Welcome to Delta Pavonis

Dom Mooney's Website

January 2006

Is Big Brother watching You?

This weekend, I was listening to the radio, and happened upon a police officer making a strong defense of the fact that the police had retained more than 24,000 DNA samples from juveniles who had never been convicted, charged with an offense or cautioned. (You can find the BBC's take on this here.) Of course, this will also be going on for adults who happen to have come into contact with the police in a similar manner.

The Minister responsible mouthed platitudes that 'there are safeguards in place'. The database is being built up because the Police are allowed – at their discretion – to hold this data after enquiries, no matter what the outcome is. Part of the justification given is the fact that it's needed for the 'War on Terror'. I suppose that DNA evidence would help identify a juvenile suicide bomber's body parts, but it isn't going to stop the attack. Decent human-intelligence is needed for that. Isn't this just a stealth way of building a national database of DNA without a review of the civil liberties questions involved?

Let's add another twist. It's already recognised that the UK is one of the heaviest users of CCTV, and on top of this there is a lot of working going on on facial recognition (examples here and here) to improve the ability to track and identify people. On top of this, we've now got a new proposed road pricing system being developed that will allow the government to track the location of every vehicle at any time. (Here.)

Am I getting paranoid, or is it possible that Orwell's 1984 is finally starting to come true with new technological development spearing on the changes? Is "Big Brother" starting to watch us all?

And the scary thing is that most of the UK political parties see this a a good thing.

Flexibility with Rapidweaver

It's a new year, so I decided to try and see how easy it was to change the site look. This took 7 clicks...

1) Open the theme menu.
2) Select the theme.
3) Open the site inspector.
4) Select the theme settings to apply to the whole site.
5) Select brushed metal.
6) Select light grey outer skin.
7) Publish the site with the publish button.

I do love RapidWeaver. Having just looked on RealMac Software's website (RapidWeaver's Publisher), I've noticed a preview of version 3.5 has been announced for MacWorld next week. Can't wait to see what they've added...

Reading Stats

I've added the reading stats under the Books section. It was 85 books at the end of the year!

Breakdown of 2005

Well, I've finally worked out what I read in 2005; just the basic info at the moment - 22,754 pages and 85 books in 2005. That's down on 2004 which had 30,428 pages and 100 books. I guess the main reasons are the fact that I changed job, and also I tried to clear the RPG backlog, and our main holiday in 2005 was a far more 'doing' event than the year before. However, you can see a big spike in March when we were away on holiday.

Reading Rate

The flat-line in September/October is the big Fritz Lieber omnibus, which seemed to take a long time to read for some reason, even though I enjoyed it immensely. I think I read more slowly because of the short story format giving definite break-points to switch off the light when reading in bed! I read a similar sized tome which wasn't a shorts collection (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) last month, and went through it a lot faster.

Breakdown by Type

I think one of the other contributing factors was my attempt to read all the RPGs that I had sitting on the shelf, and they seem to take longer than other books. Perhaps it is because of the rules and lack of a natural flow in a lot of the books?

Anyway, it's going to be interesting to see what 2006 brings.

Happy New Year!

A happy 2006 to you all! May it bring all you want!

Cheers, Dom