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The Day the Film & Music Died

January 13, 2012

Detail from the the September 30, 2011, edition of the Guardian's Film & Music supplement, which carried the most recent of the three cover stories I wrote for the section

Today sees the last edition, in its present format, of the Film & Music supplement of The Guardian. From next Friday, it is being merged with G2, the features section, and will be edited by a differently configured team. I realise this probably isn't earth-shaking news, but it's a source of genuine sadness to me. ... more »

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posted: 13/01/2012 | comments »

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A Tornado* in Kandahar

January 12, 2012

Wing Commander Jim Frampton, commanding officer of the RAF's 12 Squadron, talks to Afghan schoolchildren at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan: January 1, 2012. Photo: Sergeant Steve Blake RLC (Phot)/Crown Copyright  

The MoD have today released photographs taken on New Year's Day, when around 500 children, along with teachers and other adults, visited Kandahar Air Field to get a look at the coalition aircraft based there, and meet the people who operate them. I was at KAF for a few days in August and had the chance to interview key members of the RAF teams working on the Tornado, Hercules and Reaper aircraft. The first piece published from my visit was about the Tornado detachment - it ran in the January edition of Combat Aircraft magazine. The people I spoke to in August are now back in the UK, but the job they're doing will remain pretty much the same. The version CA printed had to be edited down to fit the available space, so here's the full-length piece. ... more »

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posted: 12/01/2012 | comments »

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Stratfor: the End Game Nears

January 11, 2012

Stratfor CEO George Friedman's letter was posted on the relaunched company website earlier today (though at the time of posting - 20:05 GMT - the site was down again)

The Stratfor hack story is approaching its most pivotal moment. The company finally got back online today, 19 days after hackers operating under the Antisec/Anonymous banner announced their hack and started releasing the intelligence firm's customer account information. In an email to subscribers, also carried on the newly free-to-access site, founder George Friedman admits that the company did not encrypt its customers' credit card details - as I wrote on Monday, this has the potential to turn into a legal nightmare for the company. But it is the second half of Friedman's email which throws down the most important gauntlet in this saga.... more »

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posted: 11/01/2012 | comments »

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The Spikes of Frago

January 10, 2012

A genuine statistical infographic, earlier today

It sounds like it ought to be an obscure inscription on a map in a Tolkien novel, but the title of this post refers to the immediate and dramatic increase I see in visits to this site whenever blog posts here are linked to in the Frago section of Aviation Week's Ares defence (sorry, defense) blog. With that in mind, I should perhaps explain a couple of things to new visitors. ... more »

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posted: 10/01/2012 | comments »

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Online Security Post-Stratfor

January 9, 2012

Elementary precautions: Kandahar Air Field, August, 2011

Say what you will about Stratfor's lax security and the hackers who exploited it, but events of the past fortnight have certainly focused my mind somewhat on the security - or otherwise - of my online information. ... more »

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posted: 09/01/2012 | comments »

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Some Thoughts on the Stratfor Hack

January 8, 2012

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, October 4, 2011 (for incongruous photo policy explanation, see here, note 3)

It's two weeks since hackers aligned with Anonymous and Antisec announced that they'd got inside the computers of the Texas company Stratfor, and published details of more than 800,000 of the firm's past and present clients. I'd be interested in this story anyway, but as one of those whose data were made public, I've been paying quite a bit of attention. And even as the details pile up and more folks weigh in with their thoughts, I'm far from convinced we're even close to understanding what's gone on here, or why.... more »

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posted: 08/01/2012 | comments »

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Going Out, Because Staying In Is the New Awful

January 7, 2012

Somewhere in the desert near Rosamond, California; October 2011

One of simultaneously the best and the worst things about life as a self-employed freelance journalist is that you spend a lot of time at home. This is obviously great in terms of the time you don't waste commuting, the money you don't spend on workplace cafeteria lunches, and excellent news for any pets you may have, who know they can count on a free and easy food resupply mechanism throughout the working week. However, in January - with the tax bill imminent, client payments often delayed because accounts department staff haven't been at work for the thick end of a fortnight, and coffers low after the expenses of Christmas - you tend to spend just about all your time at home, evenings as well as daytime. As a result, I tend to get to see more TV in January than at other times of the year, and this isn't always to be advised. ... more »

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posted: 07/01/2012 | comments »



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