The Chrome Operating System is Real

I keep blogging about this, even though the message seems to be falling on deaf ears. Let me repeat: this is going to put Microsoft out of business. Did that get your attention?

This not just another browser, it is both a browser and an operating system combined. This means Windows will go bye-bye – and of course, IE too.

Vaporware has been common in the software industry. Some companies, and Microsoft is typical, will announce that it is developing a great new product. This serves two purposes: it brings their stock price up and it scares off the competition. Microsoft, for example, announced its Longhorn operating system – but never delivered it, and had to settle for Windows Vista instead.

In the last company I worked for in Silicon Valley, we didn’t really have a product, we just claimed we did, and got a lot of money that way – until people finally wised up. In other words, deceit is common.

But Google seems to be different. They not only said they would be doing it, but that it would be open source, and would be released incrementally, as work progressed, so developers could take a look at it and see how it is coming along – and to see if it was real.

One young sharp young developer in England, who hasn’t even graduated yet, has been releasing his own versions of the Chrome OS. This young man does not have to worry about getting a job, he will have his pick of them. This does not mean his life is perfect. I have known some of these bright young types, and they are as good as anyone else about messing up their lives. But at least they don’t have to worry about money.

US Blocking Costa Rican Sugar From US Markets Unless It Agrees To Draconian IP Laws Citizens Don’t Want

techdirt

We were just talking about whether or not countries are really able to push back on the US’s attempts to export draconian anti-competition/anti-innovation copyright and patent policies elsewhere. Michael Geist points us to two cases where US trade representatives are going overboard in trying to get foreign countries to put in place stringent intellectual property rules.

The first is in Costa Rica, which is included in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yet like with other free trade agreements that the US has agreed to elsewhere, this one includes draconian intellectual property law requirements. I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of “free trade” — gets included in free trade agreements. At least in Costa Rica, a lot of people started protesting these rules, pointing out that it would be harmful for the economy, for education and for healthcare. So the Costa Rican government has not moved forward with such laws.

How has the US responded? It’s blocking access to the US market of Costa Rican sugar until Costa Rica approves new copyright laws. Nice of the US, right? Bankrupting Costa Rican farmers to force Costa Rica to put in place a copyright regime it does not want.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

What on earth makes literature so interesting? At least for some people?

Reading Crime and Punishment is almost like reading War and Peace, it is so long. Just reading the explanation of it in Wikipedia is a job in itself – and no doubt it has kept many academics busy.

Ordinary, sensible people wonder why all the fuss is made over it – or over any of the other classics of literature, which bore them to tears. On the other hand, literate people wonder why the common herd cannot enjoy the finer things of life. There are clearly two sub-cultures involved here, and neither one can understand the other.

I am now listening to an excellent reading of Crime and Punishment by Charlton Griffen. You would recognize his voice I am sure. The list price for this recording is $62.20, with an Audible price of $47.04. But I got it for the price of 1 credit out of the 2 credits I get each month for $26 – or only $13! I will be listening to it for 24 hours, when I can only listen for 2 hours at a time. I will be getting my fill of Dostoevsky for sure – but I am looking forward to it.

Part of the pleasure is wondering why it is so interesting – while being certain that it is.

Strangely enough, I enjoyed listening to it in Turrialba – where I could not have been further from 19th Century Russia. But that may not be accurate: he spends much time relating the squalor of St. Petersburg, and Turrialba, except for being in the tropics, may not be all that different.

AnonMail

Panama does a lot of business by providing anonymous banking services. These services could be improved by providing an Internet service to make email between the banks and its customers anonymous also. Presently, the content of bank messages is encoded using SSL, which is adequate. But the header information for these Internet messages, giving the source and destination for each message, can be easily intercepted, making the identity of these customers known.

The solution for this would be to provide a email re-direction service in Panama that would stand between the banks and their customers. Incoming messages from bank customers would be directed to this service, instead of directly to the banks. This service would then re-route these messages to the proper bank – and then do the same for outgoing messages from the banks to their customers. Each bank and each customer would have its own AnonMail address. This would make it impossible to determine the identity of the bank’s customers.

The existence of this service would not be hidden, but would be advertised to improve customer confidence. And not only that, but the method used to provide this anonymity would also be public information and would be thoroughly tested by experts – or anyone else who wants to try their hand at breaking it.

A similar service, Hushmail, already exists, but it allows agencies of the American Government to access its files. The service I am proposing would reside in Panama, and be immune from such inspections.

Anyone monitoring Internet content would only know what AnonMail’s addresses are on either side – with no way of connecting them. Methods would be used to disconnect the messages in time, and to hide them with spurious messages – standard security practices. This would make messaging slower, but the security would be worth it.

It is anticipated that this service could be used by any entity that wishes to remain anonymous on the Internet. As such, it would be a source of income for Panama. But even more importantly, this ordinary traffic would serve to hide the banking traffic.

Mozilla Thunderbird with Enigmail could be used to send messages to and from AnonMail, using public-key encryption. This would eliminate the need to develop special Internet client software, such as the one for Hushmail – and it would also be faster to operate.

AnonMail it would make Panama an advanced player in the Internet world.

Harold Smith
grownup_kid@yahoo.com

A New World is Dawning Upon Us

This will be a world where perpetual revolution is the norm, where we are called to transcend ourselves, destroy the past, and get more of everything – where we concentrate on getting more – and nothing else counts.

We are being called to transcend themselves and become different, to respond to a more exalted calling, where we will become new beings. This calling is both ancient and modern, combining the old and the new – but the result will be a new world, different than anything before it.

This will call for a new kind of person: one who intuits what everyone feels and conforms accordingly – in contrast to one who thinks critically, and acts independently – as this kind of person is no longer needed or wanted.

Getting more

This new kind of person will automatically identify with the organization it works for: usually a business organization, which, like any business, is devoted to getting more. These people become more and more wonderful because of all the wonderful things they have – and because they identify closely with other wonderful people. Any morality other than this is not relevant for them, because they have arrived.

Being objects

These new people will be less like animals and more like objects, in the software sense – where objects are self-contained, self- sufficient beings that can do particular things – in response to requests from other objects – with the whole system designed and managed by superior beings – in the software world the designer, and in the human world, the controllers of the power structure. As mere humans we will be seen as deficient beings, badly in need of a miraculous transformation.

A new kind of Self

The Self in the modern sense has been abandoned in favor of a new kind of Self. The modern Self was something developed by the creative process of individuation, and was unique: his or hers alone; no one else was like her. In the post-modern world, the Self is formed by imitating others: copying the most successful people, their pretensions, and the most successful trends. The people who are most admired are those most skilled at this: being able to identify new trends before others, and abandoning them quickly something better comes along.

This does not mean complete conformity: there will be an abundance of sub-cultures and people can chose which one they want to join and identify with – and these will all be coordinated by a collective unconsciousness – a heritage of our human past.

These people will be busy making themselves look ever better. Other than that, they don’t really do anything – and nobody will notice this minor fact.

Objective reality no longer exists

In this New World people are no longer interested in how the world actually works: in objective or scientific reality. They are no longer interested in reason.  They are only interested in beliefs: what other people believe. This is a serious deficiency, to put it mildly, but all cultures have their blind spots.

To put it another way: we are abandoning the modern world, mankind’s greatest accomplishment, and entering another Dark Age.

Trust on the Internet

I am continually amazed how trusting people are on the Internet. They seem to think everyone is wonderful and will not harm them in any way – an attitude they would consider naive in the ordinary world. They remind me of converts to a new religion. The Internet has opened up a whole new world for them, one that seems perfect – almost like the Kingdom of Heaven.

This kingdom, however, is populated by the same kinds of people found anywhere – and some of these  have found a hunting ground full of gullible people who keep telling each other the Net is nothing to worry about – and a media that says more-or-less the same thing: there is nothing to worry about in the Promised Land.

Let me lay it on you: the Net can be a dangerous place, and you should be as careful there as anywhere. You wouldn’t give the keys to your house to anyone, and you should protect your space on the Net just as carefully – and even more carefully, because the keys there can be counterfeited more easily.

You may say “But I have nothing to hide. Why should I bother?” Everybody has things to hide, that’s what privacy is about. Lots of people want to know everything about you – and will do anything to find you out. And once that happens, you will no longer exist in your private world – but only in the data banks of the powers that be. If we don’t have boundaries, we don’t exist.

This seems counter-intuitive to many people in the net generation: they feel everyone should know everything about them, because that is the only way they can be. The more of them is out there, the more of them there is.

To my mind, nothing could be worse. It is a new form of suicide: suicide by sublimation into a new world that promises to become all – but in reality destroys all.

Three Pounds in One Day

I would not have thought it possible: to gain three pounds in one day – after all it takes me about 10 days to lose that much. I can hear you guys laughing now, but I can hardly blame you: people always enjoy someone else’s foolishness. I wonder what the world’s record is – it must be an astronomical amount.

This happened on my trip to Turrialba. I went to a Chinese restaurant and had a  fried rice with two beers, followed by some marshmallows (a secret vice of mine). It was only a half serving of rice, but I could just barely finish it, even in my inebriated state – two beers and I am plastered. I was barely conscious on the bus back, and I was exhausted by the time I lugged my luggage back across the bridge to La Alegria. When I went to sleep, which was easy, I had some really weird dreams.

Now I am back on the wagon again – I hope.