Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

There is another way

There is a way for both the artists and the consumers (us) to benefit. A bold company called Magnatune has shown the way.
The company offers legal DRM-free music downloads in different file formats, included lossless like wave and flac. There is also an option to order a pressed CD.
I saved the sweetest part to the last. You get to choose how much you are willing to pay!

Their slogan says it all: Magnatune. We are not evil.

It's up to us

The motion picture and audio recording industries are plotting draconian measures in order to squeeze as much money as they can from us, their customers.
Yes I'm talking about DRM. DRM is a technique that prevents us, the customers from exercising our rights over the product we legally purchased. When you buy DRM infested product, you give away your legal rights over the product leaving all rights in the hands of the IP owner.
From RIAA point of view it's illegal to even copy you legally purchased CD into your digital music player.

Mike Evangelist is calling to boycott the HD television and video, that will be infested with draconian DRM. I urge you to read his post. I also recommend to read some of the articles by Cory Doctorow.

Mike is calling for the boycott of the HD. I call you to boycott all DRM.
The media is silent, they don't tell you about the dangers of the DRM. It seems that it is our job. Don't let them win, or we will all be sorry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Messing with the OS

I was offline for the last few days, because of the problems I had with my computer.
I've managed to ruin my Linux.
I've tried, unsuccessfully, to install a newer version of Linux and a brand new 3D accelerated desktop environment. At my best effort I've succeeded in installing the newest version of Ubuntu Linux - 6.04 "Dapper Drake", but the 3D will have to wait. Too bad.
Will be gradually rebuilding my system.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Army education

During today's speech in Duma, Russian minister of defense, Sergey Ivanov, tried to excuse himself from the responsibility over private Sichov's tragedy, and many others like him. He complained that some soldiers in Russian army, see toilets and tooth brushes for the first time in their lives.
Gosha has voiced a vise idea - during the army service they get to see enough of it for the rest of their lives. The tooth brushes and the toilets, I mean.

Just genius...

Had a "pleasure" today in reinstalling an operating system on an IBM laptop back to factory settings. Unlike most laptops, IBM doesn't provide their customers with rescue CD's, but use a portion of the computer's hard drive. I expected it to take 20 minutes at most, but it took over an hour and a half. Instead of simply reinflating an archived image and running a few updates, IBM chose to write a long and complicated script, requiring 3 restarts, that actually installed each and every program, including service pack 2 for Windows XP.
For my non-techie readers - did you ever try to scratch your right ear with your left foot? That's exactly what IBM did.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A joke

The crazy figure skating frog performs triple Axel F.

True or fake?

For the last week many blogs were crossblogging an English translation of an article by Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez called "All European Life Died In Auschwitz". The article is being accompanied by a brief notice that the author is a non Jewish Spanish writer and the article was published in local Spanish newspaper.
While I would like to know that someone in EU thinks this way, neither I, Seth nor Stephen Green couldn't find the source. I even couldn't find anything about the author in the web. The closest thing that Seth and I got is EUPortal.
Maybe you can shed light on this subject?

Happy news! The article is confirmed true. Thanks to Irina, who sent me the link. Thanks to these bloggers who found the original article.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Russian TV channel has told it's viewers the following story in it's 6 o'clock news:

Anti drug trafficking division of the Russian federal law enforcement has organized an improvised biathlon consisting of 10 km skiing for men and 5 km for women with shooting at drawn drug lord from personal sidearm.

I find this contest and the news report to be ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Technical issues

Found out that fixing the IE bug in my blog isn't that easy to fix. I thought that I've messed something up but actually the original template that I used, doesn't work for IE too. So I'm struggling to make this template work in IE too. I don't want to become a hypocrite by discriminating IE users the same way it's done to other browser users by some unwitting web designers.

Another issue is unreliable Blogger operation for the last couple of days, which in turn doesn't help me fixing the bug.

Update: problem fixed.
While at it, I redesigned the blog again.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thinking about the sources of the hypocrisy

Both Laurence Simon and Vital Perspective have wondered at the reason for both French and Russia's hypocrisy and double standard practice.
Laurence has guessed right. It has nothing to do with sympathy or compassion towards Iraq Iran or Hamas. It has everything to do with being anti-American.

Both of the countries, Russia and France suffer from an ex-grand empire syndrome. They still miss "the grand days of glory for the empire"” and can't stand US being the sole "“superpower"”. Much of the anti-American sentiment in those countries has it's roots in this.
I believe that one of the key reasons for France to enter the EU, was an attempt to stand against US.
Russia's ex-grand empire syndrome has reached greater lengths. Besides the sore loser attitude toward US over the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's arrogance has alienated many of it's neighbours and former allies: Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and Baltic states. However, while France takes pride in being one of the oldest modern democracies, Russia is heading in other direction.
I believe that Russia has a profit in destabilizing the world security. In it's interior politics, the two major terror attacks by Chechen bandits, if not planned provocations, were free gifts for Putin and Co. Wisely using these two events, Putin and Co has "neutralized" Russia's democracy, turning it into "“democracy pretending clanocracy". Using the ages old technique "“the foreign enemy" widely used by the soviets, he consolidated the rule of his corrupt clan. This clan, consisting of the three eX's: ex-communist activists, ex-KGB and GRU heads ans ex-army generals, profit mostly from having control of the countries oil (Michail Khodorkovsky case), other natural resources, weapon sales, bribe taking and state run racketing of the business.
If US succeeds in stabilizing the Middle East, oil prices and weapon sales would plummet, causing huge deficit in Russian "hydrocarbon economy" and damaging government official's personal income.

So for Russian government it's a win-win move - they get to humiliate their rival number one - United States, and keep profiting from high oil prices and weapon sales.
As for moral, who gives a damn?!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

New looks

Just finished the first stage of redesigning my blog. Surprisingly, it took me a lot less time than I thought it would. This design is not final and may undergo some serious changes.

Your comments please!

Found a bug. The template won't show correctly in IE. Will be fixed soon.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Technology and politics

A couple of years ago, a very interesting experimental technology surfaced in the media. It was the time to decide where to build the first experimental fusion reactor. Fusion reactor is a nuclear reactor where, instead of breaking heavy elements into lighter ones, energy is produced by combining light elements into heavier ones, in a process similar to that occurring in the stars.

The advantages of this method are huge. Many times safer, almost or totally waste free (depends on the process), much more efficient and creates much more energy. The drawback is that there are no materials strong enough to contain process because the extreme heat, therefore the only way to do it is by magnetic field. Containing hot plasma in a magnetic field is a very serious engineering challenge. when it is solved humanity will gain a vast source of cheap and safe energy.

Now back to politics. This technology has disappeared from the public eye as fast as it has appeared. From what I have heard and read, the project was stalled because political reasons. The official excuse was, that participant countries couldn't agree on the construction location of the first experimental reactor, France or Japan, to be exact. I believe that there were other reasons beside that one. One major reason, that crosses my mind, is oil. Given the fact that two thirds of all oil consumed, is used in electrical power plants, when this technology becomes available, oil consumption will drop in half at least. Oil prices will plummet, just at the rumor of this technology getting near completion to a 20$ mark, or even less. Imagine the consequences. Many economies worldwide will suffer, others will collapse. Starting with all the countries who are oil export dependant, where oil export constitutes over 50% of the national income. All the Arab world will go bankrupt.

I want to see Iran and Syria invest in high cost nuclear weapons or sponsor terror organisations worldwide without the billions of oil dollars.

Have read some material on the subject. The location for the first reactor is chosen, near a small town named Cadarache in France. By all looks, it seems that, finally, the wheels are sprung into action. More details about the project are available here, and about fusion reactor here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Seek for the reason

Almost everybody who was writing or talking in the last week has mentioned in this way or another about the outrage of the Muslim world over the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper.
It is quite obvious, that like in other cases of "spontaneous" mass public outrage, it is a well planned and organized. I would like to speculate on the reasons behind this plan:
  • Show of force, to make the infidels shake, while reassuring their supporters.
  • An easy way to rally supporters to their cause, to radicalize the public opinion in Muslim population, further alienating it from the western world.
  • To keep the public attention from the matters concerning scandals in Islamic countries, like Iranian nuclear program, Hamas victory in the PA and etc. I don't know if the Iranians are behind this, I'm sure that Hamas isn't, but unquestionably they use it for their benefit.
I'm sure that many of the Muslims were genuinely offended by these cartoons, but I know without any shade of the doubt, that this nothing more than a cynical tool for Islamic radicals.

The Guardian deserves a new name

Given the Guardian's tradition for biased publications and being a tribune for terror apologists, just like Al'Reuters The Guardian deserves a new name.
I'll try my best to find one, and encourage my 6+ readers to participate.

Update (04/02/2006):
SnoopyTheGoon has promised to arrange this contest on his much more read blog.

Update (05/02/2006)
SnoopyTheGoon has opened a contest for a new name and logo for Guardian Unlimited.

Blogging break

Due to coming end term exams blogging will be light for the next two weeks.
Probably, I even won't be able to read all the RSS feeds that I'm getting.