Category Archives: General

Questions to Private Seller and Inspection Process


1. How has the motorcycle been maintained? Is there any maintenance records? 

2. What’s the VIN? (To check if it is clean or stolen)

3. How long have you owned the motorcycle?

4. Have you ever crashed the motorcycle?

5. Are any extras included?

6. What aftermarket parts have been added?

7. What’s the mileage? (Just in case)

8. Can I take the motorcycle for an inspection?

9. Do you have the title? (Or Is the title in your name? Is it clean?)



1. Ask the seller to have the engine cold (Do not run it). Inspect the exhaust pipes for leaks or corrosion. Start the engine. How it sounds? Is there any strange sound coming from the exhausts? Also, dents in the exhaust header can cause performance issues. Be sure to inspect it from underneath.


2. Overall appearence. It’s easy to tell the difference between a bike that’s just been “quick cleaned” for a sale and the one that’s been garage kept and pampered by a true enthusiast. Check all the tight spots. You know the hard to reach places where dirt can accumulate. The enthusiast will take the time to get into these areas and keep his bike looking showroom. The “quick cleaner” will not If the bike has plastic fairings, check the “tabs” that connect them to the frame. The first thing to break when a bike has been crashed is usually these connection points, and shoddy repair attempts can be easily spotted.


3. Frame. Look closely. You’re looking for dents, scrapes, cracks. Is there any indication the bike has bottomed out, taken a hard landing or been in some kind of accident? Get hands on with the frame too. Slide your hands over as much of the frame as you can. You may feel something you can’t see. Check the steering head bearings. While holding the front brake lever, rock the bike back and forth. If you feel movement or hear a clicking sound, it’s a good indication that the bearings in the steering head might be loose or worn. Place your hand over the upper triple clamp and frame to feel the movement. Check the steering stops on the neck of the frame. This is the metal stop that meets the tabs on the lower steering stem to stop the handlebars from turning. If you see that the metal is bent, bulging or excessively rusty, this can be an indication that the bikes was involved in a crash.


4. Clutch. A little slack in the clutch cable is normal and any excess can usually be adjusted out. Squeeze the clutch in. Is it smooth? Release the clutch slowly. It should release smoothly. You should not feel any “snags” or “pops” as the clutch lever is engaged or released. Have a seat on the bike. Engage the clutch. The bike should roll smoothly with little resistance while in first gear with the clutch engaged. The clutch lever should have some free play before it engages, if not there is a higher chance of excessive wear on the clutch.


5. Brakes. While sitting on the bike, take it out of gear and roll it forward. Gently apply the front brakes. The brake lever should operate smoothly and the bike should slow to a stop with little to no noise from the brakes. Release the brake lever. It should return smoothly into position and the bike should now roll freely with no dragging of the brake calipers. If they drag, they need work. While braking at speed you should not feel any pulsing in the lever as this would indicate a bent rotor. 


6. Suspension. While straddling the bike, shove down on the front end. The forks should return to position slowly and almost silently. Any loud noise can be bad news. Look at the fork seals. They should be clean and smooth. There should be no fork oil on the tops of the seals or on the forks. If there is a bit of oil around the fork seals the bike may just need new seals which are relatively affordable. But if there are nicks or rust on the fork tubes a more serious repair is needed. The forks themselves should be clean, shiny and smooth. Bounce up and down on the seat. The rear shock(s) should offer some resistance and return the rear end to normal position without springing up and down. Run your fingers up and down the fork tube. If you feel any bumps it is most likely rust. If you feel a crease, it means the fork has been bent at one time, most likely the result of an accident.


7. Chain and Sprocket. Check the tension of the drive chain by pulling it away from the rear sprocket at the three o’clock position. You should not be able to pull it farther than about halfway off the sprocket tooth. Any farther and it’s time to replace. The inner area of the chain that contacts the sprocket should be clean, smooth and shiny. Other things to look out for are links that are binding or kinked. This will cause tight spots in the chain and subsequently enhanced excessive wear on the drive train. If you can put the bike on a stand and spin the rear wheel you can easily see if the chain maintains the same tension as it turns. In addition, keep your eyes out for excessive rust. Small amounts can be easily removed but large amounts can mean it’s time for a new chain. Check the sprockets closely. Look for sprocket teeth that are hooked, pointed or chipped. If the teeth on the sprocket are leaning over, both the sprocket and the chain have excessive wear and should be replaced.


8. Tires and Wheels. Smooth even wear should be expected and is no cause to worry. Severe wear on the center third of the rear tire could be an indicator of long-distance freeway riding or performing “burnouts”. The latter is definitely not good for the tire but also causes unnecessary abuse on the engine. Excessive hard braking and skidding can cause flat spots on the tire. Check the 4 digit DOT numbers on the outer sidewall of the tires. The first two digits indicate the week the tire was manufactured, the second two digits indicate the year. Most recommend replacing tires when they are 6 years old, even if they appear to be in good condition. Inspect the wheels for dents. If possible, place the bike on the center stand with the transmission in neutral and spin the back wheel. Watch it from both the side and the rear to identify dings or bends in the wheel. The same can be done with the front wheel using the kickstand and some help from another person. Cupping is a natural wear pattern on motorcycle tires. It is not a sign of bad tires or suspension parts. It simply shows that the tire is gripping the road (thank you Mr. Tire!). This cupping develops on the sides of a tire. The forces that come into play when the motorcycle is leaning while turning are what produce the effect. When the tire becomes quite worn, the rider will experience vibration and noise when leaning into a turn. The softer compound tires tend to cup sooner.


9. Fuel Tank. Open the fuel cap and look inside. You may want to bring a flashlight with you. You should be looking through a light amber-colored fuel and clearly see the bare metal interior of the fuel tank. If the fuel is dark it’s probably old and should be drained and replaced. You’ll also want to flush the system and change the filter just to be safe. When inspecting the fuel tank you want to look for rust or any grit or sediment in the tank. If you’re not sure if you’re seeing sediment, rock the bike gently from side to side and set up a small “wave motion”. If there’s sediment you’ll see it shift from side to side. If the tank is full be careful not to overdo it. You want to keep the fuel in the tank. Some fuel tanks may have a coating applied to them to prevent or even cover old rust. In this case you will not see a shiny silver surface but more likely a light milky surface.


10. Coolant. The normal appearance of coolant is neon green and should smell sweet. With the engine cold, remove the coolant cap and take a look. Green is great. Brown-colored coolant could mean either rust or oil has invaded the engine. If the engine has begun to rust, you will want to consider some costly repairs in the future. If you have oil in your coolant you may have a leaking head gasket or failed O-rings. O-ring repair is not a death warrant for a bike but fixing a head gasket is a job for an expert “gear head”, so you may want to reconsider your purchase if this condition exists. Removing the radiator cap (cold engine only) will quickly tell you if you have any oil in your system. Since oil is lighter than water most of the oil in your cooling system will float to the top of your radiator. If you see an oil slick floating on your coolant there could be engine problems.


11. Oil. If the bike has a sight glass on the side of the engine you can see immediately the color of the oil. If the sight glass is discolored or brownish, the oil may have begun to “varnish” the engine interior. This is caused by not keeping up on frequent oil changes. If there is no sight glass, use a stick, cloth, paper towel or other such item and dip it into the oil via the filler cap. Clean syrupy-looking appearance is new oil. It’s been changed recently. If the oil is black, you’ll want to ask when the oil was changed last. So, new oil and black oil is normal. What isn’t normal? Water and oil don’t mix. If the oil has white milky streaks in it, water is getting into the engine.You may not want to purchase a bike with this problem unless you’re ready to tear down the engine. Oil impedes wear on an engine but does not fully prevent it. Normally, unless the oil has been recently changed you may feel a very slight grit when you rub a drop between your thumb and forefinger. If you feel or see shiny metal flakes in the oil this is very bad news. This engine is eating itself from the inside out. You do NOT want this bike.


12. Cold Start. Alright, you’ve looked the bike over carefully and you’re ready to hear it run. Each bike has its own cold start temperament and you will eventually get to know yours. Make sure the fuel petcock is turned to the “on” or “reserve” position. Depending on the bike you may have an electronic choke that requires no manipulation or you may have a manual cable type choke. If it’s manual, ask the seller to set it at his preferred setting. He’ll be happy to set it for you. He wants it to want it to start right up for you. Ask him how much throttle he normally gives the bike on startup. If it has an electric starter, use it. Once the engine is running, return the throttle to its normal position. You don’t want to “redline” a cold engine. While the bike is warming up, take the time to notice. Is it running smoothly? Is the engine chugging? (Maybe not enough choke). Look behind you. Is the bike smoking? If your bike is running a fuel/oil mix, (dirt bike) a little smoke is not unusual. If it’s smoking a lot, it could be a fuel/oil ratio mis-match or a timing issue. A street bike should not be smoking. Depending on the color of the smoke, a smoking street bike could mean trouble. Dark smoke and a heavy fuel smell is probably just a fuel/air ration problem and can be adjusted away. Blue smoke is burning oil. You should probably walk away from this bike. White smoke or steam can be coolant in the exhaust which is most likely due to a leaking head gasket (major repair needed). Listen to the engine. Do you hear any knocking, rattling, pinging etc.? It should be smooth and clean sounding. If you happen to own a mechanic’s engine stethoscope then by all means, bring it with you. It’s like what a doctor would use but has a long metal probe on the end rather than that icy cold cup we’ve all gotten to know and love. Most people don’t own one of these but an old friend taught me a simple trick for listening deep into an engine. Bring a wooden dowel rod with you when come to look at the bike. This is also handy for checking the oil as mentioned earlier in this writing. Touch one end to the engine and place your ear against the other. Internal sounds will be transmitted through the rod and you’ll be able to hear it from the other end. Place the rod in several locations on the engine and listen carefully. A couple of words of caution. Make sure the rod is long enough so that you don’t lean into a hot engine. Also, if you used the rod to check the oil’s condition earlier, don’t stick the nasty end in your ear!


13. Electrical. Check the headlights on both high and low beams. Sit on the bike and run through all the switches including the blinkers, horn, hazard lights and others to verify they are in working order. Pull the front brake lever and press the rear brake pedal to make sure the brake lights are operable. Check all the gauges for proper function. While idling, if the headlight should get dim it is most likely caused by either the idle being set too low, or it could be a weak battery.


14. Background check. Ask for all the service records and receipts for the bike. The thoughtful rider will save all service records. Perhaps the seller is the “do it yourself “type. This is not necessarily a bad thing. One of the best used motorcycles I ever bought was off an avid club racer/mechanic. The thoughtful “do it your self-er” should have receipts and records of all repairs. We also recommend that you get an official Motorcycle History Report. It’s inexpensive “peace of mind” when buying.


15. Title/Registration. Finally, carefully check the bike’s VIN number and license plate number against the title and make sure they match what’s on the title. The VIN number is usually located on the steering head of the frame. Make sure all the numbers are visible and none have been tampered with. Check the title to make sure there isn’t a lien holder. If there is they should have signed off their portion. Of course if the seller doesn’t have the title it’s not advised that you should make the purchase. The last thing you want is to buy a bike you can’t register, so avoid Curbstoners. If the bike doesn’t have a current registration or sticker or if it’s registered in another state you should contact the appropriate State Department to determine what the fees might be to register and bring it current.


16. Safety Check. Finally, once you’ve made your purchase, have your bike inspected by a qualified motorcycle mechanic. The vehicle’s safety should always be your primary concern.



Don’t move to Texas, but if you insist…

Είναι γνωστό πως μεγάλος αριθμός από Californians και όχι μόνο, μετακομίζουν στο Texas για πολλούς και διάφορους λόγους, ειδικά κατά την διάρκεια της πανδημίας: Κόστος ζωής, κόστος αγοράς κατοικίας, κλίμα, BBQ. Τον τελευταίο καιρό υπάρχουν αρκετά άρθρα που καλούν κόσμο να σταματήσει να φεύγει. Η γενική λίστα με τους λόγους που θα πρέπει να αποφύγει κάποιος την μετακόμιση, περιλαμβάνει τα παρακάτω:

  1. Save all bacon grease. You will be instructed later how to use it.

  2. If you do run your car into a ditch, don’t panic. Four men in the cab of a four wheel drive with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

  3. Remember: "Y’all" is singular. "All y’all" is plural. "All y’all’s" is plural possessive.

  4. Get used to the phrase "It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity". And the collateral phrase "You call this hot? Wait’ll August."

  5. Don’t tell us how you did it there. Nobody cares.

  6. If you think it’s too hot, don’t worry. It’ll cool down-in December.

  7. A Mercedes-Benz is not a status symbol…a Super-Duty pickup is.

  8. If someone says they’re "fixin" to do something, that doesn’t mean anything’s broken.

  9. The value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door but the availability of shade.

  10. If you are driving a slower moving vehicle on a two lane road, pull onto the shoulder. That is called "courtesy".

  11. BBQ is a food group. It does NOT mean grilling burgers and hot dogs outdoors.

  12. Weddings, funerals and divorces must take into account the Rodeo & parade schedule.

  13. Everything is better with hot sauce or BBQ sauce.

  14. DO NOT honk your horn at us. It is obnoxious and we will sit there until we die.

  15. We pull over and stop for emergency vehicles to pass.

  16. We pull over for funeral processions, turn our music off and men remove hats or caps. Some people put their hand over their heart.

  17. "Bless your Heart" is a nice way of saying you’re an idiot.

  18. No mater what kind, Sprite, Coke, Pepsi, Mtn Dew, it isn’t called soda or pop. It is all called coke or soda water!

  19. There will always be a tractor on the two lanes when you are running late, so allow time for that.

  20. If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes, it will change.

  21. We respect andconsider heroes, first responders, veterans and teachers.

  22. The American, Texas, POW and Gadsden flags are considered sacred.

  23. The Constitution is sacred…ALL of it!

  24. Unless you’re prepared to fight for it, your political opinion might be best kept to yourself.

  25. Many of us carry firearms, all of us carry knives.

  26. God is sovereign and we PRAY!

~ God Blessed

The dreamers of the day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

T.E. Lawrence

NASA World Wind Server to Leverage MapServer Open Source Engine

The NASA World Wind project team has selected the MapServer Open Source mapping engine to serve its many digital raster formats to World Wind clients. MapServer will serve images and raw data through the Internet by various Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. Providing large amounts of spatial data (including world-wide coverage of digital elevation models, DEMs, and aerial imagery) to World Wind clients requires a high performance architecture that will now use the MapServer engine, caching of images, and load-balanced servers. Technical expertise for MapServer will be provided by Mapgears (Chicoutimi, QC) and Gateway Geomatics (Lunenburg, NS). Due to MapServer compliance with
OGC standards and World Wind Server standards, except for possibly the increased performance provided by MapServer, this transition will be entirely transparent to the World Wind user community.
“MapServer will allow the NASA World Wind a smooth transition to a mature Open Source engine,” said Patrick Hogan, the NASA Project Manager of World Wind.
Daniel Morissette, President of Mapgears, added “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the NASA World Wind team to help push the limits of the technology and to contribute with MapServer to the next generation of NASA World Wind Servers that will deliver the data of organizations around the world for years to come.”
Jeff McKenna, Director of Gateway Geomatics, said “Our long-time focus on assisting organizations publish their spatial data through MapServer, especially on the Windows platform, adds a key piece of an innovative solution with the Mapgears team. Together we will help to allow the World Wind community to visualize and analyze large amounts of data efficiently through MapServer.” Jeff also believes that this project will help both the MapServer and World Wind communities grow.

About NASA World Wind
NASA World Wind ( is a three-dimensional geographic information system developed by the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA), its partners, and the Open Source
community. The World Wind client is an interactive 3D geographic visualization system, where Earth and other planets can be explored in their full 3D native context. World Wind was released as Open Source in
August 2004, and is being extensively used by corporations and government agencies throughout the world.

About Mapgears
Members of Mapgears” ( team have been active for over a decade in the development of the MapServer Web mapping engine and related open source technologies of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). Mapgears offers professional, yet personalized services to assist application developers and integrators who made the choice of MapServer and other OSGeo technologies such as PostGIS, GDAL/OGR, OpenLayers, GeoExt and GeoPrisma.

About Gateway Geomatics
Gateway Geomatics ( is an innovative company on the East coast of Canada, assisting organizations publish their spatial information openly, through MapServer. With the hugely popular MapServer for Windows (MS4W) suite, developed and maintained by Gateway, organizations of all sizes can quickly share their spatial information on their own servers. The director of Gateway Geomatics, Jeff McKenna, also focuses on the user-side of Web mapping, and offers hands-on training with the MapServer project all around the world

Save as WWF, Save a Tree!

Μία καμπάνια της WWF για την υιοθέτηση ενός πρότυπου εγγράφου το οποίο αποτρέπει την εκτύπωσή του.
Σαν ιδέα είναι εξαιρετική, αρκεί να δούμε αν τελικά θα λειτουργήσει.


Σημειώστε πως ακόμα και το διαδεδομένο πρότυπο pdf δίνει την δυνατότητα να το κλειδώσετε με τρόπο που να μην επιτρέπει την εκτύπωση.

Δυστυχώς μέχρι στιγμής παρέχετε μόνο για OSX και υπάρχει σημείωση κυκλοφορίας για windows αλλά όχι για Linux 🙁

The Boy Who Heard Too Much

Η ιστορία ενός phreaker σε ένα αρκετά καλογραμμένο κείμενο. Αξίζει να του δώσετε λίγη προσοχή.


He was a 14-year-old blind kid, angry and alone. Then he discovered that he possessed a strange and fearsome superpower—one that put him in the cross hairs of the FBI.
David Kushner | Rolling Stone | Sep 2009


It began, as it always did, with a phone call to 911. «Now listen here,» the caller demanded, his voice frantic. «I’ve got two people here held hostage, all right? Now, you know what happens to people that are held hostage? It’s not like on the movies or nothing, you understand that?»

«OK,» the 911 operator said.

«One of them here’s name is Danielle, and her father,» the caller continued. «And the reason why I’m doing this is because her father raped my sister.»

The caller, who identified himself as John Defanno, said that he had the 18-year-old Danielle and her dad tied up in their home in Security, a suburb of Colorado Springs. He’d beaten the father with his gun. «He’s bleeding profusely,» Defanno warned. «I am armed, I do have a pistol. If any cops come in this house with any guns, I will fucking shoot them. I better get some help here, because I’m going fucking psycho right now.»

The 911 operator tried to keep him on the line, but Defanno cut the call short. «I’m not talking anymore,» he snapped. «You have the address. If I don’t have help here now, in the next five minutes, I swear to fucking God, I will shoot these people.» Then the line went dead.

Officers raced to the house, ready for an armed standoff with a homicidal suspect. But when they arrived, they found no gunman, no hostages, no blood. Danielle and her father were safe and sound at home — alone. They had never heard of John Defanno, for good reason: He didn’t exist.

«John Defanno» was actually a 15-year-old boy named Matthew Weigman — a fat, lonely blind kid who lived with his mom in a working-class neighborhood of East Boston. In person, Weigman was a shy and awkward teenager with a shaved head who spent his days holed up in his room, often talking for up to 20 hours a day on free telephone chat lines. On the phone, he became «Lil’ Hacker,» the most skilled member of a small band of telephone pranksters known as «phreaks.» To punish Danielle, who had pissed him off on a chat line, Weigman had phoned 911 and posed as a psycho, rigging his caller ID to make it look like the emergency call was coming from inside Danielle’s home. It’s a trick known as «swatting» — mobilizing SWAT teams to exact revenge on your enemies — and phreakers like Weigman have used it to trigger some 200 false raids in dozens of cities nationwide.

«When I was a kid, a prank was calling in a pizza to a neighbor’s house,» says Kevin Kolbye, an FBI assistant special agent in charge who has investigated the phreaks. «Today it’s this.»

Like a comic-book villain transformed by a tragic accident, Weigman discovered at an early age that his acute hearing gave him superpowers on the telephone. He could impersonate any voice, memorize phone numbers by the sound of the buttons and decipher the inner workings of a phone system by the frequencies and clicks on a call, which he refers to as «songs.» The knowledge enabled him to hack into cellphones, order phone lines disconnected and even tap home phones. «Man, it felt pretty powerful for a little kid,» he says. «Anyone said something bad about me, and I’d press a button, and I’d get them.»

But in the end, those close to Weigman feared that his gift would prove to be his downfall. «Matt never intended on becoming the person he became,» says Jeff Daniels, a former phreaker who befriended Weigman on a chat line. «When you’re a blind little tubby bald kid in a broke-ass family, and you have that one ability to make yourself feel good, what do you expect to happen?»


Matthew Weigman was born blind, but that was hardly the only strike against him. His family was a mess. His father, an alcoholic who did drugs, would drag the terrified Matt across the floor by his hair and call him a «blind bastard.» His dad left the family when Weigman was five, leaving Matt and his older brother and sister to scrape by on his disability pension and what their mother earned as a nurse’s aide. For Weigman, every day was a struggle. «There were times I hated being blind,» he recalls. At school, as he caned his way through the halls, other kids teased him about how his eyes rolled out of control. «Kids can be cruel, because they don’t understand what they’re doing,» he says. «They can’t even begin to fathom what they’re causing, and that stuff eats at your mind.»

At age four, Matt surprised his mother by making out flashing bulbs on the Christmas tree. After that, he could perceive faint lights — and he exploited the ability for all it was worth. He cooked for himself by feeling his way around the kitchen — eggs here, frying pan there, toaster over there — and refused to stop, even after he burned himself. He shocked his brother by climbing on a bicycle and tearing down the road, using the blurry shadows for guidance. He taught himself to skateboard, too. To build his confidence, his mom’s new husband let the eight-year-old Matt drive his car around the empty parking lot at Suffolk Downs, a nearby racetrack. «It made me feel a lot better,» Weigman recalls. «I thought, ‘I’m doing something that people who see can do.’»

And he could do one thing even better than sighted people: hear. Weigman became obsessed with voices, music and sounds of all sorts. He could perfectly mimic characters he heard on the Cartoon Network, and he played his favorite songs on a small keyboard by ear. He would also dial random numbers on the phone, just to hear who picked up — and what kind of response he could elicit from them. He fondly recalls the first time he called 911, at age five, and duped them into sending a cop to his door.

«You need the police?» the officer asked.

«No,» Weigman replied. «I’m just curious. I wanted to see what the operator would do.»

The cop reprimanded the boy sharply. «I wouldn’t do that no more,» he said.

But Weigman was hooked. In real life, he was gaining weight and dodging bullies, struggling to find a place to fit in. By age 10, however, he had found the perfect escape: a telephone party line. The service — a precursor to Internet chat rooms — allows multiple callers to talk with each other over the phone. Despite the rise of online video streaming, there are still scores of telephone party lines scattered across the country, an odd and forgotten throwback to a pre-digital world. Compared to texting or video chat, the phone lines have a unique appeal: They offer callers a cloak of anonymity coupled with the visceral immediacy of live human voices. Some call to socialize, others for phone sex.

Hoping to give Weigman a social network beyond the confines of his tiny bedroom, a friend had slipped him the number of a free party line known as Studio 55. The second Weigman called, a new world opened up to him. He heard voices. Some were talking to each other. Others piped in only occasionally, listening in as they watched TV or played video games. Weigman found he could decipher each and every ambient sound, no matter how soft or garbled. Many of the callers were social misfits and outcasts: ex-cons and bawdy chicks and unemployed guys with nothing better to do all day than talk shit to a bunch of complete strangers. People without a life. And that’s when it hit Weigman: No one here could see each other. They were all just disembodied voices.«We’re all blind right now,» he announced to the group.

Weigman wasn’t a freak anymore. But he was about to become a phreak.


Telephone phreaking isn’t new: The practice, which dates back half a century, was the forerunner of computer hacking. In 1957, a blind eight-year-old named Joe Engressia accidentally discovered that he could whistle at the precise frequency — 2,600 hertz — used to control phone networks. A pioneering phreak named John Draper later realized that the free whistles given out in Cap’n Crunch cereal boxes also replicated the exact same tone. Kids with a mischievous streak and too much free time were soon competing to see who could achieve the most elaborate phone hack. A tech-savvy student named Steve Wozniak, who would soon invent something called Apple with his friend Steve Jobs, once used a series of high-pitched whistles to make a free international call to the Vatican to prank the pope.

As he listened in on the party lines, Weigman began pressing random numbers on his phone, just to see what would happen. Once he held down the star button and was surprised to hear a computerized voice say, «Moderator on.» He had no idea what it meant. But when he hit the pound key, the voice suddenly began ticking off the private phone number of every person in the chat room. Weigman had discovered a secret tool through which a party-line administrator could monitor the system. Now, whenever someone on the line trash-talked him, he could quietly access their number and harass them by calling them at home.

By 14, Weigman was conning his way through AT&T and Verizon, tricking them into divulging insider information — like supervisor identification numbers and passwords — that gave him full run of the system. If he heard a supervisor’s voice once, he could imitate it with eerie precision when calling one of the man’s underlings. If he heard someone dialing a number, he could memorize the digits purely by tone. A favorite ploy was to get the name of a telephone technician visiting his house, then impersonate the man on the phone to extract codes and other data from unsuspecting co-workers. Once he called a phone company posing as a girl, saying he needed to verify the identity of a technician who was at «her» door. Convinced, the operator coughed up the technician’s company ID number, direct phone line and supervisor — key information that Weigman could later put to nefarious use, like cutting off a rival’s phone line.

There seemed to be no limit to what he could do: shut off your phone service, dig up your unlisted cellphone number, even listen in on your home phone — something only a handful of veteran phreaks can pull off. Celebrities were a favorite target. Weigman claims to have hacked and called the cellphones of Lindsay Lohan («She was drunk, and my friend tried to have phone sex with her») and Eminem («He told me to fuck off»). Last year, during the presidential campaign, Weigman heard a YouTube video of Mitt Romney’s son Matt dialing his dad. Weigman listened closely to the touch tones, deciphered the candidate’s cellphone number — and then made a call of his own. «Mitt Romney!» he said. «What’s going on, dude? Running for president?» Weigman says Romney told him to shove the phone up his ass, and hung up.

In addition to relying on his heightened sense of hearing, Weigman picked up valuable tips on phone hacking from other phreaks on the party lines. One of the most valuable tricks he learned was «spoofing» — using home-brewed or commercial services, such as SpoofCard, to display any number he chose on the caller- ID screen of the person he phoned. Intended for commercial use — allowing, say, a doctor to mask his home phone number while calling a patient — SpoofCard is perfectly legal and available online for as little as $10. Some services let callers alter their voices — male to female — as well as their numbers.

Weigman performed his first «swat» at age 14, when he faked an emergency call from a convenience store down the street from his home. «Listen,» he told the 911 operator, «there’s a robbery here! I need you to show up right now!» Then he hung up and called his brother, who was standing watch outside the store. «Oh, God, dude!» his brother told him. «There’s police everywhere!»

«Really?» Weigman replied in awe. Over the phone, he heard sirens wail in the darkness>.


Weigman began spending several hours a day talking shit on assorted party lines. When someone on the line would challenge him or piss him off, he would respond by faking a 911 call and sending an armed SWAT team to their door. «I probably did it 50 or 60 times,» he says.

He spent most of his time on party lines like Jackie Donut and Boston Loach, which teemed with lowlifes, phreakers and raunchy girls whom Weigman calls «hacker groupies.» Men on the party lines competed to see who could score the most. «A lot of guys on there were looking for free phone sex,» says Angela Roberson, a tongue-pierced blonde from Chicago who got to know Weigman on Boston Loach. The 34-year-old Roberson, who stumbled on the line one night when she was bored and drunk, found its rough-and-tumble community oddly appealing. «You can sit and talk smack to whoever you want to,» she says. «You get to live in a whole different world.» Weigman might be overweight and blind and stuck in his room, but the party line provided him with plenty of opportunities the real world didn’t offer. When asked how much phone sex he had, he says, «Oh, Jesus, man — too much.»

Weigman soon realized that one caller on the party line got his way with the hacker groupies more than anyone else. Stuart Rosoff, a middle-aged party-liner from Cleveland, had started out as a teenager making obscene phone calls and ended up serving three years in prison. Overweight and unemployed, with a hairy chest and thick mustache, Rosoff cruised the party lines for girls, introducing himself as Michael Knight, after David Hasselhoff’s character on Knight Rider. He was also a member of a gang of phreaks nicknamed the Wrecking Crew.

When Rosoff didn’t get what he wanted on the party line, he turned ugly. «Stuart was a malicious phreaker,» says Jeff Daniels, the former phreak who hung out on the party line. «He was limited in knowledge, but good at things he knew how to do.» One time, showing off to Weigman, Rosoff singled out a woman who had refused him phone sex and called the police in her hometown, scrambling the caller ID to conceal his identity. The woman, he told the cops, was abusing her kids — causing the 911 operator to dispatch police officers to her door. Having proven his power, Rosoff called the woman back and demanded phone sex again. If she didn’t want to do it, he added generously, he would gladly accept it from her daughter.

«Stuart was like a mentor to Matt,» says Roberson. «They would joke around and threaten to shut each other’s phones off just because they were bored.» It wasn’t long, however, before Weigman surpassed Rosoff as a phreaker. He began to harass the older man, disconnecting his phone and digging up his personal data to use for leverage and revenge. Phreakers call this «the information game,» and Weigman was the undisputed master. Rosoff was soon reduced to groveling on the chat lines, begging Weigman to leave him alone.

Roberson felt threatened by Weigman and by Rosoff, who kept pestering her for phone sex. Once, after a confrontation with Weigman, she picked up her phone only to hear the high-pitched squeal of a fax machine in place of the dial tone. It had been rigged to last all night. Despite Weigman’s denials, Roberson claims he also hacked into her voicemail. To protect herself from attacks, she became close to another member of Rosoff’s gang, eventually moving in with him and taking part in one of the Wrecking Crew’s pranks.

Roberson was surprised when she learned that Weigman was just a teenager. «I would have never thought that he was a 16-year-old,» Roberson says. «He was smart, and he was feared.» When Weigman called up a party line, he would brashly announce his presence in the chat room with a little smack talk: «How you doing, you motherfuckers?» He might be an overweight blind kid, but on the party lines, he could be whoever he wanted. «That’s why he did what he did,» says Roberson. «He was insecure, but he could be powerful here.»

As Weigman’s reputation as a phreaker surpassed even Rosoff’s, his hobby became an obsession. In a single month, he would place as many as 40,000 calls — ranging from a few seconds in length to several hours. He dropped out of 10th grade, spending all day on the phone. His mother was proud that he had found something he was good at and glad he had finally made some friends, if only on the phone. «She left it alone because it was my social outlet,» Weigman says. Matt was also using his newfound skills to bill purchases to bogus credit cards, snagging everything from free phone service to Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards. («I love Dunkin’ Donuts!» he says.)

Weigman became a master of what phreakers call «social engineering» — learning phone-industry jargon and using it to manipulate telecommunications workers. One day, Weigman picked up the phone and dialed AT&T. Two rings, then a voice: «Thanks for calling, this is Byron. How can I help you?»

«How you doing, Byron?» Weigman asked, adopting the tone of an older man, one at ease with his own authority.

«Good,» Byron said. «And you?»

«I’m doing all right. My name is William Jones. I’m calling you with AT&T asset protection. I’m actually working on a customer-fraud issue. We need to write out a D order.» In a few short sentences, Weigman had appropriated the name, voice and lingo of a real AT&T agent, ordering a rival’s phone to be disconnected.

«What’s the telephone number?» Byron asked. Weigman rattled off the name and number on his rival’s account. Then, to authorize access, he gave Byron the AT&T security-ID code belonging to Jones.

For a moment, the phone filled with the sound of rattling computer keys being struck by expert fingers.

«Looks like it’s paid in full,» Byron said, puzzled.

«Yeah,» Weigman said, «we’re looking at a fraud account, sir. We’re just going to have to take that out of there.»

As Byron filed a disconnection order, Weigman made idle chitchat in his «Jones» persona, speculating on the twisted minds of phone phreaks. «Deep down, I know that they know someday they’re going to get caught up, you know?» he told Byron. «They just really don’t think about it. It’s crazy.»

The words applied to Weigman himself. By now, he had «stoolies» on the party lines eager to do his bidding. As his power on the phones grew, he began to change. Unable to take the teasing and the pity he got for being blind, he grew sneering and mean, lowering his voice, adopting a manly bluster. Using the phone to lash out at others, he directed all the rage he felt at the world against his fellow phreaks. To prove his prowess, he targeted Daniels, a 37-year-old from Alabama who had been arrested for phone hacking as a teenager. «He was calling my landlord and telling him I was a child molester and that I killed people,» Daniels claims.

Still, there was something sympathetic about the kid. «To me, he was still a boy,» Daniels says. Having been to jail himself, he didn’t want Weigman to make the same mistakes he had. So he got Weigman’s attention the only way he could: by beating him at his own game. When Weigman refused to stop the phone attacks, Daniels tracked down the teenager’s detailed personal information, including his Social Security number. That earned him Weigman’s respect, and the two became friends. They would talk for hours on the phone at night, Weigman’s put-on baritone suddenly replaced by a more childish tone. «He was not the big shot he made himself out to be,» Daniels realized.

Weigman opened up about his miserable and impoverished life, crying as he told Daniels how much he longed to see the world with his own eyes. His weight fluctuated from boyishly pudgy to extremely obese, and he was spending more and more time locked in his room upstairs, listening to Nirvana and Muddy Waters. One time, a teacher took his class to a blues club in Boston, and the music seemed to capture what he was feeling: the poverty, the despair, the sense of being trapped. «He lived in a jail at home,» says Daniels. «He lived in a box.»

Daniels urged him to drop the macho bullshit on the party lines and stop drawing attention to himself. Weigman agreed to keep his mouth shut and even christened his new self-image with a more stoic nickname. From now, on he would no longer be Lil’ Hacker. He called himself «Silence.»


On a June night in 2006, James Proulx was watching television at 1 a.m. when a SWAT team suddenly surrounded his home in Alvarado, Texas. A stocky, gray-haired trucker who had recently undergone open-heart surgery, Proulx went to the door, where he was confronted by two armed policemen — their guns pointed directly at him. The officers threw Proulx to the ground, snapped handcuffs on him and put him in the back of a squad car.

They had reason to be suspicious. A call to 911 had come in from Proulx’s house; a man identifying himself as Proulx said he was tripping on drugs and holding hostages. He demanded $50,000 so he could flee to Mexico. He also claimed to have killed his wife. If any cops got in his way, he warned, he’d kill them, too.

As the police soon discovered, however, Proulx was just another swatting victim. It turned out that Proulx’s 28-year-old daughter, Stephanie, spent time on Jackie Donut. When she clashed with Weigman and others, they decided to strike back. «If a female wouldn’t give Matt phone sex,» she recalls, «he would call them a fucking bitch and send a SWAT team to their house.» Weigman considered Proulx a «crazy chick who would threaten hackers,» and he was very direct with her. «You’re annoying,» he told her. «I might come after you.» Four months after Stephanie’s father was swatted, police showed up at her home in Fort Worth, Texas, drawn by a fake call to 911.

One afternoon, not long after Proulx was swatted, Weigman came home to find his mother talking to what sounded like a middle-aged male. The man introduced himself as Special Agent Allyn Lynd of the FBI’s cyber squad in Dallas, which investigates hacking and other computer crimes. A West Point grad, Lynd had spent 10 years combating phreaks and hackers. Now, with Proulx’s cooperation, he was aiming to take down Stuart Rosoff and the Wrecking Crew — and he wanted Weigman’s help.

Lynd explained that Rosoff, Roberson and other party-liners were being investigated in a swatting conspiracy. Because Weigman was a minor, however, he would not be charged — as long as he cooperated with the authorities. Realizing that this was a chance to turn his life around, Weigman confessed his role in the phone assaults.

Weigman’s auditory skills had always been central to his exploits, the means by which he manipulated the phone system. Now he gave Lynd a first-hand display of his powers. At one point during the visit, Lynd’s cellphone rang. «I can’t talk to you right now,» the agent told the caller. «I’m out doing something.» When he hung up, Weigman turned to him from across the room. «Oh,» the kid asked, «is that Billy Smith from Verizon?»

Lynd was stunned. William Smith was a fraud investigator with Verizon who had been working with him on the swatting case. Weigman not only knew all about the man and his role in the investigation, but he had identified Smith simply by hearing his Southern-accented voice on the cellphone — a sound which would have been inaudible to anyone else in the room. Weigman then shocked Lynd again, rattling off the names of a host of investigators working for other phone companies. Matt, it turned out, had spent weeks identifying phone-company employees, gaining their trust and obtaining confidential information about the FBI investigation against him. Even the phone account in his house, he revealed to Lynd, had been opened under the name of a telephone-company investigator. Lynd had rarely seen anything like it — even from cyber gangs who tried to hack into systems at the White House and the FBI. «Weigman flabbergasted me,» he later testified.

But Weigman’s decision to straighten out didn’t last long. «Within days of agreeing to cooperate, he was back on the party line, committing his crimes again,» Lynd said. Weigman didn’t like being cut off from the only community he had. «I was a hardheaded little kid, and I wanted to do what I wanted to do,» he recalls. «I didn’t think this could be serious.» He was also obsessed. «He’s not a criminal — he’s an addict,» says his friend Daniels. «He’s addicted to Silence, to Lil’ Hacker, to being the person who is big and bad and bold. He’s addicted to being the person who can get every girl to do what he asks over the phone.»

Daniels, who owns a party line called the Legend System After Dark, tried to channel Weigman’s energy in a more positive direction by giving him a position as a moderator, making him responsible for managing the phone chats and reining in jerks like Rosoff. As Weigman ran the calls, he began softening up. He even had a girlfriend in her 30s, Chastity, whom he had met on a party line. He seemed calmer since he met her, more the kid he really was. When they had relationship troubles, he confided in Daniels rather than swatting her.

Before long, though, Weigman returned to his old ways. Daniels began hearing from party-liners who said they were being harassed by the kid. «Knowledge is power,» Daniels told Weigman, «but you’re using it for the wrong reasons. They’re going to put you in jail, and you being blind isn’t going to save you.» But Weigman wouldn’t listen. «He saw himself as this underage blind kid in a poor family,» Daniels recalls. «So how were they going to put him in prison with big guys who might want to whup his ass?» Unable to reform his friend, Daniels had to let Weigman go.

When the FBI finally busted the Wrecking Crew, Weigman’s reputation grew. Recordings and details of his fake 911 calls, including the swatting in Colorado, leaked and spread online. The attention only made Weigman grow more paranoid and vengeful. He stepped up his campaign of intimidation, warning his victims that any cooperation with investigators would warrant new attacks. He told one woman he’d make her life a «living hell» and put her husband out of business. He threatened a woman in Virginia with a swatting attack — and ended up calling in a bomb threat to a nursing home where her mother worked in retaliation for her talking to the FBI. He phoned a mother in Florida and said that if she gave his name to investigators, he’d kill her baby by flushing it down the toilet.

In 2007, Rosoff and other party-liners pleaded guilty to swatting. «I’m kind of like a nobody in real life,» he told the judge. «I was actually somebody on the phone, somebody important.» In a plea agreement that limited his prison sentence to five years, Rosoff ratted out his rival, saying that Weigman had participated in «targeting, executing and obtaining information to facilitate swatting calls.»

But Weigman was still a minor, and the FBI didn’t want to go after him. In a sense, he was being offered a break. As long as he cleaned up his act, he wouldn’t be prosecuted. All he had to do was walk away before April 20th, 2008 — the day he would turn 18. After that, any crime he committed would get him tried as an adult.


Late one night that April, the telephone rang at the New Hampshire home of William Smith, the Verizon fraud investigator who was working with the FBI. When Smith picked up, however, there was no one on the other end of the line. In the nights that followed, it happened again and again. At first, Smith didn’t make much of it. Then one night, his wife looked at the caller ID and noticed something strange: It was Smith’s work number, even though he was there at home. «Something’s not right,» she told him.

Smith changed his home number, but it made no difference. The phone would ring again at all hours — this time with Smith’s own cellphone as the point of origin. Weigman, he soon learned, was using his skills and his network of stoolies to ferret out Smith’s private phone numbers and harass him. And he knew Weigman’s history well enough to know exactly where the calls were leading: a swatting attack. «He was fully aware that he might be subject to violence by proxy if Weigman chose to make a false emergency call,» Lynd testified.

In the midst of the harassment, Smith called a travel agent and booked a flight for his wife to visit their son in Georgia. Then he called his son to inform him of the travel plans. Minutes later, the phone rang. This time, the caller ID showed his son’s phone. But when Smith picked up, it wasn’t his son after all. It was Weigman. Matt was using his phone-company connections to track every call that Smith made and received — and the veteran fraud investigator for Verizon could do nothing to stop him.

Then, one Sunday in May of last year — on a weekend after his wife had flown to Georgia — Smith was working in his yard when a car pulled up. Out stepped three young men, including one with strange, broken eyes. «I’m Matt,» the boy told Smith.

Weigman had driven up from Boston with his brother and a fellow party-liner. Standing in the yard, he could make out Smith’s dark, shadowy figure against a blotch of white light, and he heard the investigator’s familiar Southern accent — the one he had so easily identified on agent Lynd’s cellphone. Weigman told Smith he wasn’t there to threaten or hurt him — he just wanted to persuade him to call off the investigation. After years of intimidating others, Weigman was now the one who felt intimidated. He wanted it all to stop.

But Smith wasn’t having any of it. He went inside and called the police, who quickly showed up. Weigman didn’t run. He told the cops he had done things that were «not so nice.» When the officers asked what he meant, he said, «swatting.» But after a lifetime of being teased and abused, Weigman was unable to see himself as anything but a victim. He was just a young blind kid, and here he was getting bullied again. Smith, he told the officers, had a «vendetta» against him.

Less than two weeks after he showed up at Smith’s house, the police knocked on Weigman’s door outside Boston and arrested him. Weigman soon found himself being interrogated by an FBI agent. He listened in darkness as the agent dialed a number on his phone. Thirty minutes later, he spouted back the number by heart — and even knew what it was. «That’s the main number of the FBI office here in Boston,» Weigman told the astonished agent.

But now that Weigman was 18, his powers couldn’t save him anymore. Last January, he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and intimidate a federal witness. In June, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

These days, sitting in a small holding cell in a Dallas prison, Weigman bears no resemblance to the hulking psycho he portrayed on the party lines. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, he’s slim and soft-spoken, his head shifting as he talks. «I’m not a monster or a terrorist,» he says. «I’m just a guy who likes computers and telephones. I used my ability to do certain things in the wrong way. That’s it.» As Weigman recounts his story, he slips effortlessly into the voices of the people he met along the way. Every ambient noise — a guard’s chatter, a bag unzipping, a computer disc whirring — draws a tic of his attention.

«Let me tell you something, man,» he says, his voice a bit like that of a young Elvis. «If I would have been just a little more mature, if I could just rationalize better, I think I would have been all set. If, when I was young, I had a full-time male father figure in my life….» He stammers a bit, then recovers. «Not having my dad didn’t really bother me,» he says, «but inside, it kind of messed me up a bit.»

Above all, though, Weigman is still a teenager. While he expresses remorse over his swatting attacks, he takes giddy pleasure in recounting his other exploits — whether punking celebrities or playing the phone companies like an Xbox. «The phone system and infrastructure is just weak,» he says. «I had access to the entire AT&T and Verizon networks at times. I could have shut down an entire area.» Then he segues into an earnest pitch for a future job. «I’d love to work for a phone company, just doing what I do legally,» he says. «It’s not about power. I know the phone and telecommunication systems and can be a crucial part of any company.»

In the meantime, he’s free to brush up on his skills. Though he’s restricted from calling party lines, he has phone access in prison. For a self-described telephone addict, it seems almost cruel, like imprisoning a crackhead with a pipe and a rock. Could he use the prison phone the same way he used his home phone? Could he hack his way, from his prison cell, beyond the guard towers and the razor wire, into the world outside?

Weigman bobs his head and kneads his hands. «I’m sure I could,» he says.

Η Microsoft συνεισφέρει στο Linux 3.0 περισσότερο από την Canonical

Το περιοδικό Linux Format τεύχος 10/2011 φιλοξενεί μία αρκετά σοκαριστική είδηση:

Η είσοδος της Microsoft στο Top 5 των εταιρειών που συνεισφέρουν στο Linux 3.

Η ανάλυση των εμπλεκομένων εταιρειών για την συνεισφορά κώδικα στο Linux έδειξε πως η Microsoft βρίσκεται σε υψηλότερη θέση από ότι η Madriva, Oracle και Canonical! Οι εταιρείες που βρίσκονται πιο πάνω από αυτή είναι η Red Hat, Intel, Novell και IBM.

Βέβαια το σύνολο σχεδόν του κώδικα που προσφέρει η Microsoft έρχεται από τη δουλειά του KY Srinivasan που είναι υπεύθυνος για την προσθήκη patches για τη βελτιστοποίηση του Hyper-V Virtualisation System της Microsoft.

Η ιστορία του Hyper-V είναι κάπως περίπλοκη καθώς αρχικά επρόκειτο να εκδοθεί με μία liberal license μέχρι που ανακαλύφθηκε στο software αναφορά στην άδεια GPL που οδήγησε αρχικά την εταιρεία να απελευθερώσει περισσότερες από 20.000 γραμμές κώδικα προς τη κοινότητα. Τελικά η Microsoft κατηγορήθηκε πως εγκατέλειπε των κώδικα και υπήρχε πρόθεση από την κοινότητα να τον αφαιρέσουν από τον πυρήνα, και μάλλον από τότε κινητοποιήθηκε ξανά.

Democracy’s Cradle, Rocking the World

Αναπαράγω το άρθρο από New York Times.


YESTERDAY, the whole world was watching Greece as its Parliament voted to pass a divisive package of austerity measures that could have critical ramifications for the global financial system. It may come as a surprise that this tiny tip of the Balkan Peninsula could command such attention. We usually think of Greece as the home of Plato and Pericles, its real importance lying deep in antiquity. But this is hardly the first time that to understand Europe’s future, you need to turn away from the big powers at the center of the continent and look closely at what is happening in Athens. For the past 200 years, Greece has been at the forefront of Europe’s evolution.

In the 1820s, as it waged a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, Greece became an early symbol of escape from the prison house of empire. For philhellenes, its resurrection represented the noblest of causes. “In the great morning of the world,” Shelley wrote in “Hellas,” his poem about the country’s struggle for independence, “Freedom’s splendor burst and shone!” Victory would mean liberty’s triumph not only over the Turks but also over all those dynasts who had kept so many Europeans enslaved. Germans, Italians, Poles and Americans flocked to fight under the Greek blue and white for the sake of democracy. And within a decade, the country won its freedom.

Over the next century, the radically new combination of constitutional democracy and ethnic nationalism that Greece embodied spread across the continent, culminating in “the peace to end all peace” at the end of the First World War, when the Ottoman, Hapsburg and Russian empires disintegrated and were replaced by nation-states.

In the aftermath of the First World War, Greece again paved the way for Europe’s future. Only now it was democracy’s dark side that came to the fore. In a world of nation-states, ethnic minorities like Greece’s Muslim population and the Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor were a recipe for international instability. In the early 1920s, Greek and Turkish leaders decided to swap their minority populations, expelling some two million Christians and Muslims in the interest of national homogeneity. The Greco-Turkish population exchange was the largest such organized refugee movement in history to that point and a model that the Nazis and others would point to later for displacing peoples in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India.

It is ironic, then, that Greece was in the vanguard of resistance to the Nazis, too. In the winter of 1940-41, it was the first country to fight back effectively against the Axis powers, humiliating Mussolini in the Greco-Italian war while the rest of Europe cheered. And many cheered again a few months later when a young left-wing resistance fighter named Manolis Glezos climbed the Acropolis one night with a friend and pulled down a swastika flag that the Germans had recently unfurled. (Almost 70 years later, Mr. Glezos would be tear-gassed by the Greek police while protesting the austerity program.) Ultimately, however, Greece succumbed to German occupation. Nazi rule brought with it political disintegration, mass starvation and, after liberation, the descent of the country into outright civil war between Communist and anti-Communist forces.

Only a few years after Hitler’s defeat, Greece found itself in the center of history again, as a front line in the cold war. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman used the intensifying civil war there to galvanize Congress behind the Truman Doctrine and his sweeping peacetime commitment of American resources to fight Communism and rebuild Europe. Suddenly elevated into a trans-Atlantic cause, Greece now stood for a very different Europe — one that had crippled itself by tearing itself apart, whose only path out of the destitution of the mid-1940s was as a junior partner with Washington. As the dollars poured in, American advisers sat in Athens telling Greek policy makers what to do and American napalm scorched the Greek mountains as the Communists were put to flight.

European political and economic integration was supposed to end the weakness and dependency of the divided continent, and here, too, Greece was an emblem of a new phase in its history. The fall of its military dictatorship in 1974 not only brought the country full membership in what would become the European Union; it also (along with the transitions in Spain and Portugal at the same time) prefigured the global democratization wave of the 1980s and ’90s, first in South America and Southeast Asia and then in Eastern Europe. And it gave the European Union the taste for enlargement and the ambition to turn itself from a small club of wealthy Western European states into a voice for the newly democratic continent as a whole, extending far to the south and east.

And now today, after the euphoria of the ’90s has faded and a new modesty sets in among the Europeans, it falls again to Greece to challenge the mandarins of the European Union and to ask what lies ahead for the continent. The European Union was supposed to shore up a fragmented Europe, to consolidate its democratic potential and to transform the continent into a force capable of competing on the global stage. It is perhaps fitting that one of Europe’s oldest and most democratic nation-states should be on the new front line, throwing all these achievements into question. For we are all small powers now, and once again Greece is in the forefront of the fight for the future.

Mark Mazower is a professor of history at Columbia.

To link για το άρθρο

Διάολε, σταμάτα…

Κάθε μέρα, όλο και πιο πολύ επιβεβαιώνομαι σε παλαιότερη ανάρτηση μου, με αυτά που διαβάζω στο twitter από διάφορα «στελέχη» και «φίλους», «φίλων συνεργατών».

Πρόσθετες πληροφορίες – αυτό που λέμε «από μέσα» – λένε πως παίζεις ένα υπόγειο ρόλο… έχεις μακρυά γλώσσα και λες πράγματα (και το κακό είναι πως τα γράφεις κιόλας σε email για να τα έχω και γραπτά) που δεν συνάδουν με αυτό που είσαι. Ο ρόλος που έπαιξες όταν ήσουν, αυτό που είμαι, είναι γνωστός, αλλά δυστυχώς για τους υπολοίπους που δεν το κατάλαβαν, είχες ατζέντα… και τους εξαφάνισες. Ο τύπος  με τα περίεργα μαλλιά, το κατάλαβε. Αλλά είχε και αυτός άλλα στο μυαλό του να κάνει.

Το ενδιαφέρον είναι πως οι ελληνικές κοινότητες FOSS απλά, κωφεύουν… Γιατί;  Η δεν αντιλαμβάνονται ή δεν έχουν πληροφορίες.

Για τις δε κοινότητες, ιδιαίτερα για μία, έχω μερικές ακόμα πληροφορίες, αλλά θα περιμένουν άλλη ανάρτηση, πιο απολαυστική.

Για τροφή, θα δώσω την απάντηση και εσείς συνεχίστε την ερώτηση:

Απάντηση:  Ρουφιάνος

Ερώτηση: Πώς λέγετε αυτός που….

Ρημάδι Internet Explorer δε θα πεθάνεις ποτέ;

Προσπαθώ να αγοράσω – μέσω Safari Browser – ένα εισιτήριο από το αεροδρόμιο του Stansted στο Λονδίνο προς το κέντρο του από την Το βρίσκω στα 11.34 ευρώ και αφού κάνω login προσπαθώ να βάλω τα στοιχεία μου στο check out συν αυτά τις κάρτας για την πληρωμή. Με το submit, και μετά μερικά δευτερόλεπτα, μου πετάει σελίδα πως δεν γίνετε δεκτή η πληρωμή!  Οk, shit happen all the  time και πάω με άλλη κάρτα για να πάρω ξανά την ίδια απάντηση… η πληρωμή δεν γίνετε δεκτή με κανένα τρόπο! Σημειώστε πως είμαι με OSX 10.6.6.

Ανοίγω Firefox και ξανά από την αρχή… για να έχει και αυτή η προσπάθεια άδοξο τέλος. Η πληρωμή με κανένα τρόπο δε γίνετε δεκτή. Έχω αρχίσει να ψιλουποψιάζομαι κάτι αλλά λέω «δε μπορεί… λες και αυτοί να είναι σαν την ΕΤ3 τη δική μας; Αμα δεν έχεις IE δεν σε θέλουμε… να πας αλλου!». Ξεκινάω Debian που βρίσκεται εγκατεστημένο σε VirtualBox και… Firefox……route… login… payment… τίποτα! Δεν γίνετε δεκτή η συναλλαγή.

Αναγκάζομαι να ανοίξω windows και φυσικά IE όπου ξεκινώ όλη τη διαδικασία απο την αρχή… και ναι, ως εκ θαύματος ολοκληρώθηκε χωρίς κανένα πρόβλημα μέσα σε ελάχιστα δευτερόλεπτα.

Τελικά η Ελλάδα έγινε Ευρώπη, ή η Ευρώπη γίνεται Ελλάδα;

Πρόβλημα περιορισμού πακέτων… ξανά;

Ξέρω πως πολλοί θα σκεφτείτε πως αυτό, μας γυρνάει πίσω στο 2006 αλλά έχει ενδιαφέρον να το διαβάσετε.

Η ανταλλαγή πληροφοριών στο Internet βασίζεται στα «πακέτα». Όταν κάνουμε browsing ή ανταλλάσσουμε μηνύματα στο messenger ή κάνουμε download κάποιο αρχείο, ανταλλάσσουμε μια σειρά από πακέτα που περιέχουν τη πληροφορία που ζητάμε καθώς και κάποια επιπρόσθετα στοιχεία για την αποστολή και την λήψη. Προφανώς για τα πακέτα αυτά πρέπει να οριστεί ένα σταθερό πλάτος το οποίο για τις ADSL γραμμές που χρησιμοποιούμε είναι το μέγεθος του MTU που ορίζεται στα 1500 bytes. Αν το μέγεθος της πληροφορίας που θέλουμε είναι μεγαλύτερο του ορίου, απλά “σπάει” σε μικρότερα κομμάτια και μεταφέρεται προ το προορισμό του.

Οι εφαρμογές λοιπόν που ανταλλάσσουν πακέτα στο internet μπορούν να χωριστούν σε Time Critical και μη. Συνήθως μια εφαρμογή που είναι time-critical στέλνει συνεχώς μικρή ποσότητα πληροφορίας (πχ VoIP, Remote Managment κλπ), άρα και μικρά πακέτα, ενώ μια εφαρμογή που δεν την ενδιαφέρει η καθυστέρηση μαζεύει πληροφορία σε μεγάλα πακέτα, πχ downloading, emails, κλπ

Τα πακέτα προφανώς σχετίζονται με το bandwidth της γραμμής (ADSL 2/4/6/8…24Mbit/s). Εάν δεχτούμε πως για ένα χρονικό διάστημα όλα τα πακέτα μας έχουν σταθερό πλάτος τότε η συσχέτιση του bandwidth είναι:

bandwidth γραμμής = (αριθμός πακέτων) x  [(μέγεθος πακέτου) + (επιβάρυνση σηματοδοσίας πρωτοκόλλων IP,ADSL,ATM,PPP)]

Είναι φανερό πως όσο μικρότερο μέγεθος πακέτα χρησιμοποιούμε τόσο χάνουμε σε ωφέλιμο bandwidth λόγω της σηματοδοσίας των πρωτοκόλλων για κάθε πακέτο. Απλά τώρα, εάν σε μια γραμμή κάνουμε download με 100 ΚΒ/sec (ας θεωρήσουμε πως 1 KB = 1000 Bytes) τότε χονδρικά μπορούμε να λάβουμε:

100 πακέτα των 1000 bytes ανά δευτερόλεπτο ή
200 πακέτα των 500 bytes ανά δευτερόλεπτο ή
400 πακέτα των 250 bytes ανά δευτερόλεπτο ή
800 πακέτα των 125 bytes ανά δευτερόλεπτο  κλπ...

Αν λοιπόν σκεφτούμε πως θα θέλαμε να θέσουμε ένα περιορισμό στον αριθμό των πακέτων που μπορούμε να λάβουμε με την ADSL γραμμή μας τότε ουσιαστικά “κόβουμε” κάποια applications ενώ κάποια άλλα απλά λειτουργούν κανονικά.

Με λίγα λόγια ένα θέσουμε ένα όριο πχ στα 200 πακέτα / sec (άρα παίρνω ανεξάρτητα από την πληροφορία η τη γραμμή μόνο 200 πακέτα / sec) τότε μπορούμε να έχουμε:

Με πακέτα των 1500 bytes πληροφορίας = 300 ΚΒ/sec (όριο MTU)
Με πακέτα των 1000 bytes πληροφορίας = 200 ΚΒ/sec
Με πακέτα των  500 bytes πληροφορίας = 100 ΚΒ/sec
Με πακέτα των  250 bytes πληροφορίας =  50 ΚΒ/sec
Με πακέτα των  125 bytes πληροφορίας =  25 ΚΒ/sec
Με πακέτα των  100 bytes πληροφορίας =  20 ΚΒ/sec

Η εφαρμογή μιας τέτοιας διαδικασίας περιορισμού πακέτων έχει πολλές παρενέργειες:

Δεν παίζουν εφαρμογές που χρησιμοποιούν πολλά και μικρά πακέτα. Άρα δεν μπορεί να γίνει πλήρη χρήση του bandwidth της γραμμής ή χρήση όπως εσείς θέλετε. Εάν επίσης σταλούν στο router σας 200 πακέτα των 0 Bytes ανά δευτερόλεπτο η γραμμή σας με < 1ΚΒps flood είναι αδύνατο να χρησιμοποιηθεί από εσάς.

Σημειώστε επίσης πως το πρόβλημα αφορά κάθε είδους ΙΡ πακέτα (TCP, UDP, ICMP).

Τον τελευταίο καιρό, έχουν εμφανιστεί ξανά παρόμοια προβλήματα με αυτά του 2006, σε χρήστες που εκφράζουν παράπονα για “μπουκώματα” γραμμών, αδυναμία VoIP, περιορισμοί σε γραμμές που “ξαφνικά” έχασαν το πλάτος download που είχαν κλπ. Ένας από τους πολλούς λόγους που θα μπορούσαν να προκαλέσουν κάτι τέτοιο είναι και ο περιορισμός των πακέτων. Προφανώς και τα “πιταρισμένα” DSLAM είναι ένας εξαιρετικά πιθανός παράγοντας. Είναι επίσης και αυτές οι επιπλέον υπηρεσίες που διαθέτει ο ISP χωρίς να ρίξει ζεστό χρήμα σε υποδομές…


Φορητοί Υπολογιστές στα Ολοήμερα Δημοτικά Σχολεία

Η Ναυτεμπορική φιλοξενεί ένα άρθρο [1] για την προμήθεια 10 φορητών ηλεκτρονικών υπολογιστών σε κάθε ολοήμερο δημοτικό σχολείο, ένα ερμάριο φύλαξης των υπολογιστών και το σχετικό δίκτυο επικοινωνίας αυτών.

Με αυτόν τον τρόπο θα διασφαλιστεί η αποτελεσματική σύνδεση με το Πανελλήνιο Σχολικό Δίκτυο (ΠΣΔ) προκειμένου ο εκπαιδευτικός της πρωτοβάθμιας εκπαίδευσης να έχει πρόσβαση στο κατάλληλο εκπαιδευτικό υλικό.

Ωραία… έχουμε υπολογιστές, και τώρα πρέπει να βρούμε τους δασκάλους που θα διδάξουν στα παιδιά μας, τη χρήση των υπολογιστών και την σωστή αξιοποίησή τους.

Ερώτηση:  Τι λειτουργικό θα φέρουν τα συστήματα;  Θα πληρώσουμε πάλι άδειες χρήσης ή θα αξιοποιήσουμε για παράδειγμα το sxolinux [2] με πολλαπλά κέρδη τόσο στη χρήση ανοικτών προτύπων όσο και στη μεταφορά της ιδέας του Ελεύθερου Λογισμικού και της εθελοντικής προσφοράς σε κοινότητες στα παιδιά;

Ο πολιτισμός και οι αξίες του, η Παιδεία και το μέλλον μας, χτίζεται από αυτήν ακριβώς την ηλικία που θα επηρεάσετε με την απόφασή σας.




Θερμός Χειμώνας για την Ελευθερία στο Internet

Το  ποντίκι δημοσιεύει ένα αρκετά ενδιαφέρον άρθρο [1] σχετικά με τη πρόθεση της Κυβέρνησης να ελέγξει Ιστολόγια και Ιστοσελίδες στο Ελληνικό (προφανώς) κομμάτι του Internet. Σχεδιάζεται να ξεκινήσει μία “Διαβούλευση” για το θέμα και μέχρι το τέλος του έτους να κατατεθεί στη Βουλή το Νομοσχέδιο.

Δεν έχουμε στα χέρια μας κάποιο προσχέδιο ώστε να καταφέρουμε να κρίνουμε τις προθέσεις των στελεχών της Κυβέρνησης, αλλά από μόνο του, ακούγεται αρκετά περίπλοκο και γεμάτο παγίδες το θέμα. Περισσότερο φέρνει σε μια καυτή πατάτα που δεν είναι και πολλά τα χέρια που μπορούν να τη χειριστούν. Ελπίζουμε μόνο να μην επαναληφθεί το φιάσκο με τα φρουτάκια, που γέλαγε όλη η ευρώπη μαζί μας όταν με το νόμο 3037 – 29/7/2002, κατέστησαν παράνομα ακόμα και τα ηλεκτρονικά παιχνίδια για PC – κονσόλες κλπ.  και αναγκάστηκε να επέμβει η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση ενημερώνοντας τους Έλληνες Βουλευτές πως η απαγόρευση δε συνάδει με τις κοινοτικές διατάξεις σχετικά με την ελεύθερη κυκλοφορία των εμπορευμάτων και των υπηρεσιών και την ελευθερία εγκατάστασης.

Στην Ελλάδα, μητέρα της Δημοκρατίας, πρέπει να είμαστε πολλές φορές πιο προσεκτικοί από ότι σε άλλες χώρες.





«Νέο» φρούτο στην αγορά… Διαλειτουργικότητα το λένε

Το  Κέντρο Καινοτομίας της Microsoft, σε συνεργασία με το Ελληνικό Κέντρο Διαλειτουργικότητας (!) και την Oracle Ελλάδας, διοργάνωσε με επιτυχία την Ημερίδα Διαλειτουργικότητας για τον Ιδιωτικό και το Δημόσιο Τομέα. Η εκδήλωση πραγματοποιήθηκε την Τετάρτη 9 Ιουνίου στο Εθνικό Μετσόβιο Πολυτεχνείο, στην Πολυτεχνειούπολη Ζωγράφου, με την παρουσία εκπροσώπων της δημόσιας διοίκησης και της ακαδημαϊκής κοινότητας, καθώς και στελεχών της αγοράς. (πηγή)

Κύριοι… τα πράγματα είναι πιο απλά από ότι νομίζετε:  Ο Πρωθυπουργός της χώρας μας, μίλησε για την υιοθέτηση ανοικτών προτύπων και  ανοικτού λογισμικού (αλήθεια, γιατί “ανοικτό λογισμικό” και όχι, “ελεύθερο λογισμικό”;  Σύμφωνα με τον Richard Stallman, δεν είναι κάθε λογισμικό ελεύθερο μόνο και μόνο επειδή είναι ανοικτού κώδικα).

Τι ποιο απλό λοιπόν από το να ορίσουμε ένα χρονοδιάγραμμα;  Ας βγει λοιπόν η κυβέρνηση και ας πει πως σε 10 χρόνια από σήμερα, όλες οι εφαρμογές του Δημόσιου τομέα θα περάσουν σε ελεύθερο λογισμικό.

Τι θα κερδίσουμε;  Επιφανειακά και μόνο θα αναφέρουμε πως πρώτα από όλα θα ανοίξει η αγορά εργασίας για πολλούς ανθρώπους. Οι δε εταιρείες επίσης δεν χρειάζεται να “χάσουν” τα συμβόλαιά τους με το Δημόσιο καθώς θα έχουν 10 χρόνια να αντικαταστήσουν της εφαρμογές τους με νέες βασισμένες σε  ελ/λακ και φυσικά θα έχουν 10 χρόνια να υποστηρίζουν ένα σύστημα που εργάζεται ήδη. Μην ξεχνάτε πως ούτως η άλλως στη 10ετία αυτή, θα είχαν αρχίσει ήδη οι εφαρμογές να δείχνουν την ηλικία τους. Κατόπιν θα κερδίσουμε σε ασφάλεια (όπως και να το κάνουμε είναι αρκετά πιο ασφαλείς ένα σύστημα server/client που στηρίζεται σε ελ/λακ από ότι σε Windows Servers – άσχετα αν η νέα οικογένεια Servers που έβγαλε η Microsoft είναι κλάσης ανώτερη από την παλιά) και φυσικά σε χρήμα… πολύ χρήμα.

Θα κερδίσουμε χρήμα από τις άδειες χρήσης των clients. Θα κερδίσουμε χρήμα από της άδειες χρήσης των Servers. Θα κερδίσουμε χρήμα από την χρησιμοποίηση των ήδη εγκατεστημένων συστημάτων αναπαραγωγής εντύπων (εκτυπωτές, scanners, coppiers, plotters etc). Θα κερδίσουμε χρήμα από την εξοικονόμηση ενέργειας λόγο των πιο χαμηλών απαιτήσεων των συστημάτων που θα τρέξουν τις εφαρμογές. Θα κερδίσουμε χρήμα καθώς ΔΕΝ θα χρειαστεί να αλλάξουμε υπολογιστές για να τρέξουμε τα windows 7 x64 PRO, όπως ζητούσαν στη ΔΕΗ. Γενικά θα κερδίσουμε. Αυτό είδαν και πολλά ευρωπαϊκά κράτη και υιοθέτησαν την αλλαγή.

Εμείς, δεν μπορούμε;

Το ΣΔΟΕ συστήνει Τμήμα Προστασίας Διανοητικής Ιδιοκτησίας με στόχο την καταπολέμηση της πειρατείας λογισμικού

Η Business Software Alliance (BSA) επικροτεί την πρωτοβουλία του Σώματος Δίωξης Οικονομικού Εγκλήματος (ΣΔΟΕ πρ. ΥΠ.Ε.Ε) για την σύσταση Τμήματος Προστασίας Διανοητικής Ιδιοκτησίας με το οποίο στοχεύει στην πάταξη του φορολογικού εγκλήματος που συνδέεται με την προσβολή των δικαιωμάτων πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας. Σύμφωνα με το νέο φορολογικό νόμο 3842/10, το Τμήμα Προστασίας Διανοητικής Ιδιοκτησίας θα είναι αρμόδιο για τη συλλογή, ανάλυση και αξιολόγηση στοιχείων από βάσεις δεδομένων και λοιπές πηγές πληροφοριών καθώς και για τη διενέργεια επιτόπιων ελέγχων και ερευνών προς εντοπισμό, αποκάλυψη και καταπολέμηση οικονομικών εγκλημάτων που σχετίζονται με την πνευματική ιδιοκτησία, όπως η χρήση μη αδειοδοτημένων προγραμμάτων Η/Υ. [1]

Η ερώτηση είναι απλή… Από πότε μία δημόσια υπηρεσία, προστατεύει από κοινού με μία κοινοπραξία εταιρειών τα συμφέροντα τους;
Η BSA από την πλευρά της, ορθά πράττει και προστατεύει τις εταιρείες που έχουν συμβληθεί μαζί της, όμως όταν το δημόσιο επιβάλει ένα πρόστιμο 1000 ευρώ ανά πειρατικό πρόγραμμα, οι θιγόμενες εταιρείες – ιδιοκτήτριες του λογισμικού, λαμβάνουν κάποιο ποσό;
Αν “ναι”, πόσο είναι αυτό;
Αν “όχι” τότε το δημόσιο κερδίζει χρήματα σε βάρος τον θιγομένων εταιρειών;

Από την άλλη υπάρχει και λύση για το πρόβλημα:  Χρησιμοποιείστε Ελεύθερο Λογισμικό σε όσους περισσότερους υπολογιστές μπορείτε.
ΝΑ δώσουμε ένα παράδειγμα: Μία εταιρεία έχει 100 υπολογιστές σε ένα δίκτυο. Οι γενικών καθηκόντων υπολογιστές που το μόνο που κάνουν είναι εργασίες γραφείου, μπορούν ΑΝΕΤΑ να αντικαταστήσουν το λειτουργικό τους σύστημα με GNU/Linux και απλά να συνεχίσουν να κάνουν ότι έκαναν με τον ίδιο απλό τρόπο. Προφανώς και το λογιστήριο για παράδειγμα ΔΕΝ μπορεί την στιγμή αυτή να λειτουργήσει με αυτόν τον τρόπο. Αλλά εκεί έχουμε πόσους υπολογιστές;  5… 10;  Σαφώς και το κόστος αυτών των αδειών χρήσης δεν είναι το ίδιο με το κόστος των 100 (+Servers)
Έ, αν τώρα μιλάμε πως χρησιμοποιούν και το λογιστικό πρόγραμμα “σπασμένο”, τότε κύριοι η BSA έχει δίκιο να σας την “πέσει”.  Προσέξτε.  η BSA έχει δίκαιο… όχι το δημόσιο για να προστατέψει το συμφέρον της.