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Archive for November, 2012

Brave Woman Speaks Out On Drone Strikes and Blowback

New Homepage

Briefcase

8 years after I last updated the front page of this site I finally got around to modernising it a little. It’s more business-friendly now.

Great Example of E-mail Privacy Going Awry With Gmail

That head of CIA has to use Gmail shows while better systems exist,” writes Jacob Applebaum, “network effect encourages interfacing through weaker systems” (Applebaum is a world-renowned privacy activist).

Applebaum speaks about this article (among others), which highlights a point I raised last week. And “the article completely misses PGP,” wrote my friend iophk, “and the reasons for PGP.”

E-mail privacy is not to be assumed; in fact, it hardly exists at all, unless two parties (or more), both at the sending and the receiving end/s know what they do. We really need to rethink E-mail as a communication tool. At present, it’s good for those who spy on us, it’s not good for its users.

Equal Versus Identical

Being on par without necessarily being the same

It recently occurred to me that I never wrote about feminism in 8 years of this blog running and almost 10 years of this Web site existing (I actually wrote the first page over 10 years ago, but it resided in a different domain). I thought I would address this subject, laying out my thoughts and perhaps compare them to my opinion a few decades later.

When I was young I was pretty disconnected from the debate about feminism, as I was merely a teenager. While I was respectful to women, I was not so tolerant of gay people (it was more fashionable to alienate them at the time), not that I said anything offensive to them though. When I got older and entered academia I identified myself as somewhat of a liberal, so I was naturally strong on the equality side; therefore I became very much in favour of women’s rights and gay rights. I saw them as somewhat parallel to my fight for software freedom and fair competition in IT. Slavery is another, but let’s leave that aside for now. It’s very different except for the reparation argument. Also, gender and sexual orientation are quite different from race, although all of them are not a person’s own choice, unlike religion for example.

Something happened as I grew older and saw how feminism is being used by the ultra-feminists, primarily in the situation where one wants special treatment, bashes men, portrays them as stupid on TV while at the same time resorting to antiquated women’s privileges like alimony when it suits a goal of convenience. I am still all in favour of equality, but where it becomes a two-dimensional strategy where ‘victimhood’ is used as well as claims of privilege, then it is becoming problematic for men.

But here is where my main dilemma now lies. Gender roles are being blurred out and claims of discrimination often lead to a state where guys are expected to act feminine (ultra-proud gay people play a role in this) and women become more masculine, which, in my humble opinion, also makes them less attractive and less likely to manage to sustain a marriage. It is that which I call the confusion between equality and identity, or the fight for equality resulting in the pretense that men are equal to women in every way, even strength, leading to a mismatch between activities and actual innate skills. For instance, a man is still better off doing physical chores because men are, in general or on average, stronger. They are not as well endowed as women in many other ways, including the ability to conceive and give labour. There is nothing derogatory in the latter role; in fact, in many ways it is more important because all men and women are raised through this process.

But anyway, just to quickly conclude, to take claims for equality too far can often do more damage than good. To make men act in a way their DNA is not programmed for is a bad idea and for women to get more aggressive is also a bad idea; it weakens the family unit, which in turn challenges the upbringing of future generations (discipline, example from parents, etc.). Single-parent families are fine, so that’s not the point.

Let’s keep the debate over equality civil and not try to impose our views on others. Let’s not let zeal exploit the existing movements and give them a bad name, either. All genders, races, etc. deserve equal rights, but let’s not pretend they are all identical in nature. People are attracted to opposites, not copies of themselves (which usually just lead to competition, not harmony and complementation).

IF you find this post offensive, please explain why. It’s not intended to offend anyone.

TechBytes on GCT and Microsoft Trolls

Techbytes 2013

Direct download as Ogg (01:38:50, 21.6 MB)

Summary: Interview with Greedy Car Thieves (GCT) developers

Today’s show is primarily dedicated to a video/computer game called Greedy Car Thieves (GCT), which is similar to Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 2. We talked to two of the game’s developers. Tim has played the game and Roy tried to install it but faced a dependency barrier. We spoke with the developers about the technical aspects of the game, distribution of the game through various channels including the Humble Bundle, and we also spoke about licence in the context of compiling for Linux. Later in the show there was a long discussion about dirty tricks against Linux and its proponents. This discussion was focused on Microsoft. After the interview we play “It’s Because of People Like You” by Obi Best and at the end of the show we play “Washington Heights” by Glenn White’s Sacred Machines.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):

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TechBytes Episode 76: Vista 8, Valve on GNU/Linux

Techbytes 2013

Direct download as Ogg (01:08:59, 15.0 MB)

Summary: The 76th episode, the first of this season, kicks off with Tim and Roy

Today’s show deals with Amazon in Ubuntu, Vista 8, Apple vs. Samsung, search engines, games including Valve, and a variety of other topics. At the end we added the track “Misery Loves Company” by The Lovemakers.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):

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Twitter is Dying, Twitter ‘Clones’ Died Long Ago

DYING is a crude term, I admit, but when something circles around the toilet’s spiral, then you know it’s inevitably dead. Based on some Web statistics I prefer not to name, while Twitter boasts expansion in the number of registered users (this number can hardly even decrease), it sure seems like fewer registered users log in or are being actively followed. This can be also felt by many existing (and sometimes long-lasting) users in the form of communication, participation, and “engagement” as marketing people like to call it. Before I joined Twitter I had posted a fair deal in Identi.ca, but ever since they moved to a new version of their software a lot of people jumped over to Google+ and other platforms. Having a lot of technical issues, including downtimes, contributed a lot to this. I am now the most prolific poster in Identi.ca, but how important is this platform anyway?

Now, some might say that Twitter et al. are the next MySpace. I would concur. And moreover, the likes of Facebook and Google+ are queued to follow. Facebook staff — not just outside investors — are reportedly dumping their stock this month. They would know. Yes, they see what’s going on inside Facebook.

My hope is that the next generation of social network will be self-hosted and communally-federated. The Diaspora project gives me hope that we already have the necessary code and some deployed platforms (pods) with reasonably good adoption.

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