21st Century Doctor Who

I’m sure there are plenty of Dr. Who fans out there posting detailed dissections of tonight’s first new episode, so I shall limit myself to just two comments:

  1. In the trailers and promo pics, Christopher Eccleston looked very dull — his image lacked the flamboyant insanity of his predecessors. However, in motion, he is fantastic — just slightly insane enough you really do wonder what he will do/say next.
  2. The interior of the TARDIS is too dark. It used to look like a science lab and be really bright — the whole point being that it was the one place you knew the Doctor and his companions were safe because there were no shadows for monsters to leap out from.

Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s. 🙂

GPGMail and Fink

This evening I installed the GPGMail which allows me to use the GNU Privacy Guard (gpg) with Apple’s Mail.app.

I installed gpg using fink. There are a number of projects to bring “standard” UNIX tools to OS X. What’s nice about fink is that offers pre-compiled binary packages (no waiting around for stuff to compile!) and uses the Debian package tools I am already familiar with. Fink also offers a number of other potentially useful packages such as the Gimp.

One problem I did have is that the default sources in /sw/etc/apt/sources.list are for the main sourceforge.net archive in the US which is incredibly slow. No where on the web could I find a list of suitable mirrors, so I had to deduce it myself. The following seem to work well in the UK:
deb http://kent.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/fink/direct_download 10.3/release main crypto
deb http://kent.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/fink/direct_download 10.3/current main crypto

Searching the ACM Guide to Computing Literature

Tracking down references for my background chapter recently, the ACM Guide to Computing Literature has been very useful. Unfortunately its search feature is frustratingly useless. For example, searching for Access Control Policies XPath returns no hits, whereas googling for the same terms and restricting the search to acm.org returns the paper I was looking for as the first hit.

Given the simplicity of the the query (four keywords from the title of a paper published in an ACM proceedings), I really don’t understand why the search engine is so bad. My current workaround is to use Firefox’s bookmark keyword feature to search Google instead. Just create a bookmark to:
set the keyword to be something easy to type like “acm”, and then typing “acm <keyword (s)>” in the location bar executes your search.

Thesis Titles

Apparently the title of my thesis has to be fixed in advance of my submitting the dissertation itself. Unfortunately choosing exactly the right title is proving harder than writing the thing!

Possibilities are:

  • Trust and Risk in Access Control for Global Computing
  • Trust and Risk in Access Control for a Global Computing Infrastructure
  • Using Trust and Risk for Access Control in Global Computing
  • Trust- and Risk-Based Access Control: Access Control for the Global Computing Infrastructure
  • Trust/Risk-Based Access Control: Access Control for Global Computing

I doubt this will make much sense to anyone reading this but comments always welcome. 🙂

Boy Band filter — Coming to a computer near you soon?

Christophe Rhodes’ interesting JCSS talk on detecting musical structure has suggested that there is hope that one day computers may be able to automatically detect and filter out boy band music — yay!

More relevantly for my own research, one of Christophe’s motivations is the poor quality of musical meta-data from collaboratively assembled databases such as freedb.org. A trust-based system would allow a user to favour entries submitted by authors they have previously to provide consistently formatted and accurate data.