Blue light addication

Hello, my name is Jostein and I’m a blue light addict. I crave the blue light that my so called smart phone gives off, I need the blue light, it drives me, it feeds me. From the moment I wake up, all throughout the day my attention is focused around that electric unit in the palm of my hands, to being the last thing I look at before going to sleep at night. What has happened, is there a pulse, has to world gone on to live another day? What has happened in the lives of those around me, and most importantly, has anyone liked and/or commented on my online activities? It’s like a rush surging through my veins, as I fire up the Facebook app on my beloved smart phone. Seeing that red notification icon come up with a number. The number was zero when I went to bed, how high is it this morning? It’s all about being social they say, and you need to be social on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instragram, Whatsapp and God knows where else. Social? Social network? Social? Hahaha, yes to an extent, but not really. But I said beloved smart phone, and I said so called smart phone, and I said social didn’t I?

Let me shed some light on why I phrased it just like that. Yes, modern smart phones are in its basic form smart, they do a hell of a lot more today than we could have dreamt of some 50 years ago. Heck, it’s only some 42 years ago that Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first ever call from what we today define as mobile phones. Four years before that, we first landed on the moon with a computer that ran with the speed of 0.043MHz and had 64KB of memory. Compare that with for instance the latest phone from Samsung, the Galaxy S6 which comes with a 2.1GHz processor and 3GB of memory. If we are to compare the difference in sheer numbers alone, we’re talking roughly 49 000 times more processor power and memory. This computer was very basic, and was only able to perform the most mundane tasks, whereas today’s smart phones can send emails, take pictures, playback movies and music, find your way back home or to your destination with its built in GPS and so much more.

But is it really smart? Or to ask the question somewhat differently, is it making us any smarter? Take the age old discussions at the pub, at work or around the dinner table. In the past, we had to rely solely on our wits and knowledge, and if we didn’t know the answer, we at least tried to deduce our way to the answer. If all came to fail, we found our way to the bookshelf to open up the encyclopaedia if your household were lucky enough to have one, or you phoned up someone you thought knew the answer. This was a lot more sociable and meant that you had to use your head. What do we do today? If a discussion arises, you can just time how long it takes for someone or everyone to whip up their phones to Google the answer. Gone is the joy and thrill of trying to deduce your way to the answer, gone is the stimulants of the joyful banter around the table as we all torment ourselves on the answer we all should know, but aren’t able to produce. No, the sad fact is that the smart phone is making us dumber. When our parents grew up, they had to memorize the things they learnt. They didn’t have access to the internet. They didn’t have the short cuts we have today. If they wanted to find out, they had to work for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making knowledge easily accessible, but it’s a proven fact that the modern human forgets a lot more than we did just 50 years ago. Why? Because we are constantly being bombarded with information from all over the world, from different channels such as TV, radio and last but not least the Internet with its non stop stream of information. Our constant bombardment of information is too much for the brain to cope with, so in order to make room for new information, old information has to be indexed or just tossed away like yesterdays news.

Most people these days call their phones among their most priced and beloved possessions, and if you asked someone to be without a mobile phone and internet access for an extended period of time, even a few days, most would just frown upon you and laugh. Most people don’t think about this gut reaction that most would fire off, but it’s a sign of addiction, an addiction I’ve come to realise I suffer from. In many ways, my phone controls me more than I control it. And you see it everywhere these days, no matter where you are. If you’re at the pub, everyone is taking pictures of how truly excellent their life is at that exact moment in time. Surrounded by friends, having a laugh, getting their booze on. You see it on the bus, you see it on the train. First thing most do, is to find their phones and select the right music, check their so called social feeds to get the pulse of what’s going on, and of course, we have to tell the whole world that that damned train was running 10 minutes late, meaning the rest of their day is ruined! People don’t talk any more. If you bump into someone on the train, we used to say we’re sorry, which could end up as a conversation, but now both parties just look up from their phones, let out a loud sigh as to say don’t fucking bother me, I’m busy updating myself, to seconds later stare down into that blue light abyss.

God forbid you manage to break your phone, or even worse, lose it. For the modern person, such a dreadful event is like losing someone close. The picture of Gollum from Lord of the Rings springs to mind, sitting there cradling his precious, his precious ring. Or in this case, the broken phone or if the precious is lost, sitting there sobbing uncontrollably trying to get over such a traumatic event. I’m losing out on what’s going out there! I don’t know whether my friends, relatives and business acquaintances are alive, or dead, what they are doing. They could have checked in somewhere important! Or they could be out sailing! Or they could be on the mountain skiing! Or they could be down at the lovely beach, on that vacation they’ve been talking about for so long! I want to live my life through others, I need my fucking fix, and I need it NOW!!!

Whatever happened to living the life in the moment, just embrace what is going on around you, there and then? So what if you’re sitting in your comfortable chair at home doing nothing, or if you’re down by the river trying to recharge your batteries by just watching the river flow by. Whatever happened by actually giving yourself a chance to breathe, to live your own life, through your eyes and your eyes alone.

Being a victim of bullying for many, many years, it left me scarred and socially awkward. Most people would never see it, but being sociable never came easy to me. I would shine in surroundings where I felt safe, and people would enjoy my company, but a huge part of me was working on overdrive on the inside just to make ends meet and function. It’s only over the last few years I’ve been able to function well out there in the real world, without having to invest huge amounts of energy on the inside to keep up appearances on the outside. It took a long while for me to love myself, and only by loving yourself can you love others, and be the person you were meant to be.

But what happened then? When you’re out there, being sociable you see other people there with the same purpose. They are there to be social. But are they really social? No, most people are to caught up in fondling their smart phones, taking pictures of their perfect life and documenting it for everyone to see. Being social with those that actually came out to see you seems to be secondary, of less importance, than updating social networks with your current activities. I’ve left most of my social insecurities behind and try not to be bothered too much about these activities, because I’ve been doing the same thing for years, but I only wonder how really socially insecure people cope with this. To be honest, I don’t think they cope all that well, for many it’s making an already difficult situation harder to deal with.

What really troubles me, is how far this social detachment has gone. You see this behaviour in pubs, in restaurants, in theatres, at the movies, when you have friends and family over for dinner, in weddings but worst of all, funerals. When did it become socially acceptable to take selfies during funerals and post them to social media? If you’re at a funeral, pay some fucking respect to the deceased and those left behind! Don’t be so self centred that you think only of yourself and how you look online. And going back to having friends and family over, who hasn’t been there, having spent the better parts of the day making the place look nice, spending hours to make some good food and to set the atmosphere, only to have it ruined by that blue light monster? Showing appreciation to the one that has spent his or her time to make it a good night, no that’s secondary, it’s more important to update the social feeds and feed the masses! And my best bit, is people who instead of talking with those present, choose to talk with others out there via online messaging services. It’s downright rude and insulting. Yes, a quick message might be okay, but spending most of the afternoon and evening with the blue light monster when you were actually invited to be social, it’s NOT okay.

I’ve sinned to all of these things myself, but I’ve had it, I don’t want some electronic gadget to control my life, I want to maintain that control for myself. I don’t want to blue light monster to enslave me. I want to live. I want my attention to be where it’s supposed to be. To those that chose to spend time with me. I’m sure I’ll commit some of the same sins again in the future, but this is my pledge to take back the control and try to maintain the proper focus that I should have.

Yours sincerely Jostein.

Google Cardboard VR – nerdgasm!

Selfie with the fully assembled Google Cardboard VR goggles

Selfie with the fully assembled Google Cardboard VR goggles

What is it they say? Once a nerd, always a nerd? I don’t know about you, but for me that definitely rings true. Working in IT, you tend to be surrounded by great people with vast knowledge in both the technical sphere as well as matters of the real world. There’s nothing quite like having a nerdy discussion, being among like minded, not to mention the fact that they get jokes most others just won’t understand. One of those that often springs to mind for me there is the quote “there are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t”.

Having a boss that’s nerdy sure helps as well, and just recently all the guys in the technical department got a small present from him. The gift was the Google Cardboard VR self assembly glasses, a technology I had read quite a bit about but never bothered to look into, let alone order just to play around with. Today, I brought this present back home and assembled it. My expectations weren’t high, I’ll give you that, but once I had them on I was laughing and having *SUCH* a good time! I actually think I caught myself giggling at one point. It doesn’t take much to please this guy, but this blew me out of the water.

Caaaaardboard!

Caaaaardboard!

One of the most fun things I’ve played around with so far, is the game Caaaaardboard!, which is a game that has you leaping off a building stacking up points as you fall down. The aim of the game is to stack up as many points as possible, without ending up dead on the way down. I guess this is the closest I’ll ever get to being Superman seeing I wasn’t born on the planet Krypton. Good stuff! :)

Technology is fun, and this inexpensive piece of kit proves that without the shadow of a doubt. Do yourself a favour and order this STRAIGHT away – you’ll have some good clean fun!

Artificial intelligence – The ghost in the machine?

Recently there has been quite a bit of talk about artificial intelligence, and the possible problems this technology might introduce. Technology and evolution go hand in hand, and even though some might disagree, I find to be a natural part of the evolution. In our modern society, technology has become just as important as food and water. In this day and age, you would have to work hard to find some field that in some shape or form doesn’t use some form of technology to aid and assist.

But what is artificial intelligence and why should I even bother or worry about it? Read more »

Energy

Energy
It surrounds us
It consumes us
It’s everything and nothing
From the painful birth
At ground zero
The biggest orgasm known
The Big Bang
The genesis of entirety
The cradle of life
From single protons and neutrons
To a whole universe of atoms
Molded into the complexity of creation
From tears and sadness
To smiles and laughter
The common denominator
Energy

It can give life
It can destroy life
Its power so immense
Interwoven in everything
It’s a two faced entity
It has no feelings
Even though energy can create them
It has no memory
Though it imprints them
It has no agenda
But yet lays out the path of everything

It’s like a everlasting tidal wave
Surging over the universes
Like a ship without a captain
It sails across time and space
The needle of the compass
Pointing in all directions
To the darkest corners
To the brightest stars
Leaves nothing unturned and untouched
It embraces it all with its presence
And it does so without prejudice nor discrimination

It floats around us
Forever there
Sometimes visible
At times hidden to the naked eye
Embrace it with what you got
For without it, you would be nothing
There would be nothing
No tears – no sadness – no smiles – no laughter
Nothing

The reason for everything
Energy
Forget the what’s, the who’s and the whys
Energy

Simply energy!

Howto install bindgraph in Ubuntu

This is a simple howto on getting bindgraph installed on your Ubuntu system. Bindgraph is a handy CGI tool written in perl that gathers statistics from your BIND9 installation, so see exactly what sort of DNS lookups are made to your DNS server.
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Accessing MSSQL with perl in Ubuntu/Debian

Have you ever had the need to access a MSSQL database from Ubuntu/Debian via perl? Well, it’s rather easy once you have the right tools. All you need is to install a few things, edit a config file and off you go. Just follow the below instructions and you should go good to go.

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Howto set up a backup MX for Zimbra in Ubuntu/Debian

Have you ever wanted to set up a backup mail exchanger (MX) for your main Zimbra installation? Recently, I had this need for two of my Zimbra installations. Of course, if you run the enterprise version of Zimbra where they offer you the tools to do this without too much work out of the box. But if you just don’t have the resources to put up another full scale Zimbra server, you can achieve much of the same with much less. Of course, it won’t offer you all the bells and whistles that a full Zimbra installation will, but it does the trick if your needs are sparse. Read more »

Howto install Redmine on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Preface

What is redmine? Redmine is a flexible project management web application. Written using the Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database. What does that really mean though? What it means is that it gives you a great tool to manage your coding projects, either if you’re working solo or working in groups of people doing work on the same project. What’s great about redmine is all the nice little features it offers you, that makes managing your projects so much easier, some of them being

  • Multiple projects support
  • Flexible role based access control
  • Flexible issue tracking system
  • Feeds & email notifications
  • Per project wiki
  • Per project forums
  • SCM integration (SVN, CVS, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar and Darcs)
  • Issue creation via email

Having a tool that gives you all this makes it easy to follow what you’ve done on a project so far, what issues that have been uncovered with the code so far, and what has been done to fix these problems. But not only that, it also gives you a great tool to write online documentation for your projects, and have user driven forums for them at the same making the integration between you as a coder and the end users even more tighter. As an added bonus, as with any community as it grows the community starts helping itself, making you able to focus on what’s important and that’s improving your code. Its ties to most modern VCS systems, such as Git, Subversion and Bazaar also makes you able to track code changes in real time through the web, much like you do on Github and similar services.
Read more »

Make time for yourself

Joshua Bell performing in Washington DC Metro Station

Joshua Bell performing in Washington DC Metro Station

This is a rather personal post, but after having seen this picture on Facebook and read the related article over at The Washington Post, my fingers started reacting. What was only meant to be a short comment on Facebook ended up with a small rant, but I guess my fingers wanted to say more on the topic than my head originally intended. What it ended up was this short little rant/comment/observation.

Hmmmm, what can you say about something like this? The only thing that springs to mind that there is some truth to this.

I was brought up to enjoy the smaller things in life, as they are a lot more common than those big moments that come so seldom. Sure you tend to remember those rare days/nights more vividly than the small things you experience every day, like someone offering you a smile, a gentle nod, someone opening the door for you, offering you a seat on the bus when you have your hands full of grocery bags etc. At times, even a simple hello is enough to make your day, or someone unknown that you talked to on the phone that seemed so full of life and happy, that you just couldn’t help yourself from being smitten and ending up with a smile and a cheer as well.

Perception is a strange thing. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The problem with modern life is that we tend to be rushed, always going fast, never really taking the time to actually make time, take it easy, sit down and do nothing. Or in this case, to stop up to listen to someone conveying something both immensely technically difficult and at the same time beautiful. Many people complain that “there’s is never enough time” and that “the day should have more hours”. Let’s face it, the day will never have more than 24 hours (unless someone comes up with an ingenious plan to slow down the earth’s rotation), and as for never enough time, the only one that can give you time is yourself.

I constantly hear from other people that they feel they fail to live up to the expectations of others, as they can’t make the time or can’t afford to attend a party, an event or some kind of other social relation. The thing is, even if you were able to make the time and could afford it, does it increase the quality of your life to such an extent that you couldn’t be without? Or could you actually be better off staying at home, putting your feet on the table, opening up a good bottle of wine, lighting some candles and just take a deep breath and relax?

In a world filled with unfulfilled expectations and rush for “something better”, it’s allowed to be selfish and actually think about yourself and how you spend your time. And I say selfish, but is thinking about yourself a selfish act? When push comes to show, the only one you can truly rely on to take care of you, is yourself. Sure, you can have great friends, family and acquaintances surrounding you, and sure they can offer you great insight and advice, but at the end it’s up to you what you end up doing.

This might be a bit of a rant, but what I’m basically trying to say is this:

You are allowed to sit down, take a breath and slow down and think about no one else but yourself. Allow yourself to do just that. Make a date with yourself and enjoy your own company. Why? Because you’re worth it.

goosh installer for Debian and Ubuntu

Yesterday, a guy came into #debian @ Undernet, asking for help on how to install goosh on his Apache server in Debian. I had heard about the goosh project in the past, but nothing more than that. Being somewhat curious, I had to do some more digging, as it turned out the process was far from straightforward. And it didn’t really help either that the project was rather undocumented. But I don’t really like to give up, and took it upon me to find out and solve this little puzzle.

It took me down the path of having to refresh my BASH knowledge and writing up a small installer. The result can be found on Github -> https://github.com/tolecnal/goosh-installer.

Please feel free to try it out, and if you find any bugs please report them back to me (patches are more than welcome).