About Anthony Howe

SnertSoft; programmer; poet; runner; cook; seeker of truth, love, and the arcane; baka.


So I’ve (Cmdr. Snert) been playing Elite: Dangerous since Premimum Beta as a “Founding Member” last year. For those of you who don’t know the game, its the fourth sequel to the original Elite for BBC Micro released in 1984 and its brilliant; I originally started with Frontier Elite II on the AtariST.

Check out all the YouTube videos showing different stages of the game during testing and since its public release December 2014. There is the Flight Assist Off series showing various types of game play. Elite: Dangerous has an ever changing galaxy influenced by players actions, regardless whether you play open, private group, or solo (network connection required and half decent joystick; keyboard/mouse possible, but not easy).

Anyway. When you’re not playing space trucker, miner, bounty hunter, pirate, etc. there have been some activities arranged by Frontier and other players like @katerussell, such as Speed Docking and Sidewinder Demolition Derbie respectively.

I came up with a new activity, a cross between Speed Docking and Demolition Derbie, I call “Tapping“. Essentially you fly a Sidewinder (cheapest ship available), and position youself at 3Km from the portal of a Corilois station (or similar enclosed station), race inside, tap the back wall with your shields, and exit the station; landing request optional. Time starts from throttle up and finishes on throttle zero just outside the portal cage antenna. Mentioned it to @katerussell this morning and she thought the idea was “awesome”.

For those who don’t want to purchase Elite: Dangerous or still without decent Internet connection, there is an open source free single player Elite clone, Oolite, for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It has an add-on package system that allows you to customise the game, graphics, missions, etc. Its playable with a keyboard and/or gamepad.

Oh My Dog!

The leaves fall, though more slowly for some trees than others, as though they are not yet ready to yield to the coming winter. A reluctance shared by many. This autumn has been very wet, with a heady scent of damp earth and fallen leaves that waft morning and night. And with the autumn comes Hallow’s Eve and a pumpkin carving.


What’s good for the goose…

So Microsoft is being ordered to produce (C|Net, Ars Technica) email held aboard on computers outside of America at Microsoft’s Irish division in Dublin.

Let’s have a gander…

The logic being, a parent company / entity, doing business in the US, but storing client information overseas as part of a subsidiary’s business, because its physically closer to the subsidiary’s clients, still maintains control over that information and can be compelled to produce that information despite being physically outside the USA’s jurisdiction.

First that flies in the face of European privacy and data retention laws, and new laws, like in Russia, requiring that data of users be held on their home soil. If a government can compel a company to hand over any data the company has access to from any where in the world, then privacy and international borders mean nothing any more.

Second that argument will open American businesses with offices overseas to similar legal arguments in foreign countries. How would Americans feel about China issuing warrants for Microsoft user emails held in the US?

Or more interestingly, consider how the FBI (and CIA) have liaison offices around the globe, how would the US government feel about an FBI liaison office aboard being sued and issued a discovery order against computers they control on US soil?



Before The Internet

Today’s XKCD comic, while funny on the surface, is a little cynical. I was born just before the Internet (I’m a Star Trek baby), though not much before, but certainly before the Web took off in popularity in 1991 (I was already doing email in 1986).

Before the Internet, as a kid I kept myself busy inside with variety of things from assembling plastic models, model rockets, model trains, and board games, to actually playing outside with the neighbourhood kids, skiing, Judo, running.

Later as a teen in senior school we had lots of school sports options of which I competed in track events like 800m 1500m, 3000m, and cross-country and fun runs up to 22Km; I did rugby in winter, rowing, and later basketball in summer. Throughout my youth and university I cycled everywhere I could.

Before the Internet, I bought my first computer, an Exidy Sorcerer, when I was 13. I used an acoustic coupler modem to connect to BBS’s and FTP archives. I had Mattel hand-held electronic games and my brother an Atrai 2600 console. Despite home entertainment systems, we both went outside (without prompting from mum or dad) for activities with friends. I went to lots of movies (Ok, I had to go out to get downtown), my brother went surfing at Bondi.

And when all else failed, I often huddle quietly in a chair and immersed myself in a book, a real physical paper printed book, where I actually turned pages (and got the occasional paper cut).

“And you try and tell the young people today that and they won’t believe ya.” – Four Yorkshiremen, Monty Python