Computer News

The BBC radio news last week referred to "Sir" Tim B-L as "the inventor of the internet". Which is actually not as bad as the NPR interviewee commenting on Google's "street view" feature who outlined some of the arguments in favour of the system: it allows you to find shops or hotels (yes), and also to monitor your neighborhood "for fires". Um, right. (listen for yourself here).

Computing in beijing was actually quite tolerable, although many useful sites were blocked with just a "site not found" error: BBC news, blogspot (but not blogger, hence the confused post last week), flick photos but not flickr the site etc. And other sites were just intermittent, meaning that you were never entirely sure if something was censored, or just broken. Also, SSH connections seemed to take a very long time to connect, as if some human was deciding whether to allow it to go through.

On the flight back, I watched Eragon, which is point-for-point plot-isomorphic with Star Wars. I'd bore you by listing the matching, but it's sufficiently well-documented elsewhere so I won't bother. Calling the hero a "farmboy" though, that's surely taking it too far. Continental's in-flight movie guide helpfully commented that there are "50 differences between the book and the film" as if this were in any way a meaningful or sensible piece of information. I would have watched more movies, but after years of enduring coach class, I had paid some of my hard earned frequent carbon emitter miles to upgrade myself to business class for the 13 hour flight, so I reclined the seat and went to sleep. The main benefit is the extra space; there's also better food, although they make so much fuss over it, I'd almost rather they just dumped it in front of me on a tray. Oh, and free wine, which helps somewhat in the sleeping. Also, it meant that I could get out of the plane first and peg it over to immigration where there were absolutely no lines. I therefore rolled up in front of an immigration officer, who studiously ignored me and tapped his computer for a few minutes. Then turning to me, he went through the usual procedure while I glanced at a sheet on his desk listing names and offences of various other people on the flight. I thought I caught a glance of my DOB on the paper, but I didn't want to point this out.

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