December 29th, 2010

Bloglines is back

Big deal eh? Well kinda. Google reader works fine indeed, but I would stay logged in basically all day, sending a cookie identifing me to any website that uses google analytics tracking code. Hmm. So, I am back on bloglines. And I logout from google. And I clear my cookies.

December 27th, 2010

Ubuntu tech talk

While I am very happy with my Ubuntu switch, some things do s*ck, some just being the standard installation, some being, rather, well, s*cking in itself, the latter probably to be divided into hard code and “yeah, but you don’t understand how it works buddy”. Fair enough. Anyway, let me give you a solution to a common issue, and ask for the solution of another one.

Sound

Sound work pretty ok out of the box. Trouble starts when you want to route some application to card one, and and others to card two. In my case: Skype needs to use the usb Everyman headset, while music still plays over the regular analog outputs. It is next to impossible to do this in the standard setup (note that in Windows, Skype is able to tell the audio system to do this). PulseAudio, the underlying sound system in Ubuntu is very well designed and can do the most insane type of audio routing, including routing to/from devices on another computer, but it is very “techy” to control. Solution: go to Ubuntu’s software center and install “PulseAudio Volume Control”. It solves above problem in a very user-friendly way.

Locales

This one I haven’t cracked yet. I do need a Dutch locale for several reasons, however, the official Dutch decimal separator is a comma. That is a huge pain for several reasons (numerical keyboards, imports of most programs screwing up, etc). Now in Ubuntu you cannot modify the individual settings of a locale, you just select one and that is it. The system is rather strickt in that (not a bad thing in itself). I do want this non-official locale though! Anyone a good clue on how to do this without truly screwing up the official locales?

December 26th, 2010

Terrorists!!! Oh wait?

Friday, xmas eve. 12 Somalians are arrested and taken into custody “to prevent a terrorist attack that was to be executed on short notice”.

Somehow it didn’t feel right. The squad first busted into the hotel where these 12…… were not, but hey, we’re only human, and we cannot do all the checks perfect. Also, their laywer stated his clients were very “surprised” about being arrested. Not really the language you’d expect.

Today, 48 hours later, 5 have been released already. No weapons, no explosives were found. Somehow it sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Update 72 hours: another one freed without charge.

Update 96 hours: 4 more have been released, so only one now in custody. The one is still suspect, as are two of the released ones, which usually means they are suspect of a relatively minor offence. Some defence by the police is already piling up, usually along the lines of “when the intelligence service issues a message, one acts and doesn’t investigate”. Nice try, especially as the material from the intelligence service can NOT be used in court.

Update 120 hours: Not all is out in the open, but it seems a classic case of “I will tip off the cops you are a terrorist if you don’t xyz”. Case is not closed, but it is here. Who’s the laughing stock?

Update 144 hours: Oh erm, well, no. The last one has been released.

December 24th, 2010

Donations to Wikileaks

Since Mastercard, Visa and Paypal have banned donations to Wikileaks, I can imagine it is pretty hard to donate in a creditcard-oriented society with these near-monopolistic providers.

In my country, it is pretty easy to transfer money to them. If anyone needs help, add comment please.

December 16th, 2010

Tax cuts: Up with the Rich – Down with the poor

While “liberal blogs” in Alaska praise our Senator Begich for standing with Bernie Sanders when Sanders filibustered last Friday and “spoke truth to power,” the reality is elsewhere. The truth is that Sen. Begich “caved” and voted with our other Senator, Lisa Murkowski (maybe), to continue George Bush Jr. tax cuts. The “on the ground” ramifications of their votes will be:

1) an increase to our nation’s deficit (you gotta pay to play)

2) a reduction in taxes for the very rich

3) increased taxes for tax payers working for minimum wage.

4) Folks making 5 million dollars or less will be able to give all of their wealth to their appointed heirs without paying a nickle in taxes (Roosevelt must be spinning in his grave).

5. Folks who make money by investing will continue to pay about 15% less on their income than folks who work.

6. Because of cuts to Social Security withholding – Murkowski (did I spell that right?) and Begich both voted for a real plan to put S.S. in the red.

Am I missing something here?

PS: How odd it is that for the past 2 years the Republicans were obstructionists. For Obama’s “tax cuts for the rich” compromise package (aka extending Bush era tax cuts) the Republicans and the Democrats were on the same page – the only filibuster came from a socialist. HEHE.

December 7th, 2010

The leaks

I don’t think there is much to add to the unfolding Wikileaks saga. But this you might find this somewhat noteworthy: two public broadcast networks here (think a bit your PBS, although things are much more diversified here) have hosted a mirror site of Wikileaks now. This to the chagrin of my new, fresh, “let’s get to work” right winged administration, working with a parlimentary minority and a few ultry right wing opportunistic supporters.

I must say I was kinda flabbergasted by the almost lascivious suggestions made by both Australian and American representatives to actually execute mr. Assange. Hello??

In the meantime, here, parliament insist on having toilets on ALL trains, and cancelling the mandatory clubcard for people who want to view a soccer match, all while the economy is grinding. Oh, well, they WILL debate on Assange, see if freedom of press is being violated and to try to put pressure on Sweden to not let him be send to the US. If it wasn’t sad, it would be really, really funny.

Silly tidbit: A Danish newspaper started a Wikileaks mirror, and decided to host it on Amazon’s cloud servers, you know, the Amazon where Wikeleaks themselves have been thrown off two weeks ago. The newspaper simply stated it was the simplest option to use but added “it would make in interesting story if they were kicked out too”. Hee!

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