All posts by Kevin Gillan

Students take aim at the ‘Never Had it So Good’ Generations

Today’s protests will be mainly read as anger at the hike in student fees resulting from the government’s massive withdrawal of funding from higher education. Very important issues, to be sure. But the issue at stake is broader, even, than the debate over whether higher education is a public good. Refusal to pay for higher education is just one part of an ongoing, broad-ranging assualt on future generations by those currently in positions of power. Continue reading Students take aim at the ‘Never Had it So Good’ Generations

Reading Notes: Johnson’s Interface Culture

Johnson, Steven. 1997. Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way we Create and Communicate. Basic Books.

[NB These are notes to self, they become pretty ungrammatical towards the end!]

This interesting and erudite book starts from the position that the collision of technology and culture is nothing new, but that with the increased pace of technological change the collision has become more obvious. That is, new media have always intersected with cultural change Continue reading Reading Notes: Johnson’s Interface Culture

The ‘Big Society’ Needs Sociology

Jesse Norman MP was on last week’s Politics Weekly podcast at the Guardian talking about his new book on The Big Society (Indy review). He said that the Conservatives weren’t trying simply to shrink the state in order to replace it with the market, but instead wanted to harness and ‘unimaginable reserves of social energy’ to do good. This energy apparently exists in institutions outside of the state and the market Continue reading The ‘Big Society’ Needs Sociology

Start/Stop LAMP in Ubuntu 10.4

I occasionally want a local web server on my netbook for fiddling around, but don’t want it running on start up. So, using the following steps I removed it from the start up list and created a launcher button to start and stop apache and mysql.

1. Remove from startup list:

$sudo update-rc.d apache remove
$gksu gedit /etc/init/mysql.conf

In your text editor look for the lines with start up information and comment them out by adding a hash at the beginning of each line.

2. Write simple start script

$gksu gedit /usr/local/bin/lampstart
In your text editor paste the following code:
#/bin/bash
sudo /usr/sbin/apache2ctl start
sudo service mysql start

Save and exit

3. Write simple stop script
$gksu gedit /usr/local/bin/lampstop
In your text editor paste the following code:
#/bin/bash
sudo /usr/sbin/apache2ctl stop
sudo service mysql stop

Save and exit

4. Make scripts executable and update db
$sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/lampstart
$sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/lasr/mpstop
$sudo updatedb

5. Make launcher icons
Go to System->Preferences->Main Menu
In the left pane select the application group for the icons
Click ‘New Item’
Enter the following details:
Type: Application in Terminal
Name: Start LAMP
Command: /usr/local/bin/lampstart
Comment: Starts Apache and mysql
Optionally click the icon in the top left and look for a nice pic, I found suitable ones in /usr/share/icons/hicolor/48×48/apps

Update on ECHR ruling on Terrorism Act stop and search powers

While ECHR’s judgment as described below seemed pretty final, the Labour government still attempted a final appeal – asking for the case to be heard in the ‘Grand Chamber’ (i.e. throwing another few ECHR judges in to the pot). They didn’t have any new arguments or grounds for appeal though and so today I heard Continue reading Update on ECHR ruling on Terrorism Act stop and search powers

Exploring hyperlink networks with Issue Crawler: methodological issues

Paper at: Workshop on method(s): challenges of on-line research.

Abstract:

This presentation will introduce Issue Crawler software as a methodological tool for examining hyperlink networks. The software identifies sets of websites with dense connections around particular issues. Generated data allows the use of social network analysis techniques to understand the structure of the web. The talk will identify some of the methodological issues raised by the tool and also present some data from a recent study of anti-war websites. Some of this work has been published as Gillan, K. (2009) “The UK Anti-War Movement Online: Uses and Limitations of Internet Technologies for Contemporary Activism,” Information, Communication & Society 12(1): 25-43.

Slides available from RICC Workshop on Methods website.

We fought the law… and won!

The European Court of Human Rights today issued its judgement on the case that Penny Quinton and I have been taking against the government over section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They have agreed that this piece of legislation offends against Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and does not contain sufficient safeguards Continue reading We fought the law… and won!