Another Do-It-Right Check For #Eurowasteland

capitalism_not_quite

Aaron Swartz would be proud? The only problem is, what would make him proud ain’t happening where it should be happening. I mean, who cares about #eurowasteland anyways? Nothing comes out of #eurowasteland except new fangled ways of implementing centralised government and nifty ways to tax the sh*t out of people. On the other hand, while #americant continues down its path of Darwinian greed mongering, literally turning society into a cesspool of Mad Max movie extras elbowing each other in the eyes, #eurowasteland, every once-a-once, does throw a glistening light of hope into the ether of worldly greed. Yet, in the context of information being free, worst-writer has this question:

How do you differentiate between what is publicly funded vs what is privately funded?

Which raises another question.

If privately funded research results in discoveries that benefit society, shouldn’t that research also be freely available?

The problem in both the US and Europe is that conservative, neoliberal politics has so successfully merged public (government) with private (corporate) interests that information has become a commodity, informing has become a privilege and Mickey Mouse is the ultimate form of evil because, well, its copyright will never die. It’s a really good thing that #eurowasteland at least attempts to free information from the tyranny of greed, although I doubt this will make much difference in the end. Stupid will always be freer than… But I digress.

Rant on.

-Tommi

Link that lead to this post:

Not If But When The End Is Nigh Or How I Miss RSS

These images were taken from my iPhone 6s a few nights ago while scanning through Apple’s News app. This News app is actually nothing new. I’ve been using Feedly, Google News, Flipboard, for some time now. Let’s just say I’m nuts for information distribution. But the problem is companies like Apple are incapable of understanding information distribution. Facebook can’t understand it either. Nor can Yahoo or Google. The only ones that come close to understanding it are Reddit and a few (not worth mentioning) online news aggregators. Which means, what we get these days are Apps that give us the pics above.

Empty Apps. Empty world.

Boy do I miss RSS. What happened to RSS anyway? But before I get to that. There’s one minor (major?) thing I miss after having upgraded my 2010 MacBook Pro to a 2015 MacBook Air. I mean, obviously, I’m not gonna miss the slow boot times or the weight of the device on my lap or its forced (convenient Apple) obsolescence. No. What I’m gonna miss is the snappiness and purity of Snow Leopard and that grand mail client that also served as an RSS reader. Yeah, that was cool!

When I first discovered RSS (1999+) I was in heaven. Really Simple Syndication was a godsend to me. Having worked as an industry analyst through the 90s meant that I also had a unique perspective in the area of information gathering. RSS not only gave me a constant stream of access to news but it also provided all the meta data that coincided with that news. The best part? I had full control of what I subscribed to. RSS feeds (or subscriptions) could be automatically stored and were easily searchable. Which means: if it’s too good to be true then it’s too good to be true.

You can guess what happened, dear worst-reader. Like much of the Interwebnets, the owners of information quickly realised that RSS was not something that could be readily monetised. But monetising wasn’t the only factor. If used to the fullest, RSS is the perfect form of mass information distribution. What a dream world that would be (for us news junkies), eh. Yet here we are. News gathering today is no better than it was in 2003.

With that in mind, I guess I should give Apple some credit. Its new News App, which I believe came out with the iPhone 6, is a grand idea in the shadow of RSS readers. But as we can see from the pics above, there is no content available. Not much of a surprise there. Is this embarrassing for Apple? Doubtful. I don’t think Apple gives a hoot. In fact, it makes no sense that they even make an App like this. Unless, of course, they think that they’ve (finally) found a way to monetise information distribution. Since there are no subscription fees for any of News’ feeds, I’ll just assume that this is yet another failed effort.

One last thought. I believe that all information should be free. With that in mind, don’t get wrong. I’m not saying that all information has to be free. If NYT or The Atlantic don’t want to provide us with free feeds, that’s there prerogative. It’s just that the whole idear of paying to be connected to the Internet, then paying again to get information through it and then paying again to buy the software to get information… This is all just another sign of a greed society run amok and no one is able to see through it. Oh wait. Someone did see through it. And look what THEY did to him. My hat is still off and I will forever bow deeply to Aaron Shwartz. But I digress.

Rant on. -Tommi

Contradiction In Bigness And Failure

There is a theory floating in the ether, dear worst-reader. Yes, it is a worst-writer theory and it’s about how/why the DotCom boom was systematically undermined in order to save the new world order. Actually, “new world order” is a misnomer. It should be called old world order. And from here on out that’s what we’ll call it. But that’s neither here nor there. §As I’ve stated elsewhere in this worst-blog, I believe that the DotCom boom was undermined by the powers that be, which culminated in a pseudo coup d’etat that secured a place for extreme political conservatism, aka Fascism, in united mistakes politics. Argue as you will, dear worst-reader, that Fascism existed before the DotCom boom and you may be correct. Yet. For the sake of this one-sided discourse, I will stand my ground. Fascism most certainly took over after it was proven in the 90s that even a short-sighted, superficial form of free-market economics, driven by stock-price manipulation and investor creativity, could lead to renewal, if not a regurgitation, of an inherently broken system. And. The powers-that-be didn’t want anything to do with such a thing. §Up until the tech-boom of the 90s, aka the DotCom boom, the united mistakes economy didn’t know where to go. So some parts of that economy found a way to be set free. Hence DotCom madness, chaos, invention. Boom! Indeed. It was a glorious time. I for one profited greatly from it. Unfortunately I still don’t know the difference between a put and call, but, again, that’s neither here nor there–as I do know what a compiler is and I can boot a Raspberry Pie with almost any Linux distro. §What’s important to understand is how/why such an undermining can 1) give a once great nation a president that raised the bar when it comes to stupidity (Dubya) and 2) make sure that creativity, chaos and invention are controlled so that the old world order is not disturbed. Indeed. §There is confusion in the world today. It is a confusion not unlike that which lead to the DotCom boom. Unfortunately the old world order did to the DotCom boom what crazed religious nuts did to knowledge through the ages: it burned the abbey to ash. Part of that ash is where the likes of Aaron Schwartz rests. In other parts of that ash you can find drug ridden remnants of Steve Jobs. What you can’t find in that ash, though, is an answer to how we deal with, perhaps comparable to the big bang, what was left behind from the single largest bump in economic prosperity since The New Deal saved capitalism from itself. Technology is obviously overwhelming us. It’s actually more than everywhere in our lives. And now that the old world order has assumed the role of earthly policeman, in part due to its control of technology, it can’t handle the beast. Hence the NSA and CIA bitch-slapping each other while a stupefied Congress moves its thumb between anus and mouth. But I digress. §Below, dear worst-reader, a few articles that caught my attention this morn. One article is about how our thumb-sucking Congress actually made a pretty decent decision recently by nay-saying a law that would allow government to control encryption. But then that goodness is contradicted by examples of how the great machine of the old world order is truly clueless to how technology really works. Yeah, baby. Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

House Overwehelmingly Passes Amendments Blocking Funding For Undermining Encryption | Techdirt

Fed Government Suffers Massive Hack Attack | HuffPost

OPM Didn’t Encrypt Data Hacked By Chinese | Politico

Hi Jack

Dreamt on May 26, 2015. After spending most of that morning jotting down the tidbits, below is what I could put together in the last few days on this glorious vacation. The thing to keep in mind, dear worst-reader, is that I’m over my jet-lag at the time of this writing between May 28-30. Jet-lag works best for me while I’m writing. It’s not so much the lack of sleep but instead the time of day in whatever timezone I’m awake that seems to enhance it. Traveling east > west is always good for writing, too. I’m a morning person anyway and sleeping early and getting up early is best. So with out further ado, here’s…

The Hi Jack 

Back in the old office in the city. Like old times. I still can just walk in and no one notices. Wear the right clothes and face and never expect them to actually change the code-keys on the doors and you’re good. Things haven’t changed. Ten years later, not a soul working there that I know. I just walk in, navigate the labyrinth of stairs, avoiding the elevator, find an office and start “my research”. Research is part of getting informed. The news, bulletins, empirical papers from universities and institutes, Library of Congress, past client documents, blogs. This is a place I used to work and those things I just listed are a few of my sources–for getting informed. I go to my old office two or three times a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. I started doing it right after I left the firm. Even though I left with improved financials to another company, the work being very different, the calling of being an Information Specialist has stuck with me ever since. Today I’m not sure if I gave up my calling, if it gave up on me, or if there is something to the idear of freedom from compulsion. Nomatter

A few times a month I still go to my old office. Yes. I sneak in. I do it for myself and for sanity–not just the sanity of me but of the general public. Which means my work turned into me–or did I turn into it? Again. Nomatter. What’s important is that I’m in once again and it’s easy to sneak in on account of the turnover the firm produces. You know, the up or out corpo-work environment. If you move up within two years then you also move beyond the minions, i.e. the folk like me. The great thing about those who move, though, is that their achievements are not based on their being in anyway better than someone else. They call this crony capitalism, btw. Folk like me, though, are never interested in moving up because, I guess, in a way, we believe in what we do. Unfortunately THEY’LL never be able to get rid of all the people like me because it would then mean THEY’D have to wipe their own ass. And so. That worst-said, it’s more than just work, i.e. compulsion that I do. Information and being informed is a way of life. And I’m still not sure if that’s good. Not sure if all good things, too, must come to an end. For this “work”, this compulsion that I’ve become accustomed to, is different. Very different. But I’m drifting off subject. Again. 

Today, for the first time, I get to meet some really honest-to-God Hi Jackers. What? Dear worst-reader, you’ve never heard of the Hi Jackers? No kiddin’? Well, then lets get on with it. 

After a day of “work”, scanning networks and databases, old archives of physical material, I get ready to leave when the most crazy thing happens. I’ve just finished climbing down four flights of stairs. I enter the lobby of the office building and suddenly find myself surrounded by a gang of infamous Hi Jackers. At first I thought they might have been that new group that has been tormenting Corporates and Automatons called The Bombers. But I was wrong. These guys were definitely The Hi Jackers. Right in front of me. There they were in the office lobby with guns and bullet proof vests and hand-grenades and buttons on their jackets that read “DIGITAL FREEDOM NOW”, “Stop Government Overreach”, “Aaron Lives In RSS”, etc. Wow. I never thought I’d get to see these guys in action. You know. Interrupting the corpo-world, throwing smoke-grenades into offices, making secretaries cry and whine. That was only a small part of what The Hi Jackers are all about. Obviously their politics was something I didn’t quite agree with but then again, after making my share of credits/cash that would help support a lonely future in comfort, I didn’t care anymore about anything anyway. I found my way out. Right?

The Hi Jackers caused a bit of a ruckus in the lobby with their threatening antics so I just mixed among the rest of the Automatons trying to get away–except I’m not screaming and whining like a bitch. In a way I can empathize with the Automaton plight, especially now that they are under such threat in their daily routine. Obviously the fighters for digital freedom have had a heavy impact on the corpo-world. But as usual, as with labor and with work-benefits, when it interferes with the one-percent making enough to buy the next biggest yacht (of which there is always a newer one) then they resort to all they know. They simply leave the corpo-automatons to themselves. They go elsewhere on the planet with the work and in the mean-time have to pay less in labor costs. Now that’s the ticket, ain’t it? They’ve really figured it all out. And in #americant they’ve turned the whole political system into nothing more than a shill ride for the one-percent to get away with whatever it wants in the name of profits. But profits aren’t everything to the one-percent. Indeed. There is one more thing that is almost as important to the one-percent. And that is: power. Especially power over automatons. The most important creed for the one-percent is to make sure that automatons get no power whatsoever that they can wield over their rulers. And it has worked perfectly. 

Enter the gangs, the anarchists, The Hi Jackers. There they are doing their thing. Scaring the beejeesus out of every poor automaton schmuck that has learned to never have an original thought. Just get up and go to work and if you’re lucky, if the one-percent allow you to do it, you get to have a kid or three. AS LONG AS YOU DO WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. And so. During the ruckus the automatons in my old firm were worried about one thing and one thing only. Getting home without being blown-up by anarchists. I’ve even heard that not getting blown up is actually part of a standard resume these days. Luckily most of the automatons would make it home today. Good for them. Not good for me. 

One of The Hi Jackers noticed me behind a counter and he yells my code name: WORSTWRITER! I stand at a attention and they take me prisoner, letting everybody else go home. One of the other gang members takes my arm and talks into a microphone somewhere on his person and radios in that they got me. “They got me?” I thought. The police try to raid the office building but the hijackers just change their clothes to look like office schmucks and we get away into the streets. Now I am one of them. Or are they one of me? There’s a small confrontation with police and a few trucks that the gang uses as decoy and camouflage. But. Again. We get away. 

The Hi Jackers take me to their layer which is the home of one of their mothers–who I recognize because she worked at the office when I did! In celebration of another successful demonstration–that’s what they call it, not hijacking–I get to eat very dry cake served from an old colleague. Fancy way to take someone prisoner, eh. The cake is made of rainbow colored layers, covered with white icing and red syrup. When I’m served a piece of the cake it looks like a broken painting of a rainbow that is bleeding. 

“Tommi,” my former colleague says to me. “Do you remember me?” 

“Vaguely,” I respond.

“We’ve been watching you. Why do you insist on returning to the office? You go there at least three or four times a week. Why?”

“It’s habit, I guess,” I say. “I can’t help it. I’m an information junky.”

“Oh I know exactly what you’re talking about. But it’s over now. And as I’m sure you can guess, I’ve turned to the darker side of doing things–as some of us have had to in these patriot-act dark times. But. As you can see, I no longer gather the information for those willing to pay the highest price but instead I hijack it and give it to those who don’t know they need it yet. By the way, have you heard of Aaron Schwartz?”

“Aaron who?”

“Well, then, it looks like you’ve not been utilizing your information gathering skills to their fullest potential. What in the world are you always looking for up in that old office?”

Her name was Astrid. She had been working in the office for a few years when I joined the firm back in the late 80s. Although I was assigned at the time to someone else for initialization, there was no avoiding her expertise in the field of information gathering services–or her legs. Her speciality at the time? Telephone interviews. While most other information gatherers, yours truly, searched literature, journalism, coupon sections and the comics of all major US newspapers, others were better at acquiring information more directly. Did a partner need specific pricing information of a product in order to do a cost analysis for a competitor, Astrid would either call the manufacturer of that product or, if applicable, the retailer selling it. She would craft a storyline to coincide with her call. Some, of course, would call such a storyline a lie but when you were being billed-out to a partner in the firm for two hundred dollars an hour industry ethics are at best… permeable. 

There was a short pause between her questions and the preparation of her laptop. Astrid called up a website on her Dell XPS. One of her henchmen, her son I assumed, was apprehensive about showing me information that would connect me to them but he obviously trusted his mother’s judgement. 

“And besides,” she said to her son as the other two henchmen finished their bleeding rainbow cake, “Tommi here is an idealist.” 

She looks at me and continues. “Were you always an idealist, Tommi, or was there something catastrophic that lead to it?”

“Why would it have to be catastrophic,” I asked. 

Astrid turned to her boys. “You see, it’s a subtle form of naiveté. An effective trick indeed. I told you. He’s good. Really good. But is he good enough? Works on most but not on others. Come on now, Tom, why are you in the office?”

Other than the eating of cake the room fell silent as Astrid’s URL began to display the hypertext on her screen and I wasn’t sure if her question held any priority or if it was just some form of rhetoric. 

Her website came up. I was surprised how slow it loaded. Then I noticed the proxy systems on her desktop. She was encrypting each hypertext request and re-routing them through numerous anonymous servers. I was familiar with such search tactics because I too used to employ them. But I gave up on it all when I realized that I had nothing to hide.

Astrid’s website was a bland and plain. Grey background with a simple header centered at the top. It read Hi Jack in H1 letters. There were two columns left and right. Left was for site navigation and right was for links to other sources. I immediately took notice of the right column. There were links to websites that I regularly visited, e.g. news sites, rebel sites, sites of anarchy. 

“Wait a minute,” I said. “You’re connected to those sites? They’re all indexed, you know that, right? They could locate you right now if they wanted to.”

“Of course they’re indexed. And that’s one of the best forms of advertising there is,” she said while navigating to a page of The Hi Jack website. “They’ll never find us. Never.”

“I’ve never seen your site before,” I said.

“And you never will. Unless we allow it.”

Suddenly a list appeared on The Hi Jack website. Astrid tilted and turned her Dell XPS so that I could see its screen clearly. Slowly I read through a list and quickly I realized what she was showing me. It was a precise copy of all the URLs, time-stamped, including duration and both HTTP down and upload speeds, of all the research I had been doing at the office for the past few visits I had made there. 

“What the hell?” I said. 

“Your encryption is good. The automatons running the system for our old firm won’t notice anything of what you’ve been looking at. But we notice everything. So let me ask you one more time, Tommi. And please, for old times sake, give an answer I can verify. What are you looking for when you sneak into our old company and use their systems to research this stuff?”

At any moment I knew I could break from this digital dream. But my curiosity was awakened. And I suppose I was also somewhat amused. It was great seeing Astrid again. I remember having lunch with her so many years ago, flirting with her–which never went anywhere. I wondered if her son was the product of the man that had stolen her heart. The man so many of us were obviously competing against. She was like Ms. Stainless Steel in that office. No fraternizing whatsoever. And now she’s working with some digital freedom gang? And her son is a henchman? Yeah, right. Weird. Way weird. …. Uh oh ….

–Full Stop–

Possible continue. Woke up jet-lagged at 4:30am. Went outside to breath Curacao air. I could taste the salt from the south caribbean sea only a few meters away. I sat down to think of the dream that woke me. But I was more curious about the scuba dive that morning and the cute little fishies I would see. 

Rant on. -Tommi 

PS this post/text initially worst-written on an iPad 4 using both touch screen and a Bluetooth keyboard and some seriously shitty wifi. (Good luck with that, right?)

Get A Grip On Your Monsters

Never forget the moment right after #americant started bombing Afghanistan in 2001 when the Taliban leadership went on the telly and called my grand united mistakes a bully. There was also a time (in the not so distant past) when a simpleton named Rodney King got caught up in the severity of being a simpleton and thereby thought he could mix wits with the simpletons of the LAPD but instead got his ass bullied by a bunch of angry white men who are sanctioned by the state to hit people and/or shoot them. And what about that weekend-warrior-like dude, another simpleton, albeit one named John Pike, who had a belly that only matches mine, yet he gets to dress up in government funded riot gear (on those weekend-like outings) and thereby spray peaceful protesting students in the face with pepper spray because they want to say something about the world that rules their useless eating lives? And then there’s the recent government sanctioned endeavour by another one of our “finest”, a policeman in the form of a pointy eared druid-like living corpse who is allowed to shoot a man because that man would not obey his silly attempt at usurping a ghetto neighbourhood as though he were one of the local king’s henchmen. And although the list could go on and on, this brings me to our final bully for this post, dear worst-reader. Its name? Carmen Ortiz. This bully, along with all the others mentioned here, is an example of the dysfunctional #americant machine’s obsession with authority, control and running-amok for the sake of the few & far between–and all in the name of something righteous. If these people don’t provide you the message you need that #americant is out of control, then what will? I mean, the debt problem doesn’t phase anyone. Military spending doesn’t phase anyone. The nation’s basic infrastructure must be in great shape, too. And what about the cost of… Full Stop. Pause. Breath. With all that in mind. Let me move on. § Like most nation-states today, #americant is a centralised bureaucratic monstrosity that is kept in place and (dys)functioning by minions and automatons who all think/believe they are power-monger-rulers of (their own) little itty-bitty worlds. These minions and automatons do more than just work for the apparatus, dear worst-reader. They are, obviously, the mechanisms of a dysfunctional machine. And as I have most assuredly failed to say here, they all cannot differentiate between rational and reactionary thought. Which is pretty scary. And so. I’m very disappointed in the current head-honcho of all corporate and government automatons–Barry Obama. Why? Well. See links below and then… § Even though Aaron Schwartz was a victim of government over-reach and his case was nothing more than a “political” move on the part of a corpo-government monster, there is nothing to be done about it. Barry has said so. Indeed. We must live with the generations that are the mechanisms in the machine that is our monster. And there is one thing that connects all those listed here and all the other automatons out there: their behavior. Which then poses the question(s): How should one deal with that? How should one make their wrongs into rights? These people bomb when they feel like it. They beat people when they want to. They pepper spray because they know nothing better than the command that tells them to do so. And they also dress real nice for meetings and walk the same sidewalk you do. Way to go #americant. Where would we be without our bullies? Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

Obama won’t fire Aaron Swartz’s federal prosecutors | Ars Technica.

After Two Year Wait White House Does Nothing For Wrongful Prosecution | Democracy Now

Ruins of Bureaucracy 3

aaron swartz

Article.

This level of bureaucracy combined with compulsive behaviorism, which, btw, is the only way to have a career in either government or corporations, is also why it deserves the title American’t. Compulsive behaviorists represent it all, dear worstReaders. These pawns, these subhumans that manage to have “careers” only because so many others (most of whom can think for themselves, i.e. yours truly) don’t/can’t have careers, are part of the machine that has ruined life on this planet. And they all think that what they do is so righteous. And so. We (American’ts) massacre millions in the name of empire expansion (and oil) and force a few geniuses to hang themselves who believed information should be free and had the guts to fight for that. Thank goodness life is over before it can even get started. I’m going to buy something expensive this weekend to make my soul-pain go away and everybody else will too.

Rant on.

-tgs-

Ruins of Bureaucracy 2

aaron swartz 2

Please, I’m not one of those government haters. I only wish that government could, somehow, work better. But that’s asking for to much because it would require the participants of democracy to actually participate. With that in mind, dear worstReader, this whole Aaron Schwartz story really gets under my skin. Is there a better example of government over-reach? What about Waco, TX, or the IRS or wars of choice? This young man wasn’t about money or its evil twin power. He was just a smart kid with a promising future. Indeed. We are the slaves to a system that wields power based on a societal paradigm that is outdated, useless and, of course, authoritarian. Swartz’s death is yet another example of failupwardness and why it should be called American’t. May RSS live forever and good luck to all suckers trying to have an original thought.

Rant on.

-tgs-