I am tempted

I’ve mentioned The Mandalorian before. Unfortunately*, my son’s wish list no longer includes Star Wars Lego, so I can’t sneak this one into the house:

I mean, look at it:

*) says the man with a Doctor Who Lego set on his shelf.










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A teragram

A teragram is the same as a megatonne


And now back to your regular scheduled programming.










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I fall for these every time

This video:











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I will just use the punchline from a recent Penny Arcade comic here, because it reminded me of something I dealt with almost 10 years ago.

Back then, an insurance company got one of our best law professors in Denmark to actually support them in claiming that someone hacked them by guessing the URL for an unlinked webpage.









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Once you see the conspiracies

Many people don’t realise why conspiracy theories are so dangerous, but the answer is actually pretty simple. Once you start down that road, things will quickly degenerate. I could have said become derailed, because there’s now also this: “Prosecutors: Engineer deliberately ran train off tracks in attempt to smash the USNS Mercy“. A train engineer, believing that a hospital ship was part of a coup – there are people out there still believing Trump’s “corona is a hoax” – trying to ram the ship with the locomotive. He gallantly did not risk himself in the process but fortunately no-one was hurt. Neither was the ship.

On another note:











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Bitdefender still doing it

Bitdefender is one of the absolute best antivirus programs out there. It is also one that has a very irritating subscription renewal. But this time around they had at least automated the process a lot more.

I have a calendar reminder, telling me to cancel the renewal around now. The renewal is €69.99. I do so and immediately I am offered a discount if I enable the renewal. This time the discount matches the price I could get elsewhere on the Bitdefender site, so I did that and the renewal now costs €45.49.

Next renewal will be at full price so I am setting my calendar reminder for next year now.









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Breaking curfew

I thought, simply, that people that rebel against lockdowns with doing the opposite were people with fragile self-esteem; if people tell me I must do something, I must do the opposite. But of course things are more complicated than that:

  1. They think they are invulnerable. “They aren’t following social distancing because they believe they won’t get sick, even though it could prevent more vulnerable people from becoming infected.”
  2. They won’t let a virus boss them around. “Exercising their defiance makes the virus seem smaller.”
  3. They think it’s not their problem. “People who live in communities where infection isn’t widespread or officials haven’t imposed lockdowns may be less willing to distance themselves from others.”
  4. They’re numbed by info overload. “When people’s media diets, social media feeds and conversations with loved ones consist of nothing but Covid-19, they may become desensitized to its severity.”
  5. They favor individual freedom over the good of society. ” The Western world, and the US in particular, has long prized individual freedoms — sometimes even over community benefit.”
  6. They’re lonely. “Human beings crave connection, and being denied social interaction for extended periods can sting.”

But on a very positive note, I think we all need xkcd’s Pathogen Resistance. And I’m enough of a pedant to have been bothered about having a bacteriophage as a narrator, until I found out that phages can be the – indirect – cause of some diseases in humans, even though they only attack bacteria.










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It’s working

In an interview about who is hospitalised with COVID-19, Lars Østergaard is quoted saying

Den anden store forskel er borgernes ændrede adfærd. Det kan måles og vejes, forklarer Lars Østergaard.

– Andre sygdomme, der smitter ved tæt kontakt, ser vi næsten ikke nogen tilfælde af lige nu.

– Det drejer sig om influenza og såkaldt RS-virus hos børn, som er hyppige på denne tid af året, siger han til Ritzau.

The other big difference is the changing behavior of citizens. It can be measured, explains Lars Østergaard.

– We see almost no case of other diseases that are infected by close contact right now.

“These are flu and so-called RSV in children, which are frequent at this time of year,” he told Ritzau.











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5G and batteries

I can’t verify this, but I saw a lot of stories some time ago – back before everything was about a pandemic – about 5G, specifically about the energy required to support 5G on the phones, and wanted to write about it.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, which is expected to end up in most high-end Android phones in 2020, will not have a LTE modem. This is a bit counterintuitive for a SoC, as an additional chips is needed for 4G and 5G, and this will mean a higher demand for power.

At the same time, it appears that the chosen modulation for 5G, “Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing”, is very power-hungry, so much so that a 5G base station requires 3 times as much power as a 4G base station – and more 5G base stations are needed. It will also use a lot more power on the mobile phone, further straining the battery performance.

I wonder if the advances in Lithium batteries will be enough to balance this out.










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The O’Reilly conferences were good

Starting in 1998 and all the way through to 2009, just skipping 2008 for personal reasons, I had the opportunity to go to an O’Reilly conference every year. It started with the Perl Conference and then the Open Source Convention, OSCON, after that. They were very good conferences, with tutorials before the main conference, great tracks starting with interesting keynotes – that weren’t just marketing-events,  and also great networking opportunities after hours.

I learned about software security, XML/XSLT, API reliance and how I had misjudged Javascript.

I finally got to understand object oriented programming.

I also got to spend a couple of days extra every time and one year, in 2003, I met Wil Wheaton (during the conference days) and Ursula K. Le Guin (after the conference – she was probably unaware of it). They year before I met Aaron Schwartz and I also met a future Taiwanese minister, but I can’t remember what year that was – she was presenting a very useful tool she’d developed for Perl.

I’ve hoped to be able to return some day for the conferences, for professional purposes, as I know that I became a better developer because of them.

And now it is too late.

I don’t know if online variants of the conferences will have the same impact, but I suppose I can hope so. I will.











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