Wednesday, May 30

Metro in Athens

metro in Athens
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Sat May 26 13:36:21 2007
Shutter: 1/10.0 s
Aperture: F/2.8
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 28.0 mm

EXIF data read by DCRaw

Postprocessing with GIMP

Friday, May 25

on blocking ads

It would seem that over time I have developed a personal policy for blocking ads. If I had to, I would associate it with the attitude:
Don't call us, we'll call you
What is this about?

Simple: I tolerate ads as long as I can ignore them.

I know that is not what the advertisers want (I believe they want me to see the ad and decide I will use only them for doing their type of business from now on and "'till death do us part", but they don't get to decide).

Basically, there are two types of ads (and this applies to the online world, TV, the huge banners on the highway and newspapers ads to the same degree): the ones I want to see (funny ads, original ads, the ones with a smart twist, the ones that make you think et caetera, et caetera) and the annoying ones.

For this reason, for example, when reading an article, I will filter all ads that take my attention away from what I'm reading (flash overlays on the page, blinking banners or banners in color schemes that clash horribly with the rest of the layout).

I actually give them attention: I take the time to open the list of blockable resources on the website search which of the resources the annoying banner is, then create a generic filter to make sure I will never see content from that ad publisher again.

For the same reason, I never filter the ads in google search results for example: they're out of the way if you're not interested and are actually relevant to what you're looking for, when you are interested.

I actually got my ScubaPro Xtender dive computer from LeisurePro, found through a google search sponsored ad.

Shameless plug (since we're on the subject):
For whoever's interested in filtering idiotic banners off their screen, install firefox and AdBlock Plus extension.

Why Use GMail?

This is a very compelling (and professional) presentation of the features of GMail. Enjoy:

Thursday, May 24

beautiful thorns

beautiful thorns
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Sat Apr 28 18:04:05 2007
Shutter: 1/400 s
Aperture: F5.6
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 300.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 450.0 mm
Lens: 70-300mm F4-5.6

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13

Wednesday, May 23

Matthieu Ricard at Google Tech Talks

Well ... the guy makes sense ... a lot of sense.

about the mouse

Did you ever wondered how the mouse moves?

I mean ... you move a piece of plastic on the desktop and the pointer arrow moves as if by magic.

Well ... wonder no longer! Here is a magnified explanation.

(S., thanks for the link)

for jay

Happy birthday Jay! :)

red!

Tuesday, May 22

Health Warning

Health Warning
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Tue May 22 13:45:16 2007
Shutter: 1/160 s
Aperture: F1.8
ISO speed: 400
Focal length: 50.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 75.0 mm
Lens: 50mm F1.8

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13

I wonder what would happen to my health I removed the warning.

in the dark ages of information technology

So ... yesterday we had a meeting with one of the TDs in the company (one of those "we are considering a partnership with corporation X" / "strategically it doesn't make sense for the corporation to do this at the moment").

I won't go into details (I don't want to be sued/I don't want to be sued/I don't want to be sued/I don't want ...), but it got me thinking:
at the moment, we're in the situation where we have a bunch of information gathering systems, all desperate to gather information about us:
We have systems storing (and data mining) search results, preferences, daily or moment-to-moment tops, ramblings, consumer statistics (like the Amazon thing with "Customers who bought these also appreciated: X, Y, Z), and so on and so forth.

They call all this "Web 2.0", "the web oriented on services/customizability/usability/blablabla" but that's another can of worms entirely.

What's important is that all these systems are merging, or something very close to it: the possibility of uniting your bills into one single item (for example), is very very close (at least in the locations with a very strong IT backbone).


The aftereffect of all these ... mergers ("integration" as it was called yesterday) ... should be a place where your store can recommend you the diabetics food (if you show up as a spike in the statistics of diabetics foods), traveling agencies recommending you the holidays you'd like and so on and so forth ... maybe even having your software learning your habits and taking over your repetitive tasks.

But that is the aftereffect, the "balance", the same way the aftereffect of centuries of authority-abuse by different monarchies led Europe to revolution in the 18th century and the adoption of (more or less) democracy.
Right now, we're in the dark ages of data mining and the dark ages of information infrastructure and of distributed systems and a bunch of other things.

... and the dark ages can be very destructive ...

Monday, May 21

what finally worked

So ... for two weeks now I've been frustrated by how openSuSE 10.0 sees (or rather doesn't see) my mouse wheel (a Logitech tilt-wheel gaming mouse).

I had played with the settings and got to a point where I could do middle-clicks, and scroll down using the wheel, but there was no scroll up.

Tonight I fiddled with the settings again, and after a dozen (or so) restarts of the X server, here's what finally worked:
Section "InputDevice"
Driver "mouse"
Identifier "Mouse[1]"
Option "Buttons" "9"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "EmulateWheel" "off"
Option "Name" "Cordless Trackman FX (USB)"
Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
Option "Vendor" "Logitech"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection


Apparently, what was breaking the scrolling up, was EmulateWheel: On / EmulateWheelButton 4. It seems the wheel emulation overrides one of the buttons.

Friday, May 18

Tuesday, May 15

Eastern hilltop (startrails)

Eastern hilltop (startrails)
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Mon May 14 21:44:20 2007
Shutter: 428 s (7 minutes)
Aperture: F4
ISO speed: 400
Focal length: 28.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 42.0 mm
Lens: 28mm F2.8

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13
-----------------------------------------------
WB temperature set to 2800K

Monday, May 14

happy birthday!

Happy Birthday A! :)

the latest in national security threats

So ... what do national security and sex have in common?

Apparently something called "the love bug":
Small, egg-shaped and promising 'divine' vibrations, a UK sex toy has been deemed a threat to Cyprus's national security. According to the company Ann Summers, the Love Bug 2 has been banned because the Cypriot military is concerned its electronic waves would disrupt the army's radio frequencies. Operated by a remote control with a range of six metres, it is described by Ann Summers as 'deceptively powerful'. The company said: 'The Love Bug 2 is available in Cyprus but we have had to put a warning out urging Cypriots not to use it.'


(story taken from here)

Lizzard in a tree

Lizzard in a tree
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Sat May 12 17:48:11 2007
Shutter: 1/640 s
Aperture: F8
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 300.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 450.0 mm
Lens: 70-300mm F4-5.6

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13

don't take my picture!

don't take my picture!
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Sat May 12 16:52:01 2007
Shutter: 1/100 s
Aperture: F11
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 50.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 75.0 mm
Lens: 50mm F1.8

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13

Chasing the Rainbow

Chasing the Rainbow
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Sat May 12 18:57:23 2007
Shutter: 1/50 s
Aperture: F8
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 50.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 75.0 mm
Lens: 50mm F1.8

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13

mushroom in the grass

mushroom
Camera: NIKON D50
Timestamp: Sat May 12 17:45:25 2007
Shutter: 1/500 s
Aperture: F8
ISO speed: 200
Focal length: 300.0 mm
Focal length in 35mm equivalent: 450.0 mm
Lens: 70-300mm F4-5.6

EXIF data read by Exiv2 0.13

food for thought

For something to be missing, it has to have been present in abundance in the beginning.


(Thanks Wil)

Friday, May 11

its not personal; its economical

Here's another banned US movie that states clearly, things some of us (I'm not an American citizen, so "us" means roughly "us humans" in this context) don't want to see:

taiko

According to wikipedia, the word taiko (太鼓) means simply drum (there's a more detailed description of them here).

Be that as it may, what some people do with them is more spectacular than simple.


I was listening to hip-hop on my machine, then I watched this movie. I wanted to switch back to listening hip-hop once it finished, but all of a sudden it didn't seem like music any longer.

Makes me wonder what real art is (and why I'm not listening to it more often :( ).

Cleopatra Stratan - Ghita



No Comment.

I like rain

Did I mention I liked rain? I think I might have.

... Either way ...

Today I came to office riding through the rain and its been (as it always is) a cool experience.

Its been raining for a few days now (which is highly unusual for Cyprus at this time of the year) but ... well ... as I was saying, I like rain.
raindrops on the window

rained helmet

Thursday, May 10

For Internal Use Only

For Internal Use Only

This document is For Internal Use Only.

Warning: Eating pixels can be hazardous to your health.

Before administration, please consult a certified doctor or your family physician to avoid any adverse effects.

Wednesday, May 9

Becky, my new hero

Well ... I have been looking for a way to post this online for a long time.

Now, A.T. sent it through as a YouTube link.

Tuesday, May 8

a thought on corruption

I found a mention of corruption on one of the blogs I subscribe to and it got me thinking; the mention of corruption is made in the promises of yet another interested political party, in their promise to "fight corruption".

Its enough for me to see someone promising to fight/eradicate corruption (Senator Palpatine, anyone?) to make the speaker loose all credibility.

Here's a message for all people promising to eradicate corruption:

It doesn't work that way.

Its like the US fighting against drugs: they created an organism (in an elections campaign also, because the middle class wanted "something done about the damn hippies") that takes more money each year and fights to get people attentive to the dangers of "drugs" so it gets more funding. The result is that, while most drugs are bad for your health, you get arrested for smoking marijuana, but not for smoking tobacco (which is much more toxic to those around you) ... and their democracy goes one step further towards hypocrisy (you're free to do whatever you like with yourself, but we'll put you in prison for it).

Creating a strategy for fighting corruption will not eliminate corruption. You end up with just another strategy eating at your resources and ... and that's it. Corruption is always there, you can fight all you want.


Eradicating corruption is not something you can do, not without changing the system completely.

Its definitely not something to promise in a political campaign, unless you make it clear you will change everything; and that is something nobody wants to promise because its - most of the time - unrealistic. Its promising revolution when people expect from you evolution. And revolution its a painful process; its not a step but a jump and on this jump you might fall badly.

In the end, "fighting corruption" is just another political campaign promise, and it usually translates to fighting the corruption of the opposition - if you actually end up fighting any corruption at all.

That is, unless you really change everything.

Monday, May 7

pink

pink
Camera: NIKON D50
Shutter: 1/320 (0.003sec)
Aperture: f/11
ISO speed: 800
Focal length: 50.0 mm

Lens: 50mmF1.8D

Processing with Picassa 2

red!

red!

Camera: NIKON D50
Shutter: 1/320 (0.003sec)
Aperture: f/11
ISO speed: 800
Focal length: 50.0 mm

Lens: 50mmF1.8D

Processing with Picassa 2

Friday, May 4

Wednesday, May 2

my new favorite word

Apparently, the fear of the number 666 is called Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

Can you say that six times, very very fast?

random spirituality

I got a quote in my mailbox today that (I figure) deserved a wider distribution:
The more one hurries, utnapistim, the less time they have.