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26 Dec 2007


Family Christmas. Its like living in a a zoo.

Well, I'm back from travels for the old folks sake. But it's like you know everything they would ever say. And so a coping strategy.

Been on the net far too much. I've just disassembled my laptop, soldered the USB port back, replaced the speakers, reassembled the laptop, replaced the camper bulbs, installed another 12v port, assembled a toolbox for the camper, arranged insurance and kitted out the camper all in one afternoon.

Clearly I need to get laid. So now I'm on `The Rules of the Game` by Neil Strauss. Will see how it goes. Girlfriend doesn't want to see me. Ca la vie

23 Dec 2007

The Awesome Power of Community

I'd pretty much say the secret of happiness is community. Plotting my own personal happiness over the past I notice that as I've got happier so has my involvement with community.

Things that make for a strong community. A shared interest is good. A shared interest that is a bit unusual is better. The more contact and communication between members is good, facetime is even better.

Get involved with a community. You know it makes sense.

Some communities:
- car owners clubs
- work, some types of work especially. Drawback is you usually only have one arena
and it tends to last a long time
- charities
- DIY motorhome builders club
- OpenSource software movement like Ubuntu (computers)
- surfing and travel clubs
- hobbies, scouts, airsoft
- radio ham & cb
- social clubs
- pick up

20 Dec 2007

Intellectual Property

Addressing Intellectual Property. The notion of assigning a value to a thought; usually an idea. I will refer to it as IP for short now.

It's something I think about a lot. It needs work.

Across the board IP effects every part of our lives. As the world changes the impact of a notion of IP is pivotal. What is IP? Should IP exist?

Consider the following scenarios.

A restaurant creates an innovate Molecular Gastronomic dish. It's a sensation. A rival restaurant begins to serve that recipe. Should they be stopped? Should Joe Public at home also be stopped from serving to his family?
If we reward the innovation this costs energy and stifles competition. But if don't the innovation gets little support.

Another example.
A fan listens to a new song at his favorite band's gig. The melody remembered, he stums it back on his guitar at home. People are impressed. In fact, friends encourage him to play for more people. Eventually he plays at the local open mic night and this may be involved in attracting more business for the venue. The guitarist gets no money for this. Should he be stopped? Should he be jailed? Should the venue be fined or shutdown?
A different fan makes a bootleg recording and remixed the tune so that it is enjoyed in a different way than previously possible. Should that be prevented? Would doing so help the original writer?

What about software. That's a common situation.
A company develops a way to process customer information in a very fast way. The program to do this has some protection. It is very expensive. Only international corporations can afford this technology.
A programmer, inspired by this investigates the program and releases a free version. Now the public can all benefit from this technology. With small companies using the technique used in the software the economy is visibly boosted.

Medicine. Lives are at stake here. Don't think this is some airy intellectual discussion. People are dying because of IP, so consider this real example.
International mega corporation has a cure for disease X. However, Mega Corp also produce treatment for the symptoms of disease X. As a result they patent the cure and but never produce it to protect the profit that can be gained from leaving the problem as it is.
Aids drugs are make-able for much cheaper than current price but this is not allowed. In fact, when Venezuela tried to manufacture aids drugs for Africa on the cheap countries on the beneficial from the drugs companies made threats. A quiet political discourse hidden from unified media.

Am I getting through? More examples!

Cosmetics. A less serious example. A chemical formula is available for perminent hair removal. This and any attempts to develop another formula to do this are patented and bought up by the cosmetics industry who have developed a massive industry for hair removal - eppilators, razor blades and waxing strips. Permanently easily remove that hair and the industry is gone.

Piracy. If you would never pay for a product then what damage is done? Most computer users have collections of IP on storage that are greatly in excess of their wage; 300gb of mp3's, is that £9,000 of CDs? DVDs at £15 each how many on your hard drive? What about software? Would you pay for Excel/Office at £200, Photoshop at ~£120, Dreamweaver £300, Cubase ~£200 and all the rest? Imagine we could force everyone to pay - I would wager that everything would come to a halt such a large majority is built on pirate software. Not just infrastructure where licenses can be tracked to businesses but the creative industries like music, media, TV. And all the creative day to day things like when someone needs to make a poster for a local jumble sale. It would effect everything. What can be done? Programming has to be funded somehow.

Trademarks. In time words like ipod, perspex, hoover, oakleys & tomtom get absorbed into everyday language. It becomes tenuous to communicate without using a trademark. This benefits the trademark owner and that is good but it means that people are censored on free speech. I have a Vaccum to sell on ebay, yet no one uses the word vacum, instead using Hoover. I can't communicate. For some words there isn't even an alternative. Ebay's Vero scheme is in a way good because it rewards the efforts of the brand... but how do people find the competition if there is no common word to search for? How do we find the alternative for Perspex and Selophane? Answer: We no longer can because we are censored. So IP is damaging communication here too.

At the moment there's lots of madness about round IP. Fair and efficient, where? Strange situations are occurring. What can be done?

There is one possible unifying answer.
- drop it in all forms.
But I don't think this can happen. I just think it's too much and someone is leading us to try to do the opposite. Perhaps it is workable for a micronation but with compromise to avoid wars on politics like drugs (should all be legal).

In the mean-time education helps. Publicize and educate to bring the world forward on this. Tell everyone you know. Watch for this in everything you see.

On a similar thread of thinking, isn't it best to legalize use of drugs and allow an arena for this kind of thing in sport?

4 Dec 2007

3G Three UK Mobile Internet, Linux, £5/month & 100kb/down, 40kb/up

I'm blown away by this.
Here I am sitting in a campervan getting 100kb download speeds for £5/month on linux.

Here's the setup:

SIM Card: Three Pay as you go from ebay ~£2
Credit: £10 credit with £5/month for 2000gb add-on from Three
Phone: Nokia N80 flashed to internet edition £60 off ebay
Computer: Bluetooth dongle is a blue `linksys USB100` (~£20 because you can extend the range of it by chopping the antenna). Software is Ubuntu using kppp to dial up on an IBM Thinkpad (£200).

Computer settings:
#sdptool browse > find n80 bluetooth address and correct channel (mine was channel 1)
#rfcomm bind 1 1 && edit /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf to add something like
rfcomm2 { bind yes; channel 2; # MAC address of your phone: device 00:00:00:34:F6:25; }
^ this sets up /dev/rfcomm2 as a bluetooth link to the phone, just like a normal tty rs232 serial port. Test the connection with kppp and `test modem commands`. Pairing the phone helps - I had to do this from the phone and set the computer as authenticated

Now kppp settings.
Username = 3
Password = 3
Init string 1 = ATZ
Init string 2 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP"
^ you can get to change the modem init strings under modems > edit > modem > modem commands

Phone number to dial = *99***# (this dials the default connection on your phone. You can dial a different connection if you like with *99***2# for connection 2 in the que for example)
Auth = pap/chap

--- and it works for me! Stoked! Now to investigate the same thing but traveling globally. Any info on that?

update 17/1/2011::

I've heard the APN is `three.co.uk` and some sources say user:pass is to be left blank.

Ubuntu has the mobile broadband connect helper in NetworkManager now too. This appears to work with a Nokia E55 and so should do the business on Android Froyo too.

All these settings can be made not needed by using a WiFi 3G access point such as the MiFi,

Solwise EnGenius Wireless 11n 3G Travel Router, or

Novatel 2352

Intellinet Wi-Fi 150N Portable 3G Router 524803


also, wise man once say:
""3services" is the one for 3 content (planet 3 etc) and the internet one is 3netaccess.

if you get the x-series data pack you use 3services.

if you have a 3 broadband modem thing you use 3netaccess"