Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

2012w43

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Idiocracy

No one can have missed the outrageous idiocracy in Italy which simply left me with a single question:
If they had warned, and panic had ensued, and people had gotten killed while trying to escape, and no quake would have hit… then what?… Seems like a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”…

The US is implementing a “six strikes” type of deal (similar to the ?now defunct? French HADOPI) and apparently the “independent expert” used to draft a “reasonable” law might not have been so independent as they should have… being a former RIAA lobbying firm… The corruption surrounding the copyright industry is truly sickening.

I am probably waaaay to paranoid, but this reeks of false flag operation. Gotta keep the populus scared of them terrorists now don’t we?

Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech.

More and more I am beginning to think that the correct course of action is to completely boycott anyone who use the DMCA since it is used as a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel. I think this comment sums it up pretty well.

Surveillance / Privacy

Outsource government and corporate surveillance to people themselves… great…

Wait! Wait! Wait! You mean to say that geo-tagging can compromise ones privacy and security?!?! Nooo, who’d have thought?

Cool stuff

A distributed twitter thingy I think it’s cool and all, really cool, but I’d still go for identi.ca.

Sleipnir is a small proxy which you run, to intercept requests and serve local files instead. Not sure when or where I’d find use for it, but interesting concept none the less.

A rather good run-through of various tools for UNIX-like systems

Jeff Atwood wrote a post about the future of Markdown, and much have since been written and people have had opinions but from one of those discussions, what I found most interesting was Pandoc.

Stuff I learned

Great answer on how to better control node placement in a graphviz diagram.
And another answer on a similar question, although this should probably be considered an ugly-hack. Then again, there’s a time and place for everything.

Last week I prodded in some Perl code, and found myself unable to visualize just what the heck the internal structure of a variable looked like, and thought to myself Had this been PHP, I would have used var_dump(); I wonder if Perl have something similar?

Of course Perl has something similar.

use Data::Dumper;
print Dumper $my_mystery_var;

Source: Perl Mongers

Race-condition-free deployment with the “symlink replacement” trick

Food for thought

Why we can’t solve big problems.

Here’s a peculiar productivity hack: Hire a person to slap you in the face.

Compliance: The boring adult at the security party.

Why we buy into ideas: how to convince others of our thoughts

2012w28

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

This week just flew by like a chinchilla with a rocket strapped to its back, but I managed to squeeze in some good laughs and some programming so all in all not too shabby week at all.

Glenn Greenwald: How America’s surveillance state breeds conformity and fear A rather long text (likely due to it being a transcript of a speech) but none the less both fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

And Russia doesn’t seem to fare much better, as Russian Wikipedia goes on strike over censorship plans

(Please note that I’m not trying to single anyone out, I don’t believe for a second that Europe or Sweden is one bit better than their neighbours)

I found a rather depressing thread on reddit where the OP works for a research organization and they have just received a job from the US Gov to carry out a questionnaire (with apparently very directed and leading questions) with the perceived objective to make Americans answer that they are ok with the government collecting data, since, if you can just get statistics saying that others find it ok, you can get the masses on board with the idea as well… Also related: push polls

This is a textbook case of why anonymity still has a place in the world. There were no malice involved here. This was an accident, but if it hurts even one of the outed persons that’s still enough. And that’s why databases, unnecessary or not, should be kept to the bare minimum. Because databases will always leak.

It’s possible that some of the people whose identities were revealed in the email could face workplace sanctions for opposing ACTA (I know a lot of people in the entertainment industry who privately oppose many of their employers’ initiatives), so revealing their identities is a potential big deal.

This ties back to surveillance states breeding conformity (and fear, but in this case the fear of retaliation already existed) because fearing sanctions people may stop speaking up, leading to other people, hesitant, undecided, to think that there must be nothing wrong since no one is speaking up. Conformity.

Although we can always trust in Falkvinge to come up with sensationalist blog posts, in this case I fear he might be right on the money.

With Facebook scanning chats for potentially illegal activities, I wonder how they would react if someone wrote a facebook app which encrypted the conversations between people (preferably through a javascript so the communication is encrypted browser to browser).

I found a fairly decent guide to regular expressions (the only thing which would make it better was if it wasn’t a “cookbook recipes” kind of post, but instead a “learn regular expressions with examples” type of post. But the recipes are broken down into parts and explained and that is really nice, and that’s why I’m mentioning it. A for effort :)

A post about vim completions which I should take to heart and start using more than I already am.

And if you have a non-technical friend who wishes to understand more about UNIXy systems, but would get information overload by non-abstracted techno-babble, my suggestion would be to direct them to Unixmages.

I happened to do something stupid in vim the other day, I pressed C^s, and I think I pressed it believing it would save the contents… C^s in a terminal doesn’t save anything… It will however suspend scrolling (I guess scroll-lock is the most aptly named description) but for all intents and purposes, this the first time it happened to me, I thought the terminal had frozen and I ended up running an xkill on that terminal window.

Today I thought I’d investigate it a little further, and upon doing so I realized that it is an intended feature which could even work at bootup, which I will certainly test the next time I’m booting the system and seeing some weird error message flash by.

Oh, and to “restore” the terminal, make it responsive again, C^wC^q is your friend.

Finally, a vim story which isn’t exactly my story, but close enough that I recognize myself in there :)

Update: Thanks pesa for pointing out the typo, C^q is the correct one
:wq

2012w18

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

The scripty stuff

This week I finally managed to crack a problem I’d been trying to solve for a couple of weeks, namely how to only print the foobar errors, and the ensuing stack trace of these errors from a logfile:

awk 'BEGIN { section = 0 } /foobar/ { section = 1; print; next } /^[A-Z]/ && section == 1 { section = 0; next } section == 1 { print; next }' logfile 

Looking at the solution, I am kindof ashamed that it took me that long to get a workable solution…

I also found this neat little oneliner in a comment on reddit: echo "something long and space separated of which you want the last word" | rev | cut -d ' ' -f 1 | rev. Then again, I’m sure that awk could have done this with a little $(NF-1) magic or something like that.

The headache-inducing stuff

All since my netbook broke down, I’ve thought about two things: restoring the netbook/replacing it, and how to create some form of backup infrastructure which should be better than what I have in place today.

As for the backups, the “system” I have today is couple of USB-disks which I at times plug in and sync files to. That and most of my projects and config-files are in various git repositories all synced to the laptop/server-in-the-wardrobe which I made sure to backup after the netbook died, especially since the laptop/server disk is much older than the netbook disk was.

Another thing which bothers me with the current solution is that I have no off-site storage. And that would be nice to have. Belt AND suspenders of course, and off-site storage comes with its own set of problems such as trust in the offsite storage maintainer.

I think the solution will take the shape of a GNU+Linux box and Unison and possibly aided by incron. Not sure yet, will have to think more about it.

There are some other requirements which I have just barely scratched the surface of or not even begun thinking about yet, for instance it would be nice to be able to backup my parents stuff as well on a regular basis as to keep their stuff safer as well.

And as for the netbook, although it was a nice little machine, the keyboard was getting a bit worn out, and at times it was rather underpowered with its single core 1.6GHz atom processor, so the direction I am looking in now is towards something like this.

The stuff screwing over society

Now there’s truly no way in hell I’ll ever use Skype again.

Nothing new under the sun I guess, but it lends credibility to the Skype quip above.

This sure is some level-A grade retarded society we are constructing for ourselves…

Samsung Galaxy S3: The first smartphone designed entirely by lawyers, a great read about a truly depressing matter which probably is closer to the truth than we imagine. On the other hand, my personal opinion is that the midnight blue version looks pretty damn sweet.

SaaS and other crap where someone else is in control sure is a honking good idea, isn’t? Well, I guess it is if you’re the one in control, but I guess you won’t ever get my business…

The cool stuff

And I also managed to find some posts which touched the hacker in me, such as this post about how one could go about generating pseudo-random numbers (don’t use the algorithms, just be inspired by them) or how this guy started shaving bytes off of his “hello, world!” binary.

I immediately thought about FSCONS when I read this, and I didn’t feel at all worried about people thinking the same about our conf :)

Until the other day, when I read about its inclusion into git, I’d never even heard about git subtree, but this post makes a compelling case for looking into it.

I also came across a, to me, new data structure: the XOR linked list. Now, it has a couple of drawbacks, and I don’t think I’ll find much use for it, ever, but as a concept it is a very interesting idea, and just goes to show that XOR is frakking awesome.

I thought this was a pretty cool thing.

While I don’t have any problems with my ISP hijacking DNS requests right now, it is nice to know for posterity that there are ways around it ;)

If you are going to use JSON, and need comments, this seems like a reasonable way to go about it.

While I haven’t decided what I think about Go I really liked this blog post on how to create a grass mowing agent which derives the most optimal way to cut the digital grass in a simulated world.

Hopefully I ain’t the only one who finds this hilarious ;)

This is actually quite neat: Instead of adding “lorem ipsum” paragraphs all over your design, tweak the word list in the script, include it in the mockup, and markup all places which need filler content. Done.

In the latest issue of DatorMagaZin there was an article about FUSE which caught my eye, and having read the article my interest was piqued, so I just had to go look at the list myself, and truly, have you seen all the cool filesystems people have come up with? Frakkin’ awesome!

The food for thought stuff

Oh yeah, finally remember to treat everyone the way you’d like people to treat your own mother

:wq

2012w15

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

This has been a pretty rough week, but I guess there is nothing less to expect when deadlines are drawing near.

This week I found myself wanting to count all the occurrences of “foo”, but ONLY if they occurred BEFORE “bar”:

awk 'BEGIN { fooCount=0; stopCounting=0 } /bar/ { stopCounting=1 } /foo/ && stopCounting=0 { fooCount = fooCount + 1 } END { print fooCount }' <myfile>

And despite the quite hectic schedule, I did manage to help a colleague with a little scripting, and those are two things which almost always sets me in a better mood: scripting (problem solving), and helping others (of course, if I don’t manage to be of any help, that kindof defeats any positive mood change I get from scripting, but in this particular case it all worked out really well in the end) :)

And now for the mandatory collection of links from this week:

  • This must be a joke right? The US can’t really, for real, be irritated with Australia for preferring national service providers over American ones, right? Especially when it could come down to storing data about Australian citizens, or in other ways vital to the government. This has to be a joke right?
  • I wonder if this is something most programmers can relate to or if it’s just me
  • This post could have been written by me… well, not as articulate, but the spirit of it. What’s even more interesting is the response this triggered on HackerNews.
  • QArt Codes is where QR codes, Solomon-Reed error correction, some extra calculations and your imagination mix together ;)
  • Hilarious post making fun about certain governments and their want for even more snooping laws, especially about conducting surveillance in in-game chats…

:wq

2011w52

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Merry belated christmas greetings everyone! And by the time this post is published I could extend it with Happy belated new years greetings as well ;)

vim + html5 syntax

I’ve been tinkering a lot with html5 during my vacation and vim just didn’t want to play nicely with the new html-tags.

Namely, as it wouldn’t recognise the new semantic structural tags (footer, header, article, section, nav, aside) it wouldn’t indent the source properly and it was a cause for both distraction, and the resulting frustration.

I was not the first to feel this frustration, and a quick search turned up this result which solved both the html and css syntax issues (check the comments for the css solution). Very elegant solution, and now I’ve also learned about vim’s .vim/after/ directory… That was pretty cool.

Learning html5

I’ve actually shied away from doing stuff with html5, as whenever I tried to wrap my head around the new tags and how they should be used, there were just a myriad of different sites interpreting the usage in subtle but differing ways, but I finally found a resource which makes sense to me, so until a definitive interpretation has been hammered out, that’s the one I’m going to stick with.

Also, for sticky footers using css, and html5, check out this page. I had no trouble getting that to work.

Links

This question pretty much sums up why I like the command line so much

This looks interesting for synching (and deleting) without having to worry about doing “the right thing”

Nice list of things one could do with a home server

Doing it for teh lulz, 1903 style

EA, Nintendo and Sony now only covertly support SOPA (through their membership in various interest organizations). Wanting to eat the cake and still have it huh?

Tom’s Hardware not being amused by SOPA

Oh how I so hope that Wikipedia, Google, et al, will go down this path. (I do think there is a difference between companies lobbying, writing laws, and pressuring governments, and companies urging people to put pressure on governments, so yes, I think this is ok)

An interesting theory about why cinemas are having such a rough time

Haven’t had a chance to try this, but creating art using a written grammar does sound pretty neat, especially if you could get a script and /dev/random involved as well ;)

German police tracking people via silent SMS. I am beginning to think that rms is correct in his cellphone “usage”

Too much reading and constant information overload makes us pretty little passive consumers