2009-04-28

Social progress protests in Ljubljana

I have joined in the protests organized by various local organizations interested in social progress. This follows my interest in the Slovenian Zeitgeist Movement as well as my wider philosophical views.

I have been informed of the gathering via the Slovenian Zeitgeist Movement's mailing list. After glancing at the organizers' website and post I quickly assumed that there will be 5 people at the gathering, but at the same time knew that they were promoting something me and my friend have been working on for a long time and hence is worth supporting.

I was however positively surprised: The protest ended up quite massive with over 900 people participating, international groups participating from countries from Germany to Serbia as well as many Slovenian groups, primarily anarcho-communist groups, as well as WW2 veterans, left political party activist branches and various cultural and interest groups.

The background here is that in Slovenia the movement for social change has begun during WW2, when the self-organized resistance movement, also known as the partisans, emerged. From the very beginning this social change was designed to reach beyond simply defeating the axis forces, but ensure a fair social system. A system that capitalism is not, even by the criteria defined back then. Movements for social progress thus extrapolate upon work already done in this area historically. This is obviously a good thing as history happens to be a science.

The media coverage was poor and while I am not one for conspiracy theories, after comparing actual events and footage made, with the resulting news coverage of over 7 different media houses, I must admit the censorship was very harsh and interestingly unified. The tendencies amongst the Slovenian media today seems to be a bit of westernized revisionist history, where you try to make everything into a compromise, even if it is to suit the interests of a group of people who's intention it is to destroy everything they cannot own and control.

At the end of the day the protest was a great success... And beyond simply showing support for an idea, it was also very useful in helping the various organizations working in these areas to network. I expect interesting aftermath, when we manage to get in touch with everybody and start cooperating.

2009-04-17

Embeded system

Browsing trough a price list for a different purpose I managed to find a real life example of just the kind of embedded XML-over-HTTP provider I wrote of in my article. The Conrad Linux Control II Application Kit.

It's the kind of Linux component you would typically find under the hood of your average working network router, next to the modem chip. 16 MB of flash memory, 8 MB of RAM, and most importantly a serial, USB and network connection. The software, being Linux, offers a fully functional web server, amongst other things. Being 5V devices and draining just 300 mA of current, they use about 1,5 W, making it possible to fuel them with something as costless as solar cells. They come in circuit board form as well as in nifty packages such as seen on the picture. This is indeed just over 8 by 5 by 2 cm in size, which IMHO is tiny!

This device is more than enough to interface a data source of choice (may require USB, Serial connection or Ethernet based A/D converter) with XML-over-HTTP and connect it to the Internet to be available anywhere, or secured with the usual cheap network equipment we are all familiar with (a router, a VPN, a dailup, anything). Offers all the advantages mentioned in the article.

The bugger costs just over 230 € and while this makes it about as expensive as any low cost desktop missing a few components and thus sort of unsuitable for home use, I immagine in industrial use where other concerns are more relevant (vibration resistance, durability, size, power supply) they are quite a good deal.

I'd love to program a real life application using XML-over-HTTP with these.

2009-04-13

Slovenian Zeitgeist meeting

I have joined in on this week's Slovenian Zeitgeist Movement meeting, in hopes to learn more about them. They seem to be an interesting bunch with varied expertise and a technocratic vision. This is somehow different from what I had expected, but in a good way.

The general consensus was to try to reach younger people (students) with a gentle reminder of the system in which they live in and various technical solutions to their problems. They will be producing leaflets and leaving them in waiting rooms and other places where bored people hang out at. It was also decided not to go for rigid geographical grouping, but rather feature a map with members marked, where people can decide for themselves what they consider to be "local".

As previously mentioned, I have committed to helping them on the technical side. I will be helping them adapt their Plone based website to the common ZM design.