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Sub on the retroactive Video evidence law change..

Thought I'd post this here, since it doesn't belong on any of my other blogs. Not sure how people will see this, but hey I had my say :)

Paste inbound:

The Search and Surveillance Bill currently making its way through the normal processes of lawmaking provides appropriate balance to new methods of gathering evidence by the Police - the process that applies to any other situation in which the need to uphold the law overrides the Bill of Rights.

That Bill underwent considerable public review and long hours in Select Committee to reach a point where the legislation being proposed is largely fair and consistent with existing norms. It is completely reasonable that the Police should have investigative powers which are modern and suitable to the job. It is also reasonable to expect that those powers will be balanced with our Bill of Rights and the legal processes we already have with respect to gathering evidence.

Contrast this with the hastily arranged patch job in response to the Supreme Court decision with respect to evidence obtained without a warrant and in breach of the Bill of Rights in a singular case. It has not been given the significant review it should have, it retroactively makes illegal activity - activity the Police knew to be illegal and in breach of the Bill of Rights - legal almost in a single stroke, completely in disregard for what we as citizens should expect from our system of government.

The decision handed down by the Supreme Court did not actually outlaw any possibly hidden video camera evidence. It made it clear that consistent with other means of gathering evidence the seriousness of the charges must be considered, and only when serious charges are involved is the Bill of Rights overridden.

Yet, we see in the media reports of this not being a single isolated case, but a belief as many as forty cases may now fail because of this test. Forty! I would dearly like to believe that this is a gross overestimate of the number of cases, and the overwhelming majority would be unaffected by such significant breaches of the Bill of Rights. The alternative is far less palatable - that there has been a systemic violation of the Bill of Rights and the Police knew full well for every one of those cases it was doing so.

There are terrible consequences for the respect we should have for the Police in that light.

I urge the Committee to return nothing more than a blank page, to recognise serious cases would not be affected by the ruling the Supreme Court made and therefore to do not need this patch job, and further recognise if this patch job is required to protect cases those cases must be about minor and trivial offenses for which we are legalising a massive breach of the Bill of Rights to prosecute.

Lastly, I urge the Committee to recognise that the fix is already in progress and continue the consultation and passage of the S&S Bill, to ensure there is appropriate judicial oversight of all methods of gathering evidence by the Police, and not dangerous retroactive lawmaking.

(end)

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A while

I wrote a lot here but back button deleted it.

Never mind.

I am alive!

That's the main thing.

Talking at Nerd Nite Wellington on April 18, you should all come to hear all about the NTP server project I've been going on about for years here :) I promise pictures!
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Things

Has been quite a while since I posted. Not much has happened.

- LCA2011 was pretty good. Brisbane didn't really look like it had been through the hell that TV pictures showed. You could see it in places (dirty water lines on the freeway near the river, and the fencing up around damaged riverbank areas), but otherwise the whole city seemed to be just getting on with things.

- Visit with Mum in Toowoomba was great. Yes, more devastation here, much more obvious than in Brisbane. I got the grand tour all around the place and it was surprisingly less ick-weather than Brisbane. Although, I do think my range for ick-hot-weather has been reset by the Singapore trip.

-  Not so impressed by Qantas. The trans-tasman planes a pretty meh (737-400, and wow was it obvious it was a -400 series plane). On the way back I requested aisle seats since it helps mitigate the occasional incidence of claustrophobia. BNE->SYD they managed that okay, and they allocated an exit row seat for SYD->WLG. Which is okay, it's not ideal, but okay. I get to SYD and they suddenly call me to the gate, to reassign me into a seat between two people. Hooray! Wasn't a very comfortable flight back and it took a lot of calming breathing techniques from time to time to avoid problems. The *only* reason I went Qantas was the better options out of BNE in terms of departure times, but I think next time I visit Mum I might just go via AKL and use Air NZ.

- The bus up to Toowoomba was kinda cool. It was *real* Australia for the first time for me. Not an urban area. And seeing a sign as we went past on the bus saying "DARWIN 3472" was really cool, it suddenly made just how big AU is quite real. If I had the time and money, I'd seriously think about renting an interesting car in Adelaide, and doing an huge east coast tour, ending up at Mum's and then flying out of BNE..

- Which in turn makes me slightly more positive thinking about it now LCA2012 is in Ballarat, also not a urban place.

- After I finally came to the conclusion a year ago that actually I just shouldn't live with flatmates (and, that it wasn't anything they were doing which I was justifiably unhappy about, but that I was actually just unhappy about it regardless), I left the room Rhi was in empty. And it's remained empty for the last year. Finally this week I decided to actually do something with the space, so it now has a huge desk and all the electronics gear has been moved in to it, along with a better workspace for making more electronics. I should have done this ages ago, but I am a creature of habit, changing things is hard.

That's kinda it. Not much else going on!
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Arrgh I'm in an airport

 .. but I have Internets.

HELLO FROM SYDNEY.. this isn't where I am destined to be for the next week, but it's where I am for .. many hours.. I didn't do such a great job on booking these flights but never mind :)

Haven't been posting much since these days it's just five days of work followed by some gatherings, WoW, and RB. And not a lot else. But, since I'm here for HOURS ON END I am posting now.

The 3.5 hours over from Wellington was actually much worse than many hours here. I think because my brain was trying to make me sleep (6am flight out is definitely at SLEEP TIME) but couldn't, since I never ever sleep on planes.

All going well, I should be in Brisbane soon, for LCA2011 .. despite all the flooding the conference is still on. Bit of water isn't going to stop some geeks from getting together and talking about crap.. and drinking beer. mmm.. beer.

Might be updates during, might not :)

Take care of each other!
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W

Items.

- This is not a bullet point.

- Last week was mostly spent chasing down various problems in $CUSTOMER. I especially liked the 5 hours of planned outages on one evening. Liked? No, umm.. was very annoyed by. Mostly it was a bit of a pain we had to clean up, again, a bunch of things which just shouldn't be used. (init scripts from NFS, just say no.)

- The positive part of the week was it was post-oncall. So bumper pay and the most amount of time before I need to carry the paper again.

- Thursday evening I had dinner with Jes, David, and Cyrus. And then there may have been some major rockbanding (with Plaz making a late entry to play as well). We managed to get some double and triple awesomes on Queen. And is the first time we've tried having four instruments (guitar, bass, keys, drums) and vocals all at once. Works better than I expected.

- I do miss the regular RB sessions that used to take place on Fridays. 

- Friday was beer and potato at the place what isn't Katipo any more. They were confused by me, since I walked in, and just wandered in to sit down, like I would at K. But since it's become all upmarket wank they want to seat people and know how many etc etc. Was reasonably priced tho. Then there was some Rock Band at home with Sam.

- Saturday I took advantage of the brilliant sunshine and summery weather, drove out to QEII park and had a bit of a picnic and reading in the shade. Seated shade was a bit hard to find, and I'm not very comfortable sitting on the ground. On the way back I stopped in at the Warehouse and grabbed a collapsible camping chair, to stick in the boot, and some sunscreen to throw in the glovebox. Because I really should.

- Saturday afternoon was at YC's playing with his Kinect games, and seeing GT5. GT5 is .. it's not bad, but there's nothing extremely awesome about it. It's not a bad game tho, it's just not the standout it used to be in racing games. Kinect is extremely tiring, and I had problems with depth perception on some of the games.. that and needing to move to where the avatars limbs were, not where I thought was far enough for the estimated distance. If you get what I mean. Anyway, some of the Kinect stuff is cute and interesting, but I think it'll suffer a short lifespan. Unlike the Wii, you have no buttons. This sounds great, until you realise that means every game has to have a gesture to act as a button. Some games, this isn't a problem, but there's lots of cases where the Wii makes good use of even just a single button plus motion. And you can't really do that with Kinect well.

- Sunday was DORIA and then lurking around home. Nothing very exciting. Oh, I built the current SVN of XBMC. I like the new add-on system.

That's all!
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W is for weekend

List time

- Friday I went to Fidels for the first time in quite a while. For obvious reasons. It was good to talk to people, I have actually been missing a bit of social contact lately.

- After Fidels, came home, and was half way through BURGER when discovered I'd signed up for a raid. Oops, I have been a bit of a scatterbrain about raids in the last few weeks. Heroic Sindy is .. hard. First time in weeks though I wasn't fighting random lag.

- Saturday was spent lurking around, and then driving to Makara for beagl 's birthday fire and sausage fest. Fire good. Sausage, difficult. I managed to lose TWO into the fire before deciding to "cook" one and eat it before it slipped off and into the fire. Subsequent efforts with Pointy Stick 2.0 were much better.

- Today has been quiet, I finally worked out what was wrong with the first v1.3 build of the NTP server. It turns out the CS pin of the ethernet MAC/PHY needs more current than a 100k pull-up gives it. The other lines around that area (AD9-14, and the pull-down on the interface selection pins) are fine at 100k, so I just blindly assumed it'd work for CS to. Nope. Desoldered the 100k and soldered in a 10k resistor instead, all is good.

- Today's outage also went remarkably well. Tends to be either site-destroying or flawless, is how my changes go. 

- Technically pre-weekend, but anyway.. I also now have a butane pencil and an extremely nerdy magnifying glasses on headband arrangement. I look like such a nerd. But you try placing 0.8mm x 1.6mm parts with tweezers without them! Is hard!

- Also last week had an excellent meeting of the TechLiberty people.. We have a lot to do, but have achieved a surprising amount.

- Also also got my Keytar for Rock Band 3, and it's AWESOME. I also suck quite a lot. Got the cymbals for Pro Drums and it makes it a bit more of a challenge, but not insurmountably so. 

Stay safe out there people!
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Weekend!

In which:

- Friday was spent watching people clean their desks, for an upcoming massive desk re-arrangement. I did not clean mine. This is because I don't have one. :)

- More of Friday was spent watching the fireworks from caycos/sneakums' place, with the rousing accompaniment of baal`'s car alarm going off now and then.

- Saturday I went for a drive around a bit. Nowhere in particular. I'm doing my bit to contribute to global warming. I have that the right way around yes?

- Booked the accomodation and conference ticket for LCA2011 in Brisbane in Jan. Should be a good trip, it'll be the first time in a very long time I will be visiting Mum, since she lives not far from Brisbane..

- MOAR Saturday resulted in Rock Band being played quite a lot. And pizza. And noting I have exactly zero local music sources. I think I have some CDs somewhere, and maybe something which plays them. Who knows. RB was much awesome, but I look forward to the keytar arriving this week!

- I can't harmonise Queen. Just saying.

- Sunday I got up at 4 because .. there were cars. Cars GOING AROUND AND AROUND and then they stopped. Brazil F1 Qualifying. Nobody expected who was on pole.

- Then on moar Sunday there was Doria and TOO MUCH and another afternoon drive along the Wainui coast road. And I didn't feel the car understeer. Well, not more than once or twice. :) Maaaybe I shouldn't push quite so hard at this point of my driving experience :) Next car really must have 4WD. And nine turbos. And a rollcage. On a track.

- Tail end of Sunday was spent playing WoW. We're deep into that no-mans land of cleaning up things you want to have knocked off before the expansion. I may have failed to dragon quite a few times. 

- Technically not part of the weekend I guess, but yes I did get up at 4 this morning to watch the F1.

This week looks to be loaded with POLICY and generally being an agitating bastard. And in work, well, work continues along like it usually does.
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Random update

Has been a while. A list then!

- Work have offered a sort-of desk at a customer site, as an alternative to $EMPLOYER's site in Petone, or continuing camping in the kitchen in town. I'll get to see tomorrow whether it's workable or not - it's actually already allocated to another purpose with a bunch of machines on it, so it's quite possibly no better than the kitchen in the end. If I can't sort out things like monitors and stuff, then there's not much point.

- Got Rock Band 3. It's good. Keytar is a month away :(

- Built v1.3 of the NTP server board. It has problems, I think I'm still ending up with too much solder paste on the board and so the whole thing ends up shorting in odd ways. I also suspect while the electric fry pan works for small boards, it has trouble getting heat into the solder in the middle of the board, as I noticed quite a few bits still in the grey-not-liquid state. So pondering next year getting some better tools; (a) a reflow oven controller and hacking a toaster oven and (b) a hot air rework tool. Both will help make boards good to start with, and give me a better shot at fixing broken ones. Oh, and I should get a logic analyzer. And a pony. 

- Was invited to a halloween party of someone else in the building. An interesting experience, since I didn't know anyone at the party (and, only know the person who invited me in the "we share a building entrace" sense) but survived, and it was pretty good. Definitely quite a challange for me anyway.

- umm.. things. Cataclysm soon hooray!

Nothing else much. Seems like quite a short list really.
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Progress!

This is the 1.3 PCB which I'm about to send off to be manufactured. 



Rough list of changes since 1.2:

- Console: Replaced FT232RL with MCP2200; latter is USB CDC instead of proprietary.
- Console: Added space for USB ESD protection chip.
- Ethernet: Remove CS line from uC; pulled up instead (since we don't share the bus it uses at all)
- UC: Replace ICSP with JTAG
- General: Added externally accessible switch and internal jumper; currently labeled on schematic as (active low) factory reset and recovery. Not going to be populated yet, more for future options
- General: Added pads and pullups for SPI flash chip; future option.
- General: pads for both a bi-colour LED-in-package, and normal 0603 LEDs. They're both wired to the same lines, so it's one or the other. The package is a nicer presentation, but if it becomes unavailable I can switch to easily obtainable LEDs.
- General: added internal power led

Doesn't sound like much, but the board is a bit more packed out since 1.2 and I've thought more about putting items down I don't plan to use right now, but could do, so I don't need to make an entirely new board for it.

It might ship soon. :)
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Minor car update

Got the alarm sorted out today.. www.slap.co.nz are full of win, dropped the car off about noon and it was all done by 3:15pm. Install is tidy and price was excellent. AAA+++ would alarm again.

It makes bleep bleep noises and has a BLUE FLASHING LED etc. :) Also hooked into central locking properly so I can actually use the central locking again (since the remote batts on the factory key were flat and I couldn't be bothered working out how to replace it without destroying it :) )

Still must find somewhere other than Lombard to park it tho.