Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spotify invites

Why do you need an invite to be able to start a free Spotify subscription (unless you live in the UK)? Good question, and I've got no good answer. Fortunately there is a solution for those of you out there who have not yet received an invite, and don't want to use a UK proxy every time you use Spotify...

Check out, handing out several hundred invites daily. I don't know how it works, heck I don't even know if it works, but other people claim it does, so just go ahead and try it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More surveillance coming your way

The Swedish road administration, Vägverket, are getting ready to deploy no less than 100 more speed cameras on Swedish roads during the second half of 2009. This will give us a total of 1077 cameras covering 2880 km of road, or one speed camera per 2,6 kilometers!!! And, surprise surprise even more cameras are planned for 2010. God knows where they'll find room for them...

The annoyance of driving between these speed cameras with my gps beeping all the time and my right foot working overtime adjusting the speed, is unfortunately just peanuts compared how this grim network of surveillance cameras is bound to be misused in the not so distant future. Look to Norway, and brace yourself. Being a motorist will soon become a high risk sport for the few and wealthy, even in Sweden.

The sausage

I have to admit I've never really noticed this brilliant piece of food before. The "halv meter korv", or "half a meter of sausage"! I'll have to give it a try some time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dual tax returns

Yes, it's that time of the year again, and I'm getting fed up filing these dual tax returns - one to my home country, where I haven't lived or had any income for three years, and one to Sweden. Why can't we agree on a nice and simple law stating that you file your tax return in your country of residence and/or where you happen to have your income? Why does my home country insist on knowing exactly how much money I've made in Sweden last year and how much tax I've paid?

Stop bothering me, you bastards!

Another ISP joins the list

Swedish telecom company Tele2 announced today that they will follow the example of other, smaller ISP's, and destroy all ip logs and other sensitive information about their customers that could be misused by the entertainment industry following the introduction of the Ipred law. Another fine example of a company that puts its customers' integrity above the greed "financial interests" of the entertainment industry. It's a pure pleasure to add Tele2 to my list of trustworthy internet providers.

*Update: Oh dear, didn't take many minutes for the trolls to creep up from wherever they dwell... Lawyer "Don" Peter Danowsky, representing the mafia entertainment industry, is already threatening Tele2, claiming they're breaking the law by protecting the privacy of their customers. Well, if upholding basic human rights is a crime, then by all means.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Stockholm Syndrome

Found this funny clip from The Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Stockholm Syndrome
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

No democracy for me

I just found out that I will not be able to exercise my democratic right to vote in the elections to the EU parliament. That's what you get for being a non-EU citizen living in the EU...

Equally frustrating is the fact that I won't be able to vote in the Riksdagsval (election for the Swedish parliament, the "Riksdag") in 2010, so even though I live in Sweden, work in Sweden and pay tax in Sweden (and have been doing so for three years now), I'm not allowed to vote for politics I believe in and feel will make my living, work and tax-paying in Sweden a bit more enjoyable.

Damnit! Time to change some rules here, and adapt them to the phenomenon of globalization. Yes, people do travel and live and work abroad these days, and to insist they change citizenship every time they move, just to be able to parttake in decisions that affect themselves, is just ridiculous.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Legally incompetent judge

Seems my assumptions were right. In my post a couple of days ago I listed three possible reasons for the Pirate Bay trial ruling:
  1. The judge is ridiculously incompetent
  2. The judge is on the mafia entertainment industry's payroll
  3. The judge has been pressured by the government into making a knowlingly wrongful ruling
Turns out it was option number two, or technically a combination of option one and two. The judge, Tomas Norström, is basically corrupt legally incompetent, mingling with the lawyers and other representatives of the plaintiff side in his spare time, and is a member of not one, but several organizations lobbying for stricter copyright laws.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trustworthy internet providers

I've mentioned the Ipred law before, and I will probably mention it again. Plus, everyone in Sweden should know what it is by now: A law that turns the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" upside down, placing the burden of evidence on the defendant, and at the same time allows corporations to act as police, gathering information and starting a judicial process without the defendant knowing it.

But believe it or not, there are some positive stories emerging even in these dark medieval times. Various internet providers have recently made a point out of securing their customer's privacy, by deleting ip logs and such, as they believe the Ipred law conflicts with existing privacy laws, and that these privacy laws are more important. Of course they are. Anyway, the internet providers who support their customer's right to privacy are the following:
Please support these providers by taking your business to them, or at least put some pressure on your current provider. God knows they need it! ComHem, for instance, won't hesitate to hand out sensitive information about their customers to the entertainment industry:

Hej och tack för ditt e-postmeddelande!
Vi på Com Hem följer lagen och lagrar information för IP-adresser enligt IPREDs intentioner.

Med vänlig hälsning
Com Hem AB

Shame on you, ComHem.

*Updated this post 2009-04-27, adding Tele2 to the list of trustworthy ISP's.*

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Trial

The Trial (German: Der Prozess) is a novel by Franz Kafka about a character named Josef K., who awakens one morning and, for reasons never revealed, is arrested and prosecuted for an unspecified crime.

Source: Wikipedia.

I was away this weekend and returned to see that the Swedish judicial system appears to have been turned upside down. Yes, I'm talking about the now infamous trial against four individuals involved in the development and administration of a search engine called The Pirate Bay. These guys were convicted simply because they provided the technical framework allegedly used to distribute 30 pieces of intellectual property (movies and songs). I'm having problems understanding how this could be considered a crime, but that's another story. The scariest part is that these guys were convicted without a shred of credible evidence, and with plenty of uncertainty concerning the involvement of The Pirate Bay when it came to the distribution of the movies and songs in question.

There are only three reasons I can think of that made this outcome possible:
  1. The judge is ridiculously incompetent
  2. The judge is on the mafia entertainment industry's payroll
  3. The judge has been pressured by the government into making a knowlingly wrongful ruling
Unfortunately the two later options seem the most plausible. This means that corporations and politicians are able to manipulate the judicial system to their advantage, rendering the law completely useless. You're no longer innocent until proven guilty, instead you're guilty until you can prove you're innocent - which is close to impossible, as evidence is not needed to get you convicted. A simple accusation is enough - much like an accusation was enough to get a so-called witch burned on a stake in the dark middle ages.

Add to this the new Ipred-law, that basically allows these corporations to start a judicial process against you without your knowledge (until they come crashing through your door to seize your computer, that is), and therefore without you being able to defend yourself, and you see where I'm getting at with my little Wikipedia quote at the beginning.

How many Josef K's will we have in Sweden before someone puts the rule of law and basic human rights before the profit maximization of the entertainment industry?

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm in IKEA hell!

Why is it that IKEA is completely incapable of producing anything that isn't complete crap? I've assembled my share of poorly constructed pieces of IKEA crap furniture over the years, but this one really takes the cake. Trying to hang some new curtains I ran into a manufacturing defect, or inaccuracy, that I thought was impossible, even for IKEA. Have a look at the picture below, which shows two different items of the exact same product, called Index, and with the product number 100.370.36. Now, you'd think these two would look pretty much the same, right? At least that's what I assumed. the picture clearly shows, my assumptions were wrong.

How can they even create two pieces of metal that differ so much? Who on earth have they got employed at their factories?

The only positive thing I can say about IKEA is that they're cheap. But then again, why shouldn't they be, considering what they sell is basically a bunch of sh*t.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Barack Obama is probably the most hyped president in modern American history, proclaimed a genius and a savior before even taking the oath of office. Unfortunately he seems to be little more than a lap dog for the mafia entertainment industry, from where he's already recruited several "hot shot" lawyers who have now taken over the Department of Justice. He's also managed to side with the recording industry in an ongoing lawsuit, using much the same rhetoric as the former president, George W. Bush.

There goes the possibility of revised, modernized copyright laws, consumer friendly business models, a positive view of the future of the Internet, and not to mention the rule of law out the window. But, of course, why would he change a winning recipe? Lawsuits, draconian copyright laws, dying business models, censorship and invasion of privacy are proving to be a huge success.

Ironically, Obama's propaganda machinery managed to fool even The Pirate Party who were unfortunate enough to endorse him in the election. Ouch. Well, I guess you live and learn, and the lesson here is to never trust a politician - even if he can blog and twitter and is on Facebook.

Personally I find the recent iPod story a bit amusing among all this grief. Wouldn't it be a perfect case of poetic justice if Obama was fined 6 million dollars (150.000 dollars per "violation") for illegally copying these 40 songs onto an iPod that he later gave away to the queen of England?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Concert tickets

I just noticed one of my favorite artists will be performing here in Stockholm in June, on a festival called Where The Action Is, and I immediately looked up the festival website. Much to my disappointment the only available ticket option is a full 2 day pass which costs over 1300 kronor! If I had any interest in the other bands, that could have definitely been an option. However, I don't. And I won't spend 1300 kronor on one concert. Sorry.