Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Computers as Peep Show Characters

by Charles Pooter

Apple are launching a UK version of their "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. The TV adverts will feature Peep Show comedians Mitchell and Webb. Mitchell will play "PC" and Webb will play "Mac". The idea behind the ads is that the difference in personality between the PC and Mac characters humourously demonstrates the difference between the Mac and PC user experience. They invite the viewer to identify with one of the characters and therefore choose the computing platform that is right for them.

I think that by choosing Mitchell and Webb's Peep Show-esque characters Apple have made a brave decision:

Mark Corrigan/David Mitchell/"PC"

In Peep Show, David Mitchell plays the hard-working, dependable Mark Corrigan. OK, so Mark can be pompous at times, looking down on his unemployed flatmate Jez, but he is always there when you need him and he doesn't let you down. Sure, he is slightly flabby around the middle and slow to embrace new trends, but he is a predictable old friend who can be depended upon when the real hard work needs doing. And yes, we don't like to mention his occasional nervous breakdowns, because they never last long and he's soon back on his feet doing the jobs that need doing. It would also be unfair to say that he isn't any fun: he likes music and movies as much as Jez, it is just that he doesn't get carried away and let it affect his work.

Good old dependable Mark. Good old dependable PC.

Jeremy "Jez" Usborne/Robert Webb/"Mac"

Robert Webb's Peep Show character is Jeremy Usborne. Jeremy like to be known by the annoying nickname "Jez". Jez is a fun guy with loads of cool friends. He is always partying and pities his flat mate Mark who seems to spend all his time working. But secretly Jez feels empty inside. His life doesn't seem to have any real meaning. He is sure he looks good and people often seem impressed with his ability to have fun. But Jez worries that he isn't capable of hard, meaningful, productive work like Mark. Sure he makes the odd bit of music, but where is his life going? What is his reason for existing?

Poor, shallow, pointless Jeremy (sorry, I mean "Jez"). Poor, shallow, pointless Macintosh (sorry, I mean "Mac").

Monday, 29 January 2007

Warning - May Contain Frightened Mammals

by Edwin Hesselthwite

Pandas, eating stuff

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Unfulfilled Promises - An Abject Apology for Debts About to be Fulfilled

by Edwin Hesselthwite

Good afternoon little men...

On crisp January saturdays when I find myself resting gently in my evening chair, I am drawn to consider my record at this fine publication (my favourite pipe clasped in my hand). I have written some pieces I am proud of, trying my hand at humour, essays, politics... Amidst this glory however, there has been an unfortunate trend among my work, a trend that does me little credit - unfulfilled promises.

On too many occasions have I have lead the reader to anticipate a sequel to a post, and then found myself unable to draw that article down. The proposed series of pieces on the BBC was shortlived (2 articles, barely), I never wrote a piece about the Curta Calculator (one day I will, it's a fantastic story including Nazi's, mechanical computers and track racing !), and most recently a promised piece on the political history of animation failed, miserably, to materialise. I have let my muse down, I have let the topics down, I have let my readers down.

Excuse me while I remove the stick from my arse...

More seriously, I write these lede's as cattle drivers, incentives to make myself work on fundamentally more substantial pieces that require a certain commitment to lay down as text - I guarantee I'm going to get myself stuck in this rutt again. In writing for LMWN the aim of much of my material is to hand the reader interesting objects of miscellany, fully developed, to excite interests in my passions. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it should always have a moustache and a cup of Earl Grey in its hand.

On this occasion I lead with the news that my Animation piece is now finally on the last stretch of track, and will be finished in the next few days. So thanks for bearing with me. And please enjoy this one.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

The People's Queen - A Rant.

by Edwin Hesselthwite

We at LMWN would not usually deign to honour The Oscars, and particularly their nomination stages, with discussion. However, there is something about this years awards that have stuck themselves deep inside my, Edwin's personally, craw. Judi Dench, Britain's most internationally celebrated actress is up for - yet another - Oscar for playing (drum roll please): Judi Dench.

Right... Ok... Just a second...

Please bare with me while I burst into flames of righteous fury...

So.. "She's done important work on the stage", "she's the biggest draw in the West End", well maybe she is - but her international reputation has nothing to do with that. Barely 100 000 people total will have seen her collected works as she treads the boards of Shaftesbury Avenue - this is not what has got her a list of honours as long as your arm and an honorary doctorate at The University of Durham. No, that reputation is based on her work on the telly, and the last 10 years of her cinematic career.

15 years ago she was working for the BBC making lame SitCom vehicles like "As Time Goes By" and "A Fine Romance". Then boom, she hits the big screen and in the last decade has been nominated for The Oscars 8 times. 8 nominations for queens, upper class authority figures, and noble Englishwomen easing gently into old age. Yes! It's the same darn character again, and again, and again.. Austerity, Regality, Virginity with tedious moments of touching sentimentality as she demonstrates her ability to shed one tiny tear. As if anything with repressed emotion is soulful, anything with shouting is dramatic, and anything with a female aristocratic despot (preferably dead and Saxe-Coburg) is somehow significant.

Is this clever? Is this good female acting? Does this deserve for one second to be considered in the same pantheon as Kathy Bates's role in Misery?

So... Christmas was coming, was it? Let's throw Judi another honour to give the day we close the deal on this years peerage contracts a bit of celebrity gloss.. Already an MBE? Make her an OBE, already an OBE? Make her a Dame. Already a Dame? Invent some "Companion of Honour" nonsense to give to the inflated harridan, that'll keep the prole magazines happy as Lord Levy raises us a bit of cash.

And old Elizabeth II loves every second of it, because by going through all this ceremony every year with these proxy royals (Dench who I expect nothing else of, and Mirren and Smith who should be ashamed of themselves) she underpins the Englishness of the occasion, being more queen than The Queen. What better support for our dysfunctional monarchial clan can you get? Elizabeth II appears ill educated and somewhat baffled when talking in public? Contract out the job to Dench, she'll underpin The Firm and help us gloss over all of those underpaid servants.

Each year they stand in a line and shake hands. Two months later Denchy runs over to America and swaps the British Luvvies for the glowing hair and permatans of LA, lending their clothes show some gravitas. The camera focuses on her for 30 seconds, she gives a look of intense authority, then they pass the award to someone else.

When you cant get Liz, Wills, Katie or Charlie... There is always Judi to prop up the creaking old edifice.


Monday, 22 January 2007

John the RIPA

by Charles Pooter

The Telegraph has revealed that Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who is leading the investigation into the cash for peerages crimes, authorised his officers to hack into Downing Street computers. A Westminster source thinks they may have obtained some significant evidence via this method. Oh the delicious irony if this is true! The police would not have been able to take this step (without a warrant from a Judge) if it wasn't for Labour's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which was shat onto the statute books in 2000.

Blair will probably get off scot free in the end, but I'm really enjoying the twists and turns in this case.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The Biggest Douche in the Universe

by Charles Pooter

In 2002 South Park nominated charlatan psychic John Edwards as the The Biggest Douche in the Universe:

Click play arrow above to watch episode.

I have a new nomination for this title:

Derek Ogilvie, The Baby Whisperer

When I first saw David Ogilvie on TV, I thought his gimmick was just a bit of harmless stupidity. It is quite a fun idea for someone to pretend they can interpret what an infant is saying. But I've just seen Ogilvie on trash-channel Five Life “solving” the problems of a young single mother and her two year old child. He has just “psychically” intuited that the mother's problems with her child originate in the mother's rape when she was 14.

What a douche.

Quote of the Day

by Charles Pooter

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man a fishing rod and he'll break it up for firewood…

or swap it for a fish.”

- Frankie Boyle, Mock the Week.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Put Them on the DNA Database

by Charles Pooter

So, Yates of the Yard has arrested another lacky of the Blair Regime as part of his investigation into the cash for peerages crimes. When will the Godfather himself be nicked? I hope that the boys in blue are forcibly taking blood samples from these perps. Afterall, as Blair himself would say, it is in the interest of all our security that suspects contribute samples to the National DNA Database. What if Levy or Turner or Blair's criminality manifests iteself in other ways? We must have samples in case they offend again.

Also, is it just coincidence that this is going down shortly after Sweaty Brown buggered off to the Punjab to compare himself to Ghandi?

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Big Brother Shocker!

by Charles Pooter

No not that Big Brother, the real one. The eagle-eyed Guy Herbert of Samizdata and NO2ID has alerted his readers to yet another disgraceful piece of police-state legislation being introduced by the members (see defintion 2b) in Westminister. The Serious Crimes Bill allows detention without trial for up to five years. Read Guy's post or the Telegraph article he quotes.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever…

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Well, I Wouldn’t Start From Here….

by Unknown

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists magazine has decided to move the hands of the Doomsday clock, printed regularly on their front cover, forward. The hands have stood at 7 minutes to midnight since 2002. The BAS quote worsening nuclear and climate threats as the reasons behind their decision to show the World closer to Armageddon.

I think it may be time set a few points straight in the World according to P. Buckminster:

1. Climate different to that which you expect/hope to see or that which you remember from your childhood does not constitute global calamity. Yes, the weather changes. In England alone, there have been yearly fairs held on the frozen Thames and grapes grown as far north as the Midlands in our recent past. Global weather is a massive chaotic system influenced by all of its constitute parts; each in turn subject to an almost infinite number of components. NOBODY knows what the current, perceived, changes add up to. There are various models with varying degrees of scientific acceptance (bear in mind that “accepted by the scientific community” does not necessarily equal “correct”). Anyone who talks about definite outcomes or specific timetables is either a simpleton or, more likely, has an agenda and can safely be ignored.
2. Nothing on this planet is fixed. NOTHING. Try and understand this, it’s very important. Absolutely everything without exception is in a constant state of flux (other than the following statement, “I personally resent the intrusion of government at any level of my existence and wish that TB would be sent to the front line in Iraq with a T-shirt that says “I hate Muslims” and an ultra realistic looking toy gun”). Not even the bloody continents are nailed down. The various sea currents that maintain our current weather system here in the UK? Hah. About as likely to survive as an election promise. There was a time with no ice caps. There will be again. There will be a time where the ice caps reach Toulouse and Cape Town.
3. (Or possibly 2(b)) In other words, it’s all about scale really. I would ask my good friend Edwin to post a little bit here for point #3 as he is the only scholar I am familiar with who is truly capable of thinking along a geological timeline.

None of this is any excuse for reckless consumption of resource but again; there are a few points to note.

1. There is a finite amount of oil. Whether it is burnt (burnt! For heat! Bloody monkeys) in 10 years or 50 the total quantity of pollutants produced will be broadly the same. (Yes, I know that altered usage types and improved efficiency will make some difference but less than you think. Seriously. Work it out, the maths is not difficult). Personally I would like to see the whole lot go up in an orgy of consumption over the next few years so I can be involved in the green revolution followed by the evolution of self-contained Gaia domes using my namesake’s design.
2. Trees are not the lungs of the planet. No they’re not. Work out the total amount of oxygen produced by a tree over its entire birth/death/rot/re-birth cycle. Guess what, it’s zero! Want to lock carbon away somewhere safe? Buy books and lovingly keep them piled precariously high. Edwin and myself are far ahead of the curve on this one….
3. Deccan Traps! Lucifer’s Hammer! Any major glacial period! Look them up. Read the following fable with these in mind.

A flea once lived in an Elephants ear. The flea didn’t bother the elephant apart from the occasional itch and the elephant didn’t bother the flea. One day the elephant walked across a bridge. Upon reaching the other side the flea said, “boy, we sure rocked that bridge”.

Governments have focus groups that show that saying they are green will win them votes. They are not green. They are not really anything. But you can’t hold that against them. They are not the system but the product, the same as you and me. We have all been indoctrinated into the grand story of “Global Warming” a by-product of human existence separate from the natural processes of the World because we, as humans, are above the same natural processes.

Well human intervention is a flea.

And the world is an elephant. If he ever scratches we’re fucked. And there is nothing we can ever do about it. The next civilisation, possibly arising from cockroaches, will record our paltry attempts and chitter to themselves,

“Foolish humans, tried to halt an avalanche with a marshmallow wall”.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Sysinternals: Windows Utilities So Useful, Microsoft Bought Them!

by Charles Pooter

I was first introduced to Mark Russinovich's Sysinternals utilities by a colleague in my first serious computing job. My reaction was one of embarrassment, as I realised straight away that these programs were indispensable to anyone who wanted to know what was going on under the surface of their Windows installation. In July last year Microsoft bought Sysintenals and now the utilities are available from Microsoft's Technet website. For those those that haven't encountered these useful little programs before, here's my list of the most handy in order of helpfulness:

  1. Autoruns: Tells you exactly which programs are being started when your computer is turned on and when you login. More importantly, it lets you get rid of programs you'd rather not start automatically.
  2. Process Explorer: Task Manager on steroids. Task Manager will only tell you that a process named hongkongworm.exe is running, Process Explorer will tell you where the program is located and a heap of other information.
  3. Filemon: This will let you see exactly where programs are trying to read and write data. I find this useful when I'm trying to work out why a program won't work from a non-administrator account. OK, maybe that's only useful for systems administrators!
  4. Regmon: Like Filemon, but for the registry.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

The More Realistic Bastard Operator From Hell

by Charles Pooter

The following is a parody of the BOFH that I wrote in my pre-blog days, which I've updated for your amusement. It is as true now as it ever was:

Episode 1

So the PFY and I are playing World of Warcraft. The PFY is smirking at a witty comment I have just made about the inherent instabilities of Windows and the stupidity of users, when the new Boss walks in. We have not yet been introduced.

"Hard at work I see." he says, attempting sarcasm.

"I resent your tone," I reply, "We are benchmarking the floating-point capabilities of these new servers".

I catch a glimpse of my profile out of the corner of my eye, reflected by a dormant 21" monitor, as I say this. I remind myself that personal appearance is not a relevant factor in UNIX administration.

The new Boss continues: "I couldn't give a rat's ass what you resent, you greasy little man. The supply of monomaniacal semi-qualified computer technicians entering the labour market is rapidly meeting demand. If you don't pull your finger out, I'll have you out of that door quicker than it takes you to recite the monologue at the beginning of Startrek."

I mumble a witty retort containing a clever reference to both Monty Python and Perl and the PFY smirks into his jumbo-sized bag of Monster-Munch.

"I want you to stay behind late tonight and sort the backup tapes." says the new Boss "And if you don't, I will fire you."

I try to protest, but I cannot come up with a realistic reason why I might be unavailable for work this evening. The new Boss just looks at me in disgust when I mention the Doctor Who marathon on UK Gold. I don't even bother trying to claim I have a prior engagement.

Instead I spend the rest of the day concocting homicidal fantasies involving the new Boss. I share them with PFY, while I set up some cron jobs and he smirks.

I'm so alone.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Disgraceful NHS Anti-Smoking Advert

by Charles Pooter

I was on my way to the barbers this morning when I saw this monstrosity displayed on a huge billboard in my neighbourhood:

No doubt there are a bunch of coke-snorting wankers in some Soho ad agency who are congratulating themselves for getting this shocking and "boundary-pushing" ad on the streets. Well congratulations to them and to Titan for inflicting this brutal image on people whose surroundings are often grim enough already. And congratulations to Caroline Flint, the Health Minister who launched the campaign:
These adverts highlight the controlling message of tobacco. We know 70% of smokers would like to give up.
Well Caroline, I'm more worried about the "controlling message" of your Government, who seem intent on bullying people with violent and disturbing imagery. How many of these ads are going up in your own constituency? Would you like to leave your house and see that every day? No doubt you'd be the first one moaning if Benetton put up "hard-hitting" billboards near primary schools, so why is it OK for the NHS to do so? Where is your evidence that this kind of campaign even works?

The Metric System in the USA

by Charles Pooter

I'm not a weights and measures nerd and I use the Metric system and SI units for my work and in everyday life, but I do find some (usually scientifically minded) people's obsession with getting rid of traditional units in everyday life quite fascinating.

thesolo on Slashdot ("News for nerds") asks "How Can We Convert the US to the Metric System?".

From his short article:

I personally deal with European scientists on a daily basis, and find our lack of common measurement to be extremely frustrating. Are we so entrenched with imperial units that we cannot get our fellow citizens to simply learn something new?
I find this question entirely wrong-headed. Why should people in the US give up their traditional units to suit the needs of science or big business? What stops him dealing in Metric if he wants to? Anyway, it is an interesting question and it garnered many insightful and amusing responses on the Slashdot board:
If you want to use the metric system in your research, then use the metric system. What's stopping you? Why do you need the government to change the speed limit signs if your problem is interoperating with scientists?
- porkchop_d_clown
The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!
- Curtman
What's really strange is working in Mexico, where they never officially use US units. Milk is sold in galones (gallons, yup, right on the label). Talking about small measurements is quite often done in pulgadas (inches). They don't use millas (miles) in normal conversation, but they all seem to have a general sense of what they are. Yardas may be well know because of American football, and Fahrenheit makes no sense to them, but they're fairly well versed in libras (pounds).
- Balthisar
The Celsius scale is calibrated to the freezing and boiling points of water. This is great for scientific use, but comes at the expense of sensitivity for day-to-day use. It is seldom that anyone wants to know the temperature outside as a fraction of the temperature required to make water boil (though the freezing point is of more use), and temperatures in habitable areas of the earth seldom exceed 50C. That means the upper half of the scale is not being used. Since a Fahrenheit degree is finer-grained than a Celsius degree and the endpoints of the scale more closely match the range of habitable temperatures, it makes more sense to use F outside of science and cooking, IMO.
- Metasquares
Some dirty secrets for you all who think the rest of the world has adopted: a lot of the Commonwealth nations have adopted the metric only in an official capacity. Go to the UK and see how often you see Imperial units.
- smack.addict
Well we don't often see them in commercial use here in England, but almost everyone I know uses them when talking of heights and distances.

My main objection to enforced Metrication (apart from it being a Government fiat) is that, in everyday life at least, it can lead to less accuracy not more. I remember reading an article on the web (which annoyingly I can't find) which talk about how cookery books on the continent often use improvised measurements such as "cups" and "handfuls" because Metric units are not conceptually very useful for this purpose and because a traditional, more human, alternative (e.g. pints and ounces) is not available to them. Also, if a standardised, yet traditional, set of units is outlawed then, in time, new, more diverse, sets of human-sized measurements will re-evolve. Unlike feet, inches, gallons and pounds, these new new units will be non-standard, inaccurate and will vary from region to region and industry to industry. It seems that in Britain we finally managed to codify and standardise our units only to then sweep them all away.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

An Irrational Hatred

by Charles Pooter

Why is that man Bill Oddie on my TV again making noises he presumably thinks are English sentences?

mr_wizard: A Stylish Blog of Miscellany

by Charles Pooter

Most blogs seem to be about a particular subject: politics, transport, conspiracy theories, whatever. The most popular blogs (that aren't just link lists) seems to follow this monomaniacal trend. But my favourite blogs don't have a particular theme, they just take my fancy. Little Man, What Now? reflects the current obsessions of its authors and nothing more. If this happens to be interesting to a few people then great, but is it possible for a blog of miscellany to ever get really popular? I would say that one candidate where this might happen is mr_wizard.

Combining incisive reviews of films, books and TV with an enthusiasm for new technology that I share, David of mr_wizard has crafted a blog that is informative and (unlike LMWN) very stylish. I especially like the way high-resolution graphics are found and used for the beginning of each post. David obviously has a designer's eye, which makes his blog look professional in a way that even top blogs don't.

Sunday, 7 January 2007


by Charles Pooter

I was on my way to the station this morning, to catch a train to meet with Edwin for our weekly squash game, when I saw a most enormous rat. He was fat little blighter who waddled out of the railway siding, which doubles as a de facto rubbish dump, onto the pavement, looked at me nonchalantly and then waddled back into the undergrowth.

This ratty encounter (my first since moving to London) immediately got my synchronicity sense tingling, as I had heard Rattus rattus mentioned in two media reports this week. Only about an hour before I left the flat this morning there was a news item on Radio 4 about new research suggesting that the whiskered ones were responsible for the decimation of Easter Island, rather than it being the fault of statue-obsessed humans as previously thought. Also, earlier this week I heard that Britain's mania for recycling may be leading to a huge increase in our rat population.

So, could it be that the Easter Islanders were wiped out by rats after the tribal elders enacted a full-scale program of recycling and composting? Maybe not, but if so I, for one, welcome our new furry overlords.

Stenciled Graffiti Rat by Banksy, photographed by DG Jones at Victoria Embankment, London.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Top Tip

by Charles Pooter

Typing the following in Google will find open directories on the web containing music by the band Nirvana:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Nirvana"

The string above says to Google: "Return results without htm, html or php in the URL, where the title of the page contains the phrase index of and where the page contains the phrases last modified, parent directory and the words description, size, wma or mp3 and Nirvana".

Obviously one can replace Nirvana with Rachmaninoff, The Beatles or Cradle of Filth.

I found this tip whilst reading this post about the rebirth of the command line.


by Ted Hoffman

Jermaine Jackson is currently appearing in Celebrity Big Brother, which led me to take a look at his wikipedia entry, where I found this:

"In a departure from his previously alliterative naming, Jermaine controversially decided to call his 9th child Dave, before returning to the theme with child number 10, Jesus Jackson. She is 5."

Thursday, 4 January 2007

A Court Case I Want Microsoft to Win

by Charles Pooter

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear a case brought against Microsoft by AT&T. The details of the case can be found here. AT&T have accused Microsoft of patent infingement for shipping Microsoft's own (allegedly patent-infringing) software abroad. Quite apart from the issues brought up by the extra-territoriality of the alleged infringment, the most interesting (and potentially revolutionary) apect of the case is Microsoft's defence. Microsoft has essentially asked SCOTUS to decide if computer code is patentable. This is hugely ironic as large swathes of Microsoft's income depend on its huge portfolio of software patents.

I hope Microsoft wins this case as software patents are a bad idea. As Kevin Carson is always saying, patents are a hidden subsidy to larger organisations (typically multi-national corporations). They are Government granted monopolies that stifle innovation from new market entrants. This is especially true of software patents.

Software is already covered by copyright and therefore, for example, Microsoft can sue someone who sells an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Word. In fact corporations have successfully lobbied states into making copyright infringment a criminal offence in many territories, therefore externalising the costs of enforcement. But copyright is a different debate, software patents are much, much more draconian. Patents allow corporations to have a monopoly on a computing concept or algorithm, not just a particular implementation. For example, there is a patent on the algorithm for encoding an MP3 file. This means that the owners of the patent can sue anybody who writes and sells an alternative computer program that can encode an MP3 file even if the programmers independently solve the mathematical problems involved and write the program from scratch themselves. This means that most distributors of Linux dare not include a free MP3 encoder in their distributions, even if the creators of those encoders are happy for them to do so.

Traditionally courts have recognised the unpatentable nature of works of the imagination, including software. The Software Freedom Law Center's (SFLC) in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court for the above mentioned case said:

"Since before the Civil War, this Court has consistently made it clear that subject matter which would have the practical effect of preempting laws of nature, abstract ideas or mathematical algorithms is ineligible for patent protection."

However, via various slimy lawyerly fudges, software patents have gradually come to be recognised by precedent in the US, even if they have never been protected explicitly by legislation. Using WIPO, US corporations have pressurised many other territories into implementing this bad idea around the world. For example, there have been several concerted pushes by corporate lobbyists to get software patents recognised in Europe.

So, let us wish Microsoft well in this case. If they win it, it will be a blow for software freedom and a blow against their patent portfolio.

Via Free Software Magazine

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Another Victim of Happy Slapping

by Charles Pooter

This "happy slapping" craze is getting out of hand. I just watched a video, posted to the "You Tube" web site, where a bunch of hooded youths lead a dishevelled, bearded old man to a platform, place a rope around his neck and then hang him until he is dead. This is all filmed by one of the gang on his "camera phone". Presumably these youths find all this terribly amusing. Perhaps if the police got off their backsides, they could prevent these attacks on innocent members of the public, instead of spending all their time persecuting motorists.

The latest innocent victim of the "happy slapping" craze.