June 9th, 2013

Disqus and the NSA/FBI/CSA

If I were a government spook I’d drool at the opportunity to connect the IP addresses from the most widely used commenting system in the United States (among other things), Disqus, with what I already had gleaned from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, Dropbox, etc. Disqus has built a system that spans blogs and newspapers across the nation and of late requires detailed “user information” in order to comment on whatever.

Update (2013 June 10): Disqus Privacy Policy Hmmm.сео оптимизацияСеоиконисондаживик услуги

June 2nd, 2013

Ubuntu: The world’s most popular free OS; NO THANKS

I just wiped out Ubuntu from my computer. The red flag was Ubuntu’s depricating of ffmpeg for a minor fork avconv,- Libav . That got me looking at who is bankrolling Ubuntu. The current baker of Ubuntu is Canonical Ltd. Canonical’s current owner, and founder is Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth spent US 20-million to fly in outer space. Who is giving him money? For me Ubuntu does not pass the security “sniff test.” Back to OpenBSD for me.

Update: 2013 June 09: see
“The FFmpeg/Libav situation”


February 3rd, 2013

Eva Cassidy

An era ago I was introduced to Eva Cassidy by Jim & Esther. Her singing was intensely beautiful and mesmerizing. Only later I found out she had died way, way too early, only 33, taken by aggressive melanoma. Fast forward to this morning. I hardly ever watch any TV, but on Sunday morning, I occasionally watch an interesting live music program called “Vrije Geluiden” (free sounds), broadcasted from the music theater in Amsterdam.

Today one of the guests was Dutch singer Margriet Sjoerdsma. She told us that she was taken by Eva’s sound and was later asked by author Johan Bakker to sing a few of Eva’s song on the presentation event of his book about Eva, which in turn inspired her to do a tribute CD. What was really touching and special was that Eva’s brother Dan was one of the band members, playing the violin. He was also interviewed.

Open this link please. If it complains about Silverlight, click left bottom on “Instellingen” (settings) and change to Flash. Unless you’re interested in Czech composer Janacek, skip to 17:10. The interview in Dutch starts at 21:40. Dan, a slow speaking kind fellow, joins in, in English of course, at 26:50.

Very, very touching. Dan gave Margriet Eva’s metronome as a present. What a gem.

January 31st, 2013

Exploring the Grand Canyon on Google Maps

Way cool

Today, we’re releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world’s most spectacular national monuments: the Grand Canyon. These beautiful, interactive images cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads, making our map of this area even more comprehensive, accurate and easy to use than ever before.

January 29th, 2013

Sentenced to life

In my country, up until yesterday, there were 32 prisoners serving a life sentence. Counter to popular believe, life means life as in “until death do us part”. Until a few years ago, 20 years was the maximum sentence under “life”, which, in accordance to popular belief, means 13.4 years when the prisoner behaves. This was regarded as too big a gap (I agree), and 30 years (being 20 for real) was introduced by new legislation.

Today, 3 from 6 suspects in a huge inter-criminal liquidation trial were sentenced to life, upping our “sentenced to life” population with 10% in one single trial.

The 30 years could not be sentences, as the murders were committed before the change in legislation.

Note that in a life sentence, the prisoner will try all means to change the verdict. After all there is nothing to loose. So it’s not over.

December 23rd, 2012
December 18th, 2012

Gun Laws

Piers Morgan stated the number of gun related deaths in the US per DAY is the same as in the UK per year. The UK has amongst the stricktest gun laws in Europe. My newspaper did some fact checking.

  • US: 30 per day
  • UK: 54 per year

He was lying, but not awfully lying.

How then about per capita?

  • US: 3.3 per 100.000 per year
  • UK: 0.1 per 100.000 per year
  • My country: 0.3 per 100.000 per year

Is that US number the worst? Nope, Honduras and El Salvador are 10 times worse again.

Disclaimer: I am an anti-weapons guy.

December 10th, 2012

A Short history of nearly everything

I am reading this kinda sorta scientific book written by Bill Bryson. In my country it is published in a format not larger than a pack of cigarettes, on ultra-thin paper. 100o pages mind you. The quote starting part one, lost in the cosmos

And lastly, just consider our universe for a minute. Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy said, “They’re all on the same plane. They’re all going around in the same direction…It’s perfect you know. It’s gorgeous. It’s almost uncanny.

September 9th, 2012

My browser is out of date – Mozilla sucks

I have an old Apple PPC G4 that I use for browsing and reading email. All of the software products offered by the Mozilla Foundation stopped supporting the Apple PPC platform in April 2012 – how odd, how convenient.

I can’t help but wonder what relationships the Mozilla Foundation has crafted with third parties like Apple and Google, for example. The browser sponsored by Mozilla, Firefox, provides data about users in great detail to any website that a user might visit and provides little, if any, protection to the user of the “open” products Mozilla offers. No doubt any corporate URLs accessed via Firefox, those that “want” every tidbit of information about Firefox users they can get their hands on are happy when users of Firefox land on their sites. Firefox is “open source” in name only – their browser seems to be owned by the highest bidder. Hold what is important to you close – everybody wants what you have. Thinking back to that old SNL skit about landlords – can you say SCUMBAG?

July 18th, 2012

AK Politicians hide behind “the web”

So how do you email your elected reps in Washington? Simple answer is you don’t – because their email addresses are not available to voters in Alaska. I’d bet good money that some of the elites up here have email addresses for our elected reps; but we don’t. Instead all of the folks we elected to Federal positions use HTML forms for “citizen” inquires and comments. Just thinking that they (our elected officials) might be collecting data about the folks that ask them questions. So call me paranoid.

Lisa Murkowski

Mark Begich

Don Young

If you are a U.S. resident I’d suggest that you contact your elected representatives and ask them to give you their email address.