Linked List: November 2013

The CMS Trap #

Unless you know exactly what you’re doing (which is unlikely), stay static.

And from the comments in Hacker News:

On the very top of the list of abhorrently convolute CMSes would probably have to be Typo3, followed after some distance by Drupal. But the more you work with the initially-liberal Wordpress the more you discover it’s not that far behind either.

Revisiting Nested Formsets #

Useful, but given the warnings, there must be a simpler way to do what I’m currently trying to do with Django forms.

Horrible Logos #

Bad logos for beer money since 2010.

I love the testimonials section.

MediaCrush Application to Serve Files Quickly #

Drag and drop upload. Also compresses files. Impressive.

Bob Dylan Releases Video for Like A Rolling Stone #

Flip the channels while playing.

Welcome to the World of Tomorrow #

Holger Krekel:

I’d like to point you to a master piece from Frank Rieger in 2006 (!), predicting many of the things that are ongoing now and how to fight it. I recommend reading it completely as he does leave room for hope in the end :)

Frank is the current speaker of the Chaos Communication Club, btw. They have a lot of influence in Germany and culturally contributed a lot to making working for secret services uncool. Something which i believe is not really the case in the US and probably also not in the UK?

I love the ending of Frank Rieger’s article:

The eavesdropping people must be laughed about as their job is silly, boring, and ethically the worst thing to earn money with, sort of blackmail and robbing grandmas on the street. We need to develop a “lets have fun confusing their systems”-culture that plays with the inherent imperfections, loopholes, systematic problems, and interpretation errors that are inevitable with large scale surveillance. Artists are the right company for this kind of approach. We need a subculture of “In your face, peeping tom”. Exposing surveillance in the most humiliating and degrading manner, giving people something to laugh about must be the goal. Also, this prevents us from becoming frustrated and tired. If there is no fun in beating the system, we will get tired of it and they will win. So let’s be flexible, creative and funny, not angry, ideologic and stiff-necked.

See also: Our Walled World.

The Day The Earth Smiled #

Lovely. See also: One Special Day in the Life of Planet Earth.

Fixedsys Excelsior Font #

Used in this.

Simple Answers #

Alt text:

‘Will [         ] allow us to better understand each other and thus make war undesirable?’ is one that pops up whenever we invent a new communication medium.

CSS Stopwatch #
Excel-like Application in Less Than 30 Lines of JavaScript #

The power of open standards and web browsers.

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) #

And from the Hacker News discussion, Julian Assange’s central thesis:

The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

See also, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms.

Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda Crisis and Relief Map #
High-Resolution Mandelbrot in Obfuscated Python #

Beautiful. Gotta love Python.

The Library Genesis Project #

Find most any book you want, I think. Here’s some Jiddu Krishnamurti.

The IETF HTTP Working Group Is in a Special Place Right Now #

Tim Bray:

What the people I respect want is for everything (yes, absolutely everything) transmitted across the Web to be sent in encrypted form, and with a high degree of confidence in exactly which server you’re connecting to.

Also there are the fools who think you shouldn’t need to encrypt if you don’t have anything to hide, but I’ve already written on why they should be ignored.

Update: HTTP 2.0 will be HTTPS only.

When You Take Away the Safe Space, You Take Away a Lot of the Power of Human Problem Solving #

Tim Berners-Lee on the NSA and GCHQ.

Message from Google Security Engineers to NSA and Edward Snowden #

…I now join him in issuing a giant Fuck You to the people who made these slides. I am not American, I am a Brit, but it’s no different - GCHQ turns out to be even worse than the NSA.

We designed this system to keep criminals out. There’s no ambiguity here. The warrant system with skeptical judges, paths for appeal, and rules of evidence was built from centuries of hard won experience. When it works, it represents as good a balance as we’ve got between the need to restrain the state and the need to keep crime in check. Bypassing that system is illegal for a good reason.

Unfortunately we live in a world where all too often, laws are for the little people. Nobody at GCHQ or the NSA will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process. In the absence of working law enforcement, we therefore do what internet engineers have always done - build more secure software. The traffic shown in the slides below is now all encrypted and the work the NSA/GCHQ staff did on understanding it, ruined.

Thank you Edward Snowden. For me personally, this is the most interesting revelation all summer.