Eric Mill’s Switch to HTTPS Now, For Free is excellent

I just read this little gem by Eric Mill, and decided to give it a try. Despite a CA problem with the latest version of Firefox, this went surprisingly well.

I was slightly disappointed that WordPress uses absolute addresses to it’s resources with an HTTP class. Should it not use relative paths for locally hosted content like images, and let user agents sort out whether or not to use SSL? I think so.

Probably there’s something to configure. When it annoys me enough, I’ll blog about it.

Whoop, and there it is. That was easy to at least get WordPress to use HTTPS.

Some simple arguments against the UK’s unrestricted arms trade

Moral point: If we regard economic gain as only as good as the good it can do people, then economic gain (especially for an industry that enjoys significant tax favours) cannot be used to justify support for human rights abusers. Doubly so, when the support is so direct as to be one step back from providing British soldiers to actually do the repressing.

Pragmatic point 1: it’s naive to arm unstable (any dictatorship is unstable) regimes with reasonably advanced weapon systems. You never know when they may be turned on you. (Yes, yes I know we’re not sending state-of-the-art tech, but we’re considerably hardening an unstable potentially hostile military).

Pragmatic point 2: arming a repressive regime does your image no good with the repressed citizens. Again, it is unknown, but likely that at some stage their favourable view of us would be useful. Having fresh memories of fighting oppressors armed with British weapons (oppressive regimes don’t always bother to change the markings on planes and tanks, and records have a habit of leaking) won’t make them like us.

Zero-hours contracts, criminality and incoherence

I’d like to correct a bit of clumsy language I perpetrated this morning on the train, kept deliberately terse so I could post it to both Facebook and Twitter. Here’s what I wrote:

I think I’d rather be a criminal than take on a zero-hour contract, or spend life in a temp job. More self-respect.

I re-read it just now, and it looked like I’d meant that I think people on zero-hours contracts or temporary contracts had no self-respect. That definitely wasn’t what I meant. I was very upset by what I’d read in this article, and wanted to convey the idea that I think I’d feel happier as a criminal than as someone working on one of these contracts because at least a criminal is accorded the recognition of having locks used, and guards employed against him. Zero-hour contracts appear to be the modern equivalent of serfdom, and so, are strong messages by society that the signatory of such a contract is regarded as next to worthless.

This is a horrifying notion – the idea that a fellow citizen can be denied the rights of civilization: health care, a pension, self-sufficiency – simply because he or she is not lucky enough to be a member of the plutocracy or to have skills sufficiently rare in this overpopulated time that there is a significant demand for them.