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2014q2 : Trying something different

30 Jun 2014|03:22pm
I have a new blog post over at my new blog.

I'm probably going to keep posting here links to it, for the time being. BitMessage dosen't work all that great...but it does work. Like Gnutella/LimeWire when Napster got taken down, all that the governments of Russia and America are going to do, if they keep blog hosting services like Livejournal from actually meeting the needs of their users(ie, by providing the ability to share thoughts anonymously), is to push users into services that *cannot* be shut down. Bitmessage is a step in that direction.
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Well, it was a good run

07 May 2014|12:13pm
[ mood | somber ]
But if Livejournal is going to be forced to block anonymous users by the russian government, among other things, this might be it for me here soon.  I'm going to back up my posts one last time, see what I can find of the livejournal source code, and find a hidden blogging service if there is one, or something.

Especially sucks given google+ potentially closing down, and losing my 'news' database today and my relative lack of access to a public ip address.  It's like the ability to self-publish just took a hit, globally.

So where is the next site of this kind?  Diaspora?  Something <lj user="l2oto"> has been working on?
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I know what 'std::bad_alloc' probably means

09 Apr 2014|12:46am
[ mood | despair ]
After being really slow to load, bitcoin 0.9.0 crashed suddenly and gave me:
************************
EXCEPTION: St9bad_alloc
std::bad_alloc
bitcoin in ProcessMessages()

bitcoin-qt: main.cpp:1638: bool ConnectBlock(CBlock&, CValidationState&, CBlockIndex*, CCoinsViewCache&, bool): Assertion `hashPrevBlock == view.GetBestBlock()' failed.

Aborted (core dumped)

I'm checking now, but I'm pretty sure this means I ran out of memory.  I only have 1GB and hadn't enabled swap, and other ubuntu 14.04 crap takes up a lot of my memory.  I probably ran completely out.
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Countries I'm probably banned from, 2014

02 Apr 2014|09:00am
[ mood | awake :| ]
I guarantee that if Atheists are banned, they aren't going to like me very much.


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2014q1: Euromaidan

31 Mar 2014|01:34am
[ mood | Serene and Calm ]
It's that time again; where I point out what exactly has been occupying my attention, I've accomplished, where I ...


We interrupt your regularly scheduled Jeff Update for an Important Reminder

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Petrov Day. Septembre 26th. Honour those who have literally saved the world by putting their head above the bureaucracy that is too inhumane and dumb to notice it's about to destroy us all.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled update


Where am I? What am I up to? How have I been?

One scene stands out, of 3 months. Jeff, remembering #OccupyRegina. Or Idle No More. Thinking, in both cases -- "this isn't really my fight". That Someone Else was taking the power structures to task. Someone Else had made some of the 'global' problems I view as personally 'mine' as their problem, and chose to do something about them. How the numbers and the crowd swelled with people I didn't know. How the hell. Sure, there's Riot Porn, and maybe I'm one those fetishists who can get off on that. That I was in both cases so deeply ensnared in my day job that not only could I not participate, that I feared participation. I was coopted. But enough on that -- in both cases the lines in the sand were drawn, and people very much like me took a stand, as I've taken a stand in the past. People I knew in some cases, but mostly strangers. It was almost by pure accident that we shared mutual interest and that they were taking the punches, not me. That they were sitting in the cold, not me.

Obviously it wasn't quite that simple.

But "mutual interest" isn't the whole story, either. There's something about human beings fighting against bureaucracy that is kind of 'by default' appealing. People really dig Star Wars, where the rebels win. I like underdogs but that's becuase I think despite the violence, greed, and ruthlessness we are all capable of, myself included, at the end of the day, if a group, whether organized by mythology, habit, economics or SERVER, is about to subject a smaller, more defenseless group, that if that defenseless group stands up for itself, and can do so, there's something that has been preserved by their doing so. That there's something in that to appreciate.

Decentralize ALL THE THINGS, right?

I heard of the Ukranian Revolution probably on twitter. At first, sounded like another #occupy. There's people who were otherwise much more 'normal' than I would ever hope to be, who were radicallized far beyond what I've ever been in a fairly short period of time. There was energy there. Obviously I would be drawn to it. I'm a sucker for that stuff.

And I had time. All the work I've done all Quarter, here in Thunder Bay, has been what practicing and jamming I've done for Ă–strich, plus a single editing gig(so 100% of my income has been bitcoin this quarter). All in all, has left plenty of time for keeping myself busy with things that did not involve what I should have been doing a lot more of(practicing, other more marginally productive things). I had free time.

I had access to some technology. A modest amount of technology, but enough to do something with. I was at Ohmbase, that day in particular. I was alone; there is/was a small community there, smaller than CrashBangLabs in regina, but bigger than the CSSS was when I first started trying to make a go of that. There's computers(both available to use and to take/hack/cut up/whatever), free network access(well at least for members, my membership of which has been paid for by my bitcoin purchased at perhaps 13$/pop at the run up of the 2011 boom)...for most of the quarter it looked like my bitcoin donation might have actually saved them -- the price went up enough that my 8 months of membership fees looked a lot closer to 140 months -- enough for them to survive for awhile.

Anyway.

So there I was, with enough time and resources to actually pay attention to that little spark that twitter showed had lit.

On went 2 live streams of video, neither in a language I could understand but you could kind of get the idea of what was going on. The protest signs looked almost identical to signs I've carried. There was the kind of music I've played going on at random. There was orthodox preists trying to make peace between people who were neighbours and for national political reasons were at odds. People had successfully stood up to a full assault by riot police, over multiple days, in the middle of winter, and stuck to holding their ground. People who had been given a lot less choice than I ever had, but who were taking that choice anyway. Framed in terms of "The Trap", they were making their own Freedom.

We can see, in hindsight, that that freedom that the euromaidan was denied, was what escallated the whole thing. Protestors were not given a chance to back down. If they even so much as sought medical care in a hospital, they were taken away and tortured and/or killed. They were caught in between a rock and a hard place.

They called out to the world to pay attention, and I had attention to give. So I gave it to them.
Now keep in mind. Canada is the largest home of Ukranian diaspora outside of Ukraine & Russia. Saskatoon is a good part of that. Peggy Nash, for example, had been involved in the Ukrainian community in her area. Ukraine isn't exactly next door, but it's something I have a good number of connections to.

I watched the tires burn, and people getting sprayed with water by Police, fatal in that kind of cold if not tended to immediately. Ugly and inspiring at once. I tried to read up on what was happening. I hadn't gone back to saskatoon to collect my data yet, so I didn't have access to all my usual information sources, but I made do.

I cannot underscore enough how difficult what Euromaidan was doing actually was. I had to come inside during #idlenomore. My feet were numb with cold, and that was just for a single, fairly short protest at the leg, and I was dressed warmer than most people present. Yet Euromaidan succeeded in the snow and cold. Whenever I was stuck in a situation that demanded pushing hard to continue, I used to think of those poor bastards in the infantry or communications at D-Day, with heavy backpacks, jumping out into neck or waist deep water on the beaches of Normandy. No matter how bad my day was, or how difficult what I was trying to do, or how far I had to walk, it was easier than carrying 50 pounds of crap through gunfire over water at nazi lines. I might have a differnt metaphor in the winter to drive me, now.

Not all of it is black and white, though.

For example, like #Occupy, Euromaidan and its allies included a lot of people from a broad spectrum of Ukrainian society that, by the way, isn't Canada and not bound by its norms. It included some who would by any definition of the term be termed accurately as Nazis. There was probably some instigators from the US, and possibly a few agent provocateurs. They may have even been a good part of why it became as violent as it had. But there were things that they were fighting -- their government had made protest illegal, much as Regina had shut down #occupyregina, Canada had used brute thugs on the street of Toronto during the G8/20 summit, and similar to how Quebec is still using Kettling and their loi 78 to effectively do the same very recently. So, underdog or not, they were fighting a fight I would have liked to think I would have fought. Good on 'em. Even if they were nazis, right?

Things did not resolve themselves quietly, but for a time it looked like it calmed down. The government stepped down, Yanukovych skipped town, I turned off the streams, stopped F5ing /r/worldnews and other close-to-realtime feeds and went to Saskatoon.

Bitcoin should have been going through the roof. The Ukrainian government was broke. Its financial system being quickly convertd to firestuff. Europe came to an agrement that meant european banks can take from both governments and citizens pockes with impunity. But with MtGox unravelling itself in about the most painful way it knew how, we even saw a decrease, over the quarter, though still above yearly average price. Oh well.

I often wonder what the endgame of #occupyregina or #Idlenomore could have been. It's not like there isn't a substantial portion of the country in either case that would be happy with *anything* that could come from either camp. So at best it seems like we would get to a similar point, a point where a lot of what we take for granted no longer applies, and we have to figure out what works, fairly quickly, because canadian winter is crazy bitch, and will fucking stab you if you don't move fast enough.

Now we saw what happened next.

The regional power, Russia, stepped in.

The politics of the world, in away perhaps similar to how some view what happened at 9/11, shifted. I mean, to some extent it wasn't something that changed just then -- higher level historical processes were at play, and Russia would have become involved in Ukraine sooner rather than later, if we are to believe the US government's assessment as uncovered by Wikileaks. But still -- there was a change.

Personally, I think that those in the know saw this coming a lot longer off than I did.

Justin Trudeau Called it, though at the time, he was forced to appologize for steping outside of the overton window. I think that his play was a shrewd one, though, forcing Russia to deny their true intentions. Against other state actors this might have worked. Putin however has shown to be willing to act regardless of optics.

Now granted, you could flip this situation around. Viewed from mainland China, or Russia, there have been quite a few military actions over the past 20 years or so, where the US has moved in a perhaps seeminingly benevolent way, but which conveniently limited Russia's sphere of influence. The US was talking about putting missile defence structures in Poland and Turkey in the early 2000s, and the Russian government was prety upset about that. The US has also been intent on allowing Monsanto to continue to ruin what's left of the global flora commons that it does not control, and Russia has threatened outright nuclear war on that before this whole mess started. But you'd think that that would be something that perhaps the US and Russia could negotiate on, even if slightly worrying that Russia would be so explicit, that this is a single isue, compromises could be made, and if Monsanto had to lose out, so fucking bad.

But Russia putting troops into the territory of a former nuclear power, and a nation with a defense relationship with the UK is a little beyond that.

For starters, Russia kept doubling down. It jailed its own opposition leaders, one of whom appears to be a friend of a friend of a friend at most. Noticing the US was going the diplomatic route, Putin upped the ante and used force, and then effectively lied about it, claiming the soldiers involved were not russian. What little checks on power remained to restrain him were torn down, leaving him with increasing amounts of state power.

The Internet was the first to go when hostilities started. Censorship in Russia, the internet cables between Ukraine and Crimea cut. Reporters and journalists had a hard time, to put it lightly. Russia made it so that they could act with impunity, and we'd never know hat hppened. Dissent, not that it had much breathing room in russia, got clamped down on.

Like the League of Nations, in the face of a similar Supreme Leader of a time long ago, the UN has not been very helpful except as a sign of how far apart Russia and its centres of power have insulated themselves gainst the west, and vice versa.

So from Euromaidan standig up on twitter against their government, to their government clamping down harder, escallating until street violence spiralled out of control until Russia stepped in --- now we have consequences


Harper has taken a hardline stance against their aggression. Military ties supended. Russian soldiers sent home. Visits from high level Canadian officials. Though the NDP and Liberals have been excluded, on an unaceptable partisan basis(though something we've come to expect from Harper), Canada has been tied to this issue very tightly. On one level it makes sense -- our Ukrainian side is just showing.

China, has stayed as neutral as posible.

We are moving into an era where guns, not butter, might be more important. Neither may help, even. Governments may not be willing to act in your defence. For sure, western government's willingness to ousource defence spending to the US taxpayer, something the right has complained about for quite some time, has to end. We shouldn't have been spending anything on military, as other than offensive wars in US theatres Canada has been at peacetime for some time, given we're also in debt, as a nation. But I think a reasonable % of our GDP must be earmarked for defence, at this point. Unfortunately we're going to have to work with the people and institutions in place at he DND, too, as a nation. We can no longer risk apathy. Russia has shown that it will chip away at borders, and that apeasement, as in the case of Georgia in 2008, is not the answer.

Don't get me wrong.
There is still time. There are many differences between now and previous times. Russians may by and large support Putin, and Canadians may re-elect Harper, and global geopolitics may be precarious, and we may all seem like we are threatening eachother -- but there's a lot of unnecessary tension baked in. The US Government has been a bit of a pain -- scolding russia over invading a country (as if they think the world has forgotten "Shock and Awe" in Iraq). The global financial system is still a parasite, mercenaries and war profiteering are still in play on both sides. And the future, in any case, is up to us, and not decided yet. I'm still using Russian livejournal, and I still think that Russians share a lot in common with Canadians -- we have the same winter, the US has been a dick to both of us, etc.

I have thought, how did my parents generation manage this kind of high level global tension? Drugs? By letting government officials with their paws on the nukes decide the future of mankind, since they were going to do it anyway? I think we can do better, but even so...not everyone is going to be able to take the time out of their life to learn russian on the turn of a dime. We face tradeoffs and not every path we can take from here will lead away from nuclear conflict.

After I got back to Thunder bay from Saskatoon, ben_harack and Kyle and Jordan were watching The Trap, and Ben suggested I join them. It describes Putin's ascension to power, and partially explains why brinksmanship to the point of nuclear extinction of mankind even makes sense, in a twisted only-possible-in-game-theory way.

While that was going on, because I haven't had a webserver, and just as timegoes by, and websites come and go, a lot of the content I've put on the web has been slowly washed away. I got to see what I figured would take a decade: almost all traces, outside of say reddit and a few other places, that I ever existed. Artifacts and music that I've made, lost to time. It's like my very identity, and proof of who I am is slowly being lost. I guess vanishing slowly into history beats freezing to death on maidan square but still.

And what's worse, I'm getting the feeling that all this technology has lead to a situation where I can't even be clear, when something important happens, a global, immediate threat has come up, that we won't even take it seriously. Sure, my family turned on the TV when Russia first stared threatening war. When tanks amassed on the border of Poland we started paying attention. But to what extent are we even capable of acting on this information? To what extent do we notice?

It's clear we can't, and probably shouldn't undo Euromaidan. Or for that matter, #occupyregina or #idlenomore. We have to live with the consequences. How though? That is the question.
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What would it take for you to not believe what you believe? [Shit disturbing meme]

14 Jan 2014|02:20pm
I would like to start a meme. Especially for you politicos out there.

Here's the deal. Leave a comment on this thread. I will reply to you with 2 things that I think that you might believe. Copy this line, into your own journal/blog and under it write what it would take for you to not believe those two things.

They could be anything. The important point is to show that you are capable of observing evidence that would cause you to not believe them.

MY TWO THINGS: (no one gave them to me so I'm going to have to pick 2 myself)

IP

Intellectual Property. Richard Stallman has turned out to be right about a lot of things, far in advance of when it is generally accepted that he turns out to be right, but in particular I think that he was on the ball on insisting that people who do not have their hat in the ring as an "IP" lawyer ought to not cede the frame of the great copyright debate (and others) to their frame.

This is a tricky one to disprove as it's partially a normative thing -- why *should* you prefer #G013914 over #G013951 where #G013951 is a memory location storing this term, after all? However, in law, although there is some natural ambiguity about the full extent, words have meanings. And "property" specifically has been the subject of many books, papers, and arguments. It isn't exactly uncharted territory. Part of the reason why it was used in the first place seems very much to be that it is the hammer in the Lawyer's toolkit, and that everything looks like nail when you have a hammer. Particularly post 1970 or so after the univeristy of chicago's influence waxed, and the overstretching of property rights as something to define yourself by due to competition from a competing (and failing) ideology (soviet communism) in the late 70's and early 80's occurred. If I expected an error to be present in my or Richard Stallman's reasoning, I would expect it to have been in these arguments, not the airtight and somewhat tautological arguments made later on by free software advocates.

I would have expected, otherwise "neutral to the facts" take In the Public Interest to have been less clear in stating the separate basis of copyright law, or for those basis to have been less about things other than property-related rights. Similarly with other legal caselaw and textbooks I've read -- they all point to the same sensible broad nature of copyright and related rights, and the same sensible broad interpretations of property. The contours of which do not match. I do not believe I have prejudiced myself to read textbooks that would not contradict this, either -- I read a very wide array of material from people I often disagree sharply with (ezra levant, ayn rand) to make sure that my understanding of the world is not just consistent but can withstand alternative evidence/interpretations. While I have seen things that hint at the *benefit* of copyright/patents/other I do not encounter any evidence that they best be treated as one.

And I do expect, that when I read CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada and other cases that are foundational in non-property treating copyright jurisdictions like Canada, that they will paint a broad pictures about the public interests at stake without focus on the kinds of issues that property would suggest alone.

Similarly, I also find a high correlation between "clueless about the technology of my generation" and "treats copyrights, patents, and secrets as the same thing" which doesn't hurt. This correlation could very well have gone the other way and if I'm honest with myself I ought to have taken it into account had it. Other such correlations exist (Involving Microsoft, the USA, etc) and would be treated similarly.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is my Operating System of choice, above Debian, Android and GNU based OS's. While in general it is a steaming collection of bug filled dog shit, it is slightly less painful to use than debian, in general, and fairly compatible with debian, which is good for the long term survival of both OS's and the ecosystem built and which should be built around both of them.

Some ways I could see not choosing to use Ubuntu cropping up:

1) It could fail to boot to UI/any usable functionality. It is not actually that far from this, and the 8 or so hoops I have to jump through just to get a working system after boot is ludicrous and if I weren't a bachelor of computer science I probably couldn't have figured out how to even load a spreadsheet on this godforsaken dung heap. Typically in this situation I use debian for a short while, and then after I get a new computer I start at Ubuntu again until I give up. Eventually though, after a suitable amount of computers fail to allow me to use Ubuntu I will default to debian. This number stands at about 1500. This might seem like a lot of computers...but given our phones as of 2014 now contain about 200 in them, this is not actually impossible to do in a few years.

2) They might be locked out of a platform. I think they are going to survive the transition from tablets, laptops and PCs to laptops and cellphones, and probably from laptops and cellphones to cellphones and glass. But I do not expect glass to be the last computing paradigm that I survive to see, unless I die of a heart attack soon which given my lack of chest pains the past few months, I might actually avoid. Some combination of microsoft forcing the world to stick to one GNU/Linux distro or Ubuntu incompetence might keep them from advancing that far, and I might get beached on debian. This platform might involve quantum computing and I have seen no indication of preparing for quantum computing by the ubuntu world.

3) They can utterly betray the free software ideals they were founded on. They let a lot of things bleed through -- amazon/US government spying on users every click through dash being just one example. But as of yet it is possible to disable the nefarious behaviour even if it isn't by default, and even if it weren't, everything important comes with source, and the system does typically work(well, as well as it normally works) if you compile it. However if they broke things too badly, or if a culture of not caring about freedom swept the ubuntu user and developer community(for example, by microsoft imploding and microsoft developers being hired en masse by canonical) I might head to debian.

these are a few situations I could see that I would choose not to use ubuntu.

So, who wants to play?
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Khan Academy

11 Jan 2014|09:50am
After realizing I'm not very good at statistics, I went to Khan Academy to rejog ye olde stats memories.  I have earned the 'productive' moon badge so far.
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tl; dr 2013

01 Jan 2014|02:00pm
[ mood | hungover - u_b ]
Between NSA relevations, the TPP making moves towards enclosing our right to use computers away from us on the legal front, and other asymetric nonstate actors we are threatened, often from places we are not expecting to be threatened from.  The world is becoming a complex place but so too is it becoming more dangerous, as we cede more power of our lives over to unaccountable robots.  The story of 2013 is one of giving critical amounts of our lives over to these robots, passing a threshold that we may not be able to recover from at all.

Around June I travelled from Regina, Saskatchewan to Thunder Bay, Ontario to live and work with Maureen Croissant-Prairie, where she has been something of a patron and mentor for the remainder of the year.
There's been a lot of obstacles since -- life has gotten in the way in many ways, of my becoming the musician I hoped to be with her help.  But we have a band, and I've learned and grown since coming to stay with her.  A lot of things fell through this year, but she was not one of them, and for that I am thankful.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, and the EFF, there has been a lot of discussion around the world about how the US government and the Five Eyes (including Canada & the UK) are spying on the whole world, and conducting industrial espionage on a global scale.  There isn't a single business or individual that is not threatened by this, and as a trained computer scientist I would agree that people who have gone through the trouble of becoming professionals in the computer science world, and people who seek to be responsible programmers in general ought to speak out against this, to understand the full scope of what's happening, and to help build and deploy tools to subvert it.

The Harper Government has been a Problem.   Negotiating away our rights in the TPP, and pressuring and delaying Elections Canada from being able to do its job in prosecuting members of the Conservative party who interfered with the last election here in Canada are but two of the many things I've been tracking throughout the past year that they have committed.  We live in hard times to a large extent because of the ignorance, greed and institutional power involved in the PMO, and the decisions they have made.  This isn't not something that happens in a far away land down in Ottawa and doesn't affect anything.  Everywhere I've gone in the country I've seen the results, and everywhere I've gone I've encountered people who are getting screwed by their government.  What it means to be Canadian has taken on a more sinister overtone, and by the end of the year I am sitting here, trying to figure out what possible actions would lead to stopping Stephen Harper and those around him from causing more damage to my future and anything I care about.

Finally, after traveling from place to place, and in particular going back to Saskatoon I've felt as though I really didn't have a 'home'.  Saskatoon has changed -- even the parts of it which do resonate as something that I recognize, like the downtown bench by the mcdonalds, are being removed.  The people who are involved with the parts I remember are either marginalized out of sight or lifted into a different life.  The physical structures are slowly but surely being replaced and built around.  I don't recognize it as what I would consider to be "Saskatoon".  Regina, too.  It always seemed like I was staying somewhere temporary, an outsider who could be removed, and who often was.  Since I've left it's only gotten worse -- the curse of the traveler has grown on every step of the journey, and it's increasingly unclear, given the years passing by what isn't changing beyond my ability to recognize it, and to live with it.

But I realized one constant in my life, one place I can call home, consistently, beyond my stable point within an inertial reference frame, everything moving around it.  It's the light at the end of the tunnel.   The end is my home.  I will make my way there, travels or not.  That I can look forward to, more than anything else, 2014 or not.
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