Recommended Android Applications

Google Voice,Nestoid,Listen,Advanced Task Killer,PDANet,Nestoid,DroidLight,i Music,ApkInstaller,AK Notepad.

Guava is good if you have a Gizmo5 Account, but it interferes with the Google Voice Ap. It is good to have available but uninstalled if you get in a bind and have used all your 'Anytime' minutes.

We are looking forward to Fennec.

Swype Keyboard works quite well.


Game Emulation on Android

We are not hugely in favour of video games as they suck up a lot of time. When that is what you are going for, keep in mind that Android has a free NES and SNES emulator. iPhone has an emulator also, but no keyboard which makes it effectively unplayable. The Droid keyboard and D-pad work, but cannot compare to a proper Nintendo controller. The G1 keyboard looks better for gaming than the Droid's which is too compact. Gaming should not influence your smart phone decision much, but if it does, remember that the iPhone has a ton of $2-5 games, but there are hundreds of classic S/NES ROMs free with BitTorrent. Palm Pre was a nice try for a Linux Smartphone, but it is a dead-end platform with poor signal coverage and no applications or games to speak of unless it involves NFL, NASCAR, or ESPN. Enough said.


Off The Record

Pidgin, Trillian and Adium are great IM softwares. Off The Record is a plugin for those programmes which enables encrypted communications with Perfect Forward Secrecy using standard clients such as Google Talk, ICQ, AIM etc.

Trillian now has an iPhone version. It is very important that an OTR application, or similar technology, is developed for mobile platforms like iPhone and Android so that people might have secure mobile communication.

*UPDATE: It recently came to our attention that Pidgin Saved Passwords are saved in plain text in an obvious location. Thus, anyone gaining access to the user's filesystem can obtain all their IM passwords, including their Google Account if they use it for Google Talk. This is a major security vulnerability. Be aware!


Please Don't Tell

If you would like to have a nice evening in New York, we highly recommend you visit the speak easy 'Please Don't Tell.' The service and retro 1920s ambiance is top notch and one of a kind. It creates a brilliant use of what would have been a rather mediocre piece of basement real estate next to a Hot Dog joint. In fact one must enter through the hot dog stand and ring the phone in the booth to gain access. If you visit, you had better have a reservation made by phone, 212-614-0386. Call at 1500 or shortly after that day if you are going to successfully make a reservation. We failed two nights in a row before successfully making it in, but they were the best $14 drinks we have had.


Droid - Acquired

We have acquired a Verizon Motorola Droid. Verizon is known to have the best network as far as coverage and Voice service in the United States. Compared to what we have witnessed for Sprint and ATT, this is quite believable.

Droid runs on Android 2.0, the soon the be Open Sourced OS sponsored by Google. Google Voice is integrated seemlessly, and the Gizmo5 Guava ap allows VoIP through a WiFi connextion (although it is currently a bit buggy). For us as Java programmers, it is an ideal match. The OS is very slick and functional and quite competitive with the iPhone. Furthermore the Droid has a built in Keyboard in addition to an on-screen keyboard, thus giving it a bit more utility than the iPhone.

Droid is capable of USB Tethering through the PDANet software. At first we had trouble establishing a normal PPTP VPN through this tether, but OpenVPN seems to work with no problems, thus solving our practical problem.

Up until the Droid, the iPhone was clearly the best phone available, but finally a competitive product has arrived that does not need to be jail-broken by default.

Once we get the Spotify Mobile Ap working, then all your base are belong to us.

We are at last upgrading to the Droid from a seven year old Samsung N400. Good Riddance.


Media Centres

Tonight we were introduced to LinuxMCE, a slick Computer Media Interface. We will update this post with further details, but what was really novel was to see a WiiMote configured to control LinuxMCE. WiiMotes cost about $30 USD versus $100 USD for an equivalent Bluetooth Remote Product.

Another good programme to consider is XBMC.

Lastly, the very impressive PS3 seems to do everything under the sun in Media Centre Entertainment, including the most powerful gaming console around, for $300 USD.


Motorolla has finally released Droid. The company tries to rape its customers with the Data Plan Tethering $30/month option, but luckily a $30 One time programme delivers the same functionality to the user. PDANet. Overall, Droid looks like solid hardware and quite hackable. We plan to start a demo this week. PDANet also works for jailbroken iPhones.


Fall of the Republic

I will have more to say about Alex Jones. In the meantime, his new propaganda film, Fall of the Republic, is worth watching.


Google Voice

Google Voice allows callers to forward calls to their Google Voice number to any other phones simultaneously until one picks up. Therefore someone could set their home, mobile, and work phones all to ring when someone calls. Constant availability with one number including SMS and it is free. Google Voice provides a web interface and an Android Application for mobile phones to change settings. It can be connected with Gizmo5, a Skype alternative, to allow one to send and receive free US phone calls or make cheap international calls.

Google voice will maintain a permanent record of voicemails and will transcribe them and email them along with the audio to the owner. The option exists to receive SMS of the transcription as well.

We have been using Google Voice for over a year and it is wonderful. It has become our primary phone number. All other phones have become access points to the Google Voice interface.

GV is brilliant, unparalleled and free.


The Nobel Peace Prize

Many Americans were stunned by the award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama. Indeed, he has "changed to tone" of US foreign policy towards greater cooperation, internationalism, and globalism. As we noted before we are encouraged by nuclear disarmament, the logical consequence of peace.

Barack Obama has already committed war crimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He joins a cadre of other war criminals who have won the prize including Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. The Barack Obama Nobel is even more ridiculous than Al Gore's award for a poorly made Powerpoint on Global Warming.

In a very well stated response to the news, Ron Paul indicates that Obama has in fact suppressed the peace movement in the United States because those members largely voted for him and so do not want to criticise their man. Ron Paul has been actively campaigning for a true position of peace and military isolationism for his long career. If any US politician were to have been awarded a Nobel it should have been Paul; not a president who has continued the Bush legacy of two Wars going on a third in Pakistan, secret CIA detention facilities, and an illegal Guantanamo Bay Prison.

Perhaps Obama will end up accomplishing some very significant substantive movements towards Peace, but at the moment his actions have been far too mixed to merit a significant Peace Prize. We must conclude in light of this and past questionable awards that the Nobel Peace Prize has simply become a politicised tool with no merit.


The Folly of Near Term Manned Mars Exploration

The Mars Underground (torrent) (imdb) is a well made documentary film featuring director of the Mars Society Robert Zubrin. Zubrin was instrumental in shaping the current direction of NASA towards a Manned Mission to the Red Planet. Despite any romanticism, this is a complete waste of time, effort, and resources.

Long term, of course people will need to inhabit Mars and establish presence elsewhere beyond the Earth if we are to guarantee human existence. However, in the short term, governments would be better off developing artificial intelligence and robotics, and sending their best and most robust machines to explore and one day terraform Mars. The public investment in such useful technology pays off for everyone. The Mars Underground film does not even address this possibility. It unquestioningly assumes that the pinnacle of Humanity's existence would be to make physical contact with the Mars then expediently return to the Earth. Ultimately, the film amounts to a piece of cultist propaganda.

Make no mistake, the Apollo Moon programme was a waste of resources, but it did produce some political, scientific and economic dividends that offset some of the costs. At the time, computers were primitive although robotic probes were nonetheless useful. The Moon is also significantly closer to the Earth.

Regarding Mars, there is a third way which would waste far fewer resources, and do something to satisfy the Monkeys on Mars Cultists. The answer of course is to send people on a one way trip to establish a permanent Mars colony. Put in this context, the cultists are forced to ask themselves why they are so obsessed with returning people to Earth if Mars is worth visiting. Is this nothing more than a sexually frustrated egotistical fantasy of trillion dollar tourism, or is there some sensible purpose? If Mars is worth visiting, it should be worth staying. This is the argument of Lawrence Krauss who fundamentally advocates robotic explortation of Mars. Audio of his NPR Science Friday Interview. Crazy though it may be, plenty of sexually frustrated scientists who would jump at the chance for a one way ticket to Mars.

Robots are expendable, cheaper, and far more effective as a tool of scientific exploration and human colony construction than people will ever be. Let the private sector send people into space if it is economical and put public funds back where they belong: in scientific and technological research and development.



We highly recommend the Open Source OpenVPN software. It is not necessarily a comprehensive VPN package, and as far as we can see is not compatible with other VPN products such as the convenient VPN client built into Windows, but it is nonetheless a free and effective way for one to create a secure highly encrypted software based tunnel between many locations. It works for any major OS. The major drawback is that the install and setup is not trivial. To create an OpenVPN server you must know something about command-line, config files, and something about the basics of computer networking. Once established, it allows for extremely fast encrypted connections with the potential to max out one's bandwidth capacity with a normal processor. With such levels of security, imagine the possibilities...



Envirosax are a great idea, and we own several. They are attractive, strong, durable bags which can fold up to a very small volumes. They are perfect as shopping bags holding up to 20 kg, and women can easily fit them in their purses. They also make great gifts. If the trend of such products picked up, possibly encouraged by taxation or interdiction of paper or plastic shopping bags, the environmental footprint of consumers would be noticeably reduced.


From Wikipedia:

doubleTwist Corporation is a digital media company founded by Monique Farantzos and Jon Lech Johansen. It is backed by Index Ventures (Skype, Last.FM) and Northzone Ventures.

The doubleTwist application enables users to send photos and videos to their friends and sync their media library to a wide variety of portable devices.

We do not particularly endorse the doubleTwist product, but we admire their philosophy, the work of their financial backers, and particularly love the founder: DVD Jon. This new anti-Apple advert from doubleTwist is certainly worth watching. Despite the original 1984 Apple propaganda, Apple has always been the product of monopoly, the company of total enslavement, the brand to eliminate choice, thought, freedom and convenience. Just ask anyone over age 50 who has needed to move their iTunes library.


The Anti-Transhumanists

We are not well versed in the Anti-Transhumanist movement, but in full recognition that some Transhumanist outcome is inevitable, we respect challenges to any trends towards human elimination, subjugation, or redundancy. The folks at TransAlchemy have a website a blog a Youtube channel and to me most significantly, have produced a documentary entitled "The Age of Transitions" expressing their reservations about transhumanism. Most notably, the TransAlchemists assert that Transhumanism directly succeeds the politically defunct Eugenics and Social Darwinist movements which enabled the National Socialist Holocaust. TransAlchemy is currently filming a second documentary featuring Singularity Summit coverage. Their motto: Save the Humans.


Palm Post

Our trial of the Palm Pre is concluded. With tethering enabled, the Pre is adequate, but despite being a Linux phone, there are simply no applications for it to realise its potential, and a 2 year lock in to Sprint is a tough pill to swallow - not to mention the $350 price tag for the Pre.

We are holding out for an Android phone hopefully on Verizon later this year. The greater support, adoption, flexibility and programmability of Android we hope will make it worth the wait.


Nuclear Disarmament

Disarmament does not lead to peace. Disarmament is a consequence of peace.

                                               - Stephen Schuker, 2002

Nuclear Disarmament should be seen as a sign of tremendous human progress. The Twentieth Century saw mankind reach for the bomb and with it the power of life and death over all complex life on the planet. The threat now of Environmental Destruction from pollution or biological weapons manufacture pales in comparison to the nuclear button. Nuclear armament has been the first existential threat humanity has faced in all recorded history. It surely will not be the last. This threat has not been nor probably will it ever be completely eliminated. Nevertheless, the current push towards global reduction of arms reflects increasing world peace and security.


Palm Pre

We are currently demoing a Palm Pre. Today we succeeded in "rooting" it (gaining Unix administrator control) and enabling it into a wifi router. It is still a hack, and not completely reliable and usable, but good enough to get the job done. (In the course of writing this post, the connection dropped, and we chose to switch to a more reliable connection.) The connection seems unrestricted by port and protocol so that VPN, Remote Desktop, Bit Torrent etc all seems to work on it. With Palm Pre which in USA is on the Sprint network, speed seems to be 1 Mb/s down, 0.15 Mb/s up.

Here are the directions to enable the WiFi router most easily. With root access, one can change many settings with a bit of determination.

The Pre itself is adequate as a phone and web browser. We are still not sure if we will keep it or abort it, as Bruno would say. Sprint allows 30 days to return it. Waiting for a proper Android on a proper network or submitting to the tyranny of Apple ATT are the only other options to remain a functional mobile Internaut. All choices require a 2 year lock in.

Update: Given new moves to block tethering, ATT/IPhone is a completely nonviable option.


Furk - Bittorrent Proxy and Media Repository

Furk.net has emerged on the scene recently with some very serious hardware and bandwidth, and a bonanza of useful services. Search the name of a popular film and you are likely to find it there already available for direct reasonably fast download. Assuming you were worried about joining a torrent swarm because of the lack of privacy and perchance a potential legal action, with Furk, such risks are largely eliminated. They aquire a massive repository of content from Mininova or PirateBay, and make it freely and directly available.

They also offer BitTorrent proxy services and speed enhanced downloads for a modest fee. Thus you can use Furk as a shield to do all the dirty work of high risk torrenting for you.

The fact that Furk is able to exist and is even able to claim a measure of legality further demonstrates that copyright enforcability is impossible.



Walking around Manhattan the other day, we found the Ministry of Love from "1984". It has no windows.

33 Thomas St.


Google Security Vulnerabilities

To access anything in a person's Google account, all one must know is email address and password. For someone who has either a well placed key recorder, or knows their victim personally, or happens to just access a person's machine after they have used it - a tremendous amount of information is thence available to an attacker. An author of this blog has been the victim of the third type of attack from a trusted loved one whose temptation to delve into personal information, like a sailor to the Sirens, was too great.

The third type of attack is perhaps unavoidable from a technical perspective and is the responsibility of the user to avoid, but the other types of attacks could be better avoided with an option for a paid security token and perhaps more regular security questions.

Although security for an average user is very important, it is perhaps even more valuable to businesses. Twitter, which the authors of this blog find an annoying fad, recently had some private corporate documents stolen and published as a result of a Google account being compromised. In the end, Google's online suite of tools are simply too useful not to use despite the vulnerabilities, and the potential for a government sub poena - nonetheless caveat emptor. Let this be a lesson to us all - and to Google especially.

William Blake Quote

"Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed."


Robert McNamara

Robert McNamara died recently. A confessed unconvicted War Criminal, McNamara was a logitician for the firebombing campaigns on Japan, and a reluctant architect of the Cuban Missle Crisis and most significantly, the Vietnam War. In addition to being a profoundly intelligent and capable CEO, Cabinet Secretary and World Bank Chief, Mcnamara was striking for his deep reflection and appreciation for the moral complexity of his actions as revealed in the excellent documentary Fog of War (torrent).

Here is the synopsis of an interview at Berkeley in 2004 including a webcast.

Who better to deduce the lessons and folly of War than a man who was its Commander. Here are a list of his 11 lessons:

  1. Empathize with your enemy
  2. Rationality will not save us
  3. There's something beyond one's self
  4. Maximize efficiency
  5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war
  6. Get the data
  7. Belief and seeing are often both wrong
  8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning
  9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
  10. Never say never
  11. You can't change human nature

Controversial, terrible, and flawed as he was, a great man has died.

All the Pb in Zhong Guo

This story from the financial press ignores what is really going on. Forget importation of toxic goods; why is Zhong Guo so backwards that they are even manufacturing toys, or other consumer products, that contain lead. If Zhong Guo is ever to be part of an advanced glorious civilistation, this will have to stop.


C-SPAN Funding

Given the lack of commercials or NPR style begathon fund-raising and the intended lack of political bias of C-SPAN, it is surprising to learn from their recent public service announcements that they do not receive public ie government money. They are in fact sponsored as a public service by the US Cable Television companies.

We all owe these companies a debt of gratitude for documenting and archiving governmental proceedings, bringing more openness to government, and making it widely and freely available without a hint of commercialism or political favouratism. This is a task which should have been the responsibility of the National Archives in a well run government, yet corporate charity has come through to do the job better and cheaper than a Government run programme ever could.

Manuel Zelaya - Drugs Policy of an Ousted Honduran Presidente

We do not pretend to know the motivations for the recent coup of Presidente Manuel Zelaya, overthrown by members of the Honduran Army last week. Was the CIA involved? These are open questions.

All else aside, we do want to commend and support el Presidente on one particular issue. He was strongly in favour of ending the oppressive and immoral 'War on Drugs.'

It is always suspicious when such a person is overthrown, particularly when the CIA is known for having a history of profiting from the drugs trade and political meddling in the region. As Alex Jones stated, 'The Drug Dealers want to make sure the Drugs stay illegal.'


First Human in Space

Apparently Yuri Gagarin was not the first person in space. It was cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Illysushin. Other conspiracies are also alleged.

Documentary Link


Digital Currency Trading Declared Illegal in China

Virtual Currencies threaten the power of governments by weakening their grip over the medium of exchange - ie Fiat Currency. In that sense, it is not surprising to see one of the more Authoritarian States definitively cracking down on Virtual Currency exchange. In practise, this will lessen the booming virtual currencies business and put many Chinese "gold farmers" out of work, but generally drive the digital currency market to ever higher levels of sophistication and security.

We have touched on this issue before.

An exposition on the topic of secure digital currencies can be found in David Friedman's Future Imperfect.

We suspect that the collapse of the value of the private US Federal Reserve Dollar will spark a real push for legalisation of competing Commodity backed digital currencies.

The Often Misleading State of Electronic Waste Recycling

PBS Frontline featured a disturbing piece recently concerning the processing of electronic waste. With an undercover investigation, Frontline revealed how Americans and Europeans are assured they are "recycling" electronic waste safely and locally. Instead it is all loaded onto containers that are shipped to Ghana or the southern Chinese city of Guiyu where people work in extremely dangerous conditions burning plastics, and poisoning themselves with heavy metals to extract trace amounts of precious metals. The waste is transported under the guise of "donations." While Africa particularly needs electronics if they have any hope of ever developing, Westerners should be made aware of the environmental and human dangers of e-waste "recycling," and law enforcement agencies ought to investigate fraud and environmental destruction in this regard. Hearing that one is "recycling" tends to eliminate a feeling of guilt for many Westerners, but the reality in this case is far from that.


Galapagos Tourism

Respect the nature of the Galapagos and the importance it had in informing Evolutionary Science, by never going there. Policymakers should strictly limit the number of allowed visitors or residents through licensing and taxation, and give collected rents to foundations which protect other nature preserves.

The Google God

Tonight's discourse:

Pace: I really think once people realise the efficiency, many will start programming to the Google Ap engine

Consigliere: uuuuuuuuuugh
that's a TERRIBLE idea
we already have one giant fucking monolith, i.e. Microsoft
why would we want to trade one for another?
the last thing the web needs is a single point of failure, like if google goes down and takes everybody's webapps with it

Pace: they are at least better than M$ - should theoretically still be reployable elsewhere without too much modification

Consigliere: they're only tbetter than M$ at the moment b/c htey';re not as big/dominant
but they certainly will become so
and there's a huge difference between "theoretically" and "in realitiy"

Pace: they do support open source though

Consigliere: it doesn't matter
I"m glad they do
but it'd still be a single point of failure

Pace: agreed

Consigliere: and god only knows what they'd do with all that data once they had it

Pace: they would become God

Consigliere: yeah, but a God beholden to capitalist shareholders

Pace: yes

Consigliere: it woudl be very Old Testament

Pace: haha


The Iranian Revolution

When one attempts to shut down or contain the Internet to suppress a discontented populace, one has lost all legitimacy to rule. خدا بزرگ است.


Augmented Reality and other Smartphone News

We've been holding out on buying a smart phone given the rapid acceleration taking place. Some of the applications we have seen are quite impressive. Here is one: Wikitude. Wikitude takes GPS and phone camera input, and overlays points of interest on the image.

By the way, if you check out the Recommended Stories section, you will see more reasons NOT to get an iPhone. Once again, Apple's insistence on running their users' lives drags down the company. Apple has banned an application which remotely administers legal torrent software, and now has also banned the Electronic Freedom Frontier's RSS application because they linked to a parody video Apple found potentially politically incorrect.

Information Technology in a Free Society should be used to enable Free Speech and Expression. We can not abide a company with such anti-human business practices, unless compelled by an oppressive regime as in Israel, Iran, or Zhong Guo. A California based company protected by the US Bill of Rights has no such excuse. We posit that in a well regulated market, such suppressions themselves would be illegal. In the meantime, boycott Apple.


US Foreign Policy Under President Obama

We voted for Barack Hussein Obama for one primary reason: foreign policy.  Having traveled as Americans overseas, we have seen how much antipathy has been created against the American Empire by the mismanagement of the Bush regime.  Barack Obama brings a fresh, worldly perspective to the Executive Branch which has been badly lacking for the last decade.  His ethnic heritage adds to his allure and his goodwill, especially in Africa.  His manifest intellect, open-mindedness, and respect for all people, combined with his brilliant oratory in the style of martyred human rights activists has made him a "Rock Star" both inside and especially outside the United States.

Isolationist Conspiracy Theorists will point to Obama's ethnicity as a strategy by Globalist Power-brokers, to command much greater leadership in Africa as a prelude to economic recolonisation and competition with the Chinese in the region.  This agenda may indeed come to pass, but is not sufficient reason to oppose Obama.  After all, the Americans generally take a greater humanitarian interest in Africa than do the Chinese or many African leaders themselves in recent years.  It should be stated though that despite any rhetoric and recent good intentions, the American track record in Africa has ranged from ignorance and neglect to enslavement.  

Conspiracy theories aside, this is 'Change [in Which] We Can Believe.'