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Blog about geeky stuff, computers, physics and life.

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Facebook (and the rest) - wait a minute - this way is wrong!

Tags: English, technology, opinions
Created on Thu, 19 Jul 2018

This is not the way we wanted computers to work. We don't want people addicted to their phones all the time, looking like zombies, internally feeling depressed and anxious and always trying to outcompete everybody in the world; trying to show off to get a few more likes, to get a few more comments. We don't want this poisonous competition of individuals for meaningless virtual points. And all the while these same people are being exploited by Facebook to click on things so that advertisers can show them ads to things they probably don't even want. We don't want people reading shallow automatically generated articles of confirmation bias, which are being promoted by Facebook to get even more clicks for more ads for more things you don't want.

We wanted to connect with the people we care about. It's our intrinsic desire in this more and more isolated society. We wanted to know what is going on in the lives of the people we cared about but not to compete with them in this ugly jelaous


This blog is now written in Markdown and synced with OwnCloud

Tags: English, technology, hacks
Created on Sat, 30 Jun 2018

This has been an idea that has been brewing in my mind for a while - create a simple blog that I can write from anywhere, using standard Markdown syntax. Here's the repo of the project.

The blog itself is a Flask webapp with sqlite database that has a BlogPost table. The trick is that the table is acutally synced with flat files in a folder. Each file is a blog post entry. The folder itself is synced by owncloud client which is running as a daemon (currently behind a tmux but will do it as a systemd service soon).

The key of the syncer is in the flatfile_syncer.py file. The sync is currently one-directional - when a file is created/updated/deleted, a blog post is created/updated/deleted. As an admin, you can CUD blog posts from the web interface but these are currently not synced to the file system.

So whenever I start writing a (non-hidden) file in that fol


If you like being a pirate...

Tags: English, technology, essays
Created on Wed, 09 May 2018

Keep on reading, I am not going to judge you - I (may) do this all the time. I just want to pose you an interesting question to think about…

Take a look (if you can and at your own risk) at the most seeded audiobooks on one of these sites where Johnny Depp might find himself if he was so inclined as to make an Internet movie 😉

At the time of writing (May 2018) titles include: * "12 Rules for life" [#1 with 396], * "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Rober Cialdini" [#3 with 226] * "Be Obsessed or Be Average" [#4 with 175] * "Anthony Tony Robbins - Awaken The Giant Within" [#8 with 126] * "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" [#9 with 125] * "The Millionaire Booklet" [#10 with 121] * "The Five Elements of Effective Thinking" [#14 with 103] * "No Excuses - The Power of Self-Discipline" [#15 with 93] * "You are a Badass" [#17 with 93] * "Maps of Meaning" (#1's author's previous book) [#19 with 91]

The unmentioned books include "Harry Potter book series 1-7", "Th


Ode to professionals

Tags: English, technology, essays
Created on Thu, 19 Apr 2018

A professional doesn't dress well to impress and fake his professionalism. He dresses well to feel professional.

A professional is not hack-y, quick or dirty. He is a thorough and precise.

A professional is not arrogant or know-it-all. He works together with his colleagues, learns from them and helps them.

A professional understands planned work, unplanned work and plans for the unplanned work.

A professional takes responsibility but never blames.

A professional always learns.

A professional uses the right tool for the job. Not the one that is most hyped at the moment, nor the one he is just most familiar with but too complex or too simple for this job.

A professional understands his human limitations. Thus he never overworks to show off or mistreats the rest of his life for his craft.

A professional always tells the truth, voices his opinions where they are relevant to the work and protects his craft and his colleagues.

A professional understands or tries to


Build a memory graph in linux terminal

Tags: English, technology, hacks
Created on Wed, 11 Jul 2018

I was searching for a terminal based graph of usage of memory but I couldn't find one, so I built it using simple bash and python.

First create a directory called mem and enter it with cd mem

Then run the daemon part of the monitor:

while true; do free -m | head -2 | tail -1 | awk '{print $3}' > `date +'%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S%z'`; sleep 1; done

To actually build the graph, use this:

watch -n1 'for f in `ls -r | head -30`; do num=`cat $f`; python -c "print(\"{} {}\".format(\"$f: $num\", \".\" * ($num/10)))"; done'

And the result is something like this:

``` 2018-07-11T11:26:36+0000: 330 ................................. 2018-07-11T11:26:35+0000: 316 ............................... 2018-07-11T11:26:34+0000: 285 ............................ 2018-07-11T11:26:33+0000: 236 ....................... 2018-07-11T11:26:32+0000: 235 ....................... 2018-07-11T11:26:31+0000: 236 ....................... 2018-07-11T11:26:30+0000: 236 ..............


Here's how I got my music from Google Music (as of March 2018)

Tags: English, technology, hacks
Created on Sat, 31 Mar 2018

At some point I uploaded all my music on Google Music - they provided 20,000 songs upload for free. Then of course, they started pushing their paid service - fair enought. I tried the trial several times, I paid subscriptions several times over the years, but I never enjoyed the suggestions it was giving me and somehow the music I wanted, wasn't there. So eventually I always just went to YouTube to listen to music.

But now that I am trying to detach a little bit from the cloud and get my data back I wanted to try to download my music from Google Music.

Google Checkout

My first attempt was the assumption that I can get my music as a part of the standard Google Get Back My Data or whatever. It was fairly easy to get there - MyAccount from my profile image, then Takeout then click


AFTER ENTER - Episode 2 - Pressing!

Tags: English, technology, projects, learning
Created on Fri, 20 Nov 2015

The story so far:

Hi again. Last time we spoke about what happens before a search engine like Google has to accomplish before doing a search through billions of documents that make the Internet. Today we are starting our journey by doing a real search.

Our particular search will be the age old question that every child asks and every adult is ashamed to not know the answer:

Why is the sky blue?

How many ways can you think of doing that search? If you are on a phone or have a smartwatch you can say “OK Google, (hear a small bleep) why is the sky blue?”. Or you can tap on your home screen box and type with the keyboard that appears on the screen. If you are at home and have a laptop on your… well, lap… you could type on your keyboard.

So which one was it for you? This interaction is called interfacing. The word interface is used frequently and interchangeab


Can YouTube be wrong?

Tags: English, technology, opinions, life, politics
Created on Tue, 29 Jun 2021

No. This is simply, mathematically impossible.

YouTube (Google/Alphabet) is not made of people. It's made of omniscient gods. I am one of them, therefore it must be true.

So when YouTube puts this in their guidelines:

YouTube Community Guidelines

It is impossible that they (we) are wrong.

"OK, " - a mere mortal might ask - "Why are they (you) claiming this? Joe Rogan invited that guy that you talked about the other week and this new doctor dude to talk about some medicine. They seem calm, rational and calmly talking about evidence-based research, just look:"

Ah, so you are watching this outside of the exclusive deal [that Rogan


What are ads (potentially) good for?

Tags: English, technology, opinions
Created on Wed, 26 Nov 2014

When I was small, I've always hated the ads on TV that would interrupt my favorite movie or show. And they would do this 5 times in an hour, sometimes for so long that I would forget what I was watching. I didn't see the point of them at all. Well, unless I wanted to go pee - and I actually thought for quite a while that this is the reason for ads.

Then someone told me that this is how the channels are supporting themselves and that without the ads, TV would not exist. I thought this is stupid.

But as I grew up, I accepted the fact. I still hated them though and me and my family would have the desperate "Argh!" whenever we heard the famous jingle of the ad block beginning. And they would of course do it in the most interesting part of the movie. This is supposed to be entertaining?!

Are all ads evil though? Isn't there some value in them? I would like to spend some time to rethink the advertisement model in the world.

To start of, I believe the model is currently very corru


Getting back control of my digital life one bit at a time

Tags: English, technology, hacks, personal
Created on Thu, 29 Mar 2018

I have permanently deleted my Facebook account this week after the latest "scandals" around the "social" network. Of course I knew on some level what is happening with my data but I think it finally hit home. I've always hated Facebook, ever since I first made my account (post about it in Bulgarian) - and that hasn't changed for the 8 years that I used the service, it only got worse I think. It was not so much about the data that I have shared, it has been more about the mindset that it installed in me and in people around me. Being zombies, constantly scrolling useless content by people you barely know or not even know with pages you liked at some point, with no easy way to get out of it, a network hitting all weak spots in human psychology. So the latest revelations of which we were all well aware (in the hacker/techie community at least) got to me and crossed a threshold


On windows and software development

Tags: English, technology, opinions
Created on Mon, 26 Mar 2018

There are worker guys now in the office just changing a window. And I am thinking... I so wish it was this way with software development - they have a task, there is a due time, it is clear and there are standard tools to do the job. And even if their clothing is dirty, because that's what their line of work is, they look oh so professional. They know what they do, how much time it is going to take them, what to use and the job is done perfectly and even integration tested it by opening closing the window and then stress tested it by hanging on it to see it holds.

If he was a software developer... You never know... They may have a very new incompatible window, so they will have to stick with duck tape where there are some holes, do a unit test of the handle and the glass and say it has 99% coverage but actually opening and closing it crashes the window next to it and the stability of the whole building is under question. Then they would explain that it worked when they tried it on t


Privacy is over: Everyone's chats on Facebook and Instagram have leaked online

Tags: English, technology, opinions
Created on Thu, 14 Oct 2021

A massive trove of data has leaked online in one of the most exhaustive data dumps in the last decades. Facebook's chat application Messenger and image sharing service Instagram have been breached this Monday following multiple worldwide outages and controversies brought forward by whistleblowers in the past month.

More than 2.6 billion people's conversations, including the text, photos, videos and voice messages for the past two years are organized in a collection of torrents that are circling dark web forums such as 4chan and reddit.

The Guarrdian has verified that chat history seems to end a week before the accident - namely until 28 Septmber 2021. The leak data frame spawns between September 2019 and end of September 2021. Chats between journalists, political officials, celebretie


Online security

Tags: English, technology, hacks
Created on Wed, 20 Oct 2021

Last week I wrote about a hypothetical Facebook messenger and Whatsapp breach which would give the world access to everyone's chats - including yours, your friends', your parents, everyone you know or don't - indexable, searchable by everyone. A truly privacy is over type of situation. I argued that this is what people really cared about - a personal hit, not bombs and terrorists or some unknown John in a three-letter agency reading your chats. Someone you know - or everyone you know - reading your personal communications with other people.

Scale it down

Alright, maybe leaking all of Facebook's chat would require literal trucks and months of unmonitored leakage due to the sheer amount of data. Text is not so big - the whole of English Wikipedia is merely [20 GB](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Size_of_Wikip


The eyes of the Internet

Tags: English, technology, essays
Created on Tue, 14 Dec 2021

Note: I'm not going to talk about these eyes today. I need more pandemic to get there.

We don't know what the Internet really is. Not really. We don't have the intuition or senses to recognize it anymore. It's not like how we know what a human is.

And we don't have laws and rights at the Internet. Not really. We don't really know what is where and what can and shouldn't be done. We don't know it like we know not to poke a human in the eyes.

So when one day someone discoveres the Internet has something like an eye, a weak, soft spot - we take all the toothpicks and nails, we take all the pins and needles, all the sharp sticks and every tool around us and we try to poke it.

And then the people making the Internet scramble to "patch it", to make glasses or lenses or more accurately - to put duct tape on the eyes in the hope it protects them.



Tags: English, politics, technology, opinions, essays, life
Created on Tue, 22 Mar 2022

Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.

I think of this blog sometimes as Winston's diary. One day I will probably pay the price of having it and pouring my thoughts here. I can hide it but should I?

I censor myself to think thoughts that may matter. I don't talk about ideas with people around me, other than some very close circle of people that I trust are not the secret police. I'm not paranoid (yet). I enjoy and must be thankful of the freedoms I have in "THE WEST". I must feel the privilege of being a young white male. Some days I do actually feel it now.

I'm a member of the Outer party, working for one of the Biggest Brothers humanity has known. As such, I get almost daily reminder what I should support and what I should oppose. Today I must support Ukraine and hate Russia. Yesterday I shouted that people should get vaccines and raged that the ones who don't are why we still don't have our freedoms. It was so sad indeed


Who wants to be conscious?

Tags: English, technology, opinions, essays, life
Created on Tue, 05 Jul 2022

We don't have a device that measures consciousness. That's it. Until we figure out how to make a consciousness-scale, it's useless to argue whether something is or isn't conscious. A dog can be conscious. But so can a rock. A virus, a star, the rainbow can be conscious until we figure out what the F consciousness is and how we could measure it. All other arguments would be religion for me and I'm slowly starting to get used to saying that you are "free to believe in whatever you want" but as every religion goes - I may not agree with your conclusions.

Imagine it's the day before we figured out how to measure radiation. Our human senses can't detect radiation. Perhaps some radioactive elements glow or if you wait enough time, the long-term effects are that you get a nasty disease. But, without a Geiger counter or such similar device that amplifies the nano-scopic radiation, you would not be able to weed out the materials that exhibit some characteristics of radiation but are not rea


State of AI

Tags: English, technology, opinions, essays, life
Created on Sun, 30 Apr 2023

Human in a box

It is NOT going to be an argument that AI is sentient or have emotions. Certainly not in its current form. I will go to that point later in the essay.

However, I will be putting a human in a box as a thought experiment in learning, not consciousness. It will remind some people of the Chinese room but this will be a more cruel version so that we take away any possible learning that the human has acquired in "the real world" before being put in the room.

The following description may be difficult and emotional to follow.

Imagine a human child is put in a latex suit in a dark box in space right after birth without a possibility to interact with the world in any way, other than the described below. The latex suit limits their touch perception, space removes orientation, it's dark so vision is impaired and there is no sound. The basic physiological needs are provided to them - clean air, food, and water are gi