Category Archives: Rant

Slovenian government is trying to censor the Internet

August 27th 2008 - Fractured

Most forms of gambling is illegal in Slovenia with a few highly regulated exceptions that are given concession from the government. Most notable are Loterija Slovenije (Slovenian Lottery) and Športna Loterija Slovenije (Slovenian Sport Lottery) in addition to real-world casinos and gambling places.

With growing popularity of online gambling these organizations as well as government are facing a problem with how to deal with insanely popular betting sites like Bwin, Expekt.com, bet-at-home.com. Government already tried to order ISP’s to block access to these webpages in 2006, but it turned out that they didn’t have legal ground for it so it failed.

That is why they decided to fix the law that would, among other things, require ISP’s to prevent access to web pages that would offer gambling related services. Failing to comply would result in fines from 7.500 EUR to 52.500 EUR and 1.500 to 10.000 for the person in charge. Parliament already approved the law on 18th of December 2008, but it got vetoed at the next stage in the process so they will have to vote on it again.

There are many troubling aspects of these recent developments:

  • From legal aspect it introduces censorship at the price of freedom of speech because part of the government decided that they need it. Who will be next to demand blocking of unwanted content?
  • From technical aspect it’s really hard if not impossible to block web pages. The only real approach would be using Deep Packet Inspection technique, that requires ISP to analyze each internet package violating privacy of the communication in the process.

It’s now up to the citizens and experts in the field to carefully analyze answers and proposed government changes to the law to make sure that it does not pass in its current form.

If you can read Slovenian, there are three excellent articles on this topic that you have to read:

Original version of this article appeared on Netokracija

A confession of newage virtual schizophrenic

dog graffiti

Hi, I’m Jure and one of the things I do is to help people talk and work with their communities so they can improve their products or services. Often they want to outsource at least part of the talking to me, so I’m given a new online identity. The name is still the same, but you get a new email (with IMAP and everything) and often business cards with this identity. If you’re lucky it’s also a Google Account (via Google Apps) that you need to share calendars, gtalk etc.

As you help different organizations, you keep accumulating these identities that you can’t shut off because you never know who will decide to email you on that address or which account you’ve got registered. On top of that, you almost never completely stop helping them unless the project gets shut down.

So now you have tons of email addresses, that each connect to different identity that you use to talk to bloggers. The only problem is that there is a limited number of meaningful connections that you can have. So you email people from all these identities with different questions, forwards, reply-alls and so on.

This does at the end of the day mean, that I’ll have to talk to myself via different identities, CC other email or info@ accounts (that I control anyway) so that we can make sense of our world. That everyone knows who belongs to who, depending on the email domain.

I have yet to write multiple (personal) Twitter accounts or Foursquare logs, even though I’m sure that this day isn’t far away.

So if you see my replying to myself from a different domain, it’s all normal, it’s just that I don’t want to break online balance of identities.

Laško Eliksir #fail

So apparently there is a new brand of Laško beer – Eliksir, a stronger beer that is normally known as bock. There are advertisements everywhere, urging you to skip your traditional cup of mulled wine and go for the “winter beer”.

The mystical bottle of Eliksir
The mystical bottle of Eliksir

So why #fail?

It turns out that it’s incredibly hard to find, so hard that we are yet to find a place in Ljubljana that actually heard of it and none actually have it in stock. We’ve tried a number of pizza places and bars around old Ljubljana city center and we failed. We did get lots of Guinness and other dark beers.

Reading their promo material it states that it’s available in supermarkets and in selected pubs. That’s perfectly fine, but you’re doing a good job of hiding a list of places where it’s actually available.

So Laško, if you’re actually spending this much money trying to convince me to try your new beer, make sure that I can actually buy it.

“Running is bad for your knees”

dorkbot

It always amazed me at how two-faced our society is. On one hand, everyone is talking about exercise and healthy living/eating/etc, while on the other they’re criticizing and discouraging anyone who actually decided to follow the advices everyone is so full of.

The first one I always hear is:

running is bad for your knees, you’ll have trouble later if your running on pavement/dirt/at all.

Sadly, this is often the most encouraging thing people can say once they learned that someone decided to start exercising and already went for a few runs. There is often no alternative suggested, beside the one where you go for a beer with them instead.

I imagine the world is full similar excuses for other sports and this is not limited to running.

The second one, that I love is that once I start thinking about the food I eat. Mind you, just thinking and wondering what’s healthy. The answer is usually:

you have to eat meat and diary products because otherwise you’ll get malnutrition and sick

once again, coming from the people who survive their days on pizza and fried steaks, as you suggest that maybe having a more vegetable rich lunch might be a good idea (and I’m not talking about salads). Based on my anecdotal experience, the abuse received from conformist eaters must the be the hardest part of such diet.

Feel free to comment with the excuses you hear for not doing something that is good for you.

Arrr, Slovenia, the land of pirates!

After a very sad performance of Slovenian quasi Pirate Party last week, where we could see that they have no idea how copyright works, we now have even more evidence that Slovenia is a land of pirates that have no respect for other people’s intellectual work.

@skatey and @Zealoth point out to a blunt copyright infringement on two very important web pages in our online space.

First is University of Ljubljana, that should act as a basic building block of our society. Evidently, they have no problems with stealing a stock-photo that costs less than a cup of coffee, that has still a watermark on it! That’s the same institution that will gladly expel a student for copying a paragraph of text without proper citation.

University of Ljubljana, copyright infrigement

Second example is a Startup competition at startup.si (they don’t deserve a link), that once again had no problem with taking stock photo with a watermark:

startup.si, copyright infrigement

These two sites, and the institutions that they represent, send a clear message to our students and entrepreneurs:

We don’t respect intellectual property and you don’t need to either. Take note of that in your future professional work and when you form your own business.

Arrrrrrr!