Friday, August 27, 2010

A lot to look forward to on TV this fall...

My God, this fall is bound to go down in history as the most pathetic one so far when it somes to TV entertainment. At least here in Sweden. As if seeing Anna Anka make an ass of herself on a regular basis last year wasn't enough, TV3 are not only continuing with a new season of their shockingly bad show Svenska Hollywoodfruar, they're actually adding another show, Svenska New York-fruar! Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: Same crap, new city. I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth.

And as if that wasn't enough, other TV channels are pouring out similar crap at a stunning pace: Kanal 5 has a show called "Skånefruar" lined up for us, which I assume is about a pitiful collection of housewives who live in Skåne. Does anyone even care? And TV4 Plus plan to torture the viewers with an equally pointless show, "Ladies på Östermalm". Yes, it's just as boring as it sounds.

And if you haven't completely overdosed on this freak fest of botox-injected, brain-dead women with no ambitions in life apart from marrying rich, there's always Kanal 5's main feature, the brilliantly clever reality show "Kungarna av Tylösand", where the viewers can watch a bunch of retards getting drunk and acting like animals. Now that's good entertainment, Kanal 5.

I guess most sane people will have to rely on DVD's, The Pirate Bay or perhaps even books to get through this fall without permanent brain damage.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How to make an ass of yourself

Congratulations, Karin Rosander. Great appearance.

An epiphany

Social democratic politician Thomas Bodström suddenly realizes there is such a thing as personal integrity.

A moron without a cause

Centerpartiet politician Fredrick "It wasn't me" Federley seems to get away with literally anything. The latest news on this buffoon is that he's letting the taxpayers pay his taxi bills. No, not just taxi to and from work, but rather late-night trips to and from pubs and nightclubs, labelled "meetings" on his expense reimbursment. Sure, I guess they're meetings of some kind, although not of a very political nature... My personal "favorite" is this:

Efter två timmar hemma hämtas han av en taxi som kör honom till en adress i en söderförort klockan 04.52. En timme senare, 05.40, är han hemma igen efter ännu en taxiresa.
”Övrigt”, står det på taxiräkningen. 

I guess there were no labels for "Casual sex on taxpayer's expense".

The really sad part here is that apparently Federley is recommended to use taxis as his primary means of transportation for security reasons. The problem is, this complete moron uses all kinds of social media to let everybody know where he is and what he's doing at every given moment, which kind of ruins the whole security argument.

Photo: Politikerbloggen/private

Some refreshing political reading

If you're like me, sick and tired of ridiculous election banners and flyers that make absolutely no sense, and instead you want to read some serious politics, let me recommend "Det sovande folket" by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Apparently not too easy to get hold of in your local book store, but luckily there's always the Great Library in Alexandria The Pirate Bay. You can download the book here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Staten och kapitalet, revised version

This really says it all. Nevermind the stupid flyers and posters littering your mailbox, this is spot on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Socialdemokraterna grasping at straws

I swear I thought this was just a joke, until it appeared on the front page of every major newspaper in Sweden. The socialist democratic party, Socialdemokraterna are really grasping at straws when they make it an election promise to introduce butlers/concierge services and at the subway stations in Stockholm, apparently to give people the option of doing something useful while they're down there in that miserable pit on their way to and from work. Like picking up their laundry, returning a book to the library, get your pre-ordered food-basket delivered, and so on. They've even created their own website with this nonsense.

I don't know about you, but I'd prefer not spending my time in that urine-stinking, overcrowded dungeon. And if I have to, I try making my visit as brief as humanly possible. Life is too short to be miserable, so how about Socialdemokraterna made it a bit faster and more enjoyable to get to and from work instead? Yes, I'm talking about proper roads, where you can get to work in the privacy of your own, climate controlled, quiet and comfortable car, whenever you want to. Now that's an election promise I could stand behind.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why you should nurture your employees

I'm not saying the spectacular JetBlue flight attendant resignation was caused by this, but there are a few paragraphs in this USA Today article that should be an eye-opener to a lot of businesses:

It also casts a spotlight on a broader anger felt by many workers who are fed up with jobs in which pay raises, if they exist at all, are smaller or less frequent than they were a few years ago and with the threat of layoffs looming constantly, some workplace specialists say.

Slater did what many workers fantasize about and may do with increasing frequency — albeit with less showmanship — once the economy rebounds. "I don't think we should be surprised that once the economy starts ... picking up, there's a massive relocation of workers who want out as fast as they possibly can," says economist Joel Naroff, president and chief economist of Naroff Economic Advisors.

"That's the warning that I don't think businesses really recognize: You can pull this off now because there isn't really an option, but once there's an option, it's going to be payback time," Naroff says. "You're going to be losing some of your best people."
Obvious to most of us, but apparently news to the big corporations: You can't continue abusing your employees forever just to increase your share value. The moment the economy picks up you'll lose your best men. And women.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

UK police goes DDR

Speaking of eerie remnants of the DDR, the UK police seem hellbent on creating an informer society based on the same principles: If you believe your neighbours are behaving in a non-comforming way, report it to the police. Combined with the CCTV insanity going in there we've got pretty much a modern day DDR. A country where surveillance and informants make everyone a suspect:

The ad was part of a campaign for a police anti-terrorist hotline. It described a man who "likes to keep himself to himself", doesn't have a bank card and keeps his curtains closed, before advising that "this may mean nothing, but together it could all add up to you having suspicions".

You'd better not be a loner who doesn't like his neighbours peeking through the windows. If, in addition, you usually rely on cash rather than credit card, you're a potential terrorist.

This is the United Kingdom. This is 2010. For fucks sake.

Google are not big fans of anonymity

I have to admit I choked on my morning coffee when I read this eerie article on Google CEO Eric Schmidt's views on privacy and anonymity.

I mean, what the hell? Is this Schmidt guy some DDR era reject who fled to the US after the fall of the Berlin wall? His thoughts sure are very similar to those of the DDR regime.

"Privacy is incredibly important," Schmidt stated. "Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It's very important that Google and everyone else respects people's privacy. People have a right to privacy; it's natural; it's normal. It's the right way to do things. But if you are trying to commit a terrible, evil crime, it's not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity. There are no systems in our society which allow you to do that. Judges insist on unmasking who the perpetrator was. So absolute anonymity could lead to some very difficult decisions for our governments and our society as a whole."

And my favorite part:

According to ReadWriteWeb, Schmidt said of anti-social behavior, "The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."

In other words bye bye freedom of speech, hello self-censorship and thought control. And Google are not about to stand up for people's rights, it seems, which is really scary considering the amount of data this guys have collected on practically every Internet user in the world. Whatever happened to that "don't be evil" catchphrase?

I guess the first thing you could do to protect yourself against Google is installing the GoogleSharing Firefox plugin, which will prevent Google from tracking your searches and what websites you visit. And if you need to open a Google account I would seriously consider using some kind of anonymization software when logged on to that, so it can't be traced to your regular IP address. Of course you'll have to remember to always run the anonymization software whenever logging into the Google account. I'm no Internet security expert, but those seem like two good starting points.

Photo: Mikey G Ottawa

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Public service going commercial

So, apparently the Swedish public service television broadcaster SVT will now be featuring commercials. Fine by me, as I assume this means we won't have to pay that annual public service fee? If we are, what exactly are we paying for?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Americans are officially crazy

It's pathetic enough that the American movie industry feels the need to make Hollywood versions of the Millenium trilogy (because clearly they believe the Americans are unable to watch a European movie w/subtitles...). But this really blew me away:

Dessutom skriver tidningen nu att det finns planer på att alla skådespelare i filmen ska bryta på svenska.

Apparently the director wants the actors to talk with a Swedish accent througout the movie? I guess the American version of the movie will be set in Sweden as well, just to make it completely and utterly corny. Well, if they're looking to make a comedy out of it, they seem to be on the right track.

Wall Street panic following CEO resignation

So HP's CEO Mark Hurd resigned on Friday following a sexual harassment allegation. Fine. But am I the only one finding it a bit odd that the HP stock would plunge almost 10% on this news? Has the future prospects of this company really changed that much just because the CEO resigned?

The stock market is increasingly becoming a freakin' casino. My suggestion is we move Wall Street up to Las Vegas while we're at it.

Yoko Ono on the future of the Beatles

This is rich. According to Yoko Ono there will be no digital sales of Beatles songs. Apparently she's got a better idea for distributing music in the 21st century: Selling CD's! Clearly the 60's and 70's brought too much pot-smoking. If nothing else this shows why the existing copyright legislation needs to be changed. Had Yoko not owned the commercial rights to the Beatles' music, everyone would be able to make legal digital copies of their music and spread them throughout the world.

Well, Yoko, don't hold your breath, I won't be buying any of those "best of" or "remastered edition" CD's any time soon.

Photo: Caio do Valle/Public domain

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lies, lies, nothing but damn lies., the IT business equivalent to Se & Hör, has an article today on how some of the political parties stand on various IT related issues. The problem is they've just sent out a bunch of questions and asked the parties to answer. Well, you get what you ask for, I guess.

Let's go through some of the Q&A's, ok?

2. IPRED. Vill ni upphäva Ipred-lagen (som gör det lättare att hindra olaglig fildelning)?

JA: Vänsterpartiet, Miljöpartiet, Centerpartiet.
NJA: Socialdemokraterna.
NEJ:Folkpartiet, Kristdemokraterna, Moderaterna.

Centerpartiet voted for the IPRED law only a year and a half ago. Why would anyone believe that they've suddenly changed their mind? And why a "nja" for Socialdemokraterna? They too voted for the IPRED law, even on an EU level. These two political parties have absolutely no integrity in this matter and are obviously just on a desperate hunt for votes.

3. FRA. Vill ni upphäva FRA-lagen (som gör det lättare att övervaka internet och telefon)?

JA: Vänsterpartiet, Socialdemokraterna, Miljöpartiet.
NEJ: Centerpartiet, Folkpartiet, Krisdemokraterna, Moderaterna.

So, Socialdemokraterna who actually came up with the entire FRA-law back in 2005, and handed it over to the subsequent government are suddenly opposing it? Yeah, right. What they fail to mention is that they simply want to create a slightly different FRA law. Same shit, new wrapping. Socialdemokraterna don't have a shred of credibility in this matter.

4. LOGGNINGSLAGEN. Tänker ni rösta ja till att införa datalagringsdirektivet (som tvingar internet- och teleoperatörerna att spara uppgifter om hur deras kunder kommunicerar).

JA: Folkpartiet, Kristdemokraterna, Moderaterna
NJA: Socialdemokraterna, Miljöpartiet.
NEJ: Vänsterpartiet, Centerpartiet.

Wait, what? Centerpartiet have already decided for the data retention directive, back in 2009. Again, why would anyone believe they've suddenly changed their mind? And a "nja" from Socialdemokraterna again? What the hell? They are the only party in the red/green coalition who are still strongly in favor of the data retention directive. Nja my ass.

It would be refreshing if IDG, instead of just printing these answers would follow them up with these parties, asking them why they're answering "yes" when in real life politics they are clearly "no", and vice versa. That would be much more interesting.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More copyright insanity

Apparently The Beach Boys' record company, Rondor Music (which is - surprise surprise - owned by the "fine" people at Universal Music Group), holds the copyright to the phrase "I wish they could all be California girls", so no other artist can use that phrase in his or her songs without the risk of being sued. This phrase is known from the song "California Girls" which was released in 1965. Yes, 45 years ago. And still the record company insists no one else is permitted to utter these words without the risk of being sued. I guess I'm next in line then.

I'll let Rondor Music get the final punch here, as the following piece of insane logic speaks best for itself:

"Using the words or melody in a new song taken from an original work is not appropriate under any circumstances, particularly one as well-known and iconic as 'California Girls.' Rondor Music…is committed to protecting the rights of its artists and songwriters, and with the support of the writers, that is exactly what we are doing."

(E! Online)

SVT Play expiration date

Few things annoy me as much as media corporations try to strangle culture in any possible way. I thought this behaviour would be limited to the large, multi-national corporations, so color me surprised when I tried out SVT Play, the on-demand streaming service, the other day. Now mind you, SVT is public service TV, funded by the taxpayers. And believe it or not these incredible weasels have the nerve to put an expiration date on the material available on their site! Are you freakin' kidding me???

Sure I could understand this with movies or shows that have been bought with certain licensing conditions, but the thing is SVT is doing the exact same with the material they produce themselves.

As a public service broadcaster SVT should be forced to release all material they create into the public domain. That's only fair as the public has paid for it.

(Filed under "...and you still wonder why people pirate?").

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Burqa in school: Who the hell aced that exam last week?

There is a debate in Swedish media these days on whether to ban the use of burqa in school, for both teachers and pupils. The latter one seems to be the most infected.

Those opposing the ban point out that it violates the personal integrity of the pupils. Fair enough, I'm all for personal integrity as you may know. However what I want to know is, if anyone can hide their face at school, how are teachers expected to know who was hiding behind the veil on last weeks math exam? Was it Lisa, who belongs in this class or perhaps her older math-genious sister Vera?


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Diplomatic immunity

I was driving along E18 outside Stockholm today at around 9:30 am, on my way to a customer meeting, when a complete maniac in a dark blue Volvo V70 2.5T almost hit me doing a poorly executed maneuver in which he squeezed in between myself, in the right lane, and another car driving in the left lane, only to continue his journey of insanity. The speed limit on this part of the road is 70 km/h and this complete moron was doing at least 110-120. Enough to lose your drivers licence and get sentenced to jail.

Why this insane behaviour, you might ask? Easy. The licence plates were blue and had the license number BT002B. In case you don't know, that spells diplomatic immunity. This raving lunartic could do whatever he want, speeding, causing accidents, killing innocent people, and there will be no legal reprecussions against him.

Now I do understand the reason for diplomatic immunity, don't get me wrong. In some countries a diplomat could risk all kinds of nasty stuff if he or she weren't immune to prosecution. However I do have a problem with this beeing a carte blanche for people like the driver of this Volvo to do whatever they want without there being any consequences.

How about any legal matters would be transfered to the homecountry of the diplomat, and he or she would be subject to his or her country's laws - by default? Sure the system opens up for that possibility, but how often do you actually see it being used?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Internet Wars: Wikileaks vs The Pentagon

The Internet Wars for dummies (or those who just don't have time to read up on the subject).