August 18th, 2007

The skype outage

Skype has proven my most valuable connectivity tool in the last 3 years. I am anxiously waiting for Skype-in numbers in my country and when it happens I will kill my business landline. Unfortunately, while I was abroad where Skype has it’s most value (call my country for 1.7 Eurocent per minute, aproximatelyt $0,02, instead of around one Euro per minute, $1.30 per minute using my cellphone), it suffered a complete network meltdown for about 2 days, in which my brother in law was admitted to hospital. Oh well.

While the official statement will be out Monday, I am guessing the last client update ( contributed to the problem as soon as sufficient numbers were rolled out. Too much of a coincidence there is a new version up now. Still guessing I would advice everybody to veer away from 0.202 as soon as possible.

August 18th, 2007

The brain story

I put these links in Miro, and I am still flabbergasted. If you are anywhere interested in how the brain operates, dump the mindnumbing TV for a few hours and watch this. Excellent view and more than worth it.

(…) It is a six part [BBC] series covering virtually every area of contemporary neuropsychology, including the major researchers, discoveries, techniques and even many of the patients who have been the subjects of classic case studies that have helped us understand the curious effects of brain injury.

(…) It’s a landmark series in its accuracy and scope, and because it’s so engrossing for both the seasoned professional and the general viewer.
(…) [direct link to the torrents. Make sure you have Miro installed]

Episode 1: All in the Mind
Episode 2: In the Heat of the Moment
Episode 3: The Mind’s Eye
Episode 4: First Among Equals
Episode 5: Growing the Mind
Episode 6: The Final Mystery

Read the warning in the original post about TorrentSpy (many thanks Mind Hacks).

Added: if you want a 15 times fast-forwarded version of this, listen to Vilayanur Ramachandran on TED.

August 18th, 2007

The next billion

I am a happy and convinced FON user: share your wireless with the world, and use the world’s wireless, in a controlled way. Meraki though is a very interesting, mildly comparable project. The wireless Meraki access points are either connected to the internet or not, and create, automatically, a meshed network of the neighborhood. This has the potential of providing low income neighborhoods with very affordable access.

Meraki’s mission is to bring affordable Internet access to the next billion people. Meraki’s new approach to wireless networking empowers individuals and groups to bring access to local communities, anywhere in the world.

Meraki has focused on changing the economics of access since its beginning as a MIT Ph.D. research project that provided wireless access to graduate students.

Using their research, Meraki got its start at a low-income housing community in the US. News about Meraki’s products spread by word of mouth into over 25 countries around the world. Every day, new Meraki networks bring access to locations ranging from urban apartment complexes in London to villages in India.

Through Scientific American.

August 18th, 2007

The copyright

I’m back.

I must confess I was sorta mildy into the copyright discussion. As an IT guy, you don’t want your code stolen and want artists to get a fair share, but on the other hand, the insane criminalization of music listeners and screwed up DRM-ed recordings is of course out of this world.

Until I saw this. This front runner of the Swedish Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge is making a strong case against copyright because it attacks serious fundamental democratic rights. Example: the music industry lobbies in Europe to make copyright infringement punishable with 4 years imprisonment. This is not arbitrary: in a lot of European countries crimes of this severity allow for wiretapping without warrant. And there goes your right for private communication. I seriously think we need to consider more and more end-to-end encrypted messaging. Very worth the almost one hour watch.

Edit: please note the comment below is from Rick. I feel honored.

August 17th, 2007

Fed up

Dear xxxxx,

I’m hanging out in Berkeley (land of Fruits and Nuts) with xxxxx at the moment.

Don’t know if you have any interest in AK politics, but if you do this might
be of interest (though if stripped of the details I’m sure it is applicable
in most any part of our country).

FBI investigates science contracts awarded Veco
ARCTIC: $170 million in research contracts coincided with support for polar funding by Sen. Stevens.

FWIW the press keeps reporting how low the approval #’s are for our
Congress – what they fail to mention is that the numbers are low because the
Democrats and Republicans fail to hold our leaders accountable. The press
spins it that the public is upset because the Dems are going after the
Repubs – that of course is BS – the public is PO’d ’cause nobody is swinging
from a tree, not even the low hanging fruit. I’m disgusted with what’s
going on – with the president, the legislature, the current crop of presidential
“hopefuls” and, of course, the Fourth Estate.

August 2nd, 2007

Off for now

Will be back in 2, maybe 4 weeks.

August 1st, 2007

The end of an occupation (sorta)

Yesterday, after 39 years, the British army left Northern Ireland, leaving security to the Police force. Mind you, these were “English against English” (Don’t ever say ( Brits against Brits”), what I am saying is it was a conflict not blurred by intense foreign occupation. Yes, the N.I. catholics will surely think differently. 39 years. I think a congratulation is appropriate. The other question of course is: what does this learn us regarding, say, Iraq? I do of course realize there are immense differences, one being oil, but the religious divide is certainly an issue in common.

United Kingdom Northern Ireland