I just stumbled on this patent application from apple. The content is quite hilarious and scaring at the same time :
"Apple can further determine whether a user pays attention to the advertisement. The determination can include performing, while the advertisement is presented, an operation that urges the user to respond; and detecting whether the user responds to the performed operation. If the response is inappropriate or nonexistent, the system will go into lock down mode in some form or other until the user complies. In the case of an iPod, the sound could be disconnected rendering it useless until compliance is met. For the iPhone, no calls will be able to be made or received."
I would say that the future of apple products is not for the faint of heart ... Maybe I'm a control freak, but if I buy a product from somebody, I would like to decide how and when to use this product more then let somebody else to enforce any kind of behavior on me... ahahah, and I'm sure apple fun boys will just shallow this as a new fantastic advancement in technology and design :)
I just discovered the gvpr transformation language that comes with graphivz. Up until now, I spend far too much time manipulating dot graphs for various reasons. gvpr is an awk like language to manipulate dot graphs. It seems pretty complete, and allows you to do a lot of simple operations in one line. One small example is to split a graph in its connected components in many graphs, one per file.
The one line is :
We live in a nat-ed / firewall-ed world. Almost all DSL providers don't give public IPs and when the do, they are often behind a draconian firewall. In this context having an emergency remote shell, despite not fast and not public is very handy. A simple way to solve this problem it to create a hidden server on the tor network and the access the shell from anywhere in the world without caring of change of IPs, routing, dns or anything else.
On debian you can just install tor from the official repository. Since Tor is not available in ubuntu (but it is available on debian), we need to get it directly from the tor website. There is a nice write-up on the ubuntu site : https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Tor . And these are the details on the tor website.
So we add this to apt.sources
and the we
aptitude install tor .The package will install and run by default the tor daemon. Next step is to edit /etc/tor/torrc to add the proxy server.
Remember also to install the openssh-server server if you don't have it already. And this is it. In the directory /var/lib/tor/ssh/ you will find a file with the hostname on the TOR ring that you have to use to connect to you new hidden server.
On the client side we need to
aptitude install connect-proxy. It's a simple tool to tunnel ssh through a socks5 connection. Now you are ready to test. In your ~/.ssh/config you can simply add something like
and then ssh-way youronionhost.onion server . The connection will be veeeeery slow since you are going through different layers of encryption and indirection. You should also check the hostid of your server before connecting and dropping in a pub-key as you should never trust your friendly TOR providers (US govt, Chinese gvt, Iranian govt, etc ...).
For emergency is actually pretty handy. For anything else if will make you die of boredom ...
I love titles with plenty of buzz-words :)
After a bit of google-ing I finally found the right combination of tools that fit my needs. Luckily they are all packaged for debian and well documented. Auto-configure your network is an old topic. There are plenty of articles and howtos. Moreover the gnome NetworkManager already solves many problems alone. But since I don't use NetworkManager I tried to find a solution that works well with wicd.
The "right" combination for me so far is to use guessnet and ifplugd to handle my wired connection and use Wicd for the wireless network. In theory, you can go for a fully automated solution using guessnet and wpa_supplicant, but I find much better to hide all the complexity of wpa_supplicant and just use a simple - and unobtrusive - UI to handle my wireless.
First thing is to convince Wicd to leave alone my wired connection. This is pretty easy since Wicd wont touch your wired interface if it finds an entry in
/etc/network/interfaces for it. Moreover to selecting always switch to a wired connection when available will make Wicd to leave alone you routing tables even if there is a wireless connection available that is marked as automatically connect to this network.
Second you need to install guessnet and ifplugd
I've noticed that the default settings for ifplugd work pretty well except for the -q option that sometimes lives my interface configured even if I've been disconnected for quite a while. Using ifplugd default, I re-obtain an address every time the cable is plugged-in, maybe causing a small delay in some occasion, but I prefer waiting that de-configuring the interface by hand.
Guessnet needs a tiny bit of work. The debian package has already nice defaults that you can copy directly in your
Now you have to add one entry per network that you want to configure:
I've also noticed that a component of guessnet is not in the package anymore. Guessnet-scan is a small program that will output a stanza to be used with ifupdown based on values sniffed on the wire. This is a kinda of extreme / hackish way to get connected but i reckon a nice tool to have. Hopefully it will make it back in the package sometimes soon...
ps: first post on debian planet !
" I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant" — Alan Greenspan
The second workshop I attended at the open word forum was about the involvement of the free and open source community in natural disasters. Quite frankly I didn't know anything about these efforts and I was amazed by the level of commitment of this community.
The first speaker introduced sahana that is a FOSS disaster management system. The Wikipedia has a page about its story and development. Mark Prutsalis introduced the role of free software and crowd-sourcing in recent years highlighting its strengths and flexibility compared to government agencies. In particular sahana and the people from crisis common played a big role in the first days of the relief efforts during the Haiti earthquake early this year.
Another important player is the ushahidi community. The build a number of tools that are increasingly used to connect poeple during natural disasters, monitor political elections, diseases, fires, etc. It's clear that build awareness among people and empower them with these kind of tools can really give back to the community a voice that was long lost in the global village. And there are many projects that go in this direction.
On really important components of these technologies is openstreetmap. Differently from other commercial map providers, and thanks to free licenses and open standards, openstreetmap allowed to visualize and organize the over-growing information that can be collected through crowd sourcing. In this context open standard plays a really important role giving the possibility to exchange information and to easily mashup new different sources in some useful way.
Another nice effort is the to build tools is lead by the Crisis Common community. Last week they organized a Crisis Camp in Paris. Unfortunately I could not attend, but I really applause the effort and the spirit of such gatherings.
Last link I want to give is about NGO in a Box. Despite not directly related to crisis management and crowd sourcing, this kind of tools are certainly a terrific help to the humanitarian aid community and it definitely worth mention them.
I've just attended the workshop Datastream: My own private info at the Open World Forum in paris. A very sensitive topic nowadays and the speakers around the table raised a number of interesting points.
Sunil Abraham, Policy Director, Center for Internet and Society (India), started his contribution pointing out the privacy is very much a related to the local culture and history of a country. In India for example, the expectation of privacy is dramatically different from western countries. A very interesting example is the amount of information that is already "encoded" in the name of the person. Being India a country based on a cast system, the name of the person, not only gives away the social status and religion of a person, but also his sex and location. Very common question during every day conversation are also related to salary, spending and wealth. Questions that are somehow taboo in western countries. This lead to very different perception and expectation of privacy that is not clearly reconcilable with western practice and policies. This also allows the Indian government to establish policies that that from a western point of view are completely unacceptable.
A different angle is proposed by the sociologist Dominique Cardon working for Orange. He points out the important difference between government surveillance versus collateral surveillance, as the stoking from people in their circle as parents, neighborhoods, etc. The large majority of people when confronted with questions about privacy often show great concerns and fears about the big brother spying on them, However, he points out, there is a clear cut between these concerns and the quantity of information that each individual then puts on the web. The problem being the distinction that unconsciously people make between data they want to share with their social network and the world as a whole (composed of governments and unknown individuals). Facebook and other social network greatly emphasize the idea of a network of friends giving people the false idea that the data they share is truly private, or restrict to a small circle of friends, when reality shows that these tools are often exploited by other individual or entities to dig information and make profit on personal data.
Somebody in the audience framed the same problem as and identity issue in the digital worlds. As he put it, people starts to develop split digital personalities (i.e. a personal facebook account and a work facebook account) in order to defend themselves from snooping and surveillance. There is clearly a need to reconcile these personalities by technological means creating privacy contexts instead of fostering the creation of completely separated and antithetic digital personae that can have repercussions on the way poeple behave in the real world.
Djordje Djokic (European rights and privacy protection on the Internet), gave a quite broad overview of the political issues related to privacy. Despite privacy being a fundamental right upon which many other rights are based, from a legal prospective it is impossible to define privacy. This is due to the fact that national policies are local while digital privacy is a global problem. If we put together this with the cultural difference among states, in the short term it will be very difficult to safe guard citizens against privacy speculators. He also made an interesting points about privacy safe heavens that can attract activists and agencies due to better legal protections.
I point I made is about the future. It seems that the entire debate was focus about the state actual state of affairs. The FLOSS community has debated for long time now about privacy and technological solutions. Enlightening talks like Eben Moglen many times this year gave rise to interesting projects like the freedom box project . The Diaspora project that will hopefully take off the ground sometimes soon, promises to offer and distributed and decentralized alternative to facebook. Status Net and Identica are also two very interesting platforms built on free and open source software that I hope will take over, or at least pave the path for commercial alternatives.
One of the biggest challenge of course is about education. People don't understand the pitfall of many so called "free" services like facebook or twitter. These companies effectively make money on your willingness to give away information about you, your friends and your life. The large majority of the community is not aware of these problems. This makes it very difficult to privacy advocates to push policies changes because of the lack of interest with the general public. Politicians in particular do not really grasp these problems. Now we even start to see regional and national politician embracing privacy-less social medias making it difficult to for the public to move away from them at the price of being excluded from the democratic life of their country.
National education certainly do not have yet in their curricula topics such as privacy and new medias. Kids often learn from their peers and are enticed by the rich offer of these companies. This state of affair allows facebook or google founders to declare that people today do not have anymore an expectation of privacy. I personally strongly disagree with this position and I hope these will change in the future with privacy aware social media, maybe decentralized, but certainly built in a way to let individuals to retain complete ownership and control over their digital life.
The path to shift the actual tendency is certainly steep. A first step, from a technological point of view, is to create something stable and sound. But the second step, to get weight among todays' big players is to create new and exciting services. Selling an alternative to somebody that does not understand the problem of privacy is already difficult enough (and the story about desktops on linux should already have show why this does not work in this monopolistic world). The strong selling point should be about new services, exciting new way to interact and seamlessly integration with nowadays platforms.
This evening I spent 30 minutes to try out rconsole in the package rfoo . It's a simple environment to inspect and modify the namespace of a running script.
If you are on debian, you need to install two packages :
Then download the source code. If you want to try it out without installing you have to compile it with the --inplace option :
Now you're ready to go. Add in your views.py file the following code:
In a console type
python scripts/rconsole. Keep in mind that you have to adjust your import search path in order to use the rconsole script without installing the library.
Then you can now directly call all methods in your views from the console. For example, imagine you have a search view, then you can call it with :
I've to say that using rconsole for debugging it not very useful. pdb or winpdb are much more powerful and versatile. It was worth a try anyway...
On the other hand, rconsole can be of great help when debugging a live application when you don't have the luxury to stop your server. In this regard rconsole is very lightweight and unobtrusive, and I think it can be of great help.
I had the impression I've been a bit unfair in my judgment...
I've always wondered why iceweasel won't paste my selection into the search area from a gnome terminal. It turned out that to put something in the gnome clipboard from a gnome terminal is not enough to select the piece of text with your mouse, but you need to explicitly do "Ctrl + shift + v" . Then in iceweasel you can use "shift insert" . Kind of brain-dead for me. So if i want to search a word I've on a terminal I've to :
If you just want to search something, you can try the gnome applet gspot. It's nice, works (I tried only 5 minutes), but doesn't allow you to configure common short-cuts. You are always obliged to use the mouse. googlizer is another applet that has the same problem are gspot, and it limited to google only (while gspot has many search engines built-in).
bah, for the moment I'm a bit stuck ...
A very nice solution :
shell power !
This is just a quicky to start off the day. I often write fatal error message using a combination of
Printf.eprintf ;; exit 1 ;; failwith ;; assert false ;; etc ... For example to throw a fatal exception with a message I would write the overly verbose
If we use Printf.kprintf we can write the statement above in a bit more compact way as:
Moreover, we add a label to the function fatal and instantiate it once in every module we can get a localize error message for free. Something like :
It would be awesome to have a localized version in the source code as with assert , but I don't think this is possible to do in a generic way. Something like :
Exception: Failure "Fatal error in module module (line 144, 63): message 1 1".
I guess this can be done with camlp4. We can catch the line and column like :