#occupyWallStreet – a history lesson

This morning I was reading quite a well written and researched article in stuff.co.nz on the topic of the global uprising that is happening called Occupy Wall Street. The problem is, the information in the aritcle is wrong.  It goes on to explain with quite a provocative title that from a single hash tag, a world wide revolution has begun.

The author Ben Berkowitz has painstakingly taken some data from a twitter large pipe analytics provider (like UberVue or DataSift) and has found where the first #occupyWallStreet murmurs have begun and then proceeded to write an article on the phenomenon.  The problem is, the author doesn’t really know anything about the topic.

I have been following the #occupywallstreet movement for over a year now (not July 13 2011 as suggested by Mr Berkowitz).  This thing actually started with anonymous, the disbanded hacking collective that haunts the darker recesses of the internet.  Mumblings actually started about a year and a half ago about a sit in across the globe.

One chap started a group called Empire State Rebellion Amped.  This is indeed the true actual start of the #occupywallstreet phenomenon.  It started as a facebook page and they now seem to have a web site ampedstatus.org whose main beef is that the federal reserve bank of america sends cash with interest to the banking sector, therefore fueling inflation by its very nature.

I am not an expert on monetary policy, indeed I don’t even have an opinion on the whole topic but I need to make sure that history remembers the truth of where this started, before it gets hijacked by special interest groups.

The 99% branding is a recent thing (last four weeks) and frankly it is memorable and quite catchy.  So in some respects it’s (often confusing message) humble beginnings seems to have taken on a life of its own.

I am not sure what the movement intends to achieve.  Perhaps just to blow of a little steam. A few cops will get hurt, a few protesters will probably die.  Will the banking sector take any note, probably not.  Will the politicians take note?  The Pirate Party might.  Perhaps they will be the true winner from the #occupywallstreet phenomenon in the end.

Quick Update: (timestamp: Monday 7 Nov 2011)

The Huffington Post has an article with an anonymous video on it.  They mention the Empire State Rebellion. Remember you heard it here first.

Posted in #occupywallstreet, Opinion | Leave a comment

National Anthems – Rugby World Cup 2011

I went to a local bar this morning at 9am.  A bit early for me on a normal day, but today Australia were playing rugby against New Zealand.  I come from one of those countries, actually I have lived in both, so I have feeling for both countries.

Watching the game, at a distance, one room in the bar full of New Zealanders and another room full of Aussies.  In the New Zealand room there was fifty or so people standing on their feet, cheering the game on.

In the other room, everyone was seated. There was angry grumbling from the Aussies, as sport is their national pastime.  Kiwis are the poor cousins of Australia, they have a smaller population (4.5M) vs Australias 20M.

Australia has Sydney, a gleaming pinnacle of city living with several hundred kilometers of beach within the city limits.  That’s pretty cool.

New Zealand, they have Auckland, its different.  Its bigger, yet smaller at the same time. Smaller as in smaller minds, smaller views of how they can succeed so all-in-all New Zealand is ‘smaller’.

So it was a pleasant surprise that New Zealand (playing in their home country) in the semifinals managed to beat their arch rivals convincingly. Often they loose heart towards the second half of the second half.  This time they didn’t and they crushed the aussies.

But this isn’t the point of this blog post.  The point is, you can pretty much listen to a countries national anthem and work out who is going to win the game before they start playing.

National Anthems.  Just listen, here are the two national anthems of the two teams.

Australia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TNCf0cwJsY

New Zealand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUiGF4TGI9w

The think is, it’s pretty obvious who was going to win, well before the game started.

The worrying thing is that next week New Zealand plays France in the Final.  Those french guys have a pretty good anthem.

French National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTfIU9XC99k

So, good luck, whoever wins.  Perhaps the loser should consider changing their anthem for the next work cup?

Posted in Opinion, RWC2011 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

iOS 5.0 Upgrade Night Mares – Dennis Dead (not related)

Today, I decided to iUpgrade.  All the computers, all the iDevices.  This was a mistake. As soon as I was told that Dennis Ritchie had died I should have probably taken it as a sign.

Today was not the day to step on kama’s toes.  Today is a day to go easy on the world.

Many of my friends have upgraded, most without incident.  I did not fare to well.  My main problem is the age of all my machines and (like a plumbers house) the amount of maintenance the operating systems get.  By maintenance, I am not talking about removing bloatware and things that are a virus’ – I don’t have those, that’s now how I roll.

What I am talking about is the everyday removing of log files and old VM’s.  I have quite a lot of VM’s on my laptop, and with all the video files from FCP, I have no disk space.  In fact, it would seem I have not had any disk space for a very long time, but because it is a pain in the ass to fix, I have done nothing about it.

So, then.  When it comes to upgrade to iOS 5, I need to have some free space.  Firstly to backup my iDevices and then to download the latest software patches to the OS and THEN to download the latest version of iTunes and THEN do another backup of my iDevice AND THEN download the iOS 5.0 upgrade.


So far, I am seven hours into the process.  I live in London, England and have a very fast internet connection.  I do not however have much disk space.  As I type this, I have just removed 12GB of VM’s on my laptop after backing them up to an external drvie (which is now full).

I now have a wopping 14GB free.  Lets go and turn on software updates and see what I need to do next.

I turn on Apple -> Software Updates and then wait.  About a full two minutes.  Just over 1GB to download and install.  This is going to be fun. Time check: 7 hours on the nose.

The good news, it’s only going to take 20mins to download the updates.  I might get this finished before I head out to an event tonight at Innovation Warehouse.

In the meantime let me tell you of the upgrade nightmares I had with my iPad.  I sync it with another machine.  I also use it as a development iPad so it has a bunch of strange software on it that I have been writing.  When  I was finally ready to do a backup it said there wasn’t enough space to backup all the photos on it.  This wasn’t a biggie so I continued.

What it didn’t tell me was that the PDF reader I use with all my eBooks on it wasn’t available for iOS 5.0 and that all my eBooks would vanish.  Simply varnished, like a finely polished table.  Oh well, that can be fixed (2 hours).

Next up, movies all gone.  Movies I only had on my iPad.  Annoying.  But I guess that won’t kill me.

So, good things:

Wow, it’s slick.  Really slick.  And all of a sudden I have a new love for Twitter, one that I had lost.  I also have a new love for their iPod application that now seems to be aptly title Music.  Right now, I have it plugged into the stereo streaming music from my Mac Mini.  It works and works really well.  Why didn’t someone tell me an iPad is the ideal front end to a music library.  Its pretty!

Right, its 20 mins later: the upgrade has downloaded. (five minutes: still going)

(two more minutes passes)

(two more minutes passes)

<time passes>

You are in a forest.


You follow the path north. You are in a forest.  There are trees all around you, you see no exit.


You are in a clearing.  There are no trees.  You see a silver macintosh computer. On it’s screen is a Software Update window.  It says, “Installing 2 items”.  You wait.

<more time passes>


You get a beer from the fridge.


The beer is not open. You need to open the beer first.


You hear the crisp clean snap of the ring pull coming off the can and the gush of beer coming out the top like the sound of a well satisfied woman. The beer goes all over the place due to your shaking with rage because of the computer taking so long to install software updates.


The beer is cold.  You have an empty can in your hand.

<more fucking time passes>

The software update window changes and says “Running package scripts”, that’s good right?

About five minutes later it finishes the install and is now restarting.  I hold my breath.  I can hear it rebuilding packages and config files.  An then, then, the chime of life.  My mac begins to boot again.

Timecheck: 44 minutes since I started writing the blog.  To be fair, that’s not too bad.  Two minutes to bootup and it seems to be working.

I turn on iTunes.

It asks me if I want to download and install iOS5.  I say no, as I need to first sync my iPhone (backup) to my computer.  And so the sync begins.  Again, I wait.

Whilst waiting Software Update pops it head up again saying I am now at 10.6.8 and I need to download a bunch of other updates.  A restart will be required after this.  I am also concerned that my iPhone seems to have about 10GB used.  This isn’t going to go down well with my amount of free disk space after the backup.  However, I have to have this backup done as I removed the previous ones so I could install the software updates.

Backup is now about half way thru and its taken 7 minutes.  Perhaps time for another beer.

Backup finished, about 14 mins all up.  Then went into iPhone summary and clicked on Update.  It asked me a few painless questions and I continued to download and install.  I have to leave to get the train to an event in 12 minutes, what do you think my chances are?

I click on the downloads tab on iTunes.  It suggests 13 mins more of download time.   I guess I’ll wait. Then wait another ten minutes for the install then another 14 mins for the restore of my apps etc.  I guess I’m not going to make that event after all.  Let’s face facts, my iPhone is much more important.

Timestamp: 9 hours 22mins later.  The iOS 5 is finally actually being written to my iPhone.  Good times.  Now, where’s that wine. Fuck the beer, this is getting rediculous.

9 hours 32 mins.  My iPhone is finally rebooting with what I hope is iOS 5.0.

Ohhps.  Not so fast, we now need to download the restore.. or is that upload? 14 mins.

so, I wait a bit longer.  Then the iPhone reboots.  Fingers, toes and tongue crossed.

Nope, no apparently it has to restore my iphone apps.. WTF?  Did you just restore my phone?  This one has a progress bar but no ETA.  Time check: 9 hours 52 mins since I began.

Right, it’s almost finished it’s restore of my apps.  Time check: 10 hours 12 mins since I began.  Love you apple.

Oh good.  Now is restoring music and videos.  At least that progress bar seems to be moving faster than the apps one.  This might only be three minutes (or less).

This is slightly like watching paint dry.  On a dull day, with the pain reflecting off a hot tin roof into my eyes. Love you apple.

I guess I used to sit for hours backing up video with my Quadra 950 (best machine in the world) to tape.  This is no different.  It’s just that we have 14,000 times more data.  Holy, shit.  My Quadra 950 was circa ’93.  We are now 2011.  That’s what, 18 years ago and my PHONE has 14,000x more data on it.


Timecheck: 10 hours 17 mins.  Nothing is happening.  IS it finished? YES!

The Phone now has a nice ‘setup iCloud’ menu happening.  Which I proceed to do.

Strangely it seems to be syncing my new install whilst I am doing the setup (good work Apple, you get a capital A this time).

It asks me to sync with iCloud for my contacts and events. That’s a big YES.  Thank god someone has finally managed to get this right.  It then asks if I want to turn on location tracking so I can find my handset if it’s stolen.  Again a big YES.

Painless once I had the tools to do the job.  Thanks Apple.

And a few quick words.  One of the founders of the Unix Operating system and the C language died overnight.  This makes me sad.  Thanks for all the hard work.  You changed the world.

Posted in iOS, iOS 5, iPhone | Leave a comment

Steve is Dead, time to try MongoDB

A few weeks ago I went to an event called #seedhack.  I met a chap there called Russel Smith.  He seemed to know quite a bit about MongoDB and was kind enough to sit down and spend a few hours with me, beating the benefits of not having a schema into my head.

I was dubious about becoming one of those NoSQL ‘wankers’ as my friend Tom refers to them as.  So I decided to tread lightly.

Today, after two weeks of discussing what we want to do with the new internals of BallOfDirt.com I started using MongoDB. I thought I would document my progress so others might not fall into the same traps I did.

I am setting up a MongoDB instance on a Ubuntu server that has an existing apache2 and php5 instance installed.  I typed the following in as root:

Continue reading

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