area and as part of his roll he liked to get to know local people.

I asked whether he was a police office and he confirmed he was so I asked to see his warrant card.

He showed me a ID card marked 'Police Staff'.

I pointed out that an ID card was not the same as a warrant card and asked if he was a police constable.

He said he wasn't. At this point I took note of his number 4702 C. Cooper.

He then asked again for my name and address. I politely declined, explaining that I did not feel he had the right to that information. He said he did. I asked him under what statute he thought he had that right and he dug out a little a book. This listed all the powers given to the community officers by the Chief Constable. It took in a couple of minutes to find the right bit (he commented that people don't normally ask for this) and showed me an entry that said "Require Name & Address, Section 4(?) of the Police Reform Act 2002".

Accepting that as evidence I proceed to give him my name and address which he duly entered into a electronic device (a Blackberry I think). He then asked if I had been in trouble with the police before. I refused to answer that question.

He then asked if I had just moved to the area. I refused to answer that question.

There followed a lengthy exchange I as politely explained that I disagreed with many of the police powers introduced over recent years and that the whole idea of police randomly stopping people was wrong. Officer Cooper explained that if was a local resident I would be happy to have the police stopping people and getting to know them.

I asked how big his patrol area was and it turned out that it was half of Beeston plus some of Stableford and Wollaton. He became defensive when I pointed out that it covered at least 10,000 people not to mention the busy roads and shopping areas this covered and how impossible it was for him to get to know everyone in that area. When asked why he choose to stop me* refused to respond. He claimed that there had been a spate of burglaries in the area and local residents should be happy about this police action. When asked where this burglaries were he revealed the area in question was Broxtowe in general (30 sq miles, population 112,000). When asked, he also revealed that there had been none near where I had been stopped either that night or recently.

Once he had taken my details I asked for a Stop receipt that he duly filled out and I have a copy.

I should note that the conversation was polite at all times.

Further Action

1) A quick look at the 2002 Police Reform act suggests that the name & address powers only apply to anti-social behaviour. This is not the case and the stop receipt identifies the reason for stop as "Part of a preplanned operation".

I will investigate further but a complaint may be heading towards the Chief Constable / Police Complaints Authority.

2) Check local crime figures. The last minutes of the police authority boasts of a significant reduction in burglaries. More digging required to see about Broxtowe specifically.

3) FoI requests about the number of stops performed over the last couple of years. Broken down by Police / Community officers if possible.

4) Letter to local council and MP about lack of training of community officers assuming I'm right about 1. Also complaint about use of unmarked cars. If Jess had been stopped in that situation, I hope she would run and call the police about someone harassing her.

5) Look into what happens to the data collected from the Stop and what options I have to remove it. (None I suspect).

* I suspect I was stopped because of "Wearing a hoodie in a built up area". It was cold and drizzling so my hood was up whilst on a quiet suburban street.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
10:41 am
Three Things You Might Not Know About The Census
27th March 2011 is Census day.

This year marks a significant change in how the census is handled that raises serious privacy issues.

1) The Census data is being processed by US company Lockheed Martin, whose company officers and executives have no choice under the US Patriot Act but to allow US Government agencies to access our unredacted, not yet anonymised Census data.

2) You can complete the census via the website but the National Office for Statistics have given no promise that information such as IP address won't be logged nor that tracking systems control by foreign countries (e.g. Google Analytics) will not be used.

3) The legal guarantee that personal data from the Census will not be shared with the intelligence agencies, the police, the immigration authorities, the tax authorities, foreign governments or private sector companies has been abolished. This dated back to the 1921 Census act but was quietly removed under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 section 39.

For more on the census and how the National Office of Statistics is trying to use spin to avoid awkward questions read 2011 Census press and social media "incident" media spin preparations.
Monday, December 27th, 2010
11:22 am
Why Anti-Terror Laws Suck
Nine men in court charged with terror offences

which is a follow up to

Anti-terror raids lead to 12 suspects being held

You'll notice the discrepancy between the two numbers.

The three other people were released without charge after seven days. Effectively they served a one week prison sentence but because they were arrested under anti-terror legislation, they had less rights than a pedophilic serial killer.

I've no idea who these people are, they may be unlucky lodgers caught up in the sweep or lucky co-conspirators who have got away with it. But the police probably had a good idea who they were because the arrests came "after several months of surveillance and monitoring by police and MI5 officers".

Though if after "after several months of surveillance" and a week of questioning etc the police still cannot charge any of them under the incredibly broad and ill-defined anti-terror laws, I suspect they are innocent.

What difference would it have made if the standard 24/48 hour detention rules been in place?

Very little I suspect. Except that three men would not of lost a week of their lives.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
3:32 pm
Email your MP to save the BBC
The Guardian is reporting that the BBC is facing what is effectively a 15% cut in budget in tomorrow's spending revue.

It is obvious who will benefit the most from this, a certain R. Murdoch.

Act now, lobby your MP.

My message is below the cut.

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Friday, October 8th, 2010
10:06 am
Most Brilliantly Insightful But So Not PC Quote of the Year
Warning, below the cut is work safe but pretty offensive.

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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
11:55 am
Plague of Ladybirds
Ladybird on Nettle

In one corner of our garden, we are being subjected to a plague of ladybirds. Loads of the buggers.

As a kid, I remember ladybirds coming in a one basic colour and pattern. Fire engine red with half-a-dozen spots. These ones are in a variety of shades with all sorts of pattens. A quick google revealed them as Harlequin Ladybirds, a nasty foriegn invader.

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010
12:56 pm
Hitchhikers reimagined as a student project

Fronts and back of all the books: Here
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
9:37 am
The Twin Peaks of Prostitution

San Francisco with the frequency and locations of crimes (in this case, prostitution) indicated by artificial elevation.

If San Francisco Crime were Elevation
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
10:48 am
Pretty is not the same as Informative
The image below is from Transparency: A History of Deadly Terrorist Attacks, an article asking whether the US is seeing an upsurge of terrorism.

Looking at this graphic, can you easily tell if there have been more or less attacks or casualties in the last X years compared to the X years before that?

No, you can't because it doesn't not present the data in a meaningful way.

The point of an infographic is to allow a new insight in the raw data not to look pretty.

What you should be easily able to see in this graph is different phases of terrorism - Black radical in 70's, Right wing nut jobs in the 90's, Muslim extremists in the 00's all against a steady backdrop of anti-abortion attacks. This data is on the graph but not its not easy to compare either the number of attacks or the number of lives lost.

This graph has numerous faults:

- Chart junk
The 'fuse' in the top left corner and its pointless zigzag down the page

- Poor choice / explanation of categories
What is 'Drug' terrorism

- To many categories
The reader has to memorize 12 different colour / category pairs

- More chart junk
Why put a circle around large attacks for the number of attacks - it looks like 9/11 spread over a whole decade

- Too much data
Why clutter the graph with data on the presidents and their political party?

- Needless detail
Why divide each year into months - is that data meaningful over 30 years? Especially when that space/axis could of been used to display other data (e.g. the categories)

- Bad design choices
Why provide the key to the month breakdown in 1971 and not 1970? (Because putting in 1970 would look crap because of 'fuse' chart junk').

- Simply wrong data
Where is the 1993 world trade centre bombing that left 6 people dead?

I could go on but I suspect I may already be ranting.
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
11:04 am
What Voting Conservative Means
Whoever is in power after the election will have to make hard choices about tax and spending. The boom years are over and we face a period of shrinking budgets and cut backs.

The choice we make on election day is how do we want those cuts made?

In the last round of county elections, Labour lost control of Nottingham County Council after a long spell in power and were replaced by a Conservative majority. Inevitably, priorities changed and cutting costs become the mantra of the council. Over the last 12 months, Nottinghamshire has become a microcosm of what we can expect should the Conservatives come to power.

One single issue in Nottingham illustrates the difference between Conservatives and everyone else - How we deal with the the weakest, most vulnerable people in our community.

Last Thursday, adverts appeared in the Guardian newspaper for the sale of a series of care homes in Nottingham. These currently belong to County Council and include the Sheila Gibson Unit. A mixed out-patients, in-patients and care home for people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

The Shelia Gibson Unit was rated as excellent in recent NHS audits and its integrated and long-term approach to care has been highly praised.

It is also the centre that cares for my Mother.

The staff there are everything you ask for. They are kind, patient and knowledgeable. They work with the families to find and provide the right level of care for both the patient and their families. It is a shinning beacon of what the NHS should be.

And the Tories want to sell it to the private sector. They want someone to make a profit out of caring for the weakest in society.

The Shelia Gibson Unit sits next to a posh golf club, on the edge of one of the more desirable areas of Nottingham. A new housing estate was built next door last year. Or to put it another way, whoever buys the Shelia Gibson Unit is sitting on a prime piece of real estate worth far more than a care home filled with low income people with dementia. The fate of this first class unit is obvious.

The council's own figures say that an inflation level increase in Council Tax would cost most households around £30 a year.

Just £30 a year would keep the Shelia Gibson Unit, along with all the other care homes and a host of other services, open. Only the Conservatives think that tax cuts for the better off is the right way forward and that selling care homes is the way to fund those tax cuts.

I admit I'm biased.

My Mother worked for nearly 40 years as a school teacher and was one of the first in the country to start specialising in dyslexia. As well as bringing up her own three children she fostered many different children for periods between a day and 11 years. At just 72, she is now a confused, frighten and incontinent old woman. Unable to perform even the most basic tasks for herself. I'm one of the few people she can still recognise. On a good day she knows my name.

It is easy to see why I'm angry when my Mother's health care is threatened.

But the centre is filled with people's mothers and fathers. Each just as deserving as my own and just as deserving as all the people who depend on home help, subsidised transport or the myriad of other services government provides.

All parties agree that belts will need to be tightened after the election. All the parties agree that life will get that little harder after the election. But only the Tories want to cut taxes for the well off and pay for it by depriving the weakest and most vulnerable people in our society.

That is what voting Conserative means.
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
11:23 am
Just been looking at the manifestos of the three main parties.

Labour -> Looks like it was designed by a 3 year old and very short on detail.

Conservative -> Very long, masses of text that has been laid out by someone used to doing dull corporate shareholder reports. However, graphics have trendy fake weathering / wear type effect and the art direction as a whole seems to have no connection with the style of the text.

Lim Dem -> The style is modern but unoriginal, bland and unoffensive. Decent amount of detail in their pipe dreams promises.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
1:09 pm
My MP repsonds and is making stand
[ Note: My Emphasis ]

Dear Chris,

Yes, hope you don't mind my cutting and pasting, but here's the update I sent on this last night to (I thought) all the constituents who'd raised it: sorry I obviously omitted you.


Hi –
I share your concern about the Bill and am on the case. To save time I hope you won’t mind my emailing the two latest updates that I’ve written:
Best regards


Hi -

I'm writing because you expressed concern to me about aspects of this Bill, because of one or more of these issues:

- Disconnection of users who are accused of illegal downloading
- Risk of suppression of access to controversial/critical websites
- Issues surrounding copyright of photographs

I'm sorry to write this group reply, but there are lots of you and only one of me, so hope you won't mind.

In my earlier reply to most enquiries, I said that I believed that the Bill would run out of time and that controversial elements would then be stripped out. Assuming the election is called next week, it certainly will run out of time, and almost the last business of this parliament is likely to be a Second Reading vote on Tuesday. If it passes, then details will be agreed between the parties in the so-called washup period (designed to allow useful and uncontroversial bits through).

However, I've become more cautious in predicting that all the dubious bits will get stripped out - I'm wary of a stitch-up between the front benches. I've therefore sent Ministers a message that I'll be voting against the whole Bill on Tuesday unless assurances are forthcoming that allay the fears above.

Best wishes

Nick Palmer


Hi -

Anticlimatically, no vote was called on Second Reading tonight, as all the parties decided to reserve their differences till tomorrow's "wash-up" discussions. I've cancelled early campaign activity tomorrow to stay down for the final committee stage - if any of the controversial clauses remain when the outcome is voted on tomorrow night, I'll be voting against them then, so that the new parliament can consider them with more time. If the amendments fail and there is a Third Reading on Wednesday, as expected, I will vote against the whole Bill.

Something that's struck me in this process is the divide between the internet world and Parliament. There has been a lot of concern on the net about this, but most MPs seem to see it as an obscure techie issue and it's been hard to mobilise opposition. In the next Parliament, if I'm still there, I will hope to work on building a more active group of internet-savvy MPs who can defend the interests of the net more effectively.

Best regards

Nick Palmer
11:42 am
Another Letter to my MP
Dear Nick,

When I contact you initially regarding the Digital Economy Bill you stated:

"What is going to happen is that anything which the parties think is controversial will get thrown out, and a slimmed-down Bill containing only the things which everyone approves of will go through. There is as I understand it zero risk that the provisions about disconnecting people for alleged illegal downloads will get through."

As this has been proven incorrect with yesterday's second reading.

You also said:

"I'd expect to oppose any such measures."

But I cannot find any reference of you speaking on the issue in Hansard.

May I ask that you make good on your promises and actively oppose the third reading unless clauses 11-18 are dropped.

There are already significant protections to copyright owners through court action and letter writing as proposed in clauses 4-10 of the act. The issues relating to website blocking and restrictions on web users can wait until Parliament has time to fully consider the fundamental questions the bill provokes.

As it stands, this bill is still a dangerous infringement of civil liberties. A view supported by a wide range of MPs, Lords, and organisation such as the Law Society of Scotland who said yesterday.

"If the Bill were passed as it stands, it would mean that a subscriber’s internet access could be limited or even cut off on the grounds of an alleged infringement without any court having made an order against that subscriber.

This parliament has embarrassed itself with expenses scandals and MPs being 'cabs for hire'. For this parliament to end by passing such a badly thought out and drafted bill can only increase voter distrust and disillusionment.

Please try to redeem both parliament's and MP's reputation by standing up for something you believe in.

Please speak out and oppose this bill's third reading.

Yours sincerely,
Monday, March 22nd, 2010
10:05 am
Sunday, March 21st, 2010
9:32 am
DEB - A Reply from my MP
I wrote to my MP about the Digital Economy Bill and this is his response:


Yes, I agree - as co-founder of the Internet Group in Parliament and with
18 years working in the field, I feel strongly about these issues. However,
the position is not quite as reported and I think that some of the
comments on the internet haven't fully understood the procedure at the end of a
Parliament. The DEB is a mammoth project containing dozens of different
issues, many of them entirely uncontroversial - for example, a harmonisation of
the system for age-limit ratings on video games which everyone from
consumer agencies to the industry is keen to get. It also contains several very
dubious things, including the one you mention and also others. What is going
to happen is that anything which the parties think is controversial will
get thrown out, and a slimmed-down Bill containing only the things which
everyone approves of will go through. There is as I understand it zero risk
that the provisions about disconnecting people for alleged illegal downloads
will get through.

On the substance of the issue, I'd expect to oppose any such measures. I
don't think it's appropriate - if people use the internet illegally they can
be prosecuted for that, but not blocked from communication, in the same
way as if I used the postal service in some illegal way - I would expect to
be fined for doing so, but not that the postman would stop delivery!

Best regards


I'm am suspicious of his "Don't worry, all the nasty stuff will be taken out" approach. It is naive and ignores the fact that all the parties in the Lords accepted the bill.

My original letter below the cut.

P.s. Is posting Nick's reply a breach of copyright?

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