2007-11-29

Imprimatur 012

The latest release of Imprimatur supports the HEAD method, and it has the option to follow redirects.

2007-11-26

The end of The-Elected.com

I had the idea for The-Elected.com in 1999, it would be a directory of the world's democratically elected politicians. I worked on it, and it came to fruition, but never really became popular. Then along came Wikipedia, and even though the information in The-Elected was marked up in XML ready for the semantic web, that distinction was too subtle for users.

The-Elected had one final incarnation where you could click anywhere on a Google map of the USA and Australia and it would take you to the Wikipedia page of that political constituency. I liked that idea, but again it never became popular. I've now decided to abandon The-Elected.

Even though it hasn't been successfull in its own right, it has taught me an immense amount about programming and the internet. Thank you The-Elected, and goodbye!

2007-11-21

The Birds (film)

When we watch a DVD at my house, it's not unusual for someone to walk out. This time it was Sarita that left. To be fair, she had seen it before and didn't like it the first time.

I felt that the sub-plot of Melanie Daniels arriving and her relationship with the family was added in to fill the story out to film length. That wasn't a bad thing, I'm just trying to work out the thinking behind the film. I'm not brainy enough to understand what the sub-plot was all about though.

I was expecting the special effects to be a bit clunky, but in fact they were really well done.

A good film. I'm glad I saw it.

2007-11-20

The Birds (short story)

I'm not a fan of short stories. I want a proper story; short story - short changed. With Daphne du Maurier's The Birds, I loved the story but it ended too soon. I couldn't believe it had ended. Can some talented writer finish it off please?

The thing I like about Du Maurier's writing is how she can evoke a dark mood in a very subtle way in everyday circumstances. John Wyndham's writing has a similar quality.

I'm seeing the film this evening. I gather that it's only very loosely based on the book. It'll be the first Hitchcock film I've seen!

PS. My question to you is; would modern double-glazing stop the birds?

2007-11-18

Own-Id: Yadis Document

Own-Id used to create it's own Yadis document for each domain. I realized this was ridiculous, and so now I've changed things so that the Yadis document is the one from the provider. All this should mean fewer glitches. Please let me know of any web site / provider combination that fail with Own-Id, but that work with the provider's own id.

2007-11-16

Own-Id

Just released a new version that fixes some bugs:
  • Now deals with fully qualified domain names
  • When pages aren't found, gives a proper 404 status code and message.

Also, 35 domains have now been set up using Own-Id.

2007-11-15

Disposal Tax

Regardless of how much or how little rubbish I throw away, I have to pay the district council a flat rate. This means there's no incentive to reduce packaging, and so there's no incentive to reduce the council's bill for disposal.

I've heard some say, 'Yes, we need to charge people according to how much they throw away'. This is crazy talk because:
  • People will just dump their rubbish in laybys.
  • It's not just a question of volume of rubbish, it's what's in there; and people don't have the time or expertise to differentiate levels of disposability.

My solution is to have a disposal tax on every product that will ultimately be thrown away. There would be a number of categories depending on how costly particular materials are to dispose of. For example a paper bag would be in a cheaper category than a plastic bag.

The tax would cover the entire rubbish collection budget, and so that element could be taken out of the council budget.

I've added this idea to the Political Manifesto.

2007-11-14

The importance of shopping

When I walked into Tesco's the other day, I felt slightly paranoid. JG Ballard's Kingdom Come will have the same effect on you too. The feeling was reinforced by the message on Tesco's loyalty envelope, 'Because without you, it's all pointless'. Okay, it's a pun, but it I'm sure Ballard would have pounced on it as a sign of the existential importance of shopping.

2007-11-13

APAP

Went to see the sleep specialist this morning. It seems I may have a mild case of sleep disordered breathing. I'm going to try an APAP machine to see if that does the trick.

Science Cafe: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

We started off with a nice clean cosmological model, and since then it's had to be patched up with dark matter, dark energy and inflation. I think we're due for a new theory in cosmology, akin to Kepler's theory of eliptical orbits that replaced the previous cumbersome theory of circular orbits, within orbits, within orbits...

That was the thought from Jocelyn Bell Burnell that stayed in my mind after her talk at the Science Cafe yesterday. We've had lots of interesting people at the Science Cafe, but as the discoverer of pulsars, Bell stood out as a figure of historical note. I'll be able to boast in the pub, 'Yes, well of course I attended a talk by Jocelyn Bell in person...'.

2007-11-12

Good Energy responds to BG Zero Carbon

In a previous post I wrote to Good Energy asking them to respond to the British Gas Zero Carbon tariff. Thank you to Owen Broadway of Good Energy for responding. His reply to my enquiry is below, and I've made some comments below that.

Tony,

Thanks very much for your enquiry. We appreciate the time our customers take in looking at how relevant we are to the ongoing battle against climate change. We also appreciate the opportunity to air our credentials in a public forum such as the one you have provided.

Although British Gas has launched 2 new green tariffs; they withdrew their Green Electricity & Climate Aware green tariffs in the spring of 2007 after the National Consumer Council found that they added no additional environmental benefit and were lacking in consumer transparency.

To really look at the efforts British Gas are making we need to look at exactly how the electricity they supply is made. In 2006 just 3% of the electricity British Gas supplied came from renewable sources – less than the government requires them to do, and Centrica, owner of British Gas, is building new power stations that run on coal – the most carbon intensive fossil fuel.

The Zero Carbon tariff offers to reduce a household’s carbon emissions to zero - this is being achieved mainly through carbon offset schemes. Although carbon offsetting offers a bridging solution, reducing electricity consumption and replacing the way it is generated are the primary solutions to combating Climate Change.

Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity NOW; cutting your carbon emissions from your electricity consumption immediately.

It is true that British Gas’s new Zero Carbon tariff plans to retire Renewable Obligation Certificates above the government obligation. Good Energy has always retired additional ROCs, helping to raise the market price for renewable generators and attracting further investment into the renewables market. This has led to us consistently being recommended by Friends of the Earth, The Good Shopping Guide and Ethical Consumer Magazine.

Similarly, Good Energy has also always held onto 100% of its Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs) to ensure that the renewable benefits of the electricity supplied are not double counted.

Good Energy is unique in the UK because ALL of the electricity we supply comes from renewable sources and is backed by 100% Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs), as opposed to one tariff from a company supplying millions of other consumers with fossil fuel created electricity.

I hope this goes some way to answering your questions, if there is anything I can offer more detail on please do not hesitate to give me a call.

Regards,

Owen Broadway
Head of
Sales

It's me speaking again. Good Energy are a great company, I've been a happy customer of theirs for years. However I think they've just been out-greened by BG Zero Carbon in the key area of ROCs retirement. My plea to Good Energy is to make the bold move of retiring 100% of their ROCs. I'm aware that this will increase the electricity price hugely, but I for one would pay up, knowing that the electricity was truly green.

One of Owen's points against BG Zero Carbon hits home, and that's the carbon offsetting element. Carbon offsetting is dodgy and I'd rather avoid it.

Another genuine problem with BG Zero Carbon is that it's only available with dual-fuel. I intend to stop burning fossil fuel gas, and signing up to something that involves burning gas seems a backward step.

If British Gas were serious about climate change, they'd stop burning fossil fuels. However, if they come up with the greenest tariff, then it's still the right thing to do to sign up with them despite the rest of the company not being green.

In summary I'll not be switching to BG Zero Carbon for the time being because of their carbon offsetting nonsense and dual fuel racket. However, Good Energy must retire more of their ROCs because they're not as good as BG Zero Carbon on this most important point. I'd also like to see Good Energy publish their ROC retirement percentage prominently on their website (I couldn't find it anywhere).

2007-11-10

Good Energy versus British Gas Zero Carbon

Bob at work pointed out an article in the Ends Report that suggests British Gas's Zero Carbon electricity tariff is greener than my Good Energy tariff. I wrote the following to Good Energy:
I read in the August 2007 Ends Report that British Gas retires 12% of ROCs above its legal obligation for its Zero Carbon tariff, whereas Good Energy only retires 5% above its obligation. I'm a very happy customer of Good Energy, but I'm tempted by the Zero Carbon tariff. Is there a reason why I shouldn't switch to British Gas?

2007-11-08

Own-Id: DNS propogation bug

I was going through the Own-Id error log and found a bug that affects new users only. It occurred when the DNS propagated to the user's browser before it reached the Own-Id server. I've now changed the code so that no DNS look-up is ever done on the domain name that the user is trying to set up.

Viable low energy replacement for halogen spot lights

In B&Q's GU10 white LED lightbulb I've finally found a low energy replacement for my halogen spotlights. The LED bulb is 1.2W, compared to the 50W of the halogen. The amount of light from the LED isn't as great as that from the halogen. It's also a much whiter light, and makes the halogen look yellow.

2007-11-07

Own-Id: Bug fixes and future

Yesterday I released a new version of Own-Id which fixed all the outstanding bugs. The main bug was not correctly picking up the OP Endpoint URL, which affected claimId.com ids. There were also some minor bugs, such as handling fully qualified domains properly. Thank you to the people who reported bugs and such, it is much appreciated. If you find anything wrong with Own-Id, please do let me know.

What's the future for Own-Id? The next thing is to allow people to have a link to their homepage on their id page. What do you think?

2007-11-04

Pot-Bouille

I originally heard an excerpt of a dramatization of a Zola book on Radio 4, and that piqued my interest. I got Pot-Bouille from the library and found the book interesting and enjoyable (with a grim bit at the end) while delivering a strong moral message.

I think the purpose of the book is to highlight the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie in their sexual conduct. Published in 1882, the book made me wonder if the problems that Zola raised have been solved by paternity testing, contraception and child support. My view is that the main physical problems have been solved, but there's still potential for psychological problems. What do you think?

2007-11-03

New Own Id setup instructions

In response to Hugo Hallman's comment I've changed the instructions to make it a bit easier to set up a domain name. Thanks to Hugo for his feedback.

I've also changed the XRDS document so that Own-Id now supports all versions of OpenId.

Btw, we now have 13 users (domains).