I’m Binaryape

About me

Photographer, software developer, sysadmin, startup-founder, atheist Buddhist, vegan and Green. Wears a hat.

This blog reflects my personal opinions only, although most posts are so old they might not even do that anymore.

Recent public projects

Status updating…

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Don’t Suspect a Friend, Report Him!

- - posted in Ancient Archives

Don’t Suspect A Friend, Report Him!
Originally uploaded by BinaryApe and cross-posted here because he’s lazy.

Why would a suicide bomber or car bomber bother to check where CCTV cameras are? They’re almost everywhere. What difference would they make?

Another poster in this series encourages people to report neighbours who have “chemicals” in their bins. Presumably hobbyist dyers, film developers, etchers, etc will now be suspects.

This poster campaign is negative, dangerous scare mongering.

There are some good satirical spoofs of the posters at BoingBoing, and here’s someone likely to get reported in Manchester, right there on Flickr.

Want to join in with the paranoia? Make your own poster online!

(The title is taken from a government poster in Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil)

Manchester City South Becomes Corridor Manchester?

- - posted in Ancient Archives

While reading Sir Richard Leese does a Big Fat Pipe on Manchester Confidential I thought to myself “This Manchester Corridor project reminds me of Manchester City South…” In fact, it’s got almost the same website: it looks as if the Manchester City South project has been rebranded.

Rather spookily I wrote a rare blog post on Manchester City South last year and said

“Calling it “City South”: A bad idea. […] so I’ll suggest calling it ‘The Corridor’, since people already talk of ‘The Oxford Road Corridor’ (and it sounds academic)”


Leese’s Big Fat Pipe is a plan for 100MB ‘broadband’ to be made available to flats and offices down Oxford Road. Since most places on Oxford Road are either already on Janet (much faster) or are a takeaway, I’m not sure how much of an impact this will have (it would be better in the web-startup-filled Northern Quarter) but decent Internet access is not to be sniffed at, wherever it is. Speed is actually less of an issue than symmetric bandwidth: we need better upload speeds than ADSL can provide.

More please!


- - posted in Ancient Archives

After a few conversations with colleagues I’m now worried that software I create at home might end up owned by my employer - my personal coding projects tend to overlap with the same areas I work in. In my original employment terms I had default ‘IP’ rights, but I’m not so sure now… I don’t want my hobby coding to turn into more unpaid overtime.

Fortunately, since I stopped the silly overtime habit I’ve not managed to actually do anything productive at home in its place (progress in Eve Online probably doesn’t count), but I need to find out what the situation is before I stop procrastinating. I also need to actually click ‘publish’ on this blog more often.

(goes to check on the training for Astrogeology Level IV)

The Secret Policeman’s Law

- - posted in Ancient Archives

A long-established way to pass repressive laws is to first target a group that the public have no sympathy with, then let the application of the law (or the definition of the target group) gradually widen until the law can be used against pretty much anyone. This often puts liberty campaigners in the awkward position of having to defend the rights of pretty unpleasant people.

The Labour Party have a convenient recipe for this sort of thing: ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation introduced with strong assurances that it will only be used rarely, in extreme cases, as a last resort, and then almost immediately used for trivial reasons on an almost daily basis.

The Labour Government are now planning a law that is, at first sight, to prevent terrorists from gathering information on soldiers and policemen. However, according to the British Journal of Photography, the wording will effectively make it illegal to take photos that include police officers.

Although you might never see a policeman on most days, at many important events there are policemen everywhere. Even quite small, minor demonstrations can find themselves accompanied by almost as many policemen as they have demonstrators. If BJP is correct, this law could cripple the effectiveness of journalists and documentary photographers. It would make photographing police abuses very difficult indeed.

There have already been many incidents of British police officers harassing photographers, from professional photojournalists to MPs photographing cycle-paths (what sort of terrorist plan would involve photographing a cycle-path?, so the likelihood of this law being misused if very high.

The Home Office is defending the legislation and managing to make it sound even weirder:

Speaking to Amateur Photographer the spokesman added: ‘We don’t intend to criminalise people for taking photos of police constables whether inadvertently or not. There has to be a criminal activity associated with it.’

He cited a photograph of a ‘police station’ as one such ‘activity’.

So photographing a police station is apparently already a criminal activity, and something I’ve inadvertently already done a number of times…

I’m willing to believe that people at the Home Office believe what they say, but I don’t think that’s enough to protect the public from the law being abused.

Update: Act was passed into law, and a crowd of photographers took pictures of a police station and assorted bemused police officers

Updated: The Police Federation don’t like this law either.

The New Scotland: Manchester as Policy Test Site

- - posted in Ancient Archives

An item today at Mancunian Green makes a good point: why is Manchester the Government’s first choice for testing potentially troublesome new policies? Back in the Thatcher era Scotland seemed to be the favourite for political experimentation, and now Manchester seems to be the Brown government’s equivalent: casinos, ID cards, congestion charging.

Is Manchester being favored or exploited? My suspicion is that with a strongly-rooted Labour council the government feel they can afford to get away with more in Manchester - if things work out well they gain, but if things go wrong they’ve got enough of an electoral margin to protect their councillors from harm.

Not Flu: Pneumonia

- - posted in Ancient Archives

I’d assumed that since I felt so ill, I must have got proper flu, flu like this:

“For god’s sake, he’s a man! He’s got a man-cold

Here’s a guide for women dealing with man-flu:

So I did my best to not take it too seriously.

But I would have failed the gamecontroller/money test.

It turns out that the fit-like coughing, bloody phlegm, falling over, blue stars, etc are pretty good indicators that it’s not flu, it’s a chest infection. I ended up diagnosed with pneumonia and off work for 34 days, and I still feel sore and knackered. By the end of the first week my back and chest were agonizingly painful whenever I coughed, and I couldn’t even lie down or sit up without serious effort and lots of zombie noises. I barely slept for about ten days, which led to some interesting night-time hallucinations (thanks for the advice, Barack-Obama-hallucination!) and entertaining daytime narcolepsy.

There came a point near the end of December when suddenly I could sleep properly again, and the effect was amazing: I have never felt so much healthier and happier, and decided to head back to work. This was when I got some excellent advice from a friend at work: feeling a huge amount better is not the same as being healthy again, and going back to a stuffy dusty workplace would do me no good at all. Other people have made this mistake and ended up with permanent damage to their lungs. He was right - a week later I and was still coughing up little splatters of blood and having trouble moving around, and I’m very glad I stayed at home.

I’ve never needed a doctor’s note before. How did I end up with pneumonia? Was it caused by the sinusitis I had? Builders dust and broken air-conditioning at work? Stress? A colleague coughing over me a few days before? Inhaled tea-tree oil spray? The mold-removal project at home? Probably all of the above; certainly none of them helped.

Bad Rabbit

- - posted in Ancient Archives

Extreme Rabbit Alert! It appears T-Mobile UK have classed this picture of Mr Fukusuke-pon the rabbit as ‘adult’ and blocked me from viewing it with their USB 3G web-n-walk service. I now need to take my passport to a T Mobile shop to prove that I’m old enough to see rabbits without parental supervision.


- - posted in Ancient Archives

Liquid Crystal
Originally uploaded by BinaryApe
Rosehip syrup has fascinating swirls and colours when stared at after four days with very little sleep, and morning sunlight through the window is cheerful at this time of year. I’ve combined them and got a few interesting photos.

I have never had a cough/cold like this before. I’ve coughed so much I’ve fallen down and seen strange blue lights fill my vision and been convinced something is going to burst. I’ve been reassured that these are probably man-flu symptoms, and it seems I’m likely to survive. My voice has been mostly gone since Tuesday but has gone through periods of channeling Darth Vader, Johny Cash (the neighbours suffered ‘Ring of Fire’ interrupted by coughing fits), voiceless zombie and currently late period Bob Dylan.

Anyway, the syrup worked photographically at least.

Fukusuke-pon 福助ぽん

- - posted in Ancient Archives

I first blogged about Oolong the rabbit back in 2002. At first Oolong was famous for balancing pancakes on his head but the many photos of his visits to parks and temples in Japan were wonderful and won him a lot of fans around the world. Oolong died a few years ago.

I was recently very happy to stumble upon Fusuke-pon, another adventurous Japanese rabbit. He doesn't balance pancakes but he appears in some lovely photographs, also often in parks and temples.

Two Fantasy Worlds

- - posted in Ancient Archives

I’m still steadfastly refusing to join Facebook but I’ve given in and joined LinkedIn, the dull but apparently useful social networking site for adults and those who can sometimes pass as adults, such as myself.

I’m also definitely weakening on my plan to avoid MMORPGs. I’m much too much of an old-timer RPG-snob to dabble in chatrooms disguised as cartoony Warhammer-knockoffs (I’ve never liked any of Warcraft’s incarnations) and I’m still not fully recovered from my MUD days (those nightmares involving rapidly scrolling green text, struggling to trigger the macros in time…) but the EVE Online demo is definitely fun. Hard SF space opera, piracy and capitalism. Strong Vernor Vinge influences. Drone swarms. Sensible navigation (tell the ship where to go, and it handles things for you. No joysticks, no already extinct WW2 dogfight physics). Spaceships, banks, insurance, trading, huge battles, missions. It’s a 1980s ‘Elite’ player’s fantasy made real.

Best of all, it looks fun without investing too much valuable time. There’s a chance I might subscribe.