IPv6 again and SPDY

June 16th, 2012 by Mike

It’s now about a year after my previous post about World IPv6 Day 2011 and the same event in 2012 was just a little while ago.

This year’s event was different in that major sites are keeping their IPv6 connectivity online for good (rather than testing it out for a short time like last year).

This time, Google’s IPv6 traffic has doubled from 0.3% to 0.6%. If you have a look at the graph, you can see the huge uptick in the last year. I suspect we’ll see year-on-year doubling (or better) from here on, which would mean every will be using it by about 2020 (hopefully much earlier).

A technology that lights up similar pleasure regions of my brain is the SPDY protocol. It’s basically an optimisation layer that sits above HTTP and aims to  transfer web page resources in a smarter way to reduce page load times.

I’ve installed it on this blog to see how easy it would be. Turns out it was very easy, although I did have to switch the way I serve PHP (from mod_php to fastgci). At the moment only Chrome and Firefox support it on the client side. This protocol addresses an obvious and annoying shortcoming of practical HTTP, so I’m hoping it will take off too.

World IPv6 Day

June 8th, 2011 by Mike

In celebration of World IPv6 Day I’m pleased to announce that you can access all of the web services on my server through IPv6. Some of the sites on here include:

IPv6 is a new protocol to replace the current IPv4 system. These protocols assign numbers to computers on a network and specify how they can send messages (route) to each other. It is part of the backbone of the Internet, but we’ve actually already run out of IPv4 addresses! We’ve been trying to switch to IPv6 for a while, because it provides trillions of unique addresses that we’ll never exhaust. Unfortunately uptake has been very slow. Only 0.3% of requests to Google are over IPv6 at the time of writing this.

World IPv6 Day is meant to help raise awareness and encourage software and hardware vendors and ops teams to make their products and services IPv6 capable. Some big companies such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo! are all taking part.

My own IPv6 access was made possible by my awesome host Linode, who I highly recommend if you need a Linux VPS. I was also able to verify my configuration by using SixXS’s IPv6 gateway service, since my local ISP and my modem/router both don’t support IPv6 🙁

Jury Duty

May 19th, 2010 by Mike

The Summons

Early this year I was notified by the NSW Sheriff’s Office that I was on the jury roll for this year. This meant that at roughly any time over 2010 I could be issues a jury summons.

Sure enough, around March I was called up. Unfortunately this summons conflicted with a major product launch at work that I was critically involved with. My boss asked me to write to them to be excused. This involved hand-writing the reason why on the back of the summons and faxing it to the Sheriff’s Office along with a letter from my boss. Unfortunately we left this a bit late (a week before the summons date) so I had to ring up to confirm that I was excused.

The next summons occurred a couple of months later in May. They typically don’t accept work commitments as an excuse after the first time, but that wasn’t really a problem since there was nothing major going on and I felt like I might want to do jury duty anyway.

The Empanellment: Outside the Court Room

As per the summons, I showed up to Parramatta West District Courts at 9am, went through a security scan and was taken upstairs to the jury assembly area. There I showed the paper with summons on it along with some photo ID to some court officers who issued me with a jury calling card (essentially a number). I then went to sit down with a lot of other people, watching the TVs they had playing and reading the book I brought. They also had free tea and coffee for those so inclined.

Some time around 9:30 a court officer addressed us all and explained the process a bit more. There was only one case starting that day, so even though there were around 60 people there, only 12 would be selected. Also, the case was estimated to run 10 days (i.e. two weeks). Some people voiced their inncredularity that so many people were called just to fill 12 places. After she finished explaining things, people were given an opportunity to present their case to be excused by the court officers. This reduced numbers down to around 40.

The Empanellment: Inside the Court Room

We were grouped into three panels: E, F and G. Panels E and F were called into the court room, so there was around 25 of us sitting at the back of the court where the judge, crown prosecutor (with an advising solicitor), defence barrister (with an advising solicitor and the accused) and other court staff were waiting for us.

The judge explained what was going to happen next and why. The court assistant read the charges to the accused (inflicting grievous bodily harm, or alternatively, recklessly causing grievous bodily harm) and the accused submitted his plea of ‘not guilty’ to both. The  judge then gave an opportunity for potential jurors to request to be excused from this trial (only) and provided a number of example reasons, such as:

  • not able to handle viewing graphic images (as there would be photos of the alleged victim’s injuries),
  • feeling ill or about to fall ill (since it would hold up the trial if any were off sick), or
  • important commitments (such as holiday trips, appointments) within the next few weeks.

Around 6 or 7 people lined up and the judge heard each person’s excuse in turn. Each person who asked to be excused was excused, although the judge was a bit skeptical about some of the reasons. Some reasons people gave aside from the above included:

  • self-employment,
  • looking after small children, and
  • working for the Department of Defence.

The first two should have applied for exemptions earlier as they would have been successful. The last one the judge was quite skeptical about and stated that the courts were far more powerful than the DoD, but acknowledged he might be under a lot of stress and not able to perform his function as a juror so let him off from this trial only.

The remaining 20ish people had a copy of their calling cards put into a box and drawn at random by the judge’s assistant. When your number was drawn you went up to sit in the jury box. After 12 were picked, we each stood up in turn and the defence or prosecution would either remain silent, in which case you would sit down, or would say ‘challenge’, in which case you were excused. Around three people were challenged: a young women, an old woman and a middle aged man. Either two or all three were challenged by the defence. I can’t really speculate as to why they were excused, as there was another young woman and middle aged man in the jury still. I’d be curious to know what criteria they use. After three replacement jurors were found by repeating the process, the rest were excused and the judge explained to us more about our role in the trial and why it was so. We then took an oath to the effect of doing our jobs truthfully and as best we could.

The prosecution opened with a summary of his case against the accused, including what kind of evidence he was going to bring forward. I was impressed with how fair and impartial he seemed (which he is apparently required to be by law, unlike in the US). At 11:30am, we broke for a 30-minute morning tea and went into our jury room.

The Jury Room

The jury room contained a large table we all sat around, a big TV, a kitchenette with a microwave and sink, two unisex bathrooms and some shelves and cupboards. We were each given a clipboard with some paper and a pen that we would use to take notes. Apparently we were lucky in that we had a big window. Some rooms have no window at all, which would have been quite unpleasant. For morning tea there were biscuits and tea/coffee.

Our court officer gave us forms to fill out, including our personal details like phone numbers and also our bank details for payment, which occurred on Thursdays.

We were required to surrender our mobile phones after contacting our family & work letting them know we’d been empanelled and for roughly how long. After that time phones were surrendered before entering the jury room when arriving in the morning (around 9:30am) and we got them back at the end of the day (4pm).

Lunch was also spent in the jury room, starting at 1pm for an hour. We were provided ‘gourmet’ sandwiches and fruit each day we were there, although if we had stayed longer than five days we would have seen a much-improved and varied menu. It wouldn’t be unusual for us to have to wait until some time after 2pm before being collected by the court officer and taken back into the court room, as various matters raised by the crown or defence sometimes had to be heard without us being present, as it could prejudice us.

On the second day of the trial during lunch we nominated one of us to be the foreman of the jury, whose job it was to sit in the seat nearest the microphone each time, to deliver the verdicts and to make sure we were all present before heading from our jury room into the court room.

The Trial

We heard evidence from witnesses, including neighbours (the incident happened in an apartment), police, paramedics and doctors. Evidence was submitted both by the crown and the defence. The prosecutors evidence was labelled ‘Exhibit A’, etc. while the defence’s evidence was submitted as ‘Exhibit 1’, etc. Evidence included photos, maps, hand drawings by witnesses done in the court room, videos of police interviews and later there was to be recordings of phone taps.

The judge would remind us at the end of each day not to talk about the trial to anyone, nor look up any information about it or talk to anyone involved in the case outside of the court room. While it was a public case, jurors are a special consideration in that they need to avoid anything that might bias us.

The judge took care of his other cases on Fridays (shorter tasks like sentencing) so we did not have to sit on those days. Most people had a long weekend but a couple of us went in to work. We had to nominate which we were doing so they could determine whether to pay us or not. Yes, they would pay us for doing nothing each Friday! Of course, the jury wage is fairly meagre (around $100 a day), so going to work is a logical option.

The Trial Aborted

On the fifth day of the trial before starting at 10am, one of the jurors was called out to talk to a court officer. We didn’t know it until we had waited in the room for about 2 hours, but this juror apparently had asked to be excused from the trial as they could not handle viewing the graphic images. The judge had said to us before empanellment that anyone in this position could be excused, but I suppose they were too shy or lazy to take him up on the offer. This meant we were down to 11 jurors, and after both sides had discussed the matter with the judge, the judge decided to abort the case.

The trial will need to start over again at a later with a new jury, free from bias. It’s a horrible waste of time and resources. I wonder whether the juror who pulled out was punished in any way. I’m sure the cost would have been in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We were just starting to get to know our fellow jurors and we were finding the case interesting. We all expressed disappointment about not being able to follow it through. On the plus side, we got half a day off and we were paid for it.

Finally…

The whole experience made me realise how much we value justice in our society. We spend a lot of time and money ensuring that only the truly guilty are put in jail. Obviously the system is not perfect, and it’s a shame that so much effort is needed just to get to the level we are at, but no one can say that we haven’t given it a good try.