Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doodles from the 80's

And now for something completely different!

Back in the 80's, when I was a young lad, I did some drawings. My style is just to doodle along, and I did this on lined paper, unfortunately. This post represents just one page of the drawings that I have, and I have quite a few. Click on any of these images for a larger view.

To put the first drawing into perspective, the idea of morphing two images in an animated GIF had just become the rage at the time. God, I sound like grandpa Simpson. So I did a drawing which morphed from one into the other.

Note that my pen fell into the punched hole at the end and I just kept on drawing around it for the simple reason that it felt good.

Ok, so moving on now to what I think is a more interesting (but somewhat atypical of me) drawing. This is along the morph theme, but in one image. Can you see them both? I like the idea of someone shaking the tree of love angrily.

Ok, I admit, it's pretty hard. My wife couldn't see it either, so don't feel bad. You can't see "Harry Half Face" in this picture, can you? Think of a mean man where there is a pool of light on one side of his face only. Still not getting it? Try the stripped down version here, or if you really still need help and don't know what the hell I am talking about, try this one. And yes, that does feature possibly the worlds worst drawing of hands - but it's just to give you an idea of what I was thinking, mmmmk.

Lastly, I wanted to ask if you have ever felt like this drawing is trying to show? If not, well, you have missed out, 'cos I have!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Knife Review : Kershaw Leek

I've slowed down my knife collecting a lot, so I have not had many new knives to consider. However, I did buy a Kershaw Leek off eBay a little while ago, and I feel the need (for some strange reason I don't fully understand!) to write about it. If you want to know the basic specs of the knife, best to go to the official web site for this knife here.

Here it is in the hand, in all it's glory.

The exact model I have is a 1660BR, which has a nice red and black smoke handle. In the hand it feels very nice, being a great all round shape. It's a "fine" knife, that is, it's somewhat delicate and thin in terms of the metals and construction. This is not a knife for chopping down saplings or whittling pine, it's much more at home opening letters and parcels, cutting string and cardboard. It fills my hand, just, with all four fingers getting around the handle with pretty much no extra handle left.

To perhaps illustrate the point here about it's "fineness", I think it is interesting to look at the liner lock (it's called a frame lock on the official web site, I don't know why) compared to the BEE L05, a knife I reviewed and really like a lot.

I think you can see the difference in the thickness of the liner easily here. I want to say that although it is quite thin, it doesn't feel flimsy. I think it's about as thin as you can get away with and still be safe. There is no up/down movement on my knife at all, it locks up quite tight, although there is a tiny bit of side to side.

There are several things about this knife that I really love. Let me rabbit on a bit now about the opening action. It may not be important to you, but to me it's an important issue as I tend to fiddle with knives where I like the opening action, then I tend to like them more. I still have all my fingers, which is somewhat surprising! Anyway, the Leek has a very different opening (and closing) action to the BEE L05. For a start, it has Kershaws "Speedsafe" mechanism, which in effect makes it an assisted opening knife. Please be aware that these mechanisms are not legal everywhere, so check out the situation in your area.

It can be deployed by the dual sided thumb studs, although this is NOT how you generally do it as they are small and cramped up against the scales so it's a bit of a contortion to get your thumb in the right place. Once open the studs nestle into small recesses in the handle, providing additional strength, which is good. They are not the worst thumb studs I have ever used, but they are also some way away from being the best. If that was all there was to open up the blade, I would not like the knife really. Fortunately, the thumb studs are mostly redundant, as this knife is also a flipper.

I don't usually like flippers, and own very few. The reason is that an unassisted flipper needs a flick of the wrist also to deploy, and I don't like that as it can make the knife fly across the room - open - if your hand is slippery or you are just being uncoordinated. It also take up more room, and is less certain to be accomplished. If it's loose enough to flip open easily, you then have issues with blade play. It's not an easy thing to get right. The reason the Leek does get it right is that the speedsafe does the work that a wrist flick would otherwise achieve.

The flipper on this knife is a small triangle of the blade protruding when it's closed, and it's a simple matter of pushing this in for the blade to spring open. And boy, does it do that in a hurry. It's very fast, in my opinion, and clicks locked with a very nice sound too. This is what I find mesmerising - pushing that flipper to the exact point where the tension on the speedsafe takes over and flips it out. Even doing it this way, it still opens with confidence. It's a brilliantly balanced tension, and a very tactile experience to play with.

So, the opening is fun, what about the closing? Well, there again it's a very different experience to the BEE L05, in that there is a tension when closing the blade. This is putting the stress back into the knife so that the speedsafe system can open it again next time. If all you have ever used is unassisted knives, when you first close the Leek it feels quite weird. Obviously it is harder, and a fraction riskier also. If you slip in some way and fluff it up, the knife is likely to spring back open again. This is something to be careful about then. The technique I use is to push the blade home using my thumb as well as forefinger.

If this is a candidate for your EDC knife, then there is a strong chance this is going to spend some time in your pocket. So what's that like? Well, to start off with, consider the safety. You do not want a sharp little knife like this opening up in your pants, particularly if you are a male! Just thinking about it makes me cross my legs. So let's have a look at another interesting feature of this knife - the blade lock.

Ignoring for a minute the pesky hair that managed to get into the mechanism when I took the shot (hey, this isn't a safe queen, it gets crap in it), you can see the lock at the end of the knife.The screw on the outside slides up and down to lock or release the blade. On the inside I believe it is made of plastic so that it should not dull the knife if you try and close it with the knife lock in the locked position (and it hits it). Actually, if you do do this (and I never have, but just tried it now to see what would happen) the tip of the blade is just out of the knife, which isn't good, as it might feel to you like it's both closed and your brain might think also locked. SO be aware of where that sliding lock is, ok! My knife has a good tension on the lock, but I can imagine it could be also an issue if this was either too tight or too loose - although I believe it can be adjusted with the torx screw.

One other thing to mention while this picture is in your mind is to observe the very fine nature of the blade tip. It's one of the thinnest and pointiest (is that a word?!) tips of any knife I own, and because of this it is very fragile. The tip is perfect for very fine cutting work on something soft like paper. However, let me tell you a little about mine. I was opening and closing the knife at my desk as I often do, because as I have already said it give me pleasure and also then I have muscle memory on how to do it without thinking and can deploy instinctively. Anyway, I was also multitasking and was looking at my computer and drinking a cup of tea. I opened the knife just a fraction close to my cup of tea and the tip hit the mug, just. That was enough to break off a tiny piece of the tip - no smaller than a pinhead - that was the very very tip. If you looked at it now you would still consider it to have a fine tip on it, but I know it was even sharper. So it doesn't take much to lose the factory tip, which is a negative with this knife.

Anyway, back to the pocket carry issue. When you put it in there, it is best to lock it first. Now, if you think about it, this makes it slower to deploy from your pocket as you then have to unlock again. It is possible to unlock it and then move the knife around to open it all as a one handed movement, but it's not exaclty quick or elegant. I do like the idea of having a lock, but like so many things in life, the solution to one problem creates more problems. At least you have the freedom of choice to use it or not, as you wish. Also, for people that care, it's a tip down right handed clip only. The clip itslef is sturdy and just right in terms of getting on and off your pants, so it's a good clip.

Overall I really, really like the Kershaw Leek. It's a terrific knife for light duties, and is easy to carry and deploy. It's light and mine came wicked sharp, and still is. The ergonomics are very good, and the features of the speedsafe and blade lock make it somewhat different to other knives. It is very satisfying to just spend some time opening and closing this knife, almost absentmindedly, while you are doing other things. I like the way it looks, and I like the way it feels. It's not a heavy duty knife, and the tip needs care in particular, but it will handle most everyday cutting tasks so it makes a decent EDC knife. It's also not very expensive, so I'd recommend it fairly unreservedly.

2011 - Economic Predictions

NOTE : OK, I know it's September, and the year is almost over, but I noticed this post in "Draft" status. I wanted to get back to it and add a few more items when I started it in January, but didn't. You will just have to trust me that I have not fiddled with any of the numbers, as I post it now without any editing. Pity I didn't post this back then, as my call on Gold and Silver so far is pretty spot on.

Well, hot on the heels of my 2010 wrap up, I thought I'd try my hand for the year ahead. Hopefully I'll do better with the accuracy than last years effort. My defence is that, of course, this is not easy stuff to get right and at least I'm giving it a go!

So, without much more to say in terms of introduction, let's get into it!

1. Gold and Silver will wobble, but will continue to do well. 
As I write, gold is close to all time highs at $1420, and silver is $30.90 in US dollar terms. By the end of 2011, I predict $1800+ gold and $40+ silver in US dollars. $2K gold is not unlikely. Keep in mind thought that nothing goes straight up, and there may be some big swings in there somewhere. I think gold might come back to $1250, and silver to $24, or even more dramatically to $18. If it does, whatever you do, buy some! Gold and Silver will keep setting new highs in the year, and silver in particular may break out in spectacular fashion. Think $50+. If it does, it may also crash back down a way too after a time.

2. Trouble with treasuries will come.
I predicted it for 2010 and missed because QE and more QE2 helped keep the circus going. However, I don't believe the world will watch this show for much longer. They really can't afford to raise rates more than a percent or so without bringing so much pain to the US economy that it would instantly implode. I don't think they will make it much past 6 months into 2011 before TSHTF, and it may even be more like 3. However, the Fed has shown an amazing capacity to hide the sausage with the market and the terms of QE2 were sufficiently vague that they can ramp it up or extend it as needed.

3. Geopolitics... will just hold in 2011.
I got this wrong in 2010, and I might get this wrong in 2011 too, but I am thinking that this game might just last another year. The country that's hogging a lot of news space is China, and they have a country with mind boggling numbers. Can they keep control? I think they will until 2012, when they won't. Other troublesome places? Spain.. as the country that's Too Big to Bail in the EU and will probably go supernova in 2011, but somehow it will be papered over, and the can kicked once more just a little further down the road. Again, it's 2012 when all these chickens will come home to roost. North Korea? Maybe, but I don't think so.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Microsoft Access Database Autoupdate


"How can MS Access update the clients with the latest front-end database I put on the server automatically?"

Consider the situation where you have developed a Microsoft Access application, and have it installed with a user base in an office of more than a few people. If you have a new version, going to each machine to upgrade them all each time is a pain.

In the old days (pre-2000) you could have the data and front end databases both located on a file share on a server and all would be good. You could even develop the code while people were using it! All the users needed was a shortcut to the database and this never changed. Very convenient.

However, since 2000 "progress" was made, and the recommended solution was to have a copy of the front end database local to each user. If you didn't follow this friendly advice from Microsoft, the front end database would get corrupted very quickly, which as they say in the classics, was bad. The actual tables (data) are still located centrally and linked in, along with any SQL server tables etc. These didn't corrupt despite being shared, or at least, not as often. Anyway, this setup presented a problem for the developers - how to now roll out a new version of the application.

Like most problems, there are several possible solutions. The one I discuss here is one I created and used in production for a while, and it worked quite well for us. The only slight trick is having two version numbers - one in the local code, and one in a table. Here is the setup and a rough guide to the steps without the full code --

General Setup

  • Create a table called "tblVersion" with a field called "Version" of type text.
  • Have one record with the version number, such as "1.0.0" to start off, in this "Version" field.
  • In the main form of the application, create a constant in the code behind called constTHIS_VERSION, with the value set to "1.0.0" again also.
  • In the same main form, have an event somewhere (onOpen) that checks the version constant versus the version in the table. 
  • If they are different (and you could check more recent, but I like the idea of being able to rollback) then you make the upgrade button visible and warn the user with a dialogue box that a new version is ready to be upgraded to. You could bypass some of this and just make it fully automated, but I like giving the users the control on when to do the upgrade myself.
  • If the upgrade button is pressed, you call the OS to run a BAT file and exit the Access application immediately.
  • The BAT file pauses for a few seconds (to allow for the quit), then copies the front end database from the known server location to the local C: drive location.
  • When the copy is done, it calls MS Access with the database as a parameter to re-launch the database. Note that different versions of Access have different paths to the executable, and different OS's also (eg Win 7). There is a one-off edit of this BAT file per machine to make sure this is pointing to the right place. If you have a SOE (Standard Operating Environment) then this is a non-issue.

Upgrade Steps

So when you have a new version of your database, what do you need to do to roll that baby out?

  • Edit the main form in the new version and change the constant to a new version number (eg "1.0.1")
  • Copy the new version to the server location with the standard name, eg "myDB.mdb"
  • Edit the database table "tblVersion", and change the version number (eg "1.0.1")


So there are two main bits of code to consider here. One is the checking of the version numbers and launching of the BAT file in Access, and the other is the BAT file contents. Both are pretty simple when it comes down to it.

Code in Access

First, the code behind the events. I bound the form to the version table, and had the field "txtVersionFromTable" in an invisible textbox.You could use a dlookup instead.

Const constTHIS_VERSION = "1.0.0"

Private Sub Form_Activate()    
    ' Set the string on the form, so users can see what version they have.    
    txtVersion.Caption = "Version " & constTHIS_VERSION  
    'Check version    
    If [txtVersionFromTable] <> constTHIS_VERSION Then        
        MsgBox "Version " & [txtVersionFromTable] & " is ready for download. Please update ASAP (by pressing upgrade button)!" ' This doesn't cause an infinite activation loop.        
        cmdUpgrade.Visible = True 'Show upgrade button    
        cmdUpgrade.Visible = False    
    End If
End Sub

Private Sub cmdUpgrade_Click()    
    ' They pressed the upgrade button.    
    ' This code upgrades the LOCAL copy of the database from the server.    
    Dim retval    
    retval = Shell("C:\LocalDBFolder\upgradeDB.bat", 1)     
    ' This will pause to allow us some time to exit    
    Application.Quit    ' Get out now!!!
End Sub

Code in Batch file

Now the BAT file contents. You can copy/paste this code directly into a notepad file and save it as the "c:\LocalDBFolder\upgradeDB.BAT" file. It assumes F: drive is shared, but you can change that to whatever or even use \\servername\sharename instead.

echo off

echo Waiting for Access to close...
sleep 8

echo Copying new version from server...
xcopy "F:\ServerDBFolder\myDB.mdb" "c:\LocalDBFolder" /Y

echo Relaunching Database..
sleep 8

rem "path\file to Access exe" "path\file to mdb"
rem You may need to check this line for different OS / Office versions

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\MSACCESS.EXE" "c:\LocalDBFolder\myDB.mdb"

Done and Done.

That's it! Easy, right?

One nice thing about this technique is that you can handle different versions of Microsoft Access in your client base. If you stick your front-end to "2000 format", then it can be used by 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2010 clients. The only thing to watch for is that re-launch line in the BAT file will need to be right. Same with the OSes - XP, Vista or Win7 all work with this.

If this technique helped you, please leave a comment!

EDIT : Tuesday 30th August : SLEEP command

Ah, I forgot that the SLEEP command in the batch file may not be installed. However, it is a free download as part of the Microsoft Server 2003 resource kit. Don't be alarmed, it will work on pretty much anything - XP, Vista, Win7 etc. Download it here. Copy the SLEEP.EXE to the client somewhere in it's path, such as the C:\Windows\System32 (for XP). Open a DOS window and type in SLEEP 10 to make sure it's working. For more on the SLEEP command, try here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Geiger Counter Antics - Part 1

Well, I recently bought a Geiger Counter. If you want to look at the specs, click here. It counts Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation.

I have decided to measure, over the course of several days and weeks, the counts per minute around me. I will do a count outside (in my driveway) with the device pointing to the sky, and also indoors. Obviously the readings are somewhat random, so I'll take 5 readings and average them. Outside has a CPM of about 20 at the moment.

I also decided to take readings of various household objects, just for fun. One thing I was somewhat concerned about was the granite benchtop of our new kitchen, as I had heard of people with highly radioactive slabs. Ours does produce a higher count than ambient, about double in fact, but I am not worried about that. It's about the same as a common housebrick, with a CPM of around 40.

The only source of radiactivity in the house, that I know of, is in a smoke alarm. I had a spare one, so I took it apart just enough to expose the metal housing of the radioactive unit. That is, I removed the plastic cover only. There is a sticker that says it has a tiny piece of Americium in it. A direct reading on this metal housing gave a CPM of over 100. Moving away a few centimeters and taking a reading it dropped off considerably back to background levels. Don't panic about your smoke alarm, it's not going to kill you unless you break it open and eat the contents, and even then I'm not sure it would be a lethal dose. Still, I don't recommend it.

I wonder if the issues in Japan, which are a long way away, will show in my readings. Time will tell, and I'll get back to you on that.

ODBC connection issues in Windows 7

OK, so you have a database (eg SQL server) with an MS Access or similar front end. You have been using ODBC to connect to this database without issues for literally years with Windows XP clients. Recently you upgraded to some Windows 7 machines, and now the connection is not working -- what's gone wrong?

Well, the short answer is ---

For Windows 7, Connect using a User DSN rather than a System DSN in the "Data Sources (ODBC)" control panel.

I am not sure why the System DSN's are broken in Windows 7, but it seems they are.

Although it works in Windows 7 using a User DSN, this is not as good in some ways. If the machine is used in a hot-desk environment, then you will have to set up the ODBC driver for each User, rather than once for the System. For hand-me-down situations, it's one more thing to remember to setup. I have not tried a Terminal Services machine lately, but it's likely to be a pain in the butt on these as well.

If this post helped you, please leave a comment!

EDIT : 2012-05-31

I have had reason in my professional life to revisit this annoying issue, and have some more information to add.  It turns out that this is a 32/64 bit issue, and there are TWO versions of the ODBC admin control panel, based on 32 or 64 bit. It is explained in more detail in this knowledgebase article, which I recommend you read in full

What I love about this situation is the classic brain melter, and I quote ....

  • The 32-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\SysWoW64 folder.
  • The 64-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\System32 folder.
I had to read that one about 3 times before it sunk in.  The 32 bit version is in the SysWow64 folder, and the 64 bit is in the System32 folder. Hmmmm, logical.

Anyway, this all explains the behaviour and fix above - for USER DSN's, either version handle 32/64 bit, but for the MACHINE DSN's you have to use the right one, and the 32 bit is more common for older drivers and it's not the default tool in Win7 64 bit installs. I think I got that right!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Recently Watched Movies - Mini reviews

I have been going crazy lately (all this year) watching movies, a real binge, and wanted to give my brief thoughts on several of them. Many of these are classic (1960's) sci-fi wonders. The list here is presented in alphabetical order. There are probably a few minor spoilers here, so be careful. Anything marked with a "*" is something I think you really ought to see if you have not already.

2012 : A large scale modern disaster movie, which I found an entertaining watch at the time (I was bored in a hotel room), in an Americanised "action-packed" way. I don't think I'd watch it again. The best part is watching Woodie Harreison as the conspiracy theorist in raptures as Yellowstone goes up. The worst is all the underwater scenes, they may as well have been swimming in corn syrup.

A Clockwork Orange * : Seen it before, just wanted to see it again. Actually, I skipped bits, which is a crime, I know. Very intense film, with a lot of great but often disturbing scenes.

Barbarella * : Sci-Fi soft porn from the year I was born, with the very innocently played Jane Fonda. How can you not like a film where the main character strips in the opening credits? Actually, it has a real creativity in this film that I love, and more than a bit of popular culture was born from it. Good old Dino De Laurentiis (who also did Dune), it's a classic.

District 9 : An odd modern (2009) Sci-Fi where aliens land in South Africa but they are more or less refugees. Racism (well, the inter-species version of it) is quite well presented. It gets corny near the end, but overall a surprisingly good movie - it's got a very different vibe to anything I've seen before. It seemed like a black comedy documentary at first, but it changes.

Fahrenheit 451 : Probably the oldest film here, made in 1966. The premise is that the firemen actually start fires to burn books, which are banned. The story follows one such fireman. It meanders a little, but I did enjoy seeing a "future house" from the mid sixties. The large colour video wall must have seen so far out back then, but is a reality now, for example. An interesting plot on the whole, worth watching if you can find it.

Fight Club * : I am very late to this party, but I finally watched this. This is somewhat essential viewing if you are to understand the crowd at, which is where I hang out some times. There are some plot inconsistencies, but overall I was very involved, and loved the character of Marla.

Flesh Gordon * : Note the spelling. This is the soft-porn version of Flash Gordon, which is one of my favourite movies from my youth. Surprisingly, it came out before Flash Gordon, but follows the plot of that film very closely. The stand out for me was William Dennis Hunt, who plays Emperor Wang the Perverted so magnificently. It's all harmless fun, with some nudity, and some simple but effective effects. You are more likely to laugh than be aroused. Based on this I also watched the sequel, "Flesh Gordon meets the cosmic cheerleaders" which is very, very bad indeed and needs to be avoided. Don't get them confused.

Inception : This is a story about people that can enter into a shared dream. It takes itself seriously, and also takes quite a bit of the time to explain what is going on. There are some plot inconsistencies if you stop and think about it for long -- such as the weightlessness is transferred from one dream to the next, but not to the next. They could have put more weirdness in it, and bits were a little matrix like in parts. I enjoyed watching this though, and it was a good thinking movie.

The Island : It might be hard to review this, even in a mini-way, without giving away the plot. This ultra-modern sci-fi lacks the subtlety of many of the older sci-fi movies in this list. It's been Americanised, and there are gratuitous action scenes which in the end add nothing. The scene with the mother "going to the island" is awful, not in a cinematic way, but as a repugnant idea presented unapologetically. Logan's run is, in my opinion, much better.

Logan's Run * : Note the apostrophe! I'd never seen this old sci-fi, and I really should have, it's great. Of course the effects are dated, and the scene with the robot is particularly sad, but there are other ideas that really make up for it. I don't know why exactly, but I really enjoyed this. I have a strange fondness for 70s architecture, so perhaps that's it.

Moon : A recent Sci-Fi, which had a bunch of interesting concepts in it. It's a kind of lonely film, but involving and well executed in the main. Shades of Alien, Space 1999, and probably 2001.

Repo Man * : I had seen this before, when it came out in 1984, and remember enjoying it at the time. It has aged well in my opinion, and I enjoyed re-watching it a lot too. Emillio Estevez plays the character of Otto as a likeable, flippant, dispirited youth. It has some elements of a David Lynch film, and gets pretty weird in places.

Shaun of the Dead : This one is a real change of pace compared to everything else on the list. I came to this movie after watching the entire 2 series of "Spaced", which is excellent. This movie almost has the same cast. It's a comedy zombie movie, of course a piss-take of Dawn of the Dead, and it's surprisingly funny. Tempted to put a star there, but ultimately all it is is entertainment - not much to think about afterwards.

They Live : Another old sci-fi, although not as old as some of the others at 1988. Roddy Piper plays the lead, and his acting is fairly poor on the main. However, the ideas in the film build up and eventually become quite engaging. There are corny one-liners in this movie like it's an Arnie film, but it doesn't come off as well. If you are paranoid, in a tin-foil hat government conspiracy kind of way, this movie is for you.

The Trip : From 1967, a Dennis Hopper creation of what it is like to take LSD.  There were a small number of annoying kaleidoscopic effects that went on too long, but overall this is a really good film. The scene in the laundry mat is a gem, as are any where Hopper appears.

Tommy : A rock musical, which for me isn't a good thing. I wanted to see this again for two scenes only really : The pinball song with Elton John on stilts, and the TV scene where the baked beans pour out. I re-watched those and that was it.

V for Vendetta : This is a strange movie in a lot of ways. I did like it a lot overall, with some powerful visuals. I quite like Portman too. I wonder what percentage of the movie is spent looking at the masked face of V though? Seemed like a bit too long by the end.

(Edit 24/3/2011 : Added links to Amazon DVD's. I didn't write this to generate money, but if you want to buy a DVD of any of these movies from Amazon, use the link and I'll get a small cut. Thanks.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What you know....

Imagine If you had to write down everything you know. All the People, places, facts, meaning of words, things you remember, recipes, rules of card games, dreams you had, the whole kit an dice.

How many words or pages do you think it would take?

Where would you start?

How long would it take?

Would it be worth it?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Internet Kill Switch

I have been thinking about the situation in Egypt, and how this is a test case that a lot of other countries are watching closely. The US, of all places, is trying to put the legal dominoes in place to allow for this - and you have to ask yourself why they would want to do that.

I think that the internet can be considered a gathering of free minds in chat rooms and places like facebook and twitter. As such, it's a threat to repressive governments the world over. It's fairly old fashioned repression to stop people physically meeting in groups of more than 3, or setting curfews. However, meeting of minds rather than bodies is just as dangerous. The danger is, of course, in open communication and the strengthening of opposition to the interests of the oppressor. As far as the oppressor sees it - If you can't outright kill them, you need to be able to silence them.

I am surprised that there is not more concern, or even outrage, on the internet about the apparent ease that Egypt has been disconnected from the world. Reprogram a couple of thousand routers and it's been effectively cut off. So much for the military concept of traffic routing past obstacles, eh!

No offence to any American reader here, but I suspect that a lot of them might not even notice if their country was isolated from the rest of the world. I could be wrong about that.

Of course, as pretty much an internet junkie, I would be devastated by an internet kill switch. I don't watch television these days, certainly not for news. I get it all from the internet. It's an interactive experience, and I don't see any reason to go back. I hate ads, a lot, so TV grates on me in minutes. I have ad blockers even on my web browsers so that I don't have to see them here either. Anyway, this isn't a rant about ads.

If the internet is shut down in your country - what would you make of it? Would you panic? Would you be alarmed? Would you be angry? Do you consider access to the internet a modern human right? I wonder....