A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope

This is a great new take on Star Wars Episode IV in light of Episodes I-III:

If we accept all the Star Wars films as the same canon, then a lot that happens in the original films has to be reinterpreted in the light of the prequels. As we now know, the rebel Alliance was founded by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bail Organa. What can readily be deduced is that their first recruit, who soon became their top field agent, was R2-D2.

Best explanation for continuity problems I’ve seen yet.

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Weird news

The Fortean Times Breaking News page is a great source of weird and wonderful news stories. Links can be added by anyone visiting the site, so although the quality can vary I recommend a visit the next time you’re bored and looking for something to do. It’s be a lot more useful if there was an RSS feed, though, so I’ve mailed the webmaster to ask if they’ve any plans to add one.

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Spotty RSS reader behaviour

I’m getting variable behaviour from different feed Readers for my syndication feeds. Bloglines doesn’t seem to be updating either feed correctly and is currently showing the RSS 1 feed as updated on June 16th and the RSS 2 feed as updated on 23rd June; I’ve mailed them to ask what might be causing this. Live Bookmarks in Firefox 1.0.4 on Windows doesn’t seem able to read the RSS 1 feed – it autodetects it but just lists it as empty, but it does read the RSS 2 feed. aKregator 1.0 on my Kubuntu laptop picks up both feeds perfectly.

Both feeds are dynamically generated and so will be as up-to-date as the front page of the weblog, and I’ve checked the current feeds at feedvalidator.org. At the moment, I’m not sending out a Last-Modified header with either feed. Both are served as application/rss+xml. I can’t think of anything else that might be relevant. Annoying.

Update: 14 July 2005

Bloglines is now indexing the site properly. They weren’t crawling my site at the time due to, err, a lack of subscribers. I had subscribed, unsubscribed and re-subscribed prior to posting this based on the assumption that when someone subscribed they’d immediately pull the latest feeds, but apparently they don’t so there’s a bit of a delay in the site getting re-indexed.

I’ve also noted that in aKregator posts seemingly randomly reappear marked as unread when there have been no apparent updates. I’ve not had the time to test this thoroughly or look for bug reports, though.

In case anyone’s interested, I’m currently using Bloglines as my main feed reader. The ability to access it from any machine is the main reason for this.

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Bristol Indymedia Server Seized

Police have seized the server hosting the Bristol Indymedia website (story at: UK Indymedia, Register). Apparently this happened yesterday evening. This was ostensibly due to a posting to the newswire section by an anonymous contributor on the subject of damage caused to cars on a freight train. It is worth noting that the group does not retain information on the IP addresses of contributors to the site, so the value of the server to the police is questionable. Currently the Bristol Indymedia site is redirecting to the main UK Indymedia site.

So much for freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Best of luck to the local Indymedia folks in getting your site back up.

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Uma update (2)

Don’t like cutesy baby photos? Look away now…

This one’s a bit blurred, but you can see her features quite clearly. I think that she’s wondering WTF I’m doing.

[Uma looking up at me from her cot]

Hands up! This is a fairly characteristic sleeping position.

[Uma asleep in her cot with her hands raised in surrender]
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ID Cards Bill: act now!

A perennial favourite of mine, it is the second reading of the ID Cards Bill on Tuesday 28th June. Please please please lobby your MPs to vote against this idiocy or at least to abstain. There’s a raft of resources available at the No2ID website, and you can use the extremely handy WriteToThem.com website to send a letter to your MP with a minimum of fuss and bother. For those interested, you can download the text of the letter I sent to my MP, Kerry McCarthy, from this site.


Kerry McCarthy voted for the bill, and didn’t bother to respond to my letter at all. Pretty poor for a new MP who should really be trying to build a relationship with her constituents, I reckon.. I finally received a reply to my fax late in July (dated 20th July). It is quite in-depth reply which runs to five pages. When things calm down a bit, I may try to respond, although I have since moved house and am now in a different constituency.

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It’s the solstice again. I always like to mark it; it seems a fairly sensible kind of festival to observe as it’s a significant day even with the neopagan mysticism removed. Fortunately for those planning to dance naked around a megalith somewhere, it’s still quite hot. As for me, I think I’ll settle for a quiet sit in the garden and a drink.

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Piling up

I love reading (particularly sf) but haven’t got to do much of it lately. I used to get through three or sometimes even four books a month, but that was when I spent an hour every day on the tube, didn’t own a TV and had no small person around. Now it feels as though it takes me a couple of months just to get through a short paperback and my to-read pile is just steadily growing.

A side effect is that I can’t decide what to read. I finished a book earlier this week (Recursion, by Tony Ballantyne) and was faced with a pile containing (among others) two Eric Browns, The Fall of Tartarus and New York Dreams; Ian McDonald‘s River of Gods; Jeff Vandermeer‘s Veniss Underground; Cory Doctorow‘s A Place so Foreign and 8 More; an HTML version of Charlie Stross‘s Accelerando (download); and that old classic, Mastering C programming. I just wanted to read them all at once.

I decided upon River of Gods, as really it was at the top of the pile being the last unread christmas present (although I might not be able to resist the temptation to start Accelerando, particularly after I pick up the treeware version next month). I started RoG on Tuesday 14th, and (assuming I stick with it) I thought that it’d be interesting to record this so that I’d know just how long it took to read. It’s a bit of a brick so it might be a while, but then again I’m three chapters in and enjoying it already so maybe I’ll find the time to read a bit more.

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