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filling the void

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pendulum - Through The Loop

So hot right now!
Unfortunately, no actual video, just (what I can only assume is) the cover art for the album.
Still, it's a banging tune.

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From Thin Client to PC and Back Again

Back in the day, normal people couldn't afford computers. Computers were lumbering behemoths the size of apartments, and if you wanted on one, you had to either be at some university, or in the employ of a wealthy technology company. Even when you were in a position to get to use computers, you did it in a time-share basis, from what was then known as a terminal, and what is now known as a thin client. Multiple users per computer, and the computer was rarely, if ever, in the same room (or even building, city or state) that you were in.
As technology progresses, computers became smaller and less expensive, until the point where they started moving in to people's living rooms, and started fulfilling the dream of a computer in each home. People wanted their own computers because of the speed they provided, and the simplicity, and for a myriad of other reasons. Now however, with the advent of broadband in (almost) every house and things like Google Docs (Office replacement usable in your browser), we are moving away from the powerful home computer, and putting all our information and computing power needs in large servers. If this trend progresses, the only home "computers" we will need will be thin shells of systems whose only functionality will be to connect us to the big mainframes to fulfill all our computing needs.
This is the next step in evolution, and it is considered by the hype mongers as the next big thing. For whatever reasons, this is seen mostly as a good thing, however not everyone agrees.
While doing some computation on a remote basis can be a good idea, me and others believe that it might not be the end-all-be-all solution to computing for the next century.

The thing is that people who advocate this has lost sight of why people wanted home computers in the first place. The problem is that when everybody has invested in solutions like this, they will come to their senses and scream for their home computers back. Slowly, a new home computer market will emerge, and in a while we will be back to using powerful workstations sitting under our desks, or in our laps. Until someone claims that thin clients and working against a central computer is the way to go, and the circle repeats once more.

This might not necessarily be an evil thing, but for the sake of economy and progress, I would really like for us to strike a balance between home computers and mainframes sooner rather than later. Seeing as how technology companies are only interested in selling you new stuff, they would be delighted if we go from one end to the spectrum to the other every 25 years, but I think that it would be detrimental to the speed of development and to the wallets of the computer users in the world if we did.
If we could find a balance quicker, and then put all effort into making the technology that exists in that balanced state better, if we can get everybody putting money and effort into a common goal, we can become more technologically advanced (or as the marketers would say, get more for less, or better performance for less money, call now!) in a shorter time span, and I think that everyone who isn't a Luddite or Amish can agree that that is mostly a good thing™.

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Die Industrie

I guess I'm not the only one with a passion for industrial sites. Especially old and disused ones.
Check out Endangered Machinery for some nice pictures.

On the same note, it might be worth checking out kiddofspeed, a (what I can only assume is) Ukrainian girl and her motorcycle that she takes on day trips into "the zone", a.k.a Chernobyl. Pretty awesome stuff.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

How is this not exactly the same thing as Delayed Circadian Rythm?


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wall of Text

Time for some re-posting of articles that were too good to not let people know about.
The first one is about illegal immigration from Drivl.
The other one is about a cyber attack on Estonia from Wired.

They are both very well written and incredibly interesting. They are both quite lengthy, but well worth it, if you are interested in those kinds of things.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Delayed Circadian Rythm

I "suffer" from a condition known as DCR, or Delayed Circadian Rhythm. What this means is that I have a slower than average (24h) circadian rhythm. In practise, this means that I have trouble getting up in the morning (like most people in my profession), and I prefer staying up at night, which is also when I have the most energy (yet again like most people in my profession).

I'm not entirely sure I'm really suffering from this though. I mean I know getting up in the morning can be a bitch, but I've always attributed it to the fact that going to sleep at 4 am doesn't give you the necessary 8 hours to get up at 6 or 8 or whenever.
Suffering or not, there is a cure. There are several companies that make these devices, but I took some circadian rhythm test at http://www.apollolight.com, which seemed sincere enough. They gave me a tailored answer that seemed to be in line with the data I filled in to their form.
Apparently you can either take time-release melatonin capsules just before you go to bed, or you can purchase a lamp or light box (they strongly advice to get their brand, of course) that you would use on a schedule every morning to get your circadian rhythm back on track.
I have heard that these lamps can do wonders for you, and I'd love to have them permanently installed in my fixtures, but according to people in the know, that'll only exacerbate the problem, which in this case I guess would mean that you stay awake all the time.

I do know this, living in countries with long winters and few sun hours per day (if there is ever sun, rather than just a white-grey cover of clouds) makes Markus a dull boy. The virtue of being a student (there aren't that many virtues, trust me) is that you rarely have to get up particularly early in the day.
I don't mind the late nights though, and the early mornings I can live with. The biggest problem is that I feel sad and depressed during the day. I'd really like to get rid of that particular annoyance in my life, and then I could happily live with the rest.

EDITED TO ADD: I check Seasonal Affective Disorder up on wikipedia, and BAM!, it says that Swedes are common sufferers. Almost 20% of the population, apparently. The only two regions of the world mentioned are the US and Scandinavia. Very telling about my part of the world at least.


Social Networking Revisited

It turns out that I wasn't the only person thinking about centralizing social networking.
Actually, my idea was to have a standardized format so that data could be moved easily, but this guy is proposing meshing the whole thing, and having a centralized login. Some interesting discussion. After my last article on social networking, a friend of mine told me that he had had just such an idea (centralizing social networking) before.


Monday, August 20, 2007


Someone once said The things you own will end up owning you. I seem to have heard it in connection with Buddhism and Fight Club. The thing is that it is utterly true.
I don't claim to have that much stuff. I'm not a particularly rich person, and I live in a tiny hole-in-the-wall. What I do have, however, seems to be all over the place, even when I put my things where they belong. I have so many thing that I keep for the sole reason of "ohh, I'm sure I'll use this again some day". For some things it is good, like bank papers and receipts and stuff of that nature. For other things like clothes or electronics, it is quite the opposite. I, for instance, have a sandwich maker in a bag that I haven't used for years, but I can't bring myself to throw it away, because it's a 50 euro sandwich maker, and I'm a poor student.

I would absolutely love to be able to live out of a bag, with just my computer, my music, some clothes and some other knickknacks, but it seems to be impossible. If nothing else, all the books I amass take up a shitload of space, and that's not counting the 3 boxes of books I have stashed in my dad's garage. All in all, I have too much shit. I've gotten it down to as small a core as I can, and I still have too much stuff that never sees the light of day. No matter how hard I try, I can't get rid of it. The fact that I have no storage room to put it in, and that I have to have it in boxes and bags on my floor further exacerbates the problem.

The things I own have truly ended up owning me. What I need is a proper fire to forcibly make me part with all my shit (and give me some insurance money to buy half of it back with).

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Hitman Trailer Out

I just found out today that the trailer for Hitman is out. At first I had heard rumors that Vin Diesel was going to star as the Agent 47, which I think would have been spot on.
For those of you who haven't played the games, Agent 47 is a bald, buff and merciless contract killer. I think Vin Diesel could have full filled these criteria easily, but instead, the filmmakers chose to go with Timothy Olyphant. Now, as much as I like Timothy's previous work, he is in no way, shape or form cut out to play Agent 47. Not only is he too short and way to skinny to pull it off, but he also doesn't have the deep brooding silent resolve that Agent 47 seems to have. Timothy is much too happy to play this role.

The trailer does seen to follow the games quite well, so it will still be entertaining to watch, even though (as the person on whose blog I found the trailer also claims) the main character will be played by the "wrong" guy. The original author and I disagree on the possible use of Vin Diesel, but we both agree that choosing Timmy here was the wrong choice.

EDITED TO ADD: Jason Statham (The Transporter) would have been a kick-ass choice too, but apparently he declined.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Norton Anti-Virus checking out the competition.

This is a screenshot from the SysInternals app called Process Monitor. It checks what files and registry values other applications request in real-time. I was looking at it, and I saw something flash by that looked weird. I scrolled back up and found this.

(As always, blogger does mean things to my images, but if you click it, you will see what I mean)

It seems that Norton Anti-Virus makes it their business to know if McAfee or PC-cillin is installed.
I have no idea why, and it's probably benign, but it doesn't seem like it is any of their business whether a computer has competing software installed or not. I wonder if this gets sent along with requests for virus definition updates.

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Selling the Car

I finally put my Miata up for sale. I really don't want to part with it, but I have to face the hard fact that I just can't afford to keep putting money in to it as a student. It is unfortunate, because I really love my car. The ad (which will expire in a couple of weeks) is on display here.
I really hope I get someone to buy it soon, I really need the cash.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Webstats and popups

I've changed the visitor statistics tracker I use to Google Analytics. Hopefully this will work better, and not show any ads.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Going home

Last day here today. I'm leaving to go back to Holland tomorrow, and it feels great.
Coming back to Sweden for a week like this makes my resolve to stay the fuck away from here even stronger.
Tomorrow I'll get to see my baby, and few things make me as happy as seeing her.
I don't see myself coming back here in the forseable future, at all.


Saturday, August 11, 2007


I had a nice evening tonight. I was supposed to meet an old friend of mine, but for reasons unknown, she didn't pick up the phone the three times I called her, and she failed to respond to my text message, so I guess she had better things to do. I really don't like to be stood up. It is very damaging to my (quite possibly overinflated) ego.
In any case, not seeing her freed up the first part of my evening, so I hooked up with my brother and some friend of his to pass the time before the next point on my social calendar.
A friend of mine whom I have never met before was passing through Stockholm today, and we decided to meet up, since we were going to be in the city at the same time anyway.
I proceeded to meet my friend and his two companion on Mediterranean time, meaning just after dinner, around 23.00 o'clock.
We ambulated a bit, and then proceeded to go to a bar I had visited a couple of times when I was younger. It was your average high-school club. The people, women and men alike, were young, drunk, scantily clad, and apparently willing to do anything to get laid. Not a place I would normally visit, but as my friends were clad in shorts, we wouldn't have been able to enter any other establishment. In fact, we were barely able to enter this one. I also wanted to give them a taste of seedy underbelly of a normal night out for the people from Stockholm's B-(and C and D, for that matter)List.
Whatever damage my ego had previously taken had now been restored by the hungry looks from inebriated women with naught but a thread to cover their abundant décolletages.
I am almost certain that I could have taken home almost any of the numerous women from this almost seedy establishment. In fact, I'm certain that any of the four of us could have done the same. (I guess that would be men, in the case of my friend sister, but who's counting).
Being able to take someone home for some fun in the sack, and wanting to do it are two very different things. Even if I didn't already have a wonderful girlfriend, I'm not sure any experience with any of these people would have amounted to more than some uninspired thrusting and friction, followed by shameful sleep. None the less, I still felt like a dirty old man, looking at these young girls. Hell, I might be a full 10 years older than some of them, and it made me feel out of place. My age, had I chosen to wield it, could have been another weapon in my arsenal of bedding ready, willing and able maidens.

We spent around an hour there, had a couple of beers and talked about nothing in particular. It was nice to finally meet a person that I have talked to and known for a long time, but never seen In Real Life (or IRL, and the abbreviation goes).

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

German Train Operators Strike

I'm sitting here watching the BBC. It is talking about the train strike in Germany. Apparently the courts had ruled that the strike would have too much of an impact, and they are forcing the workings back to their jobs.
Isn't a strike supposed to be difficult and inconvenience everybody, as it is the weapon workers have against employers. The very idea behind the weapon of strike is now what the courts are denying the train operators. If they at the same time had forces the employers to do something, it would have been more OK. I do understand that taking 8000 train operators out on strike can be devastating for the economy of a country, I also know that sometimes workers go on strike because the employers are being reasonable, and the employers get punished by loss of revenue, or in this case, probably utter chaos.

Let them strike, I say, to force the employers to the negotiating table. Granted, they did want a 31% pay raise, which seems like a lot, but then again I have no idea at what levels their current salaries are. The employers are just as much at fault as the operators for this situation, so they should sit down and resolve it, instead of the courts forcing one side of the conflict into the claws of the other.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Web 2.0

I was watching click on BBC just now, and they were highlighting some new companies, and talking about venture capital, who it normally goes to, and why. They were talking about "clean tech", which apparently is an umbrella concept for all environmentally friendly technology, and how a third of all the VC money ends up in the hands of peope working with "clean tech".

When they weren't talking about clean tech, they were talking about the often espoused buzzword Web 2.0. They looked at services like twitter, some webbased movie editor, and some other completely useless Web 2.0 applications. As I was watching the report unfold, it dawned on me that very few of the Web 2.0 applications I have seen in recent memory has contributed with any added value, other than being a complete waste of time. Web 2.0 is supposed to be all about user contribution. Social networking sites and wiki-based applications litter the internet. Hell, I'm using a Web 2.0 application right now. To be fair, the only Web 2.0 applications that come to mind as useful are the various blogging platforms, wikipedia (to some extent), and the google maps system. I'd be hard pressed to find any other Web 2.0 applications I consider worthwhile.

Now, not finding a certain technology useful isn't really a problem. There is a lot of technology out there to fill your every need, but the scary thing is that the entire world has put its trust in Web 2.0, and a lot of money has been invested into it, which leads me to believe that we are heading for a similar crash like the one we had in the end of the 90ies, when the so-called "dot com bubble" burst. I'm not too well versed in the stock market, but I can't possibly imagine a lot of these investments panning out. If the Web 2.0 investors do well, so much better for them, but in all honesty, I doubt that they will. If they do, the users of the internet are worse off because the applications these venture capitalists put money into are taking up out time without rewarding us with anything worth while. All things considered, Web 2.0 is largely a loose-loose situation for civilization (if I'm allowed to use such a grand and all-encompassing term), and I think that people should think twice with redards to both what they invest their money in, and how they spend their valuable time.

On a different note, sitting at a different computer, I have noticed that sometimes this site provided popups. This was never my intention, and I will try to get to the bottom of this and banish those accursed things from this site forever.
(Yet again the spell checker fails me...)

EDITED TO ADD: Ok, so I guess youtube also makes the list of acceptable Web 2.0 applications, but I am already royally pissed at the facebook apps system, and I've been a member for less than a month.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


As my current hairdresser is on vacation, I had to find some other professional for my coiffing needs. I went to "ruthless kappers" in enschede. They seemed very professional, and had somewhat well founded opinions regarding what I should do with my hair. I wasn't entirely sure when she told me to leave it longer in the back though. I conjured up pictures of mullets and pomaded creeps from stureplan in Stockholm, but I thought to myself "this is a professional, and I did give her carte blanche, so let's see where it leads".
I think the jury is still out on the way it looks in the back. My girlfriend likes it, but it still leaves me with a feeling that my hairdo doesn't represent my personality. I never saw myself as one of the people who had longer hair on the back of their head than on the sides. It is almost like I'm aiming for a social class above my stature. Granted, the trend nowadays is that if you are well to do, and high up on the social ladder, you should look as much like trailer park trash as you possibly can, which is a weird trend, but I still have the nagging feeling that it is not me.

That said, I think I will let this hairdo run its course, and then think of something else. I'm all for change if it doesn't totally mess up my mojo.

Secondly, I have been using gel in my hair for the last couple of months, on the advice of my previous hairdresser. Even though the last time I used gel in my hair before that (as opposed to wax) was probably 15+ years ago. My new hairdresser switched me back to wax (fudge, to be precise). This has the lovely advantage of me being able to re-style my hair when I feel like it, and to some extend run my hands through it, and also to have it lighter on my head than when it is is filled with gel. However, whenever I do touch it, I am left with a film if semi-waxiness on my hands that won't come off until I wash them. Not that washing my hands is a problem, but I tend to touch my hair more often than I have access to a bathroom. The other problem with wax, something that I re-discovered last night, is that when you wake up in the morning, you find your face inexplicably stuck to your pillow. It doesn't really dawn on you until you've been rolling around in your bed for a bit that your hair is the reason why your pillow (and wall, if you're unlucky) is covered in glue. It instantly makes your bed feel dirty, even though it was freshly made the day before. It is a condition I have lived with for a long time before, and one I was happy to be rid of when I switched to gel.
The jury is still out on the advantages and disadvantages of gel versus wax, but time will tell.



I haven't been updating in a while, because I've been on a lovely vacation to the swiss and austrian alps. I'll do a writeup about it later, and tell you all where it is.
Today, however, I am home in my native Stockholm. I arrived here yesterday, and I plan to stay roughly a week to visit friends and family and do some other stuff.
This is the first time I've actually been to town since I left Sweden last year, and I can say with certainty that I do not want to come back. Even on a perfect day like this, I feel less and less connected to Sweden. I feel that each time I cross the Swedish borders, I belong less and less.

I had the opportunity to meet my brother's lovely girlfriend again today. We've known each other for some time, but I hadn't seen here for a year or two.
We were sitting on the roof of my brother's appartment building (in the middle of town, very nice), just having some drinks and talking, and we got to talking about old times.
She told me about some time on a school trip, where the girls in her class had been positively enamored with me. There had apparently been tissling and tassling behind the scenes about me.
At some point there had even been a game of strip poker (which I do not remember), and my shirt had come off at some point (something I could totally see happening), and I had apparently caused quite a stir.
Now, I'm an easily flattered boy, but I absolutely love hearing about these things. I mean I know it was 10 years ago, but it is such a boost for my confidence. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I feel great.
Even though it is lovely to hear now, I would have liked even more to have heard it at the time.
I remember my mom telling me that she had run in to an old classmate of mine at the supermarket, who had conveyed similar sentiments, and the same thought came to my mind that time too; what if I had been told this at the time.
When boys are you, we are told that girls aren't interested, and boys are supposed to chase, and if we are lucky, a girl might give us a smidge of attention.
This is wrong.
Something I wish they would tell all boys at a young age is that girls are exactly like boys. They want attractive people just as much as boys, and they seem just as willing to give everything up to get what they want. If life has taught me anything about women is that they only difference between the genders is just that, gender. Other than this physiological difference, women and men are quite the same, and anyone who tells you any different either hasn't explored life properly, or is lying to your face.

Another quite dissapointing thing happened today, though. It didn't quite offset the wonderful confidence high I got from the comment about the school trip, but I had expected it to play out very differently. I sent my ex, who is a very dear friend of mine, a message saying that I was in town, and would she want to grab a cup of coffee or something some time. Now, my ex is very down to earth, and I expected this to be absolutely no problem at all, but I got the response that meeting me might not sit well with her boyfriend, and thus (and in all perpituity it seems), we could and should not meet.
I was very saddened by this, because I really like her as a friend, and I was hoping that something like a boyfriend wouldn't get in the way of us meeting up. I mean, I'm not letting my girlfriend get in the way (not that she would, she's wonderful), and I certainly wasn't planning anything clandestine.

Apparently the blogger spell check isn't working today, so you'll have to make do with whatever mistakes I made.
I will update as this week progresses. Hopefully I'll get more wonderful information and less rejections.

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