So now here in Copenhagen, apparently traffic experts are suggesting that instead of a congestion charge similar to London’s, in the future we should have a GPS receiver in our cars that transmits our position continuously to the tax authorities. And I’m sure that somebody (who won’t be re-elected and who therefore can’t be held accountable) will declare that this is for the sole purpose of Congestion Charging. And it wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes the law.
Yeah, right. Now I ask you, dear reader: How long do you think it’ll be before this is also used to find the mythical pedophile nazi-terrorists too? I guess that’s ok too, right? But how long before they dig in and allow this to be used by the police to find:
- Illegal parking
- People collecting social benefits they shouldn’t be collecting (Danish: “Sociale Bedragere”)
- People they want to check up on and keep track of, just for good measure.
- Continuously monitor who associates with conspicuous people, a.k.a before-mentioned pedophile nazi-terrorists.
- Keeping lists of who participated in which public demonstrations, just for good measure.
And how long before the tabloid press start revealing that reality-star du-jour has spent the night at another reality-star du-jour?
This is a slippery slope. Here in Denmark, we have a “child pornography filter”. Originally that was for child pornography only. But it evolved into blocking The Pirate Bay (because it was proven that pirates are terrorists?), other file-sharing sites and drug spam sites. Its well on its way to being turned into a general purpose SOPA-like censorship filter.
And make no mistake. This is ideal for putting in a database: Who-was-where-when.
Imagine that Hitler gained power today, and measures like these were in place: “Ah, the opponents (I’m sure he’d call them terrorists) met at Freedom Lane nr 17 on Oct 17 at 19.00. Arrest anyone who parked within 15min/200m from this time/place”.
I am scared, actually. Primarily that most people don’t give a damn. Because they think they haven’t got anything to hide.
I’ve written before about how to access SNMP agents (or other TCP or UDP services) in a network when you only have SSH access. Running a SSH VPN and then running IP Masquerading (NAT) in the remote end is the solution for me so far. Here is how it is done.
Continue reading SSH VPN with IP Masquerading (NAT)
I’d like to recommend an Android App for seeing the Sun’s path in Augmented Reality (AR): Sun Surveyor. There is also Sun Seeker for iPhone/iOS, which I haven’t tried since I don’t have an iPhone.
We’re out looking for a house to buy, and for me getting the afternoon and evening sun on the terrace during summer is so incredibly important. This way, I don’t have to take the real-estate agent’s word for where the sun goes down in the summer and whether the trees will create shade on the terrace. I can check it myself. Über-cool!
The graphics are laid out on top of my phone’s camera image, so given the image to the right I can see that on July 9th (almost mid-summer) the sun clears the wall just after 7pm before it goes down at 8:52pm. A little before that it will be obstructed by the wall in the background though. All visible on one screen.
I guess this could be handy for photographers too, but for buying a house this is indispensable. What surprises me is how all the real-estate agents that I’ve shown it to were blown away by it (or so they pretended :-)) but had never seen or heard about something like that before.
Have fun with it!
Honestly, I don’t understand how somebody can prefer PDF to HTML for on-screen viewing. Really? That is possible? If you’re one of them, can you help me understand?
Continue reading Oh, god I hate PDF for on-screen viewing
Here in Denmark, we’ve just had an election, and the previous government has been replaced.
A newspaper article [lang=”da”] looks back at what people liked and disliked about what the previous government did.
I have trouble believing, much less understanding, that 68% consider increased surveillance to have had a positive effect for Denmark, 16% believe the effect to be neutral and 16% believe it to be negative.
Wow. The people who believe that our society is better off when the government monitors us more out numbers people like me 4 to 1? Yikes. Has nobody read 1984 or seen Das Leben der Anderen? Doesn’t anybody remember DDR or the Soviet Union? Perhaps China will open source the great firewall too, so we can install it here!
I’m a little sad today about this.
Edit on 2011-10-20. Oh no, it keeps getting worse [lang=”da”].
Really cool list of 34 Cleverly Designed Inventions. I especially liked the USB connector, the stair case drawers, and the crawling lamp on the wall.
Thanks to the Userfocus Usability Newsletter for the link. The site also has lovely 32 Pictures To Help You Appreciate The Awesomeness Of Nature but I better let you go now :-).
A Danish Minister approves an ad-agency to pose as real users and stuff a forum with bogus posts to kick-start it. I’m appalled, surprised at my own ignorance and worried about the lack of credibility of even government-funded sites. Continue reading How much do we trust posts on website forums?
Why doesn’t every programming language have “Natural Sorting” built in, out of the box? Natural sorting is the way humans sort, where number substrings are sorted numerically, everything else alphabetically:
|Sorted “Asciibetically” (normal computer sort)
||Sorted “Naturally” (what humans prefer)
Notice how 10 comes before 2 in asciibetical “normal computer sorting” ? Haven’t we all seen user interfaces that like that? Its just plain wrong. 🙁
Dave Koelle’s Alphanum Algorithm sorts naturally, but instead of analyzing each array element O(log(N)) times, I present a modified Perl version that allows for Schwartzian transforms, yielding huge performance improvements.
Continue reading Natural Sort
Well, now you can! I’ve developed a pair of tools for that allow this when used in concert. Both are Open Source, of course.
Continue reading Refresh your browser automatically during web development