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Jaromil's Research 2008

This diary collects research notes taken during the year 2008, linking to external news items, documents and publications, as well collecting texts I've written and presented around.

You can also download this publication in PDF format for offline reading on your personal information device: research_2008.pdf

Thanks go to the NIMk, employing me in research and development.


RIP Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter died, yesterday.

The last time I've heard him, we were in London's Hyde park at the Peace march in 2003 protesting against a war that started anyway, in the name of democracy. We were millions in the streets of all the World on that day, marching against war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But no. Our governments joined the war anyway. Our soldiers are out there far from their families, and today is Christmas, and Harold Pinter is dead. And I remember clearly now his cry for peace. I feel how little sense our present has in Europe. In the Netherlands they don't even know why the state joined the war in Afghanistan, they are still trying to understand under which pressure the militars and the government actually did join, who signed the papers...

Harold Pinter was a great man. He had the guts to say things as they are, to face babylon with its own crimes and hypocrisy, while his own talent and integrity are recognised worldwide, by a Nobel Prize and much more than that.

He was not an elitist even if his talent made him part of an intellectual elite, and he had never a doubt to say things, even if horrible to be said. He admittedly could make mistakes, but I feel most things he did were right, he was right to the point on things people didn't dare to be.

Let's all spend a few hours reading his words resting in our libraries please. Lets meditate how many compromises are we doing in the things we aren't saying, in the moderated comfort we are all swimming in, with the privilege of our brains and what we can understand of the world and what we prefer to not say, for our own interest. How much is worth a single life, the life of many people, the life of a man who dares like Harold Pinter did.

Below some original Pinter's quotes that will surely be deleted by revisionists:

he has called the President of the United States, George W. Bush, a "mass murderer" and the (then) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, both "mass-murdering" and a "deluded idiot" and has described them, along with past U.S. officials, as "war criminals."

Pinter characterized Blair's Great Britain as "pathetic and supine," a "bleating little lamb tagging behind [the United States] on a lead." According to Pinter, Blair was participating in "an act of premeditated mass murder" instigated on behalf of "the American people," who, Pinter notes, increasingly protest "their government's actions" (Public reading from War, as qtd. by Chrisafis and Tilden)

Pinter published his remarks to the mass peace protest demonstration held on 15 February 2003, in London, on his website:

"The United States is a monster out of control. Unless we challenge it with absolute determination American barbarism will destroy the world. The country is run by a bunch of criminal lunatics, with Blair as their hired Christian thug. The planned attack on Iraq is an act of premeditated mass murder" ("Speech at Hyde Park").

Those remarks anticipate his 2005 Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth, & Politics", in which he observes:

"Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish".

where he had foreseen Obama campaign, for a government that now owes to Pinter's life all the coherence that it takes to finally make a real change. Furthermore, speaking to Europe and Latin America, Pinter exhorted the mostly European audience "to resist the power of the United States," stating:

"I'd like to see Europe echo the example of Latin America in withstanding the economic and political intimidation of the United States. This is a serious responsibility for Europe and all of its citizens" (Qtd. in Anderson and Billington, Harold Pinter 428).

And i must confess this last quote reads so sad considering what Europe really is, probably that's the bigger mistake he has ever made in his discourse.

rest in peace, Harold Pinter.

During these holy days i'm spending a big deal of time networking and gathering info on the Coltan and Blood issue, a panel we'll be running at next Transmediale, coming january. I wish to dedicate all this effort to Harold Pinter today, we shall do all our best to continue, to continue saying what cannot be told, right here, in the belly of the monster. I'm reading things that cannot be said so easily, thinking of him now gives all the strenght needed to continue.

rest in peace, Harold Pinter.


Copenhagen: Ungdomshuset courtcase

On Monday 22 December 2008 5 womyn and 10 men, who were present in the house at the eviction of the Ungdomshuset, got sentenced to imprisonment. 11 people sentenced to 1 year and three months, 3 people to one year and one (aged under 16) to nine months!

This is an outrageous episode for all those who care about liberties for the youth to express and self-organise. These young people are criticising capitalism, state repression, religious hegemony and claiming their own social space within a city that, as many other cities, doesn't offers agency for social interaction out of the planned schemes and the omnipresent State of Control.

As it is manifest on their website, their activities are non-conformed, reflecting the repression and marginalisation they face in developing their own values: rebellion for necessity, vegan in response to the inhumanity of the food industry, anti-fascist to fight back what we have been (and we are still) going through, etc. etc.

These are young people that decided to develop their society in a different way, still being denied to do so: evicted from their building ("legally" owned by some church), persecuted for their beliefs (from which we can still learn a lot about living together), forced into a system that exploits their labour without offering anything back, not even the freedom to live together.

What the persecutors seems to not understand is that this youth won't give up - and rightfully so: since they have the right to build a different world for themselves, after the "adults" have ruined the present one already, in the eyes of their own kids.

This conflict will just make things worst for everyone: the "problem" will stay (and grow with more systemic problems) tainting the genuine growth of new people and their sincere research for solutions, as their need to defend a few liberated spaces will turn into violence to survive.


Where recycling meets design

Superuse.org looks like an "hack-a-day for designers":

Superuse is a online community of designers, architects and everybody else who is interested in inventive ways of recycling.

Good brico attitude and lots of neat results! In Europe there are so few people recycling that the aesthetic patterns of such practices are mostly limited to punk and new-age , but this website shows that designers can move in many more directions along these lines.


Nano data centers #2

Six months later, let's have a look again at the NADA(EU-FP7) project, mentioned earlier in this research, funded by the EU Commissions 7th Framework Program (FP7).

Its aims are well shaped after the "P2P revolution", nothing really new to those of us already working on (deployed) distributed network protocols and visions as hivenetworks, olsrd, B.A.T.M.A.N., netsukuku and of course bittorrent.

But! NADA plans to patent its results. And how? since in Europe software patents aren't legal? we'll see, meanwhile in the "Related Projects -> Security" section on their website is well visible the research on "trusted computing" to limit liberties and establish monopolies rather than preserve security.

What a restrictive attitude for a publicly funded project.


Schiphol people, wij gaan!

Today M2M Radio launched an international press release titled European Court of Human Rights admits case against Dutch ministers for Schiphol Fire:

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has informed Dutch lawyer Mr.N.M.P. Steijnen that the Court has admitted the application against two former Dutch ministers, or the State, in relation with the Schiphol Fire. This fire on the 26th of October 2005 killed eleven detained migrants in a detention center on the premises of Hollands main Schiphol airport. Mr. Steijnen is pressing these charges representing committee of non-governmental organizations, survivors and relatives of the deceased against Mr. J.P.H. (Piet Hein) Donner, who was at the time minister of Justice (and today of social affairs) and against Mrs. M.C.F. (Rita) Verdonk, who was at the time Minister of Immigration and Integration. They are charged with cruel and humiliating treatment (Art.3 ECHR) of both the killed inmates and the survivors of the fire. Donner is held responsible for the construction and the management of the complex, while Verdonk was in charge of the administrative detention of undocumented migrants and of the treatment of the survivors after the fire. The European Court's decision brings this procedure now to the international level, after the Dutch legal instances have decided against prosecuting, on the grounds that servants of the state cannot be held accountable in person. The independent Dutch Security Board concluded in 2006 that the disaster would have been much smaller if the authorities had lived up to the regulations. As a consequence of this report two Ministers then resigned, Donner and Mrs. Dekker (Housing and Environment). Verdonk remained in office and is now heading her own populist, right-wing party "Trots op Nederland" (Proud of the Netherlands).

The only one man being prosecuted in relation to the Fire will stand to appeal in the coming months. The accused is Ahmed Isa Al-J(eballi), a migrant from Libya, who was detained in Block K of the Detention Center of Schiphol East in order to be transported back to his native country. In the night of the 26th of October 2005 a fire took place in this Block, which killed eleven inmates. Ahmed Isa is charged for setting fire to his cell by throwing away his cigarette butt before falling asleep. In 2006 he was condemned to three years of confinement by the Court of Haarlem for causing the fire and thus killing eleven people and severely wounding fifteen others. The judge thereby endorsed the argumentation of the District Attorney that Ahmed Isa consciously took the risk of causing the disaster by negligently throwing away his cigarette: conditional intent. The technical evidence is highly disputed and is under revision by an expert team at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). There is serious evidence that the fire started elsewhere in Block K. The chance that the particular type of cigarette the accused was smoking could effectively start a fire is very small. It was a roll-your-own "shaggie" rolled with paper called Blue Rizla, known to extinguish rapidly. Last December two experts, Prof. Wagenaars en Koppen, pointed out that the memory of the accused, particularly his admitting that he pitched his cigarette that very evening of the fire, is highly unreliable. This is another major blow for the persecutor, comments Ahmed Isa's lawyer mr. Eduard Damman.

However, the fundamental argument against the ruling of the court is a political one: even if it were true that Ahmed Isa caused the fire then the Dutch State has done everything to make it possible for his cigarette to create a major disaster. Basically the state is responsible for those detained in their facilities. The building and safety regulations had been neglected and the training level of the personnel was substandard.

Free Ahmed Isa = Justice for All Survivors

The cause of justice for all survivors boils down to the case of the only man that has been accused so far: Ahmed isa Al-J(eballi). A proper administration of justice is of the highest importance for their well being and indeed for their lives. Therefore M2M Radio calls on international law experts to monitor this case. There are several reasons to seek international monitoring of the upcoming proceedings:

  • The International dimension: the victims of the Schiphol Fire are citizens of at least thirty five different countries around the world.
  • The disaster happened in the domain of administrative law aimed at tackling irregular migration in the Netherlands. The Dutch government has been criticized in many instances both by the European Court, the Commission for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman Treatment of the European Council and by Amnesty International for not living up to internationally established standards of rule of law and human rights.
  • The Dutch State is party in this case and therefore it is doubtful if it can guarantee a fair trial.
  • The case of the Schiphol Fire has severely damaged the confidence of many citizens in the democracy of the Netherlands.
  • Finally, not only the accused, but also the survivors and relatives of the dead, are suffering until this day from the physical, material and psychological consequences of the fire. A proper administration of justice is of the highest importance for their well being and indeed their lives.

    To facilitate the monitoring M2M Radio will produce live coverage of the trial and parallel sessions on the internet: m2m.streamtime.org


Defending my Bastard Culture!

This is the title of Mirko Tobias Schäfer's PhD dissertation at the University of Utrecht, Department for Media and Culture Studies, along with the subtitle "User participation and the extension of cultural industries".

It is definitely worth a look (free download on Mirko's website) as it packs together an extensive research on the dynamics of creativity in new media practices.


RIP Thomas Reichart

Today the body of Thomas, a photographer coming all the way from Stuttgart to Sicily to take pictures of Etna's lava activity, was found dead in a lava-formed pit on top of the Volcano.

His story is striking as he died pursuing a dangerous and fascinating dream, leaving us beautiful pictures to be admired after his disgraceful death.

It is deeply touching to look now at what Thomas could upload online. His passion pushed him over the limits of his own body, still realising a beautiful net-based art piece.

What Thomas left us online unleashes a deep dramaturgy for net.art, carried by the ubiquitous availability of such intense pictures, freely echoing the deep effort and passion behind them.


Spinoza in Amsterdam

I was invited to join today's debate in Amsterdam, about Spinoza and the meaning of Freedom, organised by coolpolitics.nl. After two interesting lectures by Jeroen Bartels and Hans Achterhuis, the public participated in a debate that saw me sitting besides Boris van der Ham, Arendo Joustra and Ahmed Aynan.

It was somehow boring to over-discuss "freedom of speech" topics as publication of Fitna, still I did my best to progress into the analysis of the Internet of Things, the future of property in a "truly liberal" sense and the monopolistic role of the industry in this regards. As there wasn't enough space for all the topics that could have been raised, I'll do my best to elaborate further here.

I argued that neo-liberism is betraying its own roots, as Adam Smith's openness is contradicted by the enclosure of consumer objects and their creative potentials. In fact I'd love to complete my declaration stating that today neo-liberism is dead: exactly 120 years after the birth of Harpo Marx on 23 november 1888, one day before the anniversary of Spinoza's birth, neo-liberism is buried under its own unrealisation, failing to survive its lies, drained by a market crisis we are all witnessing, buried by a progressive analysis on the damages consumerism brought to our societies.

Regarding free speech and the role of artists, topic that was debated unfortunately also in relation to the youtube-collage called Fitna, let me quote Bansky:

"The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little."

And it was a pleasure to hear the wisdom of an elder among the audience reminding how pervasive is advertisement (and industrial rhetoric I'd say) in the cultural debate, a position I linked to philosopher Herbert Marcuse for his One-Dimensional Man essay: this is such an important reflection today, explicitly dealing with freedom of desire, a concept that is well contextual to Spinoza's corpus teoreticus.

All in all it felt that, besides the natural tendency of the debate to stick to old and abused topics, the audience also nurtured interest for a progressive analysis on property and the novel models proposed by the free software movement. I was surprised by a public that was some generations older than mine and that can wisely unfold such analysis: more than ever now I believe free software benefits from being discussed in a philosophical context. As more initiatives will be held next year in Amsterdam about Spinoza I'll be interested to follow the discussion, especially when it will focus on everyone's freedom in this world, the freedom to imagination and desire, not the smart arrogance of a few populist politicians to offend religions and provoke hatred.


Anomalous Wave of student protests

Onda Anomala is the name choosen by italian students mobilising against privatisation of schools and rising prices for education promoted by the new decree of Mariastella Gelmini, Berlusconi's minister for education. The main slogan is strong and can touch everyone's hear:


Progressively, the youth in Europe is recognising the precarious future that previous generations have left: more young people are acknowledging the results of financial and ecological disasters in their own lives - and many know who the responsible are.

It is a common thought this crisis being provoked by widespread incompetence and corruption of the so called "neo-liberist" leaders: a ruling cast that has substituted ethics with personal profit, that is now finally declining, leaving a dramatic trail of privatised social services, a deregulated economy in agony and dulcis in fundo an emergency plan to save its own failure stealing resources from the social welfare, most importantly the education field.

This is what is happening in Italy, as usual for politics in this country, in a very intense and outrageous way - while more international youth movements are sharing this analysis, quickly propagating the uprisings on a wider scale.

Here is the first Anomalous wave pamphlet in english, for you to read and print to inform about what is happening and why.


Object Oriented Poetry

After its opening last friday, the premiere of TBT installations is being exhibited in Amsterdam until next january, where visitors are engaging the act of writing Time Based Poetry.

Later in the evening today I've received a message titled Object Oriented Poetry, signed by Robert Elouard:




Late night browsing

Pretty tired of waiting for Firefox to open up web pages on my EEEPC 900 desktop, a nightly wandering through code lead to some new actively developed alternative browsers, finding out that the fresh options on GNU/Linux today are Midori and Skipstone.

However the HTML rendering engines embedded are still Gecko (Mozilla) and WebKit (Safari): not to be compared with a project like Links2 where the entire rendering engine is a new optimised rewrite.


Your very own water ... (continued)

As previously mentioned in this journal, NASA is researching (as the Russian space agency use to do) on obtaining drinkable water from urine.

Yesterday an article on BBC announced that the water distilled from urine did pass the first taste test at NASA.


Let's talk about cyber-crime

And guess who are the criminals: kids hacking closed systems to claim their own freedom, or corporations corrupting policy makers to expand their monopolies?

In the last two days the situation became clear, as several articles opened an important debate on the integrity of digital policy makers around the World: it seems that top Micro$oft executives have been bullying patents on treatments for malaria, HIV, TB, hepatitis, smallpox, and cancer. They have been also bidding a Nigerian contractor $400,000 to retard Linux's movement into the government sector.

And last but not least, they have been signing contracts with the European Community that the EU Council now refuses to make public: Marco Cappato, a member of the EU parliament, reports that his request to divulge was denied as "the [divulging] of [this] information could jeopardize the protection of commercial interest of Micro$oft". On the same track, the EU Council refuses to release the ACTA documents, about the controversial Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement.

Considering the ethical implications behind the adoption of Free Software in the public sector, these facts are clearly outlining the criminal conduct of the Micro$oft corporation in various governmental sectors.


Justice on Genova 2001?

In a few days will be pronounced the verdict for the 29 police agents charged for violence on protestants the night of 21-22 july in Genova when they broke in the Diaz school and beat up all people sheltered inside, silenced the radio station and among the others nearly killed british journalist Mark Covell.

Mark is sitting in the front-line of this process, which is extremely important for Europe: demonstrating that after little more than half a century we are still able to recognise when fascism takes over our freedom.

I fear a big delusion, especially considering the outcome of the Bolzaneto court-case about the same night in that prison, where 209 people denounced having been tortured, still the court denied that was a violation of human rights.


Theora 1.0 final release

With great satisfaction by all developers involved, today the final 1.0 release of Theora video codec was announced, hinting about the upcoming support in Firefox 3.1 and the "Thusnelda branch" quality improvements which will be merged into the next Theora 1.1 release.

A great day and lots more to do as finally this 100% free video framework will grow in adoption. Just during these days and in collaboration with some piksel and giss.tv developers we are envisioning some serious plans and a roadmap for FreeJ, aiming to be a portable vision mixer engine to produce Theora video streams.


The Shallowest generation

A very interesting article from a few days ago reports a detailed analysis on the progression of occidental economy: the past present and future of the so called "Baby Boom" generation.

Definitely worth reading, as i recommend reading the novels published in "Baby Boom" by Jean Vautrin, among my favourite books.


Tactical Media files

I was very pleased by this news: the Tactical Media files archive is now online and started gathering almost 30 years of history behind the many next5minutes and net.congestion conferences held in Amsterdam.

These events contributed to develop and share a critical approach to media with the young contemporary generation between Europe and USA, spawning several initiatives that referred to tactical media practices in the fields of arts and activism.

It is worth browsing and, if you still keep some materials on your shelf, send them on!


Booklaunch Internet of Things

Today was the launch of the new "network notebook" published by the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam: The Internet of Things, a critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID.

The launch was photographed, blogged and filmed, with a discussion hosted by Geert Lovink including presentations by Martijn de Waal, Eric Kluitenberg... and me: here are the slides I've shown.

It is a slick and dense publication for which I'm a proud contributor, if you're curious enough now you can freely download the notebook.


More from FSCONS

More interesting talks given at FSCONS are available on-line, I'd recommend watching David Cuartielles presenting Arduino (video part 1 and part 2), Rasmus Fleisher on copyright issues and Peter Stuge giving an overview of Coreboot.

Also interesting Johan Söderberg's "conflict perspective" on hacking, opening a reflection on unionism and hacker communities.

These and more themes discussed will hopefully emerge soon in a book publication gathering written contributions from the FSCONS speakers.


FSCONS in Gothenburg

The Nordic Free Society conference in Gothenburg gathered a very interesting crowd of smart people, genuine Free Software enthusiasts, young influential developers, pirate party activists and a Steve Jobs clone.

I've given a speech: here are the slides and the video recording, cheers to Yves, Valentina and all the Giss.tv stream team. And of course a big thanks to the organisation that made it all happen voluntarily, for a big immaterial profit that we all carry in our heads... and hearts! nordic people can be very warm :)


Deported ohne ausweis

While Riding an 18 hours long bus trip on my way to the FSCONS conference in Goteborg, our vehicle was checked by polizei for passenger's passport before embarking on the ferry to Denmark.

As two men were found without papers, the cop told them in english: "end of the journey" and abducted them outside, into a police van. The sans-papiers had a southern look, black curly hair, somehow mixed traits between balcan and mediterranean physiognomies.

No other passenger in the bus was explained where these people were brought and for how long; it was just a clean removal, a situation where everyone was put on hold, denying any solidarity, any sentiments, any feelings, any questions.

Most people in the bus were migrants, still no one related to the event, looking like nothing had just happened, as if the cops flashed us with some short-memory deletion device.

It is not the first time I'm witnessing a border arrest, but still every time it feels closer, as the cop indulges on my worn out passport, prolonged to last until 2012 without biometrics.


Italian school's liberty violated

In Rome the State University "La Sapienza" has been occupied by an assembly of 5.000 students, following with a demonstration that counted 10.000 on the streets.

Students and citizens are protesting against privatisation of education, which is demolishing the public school system in Italy, under the extreme rush of neo-liberist government.

In this situation of turmoil Berlusconi declared that police will intervene in schools, while Francesco Cossiga, Honorary President of the Italian Republic and Senator for life, literally said in an interview:

"Maroni should do exactly what I did when I was minister for Internal Affairs. In the first place, he should just leave the high school students alone, because, just think what would happen if a youngster were to be killed or seriously injured... Leave them be (the university students - Ed). Pull the Police forces off the streets and out of the University, then send in some “agents provocateurs” to infiltrate the movement, people that are up for anything and leave the demonstrators for about ten days or so to ravage the shops, set fire to vehicles and lay waste to the cities. Then, having gained the support of the public, the sound of the ambulance sirens must drown out the sirens of the Police and Carabinieri vehicles. This is because the forces of law and order should not show any pity whatsoever and should send the lot of them to hospital. Don’t arrest them, after all, the judges would immediately allow them back onto the streets. Rather, you must beat them and also beat up those lecturers that are spurring the students on. The lecturers above all. I’m not saying the elderly ones, certainly, but the little girl teachers yes... this is the recipe for democracy: put out the flames before the fire takes over ".


Fortinet used to block dyne.org

Today I've been doing technical assistance for the office of a cultural institution in Amsterdam and realised the dyne.org website wasn't reachable from their network: FortiNet used to block it, as their network appliances are automatically administered by this foreign corporation to censor on-line content.

Reason of the censorship was "Freeware software". Result of the censorship was that, because of a corporate blacklist from USA, a cultural institution in Amsterdam cannot visit the website of a cultural producer (and regularly registered foundation) a few canals away.

Luckily enough the problem is gone now as FortiNet quickly reacted my complaint to them by enabling the browsing of dyne.org. But how many other cases are like that around the world?


Time Based Text 0.8

Today a new release of TBT is out, with some new interesting features, among them a Python-GTK graphical interface contributed by Pablo Caedes Martin.

I'm tidying up the software for the upcoming exhibition SPEAK OUT LOUD where it will be shown in the form of an interactive installation, for the first time since it was commissioned.


Apple computers and ICT pollution

This declaration of Apple computers made me almost fall off the chair today:

"Apple believes that improving the environmental performance of our business starts with our products."

and so on it goes, with a press release about how environmental friendly is their new MacBoorger "PRO".

This is so ridiculous: Apple environmental policies are among the worst in all the IT market, and not just for manufacturing and materials, but especially since they never aloud reuse, customisation and recycling of their products, building an economic empire on closed branding, avoiding interoperability of components, brain-washing users to buy new products every year.

All this for decades until nowadays, when the DRM in Iphone debate still unrolls for another crapple gadget that is establishing a proprietary infrastructure that is not generic nor accessible.

How disgusting are now those marketing lies!


Freedom not Fear

The 11 October has seen several popular demonstrations raise in the streets of Europe, all systematically ignored by the mainstream media, still successful in spreading important reflections on privacy and freedom, a seminal platform for future political discourse.

The website vorratsdatenspeicherung.de has a comprehensive report, here is the call to various places where it has been organised.

I joined the demonstration in Den Haag, but my wish was actually to be in Sophia, where the well active organisation set up one of the first websites to appear online about the event.


Cloud computing debated

Some days ago RMS gave a statement on cloud computing to a journalist of the Guardian UK, this article followed up.

Fatima Lasay forwarded me her reflections on the topic, which I've found a very interesting reflection and commentary, posted on the bricolabs mailinglist.


Man arrested for wardriving in NL

This dutch news appeared today reporting the arrest of a man in Voorthuizen who was sitting in his parked car with a laptop trying to get online from available wireless internet spots.

It's the first time i hear of such a kind of arrest.


The Internet of Things

The Institute of Network Cultures has launched today a new publication (freely available online and on paper) titled: The Internet of Things: A critique of ambient technology.

It consists of a report about many of the discussions developed the past year in the bricolabs network, including various contributions in the form of a "collaborative narrative" examining what impact RFID and other systems will have on our cities and our wider society.


Warnet Indonesia

As an attempt to raise discussion on the issue of reconciliation in Indonesia after the Kudeta and following massacres in '65 and '95, we have formed a committee of researchers, writers and historians that held on 1st october its first evening of discussions in the Waag, the Theatrum Anatomicum in Amsterdam, with an online broadcast by Killertv.nl.

It was a successful evening, hosting inspiring speeches among the others by Saskia Wieringa, Heri Latief, Max Lane and Yanti, well partecipated on-site as well on-line where many Indonesians watched the stream.

My intervention focused on the intense role that Internet played in the popular uprisings in 1995 that lead to the destitution of dictator Soeharto in 1998. Here you can download the slides titled Warnet Indonesia.


Spike Lee revisionism on italian Partisans

A polemic exploded in Italy, moved forward by the ANPI (the association of partisans who fought to liberate the country from fascism) regarding the facts Spike Lee told in his new movie "Miracle in St.Anna". Quoting the vice-president of the ANPI in Pietrasanta, Giovanni Cipollini:

The declarations of Spike Lee are offending us. What he said is demonstrating that he willingly realized a film without taking into consideration the truth of what really happened in Sant'Anna di Stazzema.

Spike Lee has so far refused any dialogue with witnesses of the facts he is representing in his fiction; the old partisans are offended by elements of fantasy in the story, for example when in the movie one of them betrays his Companeros, a crucial moment in the fiction which never really happened in history.

Another offensive point is that the movie suggests the partisans used the civilian population to shield themselves, supporting a rhetoric of war that tries to shed negative light on grassroot civilian resistance against aggression.

In solidarity with all the people who fought and gave their lives for my own freedom, I feel deluded too. I guess this story can go well along with the essay of Rana Dasgupta about Hollywood's revisionism and how it is harming society and its memory.


Avoiding ruinous compromises

Twenty-five years ago, on the 27 September 1983, Richard M. Stallman shared a plan to create a completely free operating system called GNU.

For the 25th anniversary of the GNU project, which during the years spawned a word-wide movement of hackers engaged to liberate users from mental slavery and corporate monopolies, RMS wrote an important statement about compromises we shouldn't do, explaining why it is more and more important to keep focus on the originating principles and how difficult that is becoming nowadays.

It is getting harder as it goes on, as a big share of visibility generated by our efforts is nowadays in the hegemony of commercial and billion-funded "philanthropic" ventures that are often neglecting to properly represent and respect the social and political aspects of this movement, as well its grassroot nature.

This statement was very much needed, what I understand is that we must keep in balance and well focused on a long term strategy to preserve the fundamental principles of the GNU project alive, protecting them from a growing amount of manipulations, of which a few can still be acceptable and useful to spread our social concerns in multiple contexts.


Largest bank failure in history

It happened today, even if most news didn't reported much about it:

Federal regulators seized Washington Mutual and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to J.P. Morgan in what is by far the largest bank failure in history.

We are talking about a hole of $307 billions in assets, with an expected domino effect as more banks will be following.

Recently i got more insterested in financial systems, looking forward to the day when our generation will finally have a word on new ways to shape economy - and seems that day is getting closer.

We all know about the financial crisis, but what is most interesting is the way the mainstream media are presenting it: hiding failures (as in the WAMU case) and advertising all kind of optimistic initiatives to "save the market", all surprisingly backed by state intervention. The collusion between media and finance leads into a dirty game of misinformation.

Let me remind that it is plank 5 of the communist manifesto reciting:

Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

Are we really up for such regressions?


Trappist beer to keep contextual integrity

With this article titled Prophet vs profit: dilemma for brewing monks Belgian news report the inspiring case of the Trappist monks, brewing a beer that is well known for its excellence.

The dilemma is that, on the wave of their success, they should choose between scaling their production to industrial level or remain artisans and miss to satisfy the growing demand, giving up the opportunity for profit.

I like their statement:

The main reason for refusing (to produce more) is that the monks attach enormous importance to a limited production on a human scale.

Enjoying all the inspiring meanings attached to the definition of human scale in this and other contexts. I just hope one doesn't needs to be a monk to nurture such good principles in life.


The Next Idea of the Artist

Rana Dasgupta posted on nettime his new extremely interesting essay on art history - and how history gets changed, and art as well, by the "creative industries". I'll quote here its conclusions, while i really suggest to read it in its completeness.

That the great artists of modern Western culture managed to produce what they did, despite the danger and intensity of their effort, was due in large part to improvised social forms built around close-knit networks where thought and affect circulated with high velocity, and where it was possible to try out forms of non-conventional human relationships that would not destroy, nor be destroyed by, a life of art.


In the second half of the twentieth century, many of the functions of these networks were taken over in Europe by institutions (government funding bodies, universities, museums, etc) and much of their excessive feeling was neutralised. This was only a small part of a general process of the time: the absorption of human emotion into bureaucratic channels, and the emergence of a social coolness, an efficiency of feeling. [...] In order to arrive at such a standardised, manageable conception of creativity, much previous knowledge about this field of human activity must be sacrificed.


Cyberpunk is not dead

This year was the 5th edition of the Gogbot festival, this time hosted by the city of Enschede and focusing on the "Steampunk" theme.

I went to speak about Cyberpunk culture and how it influenced and will influence younger generations worldwide. Here you can download the slides titled Cyberpunk is not dead which are also linking to the video excerpts shown.

The whole festival was amazing, well realized and with high profile content as the Singing Tesla Coil installation in the middle of the town's square. Cheers to PlanetArt for organizing it so well and choosing such an interesting and visionary topic.


Governments censoring Internet

It seems that "some United Nations agency" is collaborating with governments as China to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous.

The news given by CNet is really frightening if you think about the dangers faced by citizens in totalitarian, dictatorial and repressive governments. Those that are re-designing the Internet in such directions are responsible for much more (and worst) than a "safe internet". That's really a human rights concern and UN seems to be working against those rights now.


IT wisdom in facilities

Today's spot is an interesting article on InfoWorld about Why IT should get in the facilities business.

It states that IT's emerging challenge is to help businesses reduce energy usage as prices rise, a familiar vision for all those knowing how the free software movement has traced several "green" patterns with its development.


Free online university

Slashdot reports today that the Stanford University will soon begin offering a series of 10 free online computer science and electrical engineering courses. All the courses' materials are being released under a Creative Commons license that lets people download, study and copy them freely, just go grab your knowledge, cheers to the SEE.


Network sync of videos

It is now possible to have multiple sync-starters connected via network, scaling to virtually unlimited channels: this is the main new feature of the latest version of the IvySync software released today, a free tool developed in NIMk for synchronising multiple videos to the frame, see here the project webpage with more informations.

This achievement is a result of my R&D activity this year.


The state of scripting languages

A few days ago an interesting article on the current state of scripting languages has been published, offering an useful panoramic on most popular machine languages for rapid development: scripting languages are closer to human languages than programming, what makes them very popular out of the engineering context, for example in media art.

To better understand the evolution of such languages, might be useful to confront this panoramic with an older account on the same topic, as in 2005 was published another article on the state of the scripting universe.


Solar powered ice maker

An inspiring project realized by students at MAE Solar Engineering, the solar powered ice maker, in a prototype that could be developed as an efficient alternative to refrigeration and air conditioning.

There are many places in the south where this technology could dramatically improve the quality of people's life.


Quebec is contested for antitrust in IT

The association FACiL "pour l'appropriation collective de l'informatique libre" has sued the government of Quebec for not considering local free software initiatives when acquiring IT goods, basically violating antitrust principles.

From February to June 2008, FACIL has noticed sales of proprietary software for more than 25 million dollars. These purchases were made for products offered by large multinational enterprises, with no regard to suppliers in Quebec. These purchases hurt the Free Software suppliers throughout Quebec and are an obstacle to the development of Quebec IT enterprises. FACIL contests these methods as the association believes they are illegal and unacceptable.

Nowadays it is widely known that a strategic Free Software utilization in public administration could create thousands of jobs as well as a significant decrease in software licensing costs. However, Quebec's public administration (and still many others around the World) refuses to even consider and evaluate these options.


Security doesn't exists

And that's yet another proof, this time coming from some of the higher intelligence circles around network security, disclosing a design flaw in the "border gateway protocol" (BGP) on which most of the Internet infrastructure is relying.

You can download the presentation PDF by Kapela and Pilosov from the latest DEFCON hackers conference, although it was a little-known problem since a dozen years, I remember also some security experts at the first hackmeeting demonstrating it on Cisco routers.


Free software art

Today i was happy to find out that Javier Candeira, author of the article Towards a Permanently Temporary Software Art Factory commissioned in 2005 by the software art factory Readme100 in Dortmund, has started an interesting and hopefully growing website on freesoftwareart.org.

I was already planning to update and expand the "culture" section on dyne.org website to feature more "free software art" and Javier's initiative comes right to the spot. Cheers.


Colpo grosso al Best Western

Journalists call it the biggest cyber-theft case already an estimated 8 million people's bank and personal information has been stolen from the Best Western hotels databases to be sold to russian mafia, as the Sunday Herald scoop reports.

Wow, it almost sounds like cold war.


Aussie patent on pizza baked solar cells?

Nicole Kuepper today announced the discovery of a method to bake solar cells in a pizza owen using just some nail polish and an inkjet printer.

Sounds good :) cheers to Nicole - but please now tell the world how!

Unfortunately there is no manual: just a loud announcement with prizes and national propaganda, while the article talks about a patenting process that is going to take five years before the "secret" is revealed. I hope not.


General-purpose computation with GPUs

The GPGPU website introduces the efforts of a few people trying to re-use accelerated graphic hardware for generic tasks, using GPUs: CPUs built for graphics... they compute eh.

Today there was a buzz on slashdot, about "New Multi-GPU Technology With No Strings Attached, meaning that another company is trying to break in business with a open-hardware "no strings attached" product.

I think there can be a good market for Lucid Logix and hopefully some future for the GLSL initiative, considering that the current monopoly on access to GPUs is in the hands of Micros... guess who :) appropriating the creations of young asian geniuses as in BSGP by Kun Zhou - with what they call "intellectual property".

I guess dr.Zhou believes they are going to make him rich, what he might not grasp is that his money comes from limiting the legitimate liberties of users and developers who bought graphic devices and never had the opportunity to use them as they want.

With a truly open platform for multiple GPUs (cheaply produced in large numbers as components of consumer products), the computing speed of hardware can dramatically increase. Unfortunately what is already available by ATI and NVIDIA cannot be (yet?) recycled for the purpose.


Talking to "Pirates"

A Very interesting post by Positech game developer Cliff 'cliffski' Harris where he resumes his experiences in talking to pirates that are copying his games.

Some inspiring reflections are emerged, where it seems that most people pirating games are concerned about their quality and tend to pay them when they are really good and innovative.

More in general Cliff shows a very good attitude here: having such open dialogues instead of the same old impersonal corporate attitude help in understanding what we can all do better for ourselves and the people around us.


Italy is Fascist?

That's what people at Pirate Bay think, and I would say they are right.

Let me add that there was a coup détat in Italy just this April but no one really noticed: Senator Cusumano fainted, interdicted to finish his speech on the crisis of the Government, while several aggressions where having place in the Palazzo Viminale.

As a result of that episode the second Prodi government (moderated left) has fallen and people where toasting with champagne in the middle of the Parliament, which is not exactly what you expect from members of the government when their institution falls in crisis.

That's it: in Italy a coup is done toasting with champagne in the Parliament, then the "nation" is taken over by a filo-industrial police state that can be easily defined fascist in most of its instances and we'll surely see more about it, as they have big problems with people openly speaking on the Internet...


Weaver Birds

Today was an important day for dyne.org hackers and all our network worldwide: we celebrated our 8 years of existance with an important document outlining our Dharma: our dreams, visions and activities.

Some of us symbolically climbed vulcanoes around the world, connecting our campfires between the Etna and the Merapi, in a magical networked ritual.

Many thanks go to anyone contributing to this document, we like to think of it as an new open magna carta for all the tribes struggling to go in our same directions, while it will be corrected and expanded in the future with all the contributions we keep on receiving.


The end of Internet?

Among all these people selling governmental consulting about cyber-crime, none of them is really aware of the damage they are doing to humanity by playing with its fears and freedoms. If it keeps on like that it's easy to guess that we might be disconnected one day by some I-Patriot act ready to be set as Lessig suggests.

Then we'd better settle some plans before that happens: set your nuclear bunker online :) ... well even without a bomb-like event, it might happen that ISP's go for complete commercialisation as it seems some are already planning in Canada.

So please i2p2 and netsukuku and more alternatives: no fooling around, set a roadmap, emergency simulation tests and procedures. It's becoming urgent.


ISEA aftermath

I've spent the last week and a half in Singapore: facilitating discussion for the ASEF mini-summit and then presenting the dyne:bolic nomadic OS at ISEA2008 - and it was my first time at ISEA, a conference that goes on since more than 10 years now.

I'll note down my experience, as a "7th generation new media artist"... my feelings are so far best resumed by Bronac and by this excellent report by Brogan Bunt, while I still hope there will be some more discussion around, so I'll just mention two more facts.

My written contribution is not even present in the ISEA catalogue, even if it was selected for publication: Mircosoft DOC was the only format accepted (not pdf, rtf, nor anything else) and this excludes me because of my objection of consciousness to its use. Actually this issue is an extremely important one in several countries especially in the south of the World, but is neglected by the ISEA organisation that uses proprietary formats for all documents in the conference.

Another astonishing thing was to hear Lev Manovich giving a keynote that was basically advocating data-mining in a fancy format. I am horrified to see that the media art scene goes that way (and that's it, if you pay 20k SGD to hear such theories) when it should actually be one of the few critical contexts in respect to this worldwide tendency to keep everyone under control.

Among the few interesting things printed out I've found a list of "Viridian Principles 2.0" at the Luminous Green workshop mentioning as one important Moral Principle prof.Manovich might want to acknowledge:

Every design process is incomplete unless it takes into careful consideration what could be done with the product by a dictatorial megalomaniac in command of a national economy, secret police and large army.

Schade! I never enjoy to be polemical, but the need for criticism is urgent here.


RIP Georges Lapassade

I just found out that a few days ago: Georges Lapassade died. I had a very intense dream the night he died. I'm not yet up for publishing dreams and I'll never be, but well we were a pirate crew settling on an island and it all looked like a squat in Amsterdam.

If you are interested in rap, education, youth culture, trance, society and ethnographic researches then you can't miss his work. Unfortunately most English speakers know little because of language limitations.

Anyway here is what can be quickly found online: an interview in Italian (1995), a French article on psychologie sociale and a collection of some of his texts.

His books are really worth to read. His mind will be missed.


Ogg/Vorbis/Theora player in Firefox

This news made my day, finally we know that the next version of Mozilla Firefox will have audio and video tags to easily embed multimedia content made with patent-free codecs.

Now we should really push FreeJ forward full speed, it will be javascript programmable producer for multimedia content on the web.

We are almost there ;)


The limits of university education

Here an interesting article by Carl Wieman (2001 Nobel in Physics) about the need for a new model for education in universities, worth as a relevant addition to the discussion we had in Taxi-to-Praxi.


Secure your blog

Cats who code have some handy tips for wordpress users to avoid having their website defaced, worth studying if you run your own WP blog.


Why mod game consoles

A little while ago Codejunkie made some very interesting points, while explaining how to modify a PSP game console to run non-proprietary software. You can read the post here, among the technical talk it includes some good hints on why we really want to own every game device we buy.


Homebrew on MP4 players

There is a wide range of different mobile video players, usually very small and cheap (below the 50 EUR price range) and some smart people already found a way to reuse them: the spmp305x wiki reports details and progresses.

I'll definitely have one around to hack, they make it up for some handy little screens (usually 320x240 pixels) that are now also able to do generative video.


Nano data centers

The European Commissions 7th Framework Program (FP7) is working on a project called Nano Data Centers (NADA) as part of the its future Internet initiative.

Now this is a very good plan! i just hope this will actually lead to a working implementation (unfortunately not always true for EU projects), but well the people involved seems capable and several companies are involved too. There is an article on ComputerWorld reporting this scoop more in detail, unfortunately it doesn't acknowledges existing efforts in the same direction, as hive networks or netsukuku for instance:

NADA will seek to build an Internet architecture that delivers data from the edge of the Internet using set top boxes and Peer-to-Peer technology, instead of the network-centric architecture that stores and delivers content from data centers via Internet backbones. NADA is proposing a network of hundreds of thousands of set top boxes, hugely popular in Europe, to be essentially split into two: one side is the user interface side, the other a virtualised Peer-to-Peer storage client that stores and sends media in the same way a data center would.


More video input in FreeJ

I've finally managed to have a video input out of several webcams that weren't supported by the Video4Linux API and most important we can now get video out of the EEEPC embedded camera.

Libunicap is used for the task, working like a charm. Some more issues to be solved with all possible fourcc color-spaces around, but that's just a matter of time and testing more cams.

If you ever meet me in a coding mood and you have a webcam laying around please offer it for an half-hour testing, it will help :)


Playing the role of an immigrant

Against all odds is a good chance to experience life as an immigrant, at least for once, in a well done game playable online.

I find it a good perspective, especially considering that the most popular GTA4 game has specular similarities: you are an immigrant from Albania starting his criminal career with the mafia contacts of his cousin in the new city he moves in. What is that for a stereotype?


Recycled urban architectures

Thanks to Netwurker Mez for the link: here are shown 7 adaptive reuse architecture projects that are very creative and inspiring, I'm particularly amazed by the "house inserted in the house", can't stop dreaming how villages could be resurrected this way in the south of Italy.


Finally someone blames W3C

I've matured a very critical opinion on W3C activity.

I actually started with the offer RealNetworks manager Rob Lanphier made me in 2002 to buy the MuSE audio streaming software and all dyne.org software house, which I promptly refused as it would have meant to close all the sources as "Real Networks doesn't supports independent efforts".

What this has to do with W3C? well at that time Mr.Lanphier was on the W3C board for the "open" protocol SMIL - a board that, despite being proposing a standard protocol, counted all members coming from closed source companies.

That made it clear to me that W3C collaborators not only were ignoring open source technologies, but were active in investing for closing the development of open source software competitors.

Now a good insight in W3C's faults is given by this article, mentioning we should blame W3C for proprietary web developments.

It would feel much better, being an European, to not know about public funds as the WAI-AGE paying off W3C closed source agenda with our tax money.


The siege of the Internet?

This summer the visionary freedom of the Internet is under heavy attack by "middle-age" institutions and industries enforcing old laws that limit our future and install a climate of perpetual control over data transferred on the internet.

A discussion including people from Europe, South America and Middle-East is hosted on the bricolabs mailinglist: while FFII has warned about the Soviet Internet plans in EU, in Brasil people protests against a new internet law proposal whose dangers are explained (in portuguese) by the FSF in Latin America.


Netsukuku discussed on reddit

The Netsukuku project that our freaknet hacker tribe is developing was reviewed a few days on reddit, not really a good moment for Alpt to be busy replying questions while he is preparing his university exams :)

It is interesting to see how certain people have prejudices accepting a project that is made out of the well-known north-western "innovation labs", still they might consider that as of now NTK is still a well documented algorithm for its own kind.


Open Source HD player

The NetFlix is a solid-state video player marketed by Roku, which since today released the full source code of this interesting device that can play out several different formats including HDMI from network video streams.

On the other end, it's been a few months I'm hacking on the TViX 4100SH model to get synced video out of multiple connected boxes, but despite the lively community around it and the fact the system is based on Busybox/ucLinux, it's SigmaTel playback chipset (H.264 and MPEG4 hardware decoder) is closed source.


Secure, decentralized, user-to-user

This user-to-user could make a nice acronym as U2U :)

Anyway, i got the scoop today from Jeff, something called CSpace is out and it sounds like a good plan for a cross-platform framework mainly based on python...

...to provide a connect(user,service) primitive, similar to the sockets API connect(ip,port). Applications built on top of CSpace can simply invoke connect(user,service) to establish a connection.

on my list of software to be tried, just besides i2p and syndie.


NDS homebrew for musicians

The homebrew scene on the nintendoDS console unfolds rapidly: here createdigitalmusic.com gives an overview of NDS music apps, among them a very interesting implementation of WiFi MIDI to remotely control instruments.

People at Remain calm maintain an updated list of NDS music homebrew.


Foldable and throwable displays

More than being a bright idea, it is well implemented by Johnny Lee using tools available on the consumer market. I place my bet this is envisioning the future of video on theatre stage.


Say NO to ACTA

Back in Amsterdam I'm getting worried about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a big threat for free software and a tremendous step backwards in media policies. Let's stop it!


Consumer B gone

Tmp/lab hackers in Paris have been releasing this amazing hack consisting of an MP3 file that can lock/unlock the wheels of new generation shopping carts.


Graffiti convention in Paris

As a small break from the HSF today I've visited the Kosmopolite graffiti convention in a park of Bagnolet. Very good mood.


Hacker Space Festival

Today I've reached the HSF2008 on site in Paris, just in time for the presentation of NUI group on how to build your own multi-touch screen. And there is even an open source library, to be integrated soon in FreeJ.


Anti-corporate protests made illegal

Today Jamie pointed me out this case of a jailed animal rights activist whose only crime was to setup an anti-corporate website.

A similar case is found on Indymedia Antwerpen where an activist documented the responsibility of a hunt party firm in elephant slaughter, the firm followed with a dangerous lawsuit.

Even before racist laws, nazi regimes as the NDH declared as a crime the act of criticising the state. And guess what, now that corporations count more than the state itself...


FreeJ 4 Leopard

Since today FreeJ is one of the first FOSS applications streaming and recording Ogg/Theora video on OSX.

Thanks to some good time spent together with Xant and V@ne, there is now a ready to install binary of FreeJ4leopard that runs on Apple computers with Darwin/OSX 10.4.

Only limitations so far: no live video input from webcams, no live audio input from mic/line.


Mod chips are legal

Now also for British law, since an appeal court ruled that mod chips do not violate copyright laws, declaring innocent an Xbox mod chip re-seller importing from Hong Kong to the UK.


BBS nostalgia

My BBS fetishism today lead to spreadpoint (or at least what's left of it), with a nostalgic ghost list of all disappeared cyberpunk holes. If you're 0ld sch00l you should have phoned (ehrm, boxed?) at least one of them, eh!


Photoviewer hack

Hack-a-day launches today some good ideas about recycling photoviewers into video screens, there is also an hacked PSone monitor and most important an open source library called phack.

I think my next suitcase computer is going to have a screen ;)


Homebrew your apple

I've just found out about Leo4All, a modified Darwin/OSX system with wider hardware support for homebrew apples.

The minimum requirement of SSE3 enabled CPUs (core duo and such expensive new stuff) is a show stopper, still it opens interesting horizons, while some former Apple employees think they are a clone now.

I didn't reached to make it work on my recycled hardware, I hope someone does.



Frontiers scouts and border crossers is the topic for the Sarai Reader 07, among the others two good articles by Solomon Benjamin and the No One is Illegal collective.

Tickling interests for migrant issues, another recent publication is Tekno guerrilla by Fran Ilich.

All worth reading: migration is definitely an hot issue for our century, eh.


Scripting in the bush

After our successful coding sessions we tagged the new FreeJ 0.10 release, publicly announced and demonstrated at the LPM VJ festival in Roma today.


Free Software course in Art Academy

I'm just out from 2 intense weeks in Milano, where I've spent a total of 24 hours together with students of MA course Digital Environment Design in the new Academy of Fine Arts (NABA).

Here is an abstract and bibliography of the course elaborated on Art, theories and techniques of Free Software.


Freeframe on OpenGL

Freeframe developers have updated the video plugin API to use OpenGL and hardware accelerated shaders. Sounds cool, the FFGL SDK is online including sources for example implementations.



It appeared online a blog with photos, audio, materials and interventions about the HACK.Fem.EAST exhibition in Berlin.


Super Bertram

I've met Super Bertram in Linz last year: a robotic snowpuppet living an interesting life roaming around on the back of its inventor. It also has a phone on it, so you can receive calls from people people that see you in the video stream; it's all open source, made with cheap and recycled materials, very funny and useful to connect happenings.


Your very own water...

It might sound gross, but still i consider it a very interesting development on which NASA is focusing and even before them the Russian space agency: obtaining drinkable water from urine. Here some info on Visionpost (italian), USA Today and Wired.


Yearly research reports

I've just finished updating the website on nimk.dyne.org about my research and development activities in the Netherlands Media Art Institute, complete with yearly reports - 3 years now, still counting.

I won't hide it is my ambition to establish a R&D department focusing on Media Art in the institute: that's just an humble start, up to the readers to judge how useful such a department can be.


8 years of dyne.org discussions

8 years is a lot for us: that's how old is dyne.org. Struggling for survival since the beginning and until now, one thing at least we made sure in all these years, that nothing got lost. So today I reached to fix the mailinglist web archives, now fully browsable online, searchable back to the origins in 2000.


Skype in court for GNU GPL violation

Hack-a-day reports about the upcoming second appeal for a court-case in Germany against Skype, for its violation of GNU GPL license in redistributing free software in a closed source product as the SMC phones.


FreeJ going 3D

Definitely the biggest coding session on FreeJ ever, going on now since two weeks, will take some effort to round up the change-log. Cherry on top: Caedes (apricot project) got interested in using FreeJ as a 2d renderer inside Crystal Space and Blender, so now we have python bindings and full opengl support.


Sugar fork from OLPC

It is finally obvious to many that Negroponte's leadership on the OLPC project is deleterious, so he is left alone while several hackers are discussing about continuing the real development on Sugar.


FreeJ improvements

It's growing fast, among the new features: freeframe plugin support, wiimote controller, sound parametrisation, openGL rendering and a huge javascript api cleanup are in the making.


We'll move to GIT

As Mr.Goil arrived in Amsterdam we started our FreeJ hacking week, but first of all he blessed me with his knowledge of GIT.

I'm so excited about this new versioning system, finally delivering what Subversion promised: now we can really challenge widely distributed development.

Of course git.dyne.org is now up & running.


Time Based Text

Annet Dekker has published a recent interview on Time Based Text: another chance for revenge of literature in new media art :)

I'm receiving lots of positive feedback about it, thanks!


Taxi to Praxi

Going to the Taxi-to-Praxi workshop in London, plenty of documentation on the next layer website.


Babylon by bus

Armin Medosh published the Babylon by Bus interview we've made in 2006.

It's hard to make me blush, but he got almost there.


August baking a subtitled DVD

August has just written a practical how-to for subtitles rendering, with particular attention at the quality when included in DVD, see aug.ment.org/dvd.



Very interesting to meet Robin Gareus here at NIMk, while he is collaborating with Lilia Pérez Romero to realize her new interactive installation - he pointed me out his project xjadeo: a jack video monitor for synchronisation over the jack transport.


EU say no to p2p anti-piracy

Europe Rejects Plan To Criminalize File-Sharing

Seems that campaigns as I Wouldn't Steal went through.

I'm happy to have contributed somehow with the Piracy and Privacy campaign last year.


Soon in Cairo

Taking off tomorrow for Cairo, will be active on workshop and screenings hosted by the Contemporary Image Collective.

While still in Amsterdam I won't miss the Perfect Present Continuous screening tonight.


The Darkice guru

At the Territorial Phantom opening in NIMk I've met Akos. We know about each other by the affinity of the GNU GPL audio streaming software we have written, it has been striking to meet him in person.


Sicurezza e Privacy

I took the time to read through this publication by Vecna (in Italian) about security, privacy and psychological effects of terrorism: written one year ago, still a very interesting analysis from the point of view of a young security expert.

Now I'm looking forward to the acts of the upcoming PRISE conference: policies on privacy and security are core issues for Europe (which might be later spelled as Your-Rope around my neck).


Politube goes GPLv3

Kuros announces the release of politube.org website code under the GPLv3 (Free) license under the software name Tubix and it's written in Ruby.


The Wrath of the Apple Tribe

In two interesting recent threads here and here slashdot geeks discuss the "Church of Apple" and its zealot users.



Today's good finding is one of the most arcane-like generational language engines1 ever seen online.

1. meaning "Alienate ungenial go gangrene." or "In an eager, negligent analogue."


Hacker Space Fest

The /tmp/lab launches a call for papers for the first HSF:

The goal of this festival is to bring together people from many cultural and technological backgrounds and from different Hacker Spaces and Autonomous zones in France and Europe (and from beyond, if they can attend) to share and show what's going on.

Easy going, no big sponsors or people lecturing the masses, I bet it will bring together an interesting round of people, as the spirit of the /tmp/lab echoes the independent and autonomous way hackers like to do things, looking at perspectives in art and creativity.


Video graffiti and veejaying

It was 2003 when at the first Piksel conference Fukuchi Kentaro show us how to paint on a wall using a laser pen, a projector and a webcam.

Shortly after, the Graffiti Research Lab made it funky and hit the streets with the Laser Tag.

Now another Tag Tool is stepping on the scene, open in software and hardware, soon presented at Breakpoint 2008 - and I bet we'll see more after that...


Dirac ready for production

The Schrödinger project has announced that it has made available the world's first high performance implementation of Dirac.


RFID travel cards

The british Oyster card cracked, as reports Bruce Schneier and various other sources. Meanwhile the Guardian reports MI5 plans to datamine the whole public transportation database (not just ask single routes).

As proximity to suspects can be verified in relation to anyone, this will result in proliferating more suspects, which also multiplies the possibilities for false positives.


PAD.MA video archive opens

PAD.MA is an online archive of densely text-annotated video material, primarily footage and not finished films. The entire collection is searchable and viewable online, and is free to download.

The PAD.MA project is initiated by a group consisting of three organisations from Bombay: Majlis, Point of View and Chitrakarkhana/CAMP, plus oil21.org from Berlin, the Alternative Law Forum from Bangalore.

More than a good initiative: there is even some interesting new code. Jan reports:

Pad.ma is build with TurboGears, the site is using a lot of javascript, some jquery, data is stored in mysql and search is done via solr. GStreamer, mod_annodex and several other Ogg related tools are used for the video backend.

the code is gpl and can be found at https://wiki.pad.ma/browser or https://wiki.pad.ma/wiki/Source


Secret Rabbit improvements

Erik de Castro Lopo updates us about improvements of his Secret Rabbit Code for audio resampling.

It's good news, as this new release will refine audio quality of the majority of GNU/Linux audio applications around: his library is widely adopted by free software developers.


Online profiling and privacy

An interesting article came out yesterday on the New York Times, providing a comprehensive survey on "consumer profiling" and privacy.

Graphs are interesting, I just wonder what makes Yahoo so evil.


Apricot open game

The Blender community strikes back with a new project, an open game that looks very promising: Apricot.

Regarding Blender games, Caedes has been hacking for a while now on the integration of Blender and Crystal Space.


Digital games and poetry

Nestography is truly enjoyable digital poetry, especially for nostalgic gamers. Some game stereotypes are deeply rooted in '80s culture, I'm sure those who have grown up playing in those years will feel the tickling. The artist writes:

The problem with video games is that most of them are trying very hard to engage you without making you feel anything [...] . The problem with me and video games is that I want them to love me as much as I love them and they can't, so I have to fill in the blanks myself. - Adam Mathes


Facebook censorship

The social networking platform Facebook does apply censorship of contents referring to its competitors.

I posted a link to Yuwie:

Yuwie is a new social networking website that plans to pay its users (sharing with them the income of advertisement) and does not claim any ownership rights on the materials uploaded.

As more social networking tools are coming up, I'm wondering if we'll stay lazy and owned by facebook, or move...

which was automatically removed from the post as soon as i pressed submit.


Butchered From inside 14-dev-08

A new issue of the Italian hacker's e-zine is out, with the title "Weaponize your SELF", you can download it from here.


Sub-200$ GNU/Linux laptop

While Sony openly complains about the EEEPC market breaker, here we go with a new sub-200$ model: the Elonex.


New uses for old CRT monitors

As people switches to LCD flat screens, we have loads of them lying around: here are some ideas on what to do with old monitors.


More EEEPC hacks in tmplab

Here we go with Philippe Langlois re-launching my post with hacks on-going at tmplab in Paris:


Progresses on EEEPC hacking

After extensive testing in my own daily usage, the "dyneee" kernel release is ready for public. I'm just trying to upload binaries and sources (58MB in total) from hotspots in Yogyakarta... not so easy indeed. Once completed it will all be online on ftp://ftp.dyne.org/eeepc

This is just a start (the kernel actually) for dyne:ee GNU/Linux (or dyne:eee?). Main improvements on EEEPC factory default kernel include:

  • Wifi monitor mode (for wireless wardriving, kismet etc.)
  • Highmem RAM (to make full use of >1GB RAM extension)
  • SquashFS (allows use of read-only compressed filesystems)
  • CFQ scheduling and 300Hz operation (improves usage speed)
  • DM-Crypt (supporting encrypted filesystems with cryptsetup)

Wifi, VoIP and security news

Alberto Escudero-Pascual announces the release of second edition of book on VoIP and wireless in developing regions, two free online resources are on voip4d.org and wndw.net.

Meanwhile Jacob Appelbaum disclosed his collective research project with alumni of ITP Princeton University: Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys.

After all, it was worth to bike through all Jogja to get online today.


The Linux-Libre kernel

Jeff Moe (BLAG GNU/Linux developer) writes:

The official "vanilla" Linux kernel from Linus that gets distributed on kernel.org has non-free1 software in it. [...] After talking to Jaromil from dynebolic, looking at the gnewsense approach (which has to remove additional non-free blobs that ubuntu adds), and debian's approach I felt a single clean source tarball would be of benefit to everyone who wants a truly Free Linux kernel. This new cleaned kernel source has been dubbed "linux-libre".

Yep, someone gotta do it. Future d:b releases will be based on the Linux-Libre kernel.

1. http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html


Who needs Vi$ual Basic...

...when there is Gambas? A FOSS visual programming environment that is simple, well documented, translated in many languages, working on all platforms and most important: free.

Today was out a new version.


Property and heuristics

More slashdot threads coming up on the topic Facebook, Google, and Intellectual Property.

Some time ago i wrote on the bricolabs mailing-list, after wondering about a possible new search engine architecture:

[...] the possibility is open for a campaign against "illegitimate indexing" claiming the rights to index your own data instead of letting a third-party monopoly like google doing it (which right now we all let, because we need to exist) [...]

something like: i will not be data-mined! or go data-mine your own garden! :)

The issue of DRM in libraries should be related by the question: who has the right to index public libraries? And here we go with the local DRM Elimination Crew having a successful demonstration out of the Boston Public Library.


Why GNU/Linux doesn't spread

Quoting a comment by Migraineman:

Luke is sitting alone at his computer. He nervously inserts a linux Live CD into the disk drive and reboots. His roommate, Chad, enters from the kitchen.

Chad: Whatcha doin', Luke?
Luke: [nervous] Nothing!
Chad: Looks like you're installing linux.
Luke: It's just a Live CD.
Chad: You know, I've been into linux for years now.
Luke: Really? I'm just ...
Chad: Yes?
Luke: God, I can't believe I'm saying this ... I'm ... I'm a little dual-boot curious.
Chad: Oh. Let me show you how to properly set the boot parameters on that Live CD you've got
(cue the "bow-chicka" music ...)


Economie 0 conf


Should have been interesting... even not being there I've manage to virtually introduce two friends:

  • 21:00 Philippe Langlois
  • 22:00 Hans Bernhard (UBERMORGEN.COM)

Hivenetworks launches street radio

Hive Networks street radio setup is out!

Hive is a new concept that promotes "narrate and publish" approach to employment of ever advancing computing and communication technologies. Assuming the progress in microelectronic (embedded systems, DSP, etc), presence of public spectrum, and advance of open source, hive is looking into the emergence of narrative based networks, functions of which are defined by underlying platform, be it social network, (non)government initiative or commercial enterprise.


Art of Rent or *cough*cough* squatting?

Seems that urban planning discussions are coming up in the public this year in Europe - finally! - I wonder if any squatter will be talking to masses.. Momo? :)

First was Amsterdam at De Balie where this interesting conference by Nader Vossoughian about Otto Neurath Information and the Global Polis

(psst. psst. I have a secret passion for Austrian architects, sshh..)

Then soon the Art of Rent is happening in London.

Meanwhile a spectacular gentrification tragedy is going on in Istanbul, for the gypsy neighbourhood of Sulukule.


Fun ways to use a webcam

HasciiCam is featured as a funny webcam software tool in this article on Linux.com.

Reduce you image to ASCII - By using HasciiCam in conjunction with an ordinary webcam, you can stream a text representation of the camera input in various ways. For example, you can set up a Web page that reloads every second or so. That consumes less bandwidth than an actual image, though of course it's not exactly high-resolution, but it is fun to watch. HasciiCam also lets you output single frames into text files to create ASCII images.

Mmh. Should really find the time to update that software eh.


Frustrating build systems

Over and over again, still should fix things in freej's build system (rusty autoconf/automake), which takes even longer than writing actual code for it.

I recall a mail where Graham Todd suggested me waf, should really have a look at it soon or later.


Chinese Professor Sues Google

A Chinese professor is suing Google and Yahoo for removing all mention of him in China.

"Google and Yahoo, of course, have agreed to play by local rules in China, upsetting many. Legally, it would seem like this suit has little chance of success - but I doubt that he cares about the legal result. What this actually does is to call attention to his plight - and on that front, it's clearly a successful strategy."


Semantic networking to the masses?

Some people says in 2008 we'll witness the rise of semantic web services and the commitment of Reuters to tag the world seems to confirm this prediction.

This top down semantic web approach suggests the Quillian model is relegated to bottom-up and therefore easily neglected (oioioi!)

So far I kind of like Morla as a client-side application to let anyone edit RDF files easily.


MIT plans for a new tcp/ip

I've Found some juicy documentation, mirrored here http://korova.dyne.org/i0.ieee.pdf

Porbably It would be productive to get in touch about http://netsukuku.org


d:b soon on Das Computer Magazin

com! - Das Computer-Magazin would like to put the free-/ test-version of Dynebolic 2.5.2 on covermount-CD. It will be distributed with the special issue "Security" of com!

Suppatoll! There is a Rijndael-256 hashed SHA256 mechanism to automatically encrypt user's home in there.


Two AI Pioneers, Two Bizarre Suicides

Slashdot reports the suicides quoting an article on Wired, but what is most interesting is the discussion thread.

Many creative people living in capitalist societies are keen leave or in the worst case suicide as they "lack business sense": someone that shouldn't be forgotten is peer to peer software developer Gene Kan and the troubled life story of Phil Katz.


Study says google distorts reality

An interesting study has been published about google monopoly on heuristics of information.

A research team led by Prof. Hermann Maurer, chairman of Graz University's Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media, argues that Google is turning into a new version of George Orwell's "Big Brother" - creating unacceptable monopolies in many areas of the worldwide web.

Not only online, but also in real life: most of my hacker friends received offers to be assimilated. And me too, in December 2007 I said no to Google asking me an interview for a software engineer position at Google Search in Europe. I thought that even accepting the interview would have meant data-mining my brain.


Who owns Facebook?

A recent article was published by the Guardian UK about the "futurist" philosopher and venture capital behind Facebook:

The real face behind Facebook is the 40-year-old Silicon Valley venture capitalist and futurist philosopher Peter Thiel.

A philosophy graduate from Stanford, in 1998 he co-wrote a book called The Diversity Myth, which is a detailed attack on liberalism and the multiculturalist ideology that dominated Stanford. He claimed that the "multiculture" led to a lessening of individual freedoms. While a student at Stanford, Thiel founded a rightwing journal, still up and running, called The Stanford Review - motto: Fiat Lux ("Let there be light"). Thiel is a member of TheVanguard.Org, an internet-based neoconservative pressure group that was set up to attack MoveOn.org, a liberal pressure group that works on the web. Thiel calls himself "way libertarian".

There are only three board members on Facebook, and they are Thiel, Zuckerberg and a third investor called Jim Breyer from a venture capital firm called AccelPartners [...] who put $12.7m into Facebook in April 2005. On the board of such US giants as Wal-Mart and Marvel Entertainment, he is also a former chairman of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). [...] Facebook's most recent round of funding was led by a company called Greylock Venture Capital, who put in the sum of $27.5m. One of Greylock's senior partners is called Howard Cox, another former chairman of the NVCA, who is also on the board of In-Q-Tel. What's In-Q-Tel? Well, believe it or not (and check out their website), this is the venture-capital wing of the CIA. [...] In-Q-Tel's first chairman was Gilman Louie, who served on the board of the NVCA with Breyer. Another key figure in the In-Q-Tel team is Anita K Jones, former director of defence research and engineering for the US department of defence, and - with Breyer - board member of BBN Technologies."


FOSS and Art, content and tools

I've been writing a long mail on the Spectre discussion list about freedom and licensing of tools and art.

The FOSS movement is about software tools: as many other creative tools, the importance to be free (as in speech, not as in beer) is related to the autonomy and independence of productive use - access to media production means - possibility to create local economies.

It is a captious error to relate the social need of FOSS (and more in general for an idealistic total freedom in reproducing production means) to the strategy of total freedom in content, especially when freedom is not a social priority, but eventually a viral strategy for emerging statements.

Not even the Free Software Foundation enters the merit of distribution of art and cultural production, where a similar freedom as the one advocated with FOSS could render the economy not sustainable anymore.

On the contrary, in case of tools that are sensible to the people's communication, to the expression of their creativity and to the circulation of culture, there is the need for a neutral, transparent and modifiable framework of production shared by all.

If you consider the case that a graphic designer using proprietary software might find it difficult to show and reproduce her/his creations, you understand why the need for FOSS is urgent.

On the contrary, until just a few decades ago, it was much easier to build or borrow a brush and the distribution of a painting was mostly bound to logistical problems and not licensing issues of the canvas.

Unfortunately in the field of cultural production nowadays there is very little public support for people building free and shared creative infrastructures, while there is a big waste of public resources for the statements of fewer people affording proprietary means for their cultural production: no wonder why the nature of the project opening this discussion is antagonistic, while it also sympathises with open source practices.

Together with my contribution to the Content in Context publication it might be worth to reformulate all this into a new expiration..

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