• Paranoia

    Terrorists don't have do do the laborious bomb part shopping any more to wreak havoc in a city. All they have to do is place a suitcase somewhere visible.

    In today's case of Mannheim, it wasn't even a terrorist but only a harmless shopper that left his trolley unattended,1518,433951,00.html at a tram station. Police and bomb squad were called, the place had been wide-rangingly cordoned off and tram traffic stopped for two hours.

  • First E61 crash

    Something seems to be buggy in the WiFi implentation of my E61. Last week, I got some kind of "white screen of death" everytime my E61 tried to connect to the company WLAN. (And it connects quite often due to Mail for Exchange.) That white screen seems to go away without a reboot after some time, but it's quite annoying nonetheless. And yesterday, when I turned the phone back on after having it shut off on Saturday, I was greeted with "Phone start-up failed. Contact the retailer." According to my web search, that's often related to WiFi problems, too.

    Since I didn't want to send my phone on a weeks-long journey, I tried a factory reset by starting it up with the buttons "*", "3" and "green" pressed. It then took several forced 5-minute pauses because I couldn't effing remember my phone lock password, but finally, I had a working phone again. An empty working phone, to be exact.

    But I didn't have much software installed anyway (one of the advantages of Web 2.0), and all important data (calendar and contact entries) could be restored by syncing with ZYB.com and our Exchange server.

    I guess that's the consequence of that Nokia doesn't manufacture "mobile phones" any more but "multimedia computers". So the same rule applies: don't forget to backup. Jesus saves, and so should you.

  • Stupidity reigns on our way to total surveillance

    I was howling in pain when I read what Uwe Döring, minister of justice in Germany's federal state Schleswig-Holstein, had to say against encryption,1518,433126,00.html: "There are methods so complex that they can't be cracked".

    Hell yes, and we're glad there are! Those methods you want to limit or even ban, Mr. Döring, ensure that people don't have to fear for their privacy and companies are secure from espionage!
    Döring continued by declaring that AN.ON should be banned, too. AN.ON is a anonymous-surfing service provided by the data privacy center Kiel and the universities of Dresden, Berlin and Regensburg. Döring finds it unacceptable to spend tax money on a service that makes it possible for terrorists and criminals of every description to commit crimes undiscoveredly". What the minister didn't consider is that AN.ON has been "actively cooperating with the authorities for years and already does have the means to observe certain suspects when a court order is issued.

    From a perspective like that, providing tools for secure and anonymous communication like GnuPG or Tor means supporting criminals Better watch out, Werner Koch, you terrorist backer!

    But obviously, there really are people stupid enough to think that prohibiting encryption would stop criminals from using it. And some of those people actually sit in our governments. All those recent actions and bills against terrorism seem to have the only goal as to lull the public into a false sense of security without actually providing it.

    I don't believe that blurry surveillance camera pictures can prevent terrorist attacks. But I do believe, as does
    Nico Lumma, that observing every point of public communication, train stations, airports, big streets and places puts every citizen under general suspect and takes his and her personal rights and freedom.

    I'm appaled by the level of simple-mindedness that shows in conclusions like those of minister Döring. "Simple solutions for simple people" seems to be the motto. Unfortunately, there are people that are not that simple. Me, for example. And the terrorists.

  • Office for Symbian phones

    Mobile Office is a new application for smartphones based on Symbian S60. It is an Office suite for the OpenDocument format used by OpenOffice and KOffice. Momentarily, it's still in development.

    It can open files with OpenDocument text (.odt), spreadsheet (.ods) and presentation (.odp).

    If you want to try it out, there's a beta version of Mobile Office available for download that'll work until August 31st.

    (via Tommi's S60 applications blog)

  • Writing command line applications with App::Cmd

    If you write command line applications in Perl, there are certain standards you happen to code everytime, for example the definition and validation of command line options. The new Perl module App::Cmd~rjbs/App-Cmd-0.007/ uses OOP to simplify those tasks and make your code reusable.

    App::Cmd is a set of tools designed to make it simple to write sophisticated command line programs. It handles commands with multiple subcommands, generates usage text, validates options, and lets you write your program as easy-to-test classes.

    With App::Cmd, you write a subclass for every task your application carries out. If we take Subversion as an example, there would be a subclass for checking source code out, one for checking changes in, one for generating changelogs and so on.

    By using base classes, you can factor out standard tasks like displaying help information when the "-h" switch is used.

    It seems to me that App::Cmd makes it easier to write non-trivial command line programs without losing structure and maintainability. I'll give it a try.