Schizo Cat

And yet more geek stuff: Copy-protection mechanisms zeitgeist. Scary stuff. I think in ten years time I'll be using some renegade Unix on a 'classic' 2001 PC. If new technology is shite, why upgrade?

Geek humour: Design your own O'Reilly book cover. Ahah. I own three O'Reilly books ('Javascript — The Definitive Guide', 'Perl in a Nutshell' — pretty useless since I found out I hate Perl, and the essential 'Webmaster in a Nutshell'), and this parody is very spot on indeed. (via GN)

Encryption is freedom

Why not downloading the entire internet?

Some major IRC servers are running in 'debug mode', which enables their admins to see all private chats and passwords, then to forward that information to the FBI or to the Scotland Yard. We all know that the MSN, AOL or ICQ networks aren't that secure, but the fact that the Big Brother is watching .org EFNet servers has got to make you think. Yes, of course they are protecting us from eeevil terrorists and warez traders, but if you indulge in nasty IRC conversations I wouldn't bet on a political carreer (yes, the first sexual scandal via IRC logs is just a matter of time). And I wouldn't advise European companies to share sensitive data over the internet — I still think the CIA is more concerned with industrial espionage than terrorism prevention. I want an unbreakable encryption internet protocol and I want it now! (via geeknews)

Argentina football fanatic

Do you have your own personal World's End? I mean, a place you consider to be the world's end, with nothing past it. You know, like in 3D action games where there's a giant grey wall you can't go past. For many people, their personal World's End should be by the sea, simply because it seems there's nothing on the other side, and because most never travelled across it. I, however, do always think of the World's End as somewhere in London. Yes, that's right, London. Firstly, I never travelled any further North or East (we Portuguese don't travel much). And secondly, I once I had a very vivid dream where I was walking in London, near the docklands, and suddenly found the World's End, a giant gray wall that stretched to the sky. Or I was dreaming I was on acid and found the Canary Wharf buildings. Anyway, that makes quite a cool concept, doesn't it?

No Word

I've watched a BBC documentary on shopping, more precisely on why is shopping such an addiction. I consider myself not that addicted, with the exception of the mentioned stationary or design books. Anyway, the comparison of shopping with drugs is there, and is not that pointless. The part of the documentary where they said that people act on subconscious level while on a supermarkt made me think. Yes, people rarely bump into each other while on a supermarket, compared to other situations, because, yes, people become drones. Scary, eh? Then, they showed an experiment, on which people first saw a poster saying "Canned soup — 79c.", and then saw a poster saying "Canned soup — 79c. — max. 12 cans per person". Not surprisingly, people did ignore the first one, but would avidly pick up the 12 cans upon being presented with the second. Mind blowing evidence that we are really drones.

Stationary. Office supplies. I don't know why I have such a fetish on them. Notepads, porfolios, scratch books. Things related to paper, I love it, and I'm addicted to buying these things.

The lunatic of the year. In comparison, the Flat Earth Society is pure science.

Different is evil

Developing photos is indeed magic. I had never ever even been on a photolab, immersed in that red light. That was nice.

Oh, I See. A nifty device to escape surveillance cameras in New York. Very illegal indeed. Once me and a friend had this crazy idea of mapping all CCTV cameras here in Porto and release a map of covered angles and guidelines on how not to be watched. And we came up with one word: umbrella. (link via Wired News)


Human cloning. What is all the fuss about? As far as I'm concerned, I have nothing against it. What's so morally wrong about artificial twins? What's so wrong about using stem cells to heal mortal diseases? I'm all for it! The thing I am totally against though, is eugenics. And while everybody is discussing the evils of creating physically identical copies of someone, many scientists and wealthy people are silentely 'enhancing' their own kids so that they are very intelligent people gifted with athlete's bodies. That part, not cloning, is what really scares the hell out of me. Imagine a future where the rich are strong, intelligent and beautiful and the rest is... well the rest. Like in Huxley's Brave New World. And we are here discussing the evils of making twins. Shite.

The apex of cool

Becoming a film buff, part XVII: Today I watched 'Bullitt', the Steve McQueen movie. No wonder that guy was the apex of cool back in the early 60s. The pursuit sequence is still plain amazing after 40 years — I think the only recent film featuring pursuits that managed to surpass Bullitt's spectacularity and adrenalin was 'Ronin'. And the rest of the movie is very good too. Very well directed, very inventive camera angles — they rarely do similar things nowdays, kids.

Finally I bought myself that much-needed SLR camera. Even though I'm addicted to my pocket-sized digital camera, an SLR is a must for decent photography, as most digital shots end up looking as if they were taken on a crappy Lomo. Only with JPEG artifacts in it. So my choice went on the recentely released Minolta Dynax 5 (I think it's called Maxxum 5 in the US). I can't wait to start shooting with it! Now, if I only had enough dough to purchase developing equipment...

Joe Blogs

I'm buying myself an SLR camera. I need that for my photography lessons, and to do those things my digital camera won't do. I was thinking about buying Nikon F65 together with a couple of lenses (a 28-80mm and a 75-300mm sniper-like lens). However, I'm quite undecided now. I definitely need both zoom lenses, but are there better cameras, like those manufactured by Canon or Minolta, in the same price range? Leave a comment if you would like to recommend something.

I've been playing Uplink which is, quote, "high tech computer crime and industrial espionage on the internet of 2010". Yes, yet another hacker/cyberpunk computer game. This one, however, has a very distinct feel that makes you think you are a script kiddie on a trenchcoat, even though the ultra-powerful 60GHz computer you have in 2010 shouldn't find the File_Copier 1.0 such a complicated program.

I read Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, that famous book about darwinism where the word 'meme' first apeared. I didn't think the book was that revolutionary, but Dawkins connected the dots very, very well.

Direct Connect: Yet another P2P app, this one a Hotline-style affair where you can download a bucketload of illegal w*rez and MP3. Which is nice.

World seven thousand

"On to the other news of the day, the Chairman and the Board of Directors of local giants Portugal Telecom are on preventive arrest after a Very Wise judge decided they commited crimes against Portuguese citizens in the form of horrible service, monopolistic tactics and their refusal to comply with the Government's 'flat rate' intentions". Ah, dreams are nice.

"First they came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me."

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945.

The Free World. Except that they forgot to erase Afghanistan too.