NSA Killed Groklaw

10. September, 2013

I’m not sure how to process this.

Because of the ubiquitous surveillance by the US government, Groklaw closed shop. Pamela “pj” Jones just didn’t feel like she could continue her work in such a situation.

If you didn’t know Groklaw: It was the site which cared about law and how it was (and should) be applied in the context of technology. They showed the absurdities of the recent patent lawsuits and other economic war games like the famous lawsuit between IBM and SCO.

And now it’s gone.

I feel guilty because I didn’t notice.

And after reading pj’s last article, I wonder whether her reaction is too emotional or actually more appropriate than my own “it won’t be that bad” attitude.

Now some people will say it’s not a problem. The NSA isn’t allowed to monitor US citizens.

Wrong. It’s way too complicated to filter your mails out of the traffic. So the NSA stores them anyway. And as soon as you write an email to a non-US person, they can watch you without breaking any laws. How much? All the mails? Just the ones which you exchange with someone else on the planet? Who knows. You think you can find out? They know all about you but they won’t tell you anything.

Or maybe you think that you have nothing to hide.

Really? Send me copies of your bank accounts, please. Oh, and photos of your home, your timetable (especially when no one is at home) and where you keep your spare key. How about a password list? Of course, I’m not going to abuse this information. What do you think of me?

And, as pj correctly wrote in her last article, the problem with surveillance has never been what anyone might have to hide.

Instead, the state is suddenly treating its citizens like enemies, creating an atmosphere of distrust. Also, in a few years or maybe even months, “smart” computer programs will look for patterns in the huge amounts of data that the NSA collects. They will stop looking for “Who is a terrorist” and start looking for “Who might become a terrorist?” It makes sense, doesn’t it?

If you have ever used a computer, then you know how dumb and uncaring they are. And suddenly, they decide who is a terrorist? Without anyone being able to second guess this? When the police comes kicking in your door, they won’t even be allowed to tell you why – national security.

i said before: I’m all for surveillance but for everyone. You want to watch me? Well, good. I want to watch all the people in the government. I want to know who they met, how long, what they talked about, how they voted, every penny they goes though their bank accounts. While we’re at it, I want the same for the management layer of big corporations. They are often as big as small states. We observe those, why not corporations?

What, no? Why not? How can it be OK to watch me, a nobody, but not the people who make the big decisions?


Learning JavaScript Design Patterns by Addy Osmani

6. September, 2013

Learning JavaScript Design Patterns” is a free eBook (also available in print via O’Reilly Media) by Addy Osmani which explains how to apply various design patterns to JavaScript.

It’s not only a great resource to improve your JavaScript skills or an easily understandable refresher of design patterns (if you didn’t understand the C/C++ or Java versions, this is the place to go!).

It also lists some of the latest patterns that you might have missed like the MVVM pattern.

Last but not least, it can serve as a test for huge HTML pages 😉


Wine on OpenSUSE Without Sound

4. September, 2013

Yesterday, I tried to install the Windows game Homeworld on my openSUSE 12.3. After a couple of problems, the no-cd patch, I could start the game with:

/opt/cxoffice/bin/cxrun --bottle Homeworld homeworld.exe /1600 /enable3DNow /enableSSE /device gl /heap 1073741824

Note: For /device gl, you must install DirectX 9.

The main problem: No sound. Starting the Wine Configuration, I saw that it was using winealsa.drv in the Audio tab.

Looking into the terminal finally solved the mystery:

ALSA lib dlmisc.c:236:(snd1_dlobj_cache_get) Cannot open shared library /usr/lib/alsa-lib/libasound_module_pcm_pulse.so
ALSA lib dlmisc.c:236:(snd1_dlobj_cache_get) Cannot open shared library /usr/lib/alsa-lib/libasound_module_pcm_pulse.so

My system is 64bit but Crossover is probably a 32bit application.

Installing alsa-plugins-pulse-32bit finally solved the problem.

Also make sure you have this in your ~/.asoundrc:

pcm.!default {
    type pulse
}
ctl.!default {
    type pulse
}

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