Category Archives: media

don’t let the EU censor your internet: stop ACTA

ACTA infographic

You might have heard that SOPA got stopped (for now) in the USA, a bill to censor the internet and limit online freedom for everyone. An even worse deal is going down on our EU-side of the globe unfortunately, where ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) has already been signed, but not yet approved (luckily).

ACTA – a global treaty – could allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties — even prison sentences — against people they say have harmed their business.
avaaz.org

So it’s about time to do something about this before this bill gets voted in the EU Parliament and gets adopted globally.
First you can start by reading about ACTA, find out what’s wrong with it, sign the petition and act against it.

For those in the US, you can go sign the White House petition. Do it, because this deal is worse than SOPA, as it spans beyond the internet and deals even with regulations on medication and food.

The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers’ access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, t he ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny.
avaaz.org

Spread the word, sign the petition, just do something so this is stopped just like SOPA was.

Afterwards, you can get back to your memes and lolcats. :)

 

your smartphone as a remote music controller

Where's the remote Snickers?!

So you’re using your PC and the geekyist free media player around to pump your beats into the living room while you’re sitting in your cough reading your Twitter feed on your Android phone. Then this totally awesome tune gets streamed and you just want to turn up the volume a notch or two. Damn it! That means you’ll have to get out of that comfy seat of yours and walk a few metres through your living room and physically turn a knob (or press the keys to activate a hot-key to turn down the volume as you can easily do that with Foobar). Walk!? A few metres!? This is 2011 AD FFS! We have wireless networks and all sorts of marvellous technology invented to avoid having to physically move about and do stuff.

Thank the Cyber Gods there’s a Foobar plugin to fix just that! With this swell plugin called “HTTP Control” you can access your running Foobar2000 instance by surfing to it from your smartphone or fancy iPad. All you need is a link to you dedicated media-playing PC’s IP address and the assigned port in the plugin’s settings. Don’t forget to give that PC a fixed IP so the link stays the same. Otherwise you’ll end up having to get out of your couch anyway to figure out what¬† bleedin’ IP your box got through DHCP after all.

If you’d rather go native with an Android app because that web thing takes too much effort to set up, you can with this Foobar2000 controller app. I’ve used it for a while now and it’s mighty dandy!

Photo by threefatcats, cc-licensed.

your website sucks in so many ways

Well, maybe not yours, but if it qualifies for the following rules, it does. So check em out.

  1. You can’t store my name. My name contains something called an umlaut which is used in Germanic languages like German (duh) and Dutch for instance. My name either turns up with a missing letter, or I get a funky character instead. It sucks. It means you can’t handle unicode or encoding properly. It sucks.
  2. You send me my password in plain text email right after I register. Well, ok, the email used HTML encoding, but that doesn’t make it any better. Email is not safe. Really, it isn’t, so I’m glad I didn’t use a password that looked anything like a password I use anywhere else. This makes me think your coders don’t know what they are doing.
  3. You chopped off my password after n characters and didn’t even warn me about it. Yep. As soon as I’m done registering I get this error message that my password is wrong. I just gave it to you silly twat, and it’s still in my copy buffer dammit, so it can’t be wrong!? Guess what happens when I do that password recovery thing by the way. Oh yeah. I get my password in plain text again, in my mailbox.
  4. I find out there are some privacy settings in my account settings which where not presented to me when I created my account. How odd? Not really. Apparently I automatically opted-in on a bunch of possibilities to commercially exploit my info. Nice… not. I hate spam. It sucks.

Most of these are so easy to come by that it’s sad to see these practices still in use. Try any good web 2.0 service and you’ll see how to avoid these pitfalls, and learn about encoding dammit. Also if you’re registered to the Belgian newspaper site of Het Nieuwsblad, make sure you check your privacy settings, and skip on some of the spam-features they have. They suck.

Photo by Sinsong, cc-licensed