Patent Trolls

I’m very glad to see John Oliver bring up our absurd legal patent system in his Television program. Anyone with a brain should be against the notion of software patents. Not only does it stop innovation, it literally hurts our economy as whole. To put it into perspective, recently Apple who themselves are one of the most powerful corporations in the world, and have more liquid cash than our U.S. government. Recently had to pay over $500 million dollars to a patent troll. Apple’s legal response nailed it straight in the head.

“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system. We rely on the patent system to protect real innovation and this case is one more example of why we feel so strongly Congress should enact meaningful patent reform.”

 

Their is something seriously wrong when a powerful corporation like Apple who even they themselves have entire armies of lawyers lobbying our corrupt scum government (case point; H1-B Visas) are getting fucked by patent trolls, and yet are complaining about the broken patent legal system.

As a free/libre software supporter, this makes me wonder, if Apple doesn’t have a chance fighting patent trolls. What protection is there for regular people who are contributing free software to the world in an effort to make it a better place?..

 

 
http://fortune.com/2015/02/27/how-apple-lost-533-million-to-an-8th-grade-dropout-patent-troll

Goodbye physical books and hello e-books

It’s amazing how far I’ve come along, I recall first hearing about the concept of e-book and e-book readers back when Sony released their first e-book reader in 2006. At that time, and up until a few months ago, I was a total dead-tree format book purist. Man, has that changed. Roll the clock nine years later, now I can’t see myself reading any non electronic book. Originally my excuse of avoiding e-books was to the fact that I mainly read technical books. In the past, on all of my technical books, I tended to write down notes in the actual pages whenever I read an important topic. After reading a few technical books, I realized a much more better and efficient approach that solved this issue was to write my notes in my self-hosted internal wiki. Not only are my notes much better organized, but they’re easier to search.

epub

The cost savings between physical dead-tree books and e-books is almost quite the same in my situation. Previously, I used to buy the vast majority of my books used through Amazon book resellers. Buying books used was and still is considerably way cheaper than buying them new. Now, I buy all of e-books directly from the publishers themselves. Even though e-books are slightly cheaper than physical books, I still think the prices publishers are charging for e-books is fairly steep given that there is practically no manufacture cost. However on the bright side, the publishers I buy books from O’reilly, Pack Publishing, No Starch Press, InformIT (Addison-Wesley Professional, Prentice Hall Professional, Sams Publishing), constantly have really good deals on all of of their e-books. Usually the deals are anywhere from 30%-70% discount.

In terms of my e-book reader, I use a first-gen iPad mini. I’m a big fan of Android, and in fact I prefer it over iOS. But I haven’t found an e-book reading app in Android that is a nice and polish as iBooks in iOS.

ibooks

In conclusion, I love e-books! It’s so convenient to carry around my entire book library, I’ve even gone as far as re-buying old physical books for a second time as a digital e-book.

R.I.P. Eduardo Galeano

If you’re an ordinary American, you probably have no idea who Eduardo Galeano is. Or yet, you might learn who he was thanks to the incident were former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave President Obama a copy of his book “Open Veins of Latina America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent”. Galeano was essentially the Noam Chomsky of Latin America (If you don’t know who Noam Chomsky is, you should be allowed to vote in this country). The book Open Veins is an absolute epic masterpiece. Like Charles Bowden’s book “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields”, “Open Veins of Latina America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” is one of those books that I has forever change me by opening my eyes to such a topic that I would’ve given little to no attention.

Although I don’t fully agree with all Galeano’s extreme far left political views, his writing has forever changed my life.

“They came. They had the Bible and we had the land. We were told: “Close your eyes and pray”, and when we open our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.” – Eduardo Galeano

Moving off Ruby on Rails

A couple of years ago I decided to build a simple portfolio site using RoR as a way to learn the framework more in depth. After all they’re lots of idiots who see the entire Ruby programming language as it only being solely for RoR development. Like this fucking idiot Python vs Ruby On RAILS, but I digress. Now a days however, I simply see my rails app as a nuisance, since I have to stay on top of security updates, and quite frankly lost interest on learning RoR.

Since I still wanted to have my portfolio site online, I decided to clone it over to just be static html/css files. Using the tool HTTrack, the process was dead simple to accomplish.

Goodbye Rails, I hope I don’t get to work with you anytime in near future.

R.I.P. Gallery Project, hello NextGen

I’ve been using Gallery Project for my photo galleries for quite some time now, so a few months ago when I heard they were going to stop active development, I was very sadden to hear the news. More importantly, security wise this obviously became a huge concern for me. This meant I had to start looking into alternatives.

I first delved into MediaGoblin. Knowing that MediaGoblin is a Free Software sponsored project, eg; they’re pumping money into its development. MediaGoblin is proabably not going anywhere anytime soon. The install process is fairly straight forward (Python app running under Apache via FastCGI), their site has really good documentation on getting MediaGoblin up and running. After spending an hour or two with MediaGoblin, it seem like it was a bit overkill for a simple online photo gallery that I wanted to setup.

My second Gallery Project replacement consideration was WordPress with the NextGen Gallery plugin. NextGen Gallery is the defacto WordPress photo gallery plugin, so it’s definetely not going anywhere anytime soon. Given both WordPress and NextGen Gallery simplicity, I’ve opted to adopt it as my Gallery Project replacement. The photo import process was really easy, I simply just had to copy my old images into to the new NextGen gallery directory, and click on the “Scan Folder for new images” submit button and NextGen was able to successfully add my images to my new gallery. The only problem with this approach was that I had to manually update the image names, a tags. Given that my old gallery was just 500 images, I was able to manually make the changes in just a few minutes, however if someone have had a gallery with thousands of images; I can see this becoming a problem. The only problem I encounter when migrating to WordPress w/ NextGen, is that the default tag based pagination url structure is broken. This appears to be a known issue from what I see. https://wordpress.org/support/topic/pagination-does-not-work-on-the-page-images-tagged

For example.
Tag home page:

http://www.alpha01.org/ngg_tag/las-vegas/

With the default pagination settings enabled, the secondary page would redirect to the following (page returned an empty page):

http://www.alpha01.org/nggallery/page/2

The correct url the default NextGen tag based pagination should be return is:

http://www.alpha01.org/ngg_tag/las-vegas/nggallery/page/2

I mitigated this bug by simply disabling pagination all together. After that, my switch was seamless. Interestingly, now my photo gallery www.alpha01.org is fully responsive now. However since it’s heavy JavaScript based, SEO is practically gone, additionally getting image specific tracking analytics gets a bit complicated to implement. I’m still researching for a good solution to this problem, since it would be nice to see what images are getting the more hits.