I thought this was a free country

After 38 years of living in what I believed to be a free country you can imagine my outrage when I came across stories about the Rudd government’s latest brainwave

Minister welcomes advances in internet filtering technology

(Computerworld have a good piece on it)

It would appear that like people in China, Burma and North Korea, we need to be protected from the big bad internet by means of ISP level OPT OUT filters!!!

Ahh, you say, you can Opt Out if you feel strongly about it, and yes we can… In theory…

There will be two blacklists

* Content unsafe for children (on by default)

* “Illegal” content (on for ALL with NO OPT OUT)

Now, I hear you ask “What’s wrong with blocking illegal content?”…

Well, that boils down to a question of who decides what is or isn’t legal in the context of the internet?

Should the government prevent me from researching nuclear energy? I could learn how to make a bomb… What about abortion? or Euthanasia? or making Gunpowder?

Is knowledge illegal or the improper use of it?

Mandatory filtering puts us on a very slippery slope indeed.

Even forgoing the illegal content blacklist, what about the “unsafe for children” blacklist, which children?

What if a child wants to learn about sexually transmitted diseases, is that bad? Time and time again attempts to generate blacklists have tended to block access to sites that are totally appropriate for children, often sites offering educational material for children on sexual health issues.

I am utterly against this kind of censorship and I feel it is totally inappropriate for the government to decide on my (and my children’s) behalf what I can and can’t be allowed to see. Bulk filtering of internet content is a total waste of time, money and energy, the “right” way to tackle this problem is to steer clear of the “quick fix” and fall back on Education.

Give people the information they need to understand the internet, and be able to make informed decisions on what they see or don’t see.

Let parents decide what is best for their children.

The dangers to children on the internet are not stumbling across porn, but rather chatting to the wrong people, giving out their personal details, etc
These are not the sorts of things that can be blocked with a filter.

In today’s society we always want to push responsibility (and blame) on to someone else, well it’s time to stand up and say NO….

Please visit the NoCleenFeed site setup by the EFA and take a stand, once something like this is in place it is hard to remove, your chance to nip it in the bud is now…….

Posted in News, Technology | 2 Comments

Cheesey Goodness

I’ve been meaning to try this for a while now, making cheeseymite scrolls that is.

Armed with our trusty bread machine and a 10kg bag of breadmix I decided to see if I could come up with something yummy for lunch.

The bread machine did the heavy lifting by making nearly a kilo of dough (I made the dough yesterday but ran out of time to make the scrolls)

Making the scrolls was pretty simple, here’s what I did;

  • Roll the dough out to a thickness of approx 1cm
  • Spread vegemite liberally over the surface of the dough
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese, not too much
  • Roll the dough into a long tube
  • Cut the tube into approx 2cm thick slices
  • Place the slices on a tray lined with baking paper
  • Sprinkle the top with more cheese
  • Bake at 210 C for 30-35 mins or until golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and place on a cake rack to cool

The results were really tasty and great for a first try.

Cheesy Vegemite Scrolls

Posted in Random Stuff | Tagged | 3 Comments

A Sethy-sized Laptop

With the last of our tax refund we bought the boys a sub-notebook to play with, the eeepc 4g from Asus.

The specs are as follows

Display: 7″
CPU: 900 MHz Celeron-M
Video: Intel GMA 900
OS: Linux
Colour: White
Network: 10/100MB Ethernet & 80211b/g wireless
Memory: 512MB DDR2
Webcam: 0.3 mega pixel
Audio: Stereo speakers & Microphone
Battery: 2.8-3.5 hours
Weight: 0.92 kg

It is a little corker, I’ve been listen to people rave about it on a number of Tech podcasts. The 4g is no longer the current model but it will do what we need and is affordable. We bought it online from the very nice folks at DealsDirect.com.au we’ve bought 5 items from them so far, everything has been exactly as advertised and the shipping has been prompt with the items ariving in good condition.

Seth calls it his “lappy” and has fallen instantly in love with it.

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment

Geocaching, the modern day treasure hunt……

Inspired by my Texan colleague and enabled by my recent acquisition of a 3G iPhone I decided to have a crack at Geocaching.

For the uninitiated this involves trying to find a hidden cache of goodies based on GPS co-ordinates.

I checked out the definitive sight geocaching.com punched in the co-ordinates of my house and looked at the list of nearby caches.

Living out in the sticks as I do I expected their to be sod all choice, I was presently surprised to find one within 500m of my house!!!

I packed a little bag and Seth and I went to look for treasure….

I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of using the iPhone to find the cache, I added a bookmark on the phone at the GPS co-ordinates of the cache and just keep walking until the blue location dot meet the red map pin.

It actually took longer to find the cache once we got to ground zero than it did to walk from my place to the cache.

We ended up searching an area around 10m x 10m, it was off a trail in light bush so the GPS was struggling a little to keep a lock.

Sethy claimed a prize from the cache and we put something else in its place…

We are planning to check out another one next weekend about 1km in the other direction from our place.

If you are interested the cache we found is here

We are thinking about hiding one of our own as well, watch this space…….

Sethy with his treasure

Posted in Fatherhood, Technology | Leave a comment

3G iPhone….. Yay.

I decided to update my iPhone to the new 3G model for a number of reasons


* 3G data

* A locally supported legit phone

So far I’m very happy with the upgrade, Viv has inherited my previous phone which I pwned and updated to 2.0 on the weekend.

I have definitely noticed a difference in battery life, on my 2G iPhone with a heavy day of surfing the web and reading emails the battery is at 75% by the end of the day, on the 3G it is a little under 50%

I used the GPS continuously for around 40 mins on Sunday and by the end of the day the battery was down to around 20%

Strangely I rarely use my Phone for actual calls, for me it’s more of a handheld computer than a phone.

I haven’t done the standard unboxing shots so I’m sure Steve is reserving a place for me in hell for blaspheming but I can live with that. 😉

I did have one hiccup worth noting… I bought the phone on Thursday and found that on my was home on Thursday night it seemed to lose the ability to connect to the internet over the cell network. I would get a 3G or GPRS icon on the status bar as if it was connected but no internet apps would work.

I thought, damn I have to swap it for a new one after a couple of days but over the weekend I thought I would try a little poking around. I did a restore to the latest build of 2.0 (5A347), no luck… Then I thought, how about a fresh install and don’t restore settings from the last backup or sync contacts etc, ie fresh out of the box.

That did the trick of bringing it back to life, I can only imagine that some settings from the 2G backup messed it up. I’ve since synced the contacts etc back, the only things I lost were wi-fi & email settings, fav contacts in the “fav” phone page and sms history.

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough for now, the upshot is I have a nice shiny new 3G phone and I’m happy with it, Apple haters please feel free to post comments to /dev/null

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Toby

On the 24th of May 2008 at 4:14pm we welcomed yet another member to the extended Drysdale Collective.

My brother-in-law and his wife took delivery of their first child

Toby George Micheal

The labour and delivery went well and mother and baby are well, in fact they are home now and getting used to the new living arrangements.

Toby’s statistics are

Weight: 3.385kg
Length: 51cm
Head: 35.5cm

We wish Victor and Jen all the best with little Toby and look forward many years of adventures with him.

This brings the roster of cousins to

Connor, Michael, Lachlan, William, Jack and now Toby….

As you can image Seth and Callum are stoked at having yet another playmate.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The Drought Has Broken

After many failed attempts 😉 amongst the immediate family and friends there is finally a girl!!!!

Contgratulations to Shane & Jo on the birth of their daughter

Makayla Natasha

Born 03:14 on 22/04/2008, weighing 3.36kg (7.7lb) and measuring 52cm

Mum, Dad and Baby are reportedly doing well. I’ll a post a picture once I have one.

At least now we have someone to offload the piles of girls clothes we had amassed on the off chance of having a girl ourselves. 



Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fixing Mail.app on the iPhone

I wonder if I should start an iPhone category 😉

I recently used the Pwn Project tools to make a custom 1.1.4 firmware that is activated, jailbroken etc, it all worked well and after restoring the firmware to my iPhone everything “Just Worked” except the Mail application.

I have seen this issue before where you start Mail and it immediately crashes, the only way I have fixed it in the past is to do another restore. This time I thought I’d poke around a little first.

I logged into my phone via SSH and found that I could start the Mail application as root with no problem, although it acted as though it was a new installation. Starting it as “mobile” caused the expected crash behavior.

Poking around in the filesystem I found that the directory that mail uses to store its preferences


was owned by root:wheel and had permissons that would not allow applications launched as the mobile user to write to it..

# ls -la

drwxr-xr-x 5 root wheel 272 Apr 7 08:06 Mail

It seems that the only issues I have on my hacked iPhone relate to permissions problems so I changed the ownership of the directory (and it’s contents) to mobile:wheel

# chown -R mobile:wheel Mail

The ownership and permission should look like this.

# ls -la

drwxr-xr-x 5 mobile wheel 306 Apr 7 07:58 Mail

After that Mail worked as normal.

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

All Hail Prince William

At 05:45 on March 24th, 2008 after an "Easy" 4 hour labour my sister Rachel gave birth to her 3rd boy

William Vincent Whyte

William Vincent Whyte

Weight: 3.750 Kg
Length: 51 cm
Head Circumference: 37 cm

Mother and baby are doing well….

This takes the count in my immediate family to 6 boys, 0 girls…  & Viv’s family to 4 boys, 0 girls…

Viv still has a pile of girls clothes waiting for a taker!!!!

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Fixing My iPhone Camera

I recently updated my iPhone’s firmware to 1.1.3. Last weekend I took the boys to the park and used my phone to take a few photos (or so I thought), unfortunately when I got home there were no photos on the phone….

I searched the web and found a blog post and two Apple Support threads describing pretty much the same issue as I was seeing, unfortunately without a definitive fix….

"Topic : Camera will not save pictures to phone after snapping photo"

"Topic : My iphone will not save the photos I have taken with the phone"

"My iPhone Ran Outa Film?"

Even though I rarely use the camera, the fact that it wasn’t working pissed me off so I decided to look around in the phone and see what I could see. Luckily I’m an old-school Unix guy so the iPhone directory structures and commands are familiar to me… 

Anyway, after too much time spent poking around I found the problem… The directory that the camera saves into was missing and the parent directory was not writeable by the "mobile" user so even if the camera app can recreate the missing directory it was out of luck. I replaced the missing directory and fixed the parent directory permissions and it’s all working again….

I’ll post the details below, I also posted to the blog and Apple Support threads.


I recently updated to 1.1.3 (unlocked, jailbreak) and started experiencing the same problem. I rarely ever used the camera so I don’t know if it just started in 1.1.3.

Anyway it was really annoying me so I started poking around via ssh and found that if I ran the camera application manually as root then it seemed to work just fine.

/Applications/MobileSlideShow.app/MobileSlideShow –launchedFromSB –role Camera

I could take photos and look at them, they wouldn’t appear in iPhoto though. If I ran the camera as the "mobile" user which is the normal setting the problem would occur and I would see an error message each time I took a photo

/Applications/MobileSlideShow.app/MobileSlideShow –launchedFromSB –role Camera
CGImageDestinationCreate destination parameter is nil

This lead me to think that the problem is related to permissions as the behavior differed depending on the logged in user.

using the "find" command to see what files were changed today…

find / -mtime -0

I found that there were what looked to be photo files in the directory


Now the camera preferences file has a reference to "DCFLastDirectoryNumber" and a value of "100", looking at the Media directory for the mobile user showed no "100APPLE" directory so I created the following directory


mkdir /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM/100APPLE

and changed the ownership to the mobile user

chown mobile:wheel /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM/100APPLE

and now the camera is working again…..

I also noticed that the parent directory


was not writeable by the mobile user so if the directory was deleted then the problem would occur again so I made in writeable by all

chmod 777 /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM

Yes I know this poses a security risk, but then the only users on the system are root and mobile and I want them both to be able to write to the DCIM directory.

After the fix I was able to take photos, import them into iPhoto and delete the originals with no problems.

Note: This fix is maybe 10 minutes old so no guarantees. Also you need ssh access to the phone so only people with hacked phones can use this fix….

I hope it works for some of you at least…


Posted in Technology | Tagged | 24 Comments