Friday, March 23, 2007

"Land of the Free" my ass

After five years, two pregnancies, and thousands of dollars in expenses, the government still insists their marriage is a sham.

Homeland Security wrecks a home - Chicago Reader

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I am moving away from aunt Google


Back in the USSR?


I am preparing to move away from aunt Google. Right now I am a Google whore. I have as we speak:
  • Google-Analytics-Webanalytics-Account (Which I don't use much anyway)
  • Google-Calendar-Calendar-Account (Which I don't use much either)
  • Blogger-Blog-Account
  • GMail-Email-Account
  • Google-Reader-Feedreader-Account
  • Google-Search-Account (What for? I didn't order the last one)
This all is managed by a monster cookie. Just one. And whatever I do online, google knows. They know what adverts I have seen. They know which adverts I have clicked. They know what I have searched for. They say that they don't read my email (and I believe them) still it makes me nervous to have my mail in their hands. I know that they are not evil - at the moment.

This will end. This must end. I must move away from google. This is not good for the industry that it is dominated by one company. This is not good for my privacy that all my data is in their hands.

I will miss the nice UI of GMail. I will miss the fast and neat Google Reader. But all good things must end. I just hate the fact that Google knows far too much about me. I hate that fact that google.com greats me as logged in when I want to search, just because I'm reading my email in another browser-tab. And I hate that google knows what I'm searching for and keeps a record of it. Forever.

I will continue to use google.com for search, but I will make damn sure to kill that damn cookie of hell. Maybe they still know who I am, but they have to guess.

I will kill the google-analytics account. Gone and I wont miss it. We know far too much already anyway. I don't need to optimize my web presence like a commercial whore to lure in more customer I can rip off. I don't need to track my visitors like a sick control freak.

Next: Mail and Blog are easy too. I will go self-hosted on a rented server/webspace/something.

Now, the calendar and feed-reader are a bit tougher. I would love to host those on my server too, but are there any decent open-source solutions? I guess I could live without an calendar, dead trees should be fine for me for that task. But the feed-reader?

Houston, we have a problem. The first feed-reader I used was desktop based. I don't even remember its name. It was nice and fast, but lacked one integral feature: if I read a post at work, my copy at home didn't knew. And if I wanted to check my feeds while on holiday in Gitmo: "Sir, could you show me your OPML-file please?"

Next up was Newsgator for me, which was fine for a while. Alas, it was slow as hell and I was always struggling with its UI (at least it seemed like that). So next I gave Google-Reader a try, and even the original UI version was better than Newsgator. Now, they have improved big time since then at the Google Labs and I was hoping that Newsgator had improved since then too. I opened the site, my browser still had the login info for newsgator (which was like 2 years ago that I last logged in, something like a quarter century in Internet years), I logged in, found all my old subscriptions there - and a UI that was still slow and clumsy.

I'm willing to give bloglines a try, but it felt like a website directly from Venus for me the last time I tried it, around the same time I gave up Newsgator. I'm not holding my breath that bloglines has improved.

Anyway, does anybody know a decent self-hosted open-source web-based feed-reader? Damn, this information age is not easy.

[Update] Maybe I should give ROJO a try?

Then again, maybe not.

Without further comment

Masturbation to End War: Masturbate for Peace
(via stef)

Make the Majors History!

Make capitalism history!
What happens to the royalty fees paid? The major record companies take your money, keep most of it for themselves, their lawyers, marketing teams, and then divide the rest statistically based on the Billboard charts. That means that no matter what kind of obscure, underground music was played, most of the extortion money paid goes to whichever management company owns Justin Timberlake, or whatever the top 40 flavor of the month is. All other artists, including most of the ones whose music is actually played on stations like Radio Paradise, get nothing. Corporate America sticking it to you even if you don't listen to mainstream commercial radio.

and
That's not precisely correct in the details, but it's basically true. Just because we play Artist X, and we pay royalties to SoundExchange (the royalty collection arm of the RIAA) does NOT mean that Artist X is going to see their fair share of what we've paid, or - indeed - anything at all..


Radio Paradise Forum - eclectic online rock radio discussion
(you might have to go to page 2 or something...)

My Radio will be closed down... Fark

I fucking hate radio. I really hate it. Radio is an awful commerce infest pile of shite that plays the same commercial shite music over and over and over and over again. I used to love radio.

But there is still one station that I really like: Radio Paradise. And now, it will be probably closed down. And the owner will have to pay between $50,000 and $150.000 - retroactively!

Fark.

The US Copyright Office has released their new set of rates for the payment of royalties by Internet Radio, and they ignored all of the facts presented by webcasters (including RP) and gave the record industry exactly what they asked for: royalty rates so high that they will put RP and every other independent webcaster out of business.


I hate violence, as I have said before, but someone should break the legs of the CEOs of the major labels. And their kneecaps. And their noses. And their fingers. And cut off their testicles. And set fire to their SUVs and luxury sedans. And blow up their houses. And rape their children. And torture their dogs.

After that, the music business should be given back to the musicians and the people who love music.

Run for cover

I still don't know what to make of this. I still think that the largest influence in US politics is the MIC, but the Christian, Israeli and Saudi lobby seems to be quite strong too.
And anyone who knows how to assess the balance of power in Washington will tell you that when the Americans are joined by the Saudis and the Israelis and their powerful supporters in Washington in a coordinated effort to harm you, run fast for cover. Both the Soviets fighting against Osama bin Laden and his mujahideen allies (assisted by Washington) in Afghanistan and the Iranians attacked by Saddam's Iraqi military (assisted by Washington) learned that lesson in the 1980s.
Right Web - Expanding the War to Iran: Another “Urban Legend?”

Right Web?

I stumbled across an interesting website:
Right Web, founded in 2003, is a program of the International Relations Center (IRC) that tracks the work of those, in and outside of government, who have been instrumental in shaping or supporting U.S. policies in the global war on terror. Right Web explores the many ties that link the main players, organizations, corporate supporters, foundations, educational institutions, and government representatives in what could be described as a new architecture of power. Right Web aims to shine a spotlight on how these links influence the direction of foreign, military, and homeland security policies, and to illuminate this web for the public.

Many of the organizations and individuals profiled by Right Web are affiliated with the Republican Party, but not all. Efforts to push militaristic policies cross party lines, and so the Right Web project examines rightist organizations and figures, as well as leading liberal hawks. ...

The IRC has worked for nearly three decades to illuminate the causes and consequences of U.S. policy and “to make the United States a more responsible global leader and global partner.” Right Web represents a revival of a former IRC program called GroupWatch (1985-1991), which profiled more than 125 private, quasi-governmental, and religious organizations that were closely associated with the implementation of U.S. foreign policy, especially in Central America.

By establishing Right Web, the IRC hopes to add to the growing national movement of concerned citizens who are working to check the militaristic drift of the country.

Right Web


I don't know much more about them, but what they write on their about page seems promising.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Kafka is now an US resident

And he is working at the immigration counter, where else?
him#3: I am sorry sir, but we can not allow you to enter the US.

me: ?!?! Why is that?

him#3: You tried to enter on your Belgian passport, but this one is not valid to enter the US.

me: Why not? I was in New York two weeks ago. I fly to the US three-four times a year. I always use my Belgian passport.

him#3: Sorry, but the rules changed. As of last week, Belgian passports have to be machine readable.


The Day I Got Deported From the US - The Road to the Horizon

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Twentyeight

In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.

Wired 9.12: Take The AQ Test


Either I have Asperger or I'm misanthropic. Maybe both.