UK Government Arses Up Again

Oh, this one is a doozy. Thanks to PC Zone magazine (Jan 2004) for bringing this one to my attention.

Previous to The Copyright And Related Rights Regulations 2003 Act (henceforth called “The New Law”) coming into effect, the 1998 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (Section 50(A)) (henceforth called “The Old Law” stated specifically that legal purchasers of computer games are explicitly allowed to make backup copies. Essentially, you purchase the right to execute the code – not to own a copy of the disc. And so therefore making a backup is just ensuring your continued right to run the code in case the CD gets damaged.

As anyone who’s ended up with a knackered disc has found out, it’s either a nightmare to get a replacement (software no longer published, no details of how to do so) or the publisher charges some stupid fee for the privilege. I have myself had to create a copy of NOLF disc 1 and use a third party “patch” to allow me to run the copy. The original CD cracked in the centre and became unreadable.

Now, The New Law (a blatant rip-off of the United States’ Digital Millenium Copyright Act designed to bring us in line with European legislation) states specifically that it is illegal to copy, or provide information to a third party to enable them to copy, any protected media. So that’s a big slap on the wrist for me as I’ve copied NOLF, even though I own it. It’s also up to 2 years in jail for whoever provided the patch I used to enable me to run the copy. And the host of the site where I got the instructions on how to configure Nero to make the copy.

Ah. But. Here it gets even more interesting. The Old Law still stands. I (and you) as a consumer still have the legal right to copy games as long as they’re legally purchased and only for backup purposes. The only thing stopping you is the fact that you can no longer copy protected media legally. Which means that anyone who puts copy protection on a CD, and therefore stopping you making the copy within the bounds of the law, is breaching your legal rights as a consumer.

Any lottery winners out there fancy taking Electronic Arts to court to force them to remove all the copy protection from their CDs?

How Low Can You Go?

Current mood – rather low. And then some. But I’ll get over it.

Sat in the office with nothing to do. Things aren’t looking great jobwise. I’ve made a mess of my relationship (and a friendship) in the last few weeks and it all came to a head yesterday. The upside is that I’m sure things will sort themselves in time, or at least that’s what I’m hoping.

Life kinda sucks right now, but for some reason it usually does at this time of year. Bah humbug and all that. I think I may become a hermit for the next 5-6 weeks until I go on holiday.

Talking of holiday, that’s all I got for the week in Nigeria, the inconvenience of not being able to give blood for a year, getting to an airport at 3:00am, getting home at 6:00am, working an 84-hour (count ’em) week including two weekend days, having various injections, suffering lack of sleep due to malaria medication… Two extra days’ holiday I can use next year. Woo-hoo. This from an MD who promised he’d “see me alright” after I got shafted the last time I went.

Guess I learned that lesson. Don’t trust people more senior than you. Next time they ask me to go they can definitely go jump. Off something very high. Onto something very hard.

God *damn* I’m depressed. Times like this I have a lot of sympathy for other people. I know how bad I get when things don’t seem to be working out and, on the whole, I’ve got a good life. Suppose that puts it in perspective and perversely makes me feel a little better. Which makes me feel mean for using other’s misfortunes as a method of making myself feel better. Gah!

Hopefully this time next week I’ll be starting to get merrily drunk… Actually, I may make a start at lunchtime. Hmmm…

Grud. December Already.

I forgot to put my watch forward the other day went around for 24 hours thinking it was the 31st of November. Oops.

So what does the new month bring? Snow? Erm… no. Crappy rain and fog. But tons of lovely decorations and houses covered in lights to distract you when you’re driving. Some people have far too much spare cash. I saw one in Cardiff (up the A470, maybe 2 miles from the city centre) absolutely coated in tinsel, lights and decorations. A big sign informed their lucky neighbours that the lights would be going on on December 3rd.

What else? Oh, yes. As of Monday, it was illigal in the UK to drive while using a non-hands-free phone. Yet it’s still legal to light up a fag while driving, or at least there’s no specific law against it. Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments – police saying they’d like to take people who talk on their mobiles and drive to accident scenes caused by chatters and so forth. But how many people do you know who drive 100% of the time with both hands on the wheel? I know I don’t.

As for a “study” that says even talking on a hands-free badly affects driving more than having a passenger in the car… what a lot of crap. Who do you make eye contact with when you’re on the phone? Nobody. Ever had someone on the back seat you’re trying to talk to? Unless you’re concentrating to avoid it, you’re bound to find you’re spending more time staring into the rear view mirror than normal. Likewise a passenger next to you.

So what next? Collars to force you to always look forward, or a ban on cars with more than one seat? After all, as the radio adverts say, it’s difficult to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. After all, there’s no immediate on-the-spot fine for taking both hands off the wheel to dig your ciggy out, then destroying your night vision by flashing a flame in front of yourself.

What made me laugh was an interview with a “Senior Policeman” in Manchester which was on BBC TV on Monday morning. They couldn’t have picked someone worse (from the police’s point of view) as he didn’t seem to know anything aside from “mobile phones = a fine”. Everything the interviewer mentioned was met with, “Erm… I don’t know about that…? Can you explain it?”

I want to be pulled over by him. “It’s OK officer. The law states that as I’m wearing a tie, I’m allowed to use my mobile.” He looked like he’d believe that anyway.

It’s started already…

Check the date. November 27th. A month until we celebrate the inaccurate birthdate of some guy who got nailed to a tree for telling us that maybe it’d be a good idea to be nice to each other for a change.

I walk into a shop (Gadget Shop in Cardiff to be precise), buy something and am wished “Happy Christmas” by the salesperson.

ARGH!

This still doesn’t beat the t-shirt-wearing urchin who knocked on my door on October 12th last year and stuck his hand out with a “Happy Hallowe’en”. Maybe I should have given him a pound to go and buy a calendar with the right dates on.

Still In Nigeria… Just

Heading home tonight. Hopefully the weather won’t turn like it did last night. The rain and wind were so strong that both windows literally had water running down them… on the inside! On the right, the water was streaming down the wall about an inch from the plug for the aircon, which could have got interesting.

Thankfully, a laptop with a working battery and two Futurama DVDs saw me through the occasional blackouts. Oh, yes. And I was working hard on site documentation as well… Mind, it’s hard to type up your notes when you can’t actually see them! Aside from when the less-than-occasional lightning flash brightens the room.

Apparently, planes fly out in all weather so I should be OK. Apparently I need to shoot off from here at 6pm to get to the airport within the hour. Seems a little early as the flight’s not until 23:40 and my tickets and boarding passes will already have been sorted.

I just hope they have food at the airport as I’m starving. Lunch arrived prompt at 12:30 and it’s the first thing all week I’ve not been able to eat. Ham sandwich fine. Ham sandwich with some kind of evil spread not fine. I’m sure 95% of the rest of the world would wolf it down and compliment the chef, but I just can’t face it – and I can’t risk being ill in case I chuck up my malaria tablets.

Hey ho. One can of Coke for lunch… Something else I noticed here. Coke tastes the same, but Fanta Orange is a lot sweeter and gloopier, with less fizz. It also turns your spit bright orange for *hours* afterwards, even if you brush your teeth and gargle. Weird.

Add to that, the person I’m supposed to see at 2:30 for a meeting went for another meeting at 2:00 and hasn’t been seen since… I’m in a bit of a bind! Finished the further site documents I had to do and am now sat waffling this stuff off! Must thank Nikki for taking the time and trouble to have a conversation by email with me. I’m sure her company appreciates it too 😉

I suppose my main disappointment this time round in Nigeria has been the lack of wildlife. We just got here before the rainy season last time (end August / beginning September) and the lizards and dragonfiles were everywhere. This time I’ve seen three lizards altogether. Got some cool photos of one, though, but it’s quite a plain one. One of these days I want pictures of the ones that look like an accident in a paint factory.