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DNA database 'breach of rights'
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (12.21 on Thursday, 4th of December, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

Profoundly good news on the abuse of human rights in the UK that we call the police's DNA database. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled unanimously that holding the DNA & fingerprint details of people that have no criminal record is a breach of their rights. The biometric data of about 4.5m people are held by the police in a national database and one in five of them does not have a current criminal record.

Personally I find this an affront to personal freedom - sure, if you've been convicted of a crime then you give up that freedom, but until that point our DNA & fingerprints must remain off the record.

The government maintains that DNA & fingerprint records are vital for catching criminals and state that 3500 matches are made each month. I do not dispute the value of such a database but I do dispute their statistics as they are not relevant - what proportion of those 3500 monthly matches are:

a) perpetrators of the crime, as opposed to innocent people using the same environment.

b) from the 1/5 of the database who have no criminal record - I bet it is not even 1/50th.

They also leave out the number of failed checks/tests they actually do each month to get 3500 matches. The statistics are worthless - they're just a device designed to enable this government's ideal of a police state. Yes, there will be some people that get away with crime because of this, but the end does not justify the means. Freedom and maintaining human rights does come at a very real cost, but it is one that we must pay: simply because a few people offend because they can get away with it does not mean that we should infringe everyone's rights to privacy. If someone does get away with it they will most likely be caught the next time or the time after that - because typically people don't just offend just once, and any DNA found in previous crime-scenes (of unknown origin) is stored for future cross-reference anyway - making this entire debate pointless.

The problem is that the police, like all public departments, are target driven and statistical goals always distort the vision & values of an organisation.

So I am thankful that the government's infringement upon our freedom (in the name of our protection) has been halted on this front for now. Haven't we seen this all before anyway? In the name of protection the Republic allows Senator Palpatine to create an army which then goes on to subjugate the galaxy into the new Emperor Palpatine's empire...

Ubuntu 8.10 - coming soon
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (19.22 on Tuesday, 7th of October, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

Not long until the next version of the world's best operating system is released. Bored of Microsoft code and anti-virus software making your machine run like a snail? Tired of paying for your software (and operating system)? Then try out Ubuntu 8.10:

First potty poo
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (13.16 on Saturday, 27th of September, 2008) |  permalink  |  1 comment

ha ha

Getting bigger
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (19.53 on Tuesday, 23rd of September, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

Click here for a few recent photos of Scarlett and I.

A rare sunny afternoon
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (17.40 on Monday, 25th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

More photos.

Hello Chickens
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (10.18 on Monday, 25th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  1 comment

Scarlett talks to the chickens

How to start an argument...
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (12.46 on Thursday, 21st of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

The other night my wife demanded that I take her somewhere expensive, so I took her to a petrol station. ho ho.

A few days later my wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'

'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since.'

'Wow!' said my wife, 'Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?'

(Thanks to Penny for these!)

Todd Bentley Comment
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (22.57 on Monday, 18th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  1 comment

Its a real shame to see what we've seen in the life of Todd Bentley over the past week - it has finally emerged that TB was having an illicit affair whilst running these recent meetings and that that is the reason behind the separation. You have to feel for his wife & family.

I imagine there will be further revelations about what he's been up to behind the scenes. I do feel both angry and sad. I visited Toronto twice but I've never been to Lakeland or anywhere to see Todd speak - I've always felt strangely ambivalent toward his ministry and so have not invested an awful lot and hence don't have a feeling of being duped. I do feel disappointed that this is going to be used to undermine some of the work God did despite Todd in the first place (Calvanists would say God planned this to happen for higher purposes, Arminians have to admit that God foreknew what Todd would do and still chose to use him - praise the Lord there are more sensible ideas than these about God's perspective of time). It is an amazing testament to God's grace & favour that He would meet with people despite what was going on.

Reading on the internet there are quite a lot of vicious things being said, but also a lot of needless defending. Lots of accusation of judging (we can judge someone's actions but not judge (in the sense of 'condemn') the person), on both sides. None of it looks good to the outside world.

So is this just a clear cut case of someone diving into ministry before their character was ready?

Or, as a friend of mine suggests of many fallen leaders, did Todd just pull the ejector seat cord because the pressure of leading this ministry was too great for him?

New Photos
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (17.28 on Saturday, 16th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  1 comment

I've posted more photos, this time of Scarlett getting her hair cut and modelling a new rain coat. I make an appearance too, and so does Aunty Corinna and cousin Lucas. Click here.

Nothing is Straight-Forward
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (15.20 on Friday, 8th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

Today was going so well. Matt took Scarlett to the park while I bought a magazine and went to our local Deli for a quiet read with a freshly squeezed OJ and a pain au chocolat. It was bliss to have some p&q and time to myself for the first time in weeks. We then reconvened and went out for an early lunch to a local farm shop called The Balloon Tree. Lunch was good - they gave Scarlett a pot of crayons and some paper which kept her happy - but when it came to pay, neither of us had our wallets with us! Matt had to go home while I stayed with Scarlett and took her to play outside in the kiddies play area. While we were waiting for Daddy to come back, I took some photos of Scarlett to pass the time.

Free Stuff
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (09.50 on Friday, 8th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

York is turning out to be a very resourceful place for second hand stuff for our house. I've discovered 'Freecycle' and 'Preloved' and am enjoying calling random people across York to get their cast-offs! Matt has a lovely old desk and Scarlett has a pushchair, one from freecycle and one from preloved. Now I'm after some shelves that we can get into the back of our car - we almost picked some up yesterday that were just too tall. The hunt goes on.

Talk Talk Broadband
by Matt Parkins, 9 years ago (11.16 on Tuesday, 5th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  2 comments

I'm eating my words - talktalk broadband went live as they said it would on the day they said it would. The only problem was that I was only getting 1mbps downstream so having checked the attenuation and signal-to-noise ratio I figured it must be capped because I was sure the line could go a lot faster.

After posting on their techie forums within an hour (at midnight no less) their techies reprofiled the line to give me just over 4mbps which isn't bad - in real terms I'm downloading files at just under 500kB/second (capital B means kilobytes not bits (8 bits in a byte)) which is lovely.

Being only a mile from the exchange means that I could get 6.5mbps but to do that means moving the modem into the master socket rather on the end of an telephone extension cord (if you're struggling for speed on a non-fixed line plugging the modem into the master socket is the first thing you should do!).

The upstream speed is around 800kbps which is the fastest I've ever had on a residential line.

The only thing I've found with talktalk is that in the afternoon & evening their DNS servers get hammered. In practical terms that means that when you type in "" in your browser it spends a couple of seconds looking up the ip address of that domain before then contacting and downloading it. That initial delay can be quite annoying and it was plain obvious that talktalk's DNS servers aren't up to it.

I did a little looking around and found a brilliant free service called (free? well, I think they make their money when you type in a domain name incorrectly and they show you a list of alternates & ads instead of the standard "not found" page). OpenDNS has a huge cache, its very quick and has the advantage of being able to block categories of websites (adult, gambling, tasteless stuff, the category list is quite long) at the DNS level so people that you invite to use your wifi don't accidentally stumble into the wrong internet neighbourhood. It is just a matter of altering your router's settings (though I like the service so much I've done it on my laptop too when I'm roaming). You also get all kinds of stats if you're into that kind of thing!

So using OpenDNS there is virtually no delay in looking up the ip address of a domain so my new connection is now ultra speedy. Hoorah!

Nice one talk talk!

Photos at Last!
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (09.41 on Monday, 4th of August, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

I have posted a few recent piccies on Facebook. Sorry it's been so long! I don't have the time or energy it requires to post photos to this website, so I think in future I'll keep posting photos in facebook and put a link in here. I hope that suits everyone, it certainly makes life easier for me!

(For those of you who aren't so computer-confident, click on the word 'piccies' in the text above to go to see the photos!)

Almost There
by Jo Parkins, 9 years ago (19.31 on Thursday, 31st of July, 2008) |  permalink  |  3 comments

Tomorrow is the big day. We get broadband! This means that after 4 months of not having access to my own computer and therefore the internet, I will be able to blog again. About time.

Lifeshapes Pentagon / Ephesians 4 Ministry Roles
by Matt Parkins, 10 years ago (22.06 on Monday, 7th of July, 2008) |  permalink  |  Comments?

Just a quick note to say that this evening I went 'live' with the first version of my first facebook application. It is an unofficial facebook version of the Lifeshapes Pentagon questionnaire - to the uninitiated in Ephesians 4 Paul talks about how some are given to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Teachers and some as Pastors. This questionnaire helps you work out which role you're good at and, consequently, which you're probably called to.

One of the nice features of a social website is that you can see which Role category your friends are in and also the application will save your results so that you can see your results over the course of a number of tests (perhaps over a number of months or years) and see how you change and adapt.

If you know which is your role then you can install it anyway and set your role without taking the test so that your friends know!

Anyway, it should be in the application directory within a week, but you can just follow the link at the end of this line to install it anyway: Lifeshapes Pentagon / Ephesians 4: What is my role?

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